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Book Review: The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

Genre: Short Story, Non Fiction
Book Name: The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk
Author: Sudha Murty
Pages: 212
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Penguin

Sudha Murty has a distinct flair of writing, which is not so easy to replicate. I am not going to write something new for another of her book which I have not already mentioned in my previous reviews of her books – Dollar Bahu and Something Happened on the Way to Heaven. Like other books, The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk is relatable to our everyday life but which we fail to notice, which by the way reminds me of that musical piece by Joshua Bell who played incognito on a metro station.

Sudha Murty’s books simply wants to convey to us to be attentive of our surroundings, not come to harsh conclusions till we know the other side of the story and continue learning from our fellow beings. By the way, this book again is a collection of short stories which you can read at your own pace or start from any chapter. Great penmanship and a must read for Sudha Murty’s fans!

Book blurb:
Extraordinary stories about ordinary peoples lives by the inimitable Sudha Murty.

Over the years, Sudha Murty has come across some fascinating people whose lives make for interesting stories and have astonishing lessons to reveal. Take Vishnu, who achieves every material success but never knows happiness; or Venkat, who talks so much that he has no time to listen. In other stories, a young girl goes on a train journey that changes her life forever; an impoverished village woman provides bathing water to hundreds of people in a drought-stricken area; a do-gooder ghost decides to teach a disconsolate young man Sanskrit; and in the title story, a woman in a flooded village in Odisha teaches the author a life lesson she will never forget.

About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.

Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven by Sudha Murty

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

Genre: Short Story, Non Fiction
Book Name: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
Editor: Sudha Murty
Pages: 224
Publication Year: 2014
Publisher: Penguin India

Authors (20 Authors contributing 20 Short Stories): Bhaswar Mukherjee, Saurabh Kumar, Dhrishti Dasgupta, Supriya Unni Nair, Satyarth Nayak, Jimmy Mathew, Vibha Lohani, Rajesh Pooppotte, Swaha Bhattacharya, Rishi Vohra, Neelamani Sutar, Subhobrata, Pushkar Pande, Nalini Chandran, Praveen P. Gopinath, Neha Garg, Ila Gautam, Tulika Dubey, Shantanu Bhowmick, and Tapan Mukherjee.

Although the stories are merely edited by Sudha Murty, they will not make you feel that it is something other than part and parcel of her life. For those who have previously read her other books, there is nothing to be worried about, since all the stories encompass the humane nature across the walks of life very similar to what Sudha Murty has written till now.

Something Happened on the Way to Heaven: 20 Inspiring Real-Life Stories leaves you feeling good about people and yourself, in general. You may or may not remember any story, but it will feel like those short stories/poems that you had read in your school with an aim to do good in the world, come what may. A collection of stories of ordinary people (common man), can be considered as a short summary for this book, and I will liken it to the works by R. K. Narayan.

Book blurb:
The inspiring true stories of the interesting people who inhabit the pages of Sudha Murtys books leave an indelible impression on us. But the books are able to chronicle the stories of only the men and women Mrs. Murty has actually come across herself in the course of her social work. There must be so many more wonderful stories that many others have to share. Something Happened on the Way to Heaven is a collection of twenty such memorable true life stories. Handpicked by Sudha Murty from a contest run by Penguin, they capture the hope, faith, kindness and joy that life is full of, even as we make our way through the daily grind. Moving and uplifting, this is an anthology that will engross and delight every reader who believes in the goodness of the human heart.

About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.

Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

Read reviews of Sudha Murty’s other books on my blog: Dollar Bahu and The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk.

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

Genre: Short Story, Fiction
Book Name: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad
Author: Twinkle Khanna
Pages: 229
Publication Year: 2016
Publisher: Juggernaut Books

So last time I had wished for a story from Mrs Funnybones (while reading a book by the same name – review), and here it is…

The book has an undercurrent of talking about the societal changes without being preachy, the way that Mrs Funnybones wittingly spins her satirical columns regularly. Easy to read with a simple relatable context, but not the typical Indian fiction flooding the market. It has short sentences, perfectly correlated with just the right touch of background and other side-characters, the factors needed for a good short story book.

All the four stories have a feminism message and breaking stereotypes, my personal favourite being Salam, Noni Appa. This book reminded me of books written by Sudha Murthi. Only if the last story could have been skipped (those already aware of Arunachalam Murugananthm would not feel it part of fiction), it would have deserved at least 9-on-10. No denying the fact that, I am biased towards her column writings.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A gangly young girl transforms her village with a revolutionary idea. Sixty-eight-year-old Noni Appa finds herself drawn to a married man – ‘Why do people have to define relationships, underline each word till the paper gives way beneath?’ she wonders. Bablu Kewat becomes obsessed with sanitary napkins much to his family’s horror, and a young woman keeps checking the weather forecast as she meticulously plans each of her five weddings. Funny, observant and wise, this is storytelling at its most irresistible.

About the author:
Twinkle Khanna, aka Mrs Funnybones, crafts satirical stories and funny fables when she is not running a design business, selling candles or running in circles around her small but rather odd family. She is an acclaimed columnist and lives in Mumbai.
Twitter: @mrsfunnybones
Facebook: @TwinkleRKhanna

Rating: 7/10

Lost

​I am not yet extinct
Just not in front of you
Or probably I am right here
But you don’t want to recognize me.

Sweetheart, I had been always so close to you
And then you misplaced me in a fit of emotions
Or that you tucked me on your head and then simply forgot
Silly you!

I was also once the most popular TV series 
About a plane crash on a mysterious island
I was the civilisation and culture of Mohenjo-Daro 
And of other cities in the ruins.

I was hidden behind those thick walls
In the midst of those old history books in the silent corridors
You loved to frequent once
But then stopped for you found greener pastures later.

I may be of bygone era, but still useful
Please find me
And keep me safe in your heart
I don’t want to be Lost yet again!

Book Review: Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja

Genre: Psychology, Short Story
Book Name: Gulabi
Author: Pankaj Suneja
Pages: 74
Publication Year: 2014
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing

This book is an interesting attempt at explaining schizophrenia by an author who had himself created a fictional character while going through emotional trauma. However, the story and narrative were lacking at many points. There was never a clear understanding of the linkages between the main protagonists and the characters. Probably, that’s what happens when someone is going through trauma and everything including the senses blur. As I flipped pages, so did the two stories suddenly from one to another with never a warning. But considering its a debut novel, I can still give some brownie points. However, hoping the best for the author to bind a better thread through his next book for everyone to read.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Schizophrenia is challenging disorder often characterized by abnormal social behaviour and a significantly altered perception of reality. Its treatment largely depends on medications and psychosocial interventions but no single approach is widely considered effective for all patients. Through this book I offer my readers a glimpse into the multifaceted world of schizophrenia in the form of fictitious storyline revolving around two characters Monty (the psychotic part) and Virginia (the non psychotic part). The boundary between the two is permeable. Monty conjures up ‘Gulabi’, following his abrupt separation from his long time partner, while Virginia, having suffered from a personal loss sets out to follow her lifelong aspiration to travel the world.

About the author:
Pankaj Suneja is a psychologist by choice and a writer by passion. He wrote his first book, Gulabi, while suffering with psychotic symptoms. The Mobile Phone is his second novel. Pankaj writes from his personal experiences and his reflections about himself and his environment. He presented the paper titled ‘Closer to Schizophrenia: a personal journey from illness to health‘ in the form of poster at Icons of SCARF at 2014, Chennai. He holds a diploma in creative writing and is the winner of the David Feinsilver Award 2015, for original thinking and scholarship research, New York.

Rating: 6/10

Book Review: The Mobile Phone by Pankaj Suneja

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | The Mobile Phone by Pankaj Suneja

Genre: Psychology, Short Story
Book Name: The Mobile Phone
Author: Pankaj Suneja
Pages: 94
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing

The book could have been an excellent read – with two stories intertwined with each other and dealing with changing relationships, depression, and fabricating a different world in mind to bridge the gap with reality (Schizophrenia). The start was crisp; however by the end, one’s interest may waver. A good attempt at writing on such a delicate topic, but which could have been much much better.

Specially negative points to the publishing house who gave ‘ok’ to publishing the book without even doing a spelling or grammar check in MS Word. Grammatical mistakes, sentence construction errors, name mismatches, confusion between narration of the two stories – some place as third person while others as first person, and the list goes, all of which disinterested me in completing the book. But there, I did it! Crisper editing could have made it so much more a worthwhile read.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
The Mobile Phone is a story of connecting to the child within us. The story is set in Delhi and deals with the lives of Rohit, a tutor, and Prabhu, a child he teaches in the city. The author uses ‘the paper mobile phone’ as a symbol to connect with someone who is absent; someone we seek or someone who could hold us in our helplessness. The novel makes an attempt to understand death and deal with mourning. It looks at child’s play and fantasy life. It also looks at adults who are evolving in relationship.

About the author:
Pankaj Suneja is a psychologist by choice and a writer by passion. He wrote his first book, Gulabi, while suffering with psychotic symptoms. The Mobile Phone is his second novel. Pankaj writes from his personal experiences and his reflections about himself and his environment. He presented the paper titled ‘Closer to Schizophrenia: a personal journey from illness to health‘ in the form of poster at Icons of SCARF at 2014, Chennai. He holds a diploma in creative writing and is the winner of the David Feinsilver Award 2015,for original thinking and scholarship research, New York.

Rating: 6/10

Story: Memories

This one is written after hearing many experiences of my friends. Not that after getting married, anyone told me this piece of their life. It’s just an imagination by me to try my hand at writing super short story with an end finally this time.


As Abha sat late night browsing through the internet to get hold of a story, she noticed a pic – the pic of two people sitting in a rickshaw with rain in full swing. It tugged at her heart and reminded her of someone very close. She forgot all about completing her freelancing task at hand, and started finding out all she could about this guy.

There was the time when Abha and Vinay used to hang out together. Oh those were the very best of times. But then things changed for both. Long distance relationships doesn’t always work the way one wants.

Abha searched and searched. She was in a hopeless stance. She couldn’t risk asking anyone around for the fear of blowing up the pretence of so many years among all who knew her secret past. Yet she couldn’t find anything recent. All whatever she could find of him was ages old. Of the times she already knew when they were together.

Can I call him just to hear his voice? Or it would just break her into pieces like how it used to happen always before?

Vinay was already married to the girl she had initially so vehemently objected to. Abha shut down the laptop and then went to feed her daughter Paakhi with a new twist in the tale to tell this time.

Book Journey: Ford County Stories

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | Ford County Stories by John Grisham

Genre: Short Story, Mystery
Book Name: Ford County Stories
Author: John Grisham
Pages: 344
Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Arrow Books

Disclaimer: To clarify, I have really high expectations from John Grisham books and my reviews on his books might be biased towards or against him. And this book fell short of that!

Ford County Stories is a compilation of seven fast-paced short stories, though unrelated but portraying life’s analogies. Reading parts of the book reminds one of the tales from hearsay, not necessarily from our direct involvement but even of acquaintances or strangers who we are never going to meet. Not exactly of the genre of John Grisham’s usual writings, the story still captures an angle of legal work but with human interactions involved. As the different characters go through their own emotional turmoil or the excitement, you can feel the mood lift up and sink down with them. Even though the story is in the setting of a faraway town, you realize that people and situations around are exactly like that in real life, sometimes crude, sometimes heartbreaking, and at times illusionary.

But yes, I am not much of short stories reader; I prefer knowing background in more details so that I can create the movie scene of the book in my mind. However, keeping in mind the short attention span of people these days, this book is a great one to go through when you can take a 20 minutes break from your usual schedule.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Master thriller writer and worldwide number one bestseller John Grisham takes you into the heart of America’s Deep South with a collection of stories connected by the life and crimes of Ford County: a place of harsh beauty where broken dreams and final wishes converge.

A mercy mission that is hilariously sidetracked by human weakness; a manipulative death row inmate with one last plea; a small town divorce attorney who suddenly hits pay dirt; a man who sets out to break a casino to revenge a broken heart; a kidnapped lawyer who is confronted with one of his previous cases at gun point; a conman who preys on the rich and elderly; the boy dying of AIDS who finds mercy across the tracks in downtown Clanton: the sum total of human life is brilliantly captured in Grisham’s unique evocation of lives lived and lost in Mississippi.

Frequently moving, often hilarious, and always entertaining, Ford County brims with the same page-turning quality and irresistible narrative of his previous bestsellers, and is proof once more why John Grisham is our most popular storyteller.

About the author:
A lawyer by profession and an author by fame, John Grisham is the brilliant American writer of numerous novels best known for his legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 40 languages and published worldwide.

Average reading time of book = 4 hours for an average reader.

Rating: 7/10

Yet another sham – Part 1

Post: EtherealJinxed Sham Marriage | Image Courtesy: SurrealAberrant

The story revolves around main 3 characters. I will introduce others as they appear in the scene. This is a love-cum-hate story of Shailesh, Ayesha and Alka.

Version 1

Shailesh told Ayesha of an international trip he was going to with his office colleagues. This was a holiday trip combined with his official trip. He told her each and every single detail of the planned trip missing not a single person except one. But let’s come to that part later.
Shailesh sent Ayesha the facebook profile links of every person for her approval, and she said ok. He came back a week later tired. And his unusual not-able-to-find-time still didn’t make Ayesha suspicious. And then later she found out by herself that Shailesh had missed to mention his-so-called-friend Alka who was also on the same trip. Shailesh knew that Ayesha knows that there is nothing between Alka and him. But still Ayesha filed for divorce.
Whose fault was that? Who dumped whom? Was it all Ayesha’s for she couldn’t find in her to trust him (probably nothing had happened in real)? With the way Shailesh conveyed the analogy to the lawyer that nothing had happened, it seemed Ayesha was set for a long haul ahead.

Version 2

Coming soon …

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