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Of Bombay, Homes, Life and Other Things- Milk Teeth by Amrita MahaleSpread the love 46 For a debut novel Amrita Mahale’s Milk Teeth comes across as a fairly decent read. Set in Mumbai, or rather I must say the world that was once Bombay, it weaves a simple tale of friendship and love. From the changing face of a city to the changes in gen next, the book captures more than just middle class aspirations. It pulls in the right emotions, oozing out excessive nostalgia of a society that once was. Getting to the story Ira Kamat and Karthik Kini share quite a bit in common. Childhood buddies, the two grow up in a middle class housing society –Asha Nivas- in Matunga. Their mothers are friends too, thus giving them enough opportunity to play and grow up together. As years move on, the two slowly move apart, pursuing their respective careers and goals. Ira turns out to become a journalist on the civic beat, uncovering stories of corruption that is widespread around in the town municipality. Karthik lands himself a plush corporate job with a multi-national corporate. Years later they meet again and a web of emotions pull them together as they try to re-establish their friendship. Amidst this is the building they live in. Asha Nivas is caught in a tangle of re-development, and the occupants of the society are at loggerheads over the compensation they are owed from the landlord. The wind of liberalization is blowing, Bombay turns into Mumbai. The two young adults find themselves battling their own issues- Ira with her memories of a lost love and Karthik struggling to find his own true self. How do they untangle themselves from it all? Does life give them the answers to all their perplexities? Love, companionship and self-discovery, Milk Teeth may be a road already travelled. Yet it brings in an element of freshness in its writing making it a pleasurable read. Ooh and the ah! “In short, there was life beyond nostalgia. But surely there was life beyond greed too, beyond sucking your city dry….” There are words that spark an emotion, and then there are words that communicate a thought. When you combine the two you get a narrative that surely is going to be impressive. Mahale’s writing can stir in that nostalgia, irrespective of whether you belong to Mumbai or not. For, the middle class life and aspirations that have been sketched out in the book is relatable in every aspect. The detailing of simple pleasures, such as the families’ weekend outing to South Mumbai- the charm of Churchgate station and the breeze across the Oval Maidan, can well be felt. Simple straightforward dialogues between characters carry forth the story in a well-paced manner. Mahale has managed to address ideologies of globalization, feminism, religious differences and the changing value system, well within the periphery of her narration. The book does come with its own share of minor shortcomings (though I wouldn’t really want to call it one). It does wind up on a predictable note and the excitement that was generated in the first half of the book, does begin to fizzle out to a certain extent. But considering the exquisiteness in the choice of words and the descriptions throughout, I would prefer to overlook this shortcoming. Milk Teeth is a book that could stir in a whole lot of nostalgia. Read it with a relaxed mind; it would soothe you with its words, without putting much strain on your imagination. My rating: 3 of 5 stars View all my reviews The book is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book format. Disclaimer: This blog post contains an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission, if you click through and make a purchase. Spread the love 46
Coming Round The Mountain By Ruskin BondSpread the love 106 His writing is straight from the heart. Simple words and profound thoughts- the books are indeed a pleasure to read. No wonder even at the age of 85, Ruskin Bond’s books are popular across readers. Bond still has a strong fan following and bookstores still pile on his publications. Well, I am an ardent reader of his books and pick up every single title of his. The latest titles from Ruskin Bond are three personal memoirs that were officially released by Penguin India on the occasion of his 85th Birthday. Coming Round the Mountain When words come out of a memory jar, you get a book as lovely as this. Coming Round the Mountain is a personal memoir of Ruskin Bond set against the backdrop of the Partition. The book was officially released by the author on 19 May, 2019 on his birthday. On the heels of two other personal memoirs- Looking for the Rainbow and Till the Clouds Roll By, this book narrates Bond’s life as a 13 year old teen. Also Read: Lone Fox Dancing-Autobiography by Ruskin Bond What’s life for a 13 year old at a boarding school? At a time when the country is torn into two- divided into two nations, Ruskin’s life is spent in boarding school. Amidst academics, friendship, discipline and rules- the young boys of Bishop Cottons Shimla are unaware of the harsh reality and the impact of the territorial division. “With Independence came a division of the country. The familiar India of our maps and postage stamps and railway timetables disappeared overnight. Borders were drawn, two Pakistans were created- one in Bengal, the other in Punj” – Ruskin Bond The year of Partition brings about a whole lot of changes. The country gaining freedom, the country losing a piece of its territory and at such a time Ruskin’s friendship is at stake. The changes are overwhelming for the young teen. But if there was one constant thing in Ruskin’s life it was his love for reading as well as his love for putting things down on paper. It is the pleasure of reading and writing that helps the young Ruskin gain confidence and self-belief, enabling him to handle the uncertainties brewing around the world he is part of. The ooh & the aah! The book is a simple volume and could be completed in less than a day. The narrative is complemented by illustrations that I quite liked. Ruskin’s story telling is unmatched and it depicts the turmoil experienced by one and all at the time of partition brilliantly. Enjoyable anecdotes about his friends, his eccentricities and passions soak you in warmth. This book is a classic in the making. Pick it up irrespective of whether you are a Ruskin Bond fan or not. It has passion, is funny, and can move you to tears too. My rating: 5 of 5 stars View all my reviews The book is available on Amazon in hardbound & e-book format. *This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review **Disclaimer: This blog post contains an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission, if you click through and make a purchase. Spread the love 106
Holiday Stories And a Season Gone BySpread the love 24 The fierce summer heat nearly drained out my entire energy this year. Apart from my daily routine, work and the mandatory socializing my life requires me to do, I had to engage my two girls through their vacation. It was the heat that sapped my energy….not theirs! As I waited for the constantly eluding summer shower that would lower the temperature, the girls seldom seemed to be perturbed by the fiery heat of the season. The energy levels at an all-time high once the schools closed in the first week of May, they spent the first few weeks cycling around the cantonment, binging on mangoes and ice creams with friends from the neighborhood, running on the streets and just doing other crazy things we adults wouldn’t imagine. It’s amazing isn’t it? When we let kids be just kids they are happy and don’t complain about the things we adults often do- such as the heat. Love for reading Much as I was glad to see them be just kids, the sweltering heat in the afternoons made me force them to stay indoors. I am glad the older one loves to read which made the afternoon hours pass by. The library in the neighborhood is now a favorite weekend outing. Thankfully it is a generous place that allows us to borrow five books at a time. This generosity has allowed the older one to explore books of various kinds. Puffin’s gift So when Puffin sent them an anthology of short stories, the excitement of the girls could just not be contained. The Puffin Book of Holiday Stories turned out to be a favourite book for both of them this season. Where the older one read the entire bunch of fourteen stories all by herself, I enjoyed the time spent reading these stories aloud to the little one. Though a perfect read for a ten year old, the stories with a little bit of simplification worked for my younger one too. The stories are drawn from everyday objects and experiences. From the clever parrot called Carrot who enters summer school, to a young boy who swallows a whole snake, the tales are hilarious. The book features some lovely authors such as Ruskin Bond, Sudha Murty, Shabnam Minwalla, to name a few. The collection has stories of courage, humor, adventure, friendship and family. So along with just reading out the stories, it made for a lovely session to discuss such matters with the girls. The season winds up as monsoon descends upon us The last few days of vacation are probably the laziest of days. The girls reluctantly prepare their things for the new school session. Summer season has almost come to an end and the fierce sun has slowly moved behind the clouds. The walls of my home are still lined with the pink tinted bougainvillea, as I patiently wait for the monsoon showers to lash down. It is a season I love the most, with the freshness that it brings to everything around. Hoping there would be more books to read as we dig into crispy pakodas and a cup of hot chai to go with it. *This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review Spread the love 24
Seven Mysteries to Thrill You Over the Week!Spread the love 231 Fast paced and edge of the seat kinds, mystery and thriller novels are a great way to break a monotony of sorts. They keep you engrossed in your reading, keep you guessing and pump up your heart beat. Here are a few of them that come with oodles of suspense and thrill. Private Delhi By Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson The former CIA agent Jack Morgan runs an investigation agency called “Private”. With branches around the globe, the agency, investigates intriguing cases, with utmost discretion. They possess an incredible team of investigators, and boast of the latest technology and forensics to crack cases and get to the perpetrators. Continuing in this series is Private Delhi, by the popular crime fiction writer James Patterson, in collaboration with Ashwin Sanghi. There are a series of gruesome murders, brutal in every extent, in the capital city Delhi. As bodies pile up, the head honcho of “Private” in Delhi, Santosh Wagh is called in to investigate. Clearly for Santosh it is evident that there is a master serial killer at work. As Santosh and his team get cracking and open up the Pandora’s Box of clues, tumbling out are secrets, of some high profile individuals in society. These could implicate some of the highest members of the government- the Lieutenant General of the State or even the Chief Minister. How is the team going to crack the case, as the brutal murders continue to happen, along with the discovery of illegal organ harvesting? A fact paced thriller, Private Delhi boasts of a plot with murder, corruption and kidnapping. Memory Man by David Baldacci This is the first book in Baldacci’s Amos Decker series (there have been four so far in the series). Amos Decker is the detective at play, solving mysteries and murders. Having suffered a head injury that ended his football career, the trauma induced a condition called hyperthymesia and synesthesia. The result of this- is never being able to forget anything! Weird as the condition may sound, it is this ability that gets him to crack cases and get behind those involved in some heinous crimes. As Decker returns home one evening, he finds his wife, young daughter and brother-in-law, brutally murdered. His family destroyed, and the identity of the killer being a mystery, Decker’s world comes crumbling down. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the streets. But a little over a year later, all of a sudden, a man turns himself up to the police, confessing to the crime. It is around the same time, a high school shooting rocks the town, where innocent lives are snuffed out. Decker has to jump in, as he realizes that the school incident is related to the killing of his family. Plus, Decker is sure that the man who surrendered is not actually the one behind it all. There is someone else. Decker has to uncover this stunning truth before it is too late. In a constant chase of clues, Memory Man is a thriller that you would not want to put down. Fast-past and an edge-of-the-seat kind read, it will keep you hooked right till the end. Murder in the Mews By Agatha Christie There are murder mysteries and then there is Hercule Poirot! This Belgian detective is surely AGATHA Christie’s greatest creation. Charming and not so modest about it, Hercule Poirot is known for his eccentric mannerisms. But well! He sure does manage to solve each of his cases with a dramatic twist. No wonder he has been the centerpiece in many of Christie’s novels. And as the man himself says- “My name is Hercule Poirot, and I am probably the greatest detective in the world.” And we don’t doubt that, do we? Murder in the Mews is essentially a collection of novellas that are light-hearted British murder cases. Four whodunit cases, each with an unexpected ending. It is a book that you would simply not want to put down. The stories are set in the early 20th century, and give you a quick peek into British culture too. Señor Hercule Poirot with his razor sharp mind is all out to solve the four cases. The stories are short and crisp, yet loaded with with vigor and suspense. Brilliantly paced tales of murder and deceit. A must for all Agatha Christie’s fans!! And Then There Were None Another one for Agatha Christie fans. Ten people, strangers to each other, are invited to a remote island through a mystery letter. They find themselves stranded together, just to figure out that each have a connection- a grave and deep connection. None are aware of their mysterious host, yet all ten have received personal invitations to be on the island. Soon, each of the guests begins to succumb one by one, to fate- to the foulest murder. Each one of them is a victim, and amidst them is the killer too. Each has a secret of a murky past. Who wants them all killed? And who would be next? As you grapple for answers, you traverse through the brutal murders, vital clues, and a suspense that would blow your mind away. And then they were none is a “locked-room” mystery at its bet. It can’t get any better- strangers on a stranded island, ten murders, and no sign of the killer. For all those mystery fans, this is a master piece. If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon Meet Tracy Whitney, the young woman, who is smart and independent. She is warm and compassionate too. An idealist in every way, yet when her whole life goes topsy- turvy, Tracy lets go of her idealism, and all that see seeks is vengeance. A successful banker in Philadelphia, she is engaged to a wealthy heir. When her mother commits a suicide, Tracy realizes there’s more to it, and that there is a big mafia nexus behind her mother’s death. Tracy tracks down Joe Romano the main person responsible, but he tries to rape her and is wounded in the struggle. A case is filed against her for a theft by Joe Romano. Her attorney convinces her that she will get a much shorter sentence if she pleads guilty, but the judge sentences her to fifteen years, and she realizes that the judge and the attorney are both working for Romano. As she goes to jail, her employer and her fiancé abandon her and the unborn child. However she miscarries the child. Filled with rage, Tracy now decides to seek revenge on all the men who have ruined her life. Framed for no valid reason, Tracy fights her way out of all turmoil, and gets behind each one of them. If tomorrow comes is a tale of betrayal and of revenge. The Second Lady by Irving Wallace Billie Bradford is the First Lady of the United States. She is the ever charming glamorous woman, intelligent and is loved by the people of her country. In a good will visit to the Soviet Union, Billie Bradford is kidnapped by the KGB and held captive. The First Lady is replicated with a con artist Vera Vavilova. Impersonating Billie Bradford, Vera has a task at hand- to enter the White House, live life as the First Lady and lay her hands on sensitive and classified information to be handed over to the Soviets. With their spy in American territories, the Russians think they have the perfect weapon against the Americans and all the info they seek is easy to obtain. Or so they think. For Vera Vavilova, despite being adequately trained as the First Lady, there still are areas, she is not prepared to deal with. She knows everything about the President and his wife, except for his sexual behavior. Time is ticking away for the Russians, and impatience growing to get the information that they require. The Second Lady is Irving Wallace at his best. It is a book with twists and turns, and an ending that could just throw you overboard. The book is a powerful story of vendetta and two intelligent women, served on one platter together. The Girl On the Train By Paula Hawkins Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day it’s the same route, moving past cozy suburban homes, and stopping at the signal that allows her to catch a glimpse of the same couple. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough for everything to change. Soon she is deeply entangled, in her own life as well as in the lives of many others. I wouldn’t want to divulge too much on the plot, but similar to other thrillers its best for readers to dive in on their own. The plot was cinematic indeed with vivid descriptions that played on my mind. None of the revelations in The Girl on the Train are straight forward. They keep you guessing, so as you read, the plot may seem to get murkier indeed. Spread the love 231