10 November 2017


Paro - Passion, vanity and jealousy! 
May I start with saying that this is one of the best books I read after a long long time. Honestly it’s so simple but straight out of pulp fiction - like the one in 80s full of sleazy women sleeping around and using men and things and same for men.... I know i sound like the most primitive moral police... but honestly I damn care about your moral judgements. This book is what it is... just what it is... sleazy, scandalous and titilating in the most corrupt way...

 every one is corrupt in this world and no one really loves anyone.... and the story is narrators life around Paro. It starts from Paro and ends with it. The quintessential whore of a high society which likes to show off its women. Paro defies all boundaries set by women and at the same time is not able to justify why. Yes she is Sexual in a way not many women are,,,, but then she is not apologetic at all, which is what makes her different - the vamp, the other woman, the slut, the whore, the seductress, the witch...and the bitch! Every bad woman ever born... and her story which is what makes an English tabloid version of Manohar kahaniyan. Have you ever read one. Well I have and many indeed. So this book reminded me of those sleazy stories! 

Honestly - it’s a brilliant book, the narrator and its complicated relationship with Paro, the trouble of India satires, the high society of the 60s Mumbai and page 3 of delhi. There are so many dimensions and seriously there are no boundaries. It is naked, it’s stark and it’s shocking! And Paro.... its not a name, it’s a symbol of a woman who doesn’t follow the rules... please get a copy at the earliest... I am gifting soon to my girlfriends 

16 October 2017

The cat’s table

Book: The Cat’s Table
Author: Michael Ondjaate
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5
The boat came breasting out of the mist and in they stepped. 
All new things in life were meant to come like that...

Life is indeed a journey and probably one by a ship meeting different people from around the world experiencing adventures as you navigate the choppy sea of life. 

The cats table is a book by Michael Ondaatje, whom I have been wanting to read for some time. A slice of life lived well packed in about 350 pages. What is cats table? Just like you have captains table there is a category furthermost called Cats Table - the least privileged table. 

Michael travels with his two companions Ramadin and Cassius from Sri Lanka to Britain in 1950s to live a better life - changing from a native to an immigrant, from  childhood to adult, from one to someone else. 

A journey becomes from good to great with the number of adventures undertaken, the unique characters encountered and the new lands and worlds travelled to. And cats table has everything and something of everything. From the boys tying themselves on the deck during a sea storm, to slipping into rooms thru windows at the persuasion of a robber, smuggling a dog on the ship, to stealing food from first class and hiding on rescue boats, the adventures are nostalgic of a young and free life. Meeting a band of unique characters like a magician, a biologist, a historian, a dog care taker, a musician, a prisoner, a gambler, a detective, a tailor, an Ayurvedic doctor and a rich philanthropist with rabies - travel opens up the world for you like nothing else.

Cats table is a must if you live journeys - not travel but true life changing journeys where you find yourself or you loose yourself. But they stay with you and define your life forever. This book could very well be ‘life of pie’ if he wouldn’t have been lost in the voyage, or ‘motorcycle diaries’ of it was set on a cruise ship rather than wilderness of South America. Michael Ondjaate is a storyteller to watch out for, weaving his tale of adventure and innocence from one world to another, from one life to another.

Do I say more... read his own words! 

He had a serenity that came with the choice of life he wanted to live. And this serenity and certainty I have seen Only among those who have the armour of books close by. 

She could be whimsical. ‘Why is it when I hear the phrase “trompe l’oeil” I think of oysters?’

Sri Lanka has always enjoyed the merging of of classical first names with Sinhalese last names.

Every immigrant family, it seems, has someone who does not belong in the new country they have come to. It feels like permanent exile to that one brother or wife who cannot stand a silent fate and remain haunted by persistent ghost of an earlier place. 

In our twenties we are busy becoming other people. 

Fonseka’s passion for knowledge always had within it the added pleasure of his sharing it. 

In the great centers of power, you see, competition is based not so much on winning but in stopping your enemy from achieving what he or she really wants. 

I don’t think you can love me into safety.

15 June 2017

Movies and Bookshops

When you dream of opening a book shop some day, all the movies and books set at or around book shops become your fantasies. They open the doors of your imagination and you are transported into the bookshop watching the characters like a fellow book lover. These are some of my favourite movies mostly for the dreamy book shop in them! 

You've Got Mail
The cute quirky book shop with story tellings and sale of books. It had a pleasurable place like a child crèche while parents shopped around. They could color and play while the parents did everything. The bookshop was even more special seeped in nostalgia with the memories of the mother of the protagonist and her vision to make it a place full of love and dreams. It competes with the large scale commercial enterprise and fails financially but it stays in the hearts of those who believe reading is an art and it can't have a price on it. The bookshop around the corner stays with you long after you leave the cinema hall. 

Before Sunset
The part 2 of Before sunrise, this books shows the protagonist turning into an author. His book reading is hosted in a book shop in Paris, the place where his French love from his younger days lives. And you won't believe that it is 'Shakespeare and company' bookshop, the Mecca of book lovers in Paris and around the world. I believe book shops are beautiful and romantic and people often fall in love there with fellow book lovers. It's just the romantic aura, which makes you fall in love! 

This romantic movie of a simple British book shop owner in London and the famous Hollywood starlet. The fantasy love story of every simple boy to fall in love with the unattainable celebrity. His bookshop is shown a few times with its beautiful British setting. probably it's the simplicity of his life which attracts the fast paced complicated life of a star and you have the opposites getting attracted including over the love for books. 


14 June 2017

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

 Book: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
Author: Balli Kaur Jaswal 
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The story is based in the heart of London at the hub of Indian Punjabi society - Southhall. These Punjabis left the country but the country never left them. They moved in 70s or 80s with the Khalistan movement but created a mini India there. While India moves ahead they are still stuck in the India of 70s. The same old traditions, boundaries, taboos and burdens. 

Erotica and widows - wasn't I only surprised to see this in the same sentence, it is the title of this book. This story makes a strong statement on feminism voicing the dreams and issues of the neglected class of women - The widows who have no life without their husbands. In olden days there was Sati and now it's anonymity and speechlessness. You have no say but to follow the rules laid by men in a patriarchal society. 

It's distressing that there are even dressing rules for a widow - a plain white suits,  no make up, covered heads and bent backs. As if the colour goes out if your life without your husband. What is the definition of white here - is it about a pure soul, a spotless character or a colourless life? In short it's all about a uniform like a prisoner for no crime of their own. All her life a women is trained to be a wife and when the husband dies she is made to live an empty life. This story takes a big leap and talks about the fantasies - and I must elaborate the sexual fantasies of these women. There are a lot of overrated things in this world - from fidelity to sex, but what is under rated is a women's sexuality. She is taught from the beginning that she is a factory to reproduce and sex is the process of it. She is not supposed to enjoy it or even know about it. For years she is kept under wraps like a pearl and then on her wedding night she is thrown in with a stranger like a goat in a lion's cage. God forbid she enjoys it, in that case she will be termed a whore. 

But what Bali does excellently well is she serves this strong statement in a chiclit fashion so it can easily reach out to all women. She doesn't preach, she tells a story or may I say multiple stories of various women and their lives. The literary classes turn into creative writing and the stories became a fad, reaching out to more and more women and starting a movement. A slap on the face of the so called guardians of  the society which refuse a women to express her sensuality but a man gets to become a proud fornicator. 

When I read such books I feel the times are changing and for good, but then I wonder how long will it take to reach the equal? How much more times to undo the wrongs? How much more time to get a woman her due? How much time men will need to change? How much time to reach a society which is fair? This book is just a small step, but a big leap for mankind! Read it for the titilating stories and the strong message. Hopefully a time shall come that there are no widows but just some single women looking for love once again! 

(Backup) Hope Factory - a book of hopes and dreams


Book: Hope factory
Author: Lavanya Sankaran
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is the story of Hope and dreams - of a struggling middle class businessman and a poor maid trying to meet both ends and have a honorable life. There are multiple other intertwined characters who add shades of grey to their characters distracting or encouraging them to reach their goals. But those destined to fulfill their dreams pass all barriers and that's where you have the dogma of class barriers. 

Hope and Class - there is an inverse relationship between the hope and class of society.  Your social ad financial status determines your class and lesser it is the more hope you have. Hope to do better, hope to be higher. It does not mean in any way that upper class doesn't hope to be higher, it only means it's more hopeful for Lower classes.

Intelligence as they say is randomly distributed and sometimes beyond any class. The time has proved that it's only few and rare who have broken the class barriers and soared higher to reach somewhere. Especially in the Indian society full of politics, bureaucracy, caste system and societal taboos. 

Read Lavanya Shankaran for her very real and true account of today's India buzzing with dreams, energy and hope. After all there is only hope and hope that makes a life worth living! 


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