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Showing posts from March, 2016

A Mother's Secret - Renita D'Silva

Do you know the feeling when you like someone or something so much that you’re afraid to express it in words because you fear you may trivialise it? I am currently in that exact frame of mind. It also strikes me as coincidental that this very often applies to when one is trying to articulate one’s love for one’s mother. So before I go into the details, I would like to confess from the very beginning that   ‘A Mother’s Secret’ by Renita D’Silva has rightfully bagged its place in my list of favourite books.
Most chapters of the book contain narratives in the first person by different women which I found engaging as I felt that they were speaking to me and telling me their story. The character development is phenomenal and these are characters that will remain etched in my memory for a long time. Kali, Durga, Sudha and Jaya. Who are these women? Are they linked? If yes, how? If not, is there a missing link?  D’Silva weaves magic with her words and tantalisingly helps you put together the…

Coinman : An Untold Conspiracy - Pawan Mishra

I received this book to review as part of a Goodreads initiative. The synopsis of the book appealed to me as it is set in an office environment and my background in human resources and organisational behaviour added more fuel to the metaphorical fire.
The protagonist of the book is a chap called Coinman, your average office goer who finds himself at the brunt of office politics and a victim of bullying behaviour. It was difficult for me to not classify the various miseries that Coinman faces as gross misconduct on part of the perpetrators (Yes, my HR hat remained tightly secured).
The book is based in a small city in North India and the characters that you come across are easy to identify if you have worked in a small private ltd company in India e.g. the loyal employee with an unreasonable sense of entitlement, a clique of 3 to 4 employees who dare not deviate from group norms, an ‘off-handish’ manager, a female employee who is the ‘heartthrob’ of every male employee solely because o…

The Gourd Seller & Other Stories - Abha Iyengar

As a child, I remember detesting any form of gourd except of course if my grandmother transformed it into a delicious and warm halwa (sweet pudding). Now, I am more open to experimenting with food and since I live away from India, seeing this vegetable in my local supermarket makes me rather nostalgic. So when I came across a book with this vegetable named in its title, my curiosity was piqued. What was so interesting about this plain looking (and tasting) vegetable?
‘The Gourd Seller & Other Stories’ is a collection of 8 short stories by Abha Iyengar. This is the first time I have read her work and I must say I am suitably impressed. I finished the book in one sitting as I found her style of writing to be very engaging. The stories narrate the desires, struggles and hopes of people living in urban India and it would be fair to say that most stories in this book are set against the backdrop of North India. Iyengar manages to recreate scenes that are not difficult to imagine becaus…

The Mistress of Spices - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

‘The Mistress of Spices’ – The very title conjures up feelings of warmth, excitement and perhaps seduction? Spices are synonymous to South Asian food and food as we know forms an inherent part of any culture. If I call myself a lover of Indian fiction, it would be rather tragic if I failed to enlighten you about the wonders of this book!
When I first picked this book at my local library, I flipped through its pages and was enticed by the style of narration. Every chapter is dedicated to one spice and the storyline is interwoven with the healing benefits of each (or so I guessed in the 2 minutes that I examined the book). I was pleased to find out that my inference wasn’t too far from actuality.
Divakaruni is a fine writer and her words in this book form a soothing symphony. She tells us the story of Tilo, an immortal soul who is bestowed with powers that enable her to master the ancient art of spices. This translates into Tilo identifying ailments of those that approach her in her mys…