Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blog Tour: SOUL WARRIOR BOOK 1: THE AGE OF KALI by Falguni Kothari

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Soul Warrior: Age of Kali 

by 
Falguni Kothari


MY REVIEW



Disclaimer: I received a MOBI version of this book from the author via The Book Club in return for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for the same.

I have been asked this question in a couple of interviews and a few times on social media: “a book that I wished I had written?” I had a vague answer each time, for the sake of it if you know what I mean. Now I have a definite one. I wish I had written Soul Warrior. That’s how much I loved the book.

When I got to know that this book was a story on Karna, I immediately signed up for the review. It’s only recently that I have been introduced to the genre mythical fiction. I found out that Soul Warrior Book 1: The Age of Kali falls under Mythic Fantasy – a book that draws inspiration from mythology, but is set in present times. Uh, oh! It made me wonder if I wanted to read this one after reading 1-2 pages.

There was another reason for this. I had read Magnus Chase & The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan just a couple of weeks ago and I hadn’t been awfully enamoured. That was more because the book targeted young adults.

Gritting my teeth, I plunged into Falguni Kothari’s latest book and fell in love. I have read Bootie and the Beast by the same author (I had won this during #TornadoGiveaway 2) and thought it okay. But Soul Warrior is something else.

Be prepared for spoilers from here on...

The main character, the Soul Warrior is Karna from The Mahabharata. His modern avatar is all set to make women readers drool. I am fascinated with how the author has brought the epic characters to life in the 21st century, combining the right people. For example: Lavya & Ash. Hi5!

I thoroughly enjoyed Draupadi’s daughters - Satya, Lushya, Amara, Ziva, Iksa, Yahvi and their escapades.

Asht Dveep, Hidden Isle, Har-di-koon, etc. etc. formed perfect settings for the story to unfold.

The author has done excellent research on The Mahabharata, the different demons and celestials. I loved the guises she has allotted for Yama and his Dhoota. The descriptions were so brilliant that they brought all the characters to life.

I found the last few pages nail-biting and had imagined a number of endings, only to find that it was the most unexpected. It definitely left the reader in me craving for the sequel.

My question to Falguni Kothari: How many books in this series? And more importantly, when? Can’t wait to get my hands on it/them...




Blurb

Fight fate, or succumb to destiny?

In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past. 

Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child. 

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Excerpt

Kuru Kshetra Battlefield. 

Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, seven thousand five hundred years ago.

Death is hot. 

That surprises me. I’d imagined death as cold and brutal. Merciless. But in truth, death is hot as blood, and constant like a heartbeat. 

Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. My lifeblood ebbs to the rhythm. My head ripped from its torso by Anjalika, the arrow of death that burns even now with the energy of the sun. Struck from behind like some novice. Felled in battle by that lily-livered usurper the Heavens smile upon—Prince Arjun. Brother Arjun. 

What have I done? I harness the thought. Cease all reflection and wrench free of my mortal body. I soar up, up into the gloaming, snapping the ties that tether me to life. Dead, I have no use for ties. 

“A matter of perspective, Karna, O son of my godsire.” The unearthly words strum through the air, and I quiver like a plucked bowstring, overcome as much by the voice as its blasphemous claim. “Bonds of devotion nourish the soul, brother.” 

There is that word again. Brother. Unpleasant laughter wells up in me. Alive, I am abandoned, denied my birthright—Celestial or royal. Death, it seems, changes everything. 

A bright, nebulous light brings forth Lord Yama, the God of Death, atop his divine mount. His elephantine thighs ripple beneath a silken dhoti, ochre and crimson of color, as he guides the mammoth water buffalo to a halt. An iron medallion sways against the God’s powerful cerulean torso, its center stone an ethereal blood orange. 

Hypnotic. Pulsing with life. I am drawn to the stone. 

“Piteous waste,” Lord Yama mutters, surveying the carnage of war far below us. 

I trace the trajectory of his gaze and behold the battered remains of my army drenched in the evidence of its mortality. Is it true? Have we died in vain? 

Words form inside me and I will them out. “Shall we go, my lord?”

 “Ha! Impatient to be judged, are you? Anxious to have your fate revealed?” asks the Judge of the Hell Realm. His red-black eyes burn with intelligence and compassion in a blue-tinged face that is long and lean and hard. “Rest easy, brother-warrior. You are not bound for the Great Courtroom.” 

Not bound for Hell? Where then? Fear has eluded me for so long that I take a moment to recognize it. A hollow-bellied feeling it is, as annoying as a bone stuck in my throat. 

“My lord, I have done bad deeds…terrible deeds in my life. I have waged wars, this horrendous bloodshed, and all because my pride could not—would not abide rejection. I have sinned. I must atone for my actions.”

Lord Yama smiles in a way I do not like. “You have redeemed yourself admirably, Karna. You forfeited your life for the greater good today. The deed far outweighs any misguided ones. Be at peace, brother, and enjoy the fruits of your karma.” 

There is but one place to enjoy such fruits—the Higher Worlds. 

I’d rather burn in Hell for eternity. I say so. “I won’t live amongst the Celestials.” Coexisting with the very souls who’ve spurned me is unthinkable. Watching her—for she would surely reside in Heaven soon—will be eternal torture. 

Yama shakes his head, the horns on his crown slashing to and fro. “I thought you might say that. Relax. Your destiny lies elsewhere.”

 “Am I to be reborn then? Am I to begin a new life, and forget the past?” Pain, sharp as a blade, lances through me at the thought. Forget my past? My family? Even her? Was that my punishment? To forget all that made me human? It must be so. For have I not betrayed them as surely as I’ve betrayed my prince regent? 

“Human rebirth is not your destiny, either. You are chosen, brother. Your war skills are needed for a higher purpose.” The God slips off his mount, his garments rustling in agitation. “This unjust war has pushed the Cosmos to the vortex of a cataclysm. Tomorrow, the Kuru War will end. Fearing its outcome, the Celestials rolled the Die of Fate and have unwittingly bestowed on Demon Kali untold powers.” Lord Yama bares his fangs in disgust at the foolish gamble. “Imagine the havoc that asura and his minions will wreak on the weak if left unchecked. The Human Realm must be safeguarded during Kali’s dark reign.”

 I can imagine the horror only too well as I have battled with evil all my life. But I am done with wars. I am done with defeat. I won’t waste another lifetime fighting. 

“With due respect, my lord, I am not the man for this task.”

 “You are not a man at all,” Yama thunders, fists shaking. “You are the son of Surya, the Sun God. Accept that you are no ordinary soul.”

 I say nothing. I think nothing. I feel something but I squash it down. 

Lord Yama’s thick black brows draw together. “Demon Kali will try to pervade every particle of good that exists in the Cosmos, beginning with the corruptible Human Realm. Once he obliterates all of humanity, he’ll set his sights on the Celestials. Kali will not stop until he’s destroyed our way of life. But you can stop him. You are light to his darkness. Do you understand now why you had to betray him? Your beloved humans need you, Karna. I need you. Our father believes in you. Claim your rightful place in the Cosmos.”

 Impatiently, Lord Yama removes the iron medallion from his neck and holds it out. The vermillion sunstone glows as if its soul is on fire. Nay! It is my soul that is on fire. 
Indescribable energy curls through me. I gasp, though not in pain. I shudder and feel myself grow large, grow hot. Was this rebirth? 

I am strong, full-bodied and lethal once more. Then I roar as light bursts forth from my very core and I throb with glorious, blinding power. When I come to myself, my world has changed again. Bubbles of color shimmer all around me: cobalt and saffron, azure and rose. By karma! They are souls. Infinite floating souls.

“Behold the spectrum of life: the worthy, the notorious, the righteous and the sinners.” The God of Death’s soul was a worthy sapphire blue with a tinge of silver. “Your duty, should you choose to accept the office of the Soul Warrior, is to hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. Whatever you decide, I wish you a long and successful Celestial existence, Karna,” Yama booms out and vanishes into the purpling sky.

The parley has stunned me. The world of color holds me in thrall. I was dead. Yet, now I am not. A new path lies before me. Unwanted, unwelcome, I insist on principle. I close my eyes. Open them to stare at the medallion cupped in my hand—a golden-hued hand at once familiar and not—and know myself for a fool. I do want this. It’s what I am. 

Bastard-born. Rebel. Son. Husband. Father. Warlord. And protector. I fist the talisman, buoyed by its concrete warmth. This is who I am. 

I am the Soul Warrior.

About the Author  

Falguni Kothari is a New York-based hybrid author, and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful and cultural threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. She is published in India in contemporary fiction with global e-book availability, and launches her mythic fantasy series, the Age of Kali, with SOUL WARRIOR. When not writing, dancing or being a domestic goddess, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with readers.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Sharing: A VISIT TO KALPAVRUKSHA


Venkat had the opportunity to visit Kalpavruksha more than a decade ago and had told me a lot about the place. Right from that time, I had wanted to visit the place too.

On Friday, Vinny was keen to take a break from her hectic schedule and go somewhere for a day. That’s when the three of us – Venkat, Vinny and I – set off to Umbergaon. We left at around 3.45 pm on Jan 15, 2016 to reach Umbergaon Club Resort at 7.30 pm after stopping midway for a cup of tea and hot bhajjias.

We checked into a room and had dinner at Madhubani Restaurant. The food was yummy and I was glad to see that they served only vegetarian fare.

In the morning, we had breakfast and checked out to go visit Kalpavruksha, the nature farm set over 15 acres by Mr. Bhaskar Savé, who’s known as the “Gandhi of Natural Farming”. The farm was about 20 minutes away from the resort. Their visiting hours are from 9 am to 12 noon and later from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Baby coconut palms ready to be transplanted at a new home
We got there at 10.30 am. Parking the car at the place allotted for visitors, we were immediately welcomed by Bhaskar Savé’s son, Mr. Naresh Savé. That’s when we got to know that Bhaskar Savé had passed away in October, 2015. Naresh Savé gave us an introduction about natural farming and let his son Abhijay take over from there.

While you will find all you need to know from the website link I have provided below, I would like to share some of my learning here.

That's a teeny weeny cauliflower sprouting on a plant at Savé's home garden
Farming is based on the following 5 important things:

1.      Tilling

This is entirely done by earthworms. Incredible though it may seem, if we recall our lessons in school, we just might remember studying that “earthworms are the farmer’s friend”. But with the advent of technology and chemical farming, this idea has taken a backseat. A single earthworm goes deep into the earth and comes out to breathe about 20 times in a span of 24 hours. Imagine the stretch of land a big batch of earthworms can till in one day. Their excreta turn the soil rich. No expense on ploughs, bullocks, tractors or manpower.

2.     Fertilising

Chemical fertiliser is a huge cost and the soil “dies” over the years. What Bhaskar Savé found after 3-4 years of chemical farming after it was newly introduced many decades ago was that he was spending more and more on chemical fertilisers to ensure he got the same yield every year. This way, his profits had dropped down by 90% in barely five years. That’s when he cordoned off a section of his own farm to get back to nature farming. Comparing the results over 4-5 years, he concluded that in natural farming, the expense was barely 10% of what chemical farming needs.

They also use everything that falls off a plant/tree as manure. These are gathered together and stored near the trenches. They don’t burn the dried up leaves and fallen twigs. Abhijay Savé told us that burning this dry stuff harms the soil. When stored next to the trenches, these decay over a period of time – no one’s in a rush here – and become mulch to provide extra richness to the soil. The cost: zilch.

Bananas thriving on a plantain tree

 3.     Watering

Bhaskar Savé also concluded from his experience that a natural farm needs about 20% of the water that a regular farmer uses. On Kalpavruksha, they have shallow trenches dug around every batch of 20-30 trees. Pipes run around these and these are watered once in every fifteen days. Yes, I was “jawdrop” surprised when I heard that. What they say is that plants require moisture more than steeped water as the fibrous roots also need an equal amount of air. Excess water will block the air and harm the plants/trees instead of helping them.

They have planted colourful crotons at the borders. These begin to wilt first when the level of water goes down in the soil; helping the farmer decide if he needs to water the area a few days earlier.

4.     Weeding

We generally look on weeds as harmful. They take away the nutrients meant for the main plants. But at this nature farm, they understand that weeds are part of nature. God has put them there for a purpose. It is the leaves that need sunshine for photosynthesis. Weeds are there to create shade for exposed roots and for speeding up decay of mulch to further enrich soil. The African Congo forest immediately came to my mind when I heard this. Plants and creepers flourish all the more in this area where sunlight doesn’t touch the ground in many places. Makes sense nah?



Another section of their fields

      5.     Keeping pests at bay

We all know that pesticides, while killing pests, also harm the plants – leaves, vegetables and fruits that we eat. Even if we wash them thoroughly, a part of these pesticides finds its way into our bodies creating harmful diseases.

At Kalpavruksha, they don’t use pesticides of any kind. There are pests that are vegetarian (10%) and those that are non-vegetarian (90%). The vegetarian pests have a short lifespan while they breed voraciously, as they are the food of the non-vegetarian pests. The ecosystem takes care of itself and the Savé family lets them be. This way, the harvested fruits are the healthiest in the market. Squirrels, mice, snakes and crows – and probably many more – live in harmony here on this farm. The farmers are clear that there’s enough for all of them before the products are harvested.

The lesson can’t be simpler. But are we ready to learn it?

I had some questions:

1.      Why are there so many farmer suicides if natural farming is possible? Natural farming cuts down costs drastically while the yield increases tremendously. The profit margin goes up by 80-90% as compared to chemical farming. WHY?

Abhijay Savé: Natural farming takes 4-5 years to show results. Once a farmer crosses that, he can see terrific results. But farmers who come here to learn natural farming try it for a year or two. When pressure comes from their family members and neighbours, they lose confidence and go back to chemical farming. Very few are ready to give it the time it requires.

My perspective: I felt truly sorry hearing this. Farming is supposedly the profession for the most patient of people. You really need a lot of patience to sow a seed and wait for it to grow into a tree. But obviously farmers don’t have the wherewithal to wait for things to turn around. If they are dependent on the crops to feed their families, then they are in for a tough time. Is there a way for them to get out of this vicious cycle? Is CSR the answer? I hope the right people are listening.

2.     Who benefits from the courses you conduct at the farm then?

Abhijay Savé: People from the corporate world who have made the money and are keen to invest in a farm, respond well to the courses. They are ready to follow the method as they are not dependent on the income from their farms.

My perspective: Hey people! Why don’t you help out the existing farmers? Wouldn’t it make good sense if you work along with your neighbouring farms when you apply the rules of nature farming to your new farms?

3.     What kind of education you underwent before you got into farming? What’s your typical day like?

Abhijay Savé: I haven’t gone to any college to learn farming. I finished my graduation in Mumbai before settling back at the farm to follow the natural way of farming that we have been following since Grandpa’s days. (Commendable, I must say)

I start my day at 7-7.30 am and take care of the few cows that we have here. At around 8.30 am, two labourers we have hired on a regular basis, arrive at the farm. We go around the farm section by section everyday to take care of the regular activities. We break at noon to continue again from 2-5 pm. Harvesting the fruits – predominantly chikoo, coconuts, bananas and mangoes – form the main work. We gather the dry leaves and twigs and store them near the trenches.

Then there are the students who come here to learn about natural farming. My father, uncle or I help with the lectures. And one of us shows visitors around the farm.  

My perspective: I must say that it’s a chilled out existence. They work regularly, earn well, have all their needs, comforts and luxuries provided for, are their own bosses, live amidst nature at its healthiest and in a gorgeous 5-bedroom two-storey home.

What a life!


Father of Nature Farming is a Japanese called Masanobu Fukuoka 

To know more about Kalpavruksha, Bhaskar Savé farm



NOTE: I lost a lot of pictures while transferring them to my PC; missing the ones of chikoo & coconut trees. 

Umbergaon Club & Resort (where we stayed)

A section of the garden at the resort

The reception

One of the three restaurants
Our room


Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Blitz: VENGEANCE - A STING IN EVERY TALE edited by Sonia Rao

Designed by Neil D'Silva 

Vengeance - A Sting in Every Tale 
A WRIMO INDIA anthology
edited by
Sonia Rao 

Disclaimer: All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will be donated to NaNoWriMo

Designed by Sujata Patnaik 

Blurb 
A reply to a perceived injustice can take many forms one of which is vengeance. An eye for an eye can only end up making the whole world blind, is what Mahatma Gandhi once said. And it seems to be coming quite true, if latest events world-wide are an indication.

Is there any hope or are we hurtling towards extinction?

Hopefully, the stories will explore some of these questions. But that is on the macro level. It might be easy to look at things objectively, in black and white, when it is other nations involved. Or even other people. We are able to be more forgiving of transgressions when they don’t involve us personally.

But how would one react if they found themselves in the maelstrom of situations that do fall somewhere in the grey area of life? With no definite black and white answers?

How would a jilted lover react in face of infidelity? Or how would a friend avenge the murder of her best friend? Or, is it fair to be punished for a crime that you were not brave enough to prevent?

These and many more questions connected to vengeance have been grappled with in this anthology.

video
created by Archana Sarat 
EXCERPT OF FIRST CHAPTER

Bus number 131 whirred away, pulling its own weight unwillingly. It was one of the many buses to pass through the Relief road, a busy road in the old part of Ahmedabad. Shazia had an option, the crowed 88 or the overcrowded 131. She preferred to be 30 minutes before time to board 131. Her choice was motivated by her love for the palindromic 1-3-1. Her undying infatuation with prime numbers was inexplicable. Nineteen year old Shazia loved numbers, and to be more precise, she adored Mathematics in all its form. She also loved the rules, the principles, the working theorems, the equations which tried to make sense of the majestic menagerie of numbers. She was fascinated even by the mere shape of numbers. She did not remember when or even how her romance with Maths began. But in her earliest memories, she preferred practicing her numbers over the alphabet, she remembered that she recited tables better than her nursery rhymes. She was short and a bit stocky. Also, a couple of shades darker than was acceptable in the marriage market. However, her looks never bothered her, nor did she ever yearn for fairer skin, or thinner body. What she craved was a disheveled mass of hair, for some uncanny resemblance to Einstein, the only pop icon modern science managed to have produced. But her mother plaited her hair, dashing her hopes to ground. She also longed for a pair of spectacles with glasses so thick that it blurred her eyeballs, indicating the wearer’s brilliance. But she, despite getting checked for vision from her mother’s ophthalmologist, was denied the hallowed implement. Thrice. Shazia valued her bus ride a lot. She had to convince Papa to allow her to commute to her college on her own. She had concealed her indignation about needing her father's permission for every little trifle, even after being categorised as an adult by the Government of India. Papa consented only after he was told that Noor too would start using the bus if Shazia were to give her company.


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ABOUT THE EDITOR SONIA RAO




The editor of the Anthology, Sonia Rao (writer-editor-awardwinningblogger) is the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for All-India region. The stories which are part of the anthology are written by Wrimos homed in to Asia::India region. Most of them are also published writers of short fiction and novels.She blogs @ https://soniaraowrites.wordpress.com/ 

Find out more about Wrimo India @
Wrimo India on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wrimosindia 
NaNoWriMo:  http://nanowrimo.org/

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Blog Tour: THE BROWN SAHEBS by Anupam Srivastava


THE BROWN SAHEBS 
BY 
ANUPAM SRIVASTAVA


Blurb 
The Raja of Teekra, a dusty and forgotten kingdom near Lucknow, gets lucky when the British Resident visits him but also brings with him a leading revolutionary. The Raja enters India's struggle for freedom and is rewarded with a berth in the cabinet of free India. He is shocked to see the ministers and officers living and operating like their imperial masters but is suitably rewarded for his silence. As he begins to enjoy the good life of Lutyens' Delhi, the British capital which India's freedom fighters abhorred, he faces only one adversary in his plans—his journalist son Pratap. A novel that will blow you away with its depiction of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal.

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About the Author 

Anupam Srivastava was born in Lucknow, India, where his novel, The Brown Saheb's first part is set. However, he never lived there as his father and mother, Ashok and Veena Srivastava, lived in different parts of India. However, Anupam spent some of his childhood and most of his vacations in Lucknow where he flew kites and learnt about the craft of pigeon-flying. He went to a boarding school near Delhi, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, where he played cricket but earned his college colours at St Stephen's College, Delhi, in cross-country running. He studied English literature (BA Hons and MA), won the college annual poetry prize while pursuing his MA, and being sure his vocation was writing and journalism, became a journalist with The Times of India in 1993. In 1999, he was awarded the British Chevening scholarship by the British government.

In 1999, he left journalism to work with the United Nations Population Fund in India in communications. Subsequently, Anupam worked with Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. The Brown Sahebs is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.

Anupam is married to Radhika Srivastava, and they have two children who figure in his children's novel, A Family Secret.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Blog Tour: THE OTHER END OF THE CORRIDOR by Sujata Rajpal


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My Review

Disclaimer: I received a MOBI version of this book from the author via The Book Club in return for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for the same.

I wanted to read this book from the moment my eyes fell on the cover. It’s simply gorgeous. Yeah, I am like that. I so fall for an eye-catching cover. I filled the form with alacrity when the book came up for blog tour via The Book Club, without even checking out the blurb or genre.

When I started reading the book, I couldn’t understand the first page at all. After finishing the book, I feel it’s been placed wrongly, not giving the right impression of the book. It’s important that the book begins in an interesting way.

The moment I started reading the second page I was hooked. But...

Spoilers galore from here on... STOP READING if you haven’t read the book yet

I could so relate to the beginning, the people from the guy’s side coming to view the girl, she being a manglik, the astrologer insisting on being a know-all, the parents desperate to get rid of the girl, a duty to be performed for the sake of society and more.

As I read more and more, I started feeling depressed actually. Wasn’t there an end to Leela’s woes? What’s a story that can’t make her a heroine? were the questions that came to my mind. I trudged on and am I glad I did!

The language is flawless and the proofing perfect. This is a major plus for me when I read a book. So a special kudos to the author and publishing house on this!

Here is this girl – yeah, Leela is a girl who’s not even out of her teens when she gets married to Vishal – struggling to lead a life, smothering all her dreams. She treated so badly by her husband and also by her highly educated, educationist mother-in-law. Vishal is a spoilt brat who doesn’t have a job to go to. He’s a chain smoker and a wife-beater. Leela is shocked with the turn her life has taken and doesn’t know how to get out of it. Her parents wouldn’t hear of her woes. They are not interested. Her elder brother is too selfish and doesn’t want to listen to his sister’s problems.

Vishal getting a job based in Bangalore appears to be a relief. But away from Delhi and her mother-in-law, it’s not funny for this housewife of barely twenty to manage the household, especially on such a tight budget that her husband gives her.

Leela happens to meet two other women who used to live in Patiala during her school days. Priya is an airline pilot who’s confident and doesn’t need men in her life. She’s got a career and has adopted a girl-child, bringing her up all by herself.

Harleen is married to a super-rich guy and has a posh life. She and her friends are ready to befriend the middle-class Leela.

It brought tears to my eyes as I watched Leela finding some fun in life when she gets to have a makeover at Harleen’s home; gets to wear some of her classy clothes. This is a kid who doesn’t have a life. Why wasn’t I surprised when she tries her hand at smoking and drinking and a bit of flirting? Facebook comes to her rescue at one point. I couldn’t blame her for creating a fake account. Come on, who doesn’t want appreciation? She has no life with her son-on-a-bitch husband.

Even as I felt depressed reading the book, I couldn’t help being fascinated reading the way Leela’s life unfolded in front of my eyes; how she bounces back again and yet again, never giving up on her life. She scored a major point in my eyes as not once did she think of committing suicide.

I waited and waited for someone to rescue her. Nobody did. For a few pages, I thought it was Jai who’s going to be her knight in shining armour. But no!

In the end (okay, I won’t go into the details; please read the book to find out what happens), it’s Leela for herself. Okay, she has her girlfriends who help her out.

What for me was a moment of triumph as a woman was when Leela comes up aces, landing on her feet after all the abuse she undergoes.

My hats off to the author for penning such a touching book! Yeah, I shed a lot of tears on this one.

Congratulations Sujata Rajpal! This one is a must read for all those who believe in women empowerment.

The title is perfect too!


The Other End of the Corridor 
by 
Sujata Rajpal 



Blurb 
When your dreams are tainted with lies and deceit, you have no other choice but to walk to the other end of the corridor.

Leela has nothing extraordinary about her except the dream to become famous. Her desires take wings when she gets married to a handsome boy from a respectable family in Delhi. But her dreams are shattered even before they have a chance to take flight.

She happens to meet two friends from a long forgotten past, which infuses hope and opens new avenues to realize her dormant aspirations.

Leela delves into previously unexplored paths of deception and forbidden passions that only make her stronger. 

In an attempt to rediscover herself, she falls in love with life and with herself but her life takes a sudden turn again…

No matter what, Leela will continue to chase her dreams.

Where does this journey take her?

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Excerpt
"The corridor, I was walking down didn't have a trace of illumination. I couldn't see the other end. But I kept moving and now, I realize that more than the light, you need the determination to keep moving, keep struggling for your dreams, for your existence, for your survival."

I had lived in a dream world all my life, always blaming the circumstances for my own weaknesses. I could never gather courage to stand up to circumstances. For how long would I keep blaming others for my own shortcomings. And for how long would I keep dreaming- my dreams never aligned with the real world; my dreams and real life never converged at any point. ‘I definitely had experience but only in building castles in the air.’

About the Author 
Author’s profile :Sujata Rajpal is a Corporate Communication & PR professional turned a full-time author. She holds an MPhil degree in Economics and has studied Mass Communication from Panjab University, Chandigarh. She also writes articles and short stories for publications and journals. Sujata is a yoga enthusiast and enjoys being a Toastmaster. She currently lives in Mysore.

The Other End of the Corridor is her first novel.


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Monday, January 4, 2016

Book Blitz: RUKHSAT THE DEPARTURE by Sujit Banerjee


RUKHSAT THE DEPARTURE 
BY 
SUJIT BANERJEE


Blurb 
Where a story stops, another one begins. The thing with them is, they never walk alone. They always walk with a group of friends. Each reaches its own climax. Then with a final gasp of mortality and despair, fade away. No, they never die, they multiply. To the extent that the original gets lost and new ones are born. Over and over again. Yes, they get lost. No, they never die. They live on, permanently etched in the book of time. And from there, we borrow them and bring them alive. Again. And again. Here are twenty six of them, some standing alone and some chatting up with their long lost friends. When they depart, they leave a lingering fragrance of nostalgia and curiosity. What happened then?

Twenty-six alphabets, twenty-six names, and twenty-six short stories. Each exploring one unique emotion, taking you into the dark recess of the mind. Some frothy and most of them dark. Most standing alone and some facing a mirror, where the same story comes alive in two different ways, through two different protagonist . Meet myriad characters - from the single-minded prostitute to the man on the railways station bereft of any memory; a woman desperate for a biological child to a dead man's trial. Meet a jealous lover with a twisted brain and a gay man's memory of a one-night encounter. Meet twenty-six such characters arrested and sentenced for life inside the pages of a book. Each one leaving an indelible mark on your soul.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Born to Bengali parents in Lucknow, I grew up in Patna where I finished my post-graduation in Psychology and ended up becoming a tour operator instead of a Psychologist! Which was 
good since a Bengali born in UP and reared in Bihar does not make a great Psychologist! Am I now glad to be in tourism? It has taken me all over the world including places you would have never heard of. Eh? How about Tlacotalpan? It’s in Mexico.

Destiny had other plans as well so I became a reluctant healer. A crazy Shaman in Mexico set the ball rolling and it has rolled all the way to Delhi. Today I both heal as well as read Tarot cards. My wife thinks I am mad. My friends think I am weird. I guess I am both. 

My first story was published in a magazine when I was seventeen. The Editor made such a hash of it that I stopped sending out my stories but I continued writing. Then I broke my heart and started writing poems; first in Hindi and then in English. All personal collection. They still remain personal. I do shudder when I read some of them! Then the short stories came back and written over two years - now is a collection.

You can contact him @ Facebook

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