Book Review: Tulsi Badrinath’s “Madras,Chennai and the Self”

Just got done with Tulsi Badrinath’s “Madras,Chennai and the Self”. I’ve been taking so much more time than required to read a book, and I’d blame it on my sleep and work patterns. After reading 20 pages on an average during the week, and a good 80 pages today, here’s my review!
The book holds Accounts of people from different fields, of their memories and experiences with the city. The book covers some inspirational stories in terms of the individual’s before and after, and some exasperating tales of tradition vs. modernity and the dynamics of caste. 
I was disappointed with this book. Although some of the stories were motivating, I found the book not particularly gripping. And for someone outside Chennai, with no visual of the details of the streets and the city, I failed to capture and relate to the image that the Author was trying to portray. Having no connection to the city, the book for me was only a compilation of the experiences and lessons of individuals, which I believe was not the aim of the book. 

This book wasn’t for me, I’d rate this book a 2.5/5. 

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Book Review: Anosh Irani’s “The Parcel”

It’s been a month, at least, that I finished a book! This is by far the longest time I took to finish 50 pages, thanks to my exams. Today, I woke up a little later than I usually do, freshened up, skipped breakfast, grabbed the book and went downstairs to the dorm lawn and read. 

Now that I’m done reading, here’s my review of it. 

This is my first book of Anosh Irani and I can tell that soon I’ll be reading another book of his. I may just have a new favorite author!

The Parcel is a book centered around Kamathipura in Mumbai,India. It narrated beautifully the lives of those trapped in bodies they don’t conform to. The mistakes of God, as some would say. The red-light district of Mumbai harbouring those who were rejected from their homes and society, their lives devoid of all love and care. 

The story revolves around Madhu, a resident of the Hijra House, a reject. She had been saved from her body, and loved and accepted by her gurumai, and her sisters. There were times where she would long endlessly to be accepted into her own family, to be able to care for her father who had been the most disappointed in her. The feeling of failure and worthlessness seeped so deep into her, that in her final task with a parcel, she decided to make it a success so great, she would become a household name. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a plot I’ve never encountered before, a story of those who are overshadowed, feared, and insulted. The writing style was beautiful, with the desi language and attitude sewn in the words. It was unapologetically shrewd and bold. I absolutely loved the characters. 

Also, this has nothing to do with the content, but I loved the cover page! I think it says so much about this story, a story of  of the beautiful and strong, the caged. 
I’d rate this book a 4/5!

Book Review: Tabish Khair’s “Jihadi Jane”

Happy Monday(?) Everyone!Over the weekend, I read Jihadi Jane by Tabish Khair, and I might have a new favorite! 
The story involves Ameena and Jamilla, two orthodox Muslim girls in England, feeling utterly out of place and alien. This overwhelming situation of feeling like an outsider in their homes,the courage and passion for Islam and the fight against Western ideologies, made them leave everything behind, and start afresh. Start afresh in Syria, to fight the battle in ways their religion permitted, as wives of Jihadis, and maybe more. 

 

Soon, it dawns on them, the excessive fundamental Islam crafted by Hejjiye, Hasan and the rest is not what Allah intended. They began missing the festivals that had currently been pruned and made bleak; they missed the scope for debate and the freedom of thought and choice, they missed the outside; this is not what they had signed up for. Suddenly, the thought of feeling different and the racial abuse did not seem hellacious. 
There occurs then, a turn of events that Jamilla could not have fathomed. Was Ameena, a girl she fondly remembers as the girl smoking a cigarette in school capable of such a sacrifice?
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED EVERY BIT OF THIS BOOK! The writing style, the structure and the characters were wonderful! 

It is truly a page turner. 

I resonate with the ideology that no faith propagates the massacre of innocent individuals. Hate will only give rise to more hate, and one can only terminate this cycle, by terminating this wrong comprehension of Islam. These propagandas are only a product of one’s interpretation and personal views, and cannot be displayed as principles of the religion itself. 

And yes, I have a new favorite! I’d rate this a 5/5! 

Do let me know what your thoughts are! 

Book Review- Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’

I have a test tomorrow, and I am not even remotely near the end of my syllabus. But since it is imperative that I do everything other than studying for my test,and then have breakdowns and stress out later, I decided to write my book review on Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’.
The story revolves around the impeccable bond that siblings share, a brother and his sister in particular. However, circumstances don’t allow them much time together and they are separated. They finally reunite, now old and having faced their share of struggles, but with their bond as strong as ever. 

I was disappointed with this book. I’m a huge fan of Khaled Hosseini, but this book didn’t match that standard. I fell in love with the plot of the book, but I found the story too stretched-out. I also wasn’t a fan of the structure of the story. 

The storyline introduced chapters discussing new characters, who were in ways related to Abdullah and Pari. But I personally didn’t find that very interesting and saw it more as a deviation from the main plot. I was getting restless by the page to read about Abdullah and Pari’s life and their reunion. 

The book otherwise is a good read! The language and characters were great! I particularly, loved the story of Nila Wahdati, a strong and an unconventional Afghan, who captured me with her wit and personality. 

I was expecting to be in love with this book, but that was not the case. I’d rate the book a 3/5.

Book Review-Savi Sharma’s ‘This is Not your Story’

Hi guys! I am currently gulping down some watermelon attempting to rejuvenate my senses from this unbearable heat. I just finished reading ‘This is Not your Story’ by Savi Sharma, a sequel to her ‘Everyone has a Story’, and here’s my take on it!
I personally liked the book way better than the first one. It was wonderfully baroque, and I loved the characters. The plot was neat and I liked how it was laid out, with the characters giving their perspective to the incidents that had followed. 

The characters, Kasturi, Anubhav, Shaurya and Miraya held a charm of their own with characteristics so diverse, but bound by their broken pasts. They held each other and attempted to re-write their stories, knowing well by now that their future is in their hands and settling for a future half-heartedly would be unjust to their potential and dreams. This is a story of how each of them succeed in life and love, all from supporting and believing in one another. How fear is a bigger obstacle than the task itself, and how you’re half way there once you overcome your fear and board the journey to your dreams.

I would rate this book a 3.5 on 5! 
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda 

Book Review- Savi Sharma’s Everyone has a Story

Hi Everyone! So, clearly I’ve been having a lot of time on my hands lately. I just finished another book! It’s Savi Sharma’s Everyone Has a Story.Here’s my review. 

The story revolves around 4 characters, Nisha, Kabir, Vivaan and Meera. Meera, a budding story teller is in search of a tale that would move souls and have an impact on readers. She dreams about the time she would read her story to avid readers like herself, while attentively listening to the authors presenting their work in the cafe. Kabir an employee at the cafe and a friend of Meera is a source of motivation and encouragement for Meera’s dream. Nisha, a long-lost customer at the cafe, guarding her own dark secrets, ends up being one of her best friends. She finally comes across Vivaan, assistant bank manager of Citibank, igniting an idea for a plot. In her sessions at the Cafe, she attempts to decrypt Vivaan. Amidst these interactions, stories and events unfold, revealing information and struggles of each of the characters. As she pens her growing relation with Vivaan, she realizes that there are certain people who leave a mark on you, freeing you from the mental boundaries and encouraging you to grow and work persistently towards your goals. 
I wasn’t quite impressed with the storyline. I found the plot quite stretched out and there were elements that were amiss. Although there were attempts at humour, I found them weak. The philosophical aspect was nothing out of the ordinary. There will be some people that will bring out the best in you, and will make you do things that you may have never imagined. This wasn’t anything new, or untold. I’d hoped I would maybe grab something about life, love and friends that i’d never come across before. I found the story quite ordinary, but not completely disappointing. 
I’d rate the book a 2.5 on 5.
Lots and lots of love, 

Themysticalpanda