Book Review | Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra, translated by Rashmi Terdal

Perhaps, this is the first time I am reading an Indian LGBT themed book, and I think this is the best one can start with. Vasudhendra's semi biographical (I can safely bet on that) collection of stories is nothing but absolutely real. Something, we either even felt with ourselves or have seen around us, growing up in small towns, villages and closely knit communities. The sexual descriptions are toned down and still they felt effective as it should. Instead of making it a novel, a continuous tale of Mohanaswamy, author makes it in irregular fashioned stories collection, which sometimes moves in present, sometimes goes back to Mohana's earlier days, and at a few places, the central character changes. This is the beauty of the book that it creates altogether a little world in which Mohanaswamy has lived till now. I am not too efficient in writing about the feelings described by the author, but yes, the characters are alive and you feel the same feelings. The finale is the best one from the lot, as it ought to be. A highly recommended, this little collection of tales, translated effectively from Kannada by Rashmi Terdal. 

Book Review | Around the world in 80 cocktails by Chad Parkhill

Not an avid drinker I am (and actually, I am living in a state where alcohol is prohibited, alas), but whenever I got a chance to visit bars or lounges, the menu always confused me. Especially, the exotic named cocktails, which I would surely want to try, but won't find a way to identify what goes in the glass. Oh, what an enlightenment this book is, in that sense. 

So, here I am talking about 'Around the world in 80 cocktails' by Chad Parkhill. When I saw snippet shared by Jaico, I was impressed immediately by the cover design. The gorgeous illustration by Alice Oehr. I didn't know the whole book is illustrated, until I read about it. And that couldn't hold my excitement. And it was worth indeed. The book is absolutely beautiful on each page, even the 'index' and 'further reading' sections are not left out. Eye pleasing at each page!

To be frank, i know nothing about preparing the cocktails, nor don't know a thing about what all goes in. But yes, somewhere inside me is a little chef who often lays hands on all things gastronomic. So, this is a good chance to be famous whenever I am around my cousins at those little little house parties. Chad Parkhill's style of starting each chapter with historical tales for each cocktail in question-makes it more immersive and interesting. From outrageous names like Bamboo, between the sheets and even 'Screaming orgasms' to interesting serving styles like serving in a skull, serving in a bath tub with rubber duckie and even in a blood bag in a kidney dish. The anecdotes keep you interested.

For the sheer beauty of one page and the information and the fantastic recipes on the other - this is a book for everyone who are into illustrated books or even just a person who knows how to be in a good spirit. Pun intended.

Ghoomophiro | by Himadri Garg | Book Review

Just when we, our family, were planning for a vacation, which is long due - this book came into my notice. There couldn't be any perfect time for this. In cycle of day to day life, a usual, boring but has-to-do kind of working life exhausts all of us and definitely we deserve a break. Not alone, but with family, with everyone, whom you have grown up with. This works like a therapy and even result into clarify the misunderstandings, making everyone open.

Ghoomophiro by Himadri Garg, tells a story of such a family indeed. Set in near future, Kritika and Nikita - the two Kumar sisters, plan a vacation at Andamans with their families which in regular times-are stuck on their digital screens working and even recreating. And pages by pages they reveal how once they conquered the world, travelling on their own.

Author Himadri smartly integrates the how-to-travel points in this story. Be it talking about travelling responsibly so that environment is not harmed, how to travel light while keeping yourself healthy, keep yourself safe and be mindful to feelings of the locals. These all things are wonderfully put in the chapters broken in categories. Also, it paints a picture, how our present irresponsible behavior to our nature, can lead to disasters. A scary one.

Though I found the printing a bit congested, as paragraphs go on and on, so it hinders the speed of reading. That's the only glitch in the otherwise interesting read. 

So there. Who doesn't love to travel?! But to travel with a change, while leaving a lasting impression of yours and of the places in your mind-you should change the way you travel. This book smartly teaches you a few lessons. And yes, want to go fly to your next favorite destination.

Book Review: Boundless by Natasha Malpani Oswal

Initially I was in dilemma whether to pick this up or not. As there are only rare occasions when I read an all out, poetry book. Because it needs your time, your attention and some sincere effort to let it sink in. But, then, I thought, why not now? And I am glad I thought about it. Because this is a decision that proved right. Natasha Malpani Oswal's Boundless, is a collection of poetry that rose from the heart of a woman - with a sense of failures, rebel and self discovery.  

The very first thing that impressed me, without even opening the book, is its beautiful hard cover. Such a beauty to hold it in your hands (I immediately did insta it), it gives a glimpse what must be inside. The beautiful illustration by Benjamin Bauchau is fascinating on black cover, an unusual but beautiful. Similarly the pages, the build is lovely to hold, to look at, the illustrations inside are just apt to the words penned by the author. 

The poems are spread in five categories. Falling, Recovery, Belonging, Escape and Discovery. As the category names suggests, woman's journey is beautifully captured in the words. In 'Homecoming' Natasha beautifully put the sense of independence and breaking the barriers of orthodox mentality. In 'An Education', she aptly puts how the pressure we put on our kids (at school) is unnecessary. And similarly, she tells her (the kid) to break the 'Safety net' and let them fly. Fly, yes, because that's the way we should have been grown up. On our own, falling and reviving ourselves. 

Indeed, a beautiful little book which needs to be revisited often.

You can buy the same from here

Gully Boy

Those twinkle in the eyes, mouth agape - when he is star-struck, found his own call, as he watches MC Sher (a role, made fabulously alive by Siddhant) live on stage; that set of expression alone is enough to describe how 'real' this movie is. How absorbed Ranveer is into the Gully Boy, Murad's skin. I am not a follower of this genre of music, but still, each track, including this, gave me goosebumps of the cinematic excellence that was unfolding in front of my eyes. As it says at one place 'gives sukun to your ears'. 

Am all heart for Zoya, when she is out of her 'rich-porn' zone. Yes, no ZNMD or DDD for me, for she is way better in LBC instead. And her style of unfolding the crucial scenes with minimal background score and right camera angles wins me over yet again in Gully Boy. Just look at the long shot of a car, passing thru the rich alleys of Mumbai, while camera follows two characters sitting in a car, having huge contracts - socioeconomically. The voice over plays - Doori. And in the final line of the poem, a long shot frames both of them. Oooof

If Ranveer is the one who gives all heart to this movie, its Alia who puts jaan into it. For the running time, she makes you forget you are watching this girl, instead you are with Safeena. Her body language alone speaks tons of words, how she is at so comfort when she is settled with Murad. The tremors are felt around her when the relationship gets shaken for a while, and still she wants to show she's all okay, but that-is just a volcano about to erupt. The bus scene is appreciated a lot, but what about the 'call from bathroom' scene? Both, Murad and Safeena know they both are losing it, and the conversation-in the end would collapse both of them, still they continue and then, after sudden end of the call, they realize, something worse has happened. I fear if there wasn't this chemistry, it would have been a totally different movie altogether. 

As I said as a first thought, Gully Boy is really a cinematic treat, to be savored again and again.

Book Review: The Silent Witness by Anuradha

History was never my favorite subject. I never wanted to memorize places, wars, their years and genealogy of the rulers. Until, I finished my studies and the bookworm inside me woke up again and now it has gone totally opposite way. The subject I despised earlier, now has become my favorite. Being in northern part of India, the books, references and even pop culture like movies has nothing else but the history of this part only. Even the current historical fiction too are available for this part only. And that made me wonder, what could be the story/ies of the southern states of India? The states where Zamorin allowed foreigners for the first time. The states which ruled thru their spice trades. So I started searching for such books. And luckily I found this one. The Silent Witness written by Anuradha. Synopsis promised this is going to be something different and indeed, it is something that is not read by me since long time.

The Silent Witness tells the story of Kerala. At the time, when Portuguese ruled it.At the time that even a small state like Kerala of today, was not one state but several kingdoms were interlinked to each other by one force or another. Dutch, Samoothiri, Kochi, Varmas and more. The story revolves around Kerala Verma and his brother. Both also known as Kochunni and Kuttan Thampuran. How conspiracies made them go into disguise, how Kochunni meets Unnimaya-a beautiful girl, how the strength of small states proves futile for statesmen of Portuguese. And how they are forced to move out of God's own country.

The canvas is very wide and looking at the page nos. I knew this is not actually a lengthy one at storytelling despite the fact it covers a vast time period. But still, it keeps you engaged because of the freshness of premises. This is perhaps my first ever read which is set in south India. And that make the reading experience unique. Characters like Kochunni, Kuttan and even Unnimaya are writter in a very simple way, not to exaggerate their bravery or beauty. But a well balanced, true to life, take makes it more worthwhile to read it.

Thought I have never been to Kerala, and this was first time I was reading about the area, it was a bit difficult to connect to certain scenes and rituals and even daily chores-which must be nostalgic to a south Indian reader. But still, it is an enriching and refreshing experience to read such things. Anuradha's pen does not master at the action though, and that's why you get to read war sequences in a lighter, non-descriptive way in which scenes move fast and only basic idea is give. But no, I am not complaining here because everyone has their own style.

The Silent Witness definitely takes you out in an unknown land, despite the fact that it is just a leaf out of the history of our country. History - that is full of such leaves which needs attention. And here Anuradha does just that. I would recommend this to all fiction lovers as well as history lovers. It is surely a worthy read.