Review: The Jeera Packer

“What you don’t do never really leaves you. What you let go of never let’s go of you.”

  • The Jeera Packer

One reads books so that he can get lost in the world that someone else created with their imagination. When such a world takes you on a journey that you can never experience on your own, there are no words left express your thoughts.

I for one can never be a sharpshooter or get into politics. Clean or dirty politics, it doesn’t matter for I can never imagine being a part of the power game. So I picked up a book to take a look into that imaginary sphere.

Name: The Jeera Packer

Author: Prashant Yadav

Publisher: Fingerprint!

ISBN:978-81-7599-418-8

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Book Blurb:

“I once changed the history of Uttar Pradesh

with a gun and a finger.

One shot, one man.

Right man, wrong man.

But that was thirty years ago.

I shot people through their heads back then.

I pack jeera in the basement now.

THIS IS ME, AND HERE IS MY STORY.”

I liked the blurb so much that I couldn’t help but put it here for the readers to read. This is the reason I chose to read the book.

Description of The Jeera Packer:

This is the story of a sharpshooter turned shopkeeper, who is searching for the purpose of his life. The dark past is hidden away from the world, under a layer of jeera dust.

However, the beast inside is still restless. It has yet to quench its thirst. In a way that the art of killing is given its rightful tribute.

At the same time, the political scenario in UP is setting itself for the biggest election to be seen with wolves howling for power and foxes vying for a bit of flesh. There is only one who man deserves to be at the wrong end of the sniper – the Chief Minister.

Who is the victim in this game of ultimate power?  Who is the one holding the reins? Who shall emerge unscathed? Who shall end up losing everything?

The stakes are high and the anticipation brimming. Let the world fade away as you get lost reading!

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My Take on The Jeera Packer:

This is my first ever political-crime-thriller and I must say I did get a good book to start it off with.

When I started reading this I felt drawn to the characters. They were simple and easy to understand. The deeper I was drawn into a story, the more I understood their complexity. Each character is important to the plot and while the character undergoes change, the plot develops.

The author has started off with various characters within the shades of black and gray. It is truly beautiful how certain characters in the gray shade turn white while the characters in white shade turn dark. The writing is different as the narration is not from a single perspective. It shows how power impacts each individual from his seat of dominance.

Though there are few grammatical errors and certain characters seem fictitious, it can be overlooked because of the story as a whole compensates it.

The best part of the book is that it zooms in on certain rarely noticed objects and drives the reader’s attention to it while in the backdrop makes the reader think on the lines of the characters.

“Nobody dies of starvation in this world, unless you are a cotton farmer”

There are some statements that make you nod your head in acceptance while there are others that make you think “how true! how come I never noticed!”.

So overall the book was fantastic! I rate it 4 over 5 stars!

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Review: Exile!

There is this curious thing about shackles- the only people who know their story are the ones wearing them or the ones who put them on

  • Taslima Nasrin (Exile)

My first ever memoir. My first ever glimpse into the world of true injustice. My first experience of cruelty on an unimaginable scale.

Here comes the book that brought me sleepless nights thinking about ” What does freedom in the real sense mean?”

Name: Exile-a memoir

Author: Taslima Nasrin

Publishers: Penguin books India

ISBN: 978-0-670-08874-4

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Description of Exile:

The time has a way of affecting life and people have a way of misinterpreting it. When Taslima Nasrin published her book Dwikhandito, Kolkata came to a screeching halt as religious fanatics shouted out to the world in a single breath to kill the voice that dares speak against the religion and speak the truth about the life which has been led.

The government, the literate and the so-called advocates of free speech turned against that voice and the effort to shut that voice began. A voice, however faint can still be heard in the place that it resides within. So the first step taken was to ship away the voice and the be free of the noise that was not caused by that voice.

How did they do it?

Kill the energy that drives the voice and keeps it alive. Keep the person in house arrest for the crime that has not been committed. Keep the person in isolation long enough to start begging for freedom and respite from the never-ending misery.

The journey away from home, into a never-ending exile, for the Author Taslima Nasrin began the day she spoke the truth of her life. Is this what we call justice?

My Take on Exile:

Since this is my first book from author Taslima Nasrin, I had to first read a lot about what happened in her life to understand her perspective. Once the initial preparation was complete, I had found myself in love with her writing style. It mixes the objects that can be seen with the emotions that cannot be seen.

Writing about one’s own life requires a lot of courage to speak of the things that are in the personal dungeon within the mind. However, Taslima has spoken with the words that stay strong in the mind. Her life shows the struggle to obtain one thing that has been denied for her : freedom.

I for one had never thought much about what freedom could mean to a person. I never looked at the immense freedom I possess in terms of living. Once reading the words of pain, misery, and longing, I have started cherishing freedom more than anything.

Do I not dream of returning home? But I hide this unfulfilled dreams in the deepest and the darkest recesses of my heart, not allowing them to come out and taught me. As a result, the life I lead is perhaps not a real one.

I find few quotes of hers in this book so beautiful that makes me want to read those words again and again just to remind myself that maybe I should start living the life to the fullest and use the voice I was born with to help people who are not as blessed as I am.

My favorite one is:

If only for the sake of the experience, everyone should live in exile at some point of time in their life. It is only in enforced captivity that one can truly appreciate freedom.

It would be wrong on my part to rate a book such as this. The reading experience left me baffled and I am truly thankful for the Author and Vivek for giving me an opportunity to read this book. Thank you so much!

 

 

Review: Ashvamedha!

 

Was it worth it? I don’t know. But I have realised that there is something attached to the power of politics that is addictive. Power to influence, power to make yourself heard, power to make you important;

  • Ashvamedha, The Game of Power

A story is interesting as long as the plot is strong and the characters are dynamic. One such book that held me captive is Ashvamedha!

Name: Ashvamedha, The Game of Power

Author: Aparna Sinha

Publisher: Srishti Publishers

ISBN: 978-93-82665-76-2

ashvamedha  Description of Ashvamedha:

Ashwin Jamwal, an ordinary man leading an ordinary life is chosen to be the most powerful man across the globe. His surroundings and the people arround him have been manipulated, threatened and even murdered to get him to the ultimate seat of power.

However the question remains: Why?

On the other hand there waits a man in the shadow of darkness, planning for years to be the most powerful man in the world. However, that can be achieved in only one way: to defeat the current most powerful person on the Earth.

Since power has been divided among people of various sectors, the only way to defeat the most powerful man to create him first. Hades is out there to do just that.

The story of power, politics, love and torture come together to make a gripping story that takes a reader to another level of mystery and crime. With a bated breath jump on this journey with Ashwin to reach the peak of power.

A fair warning: Power is addictive!

To check out the trailer:

 

My take on Ashvamedha, The Game of Power:

Every story has a protagonist and an antagonist. Never had I ever read about an antagonist create and help the protagonist to become powerful.

That is the sole reason I chose to read this book. The verdict: the read till the end was definitely worth the effort!

The story is well written and starts off with Ashwin put into a political drama. The death of a minister and his lover is a great way to bring the curiosity to edge.

Then the story takes us back to Ashiwn’s past and his journey to become the most powerful person in the world.

Here the story seems little unbelievable as most of us know that power is a very fickle thing. Extreme planning may not yield the expected results when power, money and cunning minds are involved. Blow the plot into a global scale and the plot seems rather unrealistic.

However, once the reader crosses the threshold of believing or not, the story is unparallel and reminds me of Sidney Sheldon’s “Tell Me Your Dreams”. I had loved that book as it had left me speechless and now Aparna Sinha’s “Ashvamedha” has left me in the same state.

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Maybe power is something that belongs to the mind. It is an illusion, a palace of glass that shatters the mind once the control slips. The story leads the reader to firmly believe in this aspect.

The best part however is the climax!

Never, ever had I guessed the direction it was heading in and it left me both speechless and shocked.

It was like “all along I saw the signs that lead me to the destination. I ignored it. Then when the destination was just beyond the range of visibility, it slapped me hard in the face while pouring ice-cold water on my head!”

Perfect ending!

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The story may have its share of loop holes and the hero worship involved, however, it makes up with the dramatic style of writing and the suspense it keeps on building with each page.

The other thing that made me love the story was the unique way of character development. The introduction of character was delayed leading the reader further into the author’s trap of suspense.

Together the story was something I really enjoyed reading and I am awfully sorry for the delayed review. I apologize for the radio silence in the matter of books!

My end of semester exams are going on and will last till 7th of January.

If this book had the capacity to make me quit studying for exam, imagine power it wielded over me!!

The plot is 100 times better than all of my text books put together! So I rate it a 4/5 stars!

Lots of love to the author for sending me the book and being ultra patient with me! Also a huge shout out to Tushti Bhatia for the amazing book!

 

Review: The Peshwa!

Life is a battle of sorts, there is a story behind every battle fought, written by the winner. The only choice is that, either you choose to write the tale or life will do it for you.

One day the father may pass away but on that day, the son becomes the father. The grandson becomes the son. There is always a father; always a son. Always a parent; always a child.

  • The Peshwa

History has a charm that many of us don’t take a second glance at. The story changes with time and the recorded story is just a document. Until there comes a time when the same story is retold with the emotions and life instilled into the characters. One such story brought back to life is : The Peshwa.

Name: The Peshwa, The Lion and the Stallion( Click on the link to buy)

Author:Ram Sivasankaran

Publishers: Westland Books

ISBN:978-93-85724-21-3

the peshwa.jpg  Description of The Peshwa:

When the sun shines over the Mughal empire, the bearers of the sun, the Marathas fell to the onslaught of the Empire.

Over years, the Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy, Balaji Vishwanath Bhat gains strength to retaliate and bend the knees of the Emperor on the Peacock throne.

The only thorn in his side is the loyal and faithful Nizam. His cunning mind is the only thing saving the Empire from falling to the Marathas. However, the lion of Mughals makes peace with the stallion of Marathas with a gesture that leaves the Marathas in peace and Nizam in fury.

The Nizam is sent to Malwa to suffer in the barren lands close to the Maratha hold. There he sits and makes his grand plan to extract revenge from the Peshwa.

Unfortunately, before he gets a chance to retaliate, the Peshwa moves on to the other world, leaving his eighteen-year-old son to be the sword and shield of the Chatrapathi.

The young Peshwa with his theoretical knowledge has to prove his mettle and fill in the shoes of the Peshwa heritage. Being the first Peshwa to learn the art of warfare, he has an immense responsibility to bear the confederacy and keep it from falling apart. At the same time, for the Mughals, the time has come to make their move.

How will the new Peshwa make his stand? How will he emerge from the clutches of the lion? How will he lead his men to the battlefield when he has yet to witness one for himself?

What does it take to become a Peshwa?

What is he willing to sacrifice for the peace and lives of his men?

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My take on The Peshwa:

One thing that I understood when I started reading this story was, the future is set in motion for every individual even before the plot has been planned. The only way is to fulfill the role that is designed for the individual.

At the beginning, the story is setting the stage for the young Peshwa to take up responsibilities. Under the guidance of a clever and cunning man, the game is put into action. What he does not know is that another story is overlapping him throughout this journey.

I absolutely loved the story from the very beginning and I am in love with the author’s style of narration. He has painted the 18th century with his words for the reader to get lost into and live a life of court politics and warfare.

In between, he brings the joys of life and gives each and every character the freedom to develop into actual people. The emotions that are portrayed are so good that even a person who does not know history will fall in love with the characters.

The strength of each character, the shrewdness, the love, the pain, the joy and the way they synchronize with each other is something that I really love about the book.

The best part is

The war.

The writing that went into creating a battlefield and then choreographing the fight in a way that leaves the reader, is pure magic! I had goosebumps while reading it. I had not expected the war to be that captivating.

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Another thing that left me baffled and in pain after finishing the book is that the story is not focused on the protagonist and antagonist alone. It is true that the story is from their perspective and the journey is designed in a way that we understand the emotions of the Peshwa. I loved it very very much.

However, the characters that come along this journey are growing and developing with the time. Nobody is forgotten and faded. Everyone is accounted for and everyone gets a place in the story of victory.

I think that is true with each one of us. A lot of people make their presence in our lives. When they leave, there is a hole left behind by them. Maybe someone may fill that gap, however, the pain still remains.

One of my friends said a statement: ” You may join a broken thread, however, the knot will always remain and remind you that the thread is not as it used to be”.

Burning the bridges is the easy part, turning and looking back at the people on the other side is the hardest. The Peshwa is one book where you can actually feel this.

So with everything, I rate the book 5/5 stars!!! I loved the writing, the style of narration and the story itself.

I received the book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest review and it has in no way affected my views about the book.

Review: Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar

 

Standing at the base of a hill, looking at the clouds enveloping the graceful peaks and asking the giant structure: What is it that you see and not share with us?

There is a general opinion that when someone faces problems beyond his comprehension, then he goes in search of forces that are strong enough and large enough to fight his battles for him.

I felt such a thing twice. Once on top of Kodchadri hill. Other, while reading the book:

“Men and Dreams of the Dhauladhar”

Name: Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar (Click on the link to buy)

Author: Kochery C. Shibu

Publishers: Niyogi Books

ISBN: 978-93-85285-00-4

Men-and-Dreams.jpg  Description of Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar:

Men come and go in this universe as a part of the life and death cycles. How they come together is a story worth sharing.

Men and Dream in the Dhauladhar tells a tale that ranges over the two ends of India. The story of a Kalari warrior from Kerala who leaves his birthplace to defend himself from his enemies entwine with the story of Khusru, a Kashmiri boy entangled with the terrorists, who wants to get out of the web. In his life enters the beautiful Rekha, a Kathak dancer by passion and a doctor by profession. Her life flows with the rhythm of her heart leading her to explore the world of art, struggles and even a perilous journey of explosives.

In between are the stories of many faces and many strong and weak people who build the story with their presence, their charm, and their lives. Throughout the journey, only one entity lives and looks over the changing times and changing lives of these people. That is the mountain range of Dhauladhar.

Take a look at the trailer before jumping into the story:

 

My take on Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar:

First and foremost, I should thank the author for asking me to take a look at this book. I promise that this has not affected my views on the book even the slightest.

Now coming back to the book: 3 things that are super amazing about the book

  1. The story is weaved using threads of myriad of colours that dazzle with the depth of understanding and plot development.
  2. There is no protagonist and the only permanent fixture throughout the story is the Dhauladhar itself.
  3. There is no “good guy” who survives against all odds and wins the girl and no “bad guy” who finds his doom. There is a “good guy” within every character and a “bad guy” who emerges when there is too much stress and undue struggle.

What made me connect to the story was the way the author has brought the elements of culture, the unique beauty across the lands and time in a really simple way and within the context of the story rather than an index or dictionary at the end.

That is epic in my opinion as this shares so much of about my own country that I never knew or would understand on my own. That’s why it was as good as winning a free ticket to Kerala and the Dhauladhar.

The best part in my opinion is: There are many people who look at the Dhauladhar simultaneously, their own thoughts get echoed back and they find solace in knowing that there is at least one strong entity in their lives.

When such a belief is washed away with the rains and land slide..

There were cold and gripping moments when the author described the deaths of many without a second glance, I was shocked. However, then I realised that the author wanted to portray that with time and greed there is nothing as a minimal price. It could be a life or a smile that was present today and would never light up in future.

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The dispassionate deaths and cold fear along with the burning requirement to survive every odds, makes this book one of the best reads of this year.

However, no book is without a sin. The book sometimes feels like a vegetable soup of culture and unless you don’t understand it, you won’t love it.

Another major fault that I faced was while reading the English version of Malayam and dihaadi Hindi. It was hard to understand and I couldn’t connect to the jokes or taunts that flew about between the characters.

All together, I rate the book a 4/5 stars! Loved the story and each of the characters that made their presence. They taught me so much in the small number of pages that they appeared in!

 

Review: When Love Finds You

Everyone has a “choice”. A choice to live and a choice to love.

After a long time, I felt like a goblin hitting a goldmine!

At the first look of 300 odd pages, I expected six days to read this book that hooked me with its excerpt. Somehow, two days later I’m holding the last page of it and asking

“Now what?”

Want to know the book behind that reaction?

Here comes: When Love Finds You

Author: Yashodhara Lal

Publishers: Harlequin

ISBN: 978-93-5264-084-3

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Description of When Love Finds You:

The protagonist is a kick ass corporate Hitler, who makes for a nightmare for the rest of the sales team. Her good name Natasha. She is strict, punctual, meets her targets( even if she has to drain the blood of her executives before the month end!) . She is one person you wouldn’t want to cross paths with.

Then enters the ladies man, Rishab who flirts his way to the top. Natasha “actively hates” him even before he starts his mission of “Make Natasha’s life miserable”.

Also now is also the time when Nikhil, the silent charmer enters into the corporate love story. He has the brains and the skills that make Natasha swoon.

More than the office drama, Natasha is experiencing her own demons come to life with various past and present incidents catching up to her. The game of corporate targets is draining her.

However, she is not a person to give up.

How is she going to handle everything? How will her decisions affect all the three people? What is it that she has left behind in her past?

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My take of “When Love Finds You”

If you are fed up with senseless love stories that start with puppy love and end with you wanting to tear the book, then wait no more! The book you have been waiting has arrived!

When I heard that this is a love story, I was pretty wary of it. I have had bad experiences with books that claim to be love stories.

Then I start with the excerpt that promises:

  • A super strong female protagonist = instant love!
  • No crap of Bollywood that involves the lead lady to wear white saree and dance in rain.
  • The author has poured cold water in the face with an honest corporate look and the work of  women in the position of power. That is a good thing. (And I’m not a judge of corporate wisdom)
  • There is no hideous villain. (Thank God for that). The story lets the reader take a stand and then unveils the good guy and the bad guy.
  • There is this super amazing cranky old neighbor of Natasha, who happens to be the sole character in everyone’s lives. I loved her the most in the book.

Then inside the book, I find some more love-worthy bits such as Dog love. I don’t know how the author brought about this piece without making the storyline weird. It was very beautiful.

Another such amazing thing is Mother and her love. Hadn’t expected it at all.

I can keep counting the good things and go on forever. Let me tell a few things that could have been changed to make better:

  • The story at some point feels like it is not flowing like it should have. There is something that lags the story. I couldn’t find it though.
  • Protagonist smokes. I find smokers to be crazy.
  • Fitness freak Natasha made me too much self-conscious. Maybe I should follow her diet routine as well. Note to self.
  • I wish Tisha had more appearance. I liked her.

wlfy2-compressor  So with that, I would love to conclude with a lot of love and gratitude for this amazing book. I had so much fun reading it and it took my mind of a lot of things.

Also, it is a light read and clean enough for anyone to read in public unlike the new trend of love stories.

Finally, the book that stands apart from the new age love stories and a great entertainer. It also has a message through the mistakes of Natasha and I think that is enough of me expressing so much about this book.

With a 4/5 star rating, I shall take my leave!

Review: A Broken Man

India is a country where every person is born with two identities. One is the religion and other is the caste.

But this identity is further grotesquely twisted. Poverty and shame are the add-ons for few while, fame and power are the defining terms. Where is this division seen prominently? Obviously the Universities. There have been huge riots all over the country too.

Using this burning situation as the backdrop, Akash Verma brings another heart-warming story of love, dream and fight.

Name: A Broken Man (Click on the name to be directed to Amazon page)

Author:Akash Verma (Click on the name to visit the author’s website)

Publisher: Srishti Publishers

ISBN: 978-93-82665-69-4

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About the Author:

Akash Verma is an entrepreneur. His work has taken him across the country and he finds this experience very relevant while giving shape to his stories. He has published two National Best sellers till now, It Happenend That Night and Three Times Loser.

Descritpion of A Broken Man

Life is hard for the low caste-born Krishna, who hails from a small village in Bihar and currently suding in the University of Lucknow. To find fame, he tries joining the University politics where he encounters Chhavi, a high cast Brahmin girl whose father is one of the big names in politics. Their story starts with Krishna opposing Chhavi’s party and disrupting their meetings.

But one fateful day, Chhavi’s life is in danger as she is being burnt alive for the sake of politics. Looking at this Krishna realises his mistake and tries to save her. A lower caste boy saving the upper caste girl causes an uproar.

But they know what it means to be each other’s saviour. So they fall in love. But they cannot live their lives based on what they feel. They are required to live a life based on what society tells them to. Thus they are crushed and separated from each other. Years pass until one day Krishna must once again go abck to find his Chhavi and set their lives straight. Will he be able to do that?

Take a look at the trailer:

My Review:

The story  is very well written and neatly presented. Even though the central theme is highly sensitive, that is the caste issue, the author has highlighted it so effortlessly amidst a love story. The story brings about a varied set of emotions that range from being emotionally shut down to bursting with joy.

While reading this book, have a background sound of any of the tracks by Arijeeth Singh (That’s what I did) to literally get lost into the book. The words pop out and touch you while doing so.

In the book the part that I felt as amazing was the way the author has brought about movies, protests and even politics into the love story which shows that love is not a single entity in a person’s life. There are other major events that trigger this.

Also the hope, the hard work and the passion for an art is something that made me love this book.

All together I rate this book 4.5/5 stars!

I thank Writers Melon for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed reading and reviewing it!

I also thank the author for bringing out such an amazing story.