Friday, November 17, 2017

Ironically....Life




As we grew also grew the distance,
we were made conscious that we were different,
something we never felt while playing those games,
now we are two different genders,
the smiles we attracted when we played together are now stares,
the distance grew further everyday,
until one day when it was impossible to reach you,
ironically this was called "life".

Monday, November 6, 2017

Book Review: Europa by Hywel Pinto

Title: Europa                                  
Author: Hywel Richard Pinto
Category: Science Fiction
Publisher: Story Mirror
Price: Rs. 225                                                                  

Snapshot: The year is 2250 and we are witness to a historical trial of one of the Silver Fleet’s youngest and most promising captains - captain Richard Sparks, who has been accused of murdering a fellow crew member during the Silver Stars lengthy trip to Jupiter’s moon – Europa. But the crew are divided as to whether the captain is to be blamed for the fiasco or whether there was a bigger conspiracy on board?

Can another murder on board the Silver Star be attributed to the unusual mission that the ship is on? Does someone want the crew of the Silver Star to fail in their mission to locate one of her sister ship, reportedly lost near Europa? And just how many of the crew can captain Richard Sparks can trust, if he is to be believed as being innocent?

Meanwhile, a shadowy organisation back on earth contends with a dangerous, corrupt and ambitious Indian politician, with the Europa mission being used as the counter weight. Will this affect the crew on board the Silver Star?

All trials are not as simple as they seem – not when the accused has a story to tell and some people will go to great lengths to protect what actually happened on EUROPA.

Review: Europa by Hywel Richard Pinto is a space science fiction. The moment I laid my hands on it, the enchanting cover seemed to promise a feeling of wonder and adventure of travel among the stars. I expected a space opera with modern technology and Europa partially delivered it. I applaud the author’s extra ordinary imagination brimmed with adventure, action, aliens and suspense. But the problem is I was not enchanted completely.
The story set in year 2250 begins with the historical court room trial of captain Richard Sparks who commanded the journey of Silver Star to Jupiter’s moon Europa to restore help to the crew of Silver Wind. Suddenly few crew members along with Captain Sparks are awoken from their medical induced hibernation. 

To add more mystery and misery, there is a death of a crew member that puts guilty charges on Captain Sparks. Eventually, the team soon realises about a foul play in store for them on the ship. During the time of the journey, there were some bad high profile influential men like Draco and Pramod on earth who planned to influence and play their own dirty games secretly into Mission Europa.  The author has pulled the strings on the conspiracy from US to India. The course of the journey of the book reveals the truth and states the actual facts that occurred during Mission Europa.

It won’t be wrong to say that I liked the book in bits and pieces. It had a breath of fresh air but could not hold for long. Some parts were simply too dragged and were dull while some were interesting. For instance, the moment the crew and Captain Sparks lands outside their ship and discover aliens was written well. Nominal glitches in the book were printing errors and repetitions. I wish it had been edited well. Writing was plain and lucid. The characters like Duncan, Draco, Mario, Jewel, Robbie and Pramod are sketched well with their back stories. However, too many characters were noisy and annoying. The author has carved a well crafted story but I wish the loopholes were stitched well too. 

Rating : 2.5/5

About the Author:  Hywel Richard Pinto, born in Bombay and brought up in Mumbai has always loved reading, right from the time he was in school, beginning with Enid Blyton's Famous Five and moving on to The Hardy Boys once he had exhausted all of Enid Blyton's series of mystery novels. Hywel works full time in a Media agency as a Sr. Director - Media Planning. In addition to this book, he has also written a murder mystery set in Mumbai by the name of "The Monday Murder" which was shortlisted in the top 20 manuscripts from nearly 300 entries by DNA-Hachette India in January 2013 during their Hunt For The Next Indian Bestseller contest.

Grab a copy here: https://www.amazon.in/Europa-Sci-Fi-Adventure-Galactical-Proportions/dp/938630516X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509908242&sr=1-2



Book Reviewed by Shaily Bhargava:


Shaily is an Equity Technical Analyst by profession and an ardent reader, freelance writer, book reviewer by passion who enjoys most of her jolly little life in her cocooned dreamland cooking up stories. Her short stories are published by online literary magazines of repute like Storizen, eFiction India and in anthologies like- ‘Tell me a Story’ by Penguin India and ‘The first Brush on the Canvas’ by Half Baked Beans. Shaily finds her strength in the 3Cs-Coffee, Chocolates and Candy Crush. 




Sunday, October 15, 2017

Second Chance by Dr. Sandeep Jatwa

Title: Second Chance
Author:  Sandeep Jatwa
Category: Fiction
Publisher: ebooks2go
Date: 2017
Price: Rs. 190
Pages: 198

Book Blurb: Shekhar Kapoor is a successful businessman who has never done a decent thing in his entire life. For him it is all about what he can get and how fast he can get it. He goes through life cheating and insulting people, even after he receives a mysterious telephone call from what is called the City of Justice. Ignoring the cryptic warnings, Shekhar continues to live his life as he pleases, until one day, shortly after insulting a beggar in the street, Shekhar crashes his car and is killed. And it is only when he is standing before the Bookkeeper, and being shown where his life had gone wrong, that Shekhar finally understands what life is all about. But is it too late for him? Can he be given another chance, to undo all the wrongs he has done? Or is there a chance that Shekhar Kapoor can find redemption where there had previously been no hope?

The Review:  The book is a fictional tale on karma or broadly a thought passed on about our decisions, behavior and actions in life. The lead character Shekhar Kapoor is a rich businessman with worst qualities a human can have, treating people badly, usurping their businesses women, money and pride to name a few. There are reasons he is the way he is. Loosing his mother early on in life, hatred for his father and practically no one to love or care for him since long, he is what he is. Though he is not all dark, like all of us and has some bright streaks which surface sometimes, rarely but certainly. Overall his karma is in the negative and many of his actions are not even thought just driven by feelings of misplaced rage towards his father. Taken together he hasn't lead a good life. He isn't what one should ever be. However an event gives him a chance to rethink his life, will it be the same?

First of all the book has karma as a focal point and some depictions of situations are very lively, making you really think hard about yours. The book asks one to reconsider their actions, especially those that effect other negatively. He does so by the help of a story with real life-like characters and situations, asking what if you had another chance at the same life? Will you still do things the way you do? Treat people the way you do? Take your blessings for granted? What is a good life? The story is vivid in making these questions extremely clear to the reader and it will stay with you for a long time after you have read it. What I found lacking however was that it could be better written as the writing is too simple and direct. The concept needed a more flavorful depiction. 

Rating: 3/5. Read it and rethink about your actions.

   About the Author:

Dr. Sandeep Jatwa was born in holy city Ujjain and grew up in Dewas, in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. He is married and still lives in Madhya Pradesh today. Having attained an M.B.B.S. from MGM Medical College, Indore, Sandeep went on to secure a job in medicine and now works at the Government Hospital Sarangpur District Rajgarh. He has an amazing imagination and spends much of his free time dreaming up stories. He has been writing since 2006 and has completed two novels. The first has yet to be published, but his second one, which he self-published and is entitled Second Chance, is an exciting and moralistic tale of how one man comes to realize the error of his greed. In his free time, Sandeep likes to relax and spend time with his family and friends. He is also a food lover and enjoys trying new and exciting dishes. Sandeep's most urgent wish is to be able to educate children who work in the street and have little opportunity to make something good from their lives. He believes that everyone's childhood should be awesome, and not a struggle.

Crossword book award winning author Ravi Subramanian launches Sanya Runwal's book " Ten Dollar Bride", published by "The Write Place".


On 6th October 2017, 17-year-old  Sanya Runwal launched her debut book "Ten dollar bride" in the presence of Smt Amruta Fadnavis at Crossword Bookstores, Mumbai. The book was launched by best-selling writer Ravi Subramanian.

  
This week there is a new writer on the block, who has already created headlines in the past for setting up a foundation that aims to provide low-cost and high-quality menstrual hygiene products. Inspired by personal, real-life events, her book showcases the fear and ignorance with which many young girls in India live in the shadow of our country's ruthless & patriarchal setup. 

Commenting on her debut novel, Sanya said, “My intent to write this book was to enable people to empathize with girls from a lower socioeconomic strata, and how they don't even have basic  amenities that we take for granted. I wanted to bring to light the critical situation that exists in this day and age. The book has also been written with the intent that my stories urge everyone to collectively do something and rectify the wrong, with our actions ."

Smt. Amruta Fadnavis who has always been vocal about social issues and has worked towards a better today commented, "I think every woman is a powerhouse but somewhere the realisation that she has massive courage within her is missing. There might be various reasons for that. Sometimes, she is not economically independent or lacks support from her family because of backward social norms. Luckily for us, the new breed of women realise that they have to stand up first for themselves. This gives courage to other women, and helps society grow positively."

Ravi Subramanian, winner of three Crossword Book Awards said, " If the men in our country read this book, I think the life of our women  would be much better. Men don't realise what women go through with small acts which infact are not all that small! Some acts are even scary to women. I think India will be a much better place than it is today, if men read this book."



Shaina N C too  graced the occasion and was seen in animated conversation with Amruta Fadnavis. Having served as a catalyst for change in the society at a young age, Sanya hopes to highlight the plight of young women in our country and propel action with her book -  "Ten Dollar Bride." 


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Author Interview: Jamal Merchant - Author of One Enduring Lesson

Today we have with us Jamal Merchant, author of One Enduring Lesson. It is a story of a tale of the undying human spirit of survival against all odds is his debut novel that is getting some rave review (read ours here:  http://thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/2017/09/title-one-enduring-lesson-author.html ), so we decided to understand its creation and the writer better. Lets hear about his journey from the author himself....

Q.    Tell us a little about your journey into writing?

A: In my school days in Zanzibar, Tanzania I used to write scores of essays. As a Property Finance Broker in London, I have to write project reports to banks So writing is a habit for me from my young days In 2009 I came up with the idea of writing a novel. It was a sudden inspiration.


Q.    How did the book “One Enduring Lesson” come into being?

A: The title of the novel is inspired from the last paragraph of “The Memoirs of Aga Khan” wherein the late Aga Khan III wrote :-

 “Life in the ultimate analysis has taught me one enduring lesson. The subject
 should always disappear in the object”.

Based on this theme, I developed a tale of the undying human spirit of survival against all odds in which my protagonist totally immerses himself in everything he does to achieve victory in love and life.

Q.    What inspired you to create a character like Rahul Saxena and how much you feel readers could relate to him?

A: I was inspired to create a character like Rahul Saxena from hundreds of young men and women who come to Mumbai from all over India to seek a new life in Bollywood or in other walks of life but end up destitute. I have made Rahul struggle but also showed him the path of success and salvation through religion to fight back internal and external demons and emerge victorious from his horrific struggles and be triumphant in love. I feel today’s young people can relate to Rahul and feel encouraged to seek inspiration from their faith after reading mynovel.

Q.    One Enduring Lesson is a great book that teaches never to give up attitude. What's your that one enduring lesson during your journey as an author.

A: Never give up if you believe that you have a good story and you want the world to know about it.

 Q.    We know writing and getting published is a long journey.  So was it easy to write a book and manage your full time job along? How did you manage it?

A: I had an original story in mind, but had no idea of how to write a novel. I had to self-tuition myself in the art of storytelling, scene construction, dialogue development and creative writing. To do this I started reading novels written by famous novelists and also watched many films. In all I read 75 novels and saw 260 films. I also attended a few short courses in London in creative writing. I made extensive study notes from all these resources.
    The story is based in India. I did extensive research on many aspects of life in India and issues covered in my novel. In all I had 235 print-outs on various subjects to read and draw knowledge from.

    In January 2011, I made a special trip to India and visited Mumbai and Amritsar and visited all the places in these two cities where the action takes place involving the protagonist Rahul Saxena. It was a fact-find visit which greatly assisted me in describing the places and events in my novel.

    I used to get up at 4.00 in the morning to write. As a debut novelist, it was a slow and painful process. But I persevered and completed my first draft in September 2011 which I      later enriched with scores of improvements and newideas, culminating in a draft which was finally accepted by Rupa Publications of India.

Q.    Did you ever face writers block?

A: Yes, but luckily it would not last for too long.

Q.    Your inspiration in writing? What are your favourite books and authors.

A: I have no favourite authors as such, but I liked books written by Nicholas Sparks like The Notebook and Message in a Bottle. I drew inspiration from many other books including some which won Booker Prize like The White Tiger and Midnight’s Children.

Q.    How do you motivate yourself in situations of disappointment?

A: I genuinely believed that I had a good story and wanted the world to read it. I did not allow disappointment to overwhelm me. I kept persevering. Motivation came from my desire to succeed.

Q. What are your upcoming writing projects?

A: None. I will write another novel only if and when I have another brilliant and original story coming to my mind.

Q.  Words of wisdom for the budding authors.

A: Read! Read !Read !
And then
Write ! Write! Write !
Till you get it Right!.





Sunday, October 1, 2017

Razor Sharp by Abhinav Kumar

Title: Razor Sharp
Author:  Abhinav Kumar
Category: Fiction- Short Story Collection
Publisher: Amazon Kindle Only
Date: 2017
Price: Rs. 130
Pages: 166

Blurb: In my debut collection of short stories, I explore relationships and friendships, bits of the past and the present, and changing times. Each story explores a world, a relationship or an incident unto itself: while they are disjointed, my sole purpose is to touch the reader's mind and enhance his or her pleasure. Too many short stories, I believe, aim to befuddle and confuse, and in the process, lose sight of what is most important. Having been in this position several times in the past, in this collection, I present little bits of myself in the hope that you, the reader, feel happy or sad, laugh or despair - but never feel cheated. Happy reading!

The Review: I am a lover of short stories and can barely control myself for reading a book with such a collection, once it is in my hands. This book therefore was no exception. However, as I began reading I realized within the first few stories that the writer does means every letter of the two words that constitute its title "Razor Sharp". These stories cannot be described aptly by the minimum usage of words and so aptly. 

The first of the thirteen stories is Razor-Sharp, from which the book derives its title, which is an amusing tale of relationships confusion and clarity. The author exhibits brilliant word play here during his session with the road side barber. I have a few favorites in the book Prejudice, which depicts the ironical lens with which we judge people and the circumstances that pressures of the society lead us to, emphasizing the point that the exterior is just a coat. The writing style of the writer and the brilliant depiction of the ending is powerful and perfect. A Breath of Fresh Air, which to me was a perfect flash fiction. 13(I)(VII)  is a story that will stay with you forever and the best of all is Gone,  aptly convoluted and the most bizarre and fresh story I have read in a long time. The other stories are good too and only two of them were predictable. They are diverse ranging from relationships, friendships to the way children play pre- and post computer era. One play Day deserves a special mention too for it is a much needed tale, especially for children who never knew what is it to play without gadgets.

The stories are crisp and well-written. You might have to read some more than once to really get it but the ultimate discovery of meaning is worth the exercise. Also the author's comments at the end of each story are hilarious sometimes and a bonus post the confusion and mild catharsis of stories.

All in all a great read for short story lovers and a perfect travel companion. Waiting for more from the author.

Rating: 4/5

A Thousand Dreams Within Me Softly Burn by Sahil Sood

Title: A Thousand Dreams Within Me Softly Burn
Author:  Sahil Sood
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Woven Word Publishers
Date: 2017
Price: Rs. 200
Pages: 124

Book Blurb: Siddharth, a middle-aged school teacher, struggling with an unfinished manuscript, leads a solitary existence in a remote village in Shimla. Gautam, a twenty-two-year-old writer, burning with a desperate longing for romance, finds solace in Siddharth's old essay on Thumri and spends years in search of him. Phil, a young Jewish traveller from Missouri, beset by a difficult alliance with his Christian girlfriend in the face of orthodoxy, travels around the world and meets Siddharth at a café in Manali. The answer to their longings resides in Siddharth's letters and manuscript--the silent witnesses of the fate of two men and their love for each other. A Thousand Dreams Within Me Softly Burn explores the depths of love and the power of writing that helps the human soul triumph over loneliness, alienation, and shame. 

The Review:
We all desire love. Be it the rich the poor, the king or the pauper, the ambitious or the content, at some stage in our lives the desire manifests and then begins to grow, eventually overpowering us to find that one person who would love us unconditionally, faithfully and forever. But alas! humans are faulty and such love is only a thing to wish for, something very few get. With evolution of technology, the next person available on the next swipe and sex no longer a taboo this love is almost non-existent. Fidelity now is a thing of the past. Yet what is heart if not an uncontrolled beat we hope to tame, it has desires, of soul and flesh, often wishful, expectant from others, only to be broken. This book in short is all about the above, the longing, the search, the imperfections and at some rare places the perfection whose existence is not realized.

You might think, this is another book on love, but no matter how much is written on the subject it still doesn't explain it all. Perhaps the writer thought of writing his own perceptions through the stories he read, through his characters. The book begins emphatically with a letter and then an essay. This essay is the most beautiful amalgamation on relationships, books and movies, I have ever read. It was as if the essence of some of my favorite books could come out so clearly in just a few of its paragraphs and sometimes only a single line. For a voracious reader it is a treat. 

It is a book that might have different impression on each reader who reads it. The characters, their lives and stories all try to philosophically map relationships of love, as if trying hard to understand and define them. It is not a road going from one destination to another but a journey each one of us must take.

An unbelievable feat by a debutante, its almost poetry to my senses. A highly recommended read.

Rating: 4/5