Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Book Review #56: House of Discord

Name: House of Discord
Author: Sadiqa Peerbhoy
No. of Pages:298
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Readomania
Price: Rs. 295/-
Published in: 2017

How did I get it?From the author.

A discordant family in a hate-driven city…will they find the ties that bind?

A tough matriarch; an effete father who escapes reality; a rebellious son who marries a Muslim girl; a depressed spinster daughter; a resident ghost and the discovery of some strange family secrets…

The Deshmukhs of Barrot House are barely surviving in a rambling house in the middle of Bombay when violence knocks on the door.

The post-Babri Masjid Bombay of 1992 is a city wallowing in hate. The Deshmukhs find themselves in the vortex of the raging storm.

Will the famed Spirit of Bombay eventually rediscover the healing magic of communal tolerance? Will the family rediscover the love that will help them survive? Sadiqa Peerbhoy spins a multilayered family saga—a metaphor for the city she grew up in.

Sadiqa Peerbhoy was born in Hyderabad, grew up in Mumbai and lives in Bangalore. She has been an advertising professional all her working life and is the creative force behind many Indian and international brands.She started writing a humorous topical column in the local papers to keep her sanity in a deadline-ridden career and wrote it for thirty years, collecting a huge fan following in Bangalore. She has also scripted serials for television, scripts for BBC, short stories for the weekend papers, has four published books and many creativity.

She ran a British college, Wigan & Leigh, in Bangalore and has taught advertising, branding building, life skills and lateral thinking in corporates and colleges. Sadiqa is married to advertising legend Bunty Peerbhoy, is the mother of two and remains an ardent student of Hindustani music.

The plot and storyline of "House of Discord" has all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster. A myriad of characters in a single family, a resident ghost, inter-faith romance, a quirky servant, a wild riot, political goons, skeletons in the cupboard and ancestral property.

Loki runs the household of Barrot House. Despite dwindling funds, she tries to maintain the grandeur of the Desmukh household. Her husband, Vikram, is more comfortable in his room among his books and radio rather than manage the technicalities of a mundane family life. Vikram's sister, Pammi is a spinster, still reeling under spurned love. Loki shares a bittersweet relationship with her first-born, Rajan. Her other children, Sarita, Lily, Ricky and Vijoo, more or less fall in line. The resident ghost of Nimma Aunty adds another dimension of flavour to this story. Nimma was Vikram's sister, who died young. Things start rolling when Salma, Rajan's love, enters Barrot house.

The book is well-written and is a well-paced entertainer. It has integrated regular human emotions in a most interesting way in this well-conceptualized plot. The characters are well cut-out and weaved in beautifully. The riots across the country and Bombay post the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 is taken as a backdrop.

In short, it is a good entertaining read.

I give "House of Discord" 5 stars on a scale of 5.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Review #55: Undelivered Letters

Name: Undelivered Letters
Author: J. Alchem
No. of Pages: 70
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: AdProm Media
Price: Rs. 49/- (Kindle Edition)
Published in: 2017

How did I get it? Promotion agent.

Aron, a postman with Marioson Postal Service, found an abandoned bag. It had a few letters that were supposed to be delivered - 20 years ago. He had a choice, either to deliver them now or abandon them forever. He chooses the former.

What were these letters all about? Who wrote them? Who are the recipients? Do these letters still carry a value, after 20 years?

J. Alchem is a voracious reader and a critically acclaimed author. He is the winner of StoryMirror- 2015 (a nationwide writing competition), NaNoWriMo-2015 and 2016, and superhero storyteller (2014).

He has written in several magazines and newspapers and received the appreciation for the same. His stories have been published in numerous Anthologies such as Blank Space, Love Bytes and Mighty Thoughts.

He is actively involved in writing quotes and short write-ups which are often seen being circulated among the youth in Facebook, Whatsapp, and other Social networking sites.

Recently he has signed a contract for a short movie on one of his award-winning short stories.

Aron, the protagonist, worked as a postman in the beginning of his career. Then he gets promoted and then he forgets to deliver his last bunch of letters, a total of nine letters. And he notices them after two decades. Honestly, the reasons behind not delivering the letters is beyond believable. And if that can really happen, that's sheer negligence of duty!

The author narrates the stories behind three letters. I felt that the characters and their plots weren't thought out properly and they lacked depth. The concept of the book had great potential but not it didn't mature well.

It is quite a simple book and quite short too. So it makes a reasonably quick read.

I give "Undelivered Letters" 2 stars on a scale of 5.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Book Review #54: The Other Guy

Name: The Other Guy
Author: Aakash Mehrotra
No. of Pages: 200
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Jufic Books (An imprint of Leadstart Publishing)
Price: Rs. 249/-
Published in: 2017

How did I get it? From the publisher.

Set in contemporary India, The Other Guy is a tale of forbidden love. Amidst laws which declare them criminals,emotional repression and societal suppression, Nikhil and Anuj are two talented young men, deeply in love with each other. Though polar opposites,they effortlessly complement each other.Anuj had lived a constricted life, always in his fear of the consequences of the truth; Nikhil, a carefree soul, is ready to take on the world. The truth is known only to a few select friends, and to Anuj's sister.
The novel is about making the hard, heartbreaking choices to allow such a relationship to breathe and survive in a traditional land of rigid taboos. Anuj experiences separation from his family as he surrenders to the questions in their eyes and decides to choose candour over coy; to listen to his desires; to be open and free about it. But it is not the same with his partner, Nikhil. When his mother initiates talk of his marriage, Anuj coaxes Nikhil to take a decision that can scar their lives forever.
Do societal diktats run the lives of these gifted young men or does love prevail? Do Anuj and Nikhil have the last laugh, using society against itself, so they can breathe and live as they wish?
Nikhil and Anuj's story is just one of many, most of them buried in the misery of silence. It deserves to be read by everyone who wishes to see a more inclusive world where acceptance and humanity grace our lives.
A bold and beautiful book that touches the heart and mind forever.


It is a love story. The only difference from a regular love story is that the lovers are of the same gender. Freshman year, guy meets guy. Courtship follows and they start dating. Secret passionate encounters. True friends, defiant family and rebellious lovers. Some blissful moments and then finally reality strikes.

The protagonists, Anuj and Nikhil, can be anyone. They are in love and dream of spending their lives together. But it is not meant to be. They can never live their true lives out in the open. They have their own hopes and aspirations of having their own family. But they are forced to lead dual lives. Despite all odds, with true friends and sometimes the support of their family, they might just manage to have the last laugh.

The author has touched upon a sensitive issue. LGBT rights and the reality of their situation in a country like ours. The story itself is well-written and has all the elements of a good fast-paced romantic novel

I give "The Other Guy" 3.5 stars on a scale of 5.