Lavanya Opines


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The Pleasure is All Mine …

I picked up this book while browsing the book shop solely for the title and cover page. I read few pages and discovered the content is for mature adults, as duly mentioned on back cover. I smiled and put the book down. Then I thought why did I put the book down? Was it for the adult content? Was I bothered that when people see me reading this book they will form opinions about me? Wasn’t I silently affirming the same stereotypes of the society that I want to break by even having these questions? The answer to these questions was ‘yes’ and consequently I purchased the book. The sales person of the shop (I am regular there but this guy doesn’t know that) did not react at all. He gave the book as a usual transaction. Was I looking for some reaction there? May be he wasn’t aware of this book just like he is, or may be, unaware of 50 shades of grey. Why was even I bothered about the same? I am a reader and I have a freedom to read any book and to make such choice. I started reading the book in bus and metro. People saw the cover of the book. They didn’t bother. I didn’t bother. Why should book1anyone be bothered? Because of the stereotypes we are bound to?

The power of any book or for that matter education and knowledge is to raise the inquisitive nature of a human being and challenge the intellect, the wisdom, notions the human being has so far gained. For me this book challenged me to think whether I am truly capable of even breaking the stereotypes or I am just being a hypocrite. I will come to this question later in another blog. First, let me provide a review of the book per se.

This book is second from Shanaya Taneja. She becomes the first Indian author this year I read. The book is intense with detailed explicit descriptions of passion, love-making and feelings therein. The author has made a considerable effort in presenting that this love-making is not a mechanical things but a lot goes in mind during those sessions, and the effort pay offs. People often enter into purely sexual relationships for different reasons. When it comes to sexual desires and coupled with feeling of loneliness and not be desired or wanted, people often break restrictions-whether self-imposed or societal pressures. But what happens when you add the need to continue to live an extravagant life one is accustomed to? This book is answers this question. All 5 protagonists, Sanjay, Bharathi, Abhinav, Trisha, and Ankit, enter into each other’s life, deceive and betray each other for money using unfulfilled sexual desire as the ammunition. Until we reach 15-20 pages towards end, the book is full of descriptions of intense love making and the various thoughts that cross the mind during and after love making. The author has done a good job by portraying the conflicts that play in one’s mind when one is not following certain human rules (not societal rules). The conflicts can only be understood only if the passion is understood and the passion can be understood if the conflicts can be understood.

But after reading some sessions in the book, I truly felt bored reading about them. May be the reason was “too much of anything takes away the pleasure in itself”. The end was twisting but I was disappointed. The common thread among the 5 protagonists was that all of them were deceiving and betraying at least one person. However, rather than giving success of Trisha and Ankit, who plotted the entire scam of luring and robbing Sanjay using Abhinav and Bharathi, success should have been given to Bharathi, who could have been portrayed as strong yet cunning woman who took revenge from all those who exploited her, in a typical “revenge is best served cold” manner. The book steers clear from being preachy and presents the story in as-it-is basis. The book cannot be compared with “Adultery” by Paulo Coelho, as both authors are different in handling these conflicting human states and emotions. Frankly, Adultery was very depressing and too preachy in my opinion. This book, on the contrary, touches and presents the dark emotions and related conflicts. It would be great to see if the author is able to explore these dark emotions on a next level that moves beyond sexual desires and plays with intellect.

Overall the book is one time read. Appreciation must be given to the author, who despite having the Indian back drop, did not the make the book sound like “Hinglish” or “translated from Hindi to English”. It was out and out an English fiction with Indian Backdrop.


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5 down..15 more to go..!!

cometh the hourI’m so happy to write about this book as I have been waiting for the release of this book since I finished the last published book in the Clifton Chronicles. Yes, the book is Cometh the Hour by Jeffery Archer. (spoilers ahead, beware). The Cometh has been hailed as “the penultimate book in the Clifton Chronicles and, like the five previous novels – all of which went to number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list – showcases Jeffrey Archer’s extraordinary storytelling with his trademark twists”. Twists and thrills are definitely there. I kept thinking about what will happen next while I was working as I usually read while I travel. But I wound not say this as the penultimate book. For me the Best Kept Secret was edgy starting with the prologue, where the Lord Chancellor must decided whether Harry is son of Lord Barrington, till the end where Admissions tutor of Cambridge university bears the responsibility of conveying horrific new of death of sons. This book made a statement. Every moment the reader is thinking what will be the next move of enemy and how will the Clifton family avert possible dangers. The next books followed the same momentum. However, I did find Cometh a follower only.

Cometh does provide closure to many situations or questions that have been lingering in reader’s mind since the beginning and throughout the journey in last five books. But the same was expected and probably I expected the outcomes. To begin with Giles going after Karin, was pretty much expected and I was somehow sure she would turn out to be a spy. The twist wasn’t though was she had a change of heart and readily agreed to be a double agent. The twist was she is discovered and is shot dead at end. I am not sure how Giles will react to Sir Alan telling him whole truth and will he be taking any action to bring justice and closure to Karin. I think Giles will reunite with Gwyneth.

The struggle for freedom of Anatoly Babakov started by Harry Clifton has some great moments. The pain and determination in his struggle is very much evident from his speech at the Noble Prize ceremony. Only an author capable of understanding and believing ‘right to know truth’ and ‘right to freedom of expression’ will be able to deliver such words. The twist with Hakim Bishara and unholy trinity was thrilling and a reason for excitement. I didn’t expect Mellor and Slone would turn on each other.Lady Virginia rightly deserved her treatment. Though, her entire drama of getting monthly expenses and characters involved in the drama could have been avoided. It reduced Lady Virgina to a normal average cunning and lowly woman. Even though she was evil, she was Lady. She should have been given proper closure may by banishing her to her father’s estate and trying to get knighthood for Mellor, as she is currently doing. Then her destruction would have been interesting to look out for in final installment.

But I surely think Sebastian and Priya’s love story was unnecessary. I have always rooted for Seb and Samantha to be reunited. Reuniting them makes right logic and sense because Seb and Sam do not complete each other but compliment each other. At the maximum, Priya’s death only made Seb realize that he should try once more to win Sam and then never to let her go. But I wondered Seb had already realized the same in the Mightier than Sword and his conversations with his family about Sam.

All in all, the book was exciting but I would not say it matched or closely followed the previous ones. I think story of Lady Virgina’s second-rate farces and Priya was unnecessary. As I said before, the reason may be due to the closure that needs to be given to all characters and the story line.


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Stealing Moments to Make Memories…4 down!!!

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” by Walt Whitman.

In this fast pace world, we all are busy in trying to race ahead of others, thinking about and working towards making a better future, and falsely satisfying ourselves in the race that we will be happy in future. But we fail to realize that time flies and the present is lost in search of better future.

I had this title of the present blog thought a long time ago but I wasn’t able to write anything beyond the first quote. May be it was supposed to be written today. There’s time for everything.

I had finished my fourth book of this year, The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I just picked up this book randomly as the store I usually go didn’t have the new book in Clifton series by Jeffrey Archer. I like the title and more importantly I hadn’t ever read Albom. The book is about three people. One is Father Time who was the first person on earth to try to measure time and was banished by God for trying to measure time. Age would not touch him nor would hunger, thirst, or any pain except for one. The pain of watching others longing for time, the same thing he measured. The pain of listening to every such plea and yet not be able to do anything. His redemption lies with two other persons. Victor, an ageing, wealthy, and self-made business man, suffering from tumors in kidneys, wants more time to live. Sarah, an intelligent teenager, chubby and therefore non-popular girl in high school, wants to end her life since a high school boy posted nasty comments on Facebook when she expressed her feelings. Father Time’s redemption lies in making these two people realize importance of time and importance of life.

I thought this book will have a simple narration and I could just read the book like I read a magazine. I was in for a surprise. The narration is simple but lucid and engaging. The authour has narrated the stories in a parallel format. The stories converge at the point when Father Time himself realizes the answer to ‘What do you know about time?‘ And makes Sarah and Victor realize ‘There is a reason why God limits the days of man on earth?’. The author says time is not something to give back. One should never be out of hope and one should always strive to make every moment precious. The narration is very lucid and gripping, making the reader root for the  protagonists and at same time feel the same pain and helplessness of Father Time. The narration is like a breeze, light and powerful.

The narration would make any person look at his present situation and realize if he has been able to live the moments. In today’s world, it seems as if even 24 hours are not enough. Our work and our bosses demand most of the 24 hours simply because they are paying us for the time we give them. In this, we loose sight of time we never gave to our interests, passion, loved ones, and to life. We rush and rush to reach office, get the work done, and then to home, and then to again finish work related to home. Add to that lifestyle stress and eating disorders. An ailment now as common as common cold.

Everyone has been given 24 hours. Lot of training and coaching on time management. But no coaching on making time, precious and living life. Let’s live for making the moments precious by loving our loved ones.