My Treasury

Poetic pen

Friday, October 5, 2018

National Post Day - India

My dear daughter,
I hope this letter finds you in the best of health and spirits. I am doing fine too.

My love, I want to remind you that yo are most precious gift I have ever had...

There was once a time when post was the only medium to stay in touch with the loved and dear ones. People used to wait for days, months and even years for that one letter from someone they missed. I truly miss that essence these days.



Technologies have converted the waiting time to less than a second and we can always see and talk face to face with anyone any-where in the world. Still, there are some things which cannot be replaced.

Time and again I have expressed my love for letters. See the posts here:

Posts which reminded me of Letters.

This post is thus dedicated to National Post Day - India celebrated on 10th October. Britishers gave  this gift to India in 1774 which is still a medium of communications in many places.

Did you know that the India Post is among the largest postal networks around the world?

When was the last time you received a letter from some one - not the official posts and reminders, an actual letter!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Banned Books Week


Hola readers!

Do you know there is a whole week dedicated to books that are banned because of any reason? Yes, it is #BannedBooksWeek!

Banned Books week is an annual event celebrated worldwide which aims at celebrating freedom to read. I think, it’s also a tribute to freedom to express and write. Ever since books have been existence, many of them have been challenged by some one or the other as they found the content inappropriate. It was launched in the year 1982 and is held during the last week of September.


Who bans books?
There are several authorities which play role in banning a book.
1.    International associations
2.    National associations, government bodies, courts.
3.    Local associations, courts etc.

Why are books banned?
As much as we all have the freedom of speech, the freedom of expression is also exercised equally. Published content either fiction or non-fiction, can be interpreted differently by everyone. Any person who has any kind of objection on a book or is contents can be challenged and thus lead to a ban if found reasonable at various levels like local, national, etc.
Below are some of the common reasons which mostly combined with one another have led to banning of a book
1.    Racial Issue
      Racism had been the most common social issue all over the world. Despite of the fact that fiction books clearly states that all content is purely fiction, many books have been challenged and subsequently banned because of this reason. Most common examples would be
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee 
“Gone with The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell.

2.    In appropriate usage of words and Violence -
      Offensive language is one of the major reasons of the most commonly banned classic book - “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Many groups find a few books to be too violent to read. This combined with racism and sexually explicit language is the top most reason to result in banning a book. Here is another example:
“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

3.    Sexual content
Sex - oh I typed the taboo word! Yes, this is one of the most common reason leading to a book being banned. This might also be the biggest list if made. Here are a few.
“Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker
“I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou

4.    Religious Issue
Religion is another sensitive topic and the most debatable one too. Unfortunately, many books have been taken of the shelf as they hurt or disrespected some religious beliefs.
“The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie
“The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown

5.    Political Issue
Politics and politicians have also been a popular subject of inspiration for many authors. Here are some books that were banned considering various political references or allegations or challenges:
“Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell
“Mein Kampf” by Adolf Hitler

Then there are of course some books which cannot be sold or purchased in some parts of the world all due to strange reasons.

What are the books you know of were banned based on unthinkable grounds?

PS; The books I have mentioned are not necessarily banned everywhere. Also, the list is long and keep on growing with each new release.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green


Hola! I keep on repeating after every few posts that I am back at my favorite genre - Romance. But then, maybe I like it so much that even if the break is only one book old, I can absolutely feel it.

"The Fault In Our Stars" is one such awesome book. It's about two teenagers battling bravely with cancer. The book offers their story of life and love. Being written in first person, it's the life events of Hazel Grace. The author beautifully captures little moments of love, craziness, panic and everything. For example, there is a section where Hazel remembers her mother dealing with her disease.

I was normal reading through when I read this. The very nanosecond I read what Hazel heard, I had to fight my tears back. May be because being a mother and daughter both, I could almost feel it to the soul!

Then there is an equally amazing a little love letter which Hazel wrote for Augustus. I won't spill the beans, but I smile every time I think of that. Being a love story, it ought to have xoxo moments. There are also some cheesy lines like -


But I think, when you like something, they become romantic!

Generally, romance fictions revolve around the main characters and so does ‘The Fault In Our Starts’. At the same time, author has taken safe care to add the emotions of people around them as well. There are lot of places where Hazel points out the feelings of her parents and that of Augustus.

From the beginning to end, the story is so sad and the reader is almost aware of the direction it is going to, but still, the author John Green did an excellent job in keeping the reader engaged and want to continue without taking a break. In short, I loved it and has taken a place to my list of books I can recommend

Check out other favorite lines from the book at - Quotes

Additionally, The blurb on the says:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Kindle Edition                                                            Paperback
                                                    

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling



Ever since my childhood, Jungle Book to me had been all about the very famous “Jungle Jungle pata chala hai, chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai, phool khila hai”. I downloaded the “The Jungle Book” to read the actual version of same and it took me to a total surprise – a pleasant one indeed.

The book is a good mix of five (most popular of all - the 'Mowgli' is actually divided in three stories.) stories. All the stories are followed by a related poems/songs/rhymes. All the poems summarize the nature of animals and their lives in the preceding story.

I think I might be repeating myself from my earlier posts that there is a reason some books are termed "Classics".

I could not write a single, whole some review for the "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling, so I decided to go one by one. The short stories along with their title and following verses are as below:

1. Mowgli's Brothers - Childhood hero Mowgli being rescued and raised by wolves and the realization of animals that he is a man after all! This chapter is the one we all know much about.

Wolfs always hunt in pack and they ought to have few lines to get them going. "Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack” helps them to remain focused and follow their leader.

2. Kaa's Hunting - Big hypnotizing python - Kaa is helps Baloo and Bagheera to rescue Mowgli from the "Bandar-log".


I found this song very close to monkeys or at-least how we perceive them. The monkeys found pride in the song while Mowgli realized that this was not an environment he could enjoy for long. It's called the "Road Song of the Bandar-Log".


3. Tiger! Tiger! - The final of Mowgli's series where he goes to a village where humans live. But then, Jungle is where his heart belongs to. He along with his wolf brother finally brings an end to the cruel Shere Khan.


Finally, Mowgli sings "Mowgli's Song" with much pride and tells everyone about his victory over Share Khan. It's popularly known as the victory song, but I could not help but notice the tiny elements of sadness in verses. Life sure is unpredictable!


4. The White Seal - It's a brave story of Kotick - a rare white seal who decides to find a safe place for his fellow seals. Honestly speaking, this one is my favorite of all. There are so many takeaways from this little story with respect to 'modern society' we are living in. This story might make way to another post from my end.


The "Lukannon" song - which I found a bit sad does a good justice to the story. Reading the verses shows why Kotick decided to follow a path which was discouraged by all but was much needed at the same time.


5. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi - A mongoose named 'Rikki-Tikki-Tavi' finds himself rescued by a family of humans and returns the favor best by rescuing them back by a family of Cobra.


The tailor-bird "Darzee" sings in celebration as Rikki-Tikki-Tavi hunts cobra and made the garden a safe place to live for other creatures. The song is titled - "Darzee's Chaunt".


6. Toomai of the Elephants - World of Elephants has always been of much interest ever. It's a nice story about little boy Toomai and his adventurous encounter by elephants - of all types!


Wait before you think that the story has come to an end. a beautiful song Little Toomai‘s mother sang to him when he was a baby awaits next. It's a gorgeous song depicting the law of nature called "Shiv and the Grasshopper". Toomai‘s mother explains that the creator - Shiva is the one who "made all" and also ensured that all are fed leaving no one hungry.


7. Her Majesty's Servants - What happens when animals from different regions or work culture meet? What do they discuss? This short story is a compilation of one such event when mule, camel, horse, elephant and bullock spend the night together and discover new things about each other’s work - obviously each thinks theirs is better than others.


The story is followed by "Parade-Song of the Camp Animals" - a enthusiastic song where each group gets to echo their own verse and then a common one.


All the stories depict the world through the eyes of animals. They also focus on the basic nature of animal in picture turning it in the form of a tale children might enjoy. I would however like to give a disclaimer warning that it's nowhere near to Disney's magical world and might crush those sugar-coated images of animals we have built. As a child, I might not enjoy it originally and thus think that it's justified to tweak them a bit when it comes to presenting the same to children.

Very rarely I write this - Go for it with open heart! You would not regret the time invested. I Loved it thoroughly. Need more reasons to add it to your library - It's free on Kindle!
                                                                        

note - all quotes have been created for free at http://quozio.com/

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Silly Tilly by Eileen Spinelli, David Slonim (Illustrator)


Remember the popular Airtel advert – “Hare ek friend jaruri hota hai (Each and every friend is important)”? This little picture book is all about that.

We all have that one friend we cannot live without at the same time is utterly intolerable. Tilly the Goose is exactly that friend among the farm animals.

Here goes the blurb:

"Tilly is not an ordinary goose. She takes her baths in apple juice. She wears a pancake as a hat. She tries to ride the farmer’s cat."
But the barnyard animals complain that she’s too silly. When she stops entertaining her friends with her antics, the farm becomes a quiet and unhappy place

 What happens next? Read it out to find.

The illustrations are very vibrant and kids would love them. My son was continuously laughing and I had to repeat few sentences to him since he stopped listening in between. Here is the picture he liked the most.



He loved it because he also knows cartwheels! But then, he is not silly to do them on a cow.

Grab the book now and read it aloud to the kids around you. And yes, it’s free with Kindle Unlimited subscription. Grab it from below links:

                    Kindle Edition                                       Paperback Edition

                                                                   

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Little Maryam by Hamid Baig


About The Author:
Hamid Baig loves storytelling and has been writing poems since childhood. Being an entrepreneur. Let him speak for himselfHamid Baig

About The Book:
The Blurb Says:
During the course of an international flight, Saadiq Haider, a renowned gene therapist, is transported not only back to the country that he left behind 20 years ago, but also back to a past that has never ceased to haunt him. A past filled with pain and love lost. A past that refuses to be suppressed by alcohol and drugs; memories of lost love that can’t be forgotten by the charms of other women. Saadiq travels back in time—to the rice fields of northern India, to the boughs of an ancient banyan, to the cool and calming winds of the valley where he grew up—a time when he could trust people. A time where every second, every minute, every hour, was Maryam’s. Maryam Dawood, a little girl who was scared of monsters, a girl who asked too many questions, a girl Saadiq was born to protect. A girl with whom he shared his first kiss; Saadiq’s first and only love. The girl who was forcefully taken away from him. Now, decades later, Saadiq is going to see Maryam. One last time.

The Cover:
A girl enjoying her swing beneath huge tree does throw a tiny light on what’s inside. As the reader dives into the story, it becomes even more relatable. Respectable job done by the designer.


How I Felt About The Book:
When I started reading the book, I did not have much thought about the plot and had an intuition that it would be highly predictable. But then, Romance had always been my favorite among all genres. This little book about petty things about love exceeded my expectations.


Innocence, love, hatred, respect, violence, betrayal, surprise, mystery, desire, lust, cry, laughter, depression, delight - name an emotion and it’s there somewhere in the story. Honestly, I found the book more about the lead character – Saadiq instead of “Little Maryam”.

What I Liked:
  1. Love - Undoubtedly, it was the matter of hearts which got me hooked.
  2. Twists - The writer kept throwing tiny hints about the upcoming events giving the impression of strong predictions. At the same time, he has been quite successful in not proving the reader right along with an un-predictable turn in the story.


What I Did Not Like:
  1. Limited one liners - being a love story, I found it hard to fill my notepad with some beautiful quotes. The few I could notice made a little bouquet.
At the end, I am happy that the book made an entry to my bookshelf.



Here are the links if this makes you feel like buying “Little Maryam”.

Amazon - Kindle edition                                                       Amazon - Paperback
                                                                         

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Then the Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota




About The Author:
Capri Jalota was born in Chandigarh – India and has worked in various organizations in India and Middle East after completing his management studies form IIM Ahmedabad.
Fun fact about the author: Mr Capri is a numismatist with a collection of over 1000 coins from 100+ countries

About the Book

The Blurb says:
One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs?

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.


The Cover:
Rays of light peeping through the door does say something about life, but I think, the cover could have been little more detailed generating curiosity about the theme or the plot.

How I Felt About the Book:
I received a paperback copy of the book from it’s publishers. It’s not just the free copy, It’s actually the title of the book which attracted me more. The blurb was interesting enough to get me reading in in no time.



What I Liked:
       1. True picture of society – The book very thoughtfully shows actual society we have been living without pin pointing anything good or bad.
       2.      Smooth Transitions – When I began reading, I thought it’s a love story, the after few chapters, I found It a story of family. But as the story progressed, the over all plot and theme got me intrigued despite switching between India and Dubai, love, friendship and family.

What I Did Not Like:
1.    Too much effort to include Indian culture: At a few places, the effort to show Indian culture felt exaggerated. Although the instances author re-created do happen in India, but they could have been avoided easily.

The book contained a bonus point for me to like it – letters. Letters are my favorite part of any book. I loved all of them. I also loved the proposal to Rebecca.

Here it goes:




Then, there were few lines which made an entry into my notes

The quotes can be read at - QUOTES

All in all, I found it an interesting read and I might recommend it to my friends. It’s a complicated yet beautiful story of life.

Get the book from amazon;

  Kindle Edition                                                                             Paperback                                       
                                                                     

Friday, April 20, 2018

Book Blitz Pack - Fate's Design by Subhashish Dey

About the Book:
When a kidnapper redeems his lost conscience and finds himself unable to murder the girl he has kidnapped, what does he do? Fate is cruel to him, and good intentions are never enough. 

At the same time, a woman dissatisfied with her existence flees from her home, not knowing what lies ahead of her. But all things come at a price, and she has a hard path ahead through storms and fire.   

Watch how fate has entwined these lives together, into a song through struggles of conscience and identity, through the deepest lows and greatest highs, and through the flame of madness and the stings of survival.     





Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Feedback for the Book:

5 Stars “An extremely well written thriller by an amazing fourteen-year-old. Written at an age when most teenagers find their boats floundering in the sea of words, Subhashish had not only managed to keep a grip on the plot, taking the reader along the journey of his well-drawn out characters, he had also shown a rare maturity in his choice of words. His insights are at times startling, coming from someone of his age.” ~ Supratim Kar on Amazon

5 Stars – “An impressive first novel. The author is still in his teens, but the narrative voice is one of maturity and experience. The story unfolds like a Russian romance novel, in a modern setting. The plot is complex and suspenseful and keeps one turning the pages until the climax.” ~ T.N.Badri on Amazon

“A thoroughly interesting read, Fate’s Design, plays out as a struggle to live, survive and not merely exist. There are flaws, which in any case, are there in every piece of writing, but, the author’s abilities to weave a story, which does not make you, cringe or question its validity, make it an interesting work worth going over more than once.” ~ Soumyabrata Gupta

About the Author:
Subhashish is a 14-year-old student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya Anna Nagar. He has been regularly contributing short stories to his school magazine. An avid reader, Subhashish believes that books open the doors to some wonderful insights in life. A brilliant student, Subhashish loves to explore different places and spends time trying to understand the culture of the people there. 

Subhashish lives in Chennai along with his parents and grandmother. This is his first attempt at writing a novel. Subhashish is passionate about music and loves singing and playing his piano. Incidentally, music forms the backbone of the story of his novel. 



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Book blitz - Then The Door Bell Rang by Capri Jalota

About the Book:

One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs?

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.




Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Fun Facts about the Author:

• The plot of his novel came in Dubai when a friend randomly pointed at a balcony and said "That is the balcony from which the lady jumped" - referring to an incident which had happened few days back
• Demonetization made this book a reality: Capri had left his job with a view of becoming an entrepreneur. He wrote part-time initially as he had been working on this plot for more than 2 years. But with demonetization happening within few months of his leaving the job, he decided to shift his focus to full-time writing and that's how this book became a reality
• Capri is an avid coin collector and has over 1200 coins in his collection from over 100 countries
• Capri loves to take up new challenges and explore new cities and cultures: During his professional career spanning 12 years, Capri has worked with three organizations, stayed in 7 different cities across three countries
• Capri loves snakes - he wishes to own a snake farm one day. In fact, one of his goals before he turns 50 is get trained as a professional snake catcher
• Capri was never into writing - he was so bad at writing that once his boss made him write an email repeatedly as he didn't find it good enough - it wasn't accepted even after 10 drafts. It hurt Capri so bad deep within that he almost made his life goal to be good at writing

About the Author:
In July 2016, when Capri's career was at an all-time high, he quit his job and decided to pursue one of his under-40 goals and that was to pen a novel. His first novel - "Then the doorbell rang", which is in fiction genre, has been published by Leadstart Publishing. His book has been released on Amazon and has received great responses.
Capri's philosophy in life is simple - Plan your life rather than follow a plan. Whilst this might sound contradictory, if you re-read the statement you would be able to understand the subtle difference. Planning is a continuous process whilst a plan is a static one. At different points in one's life, one must be able to revisit his life and re-sync it with life's changed priorities and circumstances.
And to be successful, it is very important to be passionate about what you do. "Passion is elixir for the soul" is something he truly believes in. This coupled with the right mentoring leads to an assured success.
Capri is keen to share his perspectives with the world through his writings and talks.

Goodreads * Amazon

In Association with Author's Channel



Monday, March 12, 2018

You Don't Know What Love Is by P. David Hornik

The Blurb:
Lou and Hettie and their three teenagers are on summer vacation at a lake in upstate New York. On the surface, a peaceful mountain paradise; beneath the surface, trouble brews. The couple has tried to bury the ghosts of past infidelities. But in the tranquil surroundings, old desires start to stir, old resentments begin to simmer. Treenie, 17, a sassy beauty, starts to unleash her own furies, hurling accusations at the others. Her twin, Ross, would prefer to just enjoy his affair with a girl he’s met in town. Alan, 15, is a gentle introvert who tries to put a lid on his sister’s anger. But that, too, is in vain.

. . . be there when the illusion of tranquility explodes in their faces
After night falls on one deceptively serene summer day, deeply depressed Hettie goes for a walk beside the lake, and there tragedy strikes. By the time dawn arrives, members of the family have to face the reality of a supposed paradise that is not merely lost, but completely shattered. You Don’t Know What Love Is is a novel of rare, dark power, one you will be unable to put down or forget.


What I Felt About The Book:
Honestly, It was difficult to get into the book and actually start feeling the story. But once there, it all made sense and it became a page turner.

It's a strange but surprisingly good book about a family which looks perfect to the outside world. But once inside the relations, they are all complicated. The talks give an impression that no one cares about anyone but then there is a reason behind a group of people being called a family!

There is a chapter which so beautifully captures the feeling when you gather the guts to talk to your ex only to find out that the other side has moved on. The most gorgeous part about it was that the author left the emotions to be felt by reader itself.

Then, there were few parts which I failed to understand and one such was related to the climax. I quickly went back and re-read the chapter which left me to my own thoughts for a while. Love sure is hard to understand...

The book can be brought from amazon at:

               Kindle Edition                                                                        Paperback