Sunday, September 25, 2016

Book Review: Love Bi the Way by Bhaavna Arora

Title: Love Bi the Way
Author: Bhaavna Arora
Publisher: Penguin Random House India Private Limited

Genre: Fiction 

Date:  2016

Price: INR 139/ 122.55 (Kindle)

Pages: 248

India is going through a time where the old and the new, especially thoughts try to co-ordinate exist. In the times where modern thoughts of the younger generation want to change the old, baseless beliefs but the reigns of society still being in the hands of the old raised by a very orthodox set of beliefs try to dominate. This is a major reason why we though a developing nation, even the educated, divide people in terms of caste, creed, religion and worst of all sex of the chosen partner. The heights of it all being criminalization of the act of having  sex with person of the same sex. This leads to people being unable to come out in the open in the society, family and sometimes to their own self. With the west beginning to accept it, it's India's turn to truly adapt now.

Artists have opposed this discrimination in various forms. It has been documented in films with lead characters being homosexuals like Fire and On a lighter note Kapoor & Sons which unlike the former managed to reach the audience. However bisexuality is still spoken of in hushed tones. Despite scientific and social science research on the subject matter looking at even alternating sexualities of the same human being and reasoning it extensively. On this note Bhaavna Arora tries to explore this via a more emotional trajectory, - a story, one that delves into the psyche of characters and then connects the reader with their journey towards discovery of their own sexualities.

Love is what we all desire. That one person who would understand us, someone we want to share our smallest achievements to our greatest fear. Someone we simply want to hug first when we are happy or cuddle with for hours till we stop sulking in our sadness. Yet it is this one person that is most difficult to find for a simple reason Men and Women though may be on earth but are very different beings. Their needs, priorities etc. are different from another and most of all there are fidelity issues - the core of the poison that slowly infiltrates and chokes to death any relationship it gets into. The central characters Zara and Rihana have scars of their own. They are best friends but opposite in every sense. While Zara is an introvert who has locked her secrets in the big trunk, Rihana is a complete extrovert who can do anything from directly approaching to embarrassing a man. Zara meanwhile believes it's only love that's worth giving yourself to.

They share a great friendship and are sole support for each other's lack of a family. The two hide well, their scars and try to live another day with them but challenging life situations make them peel the exterior and know each other better. It's their journey into overcoming the hurt that began early in life but hurt forever into living each day fully after finally growing out of it and in the process understand who they really are.

The characters are chalked out perfectly for the plot and the writer slowly reveals their life events making sure the reader connects instantaneously with each one and really understand the set of emotions each one goes through in situations that present themselves. The story is written on a light note with a lot of humor to portray the everyday life making it a pleasant light read with a important underlying note.

PS:  I loved the letter Zara writes to the prince, it was the most subtly delivered effective letters ever and if you ever loved someone that is the one to read. 
  
Overall a good read.

Rating: 3/5.

About the Author:
Bhaavna Arora is the bestselling author of the Deliberate Sinner and Mistress of Honour. Before her foray into writing, she was heading a business school as a director; she also trains students and professionals on leadership. She holds two management degrees and a Ph.D. in Leadership from Pittsford University. 


A fourth-generation army kid, Bhaavna is a true patriot. She enjoys reading, travelling, swimming, horse riding and playing sports and has a fancy for big bikes and cars.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

The True Trait

As genuine traits fade,
The winds flow where thy interest lie.
Is man the epitome of the animal kingdom?
Or the pinnacle of its dark traits,
But remember in the true test of survival,
Cheaters are dependent,
Cheaters can be wiped out,
Like the swish of a seasoned artists wand,
When scarcity presents in its multiple forms.
It's the one that remains true to its character that sustains,
Laughing for the first time in its genuine loud voice,
For it is the one that always expressed.

250 Million & Counting- The Roald Dahl Phenomenon Celebrated at Crossword.


13th of September, marked 100 years of celebrated children’s author Roald Dahl. 



Born in Villa Marie, Cardiff, Roald was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen. Amundsen was a national hero in Norway (Roald’s parents were from there). Some of his most popular stories are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, and Fantastic Mr Fox. Many of his books have been adapted to the big screen and even on stage. He also wrote the script for the 1971 film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The beloved author was known for his children's books with their playful language, dark humour and memorable characters.



Kinjal Shah, CEO Crossword  Bookstores says, "Dahl died at the age of 74, having published 17 children’s novels and 20 books for children in his lifetime. The master writer has managed to create a distinct and separate fantasy world for children as well as has written significant and relevant short stories and novels for adults."

Dahl is truly ageless. It is impossible to believe that he wrote these stories half a century ago. They still ring true.  Dahl has a subtle way to bring to public notice the poor section of society, the difficulties faced by them, and how they find their ‘happily ever after.’ Children feel involved in his stories.


Select Crossword  Bookstores stores across the country, hosted clue hunts, dream hunts and treasure hunts, along with Roald Dahl story-telling sessions to commemorate the birth centenary on Sunday, 11th September.


Children, especially aged between 8 and 12, thronged the stores.


A fan, 12 year old Nishka Kapoor, who participated in Crosswords’  “Celebrating a 100 years of Roald Dahl” said, “Roald Dahl has been my favourite author ever since I was a kid. Of all his books, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory will stay with me forever.”



Over 250 million books by Roald Dahl have sold worldwide, with his wonderful worlds full of charming characters and made-up words that have been enjoyed by adults and children alike all over the globe.

Catch the look of wonder in a child’s eyes, and you know that Dahl will sell another 250 million books in time. Such is his timeless magic.

Here are some fun filled from the event that would stay with these children forever...









There are many such activities happening at a crossword store near you. To keep up with the updates follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Crosswordbookstores/.

Pictures courtesy: Crossword Bookstores.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is Dawood really dead?

In the movie Don when Amitabh Bachchan said “Don ko pakadna mushkil hi namumkin hai”, the dialogue was so popular that it is the first line that comes to everyones mind when you say the word "Don".




But away from the cheer at the attitude in with Big B spoke this line is a grim reality that this has been true for a man who has terrorized us for decades now and evaded us for last twenty-three years. He is ‘India’s Most Wanted’ man, a terrorist as declared by the UN - don Dawood Ibrahim. Do we really even know where he is? Can we be sure he is in Pakistan? We don’t even have a photograph of his that’s less than fifteen years old. Meanwhile, our media has little else to show besides a few deserted houses in Karachi, which might even be red herrings. And then, there are less-known facts that are stranger than fiction. Like the four take-down missions from 1994 until the most recent ‘Super Boys’ mission in 2013, all called off at the last second. Why? Cold feet? Sabotage possibilities? False leads? Vested interests?

                                                          Picture Courtesy: BBC.com
Put all these together, and get inside the mind of the Don himself, and you get a completely different logic, a thrilling sizzler. This is what Avik Davar has been doing for the past few years, finally clubbing all his thoughts in the book “Dawood is Dead” published recently by Juggernaut. The book plays around the intriguing possibility: Could Dawood be dead? How can we know for sure? Could he be back amidst us? If so,why? What might he be up to next?



The writer has been very secretive about how much is fact and fiction in the book for his own reasons, so we decided to delve deeper into his thoughts and ask him more difficult questions. Such as:

Is this book Fact or fiction?
“At the outset, the title itself should presage that it is a work of fiction, for no one in the world but I seem to be saying ‘Dawood is Dead.’
The book is as fictional as fiction can ever get but at the same time as plausible as fact can ever be. My bet is that the readers will constantly ask two questions: Could this happen?  Did this happen?”

That this could happen, we will have no doubt of, when we’ve read the story. Did it happen? We may never get to prove.

The story takes us through moments ofrepentance and attempts to build back fences with India, and the shocking possibility that he may be a mere puppet in Pakistan’s hands. His biggest mistake: taking his family and all his business there.
-   ‘See! I’ve invested billions here, bailed their economy out, even married my children off into their families... and this is how they repay me…they want me dead.’
-    
There are glimpses of his fearless, daring, ruthless character, while also revealing a kind-hearted man who could go to any length for his loved ones.

‘The Don loves his family more than anything else. They are his weakest link. As long as we have them, he’ll always be under my thumb, get that?’ General Iftekhar gleamed and twirled the edges of his moustache.


What’s really unique about this book?

Several things. One, I’m claiming a ‘presumably living’ person as dead. Two, it is not a documentary about what happened etc. Instead, I put myself into the Don’s place and peek into his mind to understand what must drive him.  Three, I have shed light on the future possibilities instead of harping over the past, and asking, what next? At 61, the Don should be planning his swan song, his final assault against a country that was once home and now estranged forever.  Through this’ facts-morphed into fiction’ account I’m also pointing the need to ask the right questions, especially what went wrong with the take down missions.

Why such a provocative title?

I put in a lot of thought and came to this title because it is the right one, for reasons people will understand when they read the story.  But fundamentally because we know so little about what happened to the man in the last 23 years. My take is that he has had all the time to change thing so much, he could just be anywhere, and even anyone. So tomorrow if we get the news that Dawood is dead, I would not be willing to accept it at face value, even if we get to see a body. 

So you’re saying the Don could be here, living amidst us, free and famous?



My research, substantiated by medical doctors in the US, shows that if the Don decides, all he needs is 26 surgeries carried simultaneously over 15 to 18 months for a complete transformation, to returning to India in an identity that’s veritable and can pass muster long enough for his final revenge. His swan song. Sounds preposterous? But true.

Do you have anything to say to Dawood?

Yes. He is going to be 61 this December. Life, age and sorrow have begun catching up. He has lost some near and dear ones. And I for one suspect he is not really a free man even inside Pakistan if that’s where he is holed up. In that case, we will never get him back alive. That I’m sure of. But if he is elsewhere, my appeal to him as a common person would be to surrender gracefully and turn himself in, and begin his atonement. It is the only way all those affected by his acts can ever find closure and justice. And it is the only way any innocent members of his family especially the young children and older folks will have a chance to live with peace and quiet dignity as ordinary folks back in India, which was once home.

‘How much I miss the balmy waft of Bombay, mixed in the fragrance of our night jasmine tree. Those were the best days of my life, Mehroo. I miss home so much.’


Whether Pakistan would ever allow that is a question. But the Don is a smart man and can use ingenious ways (as shown in the book) to show he is ready to return and atone. 

We’ve all heard the famous line ‘Don kopakadnamushkil hi nahin, namumkinhai.’
Kyun? The book has at least one answer.

The book is a captivating piece of work published by Juggernaut Books and is available as a phonebook on their mobile app for iOS and Android. Given below is the link for the book:  http://bit.ly/2adPQbA  

About the Author
Avik Davar (pseudonym) is a budding Indian writer with an interest in reality fiction. He believes that fiction always has a basis in fact, and that good fiction must strive to present a different, a better reality than truth. Thus, his stories graft facts into fiction seamlessly with powerful but invisible train of logic and makes you wonder which parts are true and which are imagined.