Heelllloooo people! What’s up? Have you ever wondered what happens when two poets with different ideologies, two distinct writing styles, varying world views,different nationalities, come together and bond over one theme to write a poem? The result is intellectual (I mean hilarious *coughs*) squabbling, rigorous writing, frivolous editing and finally a well- crafted piece which both of them are proud of!
I would have never believed this to be true, had I not experienced it myself while collaborating with Mathew (Blog of the Wolf Boy) over this piece of poetry, depicting the dilemma of a young boy on the brink of making a life-affirming decision.
Out of a large, water-soaked windowpane,
I heard the horizons calling,
Calling me to a life full of quests,
With winds and hues of joys.
Where my heart won’t rip in pain,
And my soul will dance in spree.
Overjoyed, I turn around to find,
Souvenirs of my life to take along,
On a journey, conquering the world,
And to be away from one,
Which never accepted my body or mind,
To a place where I could truly belong.
But something holds me back, As my legs walk towards my dream, Stifling my neck as I try to breathe happiness, Ghost of a smile etched on my face, glancing, At a crumpled white sheet against a black, Backdrop of responsibilities, acting as a seam.
The letter smiles at me, slyly,
Inviting me to a life of dutiful death,
Promising respect, money, power,
And a man worthy of success.
Realizing the cost, my eyes well up idly,
For an unfulfilled life which saps my breath.
I think all these things and I wonder
What’s a worse fate to endure?
To be the one who’s tried and failed,
Or feed a life that’s lost its allure?
It seems to me, the remedy, Is to do that which scares me most, So, I’ll dry these eyes and pack my bags, For I’ve more to lose, not far, but close.
I close my eyes and drift off to a warmer place,
Where a gentle breeze plays on my skin,
And foreign melodies permeate open space,
While I dance to the lands I’ve never been.
There’s something sweet about losing yourself,
In unique and distant discoveries.
There may be bitterness in hard farewells,
But I’ll take heart in exotic things of sundry.
I’m awake and aware that life had not begun, Until this day when I grew brave, And marched my way into the rising sun, To find my peace and soul, before my grave.
If fortune favors courage, as they say, My tomorrow is going to be a brighter day. Walking down new paths I’ve paved, Towards a life I’ve not, but only craved.
Bhagyashree and Matthew 23.7.19
All rights reserved.
I would love to hear your views and thoughts of our collab.
Don’t forget to check his awesome blog and soulful poetry! Trust me, you would definitely fall in love with his writing style and depth of emotions once you read his works.
Of course, if you like our collab, don’t forget to like, comment, share and follow my blog!
Hey readers! Hope you had a great weekend full of happy, unexpected surprises!
I think all my fellow book lovers can agree on the fact, no matter how hard the day had been for us, just the inviting sight and wafty smell of books as we enter a bookstore, makes us happy beyond words! Who knew my happy visit to a bookstore, a few days ago, would spiral into something special and coincide with my love of writing. I am building too much suspense, right? Well that’s the result of the latest novel I read ;P.
Alright, let me help you guys unravel this mystery…I have joined hands with an awesome bookshop Rajat Book Corner (which leaves no stone upturned to promote reading of books through its various initiatives ) for multiple book readings and reviews! I would be reviewing random books selected by the owner of the bookstore himself, over the course of next few days.This is the first collaboration in these exciting series and this week’s pick is ‘The Silent Patient by debutante author Alex Michaelides from the genre: fiction/psychological thriller.
“Only she knows what happened.
Only I can make her speak.”
A woman, a famous artist,shoots her husband dead and hides behind the veil of silence for years on an end. A man, a psychotherapist, intrigued by this incident, decides to heal the accused murderer and break her silence. The plot of the novel mainly revolves around how successfully Theo manages to wake Alicia from her still stupor, until things take a turn for good or for worse. Caution, no spoilers ahead!
The novel speaks to us through two distinct mediums. The first voice belongs to the second protagonist of the story, physiotherapist Theo Faber. The second voice is of our leading lady, Alicia Berenson who communicates with us through the pages of her diary. The author has used two different methods of writing, and fused the abstract (Alicia’s diary) with the actual ( Theo’s narrative), making the plot gripping and edgy till the very end. The novel is divided into four parts, each providing a view into both flashbacks and the present, taking the story forward. The best element of this book is that, the protagonist’s character arc is developed through the eyes of the other characters and her paintings; a writing style which plays full justice to contemporary literature.
A good work depicting contemporary style of writing.
Is a treat for mystery/ psychological thrillers.
Great amount of dialogue in the narrative, instead of third person perspective, which adds more realistic touch to both the story and characters.
Is extremely pocket friendly for me, no guesses as to how and why. Lol.
There are a few things that I wish to bring to light about this book in this review. First of all, it’s a great debut novel by the author. A big shout out to his creative, imaginative and writing skills which were put together to create something worthy to be read and to adapted into a movie soon after its release! You can guess , how great the story is already.This was my first time experimenting with a book that falls in the category of physiological thrillers and I am intrigued enough to read other titles soon. These books keep the readers at the edge all the time, bubbling with curiosity as to what would happen next, at the same time enabling them to question their conscience. Cool, isn’t it?
This novel is exactly as you do not expect it to be. You are presented with the most unique twists and plot leads when you start believing the story will tone down and vice versa. One begins the novel by reading about the main character Alicia and then the focus jumps to the second lead, Theo, going back to Alicia only for short intervals. So at the end, the reader is left wondering who actually the ‘silent patient’ was; Theo or Alicia? Let’s have a discussion on this in my comments section, once you are done reading the novel.
You are bound to be amazed by its ending, which acts as both the strongest anchor and biggest loop of the story. It is open to interpretations at the same time providing a concrete boundary to draw conclusions from.
I wish the author writes a sequel delving more into the life and character of Alicia Berenson. How thrilling would it be to read her silent thoughts! Well let’s hope for the best and I hope this message reaches to the author.
For me, this book stands at 4.3/5 with all its enjoyable parts and little snags here and there. I would definitely recommend this exciting piece of contemporary literature to my readers for its different style of character development, narration, plot and of course, *ending*. I would be eagerly waiting for that discussion…
I am glad that I read this unconventional book, which gave me an insight into the wide-world of genres that I am yet to read! For that, I am glad that the owner of the bookstore suggested I read and review this particular book. Do visit the store’s site for exciting book offers, reviews, author interviews and many more. (Link provided above).
Also, don’t forget to follow my blog for book review, poetry and much more.
Hello people! Today seems to be a wonderful day! Can you guess why? We are finally out with the final part of our collab! DRUMBEATS!!!
You may recall our reviews of the book “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” (Linked Here;inkandthoughts and Here;lifeofchaz ), but do you know what really happens behind the scenes? Well if you don’t, here are a few things you should know about how the magic of “collabing” works.
Things That Go Into A Collab
Trying to get Chaz to read the book for two and a half months.
Trying to explain to Chaz concepts one-hundred times because he never understands the first time.
Trying to work with ten hour time difference living on opposite sides of the world.
Waking up at 3AM to finish writing posts and making Instagram posts. Take a guess, as to who did that…
Attempting to book plane tickets to India in two days, and then cancelling because a certain “someone” threatened the other about their collab answers.
Hiding out in a car to escape mothers to talk to bloggers in the U.S after staying up all night.
Losing hope that the post will ever be done.
Being astonished when “someone” finally finishes the book and writes up a post.
Learning what Instagram is and what “Boomerang’s” are.
Surviving after talking to each other for weeks on end.
A small sneak peek for the readers, who thought it would be easy to work on a collab. Trust me, it is not, especially when two dumb heads come together to talk about intellectual things. In between taking jabs at each other, every now and then and cracking lame jokes, we tried to perfect our art of coming up with philosophical answers. This final draft pays testimony to our numerous attempts of answering these questions and polishing them till they were the best (at least for us)! So please don’t judge us too harshly!
Bhagyashree’s Brainiac Questions to Chaz
1) Being a foreigner to the novel did you have any preconceptions or notions about the story? How did they change after completing the novel? What are your thoughts about the author after going through her works? Would you continue reading her works here after?
I had no idea what this story was going to be about. It’s funny because when I looked it up, I saw the word “romance” somewhere in the synopsis and falsely assumed it was a love story. (I told that to Bhagyashree and she could not believe me!) My thoughts could not be more different than what they were starting the novel. Roy now reminds me of a strong political writer, and I think I would probably read another one of her works if she continues to publish. I am looking into reading her first novel now as well!
2) How did you interpret the title both at the beginning and at the end of the book? Do you think the story plays justice to the title or it talks about finding acceptance in pain?
I’m honestly still not sure what to think about it. (This is the hardest question out of all of them!) The characters ended up in their own little communities together, but it’s hard to imagine any type of happiness after all of the pain the story weaved through. I did not think this was going to be a happy story in the beginning though.
3) The book talks about how political turmoil affects people from all walks of life and their adverse reactions to situations concerning them thereafter. Do you think the author justifies them or piques the reader’s sympathy towards these people in any way? Or it is just an attempt of condemning these actions?
I think that the author does a great job in portraying these struggles in the way that she does not try to pique sympathy with over-the-top techniques. I had mentioned in my review about the “rawness” of the story, and in that sense the author just shows what is happening. It is up to you if you want to feel bad or not, but the story is not going to wait for you to make a decision.
4) The author challenges the very idea of attaining happiness by orthodox means through her characters. Do you believe an individual’s circumstances come into play here more than his/her own choices? How do you think the lives of these characters would have turned out had they succumbed to the guidelines entrenched with rules and boundaries?
I think that Roy is trying to abolish the old rules and boundaries that society has put up ever since we can remember. We are in a big turning point as far as social movements go, and the author celebrates that with the choices that she has her characters make. The characters may have had an easier life if they had confined themselves to the old rules, but it is clear that they would not be truly happy if they never remained true to themselves.
5) The novel talks about development in the sense of losing grasp of one’s roots. Do you share the author’s acceptance that this is the way forward? Do you think reading and writing about the struggles of the ‘silenced’ would help make society more empathetic towards these people and eventually alternate avenues of development would emerge?
Yes – telling the stories of the silenced does go a long way in making people more empathetic. We have seen examples of it happening before ,with, every social movement that has succeeded. If you look at the world’s history you can follow the lines of each movement and how they succeeded. These stories play an important part in the development of those movements. I am in full support of it and in full support of losing grasp of one’s roots. Just because the roots are there, it does not mean that they are worth losing. (In this case they are!)
6) There are a variety of social issues discussed in the novel ranging from social inequality, exclusion, domestic violence to depression and political turmoil among others. Which of these varied themes according to you needs to be extensively written and widely read in the current times?
Would it be a cop-out to say that all of them should still be explored? While there are progressive movements that are in different stages than others, and some of them much further along, we have seen that it is important to keep writing about them even after the movement has come to a “success”. Everyone should be able to experience the freedoms that they deserve, and the battle for them is unfortunately not close to being over, but at least we are living through the most progressive time in recent history.
Chaz’s Clever Questions to Bhagyashree
1) Media can portray only the negative aspects of certain events and culture to skew people’s perceptions which end up making them blow certain things out of proportion. Do you feel this novel portrayed anything unfairly?
That is the beauty of this novel, it never presents anything with a backdrop of fairness or impartiality. It presents the facts as they are, leaving it on the shoulders of the capable readers(like both of us, an oxymoron in itself, isn’t it ) to form their own opinions. I won’t say that the novel has portrayed anything in negative light, but yes, it would have been a good idea had the author included other perspectives than just the characters themselves. And a more, well-mapped plot, that does not include everything that the characters (or the author herself) come across, would have mellowed down the story for people like us. Although, when we talk of Roy, as a precocious author, we can’t really expect that to happen, so I guess what we are left is, broaden our understanding!
2) How important is a well structured plot for you? Did you feel the same way I did, or do you think that the message of the story is much more important than making sure the story beats are in the right spot?
I believe both a well-structured plot and powerful message go hand in hand, in the making of a great story. One without the other fails to create the charismatic impact that the author wishes to cast on his/her readers. On one hand the plot steers our imagination on a well routed path, the message of the story, on the other hand, lets us run our imagination wild, on uncharted lands in search of interpretations. I disagree with the notion that the author should focus on either of the two things while carving a story, but surely, the plot shouldn’t have too many backstories and character arcs framing spontaneously, like we have in the book. That just leads to the reader losing momentum of the story.
3) We had spoken about if this book was required to read in schools in India. With so much discussion on censorship lately, do you feel works like these should be encouraged to read? How young is too young to introduce these dark themes during class?
Roy’s works have always tackled the dark realms of truth in an unpretentious manner. Once you decide to read her novels, you can expect yourself to be drawn in a labyrinth of reality, that you are aware of, but fail to acknowledge its presence. Censoring stories like these, would mean holding back the links which connect people with the reality behind the farce reality. So I believe works like these should definitely be encouraged to read right from the time we learn to distinguish between right and wrong and form our own judgments and opinions. Coming to the last part of your question, you can’t expect a scenario where kindergartner kids are debating on these issues, can you? (But then, you would be dealing with the smartest set of kindergarten kids on this planet, a bit unrealistic no?) I understand your concern about the impact this novel revolving around relatively dark themes can have on young minds, so I ‘ll say, teenagers on the brink of adulthood and people beyond this age bracket with their well developed analytical and conclusive skills, would be the best audience for the book.
4) Pain is everywhere in this story. Do you share in any of the pains and struggles that some of the characters in the story faced? Which of the struggles are you fighting against the most in your own life?
Each character in the novel deals with different kinds of pain and battles his/her own victories. Acceptance of an identity, pain of losing loved ones, trying to be befitting in a world you don’t belong to and the courageous struggle to start anew are some of the core threads discussed in the story. It wouldn’t be a misnomer to say, we are bound to face the pains and struggles of each character in some way or the other in our long, long lives. Given a choice, I would go for the pain and struggles of accepting and adapting to a change, faced by the country, rather than any specific character. Now that more makes sense, since about to start college. Lol!
5) There are a lot of themes involved in this novel that have to do with family relationships, especially motherhood. We saw Anjum ripped from her family, and family ripped from her, plus the same for the other characters. How important is it to listen to your family? Should they control who you really want to be?
Family is an exceedingly important part of who we are, what we do, the choices we make and how we lead our lives. However, I don’t believe being a part of a family should entirely dictate the terms of our choices and the way of our living. There is a very fine line between looking up to your family for guidance and acting according to their predictions up to the point you suffocate your freedom. The entire burden of balance lies on this willowy line. I guess as long as this line doesn’t slant too much on either side, you’ll be fine. A hard task surely, but worth trying. If not anything, you would have some great things to laugh about, later on!
So this brings us to the end of my first collab ever. I hope as much as I enjoyed working on it, even you guys would enjoy reading it. I would love to hear what you people think about it in the comments section.
A big shout-out to my fellow blogger-turned-friend Chaz, who helped me remain calm during moments of panic at the inability to finish the post on time (or was it the other way round?) and making my tedious wait worthwhile. Let’s collab once again next month, what say? ;P
I would love to continue working on such fun collabs in the future. Well, fellow bloggers you know whom to reach out to, if you feel interested enough to read a book together, review it maturely ( or immaturely, same thing) and discuss the book, in every creative way possible. You guys already know my Instagram handle and my mail id, i you want to reach out to me.
I would be eagerly waiting for your reviews and messages!
Don’t forget to follow my blog for book reviews, collabs and more!
Hello people! The world is such a small, strange place, isn’t it? The land on its surface is divided by boundaries and its people are united by art, literature, history, legacy and above all,emotions. Who would have thought, two strangers , residing in different parts of the world would bond over a hardbound collection of words, dwell over it, derive at conclusions and create something so beautiful out of it!
I remember messaging a super cool blogger who goes by the name of Chaz Green (you guys must already be familiar with his amazing blog-Life of Chaz ) two months ago, asking for a collab and expecting no answer in return to be honest! I guess he was too kind to respond to a two-and-a-half month old baby blogger (don’t even know whether its a real thing or not) and agree for a collab. So after a lot of discussion (about how it is NOT a love story and who gets to have the best spot on our collab poster:P), we decided upon a book by a profusely acclaimed Indian author, Arundhati Roy; ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’, read it together and the result; the first ever collaboration of my life with another blogger! So, this blog post holds a special place in my heart and will remain etched as a beautiful memory forever! Oh God, why do I turn poetic, every other moment of my life? Just for the heads up, it’s not Chaz’s fault that we are posting this blog about a month later than we decided to. It’s just that,he happens to test your patience to decide, whether you are worthy for him or not! Plus I got the premium spot for my picture, but you could get that,of course!
‘How to tell a shattered story?
By slowly becoming everybody.
By slowly becoming everything.’
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness narrates a hard-hitting story which revolves around three characters from different backgrounds, who are brought together by the common links of pain and non-acceptance. The novel begins with introducing us to Aftab, a young boy hiding a secret in his heart right from the moment he was born and struggling with his identity in the world, till he transforms in Anjum and pledges her allegiance to the world, which challenges the very existence of rules and boundaries. It then delves deeper into her transformation, the challenges she faces, the ever lasting relationships she forms and the journey of her embracing motherhood. The story then travels to how Anjum loses her spirit in the light of 2002 Godha train burning (apologies, non-Indian readers you will have to read about this beforehand, to understand the novel), leaves her world, or as she calls ‘duniya’ once again and starts anew in a graveyard. As time elapses, she befriends other outcasts and establishes a hotel-cum-resting place for weary travelers along the graves, depicting how hope can be found in the darkest of places. The story then moves forward, where we witness a massive protest at Delhi and how the characters are one step away from meeting each other.We then have a rendezvous with the next character Biplab Dasgupta, a diplomat who tells his story of how he fell in love with S. Tilottama along with two other men Musa Yewsi (who becomes a Kashmiri millitant) and Nagaraj Hariharan (who carves a sparkling career in journalism in Kashmir) in college. He then jumps to the present revealing how the sudden appearance of his first love created upheavals in his life. The story is then told through Tilo’s perceptive,joining dots of her story from childhood till date. The rest of the story, then completes the puzzle of how and why the characters meet and how the Ministry of Utmost Happiness is finally established in a world outside, yet lying inside the real world.
If you happen to meet Chaz at some point of your life, do me a favor and ask him how many new Hindi words he learnt and how many he remembers along with their meanings. Trust me, you would definitely be surprised at his answer and be amazed at the amazing character he is! Be prepared, Mr Green!
Jokes apart, every character arc in the book, develops vehemently and fits well in the story. The author does not shield the characters in the veil of pretense or sympathy, but presents them to the world, as they are, urging the readers to accept them in the same way .
Anjum: The protagonist of the story who transforms herself from a young Muslim boy, Aftab, to a transgender who goes by the name of Anjum. It is through her eyes, we see her struggles of shedding an identity and accepting a new one and finding hope in the shards of her broken world. Her strong personality, graceful demeanor and strong will to fight back against the current are the things that appeal to the readers and urge them to know her story.
S. Tilottama : An architecture, who finds herself in the midst of a political turmoil while following her lover, Musa. She later marries Naga and improves her relationship with her dying, estranged mother. She ultimately finds her happiness in rearing a child named after her lover’s first born.
Nagaraj Hariharan: One of the three suitors of Tilo. He works as a renowned journalist in Kashmir and marries Tilo in the later part of the novel. After she leaves him, following fourteen years of marriage, he is devastated and struggles to find balance in his life again.
Biplab Dasgupta: A diplomat and an ardent admirer of Tilo, who plays an important role in saving her from meeting with a drastic end. He later meets with Musa and broods over how he wasted his life in search of a treasure which never was his.
Musa Yeswi: A Kashmiri insurgent and a master of disguises. It is in search of his love, Tilo embarks on a dangerous journey and nearly losses her life. He later befriends Dasgupta and they both reminisce their good, old days, to rekindle the spark of happiness.
Other characters in the novel, help take the story forward in an interesting way, with their backstories and struggles running in parallel. which proves to be a different read, than most of us are accustomed to.
The plot of the novel is well knit and keeps you at the edge, barring some parts. The book is divided into different parts, each focusing on a different era of India’s development and how the different characters deal with these changes. The story is narrated in a third person perspective, never really giving the readers a chance to delve deeper into the minds of the characters. I feel the story has a kind of abrupt ending, which focuses on only a few characters being able to learn the true purpose and the source of happiness of their lives. Just like reality, though! I think, that is the beauty of this book, it never paints a fairy land for the readers. It grasps the reality in its words, accentuates them and presents them to the world.
This probably the second hardest part, you guys know, what the hardest part was, right? So apologies in advance, Miss Roy if we do not live up to your expectations of the review…
So the book begins on an interesting note, depicting the life of a transgender in the Indian society in the wake of the changes that take place in the country. With some more characters appearing in the story and so many event taking place, you seem to lose the momentum of the story after some time. With the introduction of the other characters, the plot becomes uptight again and you start craving for them have a happy ending, which they had been searching throughout their lives.
With the melange of social issues going on in the book, you find yourself dragged in a part of a world, which you wanted to avoid for a very long time. It would be a good idea, to read about these issues beforehand, so that you don’t feel disoriented while actually reading.This book tugs at the strings of your heart and acts as a soother at the same time, only you need to keep your emotions in check and mind at work, while deciphering this novel.
This book stands at 3.8/5 for me. I was expecting a little sprinkle of gentleness and cheerfulness at the end. which would have truly paid justice to the title. But never mind it is a good read, although a serious one, with a stinging story line and open interpretations. Only strong hearts, tread ahead!
This post isn’t complete yet!Next up is a discussion on the book where both the bloggers have put in their hearts, souls and different perspectives to analyse the book from each and every angle! Tried to make it sound serious, but you know how it is with us…
So visit our blog again, to know how different thoughts and emotions are brought together by words!