Indian Women and the Shaadi Conundrum offers scholarly, in-depth analysis of women issues


 

Book Review: Indian Women and the Shaadi Conundrum

Authored by: Dr Rachna Arora & Deepika Sharma

Released in 2016 by Authors press, New Delhi

Rating: Four stars

Introduction:

Today, March 8, the world celebrates International Women Day and it is important to reflect on the place held by women in society who makes several choices that defines their life, career and issues that plague them in juggling family and professional life. The book, ‘Indian Women and the Shaadi Conundrum’ assesses issues faced by women in their married life which is often dictated by a patriarchal society that treats the ‘fairer sex’ as inferior and roles they are expected to play in society. Often, religion, rites and rituals get the upper hand where women face the ire of misplaced rules in society. The author addresses several themes pertaining to relationships, expected roles for women, stereotyping and equal values which seems to wane by the day. The issues treated in the book is timeless, relevant during the bygone era, the present and the future where it seems dogmatic views has not changed an iota no matter how much we shout hoarse about equality in society. In short, ‘Indian Women and the Shaadi Conundrum’ serves as guide in terms of practicalities in offering first-hand account and is a small bible that has explored in-depth the role of woman in their married life. Let’s analyze the focal points.

Narration:

“Post marriage, my life has become miserable because of constant interference from the family members. I am expected to take permission from my in-laws before buying clothes for myself. Privacy is an alien concept in the house, as my sisters-in-law walk freely into our room at odd hours.”

Authors Dr Rachna Arora & Deepika Sharma use first-hand accounts in exploring the situation of women who often lack the support of their respective husbands in several instances and points out at the so-called happy and long-lasting marriage. Pride is taken in a society like ours where divorce is taboo. Unfortunately, many of us prefer to evade the grim reality and we proudly wear the veil of seeing everything hunky-dory but had we chosen to look behind the curtains, a box of Pandora would unveil right in front of our eyes. In this book, the right questions are asking on the role of mother in-laws in the way they treat their daughters where honest questions and assertiveness is recommended for the woman so that she is not taken for granted.

The role of extended family is also being addressed and the courtship period where the mandatory six months is recommended before a woman takes the plunge. The authors recommend on the need for a woman to put things in perspective and not succumb to the pressure of tying the knot. Oh! The famous log kya kahenge and if needed call off the engagement off if the ‘stone-aged’ influence of doggedly keeping rituals, customs and traditions arise.

What I like the most in the book is that it has several Dos and Donts, checklist on how to gauge a prospective groom and aspects where a woman can work it out or cannot compromise with in-laws. I think before getting married each and every woman must have a checklist before going ahead. The book has a must have list that addresses pressing issues such as a realistic approach to marriage, knowledge about laws and legal rights and financial security, among others.

The uniqueness of women should be celebrated in all its forms and it whittle down to personal choice. The hair style, choice of jewellery, weight or shopping shouldn’t be a matter of seeking approval on the eve of marriage. These are simple things but something which the authors deemed right to remind women whose individuality are often lost in translation.

The book points out at life post marriage where a woman suddenly finds herself at the cross-road with labels such as bhabhi, devrani or jaithani. A strong message is sent: Treat us like a daughter and give equal treatment. The main points are often on the need for a daughter in law (DIL) to be answerable and boosting the image of an ideal bahu or the fact, she will learn and manage on her own. The authors explore the various issues and discuss communications as an effective tool for a healthy relationship. It’s about the need to engage directly with in-laws and be assertive when things go awry. It’s important to accept new relations which is often tough, taking into account that a girl is leaving her comfort zone and ‘privileges’ at home. It’s a two-way traffic, I’d argue. Be assertive and learn to say No matters above everything else not to crush the self or individuality.

A whole chapter is devoted to patriarchal nature of society where the father-in-law expects his morning tea and owing to the protocol for DIL in India, whose parents never get special treatment. It serves as a great contrast, as the authors rightly figure it out, how women don’t make demands to the Jamai Saab. It’s a tragedy in today’s time how parochial and patriarchal our society is ingrained in rules dating back to the dark age. Or, the preconceived notion when it comes to arranged marriage where the woman is controlling the man and this cliché that she is too independent.

There are passages like, ‘The girl is too cunning, that is, why she has brainwashed our son… He chooses a girl he loves, she would not want to live with us after marriage…This boy is married to a girl from the hills. These girls are so cunning and into black magic…He has married a different culture girl, these girls are mithi churi.’ Sounds familiar!

In the chapter, ‘Self-Empowerment: The Key to Happiness’, the authors points at common stereotypes where women grew up with rules such as women don’t laugh loudly, a shame to play sports, your rightful place is in the four corners of the home or a woman is respected after marriage because of her husband.

The authors make a great pitch for parents to instill equal values among girls, urging her to say no, curfew applying for both women and men as well as addressing the much-dreaded menstruation which is treated as taboo. It’s no secret in many homes girls going through menses are treated like outcasts and it’s time to throw out such illogical and ridiculous practice where society, albeit parents are to be majorly blamed. A woman going through menses is a normal being.

The authors devote an entire page in the form of a chapter to in-laws, reminding them of shared efforts in a household which is not the sole domain of a woman, the need for reciprocal relationships, keeping a check on personal boundaries and avoiding comparisons. It’s much-needed tips for parents-in-law in today’s times.

The husband or hubby to be is also urged to take a stand for women and it’s his responsibility as an equal partner to voice out against social injustice or helping during the adjustment period.

What’s Not!

Honestly, I am not going that route in pointing out at flaws in the book since it’s a scholarly product where the authors have used extensive survey, much to their credit and case studies to support their claim on something obvious. It’s a worrying aspect in the way we treat women as second-class citizens after marriage where she is expected to fulfill social obligations without reasoning.

Final words:

The work of authors Dr Rachna Arora & Deepika Sharma in Indian Women and the Shaadi Conundrum must be lauded for their in-depth analysis and critically assessing the position of women in the marriage sphere. This book should serve as a reference point for organizations such as National Commission for Women and the case studies as a guide in drafting legislations to protect women, upholding their rights in society. A brilliantly explored scholar work that serve as a guide to the Government, academic institutions, NGOs and helping to spread awareness, raise mass consciousness and educate. Full marks to the authors for urging us to question rules that discriminate against fellow human beings. Such nonsensical rules should not only be questioned but chucked out. It’s written in a simple and direct language, that makes it easy to understand minus technical jargons. Go and grab it.

PS: The book has been given to me for review by the authors through my good friend, poet and author Soumya Mohanty Vilekar. You can buy the book on Amazon and check out more on Goodreads.

V

Book Review: Smitten with Smita


Book Review: Smith Patil, A Brief Incandescence

Author: Maithili Rao

Publisher: Harper Collins

Rating: Four and a half

smita-patil

 

I have always felt a deep and strong connection with one of the best actresses that ever sashayed in Indian cinema, Smita Patil. Her looks, smoldering expressions and the raw intensity in her eyes simply stays with you and capture your heart. For me, she is and will always be a Goddess. And, to think, when she died I was very small. Having been born and brought in an Indian family outside the country, I remember Dad took me to a concert when Amitabh Bachchan performed. He came with tears in his eyes. I recall or, like my Dad explained, that Bachchan said that he just got a bad news that one of his closest friends in the industry, Smita Patil, passed away after delivering a baby boy.

It’s a dichotomy that I watched the movies of Smita-ji after she passed away and whenever I think about her, read her impressive work or watch her, tears flow in my eyes. That’s the kind of cosmic bond I have with one of my favorite actresses. I ordered the book of Maithili Rao’s Smita Patil: A Brief Incandescence.

The author has provided a detailed insight and description on the life of Smita-ji, her heart of gold and someone who remains unaffected with showbiz, her craze as a ‘biker woman’ and her body of work. In my world, she is a Mom, sister, friend and perhaps, we were connected in an earlier birth if something like that ever exist. She is a national phenomenon which the author has successfully unraveled in Smita the person, daughter, and actress. The beauty of the book lies in the fact that as a reader and admirer, you are invited into her life, interacting with the actor where Maithili Rao makes you a part of her existence. It feels that she never left us.

The book is divided into her Puneri roots, reluctance to move to Bombay and her movies described as ‘Her Dasavatars-her artistic outing and how she makes the leap into commercial cinema. The cherry on the cake is the different testimonies theater actress Vaishali, filmfare editor Jitesh Pillai love letter to his favorite actress, film critic Deepa Deosthalee on ‘Smita and Deepti Naval poem and Nandita Das heart felt letter, ‘Smi: The Sister I never met. It makes you choke with emotions. I did. I cried my heart out.  In Smita Patil and her Dasavatars, Maithili Rao shared tit bits on the critically acclaimed Marathi movie, Mantham, Jait re Jait, Bhumika, Umbartha, Arth, Sagar Sarhadi’s Bazaar, Mandi or commercial outings where she shared screen presence with Bachchan in Namak Halal and Shakti.

Smita-ji was in a hurry, tells the author who speaks about her questionable choice in mainstream cinema where the actor went on record to say the reason is she wants her audience to grow bigger to her art outings. A Brief Incandescence is not just a book but a real-time experience going to the past where interesting snippets on Smita-Ji being an unwanted child, her shift from Marathi medium to English, the Doordarshan newscaster that had such an impact on the audience that Vinod Khanna would storm home to watch this newscaster that haunts or her passion as a biker woman. Yes! I bet that not many of us knew about it.

Born to a politician father Shivaji Rao Patil who served as Union Minister in Maharashtra, Smita-ji has done a lot of selfless work for the poor, in particular women but she is not known to push her way to reach glory. It’s a rare insight on how Mahesh Bhatt pushes her to be selfish and competitive, two personality traits that were not her at all. Maithili Rao provides insights on how she remained unaffected by showbiz where she would go out of her way to hug a spot boy on sets and would feign away the whole ‘I am a star’ kinda thing. Smita Patil is not known to be someone bound by convention, whether in her choice of friends, films or personal relationships so much that when she constructed her house in Bandra, she wanted the construction workers to be her first guests. What a human tragedy that she wasn’t alive to see the sea-facing bungalow that she spent years to choose. The family fed the construction workers in the bungalow.

The famous Aaj Rapat Jaye in Namak Halal is something she abhorred doing and Amitabh Bachchan testified how she has complained that she hates doing it but completed it with some convincing. Smita-ji has nurtured a passion for photography where her shots were showcased an IIT professor Trivedi who discovered the rare pictures that she clicked and screened, ‘Through The Eyes of Smita’ who was the new cinema icon and raptly captured the dream girl Hema Malini. Such is the power of the author Maithili Rao who makes us discover the real Smita Patil.

“She had full knowledge of what she was doing, how and when to open the lens, take out parts and reassemble them. I was surprised. I asked her, how do you know all this. Camera is my shaukh, she replied. If it is my passion, I will learn everything about it.”

-Amitabh Bachchan

The endearing and humane quality in Smita Patil is narrated by Arun Khopkar, “The stardom didn’t weigh heavy on her shoulders. Once she became a friend and you kept the trust, there was no change in the relationship. She has become a kind of role model for women in Maharashtra. Here, was a woman with no airs, whom you could directly approach. She was direct, she had no contamination…”

It’s hard. I mean, an uphill task to draw loopholes on a book that has been written so well, be it the choice of subtle language that captivates readers or the research to decode the person behind the book. Perhaps, the writer’s quest to justify art movies and discard from commercial ones where Smita’s choice of films are questioned. I think she knew what she was doing and her justification, ‘..was one way of enlarging the audience for art cinema once its actors become stars of mainstream films.’

The afterward by her mentor, Shyam Benegal who wrote a letter to Vidya tai (Vidyarao Patil), Smita-ji’s Mom in the form of a beautiful poem by Persian poet, Jalaluddin Rumi, best describes the actor and the person. A Brief Incandescence: Smita Patil is not just a book but an experience in understanding your favorite actor that still haunts you decades after her death. It’s a cinema guide where the author has laid bare the work that Smita Patil has done over the years and detail about each movie is written.

Smita Patil is a phenomenon. Her mythical looks, eyes expressing sparking fury and one of the rarest actors who doesn’t need to deliver punching lines but the eyes do the talking. What is it about her that years after she is gone, she stays with you forever? Perhaps, a soulful experience and an enigma with a sixth sense who could get a feel about someone who met a near fatal experience read Bachchan. It’s a book that touched my inner soul and I know will stay with me forever.

There hasn’t been anyone like Smita-ji and will never be. It comes as no surprise that since 1986, we haven’t had another Smita Patil. We will never have. I have decided to write her a letter every year on her birthday or death anniversary, perhaps my way to be closer to the gentle soul that she was. A healer in the truest sense. I always extend my gratitude to her.

The book shouldn’t be missed for Maithili Rao gives such as brilliant description and her words evoke emotions, building a vivid imagery of the star and the person behind the image. Smita Patil was destined to be in such short span of time.

Postscript: I got the book on December 13, this year and perhaps, it’s a strange sheer coincidence.

Love

V

 

 

Book Review: Glitter and Gloss is the season’s rom-com read


Book Review: Glitter and Gloss

Author: Vibha Bhatra

Publisher: Bloomsbury India

Released in: July 26

Pages: 184

Rating: Three and a half stars

 

Introduction

A cocktail of love and break ups, crazy roomies, and friendship exploring the erogenous zones makes Glitter and Gloss an explosive read this winter. It’s the first time I am reading Vibha Batra and she cooks a unique appealing dish of romance, friendship and bitching that makes Laughter Challenge fade in comparison. The book is breezy and the spasm of laughter pumps the adrenaline with Vibha effortlessly exploring the nuance of relationships that never loses steam and it makes her latest romance outing all glitter and gloss.

Blurb:

Misha is a make-up artist who, after a series of mishaps and twists and turns, falls madly in love with Akshay who reciprocates her love with ardour. The only hitch in this perfect romance is her prospective sister-in-law who thinks Misha is everything a Bahu shouldn’t be: garrulous, geeky, gawky, gainfully employed (especially the last bit).

Blurb credit: Goodreads.com

Narration:

The life of Misha as a make-up artist can be drab and routinely blissful in the company of besties, Poulomi and Samy who love hating each other but adore the main protagonist to death. Misha’s bestie is on a mission to save Misha before all the guys go instinct and urge her to hunt desperately for a date. It comes in the form of a fleshed out version of Fawad Khan who doesn’t trot on a horse as the black and shine armor when he comes across Misha in a fashion show. The narration and dialogues are effortlessly done in a constant flow that will make readers laugh their lungs out.

The book will be identified with Gen X and the author makes no bone in sketching the narration in such a manner to tap relationships complexities. Glitter and Gloss truly live to its genre of rom-com with the one-liners and funny situations. The light moments are not forced on its readers and provoke peals of laughter.

The character, Poulomi, is one-of-its-kind and the in-your-face chick that will take us back to our college friends for we all had that one friend for whom the world never goes around and it can be merrily twisted to one’s bizarre imagination. The hero of the book, Akshay is described as a charmingly unique mystery man and Misha gets an adrenaline rush and oxymoron crush drooling over his sexy quotient. Like in the movies, the man comes as a savior to the heroine where love gotta ignites fire.  The first kiss, stoked with ‘head dip and lips brush against mine’ happens in the unlikeliest situation to create a dynamite of sort. The author should be credited for creating the first kiss in the unlikeliest situation or place and injecting intimacy and hilarious touch at the same time.

“He tears his mouth and releases me abruptly from that delicious warm embrace. My eyes fly open as I go from sensuous Cinderella to Piddu Pumpkin…Bade deshon mein aisi choti choti galtiyan hoti rehti hain? My heart threatens to explode out of my chest as I gawk at him.”

Our Akki has a sister, Didi, who swears by jewelry, prayer meets and of course, upholding the family traditions for the new to be Bahu in the Agarwal khandaan. This puts Misha in a fix when Didi meets the former’s Mom who isn’t shy to parade her young boyfriend. It gets hilarious when both Didi and Misha’s mother discuss saat pheras and religious outings. It couldn’t be better framed than that and is one of the core highlights of the book. How Mom almost spoils the fun! The sequence in the narration has been one of the best ‘comedy of errors’ that you could have read in recent times. The cherry on the cake is Misha who imagines herself to be a fresh version of  ‘Tulsi Virani’ and takes it upon herself to save the family honor. A fun ride!

What’s Not!

There are quite a few glitches in this tale of Glitter and Gloss. The new age, Misha, tries hard to be a sati savitri, taking it upon herself to fit in this crazy religious family and being a Manglik, seems regressive in today’s world. Not that, it doesn’t happen in society. Moreover, the transition of the lovelorn couple, Misha, and Akshay wanting to get hitched seems drastic to a certain extent, in my view. Even, the break up between Akshay and Misha seems too sudden. I feel that the author should have delved deeper into the romance angle and flirting to keep the suspense alive till the climax end.

Final Words:

Glitter and Gloss is a refreshing tale with the ‘condom moods killer friends’ spoiling the night’ to the ‘veggie suitor’ feasting on flesh and detectives that makes it a read to kill. Vibha Bhatra has churned a delightful tale of love and romance that will find its way in your hearts. You cannot afford to miss ‘Glitter and Gloss.’

I was contacted by the author who gave me the book for free in exchange for a honest review. You can buy the book here. You can follow the author on Twitter.

 

Review of Behind Smiles: What All We Hide


Book Review: Behind Smiles: What we all Hide

Author: Shraddha Singh

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Three and a half stars

Behind smiles: what all we hide by [singh, shraddha]

Introduction:

Author Shraddha Singh’s bouquet of poetry, ‘Behind Smiles: What All We Hide‘ gently touches our senses and emotions through the painting of vivid expressions, right from life, romance to nature and the self. It’s a beautiful composition where Shraddha introduces Rondeau Poetry which is lyrical, simple and effortlessly seep into our imagination. The poetry collection is a short and sweet book but stays in our imagination for a long time.

Blurb:

Life is a journey and it goes on. We’ve crossed many summits , yet many are ahead ! ‘Behind Smiles: What We All Hide’ is a collection of 21 poetries dedicated to and born out of emotions & situations of life. We all have something that we hide behind our smiles. Read these lines by shraddha Singh to connect with your Behind Smiles.

Credit: Amazon

Narration:

The different poems weaved are filled with hope and optimism where the tapestry of words  strikes the human soul in a wavering manner. The first poem is a collaboration between Shraddha and Simran Kaur where both speak about scars, fears and seeking smile and love to destroy darkness. It serves as a tribute to Rumi where reference is made to his words. Shraddha weaves the Rondeau Poetry  where she expresses life’s innate emotions, love, and destiny that bears a huge impact. In Broken Wings, emotions and silence come together in a beautiful manner to describe the journey of life where we take things in our stride, good or bad. What a fresh perspective to look at life. It is powerful yet beautifully sensual.

The poetry book has something in store for every lover of poetry and the genre is not limited and, for instance, a tanka is played out like soothing music in the atmosphere to describe, ‘Nostalgia’ that looks at our past with fondness and express the nude lips in real-time. Shraddha echoes the feelings of mortals who need to rewind from time-to-time to pick up strength in the past that defines us. The choice of words flows like a gentle breeze to echo vigor and optimism in a past that never abandoned us and where we seek happiness. The human life is a web of complexity and perhaps, the past is a great healer for the pain embedded in the present.

In ‘Take Away’, the author shows a strong belief in love and its varied emotions which are the drug of life that gives humans a high.

“Take away your drug of love

From my breath and my blood.

It keeps me in your absence

Spoiled me in your presence!!”

The words are sketched effortlessly but it relates to every heart that loved, lost and long for this emotion that keeps the flame burning inside. Personally, I love the poem, “The power is Me” where the author shows the belief and determination to overcome any hurdle to emerging victorious in the face of  storms and blows that one faces from time-to-time. A poem which is unleashed with power that renews optimism and rekindles that self-belief is the biggest human triumph.

Final Words

The poetry collection, ‘Behind Smiles: What we all Hide is a gem that wafts through our aesthetic and literary sense which Shraddha Singh has gently twisted words to motivate souls and touching every aspect of life, be it love,  nostalgia, memory and re-affirms the belief in the power of the self. It’s a must read.

You can check the author’s blog on Shine Shraddha and click on Amazon to get your copy.

Love

V

 

Book Review: Sonam Gupta hits you hard on the face


Book Review: I’m Not a Betrayer

 

“Is it worth the smile on my Dad’s face while I was taking ‘pheras’ around the holy fire and the way he put my palm in Jay’s hands? Was this pain worth having my feet washed in the ritual of religion?”

It has become a household name, Sonam Gupta who entered our lives on social media. But, Sonam Gupta is not just a name but the story of a common woman who faced the ire of a society, patriarchal in nature, pushing her to marry a stranger to fulfill vows and witnessed the massacre of her body every single night.  Isn’t it the story of millions of women across India?

The book, I’m Not a Betrayer packs a punch in narrating the story of Sonam Gupta who echoes untold stories of women whose marriages are fixed and toeing the line in society for the fear of label, suffering in silence. The son or husband is always the innocent one and it’s a big malaise that perpetuates society on the role of women.  After all, isn’t it what women are expected to do? The role playing of bending to the whims of the ‘better half’ whether it’s ‘forced sex’ or  accepting their destiny. Rebelling against rules will make the woman a bad and immoral girl.

The author addresses the issue on how women are treated in our society and male aggression used to shake the confidence of a woman. I’m Not a Betrayer is a short book that will shake your soul and paint a grim reality that most of us prefer to run away from. The violence perpetrated in the name of marriage and society on a woman that never betrayed and longed for love, to live a dignified life should make us stop and reflect. It’s time to say No to violence, be it verbal or physical against women, considered to be inferior to mankind by a sick society

“What about your body used as a means of pleasure for your husband without your permission…Who gave him the right to use your skin as a scrap of paper on which to write his story…Why does a husband become the sole owner of it, with or without your permission?”

It’s a small book but the author has injected emotions and power by efficiently depicting the world of Sonam Gupta on how fear is used to control a woman and it’s the biggest betrayal that takes us back to the dark age where religion is used as a tool for exploitation. I’m not a Betrayer is a book that everyone must read for it sends a subtle message yet powerful on our hypocrite society where voices are muzzled. We have grown up with flawed values on the role of a man and women. A must read for it’s a story of a woman that hits us hard in the face.

Love

V

 

 

UBC Day 16: Book review Caged birds Do Not Sing


 

I am participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge written for The Blog Chatter on Day 16. Today, I am reviewing the Sonia Kundra Singh’s book, Caged Birds do not Sing. Have fun reading.

BOOK Review

Caged Birds Do Not Sing

Released by: Fountainhead publishers

Author: Sonia Kundra Singh

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

Introduction:

Love is like the sensual white drape wrapped over your skin to cover souls intertwined together. Sonia Kundra Singh’s, ‘Caged birds Do Not sing’ is a tangy, spicy and sensual affair which depicts romance that hit the nerves and the provoked adrenaline rush that reaches the climax is a boon to readers swayed by melting hearts, souls, and bodies.

An engrossing book, Caged Birds do not Sing set the pace that lifts you off the perch as you are transported into the world of Saira, Aryan, and Saraswati Reddy. In short, the book is the perfect pitch for readers already sold to romance.

Blurb:

Saira Singh is busy with her nine to five job plus fantasizing about the handsome young boss’s brother until the boss himself steps in to make sure things were in control. Aryan Reddy needs help. He brings her into confidence to pretend to be his girlfriend to avoid an arranged match at home. Things began to heat up pretty soon after that. He transforms the nerdy girl into a woman and soon Cinderella was falling for the prince. With strong South Indian roots and a responsibility to be the exemplary eldest son interferes with his romance.

Credit: Goodreads

Narration:

‘Caged Birds Do Not Sing’ is a hot and sultry affair but with a soul. Sonia Kundra Singh depicts the complexity in the characters that she weaves with a whiff of fresh air, touching us like the passing light in our system. The writing is fast-paced and the characters are complex yet down-to-earth. The icing on the cake is the take on Hindi movies made in the 80s where Aryan’s mother asks Saira’s price to leave her son. The characters are flawed yet human who will go to any length to make the self-triumph. Aryan’s mother, Saraswati Reddy and Saira share a hate-love relationship but in the end, there is a tacit understanding after the bullet firing.

The author paints Aryan in an arrogant manner, the boss who gets things done and who thinks he can buy everything with his money. He is a very nuanced, complex and full of contradictions. But, there is more to him. Deep inside, he is a very soft man. Saira is one girl who knows what she wants from life but who is at the same time vulnerable.

Sonia has an uncanny ability to depict love-making scenes in a very effortless manner that hook the readers. It is spicy and full of life, be it constructing the kissing scenes and exploring the layers of the two distinctly different people making love to each other. She taps the emotions with so much clarity and builds the tension in a near perfect way.

“Her room was a mess but neither of them noticed. Clothes were flying in all directions and there was something more than kissing going on. Lips on lips, lips at the neck…lips around the navel where Aryan began a series of heated kisses. She was naked in his arms and he was still wearing his trousers, forcibly stopping himself the pleasure of being with her.”

There is a flow to each and every moment in the book, be it the orgasmic and sensual pleasures, conflict and narration that pushes the envelope further.

What’s Not!

There are few pitfalls in the book that could be avoided such as the element of predictability which is present in rare instances.  There is the jealousy angle when Saira dances with a businessman during the conference and the fiancée that comes uninvited to play spoilsport. Moreover, the change is too drastic in the second part of the book when Saira moves from Aryan to an unhappy marriage where she faces humiliation from the ‘wrong husband’ without raising an eyebrow.

Final Remarks:

Sonia Kundra Singh’s ‘Caged Birds Do Not Sing’ ends up in style, in the same way, it started with lots of fire spark. It simply takes you by surprise and wins over your heart. There are very few dull moments in the book. It’s a romance novel that truly lives up to its name and expectations to break the drab and monotony in life. It sends your heart pulsating asking for more. Fun, thrilling, and entertaining. A complete page turner and the moment your fingers flick through, there is no stopping you to finish it.

The author can be contacted on Facebook and Twitter. She blogs here. Book your copy here.

Book Review: Pepper mint romance ‘Only Wheat Not White’ way


Book Review: Only WHEAT NOT WHITE

Author: Varsha Dixit

Penning Publishing

Genre: Romance

Rating: Three and a half

Introduction

A spicy romance, blue ogre lover, a 20-something woman traipse awkwardly and cannot control her mouth and a sister whose life is in tatters. Only Wheat Not White where author Varsha Dixit not only cook but whips a storm in the US of A, the land of limitless possibility. Only Wheat Not White looks at romance, family and community life with a quirky eye, redefining the plot that will make you laugh your lungs out. The characters in the book are easily relatable which makes it a salty, light and breezy like peppermint read.

Blurb:

What if following your heart means failing your family? Eila Sood leaves India for the U.S., hoping to unite her family and mend fences with her estranged older sister. She soon learns that her sister’s intercultural marriage, which outraged their parents, has hit rock bottom. To help pay the bills, Eila accepts an accounting job at a strip club, working for the fascinating yet infuriating Brett Wright. As their friendship and mutual desire builds, Eila chooses keeping family peace over following her heart. After Brett misinterprets her fears and accuses Eila of prejudice, his ex-girlfriend steps in to offer solace. Eila realizes that whichever choice she makes will rip her life apart. What will Eila choose? Love of her life or a life ruled by tradition? Fall in love with love, in this steamy saga from a best-selling romance author.

Credit: Goodreads/Only Wheat Not White

Narration:

It’s a golden rule, ‘Only Wheat Not White’ in Eila’s world but everything she plans for, goes topsy-turvy. It’s a tale of complicated lives, where Eila not only finds friendship in the unlikeliest place but, she becomes a match fixer for the White Babe and the Wheat dude at work. Yes, our Eila cannot keep her mouth shut for long. She is mugged, saved by the American brother-in-law and is kissed out of the blue by the ogre. The book has family drama, love, friendship, sensuality and an anti-climax.

What is romance without humor and one-liners? Drab and boorish, you’ll argue and rightly so! Varsha Dixit effortless humor flits in the narration with utmost ease which breaks the monotony but never the flow.  Varsha takes you in this world where you can pop in and out for a break through the funniest lines but you can’t stay away for long.

That’s power writing. It marries well with an inherent reality of life that touches the human sense of observation and twists and turns life often takes.

“Eila had come to realize that people working in strip clubs are not complicated but their lives are. Well whose isn’t?”

The blue ogre dude is one of a kind and unusual character who can pass for a jerk, doesn’t shy in kissing, plays his cards well and Eila finds her own match in him. The character Brett, nah, I prefer blue ogre jerkiness is quite something with his tongue-in-cheek words who can turn the moist boisterous into ice-cold silence.

“…sardonically, he replied, ‘Lisa is working emergency only. She is due to give birth anytime in the next two weeks.’

“Congratulations.”

“..I’m not the father.”

The one-liners are terrific when it’s coupled with jealousy that makes Elia one of a kinda character, basking in her own reflection but will get jealousy pang not on someone else move but her own doing.

“My reluctant, rude, one-of-a-kind knight in shining armor. Except he isn’t mine.”

Or, this one which is one of my favorite that makes humor flawless and effortless in execution:

“Then, she stopped and turned around, ‘Food for thought! What’s the similarity between getting laid and laid off!” You need intelligence to steer this line to perfection.

In a nutshell, Only Wheat Not White has everything that can be beautifully adapted on the silver screen where the whole Indian family chip in at the restaurant owned by Bret and it’s narrated with an Indian feel how a community can pull the extraordinary to save the day. Mrs. Das is one such character, who mutters religious verses that echo our own Indian raga to attain Moksha. The book may have been set in US with White not Grey Love but the soul is Indian.

What’s Not!

Only Wheat Not White is fast paced with lives revolving around love, break up and complexities make it an endearing, saccharine affair but there are few loopholes. The Satsang religiously followed by a modern woman and the matchmaking fixation makes it cliché to a certain extent. The break up between Sheila and Steve is also quite abrupt for that matter.

Final Words:

Only Wheat and Not White is the book that you need to break the monotony of life. It has all the ingredients to make love, romance and beyond, a spicy affair. The sibling bond between Eila and Sheela, gently exploring the characters and nuanced conflict is one of the high points of the book. The climax is heart-pounding and endearing where Brett chases Eila but she shamelessly tells the cab driver, ‘It’s a rental’. The hot pursuit, both ways with Sheela’s cupid attempt till the end reminds us of the Hindi romance churned in the early 90s.

Click here to buy on Amazon. Connect with Varsha Dixit on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Much love

V