Small Joys

55 Fiction

A smile lights up her face as the oppressive clouds gave way to clear blue skies.

The fresh breeze blows the tendrils of her hair and tickle her face.

A sigh of contentment escapes her lips as she watches it flap in the breeze and shine in the sun’s reflection…

her fresh and crisp laundry.

Book Review Private India

an Title: Private IndiaPrivate India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
ISBN: 978-0-099-58639-5
Number of Pages: 470
Price [INR]: 350
Genre: Fiction

In Mumbai seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.

For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it’s a race against time to stop the killer striking again.

In a city of over thirteen million, he’d have his work cut out at the best of times but this case has him battling Mumbai’s biggest gang lord and a godman who isn’t all he seems.

And then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation – along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens…

I have read Ashwin Sanghi’s Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key and enjoyed reading them. I liked the detailed the fast paced thrilling mystery in both these books which had loads of intrigue and insights along with a good dose of history and mythology. So, when India’s thriller writer Ashwin Sanghi collaborated with internationally acclaimed writer James Patterson (I have not read any of his books … have heard a lot about the various series though) to bring Patterson’s Private series to India, my expectations from these two bestselling authors together in this book were high.

It all starts with the murder of a woman strangulated with a yellow scarf and some strange trinkets in her hands. Private India, the world’s biggest detective agency is called in by the police to handle the case. And soon enough, there are more such murders in the city. All the victims are women and are murdered by strangulation with a yellow scarf around their necks and different religious and cultural symbols around them.

The agents at Private India get down to crack the case. In the process, they come across gangsters, a godman, corrupt cops and government officials who are involved in prostitution, betting, drugs, begging syndicate and even Pakistan’s ISI acting through the Indian Mujahideen who tries to plant bombs in Mumbai.

Apart from the description of high tech gadgets and techniques, Sanghi’s favourite subject of Hindu mythology and mysticism in the form of the nine avatars of Goddess Durga and their significance along with the Thugee cult during the British India finds a place in the story too, which made for an insightful and an interesting read.

Private India is a story that is action packed with the right amount of suspense and mystery. The needle of suspicion kept changing from one character to the other as the story progresses and that kept the intrigue and suspense alive. It is an absolute page turner as I finished reading it in a few hours.

The only gripe I had while reading Private India was poor or inappropriate word choices, awkward sentence structures and occasional lapses into bad grammar and incorrect (mostly missing) punctuation. All this was so much so that I had to re-read many sentences to understand what was being said.

But at the end of the day, what really matters is that the story kept me glued to it as the tension rose to a surprising conclusion. Also the large font size and nearly 100+ short chapters spread over 470 pages, made Private India an easy breezy read.

Rating : 3.75 Stars

This review is a part of the biggest Book review program  for Indian Bloggers.Participate now to get free books!

Book Review : Trouble Has a New Name

Title: Trouble Has a New Nametroublehasanew-name_thumb1
Author: Adite Banerjie
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 9351065138
Number of Pages: 192
Price [INR]: 150
Genre: Romance

Rayna is a model who is dumped by Sid through a text message. She doesn’t have time to mope around as she has a wedding to attend.

It’s the big fat wedding of her best friend Milee at a boutique resort at the Andaman Islands. She manages to catch the flight, exchanges some smart and witty remarks with a Greek God of a co-passenger and then drenches him in orange juice too.

The resort is chock-a-block with guests, so she has no option but to share the villa with the Greek God, Neel who turns out to be the owner of the resort and the Best Man at the wedding.

To keep the gossip mongers and nosy relatives at bay, Rayna asks Neel to be her pretend fiancé. Sparks fly between them from the word go. Rayna falls in love with Neel, only to see him leaving her, as Neel struggles to fight his own personal demons.

What happens to the two of them? Read the book to find that out.

I enjoyed reading Adite’s book and finished it in a couple of hours.

What I liked about this book:

  • Though I could predict the way the story would flow, but the fact that it kept me hooked to the book is commendable.
  • The characters are believable and have their flaws which make them human and relatable.
  • Loved the RBILs – The Rayna Book of Immutable Laws. They are interesting and keep coming back to bite her in the butt. Rayna’s self talk and the smart acronyms like OOO, HTRB Syndrome etc are pretty delightful.
  • The voice of the author is vivid and lucid and has a writing style that engages and entertains. The wit and humor laced dialogues between the characters brings smiles and add to the charm of the story.
  • The book is well edited that pleased the reader in me, a lot!

Trouble has a New Name has the fizz of a chick-lit and a romance that makes you sigh dreamily. A delightful read, indeed.

Rating : 4 Stars

Spotlight on Trouble Has a New Name

Title: Trouble Has a New Nametroublehasanew name
Author: Adite Banerjie
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 9351065138
Number of Pages: 192
Price [INR]: 150
Genre: Romance

The Blurb

“Will you pretend to be my fiancé for the next few days?”

Recently-single model Rayna Dutt does not feel like flying to her friend’s big fat Indian wedding. But she does – and when a mix up with room allocations forces her to share a luxury villa on Emerald Isle with the gorgeous owner of the hotel – Neel Arora – and best man at the wedding, things begin to look up.

Until Rayna’s ex turns up with a new girl on his arm!

Hitting the panic button, Rayna searches for a solution. Surely Neel wouldn’t mind being her fake fiancé…? In an instant the attraction they share is fever pitch, but when scandal comes calling, Rayna soon finds herself in more trouble than she can handle!

Meet the Author

Adite Banerjie has been writing professionally ever since she graduated from college. After an Adite Banerjie Close Up Iexciting and fulfilling career as a business journalist, she turned to freelance writing, crunched numbers and wrote reports about consumer behavior and social development issues. Somewhere along the way she got on to the screenwriting bandwagon and wrote scripts for documentaries and spec screenplays for feature films. She was hired by a filmmaker to write a feature script based on a true story.

When she penned her first romantic short story she won the 2012 Harlequin Passions Aspiring Authors Contest. Two of her books, The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal and Trouble Has a New Name have been published by Harlequin India. And she is currently under contract to write two more for the same publisher.

She lives in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, with her writer husband. She loves to connect with readers and writers.

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12 Most Annoying People on Facebook

Facebook has become an integral part of our lives, now-a-days. Everyone is on Facebook, right from your mother to theFacebook grandfather of your neighbour, father-in-law of your friend and even the son of your gardener. And why shouldn’t they be there, after all, Facebook is a never-ending virtual social get-together. I believe, it is one of the best things that has happened to us. The people on it, however, are a different story. Out of 500+ ‘Friends’ that we usually have on Facebook, some of them are truly annoying.

Here’s my list of 12 most annoying people on Facebook.

      1. Selfie Kings : Selfies are the IN thing these days. Can’t really blame you, for that. But clicking selfies pretty much everywhere… in the elevator, in the trial room of a store or with weird expressions or with the same expression every time and then posting them all on the Facebook every few hours is not cool. We know you love yourself a lot, but just remember that every time you shove your love for yourself down our throat, we hate you just a little bit more!
      2. Serial Likers : Agree, you are an epitome of love and compassion who sees good in anything and everything. Liking all the pictures individually in an album containing 267 photos to silly rants and even the sad and distressing news, is your way of showcasing the goodness in you!?! We have never understood the thought behind liking a death announcement! Can you explain that, please?
      3. Strangers : We don’t know each other, we don’t have common friends, so what makes you think that we will accept your friend request. And the ones that are accompanied with messages like, “Hi dear, can we mak frnd?” You know what we do to such requests? No, you don’t get it, we simply hit Delete and Mark as Spam. Not to be friendly with strangers rule holds true still.
      4. Stalkers : Digging old photographs and status updates from our Facebook wall, liking and/or commenting on them is akin to stalking. How do you explain systematically going through all of our archived photos?
      5. Living life on Facebook : ‘My munchkin is the best”, ‘Shopping at XYZ’, ‘Eating Quiche and Crepe at the French Bistro’, ‘Stuck in traffic’, ‘Cold, runny nose, cough and fever’, ‘Hate my ex’…. Studies reveal that oversharing your life on Facebook means that you are lonely. Thriving on likes and comments is linked to self-esteem issues and the need to be noticed. Get help, mate!
      6. Silent Friends : Ok, we are from the same profession or community, or may be we went to the same school and we do have a few common friends, so, you sent a ‘friend’ request and in a moment of insanity sanity don’t know what we were thinking, we did accept your request on Facebook. But why is there so much of silence now? Why there is no interaction? Do you still believe that a long friend list makes you look popular?!
      7. Meanies : You think you are very witty and making fun of people or spewing venom or ridiculing others is your birth-right. Take a break, please. We can do without your negative energy in our space. Make peace with your past or present and find some happiness in life!
      8. Hashtags Users : You think it is #CoolToTalkInHashtags. Well, #YouAreMistaken. #ItIsLame and #AndWeAreNotImpressed.
      9. Taggers : You share a new profile picture and tag 100 of your friends with it. Why, for God’s sake, why? Why should our wall have your pics? You captured an unflattering picture of a friend and again tag all his friends and relatives. No, it isn’t cute or funny! It is downright rude and impolite.
      10. Love @ Facebook : ‘You are my life’, ‘We are meant to be together’. Oh, yes, we get it loud and clear, that you love your spouse a lot. Wow! Isn’t that awesome! But should you be commemorating every moment with cheesy displays of affection on Facebook? Shouldn’t it be displayed via a text message or better still, in person? Wait, is that update really for your spouse? Nobody cares about your fourth month anniversary and all this PDA makes you look like a jerk! Believe it!
      11. Inviters : ‘Join my cause’. ‘Like my Page’. ‘Play Family Barn with me’. ‘Like my Picture for that contest’. ‘Click on the Link and Support me’. ‘Vote for me’. Give us a break, Please!! And if you really think that our vote is very important for you, please do this in moderation!
      12. Cryptic Talkers : ‘It happened again’, ‘Feeling sad’, “Can’t believe it’… updates like these are going to a get a barrage of comments like..
        • Friend 1 : What happened, baby?
        • Friend 2 : Oh, are you alright??
        • Friend 3 : Cheer up
        • Friend 4 : Pls share…. waiting!
        • Friend 5 : Don’t worry, be happy.
        • Friend 6 : Arz kiya hai..ahem…kisi ko mukammal jahaan nahin milta..kisi ko zameen kisi ko aasmaan nahi milta…wah! wah! Oh yaar..chill! It too shall pass!
        • The Status Updater : Oh, it’s a touchy subject.

You think we don’t get these attention seeking tactics? Grow up, it will do you good!

OK, let me do my bit and annoy you by sharing this post on all available blogging groups and forums, one after the other ;)

Have you met these annoying friends on Facebook?

Linking this to Write Tribe’s, Wednesday Prompt : 12 Most…

Happily Murdered

Title: Happily MurderedHappily Murdered
Author: Rasleen Syal
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
ISBN: 9382665188
Number of Pages: 246
Price [INR] : 195
Genre: Crime, Thriller & Mystery

The radiant new daughter-in-law of the influential Mehta family dies mysteriously on the very next night of her wedding. The murder is an inside job, the police are certain. It could be anyone, the adulterous husband, conniving in-laws, jealous friend and the love struck ex-fiancé.

With an aim to save themselves and incriminate others, it is not long before these suspects turn into amateur detectives, hunting for clues and delving into hidden secrets only they can unearth. They coerce, pry and blackmail in an attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Will one of these nine unlikely sleuths finally unravel the mystery behind Gulab’s death and avenge it? Or will the truth die as viciously as Gulab?

With Gulab Sarin dead on her wedding night, the needle of suspicion points towards not one or two people at the Mehta Palace but towards all nine of the family members. Each one of them has a motive, means and opportunity to kill Gulab. With family’s public image at stake, the nine turn into detectives with the sole aim of protecting the family, even at the cost of incriminating an innocent person. They have 15 days to do so as that’s the time frame the Police Inspector has to submit the report. Who could kill Gulab when she was dancing with such joy and contentment in her wedding finery? And thus over discussions, blame games, threats, pressure tactics and snooping around, the family members try to solve a whodunnit.

The characterization in the story is done really well. The characters’ personalities and complexities emerge nicely and this makes the characters alive and believable. Even Gulab’s character which is murdered in the very first chapter, is portrayed suitably such that you empathize with her and join the rest of the family in analysing the clues to bring her justice.

The pace of the story is just right and keeps you glued to the book. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoyed Happily Murdered from start to finish. There are no loose threads as all is wrapped up in a neat little bow towards the end. It is definitely a page turner that kept me up late at night examining the clues, evaluating the witnesses and alibis and determining the probable culprit. And the climax simply blew me away.

Caught a few typos in the book, but that did not dampen the reading pleasure.

A very promising debut by Rasleen, Happily Murdered is a recommended read for all crime, thriller and mystery lovers.

Rating : 4 Stars

Beyond School

Title: Beyond SchoolBeyond School
Author: Chitra Anand
Publisher: Frog Books
ISBN: 978-93-83562-40-4
Number of Pages: 201
Price [INR] : 125
Genre: Reality Fiction

Beyond School centres upon the weeks leading up to 17-year-old Shail’s final board exams, as his world becomes a pressure-cooker and the weight of preparing for the exams sends him fleeing rebelliously in the other direction.

Along with Shail’s journey from boyhood to manhood, Beyond School vividly weaves between the narratives of four main characters, seamlessly uniting the past and present of Shail, his parents – Urmila and Sushil and his mentor – Gladys, in a story that is honest, funny, heartbreaking and ultimately, incredibly human.

Beyond School is a coming-of-age story of Shail, a grade twelve student who come to grips with the reality of life and undergoes a change in this thoughts and matures as a person.

Teens is a phase of life which can be quite turbulent and is indeed a testing time for not only the teenagers but even for their parents. Beyond School is a reality fiction that brings to light, a lot of issues faced by the teenagers and their parents.  It brings to the fore, the concerns viz parental pressure for academic excellence, emphasis on academics vis-a-vis sports, disrespectful or defiant behaviour, disregard for rules and responsibilities, involvement in high risk and reckless activities, poor study behaviour and skills, communication gap between parents and children, among other things. The story also encompasses the elements of teen love affairs, the thrill of speed and gadget dependence too. The author who is an educator has neatly packed all these issues in the story. It is a story which all parents can relate to.

The author being from the field of education and my son who would be a teen soon, compelled me to read this book and to know the world of modern teens through her voice of experience. And Beyond School is definitely an interesting and an enlightening read. My only gripe about this book is its poor sentence structure and incorrect grammar usage throughout the length of the story. This was a big dampener for me.

Beyond School is an honest representation of the challenges faced by the teens and their parents in a global society.

Rating : 2.75 Stars

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

Meghna

Title: MeghnaMEGHNA
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Publisher: Flaming Sun
ASIN: B00KUPUURS
Number of Pages: 173 (Estimated)
Price [INR] : 194
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Type : eBook

The young and dashing Rahul Sinha lives in England with his parents, Shyam and Rajni. He is an only son of the rich banker. Rahul is totally attached to his father but does not care for his mother.

Rahul is exulted with his efforts at work paying off and plans a holiday with his best friend Sanjay Srivastav who lives in Mumbai with his wife Reema, kids Sanya and Rehaan and most importantly, his sister, Meghna. Rahul recalls meeting Meghna just before they parted six years ago.

Meghna works for a website and also teaches modern dance as she loves it. She’s thrown for a toss when Rahul comes visiting. She had thought he had forgotten them.

But how could Rahul do that? Sanjay’s his best friend and Rahul had always treated their home as his own. Sanjay’s mother had been more of a mother to Rahul than his own. Rahul had stayed away after moving to England or so Meghna believes.

Thus begins the story between Rahul and Meghna, the teasing, the flirting, the anger, the tears… …will they find love?

The blurb of the book pretty much tells you what to expect. And as I read Meghna, it was exactly what was promised. It did truly what it was meant to do – brightened up my day and gave me a smile.

Meghna has nicely drawn characters that one can relate to and a story line that is interesting and entertaining. Some parts of the story were just a little unbelievable to me, though, especially the hijacking part. The overall story is good, the sizzle is nicely done and the climax is delightful. A vivid, rich, descriptive style with not a single dull moment in the story, the author manages to keeps you engrossed in either sweet romance or high emotional drama. Two families with contrasting family values and traditions has been brought out well. The fact that all the misgivings and the misunderstandings get sorted very easily without much drama, leaves you be a bit disappointed. Written in simple and lucid language, with playful banter and facetious dialogues between Rahul and Meghna, the book makes for a light, fun and frothy read.

The cover design could have been better. The pink trousers clad Rahul on the cover certainly does not match with the cool and suave Rahul depicted in the inside pages!

Meghna is yet another entertaining read from Sundari Venkatraman.

Rating : 3.5 Stars

Gift a Life

It is called the gift of life. No words can ever express gratitude for this selfless act of passing on the gift of life. It is the legacy that we can leave behind… a priceless treasure that would be cherished by receiver and his family and our loved ones too.

Yes, I am talking about Organ Donation.

Organ Donation is the process of giving an organ or a part of an organ for the purpose of transplantation into another person.

Becoming an Organ Donor is a win-win situation for all. Here are some reasons why, we must opt for organ donation:

  • This one act of ours can help save lives and make a difference. Make a DifferenceExperts say that the organs from one donor can save or help as many as 50 people!! Organs and tissues that we can can donate include kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, skin, bone and bone marrow, cornea, heart valves and veins. Organs are used to save lives by replacing diseased organs with healthy ones. Corneas are transplanted to give sight and heart valves are used in valve replacement surgery. Skin grafts are used for burn victims. Bone, tendons and ligaments, veins can be used in reconstructive surgeries.

 

  • It can give a second chance at life to the organ recipients. For some, an organ transplant means no longer having to be dependent on costly routine treatments to survive.  It allows many recipients to return to a normal lifestyle and/or have a better quality of life.

 

  • Our own families may take comfort in the fact that their loss may help to save or improve the lives of others.

Organ Donation

Around this time, last year, I pledged to donate my organs. I have requested that after my death any part of my body be used for transplantation. I carry this card in my purse always. And my family knows about this wish of mine. I just hope that they do remember to carry out this wish at the right time.

My Organ Donor Card

They say in the midst of darkness, an enduring light shines strong and bright. It is the light of hope. So, give the gift of hope to someone. Gift a life to somebody. Be an Organ Donor.

Light

Organ Donation… What do you think about it?

Linking this to #WorldOrganDonationDay Blog Carnival. Join us and read some more posts for this carnival at Vidya’s Blog.

I am Blank Because…

Thought of breaking the monotony on the blog with a fun post… I enjoyed writing it, seriously! This post idea was shared on the Write Tribe blog which is I’m Am Blank Because… a fill in the blanks exercise from Little Miss Momma’s Blog. I’m Weird Because…

  • I can eat desserts as a main course meal.
  • I don’t like chocolates and ice creams.
  • I’d rather die than eat food served in trains or roadside vendors or any unhygienic looking eatery.
  • Just by looking at a new dish, I know whether I’d like it or not. This is especially for those exotic looking desserts on the buffet tables at hotels/restaurants. And when I do try them, I am always right. No, I am not biased.
  • I love to have my morning and evening tea in total quiet and peace. If both of these are missing, I’d delay having my cuppa. A blissful environ is mandatory for my daily elixir.
  • I love doing dishes, mopping and washing clothes. Can do them at any hour of the day.
  • Giving the home a spic and span look takes precedence over cooking food for the hungry souls, always most of the time.
  • I can’t function without making lists. A mental list is made for regular chores while rest of the things are thought out loud on paper.
  • I can shed more than a bucket load of tears while watching movies, even the ones that I have seen over a hundred times.
  • I cant dance to save my life.

I’m a Bad Friend Because…

  • I don’t really like talking on the phone. I rarely take the initiative to call.
  • I’d rather text than call.
  • I am far too honest and that hurts a lot, I know.

I’m a Good Friend Because…

  • I’m there for my friends with an empathetic ear. Anytime. Always.
  • I respond promptly to any need/call/text.
  • I am fiercely loyal.
  • I am always there, through thick & thin, for my friends.

I’m Sad Because…

  • Despite my best intentions, I am never able to stick to my exercise schedule for long (read 3-5 days! :(  ).
  • I am not able to keep myself from worrying about anything and everything.

I’m Happy Because… DSC_0140

  • The unconditional love and support that I receive from my boys.
  • I baked cupcakes for the first time yesterday and they turned out great.

I’m Excited For…

  • The things that our shaping up…
  • The future that looks so very promising! Touch wood!

What makes you Weird, Happy, Sad and Excited? Do share your thoughts :)

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