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Showing posts from May, 2017

Book Review: Potpourri by Ruskin Bond

Potpourri is a riveting medley of short stories and poems. If there is a writer who can write easy-to-read yet compelling stories, that one is Ruskin Bond. This particular book covers twenty-three short stories and five poems. Poems are ordinary; however the stories seem to have been gathered from an array of genres: from stories of danger and adventure to horror to romance and so on. It is a multi-themed book. Often Ruskin Bond is famous for writing about hilly people and their cultures; on a positive side, this book covers Java, Batavia, Shilong, Shimla, Burma and son on with an enchanting élan.  Many stories are short, one can finish up in just one go and a few are lengthy ones – dole out the feeling of reading a novella. Our Great Escape tells a tale about two aloof friends spending their time in a boarding school at Shimla. Just after independence when the country witnesses partition, they part away unwittingly, and the rhythm of their innocent friendship breaks recklessly

Book Review: Once Upon A Genie by Durriya Kapasi

Daisy is a young modern girl with a disturbing past. The novel opens with the death of her only guardian –grandmother – she dies in the hospital. Her demise leaves Daisy forlorn and sad. While going through a tiny locket falls down a scroll with a message for her. Back at home, with the message in her mind, she begins rummaging grandma’s room. The trail goes apt and in the treasure box she gets hold of a bottle. In a fit of anxiety when the bottle drops off her hands, she feels a swirl of bizarre ambience around herself; she is scared and feels trapped. There she meets an astonishingly handsome genie – Khalil Muwahid. Khalil thanks her for freeing him from the bottle. Much like a fairytale, Khalil is obliged to fulfill three wishes for her, with no conditions at all. Long before her first wish, romantic clashes subtly take place between them. Khalil being lascivious in nature, kisses her many times in a short span of time, on the other side, Daisy finds herself acceding to hi

Book Review: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is quite a famous book about a man’s voyage up the Congo River in Africa. The book was criticized by many notable people of the early twentieth century since it was a direct assault on the grim realities of imperialism and racism carried out by European countries on the defenseless African states.   At the river Thames on an anchored boat, Marlow, a tangible protagonist, recounts his story about the experience and endurance he went through in Africa. Marlow on boards a French steamship destined for Africa. Having spent thirty days in the sea, he gets down at a huge river basin. He has to travel another two hundred miles to reach the company’s central station where he has to pilot the steamboat up in the Congo River. Next, he catches a small steamboat that departs him after thirty miles; to his luck there he finds the company’s outer station. While staying there in a hut he observes the horrible status of native people – they are into the

Book Review: Binya Passes By – Ruskin Bond

It isn’t time that’s passing by; it is you and I… ‘Binya Passes By’ is a captivating short story by Ruskin Bond. The writer has kept it within himself whether it is a love or ghost story?   The narrator, a struggling writer, lives in the beautiful hills of Garhwal. He resides in an OK-kind of cottage, good for average living. The narrator being a writer is accustomed to long walks, as that’s quite a common way of passing time in the mountains, especially in the Himalayan region.   One day when he is walking down a narrow path where pine and other trees flanked on both sides, he stops to listen to a singing voice. The narrator instantly falls in love with the voice and imagines the singer would be as beautiful as her voice. The beauty and depth of the voice leaves him with inquisitiveness; he comes across the same voice at other instances, at times around his cottage too, but he fails to track the singer. One day when the narrator reaches at Pari Tibba ( Fairy Hill

Book Review: Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

Gertrude Coppard hails from a better off family. An evening when Christmas dance event has been going on she chances upon a handsome, but unsophisticated, young man. He is Walter Morel – an insignificant coal miner. They fall in love at first sight; rather it is an infatuation which is sweeping their hearts. Despite huge social differences, the couple marries. They have four children, out of which three are sons. Walter Morel proves to be a failed husband, he often spends his time at the pub after working hours and the family suffers in poverty. Household agitation and tension begin gnawing the well being ambience of the house. The couple often quarrels on slightest pretexts, and the drunkard Morel feels no shame in thrashing her to vent his pent-up frustration of being socially failed. To escape his rage, she turns her attention to children. She is overly focused on William, the eldest one. He is successful at his work so he moves to London to raise his standard of life.

Book Review: At Sea with Uncle Ken by Ruskin Bond

Rusty lives in Dehradun with his mother and Uncle Ken. Being the only brother of his five sisters, Uncle Ken is spoilt well beyond a limit. He is bumbling, humorous and madly inclined at eccentricities. If he isn’t looking for troubles, then troubles find him unwittingly. At sixteen Rusty graduates from High School and his mother plans to send him to England. For his mother, Rusty a little too young to make a voyage to England alone, so she assigns the duty to his brother, Ken. Rusty’s grandmother pays Uncle Ken’s ticket, in a sense it is a free trip for him. While going to Bombay by train, accidentally Uncle Ken picks up someone else’s spectacles which cause him nearsightedness and as a result he takes the stationmaster for a porter and instructs him to look after their luggage. Having tight on budget, Uncle Ken and Rusty stay at a sleazy hotel where they share the toilet with twenty other people. It is turning out to be an unpleasant experience for Rusty. Before boardin

Book Review: The Last Leaf by O. Henry

Johnsy and Sue meet six months previously and move to live in Greenwich Village of New York. The colony where they live is famous for artists’ accommodation because of good ambience and cheap rates, and they too are budding artists – painters. Before winter the trees in the village were fully green and high on fluttering. As the winter commences, the trees begin shedding leaves and around the same period the village falls in the grip of deadly disease – pneumonia. Johnsy is so terribly down with pneumonia that she becomes bedridden. The doctors have given up the hope of life in her. Despite this providence, Sue takes care of her and hopes for her full recovery. However, Johnsy has grown pessimistic – she realizes that her hopes of survival have numbered out. She is waiting to die. She often gazes outside at the ivy vine tree. She has built an assumption rather an obsession that she will die when the last leaf from the vine tree falls. Sue dismisses her fears but Johnsy is i

Book Review: Idgah by Munshi Premchand

The story opens with a bright morning. The long fasting of thirty days is over and the day is of festival Eid. People all around are chirpy and getting ready to go to Idgah, which is at a distance of three miles from the village. Rich children will get good amount of money (in the form of Idi ) to spend while poor ones will have to control their buying temptations. Despite these economical differences, children are happy and positive beyond a limit. Hamid is a five-year-old orphan boy. He is poor and lives with the only guardian of his life – his grandmother Amina. Hamid is oblivion of the fact that his parents are dead; instead Amina has assured him that his father is gone to faraway land to bring lots of gifts for him while his mother will bring a lot of merits from the home of Allah. Hamid believes in their homecoming, hence he is always optimistic and full of life. Amina does some petty needle work to keep their lives get going, but in a sense too poor to afford a sum

Book Review: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver

Greg Mortenson hails from an altruistic, mediocre family. He is a trauma nurse in a hospital in California. In his past life, when his parents were posted in Tanzania, Africa, he remembers how his father was busy building a hospital and his mother a school. His parents always endeavoured to better others lives, especially underprivileged people. He had the same altruistic streak but opportunities eluded him. The previous year his younger sister Christa dies, she was mentally and physically challenged. To pay her tribute, Mortenson takes up climbing K2 with a few mountaineers. Due to some adverse situations Greg goes astray and remains lost in the mountainous region for some days before discovering a small village, Korphe, in Pakistan. There he is nursed back to basic health. A village without a school is an uncommon sight for an American. He finds that the village is devoid of a school, where students trying to learn without a teacher. Haji Ali, the village head of Korphe

Book Review: Truthfulness and Femininity by Sarat Chandra

The writer Sarat Chandra inaugurates a huge public library at Medinipur. Following the inauguration, people engage themselves into literature related conversation. One of the gentlemen asks the author why he treats truthfulness and femininity as two different aspects. To make the point understand clearly, the writer narrates a story about a woman whom he knows since childhood. A twelve-year-old girl, who was married to an elderly man, becomes a widow prematurely. She returns to her parents’ house, in a village. By the time she is thirty two years old, she is left alone in the world, her parents no more alive. The author calls her Didi , sister. In fact the whole village calls her sister because she works at others home in all types of events or even in the times of contingency. Soon, in the village she becomes famous for her helping nature and people reckon her as a hardworking figure with unblemished character. She lives in a hut which is covered from the mud walls from

Book Review: The Woman on Platform Number 8 by Ruskin Bond

Arun, a young boy of twelve, arrives alone at Ambala railway station in the evening to catch a train for his boarding school. His parents are of opinion that he should travel alone as he is a grown up boy. The train is scheduled to arrive after a few hours, so he is waiting at platform number eight. He is busy watching the activities taking at the station. Soon he feels bored and struggles to pass his time. All of suddenly, a sweet and gentle voice asks whether he is alone. He looks back and finds a woman in white sari, her face is pale and her eyes are dark but brimming with kindness. She is a stranger to him but he likes the tenderness and kindness she posses. Next, she takes him to the dining room for snacks. When they come out, the woman holds his hand tightly upon seeing a boy his age crossing the railway track while the engine is shunting. Arun notes her face expressions, which suggest that she is extremely careful towards children, her gaze follows the boy till he safel