Monday, 31 August 2020

Heft and Weight : A Poem

Delicate shoulders
hold head high
despite heft & weight
of glum goodbye
inward pain trail 
of tears run dry

Missed chances
in driftless sighs
dead passion
in ruthless lies
stone cold reflections
in listless eyes

***

Image:jaypore

Book Review of 'Selected Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore.'

This is my first fictional read of Rabindranath Tagore and I was excited to have purchased it. There are eleven stories and one play in this edition of the book. For readers who have enjoyed 'Gitanjali,' his collection of poems, this book gives an opportunity to experience two more genres of his writing.

The variegated themes of the tales makes for a refreshing read. The stories are a mix of old and new, mythical and real. 

Narrative

The narration is simple, yet different from most Indian authors. The top-notch language of the Nobel laureate is delightful to read. Tagore's vocabulary, similar to his like his poems, is a curious oxymoronic mix of complex simplicity. 

Deep symbolism shines through in all the tales. While some are emotional and straightforward, others are sheathed in intrigue. Each of them is thought-provoking and profound.

The stories written in the first person are highly intriguing because they begin with a touch of immense reality, leading us to before that it is an account of  true incidents in the writer's life. However, they quickly evolve into something that borders on almost weird, making us question our initial assumptions. 

What I enjoyed the most is the richness of visual and aural imagery evoked in the lines. Be it the rural surroundings of hills, or grazing cows or the lush greenery, or even the Mughlai garden of yesteryears, complete with sounds of womens' anklets or water, and so on, each scene appears with utter clarity to the readers' eyes, enhancing the experience of the setting. 

Stories

The first two tales transport the reader to bygone days of Kings, princesses and ministers. The first story, 'The Hungry Stones' is an intriguing tale within a tale, with mystic fantasy woven into it. The second one, 'The Victory' contains strong reminiscences of Tenali Ramakrishna and Tansen tales, albeit with an unexpected twist. 

My favourite story in the collection is 'The Kabuliwala'. It is one of the most touching tales one may every read. The angst of a father and the deep scars of flying time are captured with elan in the story.

'The Devotee' is a tale of motherhood and the impact of spirituality on tortured, guilty minds. 

'The food which I get from begging is divine'
After I had thought over what she said, I understood her meaning. When we get our food precariously as alone, we removed God the giver. But when we recorded our food regualrly at home, as a matter of course, we are at to regard it as ours by right.
- The Devotee, Rabindranath Tagore

The way the story begins, gives no hint of how it tends to twist into something entirely different from what we may expect. 

'The Babus of Nayanjore' is another tale that evokes sympathy towards the older folk and makes readers empathize with their eccentricities. 

'The Postmaster' induces the angst of separation that is wholly non-romantic in matire and yet, heartrending in its platonic intensity.

The play 'The Post Office' contains two acts. It evokes a reminder of jovial childhood with a change, because it is set in the times of Kings but is modern enough to include a post office of modern India. The character of the little child allows adult readers to percieve the little joys of life through the eyes of innocence.

Conclusion

A highly readable book, perfect for evenings of nostalgia and reminisces. 

I rate it 4.5 out of 5.

Did you find my review useful? Let me know in the comments.

Stay safe and happy reading!

***

Book photography: Chethana Ramesh

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Book Review of 'Hiding', by Calle.J.Brookes


This book is a sizeable read with 344 pages and has an interesting mix of concepts. An FBI saga, with a personal twist, with love and emotions thrown in, plus a killer gang hunting for hidden treasure. That's quite a heady mix of themes.

Characters

There are far too many characters to enjoy a comfortable read. Somehow, it is as tough as an Agatha Christie novel that makes great demands on your memory.

More difficulty is posed when too many past details are crammed into every new character, soon after they appear. This person is married to that guy's sister or brother and has four or five siblings, plus all the names and history with details of each of them...the reader is confused and completely exhausted to process the barrage of unrequired information.

If there is something called over-characterization, this must be it. Every other page turns up new characters and delves deep, too deep into each. In her enthusiasm to keep a connect between the 16 books in the series, the author has over emphasized the characters in the single ones. The book would have been a lot easier to digest if this had been avoided. 

Funnily enough, every other character is involved with or married to some colleague or the other of the opposite gender they work with.

The thing about Kyra, the protagonist is that every odd guy seems to be irresistably attracted to her. Despite her being small and tiny, according to the descriptions accorded to her by the males. The protective instincts of the male gender is over hyped.

Storyline

It is tough to fathom the powerful FBI running and hiding through half the book, only to retaliate after reinforcements arrive towards the climax. It would have been better to showcase Kyra Dillon as a kick-ass woman, trained to take better care of herself from her criminal attackers, without having a man like Cam (a joker, by his own admissal) to be her shining armour prince at regular intervals. 
It is however refreshing to have a male protagonist who is different from the run-of-the-mill suave, dark dangerous types, although he has the perfect body that seems like a prerequisite for the chief love interest.

The treasure-seeking angle of the story, in underground caves and the landscape reminded me of the famous five series of Enid Blyton.

Conclusion

Overall, the book can be read once. I rate it 2.8 out of 5.

Did you like my review? Let me know in the comments.

Keep reading, readers. And stay safe too. 

***







Blushing moon : A Poem

Divine bliss 
exquisite love
to blame

His imagination 
runs wild, she
moans his name

feeling words 
fragrant fires catapult
blushing moon to shame

No looking back
once they knew 
love is aflame

***
image:pinterest

Friday, 28 August 2020

Book Review of 'Malgudi Days' by R.K.Narayan

I'm reading this collection of short stories for the second time, the last time being a couple of years ago. I had watched a play based on the book, where three of the stories were enacted. They were as enjoyable as reading the stories, though there were some changes in the story-lines.

The TV series based on the novel was enjoyable as well. However, nothing compares to reading the original work penned by the author. 

The fictional town of Malgudi brings alive numerous nuances of India before the readers' eyes. The imagery is strong and situations are relatable, even to city dwellers. Everyday problems of people, some with no solutions, are presented in a matter-of-fact narrative. Some stories are hilarious in the irony, while others are heart-rending in their reality. 

RKN's Introduction

RKN's introduction at the beginning is an interesting read. He recounts why short stories are easier to write for him, as compared to novels, that required 'considerable labour' and 'concentrated attention.' His description of sentence-ridden minds, with  words ringing about one's ears sounds relatable for most authors. One small paragraph encomapasses a writer's journey from words to drafts to manuscripts mailed to the publishers.

His definition of the short story and how he discovers them all around him is profound.

Another interesting aspect is how RKN 'detects' the characters of Malgudi in the general populace of New York. His characteristic ironic humour about his experience at Chelsea hotel and his conversation with a London  producer, double up as alluring advertisements for his next book 'Tiger At Malgudi', which in any case, doesn't disappoint the fans of RKN's work.

The Stories

Malgudi Days is comprised of 16 stories from An Astrologer's day, 8 stories from Lawley Road and 9 later stories, under the same headings. 

The first story, An Astrologer's day, is filled with strong imagery of a typical Indian village street and offers a host of conflicting feelings, with a suspense which is solved at the end. 

Engine trouble is another story that was screened as an episode on television. Characteristic of RKN's stories, what starts out as a boon for the protagonist ends up almost ruining his life, until miraculous twists of fate set everything in order again.

The Tiger-claw is my favourite story, perhaps because it is strong reminder of RKN's next book 'A Tiger for Malgudi', that he mentions in his introduction of the book, or also 'Man-eater of Malgudi', an immensely delightful read. It is also reminiscent of Ruskin Bond's short story 'No room for a Leopard'. Both tales are grim reminders of depleting wildlife owing to the atrocities of hunting, and the clash between the animal species and man. 

In fact RKN and Bond are one of the few writers who present society and it's various eccentric foilbles with clarity, sans direct criticism or judgement. 

'Father's Help' is a delightful read, especially for those who love 'Swami and Friends', the other favourite of Narayan's work. It is captivating to read about little Swami's tension filled day in this collection as well.

An interesting aspect of the tales is the character of a talkative man who appears in multiple stories with different chronicles of his own. It is typical of RKN's good naturedly satire to refer to this braggart, albeit gifted storyteller, as merely 'talkative.' It is possible that this character was fashioned from multiple trumpeters that RKN must have encountered in his life.

The Blind Dog is a heart-rending tale of human oppression over animals. It reminded me of George Orwell's Animal Farm, that I just finished reading a while ago.

Conclusion

A must-read for readers who love journeys of nostalgia or a revisitation of bygone days or just a good Sunday tea-time read.

I rate it 4.7 out of 5. 

I trust you enjoyed my review. Keep reading and stay safe, readers.

Do put down your suggestions in the comments space below. Happy reading!

***
Book photography:Chethana





Book Review of 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell


This is the most savage book I've read this year, in terms of its symbolism. One must laud Orwell's sheer courage to have penned an obvious satire to the state of politics in his country and the whole world. It is easy to understand why so many publishers were loath to publish this explosive classic. 

There cannot be too many books, that showcase how gullible commonfolk allow themselves to become scapegoats for the ruthlessly selfish system of political elements. Animal Farm does just that, and more.

Narrative

The language is simple, straight-forward and lucid. The events move along at a fast pace and gain momentum to increase the growing tension in the readers' minds.

Storyline

Reading the book brought an old adage to mind, with a slight tweak of my own : 

Freedom means jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

It is brilliant of the writer to use various animals to symbolize humans. There is one set of animals who sacrifice everything for the hope of a better future that never arrives, and another set who uses them to maximum advantage to secure their own. The characters reflect the thought processes, characteristics and behavior of different classes of society. Moreover, the showcase of mental manipulation that accompanies extraction of unethical physical labour is showcased with utmost precision. One may even identify certain specific characters from the host of public figures in the public arena from the characters of Orwell's novel.

At the end, the predominant emotion would range from rage, pity and frustration from the subjugated hapless lot of animals (read general populace of countries) that are more pawns at the hands of cunning power.

Giving names to specific symbolic animals makes the read more relatable. The sheer foolishness of blind faith of illiterate followers who churn out more slavery in exchange for peanuts, only to be disposed off with ruthless nonchalance is best showcased by the character of the horse Boxer. 'Napolean is right' and 'I must work harder' sums up the entire lives of most of the working populace across the world. 

To have chosen pigs to symbolize the educated upper classes that fatten themselves with comfort, at the expense of hard lifetime toil of lower classes, is Orwell's savagery at its best. 

The glorified hogwash of oppression cannot be summed up better than the final altered commandment : 

All animals are equal

but some animals are more equal than others.

The book reminded me of Bama's Karukku which although different in its basic tenets, expressed the same theme of extreme oppression of lower strata of society.

Conclusion

Although the book was about Stalin, it rings true for many other political figures around the world and this makes Orwell's Animal Farm a timeless masterpiece.

I rate it 4.5 out of 5.

Hope my review added value to your reading journey. Do let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading, stay safe, readers. 

***

book photography:chethana


Thursday, 27 August 2020

Fragrant Fires of Morn : A Poem


Toiling does not seem 
a hardship or chore 
when heart & head 
surrender to nature's lore
cows moo, koels sing
tunes of bliss galore


windswept leaves whisper
amidst green sycamore
feathered touch of water
fills joy in every pore
fragrant fires of morn
vitalize each craving core.

***


images:pinterest

Destiny : A Poem

I do not know
If the truth shall set us free

I shall never sow
seeds of lies between you & me

Tides between us maybe low
But I am your destiny.

***

Survival In My Eye : A Poem

Do you read survival 
in my eye?

A trail of tears 
wiped clean
but lashes warm 
& smarting
echoing footsteps
of our goodbye?

A gait of calm 
nonchalance
seasoned strength
colouring pages of time
reflections of me
my secret sigh?

***
📷 sonali bhattacharya

Book Review of 'Tangled Up In Ice' by Charlotte Byrd.


This was one of the books I choose to read on Kindle and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The narrative is simple, yet engrossing and the story builds at a comfortable place. I liked the language and the situations described. 

The main cliche is the insanely rich boy and extremely poor girl protagonist profiles. Apart from that, the angsts and wounds of their past threatens to derail their lives and cause panic attacks in both of them. The saga of two similar souls meeting under strenous circumstances is an interesting read, although the set up is rather filmy.

I liked the structure where the perspectives of the two main characters is open to us. There are some parts that do not ring true, like how the reclusive Jackson, who has never seen a single human for four years adjusts more comfortably than one would expect when he finally appears in public. And both Harley and he are a little too fast to.open up to each other, given the description of their backgrounds.

The main grouse is that the story ends rather abruptly with room for more explanation and then one realises that this is a bait to buy the next book in the series, a rather good one at that, complete with a link to buy the next part. 

Nevertheless, it is a good, light read in-between hardcore classics.

I rate the book 3.8 out of 5. 

Hope the review helped you. Keep reading and stay safe, readers.

***
Book photo: Chethana

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Minds : A Quote

Great minds get things done.

Average minds talk about getting things done & may eventually succeed.

Pathetic minds gossip, envy and nitpick the other two. 

~ society stories

Oceans : A Poem


There's an ocean
inside 
my head
where traps
chain them in
each letter laps 
in waves against
my skull 
waiting
to be set free.

  Words 
they are called.

There's an ocean
outside
my heart
warms arteries
chills veins
blessed ink
releasing
them to liberty.

  Feelings
they are called.

***
image:pinterest

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Gemmiferous : A Poem

Fragrant fires 
blaze
both head
& heart high
in starry hue
of desires bound 
for bliss
& then some

Gemmiferous eyes
in haze
silent sigh
in enlightened view
of varicoloured 
wildness
to come.

             ***
image:google,Samantha

Intoxicated Sin : A Poem

Is it a dream
of vanity
to believe
she merits better?

Intoxicated sin
in luscious iniquity
conjures bliss
on a platter.

Wild hearts & desires 
bound in unity
weak minds sacrifice
passion to slaughter.

***
📷 pinterest


I Stopped Playing : A Poem

The fires
haven't died

but I stopped 
playing.

there's music
already.

in the roar 
of flames
breaking 
sturdiest barks

in the sweep
of gales
toppling 
tallest arcs

in the timbre
of words
shattering
strongest hearts

I stopped playing.

the music 
is deafening. 

***
image: google

Book Review of 'William, the Dictator' by Richmal Crompton

The William series is one of the best light reads in between heavy classic ventures. I have enjoyed every one of them and this is another breath of fresh air amidst serious reading. 

Review

Crompton's books reminds me of Ruskin Bond's work. They may be assumed to be children's literature but are perfectly feasible for adults. More so, because they get adults thinking about some serious lessons of life, spoken through the mouths of little children. They remind us of our own childhoods with a pang while opening our eyes to how much the process of growing up has transformed us for the worse.

William's innocence reminds us of R K Narayan's Swami of the Malgudi fame. The little tensions of everyday life of a child clubbed with fears and foibles of childhood that assume huge proportions for the child, make these books highly relatable to read.

How are adults any different from children? Adults are bored too, and more often than not they end up doing senseless stuff to while away their time. The children's real-time play activities make more sense in today's addictive environment of digital games and online studies. Besides, they are much more fun!

Crompton spares no opportunity to remind readers that parents easily forget their own eccentricities of childhood and mouth the same dialogues that their own parents had uttered, years earlier. 

And there in lies the timeless quality of the book. Beware though, you might not want to read this one in a public space, unless you don't mind the helpless guffaws that you may succumb to. Hilarious lines delivered in all ironic seriousness by William, elevates him as one of the most loved kid characters of the last century. 

This, and the typical twists in the tales that magically resolve all the ruination he causes, always for the better make each episodic chapter as lovable as the last one. The pictorial illustrations are charming and the expressions of  the characters in the images add to the hilarity of the stories.

Also, one can pick up the book and read any chapter without having to worry about continuity or memory issues.  Each chapter reads like a short story in itself, while contributing to the whole book as an important entity.

Conclusion

A most enjoyable read, don't miss an opportunity to revisit your childhood through William's antics. Pick up any book of the William series and lose yourself in his boyhood world. 

I rate this novel 4.8 out of 5. 

Hope you liked my review. Do let me know in the comments below. 

Happy reading and stay safe!


Monday, 24 August 2020

Naughty Waits : A Poem

Naughty smiles 
velvet eyes scour
a prankish lady hides
beside his door

Trying to hold her gait
no sound of tongue & lip
pleasant surprises await
his heartbeat, to feel a skip

His favourite pink striking
a morningside reflection play
will errant jhumkas tinkling
give her away? 

***
📷 cinetimes 

Stay : A Poem

Stay, by all means
but don’t change my rules
to impose your convenience
Rant, by all means
but not about my foibles
or lack of subservience.

Laugh, by all means
but spare me the insult
& keep sarcasm mute
Love, by all means
but don’t let lust
become its easy substitute.

Stay! 

***

📷 bollywoodwallpapers

I Refuse : A Poem


I refuse
to be what 
you want me to be
unless it coincides 
with I want to be.

I refuse 
to accept 
your idea of me
unless it matches
my own real entity. 

       ***


image:pinterest

Games of Love : A Poem

Climbing vines 
touching stars
counting saltwater 
pebbles of clay

Grassy lushness 
we make love 
sated we lay

Drawn deeper 
into each other
there's you there's me
birds of summer in May

Crazy madness
games of love 
we play

***
image:artic photography

Book Review of 'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not' by Iris Morland


This was an easy read of 240 pages, hence the review will be a small one too. A simple but gripping love story with some romance, and dollops of passion. 

The pros of the book include the story and the narrative. It is hilarious and deliciously ironic. It makes readers guffaw at regular intervals with delight. The scene of the naughty blue macaw announcing Liam's private lines in the public restaurant is extremely funny and delightful. The storyline is convincing, except for some dialogues that are not in tandem with what one may expect from a 'good girl' character. 

What I liked was the individual voices of both the protagonists Mari and Liam in separate chapters that lets readers in on their angst and desires. 

The flip side is the vocabulary that may be deemed raw by some, but mostly too blatant, by others. Call them old-fashioned if you may, but a lot of readers still prefer to read about lovemaking in subtle, classy overtones and not descriptions that border on lewd, of what each of the listed private body parts ooze. Too much of an overdose of d, c and p words may thrill some readers looking for a jerk-off read, but serious readers may just be put off by the excessive 'ewww' factor.

Overall a rather readable romantic comedy, a good pastime between hardcore classic reads. 
I rate the book 3 out of 5.

Hope you former my review useful. Keep reading, and stay safe. 

***

image:chethana

Friday, 21 August 2020

Gossamer Dreams : A Poem

Why am I so happy?

Is it the magic of his words
gossamer dreams
of long summer walks?
Or secret coffee dates
scribbled whispers
& endless midnight talks?

Or is it the heady fragrance
in feathered touches
of yellow marigolds?
Or just my heart
wrapping me
in delightful silver folds? 

***
image: pinterest

Sensual Ecstasy : A Poem

summer storm spree
surge of iridescent clouds
sing heavenly plea.

droplets descend free
drizzle gossamer dreams
drool choral songs of glee.

drawn deeper, she
delicious whispered tales
drip sensual ecstasy.

          ***

image: pinterest

Whispering Tales : A Poem

sweet music
plays free
sheer magic
envelopes me

hills possess stories
storms roar in gales
trees breeze histories
rain drums in hails

jasmines bloom & breath 
of fragrance regales
koel coos, my wild heart 
sings & whispers tales


***

image:pinterest

I Refuse To See : A Poem


I refuse to see..

your judgement of me
aims to undermine
my innate beauty
your shaming spree
fails to outshine
your own envy

your veiled feedback
attempts to shatter
my confidence in me
your inner egomaniac
will never matter
to the cultured me

My closed eyes
refuse to see.

***
image:pinterest

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Welcome the Sun : A Poem

Some sleep till noon
when their long days 
& late nights
are merged as one.

Some are up at dawn,
wake with smiles
do yoga
& go for a run.

Whatever said & done,
happy are those who know 
the best ways 
to welcome the sun.

***
image:pinterest
#motivation #positivity  
#motivational #PositiveVibes 

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

We, the sagas of you & me : A Poem

Deep talks
crisp pakoras
hot pyaalas of tea
Long walks
elevating auras
by the sea.

Short rests
in cool shades
of forest trees
Endless quest
for escapades
we, the busybees.

Summer storms
winter chills
springs lovely
Saga of norms
coalesce of wills
seasons of you & me.

***

image:pinterest

Provocation : A Poem

Whispered tales
of iridescent clouds crawl
& pave way
to unfettered imagination

Feathered touches 
of rain meteors fall
from heaven & play
an artful composition

Flying tresses 
coo & call
to go astray
in wanton provocation

***

image:pinterest

Monday, 17 August 2020

Choral Songs : A Poem

Tunes of togetherness
when you were near
now meaningless
you ain't here

Choral songs I hear
sans tone I sing
& I bear
I meant nothing.

Thistles of wistful reverie
flickers of déjà vu 
in shadow memory 
I play pieces of you.

***

📷vdphotography

Chassis of Time : A Poem


All day long
in rhapsody
of shadows upon 
chassis of time

Echoes sing me a song
infused with melody
of bygone
life sublime

Knowing eye
all-seeing
am replete
with perpetual patience

Who am I?
A being
whole & complete
in knowledgeable silence

***

Image: behance