Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wise Enough To Be Foolish- A Book Review

About the Book:

Name of the book: Wise Enough To Be Foolish
Author: Gauri Jayaram
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Price: INR 225
ISBN: 978-81-8495-456-2

About the author:

Gauri Jayaram is the mother of two girls, an amateur athlete with the aspiration of running 42.2 km one day, management school drop out, traveler, entrepreneur, a part time writer, a little bit of everything but still unsatisfied. Wise Enough To Be Foolish is her first book.

About the cover and back cover:

The cover of the book is absolutely fantastic. The half portrait of a girl holding a well worn travelling suitcase with the book's title on top is cheerful and attractive- you instantly feel like hearing the girl's story, wanting her to unfold whatever she holds in that bag. 
The back cover is equally interesting. The preview is crisp and short (the way I feel it should be) and you feel like sitting down to read (and finish) the book as soon as you get your hands on it.


Wise Enough To Be Foolish is not a story you can summarize in a few words. It is something that demands to be read, to be felt. But since my review needs a gist, I will do my best.

Wise Enough To Be Foolish is the story of Gauri as she makes her journey from childhood to teenage to adulthood. Gauri is a second born fauji kid in a Punjabi family with an elder brother to set a path she was supposed to look up to and a younger sister who was in every way, the daughter her parents wanted. Rebellious and impulsive, Gauri puts her toe out of the so called 'line' more than once and true to her zodiac sign achieves whatever she wants once she figures the way out.

As she passes from the phase of an insecure child to a strong and competent individual, Gauri brings many people under her wing- her childhood friend Nicky, her roommates in college life, her work mates, guys she had a relationship with.

The story is about her struggle for independence with all the joy and heartache the adventure of it brings. It is a story about finding love, about making a place in the world, about discovering what life meant and what role we wanted in it. It is a patchwork of everything in the life of an Indian girl who is constantly in the wait and want of doing something more.

My views on the story:

Words would fall short if I start to express what I felt after reading this book. Wise Enough To Be Foolish is amazingly real, startlingly honest and brilliantly witty. From the very first page you are on the edge of your seat, hooked right and proper with the seamless narration of the story.

The writing style is exceptionally good; it is simple yet elegant with a finesse that makes you read late into the night. Gauri Jayaram's writing is incredibly personal; it felt as if I was reading a blog post written by a close friend. The humor in it made me laugh out more than a few times and the part where the protagonist was going through a particularly hard phase, it felt like my own heart was rolling in the troubled waters.

The story is bold, endearing and funny- you connect with it instantly and it stays with you long after you have turned the last page.
It is also inspirational; the story of a girl as she breaks rules to make some of her own, as she brings her dreams to life and courses through everything that comes in her way with courage and determination.

The pace of the story remains constant throughout due to the great narration which has all the emotions balanced really well. It has many great lines worth remembering, but then, the story is one that will remain etched in your memory forever. 

The characters in Gauri's story are brought to life by her narration and you can picture them perfectly in your mind's eye. I was absolutely awed by the brutally honest way in which every little instance or character was penned down; it takes a lot of courage to say exactly what you feel.

I loved everything about the book- Gauri's search for the love in her life, the skirmishes, the heartache, the thrill, the insight, the adventure, the humor. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it definitely made into the rack of my favorite books. 

Wise Enough To Be Foolish is a fantastic read, a book I would recommend to everyone.

I rate it a whole hearted 9/10 while I carry the story in my heart with the hope that my life makes me wise enough to be foolish too. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life

About the Book:
Name of the book: A Maverick Heart: Between Love and Life
Author: Ravindra Shukla
Publisher: Frog Books
Price: INR 195
ISBN: 978-93-82473-00-8

About the author:

Ravindra Shukla is an IIT Bombay graduate and an experienced professional in the emerging technology and business analytics in IT software technology. He is also a member of Film Writers Association, Mumbai. Writing fiction, literature, movie scripts are his interests apart from sports, movies and travelling across the globe.

About the cover and back cover:

The cover showcases the shadows of 3 people, presumably the three protagonists of the story standing at crossroads. It is of moderate appeal; I felt that it conveyed the theme pretty well. The back cover is interesting with an insight into the story that promises a story of love and friendship. The entire co-relation to the scientific principle of Resonance is what catches the attention in the first place.


The story is about 3 people- Rahul, Rhichita and Neerav who come together during their college days and become friends. Rahul is a very steadfast and unorthodox person who sticks to what he thinks is right even if the whole world turns against him. Rhichita is an outgoing, sports loving girl who thinks the world of her parents and tries her best to live up to their expectations. A misfortune incident makes her wary about guys in general and she becomes withdrawn. Neerav is Rahul's best friend and a fun loving person with every quality that takes to make a leader.

Rahul finds Rhichita's soul to be the one with which his own being resonated and unaware of all the factors that might make or break their relationship in future, they fall in love. The groom-hunting started by Rhichita's parents meanwhile force the couple to see the real side of things and words like 'security' and 'future' was impressed with them forcefully. But situations have a tendency to fly out of hand in least expected ways and that's what became a wall between Rhichita and Rahul. 

Rahul's increased interest in social work, his disregard towards his course demands unbalances things in unimaginable ways. Family pressure from Rhichita's side just makes things worse.

And then they are forced to choose- love or life. The story then takes on about their individual struggles- the problems, the success stories and the final question of whether their hearts would ever come together again.

My views on the story:
The preview from the back-cover was what interested me in the first place. Defining the bond between two people through a scientific concept of resonance felt new and interesting.

The story however was a disappointment. The multiple narrations in 1st Person and 3rd person wasn’t carried off properly which made the reading process tedious. The writing style of the author was just average which in addition to the bad editing made things even worse. Question marks after random sentences are very confusing and it is recommended to make the writing style reflect the difference in the way we talk and the way we interpret that in writing.

The characters aren’t built properly- at the end of the story, you are still trying to place what kind of a person Rahul was or Rhichita was apart from being hugely confused.

The chemistry between them was a let down; I can't place a single conversation or incident between them that felt worth remembering.

After the initial days at college which had Rahul and Rhichita mostly at the centre, everyone seemed to drift off, which is perfectly natural but after that you don’t get to see how their lives were still connected. And you don’t see the third protagonist from the start except in the background. On the contrary to being one of the central ties to the story, he was something of a thread that popped up sometimes in between making spectacular knots.

The only good thing about the story was the realistic approach towards the Indian society. The reservations a girl has before plunging into something like a love marriage was shown well. The pressure to get settled from parents, the doubts about finding love in marriage are all shown aptly. The corruption side, the big shots trying to pull down the attempts towards a better country was also written well.
Rahul and his social work also was the good face of the A story which could have been impressive had it not been brimming with unnecessary details of unnecessary events. His character was bombarded with everything from intelligence to sports, social work, research, politics and the result was a rather feeble and vague character.

The thing with the story I felt was that it tried being too many things at the same time. It tried to be a love story, the struggle lore of the three protagonists, the unending saga of friendship and ties but ended up being individual events with a vague co-relation.

The pace of the story was erratic owning to uninteresting detailed events as mentioned above. It picked up towards the end; it would have been better if the same pace was maintained throughout.

Overall I rate this book 3/10. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

College Rants #5- A new hostel

It was only last week that I told Rimli that there is nothing wrong in making a clean breast of your feelings. So I thought I would follow suit and stand by my own preachings :P For a change I will just say it if I miss something; my 'missing' had always been limited to Panda Toothbrushes and Squirrel Coffee mugs. (I am not going to announce my undying love for some old forgotten crush of mine though. Forget it :P)

Its really weird how I never made a post about how I miss my school. Or how I feel tearfully nostalgic about the old playground near my house where I spent the best years of my life. I have never even said till now how much I miss Sushmita now that she is miles and miles away from me.

Its even more weird how I wept oceans when my Squirrel coffee mug broke but passed out school laughing and joking. And the latter event changed my life in unthinkable ways. I miss school so much that its like a physical ache- I miss sitting beside Suranjana and holding my sides as her humor shook me. I miss finishing our lunch boxes in the very third period. I miss the stupid antics I used to pull of with Sattu in the Physics lab and Nayak Sir scolding us with "Tum log means. Kuch bhi karte ho class me? Hai ki nahi. Kuch na kuch kaam dena padta hai tum logon ko". I miss the serenity of Rashmi and how her calmness and innocence used to make us feel a bit guilty how insanely crazy and extra 'paka' we were. 

Dont get me wrong. I miss my squirrel mug a LOT but I was just musing over the stark differences in my reactions. 

It may be because the larger things in our life take a long time to sink in. It also may be because I am a nut case :P

So when the hostel shifting finally happened after a series of false alarms, I couldn't grasp the new change entirely. It still hasn't sunk in fully I guess. Last day, after class, I was promptly walking towards my old hostel till Madhu pulled me back with a "our hostel is this way now Idiot."

The only thing I could think about as I sat in my new room, on my new bed is that there are no mirrors here. Absolutely none. Where as our old hostel room had TWO big mirrors. One near the window and the other in the attached bath. 

I really don't care if there is a mirror in the ROOM or not; I need one only to put that customary 'bindi' everyday. But no mirror over the basin is really bad. I mean, I like looking at my teeth when I brush. They are a reminder of what patience can bring and for a scatterbrained, impatient person like me, that is huge. It is a reminder of 3 years of my father's hard work in taking me back and forth to Kolkata for my treatment. It is a proof that dentists are miracle men and Bongs are cool. At least my dentist was. Both a miracle man and a cool Bong :D

So I miss the mirror over the basin and though I don't like admitting missing the bigger things in my life, I will say this today- I miss my old hostel. I miss my bed which was against the wall and sleeping on it sort of made being away from home okay. I miss the WALL because I sleep in weird positions and one of them is my legs climbing the wall. Which reminds me of the Backstreet Boys song 'Climbing the walls' I absolutely love. 

I miss the windows that used to go haywire in the wind and we finally had to put Joyeeta's boulder sized heels to stop them from smashing every time. I miss the diary entries written in torch-light, the 'khus-phus' sessions with Rimli, the riot Huttu and others used to make on my bed and ruin the neat bedspread, the airy and incredible corridors where clothes used to get dry in a jiffy. 

And I more than miss Room No 216 where I spent most part of my first year. I miss the self-directed hilarious insults I and Huttu started as soon as we started studying (on the night before the exam), the competitions we used to hold on who studies the least in which Rimli always brought in the 'South Indian brains' and 'Gene Pool' factors and declare herself as the winner no matter on whose team she was, the endless gossip sessions we had on topics ranging from food to politics, the late night 'cha's' with Goodday, the 'maggic bhaja' in mashi's shack, the awesome time spent lazing in the grass lawns, the time when current went out and Rimli, Ruku and I strolled in the corridors listening to Mumford and Sons and Imagine Dragons and Switchfoot and Katie Melua and The Band Perry and thinking with people who thought this beautifully and sang this beautifully, the world isn't that bad after all. 

Shifting was like joining college all over again and in many ways it was unsettling. It took me a whole day of John Mayer and Coldplay to calm myself. I still have to unpack all my stuff and I do NOT look forward to it. My new room is still a stranger and I don't know whether it will become familiar anytime soon. I find myself comparing novel reading in my new bed to my old bed and its not the same. It can never be the same. 


I feel morose and I don't want to. I am currently reading Percy Jackson series and it feels good to be reading a series after a long time. A good series if I might add. And I am glad the awesomeness didn't wear out after the first book like it did in The Hunger Games. Okay, so it has got nothing, absolutely NOTHING on Harry Potter but it is a pretty good fantasy fiction. So far.

I will get back to reading it then. Arpita isn't here to go for a walk in the evening and I miss that like hell. 

Missing anything and everything,