Book review – From An-other Land

The book ‘From An-other Land’ is written by Tanushree Ghosh and was published around Nov 2018.

This book surprised me completely from the different stories in it to the language used in the book. Its a challenging read and one you would love if you are into complex storylines. The collection of stories in this book are literally like a window into immigrant lives- the sacrifices, compromises, adjustments, happiness, depression and all those complex feelings immigrants go through in a foreign land. That feeling of wanting to gel in yet maintain one’s own beliefs and culture is a common point in most of these stories. I liked the storylines especially because all of them are relevant to modern times, whether its associated to BLM movement, LGBT community, illegal citizenship, Asian work life balance, religious tolerance etc etc

Another important aspect are the women characters,who each stood apart, bold and strong.Some women going low due to depression while others fighting their own fears and facing each new day valiantly. You may love some characters and you may grow to hate some others.

Such immigrant stories are very familiar to our own life stories, we get absorbed into each character’s emotions and realise how similar the basic framework of mankind is whether its someone in India or in US.

Coming to the language and writing style,I would call it as difficult and intriguing because sometimes its tedious to understand the parallel time lines,which is why we would need to have our full concentration on the story. I quite enjoyed the style of writing as it was not an easy breezy read…I kept having questions…and enjoyed finding their answers too in the stories. The stories are unique in their own way,each addressing different but very important social issues. These stories are important as these enlighten us on the difficulties immigrants have to go through. We should strive to be better human beings and help one another in times of need or trouble.Unity in diversity! Representation matters!

This book is available on Amazon, so go grab a copy! – https://www.amazon.in/dp/9385854739/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_NNJSCXT78ZC6FHRJVZRV

My favourite quote!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

I love quotes! I feel that reading certain quotes can instantly motivate and energise especially when one is feeling down or dejected. Although its just a few words thrown together sometimes they have a magical effect, some even transport your mind to different situations and contexts. Such is the power of words.I remember during my school days, there would be a ‘Quote for the day’ daily and it would be written on the black board on top for the entire day.There started my love for quotes.

Coming back to today’s topic,so my favourite quote is one that was given by my favourite fictional professor! Yes our very own Prof.Albus Dumbledore!

Quote- ‘Happiness can found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’

This is such a thoughtful quote, it asks us to remain positive and optimistic all through our trials and tribulations and to keep on seeking happiness even in despair! We should have the courage to face everything that comes our way and stand strong throughout. Eventually we are bound to win the battle in the pursuit of happyness(oh with a y)!

Do me a favour and post your favourite quotes in the comment section below, lets ‘Dig in’!

Book review- Shadow in the mirror

‘Shadow in the mirror’ is a thriller written by Deepti Menon. Firstly I should confess that thriller and noir are my favourite genres and much to my delight this book had both.One is introduced to so many characters in this book that in the beginning you are confused where this is all going..but it starts to make perfect sense after some time. The writer describes these different characters so well that you can literally visualise them. Although I was able to predict who the perpetrator was,the reasons supporting it blew me out of my mind. This book is about our fragile minds, on how we face adversities and how we end up reacting.This book keeps you at the edge of your seat and you will find yourself wanting to just know more and more.Some characters are so beautifully sketched that you sometimes feel pity, sympathy and even anger at the same character.

This book is set mostly in Kerala and Bangalore. I love all the references to South Indian household and members. Also this book contains some very good poems too which blend so well with the story.Also the thoughts and minds of all the young vivacious women we are introduced to,be it Nita,Vinny, Kavita,Roma or Sudha. It goes to show the complex mind of each woman and her ambitions and fantasies. I liked how each woman had a stand of her own and was independent and was vocal against most society norms. This book also casts some light to one’s mental well being. Its almost like flashback scenes between varying timeperiods which all ultimately helps to solve this big mystery.

In short if you are in a mood for some paisa vasool thriller suspense novel then do give this one a shot! You can order this book on Amazon – https://www.amazon.in/dp/9385854143/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fabc_5TYXZ2TSXVVN1C5ADZC8

Sinking…

#Just

Adventures of Farji Farishta!

Sometimes in life there are moments when u feel u r sinking…sinking very deep…into the unknown….u luk for a rock or a stone to grab on to…u luk for some stable thing…but then u find none..n so u continue to sink…its funny coz u know u r sinking..u also know u need to find ur way up…but u just cant find the strength within u to fight gravity…so u continue sinking n leave ur fate to the unknown…hoping that maybe strength lies in the unknown…!

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Drishyam2! No spoilers!

I admit I was so skeptical to watch this one…like a lot of other people I thought it would just destroy the reputation of the original and I kept telling myself that there is nothing much to actually show in continuity…but alas how wrong I was. Jeethu Joseph is nothing short of a genius!

Infact throughout the movie,you don’t for a second feel like you don’t know Georgekutty’s family and that is proof enough of the authenticity of the characters and set. The sheer painstaking difficulties they may have gone through to make sure nothing- no location,no person,no dialogue looks out of place from where they left in 2015. The surroundings, characters seem to have aged just naturally and gradually.

This movie is a writer’s baby…the story is everything… coupled with some superb experiences with the likes of Murali Gopi, Sai Kumar and Asha Sarath.

And what do we even say about Lalettan?!Unlike the first part, Georgekutty is more subtle and mature in this one…but that could be how he evolved having gone through all the ordeals in the first part. But the conviction with which Lalettan plays his part is a class apart..he is definitely an Institution of excellence.

I will keep it short and simple, this movie is creatively intelligent and so glad that Jeethu Joseph took this risk and showed the entire world of cinema…how a sequel should be made.

Book reading challenge 2021

I’m participating in the #TBRChallenge by Blogchatter! Check it out!

So lets face it we all plan EVERY YEAR to read atleast a minimum certain number of books but it NEVER happens.

So this year I get ambitious and put it out in writing as well😂😂 However I am realistic and I go with the humble number of 20. So here wishing myself good luck on this journey!

Also I am open to book recommendations,so please go on and recommend away! Also would just like to mention my favourite genres are crime,thriller and noir!Happy reading!

Book review- It happened in Bengaluru

This book ‘It happened in Bengaluru’ by author Absum is surely a blessing in disguise especially in recent times. We currently live in the era of WFH life.Especially those in IT would agree that work life has become way more hectic and one has almost lost the so called ‘work life balance’.

This book teaches not one but many a lesson especially to today’s stressed modern generation.Stress can come due to many reasons these days- too much work, work culture,fellow team mates,nagging management,long working hours, stringent timelines and what not. This book is a lifesaver to people who are undergoing one or more of the above mentioned pain points. The story follows the life of young and ambitious Aryan who is initially super stressed due to the disappointing work atmosphere around him and daily terminations. He has almost decided to quit it all when he comes across an angel…in this case,CB,who makes Aryan come to his senses. He arranges various mentors to guide Aryan from different walks of life. I was blown away by some of the advices provided by these mentors. Its really not rocket science but simple basic steps…Aryan slowly but surely gets more and more confident and finally reaches a zen like mode where he even inspires our author of this book. This change in Aryan from the start to the end is really his journey through various ups and downs.

Another important aspect is the importance of purpose in one’s life.This story inspires you to dig deep within you and unearth your purpose in this world. A high paying job and starting a family life does not really fulfil our purpose in life.We are often scared to make the difficult decisions of our life. We are often worried about the risks it would involve. This book is like an awakening to us…to refocus and prioritize what we wish to do. Some times we already know what we want to do but we are scared to execute.

The main part of this book is how everything is explained with reference to the beautiful game of chess. Just like in a chessboard,every person in our life has a specific role. And just like the chess pieces, every person has different characteristics.The game of Chess indeed teaches us how to maneuver our life and reach our peaceful final destination. Almost every mentor Aryan meets explain their points with reference to the game of Chess thus demonstrating their lessons in a way that is most understanding to Aryan.

My personal takeaway from this book is all the subtle learnings on how to focus on one issue at a time,how to take difficult decisions ,how to be there for near and dear ones in time of trouble,how to cope with stress. The unique way in which fiction and non fiction has been blended is this book is indeed praise worthy. So go grab a copy if you wish to be enlightened too!

How to get hold of this self help book- Available on amazon,click below link- https://www.amazon.in/dp/1644290219/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_apa_fabc_44GHQRWAZS20HVMQSYA1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1


Love for Pothichoru!

No…i didnt say petrichor, but yes pothichoru comes from the land of petrichor…the word ‘pothichoru’ brings all kinds of olfactory nostalgia to most Keralites like me and unknowingly my mouth starts watering!

For the uninitiated, ‘pothichoru’ is simply a wholesome malayali meal wrapped tightly in a slightly burnt banana leaf (almost like a wrapped up sadya minus the payyasam and plus a fish fry and omlette). Technically pothi means wrapped and choru means rice!After wrapping in the banana leaf it has that familiar rectangular shape,which is then usually again wrapped in a newspaper and then its good to go/carry!

Pothichoru is not merely a tiffin or dabba,its a whole lot of love of all malayali moms! My earliest memory was during my childhood when we used to go for each vacation to Kerala to my maternal native place.We used to go there in the morning and then return by noon to my paternal native place (a few districts apart). My grandmother would make sure she had 5 pothichors wrapped and kept neatly in a bag (one kutti pothichoru for me as I was the youngest) and we used to relish the meal whilst in the train.The train journey between the 2 places was hardly 3 hrs but the ‘pothichoru eating part’ was mandatory and most looked forward to. Its not like we cant stay hungry for 3 hrs and its not like we cant eat from the house just before leaving. Its just that whole process of having it in the train whilst travelling. The aura of pothichoru which is caused by the smells of the banana leaf itself, boiled matta rice (served warm while wrapping),chammanthi (chutney),omlette,fish fry,thoran all blended together is simply irresistible. The thoran (veg sidedish usually beans thoran), sambhar(optional), raw mango or coconut chammanthi and lime pickle are all combined together with the rice. And when we mix/roll our fingers into this potpurri and combine each bite with a little piece of that perfect fish fried in coconut oil it just elevates your senses. People like me keep the omlette for the end to savour each bite of it.There is no fixed number of items or sidedishes,its purely left to the imagination of the creator.

Eating such a meal in a moving vehicle that too with your hands and no plate is a task but one that every mallu has mastered since childhood. It is very organic and sustainable too as it does not create any plastic waste as opposed to all packed food items we consume.With time,the potichor concept has gradually reduced but it continues to remain a very fond nostalgia to many. Hotels have now recently started the concept again, whilst they come nowhere close to the one our grandmoms made, its still a gud way to relive that awesome memory!

PS- Having watched ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’ ,I must say that despite being a woman I have never deeply appreciated my mother or grandmother for their efforts in feeding all of us all day along. Kitchen work is and should not be just for any single gender or age, lets be collectively responsible.Time to abolish the thought ‘When men cook its art and when women cook its their duty’!

Book review- Jasmine builds on shifting sands

Do you sometimes feel that the universe throws various hints at you…this book was something like that to me.Out of the blue I decided to read this book one sunny day and I was just so pleasantly shocked at the outcome and the message it conveyed.

We live in such a materialistic and visual world today all thanks to social media.The FOMO is driving us crazy day by day and we are just getting more and more sucked into this loophole!

This book by Sanjay Desai reminds us to get our priorities right.It asks us to take a grip over our life and jump on to the driving seat of our life. And it does so almost unknowingly. This book takes us through the trials and tribulations of Jasmine,a wannabe supermodel…The most interesting part is the way this book combines her story to our lives with the help of microlearning courses. Here we are introduced to the concept of TheConsciousLeap (https://www.theconsciousleap.com/JasmineBuildsOnShiftingSands/Learning) All these courses are free and present in the above link but it truly makes sense when go through them via Jasmine’s story. We get deeply connected to Jasmine’s success and failures almost reflecting our own success and failures!We also learn how we can make our dreams a reality by combining our goals, our will power and our continued focus.

Jasmine’s story is no different from your or my story. She faces troubles and doubts in every step..luckily she meets good mentors on the path to her success,these mentors guide her by giving her the formulas to success.Having just a passion and will is not enough , one should be ready to do the hardwork required and one should be open to and make use of the opportunities that come in our way. As Jasmine’s story goes there are bound to be troubles along the path,its how you persevere amidst these and focus on your end goal.

One of my favourite formulas I saw in the book was ‘Goal+will*focus=Win(Dream)’
If we follow such a formula in all walks of life,we are sure to succeed in whatever we wish to achieve.

I have always felt I was a fiction lover and non fiction hater but in this book the author blends fiction and non fiction so perfectly to create a self help manual,something that each of us need desperately today. A must read especially for those who are lost and are trying to find a purpose.

Gratitude

Today marks the entry to yet another year…we started 2020 on the same lines and since then sooooooo much has happened.phew! It felt like we lived a couple hundred years in 2020 itself…it just seemed to never end!

However lets be thankful for yet being alive amidst the chaotic pandemic.This year taught us how truly ‘Man proposes and God disposes’,it taught us that we live in unbelievably unpredictable times… lets be more aware of our surroundings, nature, one another and ofcourse of ourselves! Lets wish and hope and keep telling ourself ‘All is well’!

A special thank you to my 200 followers,I promise to be more active in this blog. Starting today I am even open to guest posts as well! I will also be starting a segment on some product reviews and recommendations!So keep me company! God bless everyone!

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