I love the sound of a bell.
I love the thought of a getaway.
I awake, inspired.
I feel more eccentric.
I cringe less at cliches.
I’ve learnt what is us.
Everything is better.
Thank you Pan Macmillan India for sending me a copy of this book for review 🙂
Maha Khan Phillips’ The Curse of Mohenjodaro is a sweeping narrative that shuffles between 3800 BC and the present; chronicling the dire consequences of corrupted leaders and subjugated populace, both, then and now. Nadia Osbourne had just about escaped the clutches of her maniacal father, when her sister, Layla, goes missing in Mohenjodaro, during an archaeological dig. What’s more, her frequent dreams about a girl, Jaya, grow to be more vivid and strangely connected to the Mohenjodaro mystery. There’s more than meets the eye with regard to the disappearance of the archaeologists group and so Nadia must look to historic events to protect thousands of people in the present. Full with magical realism, mobsters and rediscovery of a family’s powerful lineage, this novel is a brilliant addition to the thriller genre.
The cover design is an interplay of strong colours placed in the forefront of sharp structures that represent the Indus Valley civilization. It is alluring enough to draw one’s attention towards the book, from wherein, the story takes over and does its job wonderfully. Even though the format of the book is such that it goes back and forth between two time frames, it isn’t confusing or distracting in the least bit. In fact, the portions set in Jaya’s world are so strong that they transport you to the era. The author’s writing style supports her story very well and creates a captivating atmosphere throughout. It is fast paced and worthy of being finished in one sitting.
The characterization too, is up to the mark, and imbues many of the important characters with all the power they require to carry forward the story. As infuriating as Sohail (Nadia and Layla’s father) is, he plays an integral role in mirroring the greed and corruption of today’s time. Many women characters are made the focal point of the plot, and wield the driving force. I liked Aal the best – she is depicted to be this obedient daughter who becomes feisty because of circumstances. The whole system, in 3800 BC, that of the Goddess-Blessed, High One, Priests and Clans is allegorical of caste systems and social hierarchy as seen now. A disturbing theme at that. Some other themes that are explored in this novel are that of abuse, poverty, rebellion, good conquers bad etc. There isn’t really anything I can fault about the book. And so, everything considered, I loved this novel a great deal. I am very glad that it is my first book of 2017. It is a must read, so do pick it up, for sure!
And worn, my child,
Devoid of comfort. Her
Make, so bothersome, riled ’em all.
I’d swathed her in
Obtrusions. Alas! she joined the
Failures of the
Last time and those before.
With such precision and care, I’d
Hues, adorned in jewels,
My baby outshone the last, but
Be dimmed by the
Blurry eyed. They sought her
Light for themselves. But unable,
My craft left me.
I wandered in search of
Refreshing art, only to be
Children. You see,
Nothing remains undone.
We come full circle, wherever
Thank you Writers Melon for a copy of this book for review 🙂
Mohit Goyal’s Colorful Notions brings together the essence of roadtrips, the cultural delights of India and the lives of three twenty year olds in this hearty novel. Abhay, Sashank and Unnati, hailing from Delhi, decide to embark on a sojourn that will test not only their physical and mental strengths, but also their perception of life. A meticulously planned trip unravels to show them how wonderfully surprising life can be, as they experience the greatest thrills, griefs and self-awareness that they have ever come to terms with. Each carry their own baggage, ready to learn something new from this drastic change of scene.
As intriguing as the synopsis is, the novel is in fact far more captivating. A roadtrip with India as the backdrop is something I’ve never read before and so I was pleasantly surprised how so many destinations could be covered in the matter of few pages, yet not diluting the experience for the reader. The characterization of the protagonist is so strong that after a point of time, you begin to get fully absorbed into the accounts. That being said, I didn’t like Abhay’s character very much. He is the quintessential antihero. Whereas Sashank and Unnati had decent character arcs, which involved a lot of bickering and patching up.
Much like many other novels, there were cliches in the plot. Like that of the rich brat, the duff, love triangle, stereotypical representations of a community etc. While I didn’t like these elements a lot, the key focus being the roadtrip was encapsulated well. The trip, here, qualifies as a harbinger of change. And I quite liked that analogy – of having them challenge their comforts only to get more attuned with themselves. One other thing that irked me a bit is how easily they were roped in by a production house. That part was not as believable as it could have been made. All in all, it is a fun book, definitely worth your time, for it also contributes factually to your knowledge about India. There were aspects that weren’t great, and some which were done well.
Hemingway once said, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”. Agreed. Our emotions are extremely heightened when we suffer a blow. But life is a game of juxtaposition, of myriad highs and lows – neither of which can truly assuage the other’s grasp on our disposition. So today, I am going to write about what makes me feel alive, what crackles on the surface and dives deep with the frequency of a tuning fork.
Shrouded in denials
And elusive games, I
Was preparing to fly. Soar far
Of the future
Was enough to topple
Me. Ah! the magnificence of
Ground rushed to meet
Me, embracing winds peeled
Off the inhibitions. Tempted,
To our pasts for
We know what we want of
Our future. All immersed in ours,
there was nothing.
Then I tumbled head first
All limbs and emotions. Now I
How to be, devoid of that love,
I let course through me. What
Else would I be?
Self that knows no
Bounds. This new thought, dauntless
And swift. A ricocheting orb
Thank you Vibha Batra for sending me a copy of your book for review 🙂
Glitter and Gloss chronicles the love and work life of Misha, a twenty something makeup artist, who unknowingly spites a MVP at an event, only to later realize who he is. Things snowball from there and somehow, her and Akshay’s relationship evolves into a close knit one. But fairytale scenarios do take place in real life too and Misha finds herself battling not only work woes but Akshay’s traditional family who is not too keen on accepting her.
While the issue of familial acceptance has been broached a number of times before , I was intrigued by the protagonist’s profession and how that would play a part in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from the start, At no point does it get draggy or uninteresting. The narration, through the point of view of Misha, is done well. The author makes use of Hindi words to fully convey the essence of the situation through Misha’s perspective and I quite liked that. The element of humor keeps the novel lively all throughout and I was cracking up a lot. The chemistry between Misha and Akshay is great. They make an adorable pair.
I greatly liked reading about her work as it added another dimension to the story. The idea of playing with narrow-minded notions added an interesting flavor to the book. I was glad that Sammy, being a non-gay guy, was shown to be her roommate till the very end (much to the horror of Akshay’s elder sister). Cause if he had been done away with, then it would just fuel the one track mind of society. Poulomi is penned to be the elder sister – bestfriend character. There were some tropes used that I wasn’t a big fan of. Such as that of the male lead being tall & handsome; that of the conservative Indian family including gossiping aunties. Sometimes I wished that Misha would think more rationally. That way she could have avoided a lot of trouble. Nevertheless, I liked the book on the whole. It makes for a fun read. I’d recommend it to everyone who loves Contemporary Fiction.
Published by Bloomsbury India on 3rd November 2016, Selfienomics is a wonderful guide to imbuing your life with positivity and good health. First time writer, Revant, expertly employs humor and his vast knowledge of media & culture to deliver some life lessons. When presented with the opportunity to interview him, I gladly agreed.
Hi Revant. Thank you for taking the time out to answer some questions in light of the release of your debut novel, Selfienomics. Firstly, how did you decide you wanted to write a book pertaining to the self help genre?
I used to hate writing. In college, I always took classes which required the least amount of writing. I’m not a writer, I’m a thinker. It’s the thinker in me which forced me to write. I was frustrated at the way people spent their time and money and I had the self- confidence that I could contribute in changing it.
I wanted to reach out to a large number of people. As a 22 year-old, you have 4 options to reach out to a wide audience—create a high-quality social media page, make a movie, join politics, or write a book. Social media is too over-crowded so people don’t take you seriously. Movie and politics require a lot of experience and a team of people. Writing a book is the most convenient option—it requires no experience and can be done individually. All you need is a laptop (or a pen and paper). So I decided to write a self-help book aimed at improving the thought process of the youth.
During your preparatory stage, what opinions did you find most useful and how were you able to imbibe them?
I didn’t tell any of my friends that I’m writing a book so nothing in particular. But I found the opinions of external people very useful. I would extensively read the “comments” section of posts of popular social media pages like AIB, Logical Indian, Frustrated Indian. Through that I would understand the mood and opinion of the average urban Indian. I tried my best to refer to the things that Indians were talking about about to make the book relatable to them.
In the intro to your book, you’ve said that the focus of the book is self-improvement. What books or TV shows or movies have helped you, in the past, to discover and be more in tune with yourself?
Letter- “Why I am an atheist” is a letter by Bhagat singh which sparked my interest to write Selfienomics.
Book- When I first decided to write a self-help book, I realized that I had never read a self-help book before. So I googled “best-self help books” and I read the 6-7 books which were common on every list. 7 Habits of Highly effective people helped me with my time-management tremendously.
Movies- Swades, Rang De Basanti, PK, Kal ho Na ho, It’s a wonderful life. I like the way Rajkumar Hirani combines humour with life-lessons. I feel that if Selfienomics was written by a director, it would be Rajkumar Hirani.
I like the fact that you have used humor, sarcasm and colloquial language to drive home the various points that you make throughout the book. In addition to which, your novel is structured uniquely. Were these just tools to cater to a younger audience or were you, merely, taking an unconventional approach?
Young people usually avoid reading self-help books as they find them boring and preachy. They instead read click-bait articles on ScoopWhoop and Buzzfeed (10 reasons why you must dream big…etc.) as their daily dose of inspiration.
I combined humour with philosophy to connect with the modern reader. To be honest though, when I was writing the book, I didn’t think of all this. Using hashtags, humour, sarcasm and internet memes came very naturally to me.
I am sure that it is no easy task to publish a book. A lot of research, late nights and post-publishing procedures would have been involved. What do you think about the whole process?
I read somewhere, “Publishing a book is like delivering a child. Except that its takes even longer and it hurts more”.
Since no one in my friends circle or family is an author, I had to learn everything myself so it took a lot of initiative from my side. I first applied to publishers in the US who typically replied—“Where is the Yoga? No one in the US is interested to read a self-help book by an Indian unless its about yoga.”
I rewrote my entire book for an Indian audience, and then I started my publishing journey again. Overall, its been a bit more than 2 years since I first decided to write a book. As a debut author, you have to be passionate, practical and patient to see your book getting published by a traditional publisher (unless you’re Sachin writing his autobiography).
Selfienomics does not disappoint. In fact, I absolutely loved it! Here’s a link to my review of the book. Follow Revant on his Goodreads page here, watch the trailer of Selfienomics here and surely, grab a copy of the book.