Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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The Perfect Groom by Sumeetha Manikandan

The Blurb

Very little has gone right in Nithya’s young life. So, when a proposal from a young, handsome NRI comes along, her mother jumps at the opportunity and packs her daughter off to the US with her perfect groom.

Nithya seems to have settled in with Ashok, ostensibly happy, if as yet childless, in her new life. When an old flame comes back into her life, however, the cracks in her perfect marriage begin to show…


Having read Mills & Boon, chicklits and romantic novels for over 15 years now, I get a bit skeptical when I come across a novel or in this case, a novella that falls into the romantic genre. It is easy to go wrong with this genre, isn't it? But, Sumeetha manages to do a good job with her book, The Perfect Groom.

The story line is different, but not unique. The "surprise factor" in the book has been dealt with many a times in both the literary world, as well as the entertainment industry consisting of daily soaps and movies. The story is all about Nithya's life, wherein the story moves back and forth with present day Nithya remembering her days back at her villainous uncle's house when she was younger. Present day, Nithya appears to be happily married to her perfect NRI groom. But in reality, the picture is anything but rosy. She is in a marriage that has nothing to offer and has no future. But, she doesn't want to give Ashok, her husband, a divorce because she has a younger sister, yet to be married, and she doesn't want to spoil her chances of getting married. The first thought that came to my mind was that it was a regressive portrayal of the main character, but, I realize that it might be true in most cases, considering how paranoid we are about the way our society thinks. Things change for better when Nithya meets her good old friend, Vasu and romance brews up between them. The story then explores the highs and lows of their relationship, entangled with Nithya's baseless marriage with Ashok. The hypocrisies hidden behind the labeled cultural values are dealt with in a very sensitive manner.  

The characterization of the 2 main characters, Nithya and Vasu are very well etched, whereas I feel Ashok's character could have been more elaborate. Other minor characters have been dealt with finesse. The story flows smoothly and Sumeetha does an excellent job at maintaining the pace of this lovely novella. The edition is crisp and pretty well done, though, I wish that the vocabulary for the Tamil words used was given on the same page below, and not at the end of the book. 

Overall, an easy to relate, fast paced, entertaining book. Given the circumstances, the story could have been yours or mine. If I have to rate the book, I will give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Rating - 4 out of 5

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Meet the author

The Author's Thoughts

An author and a freelance writer, Sumeetha Manikandan has been writing for many years now. After working in dotcom companies, like Sulekha for over a decade, she started freelancing from home. 

Her debut novella, 'The Perfect Groom' was initially written in a script format, which was later converted into a novella for Indireads. The Perfect Groom touches a taboo subject that is most often shrouded in secret whispers and exclamations in the tambrahm community. Inspired by a real anecdote, 'The Perfect Groom' is in parts the true story of a girl who rose above myriad challenges to make her own way in life.
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

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            My lovely Puchhu.
               I loved you, and I will
            love you always. Promise.
 You are in my mind, always will be.
Jumping, wagging your tail, licking,
you taught me what no one would,
 what no one could. Jumping up the
     pane, whining for food, ears in curly
      folds, licking my whole being, always.
                           It is true that you were an
                           angel, halo intact, dropped
                            from heaven, for only me.
                            You were my light, bright.
                                 You were my soul, whole.  
       You were my silent prayer, you still are.
         You were my strength. You were my joy.
                                    You were my classy peer.
                                    You were my question. You
                                     were my answer, always are.
                 You were mine, you will always be. I vow.
                    You were my constant, you will always be.
                                          You were my  poetry, my story.
                                             You were my friend, a very dear 
                                                 friend. You will always be. Truly.
                                                   You were stray, but were here to stay.
                                                Why did you leave me so alone? Did
                                                    I not appease you to the bone? I tried  
                                                   to. I wish I had rolled on the floor with
                                                      you. I wish I had known your language, 
                                                    to talk,  to smile, to laugh, to cry. I wish 
                                                      I were you- A soul so pure, a heart ever so
                                                       clean, paws ever dirty. I wish I could jump,
                                                   wag my tail, return your wet kisses, with 
                                                   love, love so great that would surpass
                                                  any in this big, bad world. I
                                                      Puchhu, I    
                        always, always will.                       

* Lost her about 2 weeks back. Dedicated to the ever loving her. I tried to compose a concrete poem that would mimic the way she slept, stretching her whole body. I failed miserably.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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Turquoise Silence by Sanober Khan

A disclaimer: This book is a part of a blog tour conducted by The Book Club and all the reviews are done in exchange of a copy of the book from the publisher or author. No monetary trasaction takes place.

The Blurb
The book is a collection of free verse poems that encapsulate the poet's most heartfelt emotions about life. They speak of moments that sweep our breath away, of beauty that bewitches the heart, of people, memories, sights, sounds and smells that awaken a sense of wonder and wistfulness. With rich metaphors and eloquently flowing imagery, the poet's love for the simple things in life unfolds in different moods and tones, ultimately ending up in words felt, cherished, concieved and written... in turquoise silence


Reading poetry books is not something that I do very often. I enjoy poetry, but, I am not someone who has an indepth knowledge of the various poetic forms.  Hence, when I was asked to review Sanober Khan's Turquoise Silence, I readily agreed. 

The poems in this book are in the form of free verses, i.e., they do not follow any particular rhyme, meter or other musical pattern. Spontaneity is a key factor when it comes to free verses and Sanober does an excellent job in maintaining the spontaneity in all her poems. The words seem to flow effortlessly without any glitches.

Sanober's poems deal with emotions - emotions dealing with poetry, the moon, memories, wishes, seasons, senses and many other aspects that we come across in our lives. The metaphors used to convey the underlying emotions bowled me over, my favourite being "I begin as a single snowflake and end in an avalanche" from the very first poem, Poetry In My Heart (Page #7).

If I have to handpick 5 poems that I read and re-read many times, they would be:
Poetry In My Heart (Page #7)
Let Me Die (Page #35)
All Things Past (Page #40)
To The World (Page #65)
Night Soul (Page #67)

There are a few things that, personally, bothered me a little. Firstly, at many places, the "I" is in lower case. Secondly, the use of ellipses was overdone at many places. I wish these minute details could be taken care of, because, they stand out evidently in free verse poems.

Overall, I must say I enjoyed reading the book. If I have to rate the book, I would give it 3.75 stars out of 5.

A poet writes a poem keeping one thought in mind, whereas, when it reaches the audience, it is interpreted in many different ways and that is the beauty of poetry. As Sanober puts it rightly, poetry is mystical at its best. I wish Sanober the very best for all her future ventures as a poet. 

Rating - 3.75 out of 5.

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Meet the Poet

Writing poetry is a very different, mystical experience. There is no plot, no storyline, no characters…just a stage set for you and your own deepest self. When I wrote my first poem six years ago, I never imagined it would someday become such an important aspect of my life.

 I have always loved poetry for the creative freedom it offers, the minimal rules, its ability to elevate even the most ordinary moments. At the end of each poem I write, it feels as though I have not just evolved in my style, but also as a person.  My work first appeared in Cyberwit’s international journal, the Taj Mahal Review, which paved the way for me to getting two books published.

I have long been inspired by poets like Khalil Gibran, Rumi, Rabindranath Tagore ,Rolf Jacobsen, E.E Cummings, and John Keats. A voracious reader myself, I enjoy reading poetry and novels from around the globe. 
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