Sunday, January 31, 2016

Magic In The Mountains ~ Review

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing; Leadstart Publishing Magic In The Mountain edition (December 16, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9381836922
ISBN-13: 978-9381836927

" Faced with the sudden death of their parents, Pradeep and Priya find themselves not only battling grief and loss but also adjusting to a whole new world.
Taken to live with their Aunt Sheila in Coonoor, in the Nilgiri hills, they try to find comfort in routine and the beauty of their surroundings.
But suddenly, they find themselves in the midst of a mystery.
There is a kidnap, magic, a car chase, an extraordinary bakery, strange ladies, and much more. Sleepy and quiet though the hill station usually is, Pradeep and Priya find there is never a dull moment. "

Magic in the Mountains is a tale of two children who lose their parents and have come to live with their aunt. Magical elements like a flying carpet and talking snakes, the three children and some villains drive the story forward. There is a certain charm in the book that is reminiscent of the Enid Blyton books we read as children.

An adult reader will be able to guess through the suspense that is built. But considering that this is a children's book, it can be ignored.

There is a certain beauty that simplicity brings. This is exactly what Magic In The Mountains bring to the table with it. It is a book that is suitable for young kids who have just started reading, as the language is not too difficult and they will get an opportunity to ignite their imagination. It is not easy to write for such young children and one must commend the author Nimi Kurian for such a lovely attempt.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

She : Ekla Cholo Re ~ Review

The society fears what it cannot comprehend, it shuns those who do not conform to its archaic norms. She is the story of a person, for whom identity crisis has been a reality from childhood. Since Kusum did not fall into the categories of male or female, the society includng her own family has always been a bane on her.
She is the story of a woman's spirit held captive by a man's body and the struggle of the person due to this mismatch.

The story begins with the narrator offering a lift to Kusum. The journey moves forward and Kusum feeling a strange kinship with the narrator, tells her life sstory in detail; how as a little boy he had found love but how the society decided he could not love someone from the same gender and time separated them. When left to face the world alone, how she had adopted Tagore's poem Ekla Cholo Re as inspiration and moved forward on her path undeterred. She details about her struggles and talks of an author whose works and motivational books keep her going in such troubled times. By the time they reach their destination, the narrator too falls in love with her.

Contrary to what people believe, not all of them are sex workers, they are just normal people like us who struggle to make ends meet. They too are humans made of flesh and bones, they too have emotions and feelings.

The book is very small and is a quick read. It leaves you thinking about what we as a society are doing about the section of people who are not confined in the boundaries we have set for them. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Other End Of The Corridor : Sujata Rajpal

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The Other End of the Corridor 
Sujata Rajpal 

When your dreams are tainted with lies and deceit, you have no other choice but to walk to the other end of the corridor.
Leela has nothing extraordinary about her except the dream to become famous. Her desires take wings when she gets married to a handsome boy from a respectable family in Delhi. But her dreams are shattered even before they have a chance to take flight. 
She happens to meet two friends from a long forgotten past, which infuses hope and opens new avenues to realize her dormant aspirations.

Leela delves into previously unexplored paths of deception and forbidden passions that only make her stronger. 

In an attempt to rediscover herself, she falls in love with life and with herself but her life takes a sudden turn again…
No matter what, Leela will continue to chase her dreams.

Where does this journey take her?

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"The corridor, I was walking down didn't have a trace of illumination. I couldn't see the other end. But I kept moving and now, I realize that more than the light, you need the determination to keep moving, keep struggling for your dreams, for your existence, for your survival."

I had lived in a dream world all my life, always blaming the circumstances for my own weaknesses. I could never gather courage to stand up to circumstances. For how long would I keep blaming others for my own shortcomings. And for how long would I keep dreaming- my dreams never aligned with the real world; my dreams and real life never converged at any point. ‘I definitely had experience but only in building castles in the air.’

My Review

The protagonist is a woman; no she is too young and naive to be called a woman. She is a girl all of nineteen years, who having led a life of being an unwanted child, thinks that Fate is giving her a ticket to life in the form of an educated 30 year old husband. Her parents are happy that they could find a husband for their manglik daugther so soon.

From Patiala to Delhi, as Leela moves cities after her marriage, she dreams of leaving her bad days behind and seek bliss in her marital home. Alas, the reality that awaits her is different. Having been told numerous lies, she struggles to come to terms with the truth when it surfaces and shows its ugly face to her.

Her transformation from a headstrong girl to a docile wife amazes herself as she realizes how she too, like her mother whom she detested for the same reasons, put her dreams on the back burner and tried to live a life as per the norms of the society she belonged to. While this transformation amazes some, it is but a sad reality for many women in India who are forced to stop their personal pursuits and do what is expected of them. Post marital life in India is seldom what one dreams of it to be. More than the husband and the wife, the parents, the in-laws and the society decide how a married couple's life ought to be.

Her move to Bangalore owing to her husband's new job changes her life and brings her vis-a-vis to her old friends. The Leela from Patiala initially loathes in self pity, but soon learns that she can live a dual life one where she submits to her abusive husband and another where she is Elaa, the young girl who has it in her to fufill all her dreams. She dares to do all that her husband stops her from doing and enjoys being her online persona in real life too.

Like all lies, this too comes to an end. Reality and fiction come face to face. Her life comes to a standstill and she is left with nowhere to go and nobody to turn to. What will Leela do? Will she ever be able to confront her tormentors? Will she fulfill her dream of being an RJ and being famous?

Sujata Rajpal creates a very believable Leela, one who is not entirely free of faults, one who is not purely fictional and one with whom many women can relate to. Leela is a brilliant woman and The Other End of The Corridor brilliantly portrays her journey and her transition from a naive girl to a woman who knows the tricks to survive in this cruel world.

This is a recommended read for all women and men alike who have no clue what it is like to be a dark skinned, manglik woman in India.

About the Author 
Author’s profile :Sujata Rajpal is a Corporate Communication & PR professional turned a full-time author. She holds an MPhil degree in Economics and has studied Mass Communication from Punjab University, Chandigarh. She also writes articles and short stories for publications and journals. Sujata is a yoga enthusiast and enjoys being a Toastmaster. She currently lives in Mysore.

The Other End of the Corridor is her first novel.

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