Love Muffin and Chai Latte – A Review

Love Muffin and Chai Latte by Anya Wylde

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When Shakespeare said what’s in a name he couldn’t have been more wrong. I picked up this one based solely on the name. Love Muffin and Chai Latte sounded a delicious mix of East and West. The blurb confirmed what I thought about it – the story of an American girl who moves to the England and then to India, written by a non-Indian author – this I wanted to read.

The Story

This is the tale of Tabitha (Tabby) who flees to England when her sister marries her (Tabby’s) fiancé. There, she meets Chris. Within a year of dating each other Chris proposes to her. She’s taken completely by surprise but agrees to marry him because, well because she’s been thrown out by her landlord, is jobless and of course because she quite likes Chris and he convinces her it wasn’t a ‘pity proposal’ at all, he was going to ask her anyway. Tabby is aware Chris is Indian but doesn’t know exactly how much of an Indian he is. Alarm bells should have rung when she discovers Chris is actually Mr Chandramohan Mansukhani and has a large extended family in England and India and also that she would have to win the approval of his grandfather, the arrogant inflexible Daaji to get married to him. Lulled into a sense of security by Chris and his beautiful sister Maya, she travels to India to  meet the family and that’s where the fun begins.

The Review

This is a book you’re either going to hate or love. I loved it. But I’ll get to that in a bit. First, let me try to warn you off because I believe in giving out the bad stuff first.

The story is full of exaggerated stereotypes – there’s a chappal babaji who blesses people with a tap of a slipper, auntie ji’s of all shapes and hues, slimy men and plotting women and a hunk of a dream hero – who’s upright, brave, famous and a rather unbelievable philanthropist.

The situations Tabby gets into range from clichéd to unbelievably ludicrous. There are kidnappings, blackmailing, shooting, narrow escapes and a typical airport scene, yeah right out of a Bollywood film. Oh and there are some poo jokes too.

There I’ve put it all out.

However, all of that worked for me. The mix of family and friendship and romance with a very generous dose of humour made it a perfect light read. It had plenty of laugh aloud moments with tongue-in-cheek one-liners. Without giving out spoilers I’ll say certain situations had the most unexpected, unbelievable riotous endings. Some parts, like the description of the aarti at the Ganges, touched me just the way they affected Tabby. She proves to be likeable enough heroine – with her loneliness and complexes and her affinity to put her foot continuously in her mouth, she’s fun.

This one is a Bollywood masala script. Read it without going into the hows and the whys and you’ll love it. Analyse it and it’ll fall flat.

Last thought: A crazy comedy that deserves to be read.

Of loves and crushes

 

100-word-drabble

Pakhi knew she loved him. Nothing would stop her now.

She had woken early to talk to dad, while mum was fast asleep. He was easily convinced. Mum was the fly in the ointment, hard to persuade.

Pakhi faced her anxiously. “I love him, Ma. There’s no one like him in all four corners of the earth. You know I love him. Don’t stop me,” she pleaded.

“Let her go,” added dad. “It’s not everyday that SRK comes to town. Let her have her fifteen minutes of fame.”

“I’ll go with her,” beamed start-struck mum, he’s my crush too.

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Linking to #BARWoWe

The prompts for the week are:

Fast asleep
Fifteen minutes of Fame
Fly in the ointment
Four corners of the earth

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My Father Is a Hero – A Review

My Father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik

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The story

Vaibhav Kulkarni is a single father to a bright young daughter, Nisha. She is ten-years-old, an ace student, a star singer and also helpful, smart and thoughtful.

Then on the day of her birthday something happens that changes her. She loses interest in everything – school, studies, music, friends. Despite Vaibhav’s repeated attempts to unravel the mystery behind Nisha’s listlessness as also his attempts to cheer her, things continue to spiral downwards.

In a desperate attempt to find his daughter’s happiness Vaibhav goes all out to fulfil her dearest dream.

What I thought

To begin with I loved the cover, though the girl looks much younger than a-ten-year old and that bag doesn’t look like it could belong to a ten-year-old either, but I will ignore that. I do love books on relationships and a father-daughter connect is a wonderful peg. That was what made me reach out for this one.

However, that was the only good thing about the book. My biggest grouse was that the entire father-daughter relationship revolved around ‘sacrifice’. Every incident and every conversation steers around and focusses again and again on how much Vaibhav is sacrificing for his daughter, how his life revolves around Nisha and her achievements.

That got really tiresome. Sacrifice is such an overrated virtue, anyway, specially when such a big deal is made of it. I kept looking for the fun in their relationship and warmth and tenderness. All I found was more sacrifice and duty and responsibility. It bothered me that there seemed very little happiness in the Kulkarni household.

What’s worse Nisha seems terribly aware of all that her father was doing for her. Despite all her virtues she didn’t endear herself to me.  She’s much too good. Not only does she top each exam, she also wins the music competition every year. She manages her assignments on her own, goes for music classes on her own then waits dutifully for her father to pick her up. Despite never having been abroad she manages to negotiate the streets and find her way all on her own.

Where do they make children like Nisha?

There’s nothing of a ten-year-old in her. She mothers her father. She makes him blush when she tells him of her teacher’s crush on him. And yet she cannot tell him what she truly wants. Sample this: Vaibhav asks her, ‘Nisha did you want this party to be organised in the farmhouse?’ She chose her words carefully in order that they revealed nothing about what she wanted. ‘It was not my idea.’ And conveniently enough Vaibhav can’t see through her response. That irked me – the fact that there was no true closeness between the father and daughter.

The climax did a little to lift the story but seemed contrived and unreal. I am almost sorry to say I didn’t enjoy the book. The idea it began with had been so wonderful.

Last thought: Sadly enough, this could be given a miss.

PS: Do ten-year-olds colour their hair? And call their classmates ‘hot’? With two ten-year-olds in my house, I sure hope not.

**********

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from Writers Melon in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Chai and Muffins #Teaser Tuesday 3

My current read, Love Muffin and Chai Latte by Anya Wyldeis proving to be a laugh riot and it is with this book that I’m joining in for  Teaser Tuesday hosted by Should Be Reading. I have plenty to say about it but will keep it for the review. Coming up soon.

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“I am going to be Mrs Cuckoo Singh in two months. Is that something to be excited about? Would you like to be called Mrs Cuckoo all your life? His mother has started calling me Cookie already. Cookie Singh.”
She shuddered.

 

download

If you fancy joining in, here’s how…
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
• Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

An Unsuitable Boy – A Review

An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar (With Poonam Saxena)

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I picked up An Unsuitable Boy with some amount of excitement because I like Karan Johar. There, I said it. I like Karan Johar and I like his films, well most of them. But more than his films I like his off-screen persona. His interviews are fun to watch. He’s funny, warm and articulate and completely at ease with himself.

If someone can speak well, I figured, he could write well too. And I wasn’t too wrong.

What I loved about the book

In An Unsuitable Boy Karan Johar talks to you through the pages. The writing flows like an easy conversation, simple, honest and straightforward.

He talks about his rather difficult childhood, his problems with weight, his introverted personality, his effeminate mannerisms, his not being good at anything and then of the turnaround – how he made friends, found his feet and finally, quite by chance, found his calling in life. I felt for him – the pressure of being not good enough despite belonging to a privileged family – I got that.

I’d already heard a lot of his story in bits and pieces through his numerous interviews and talk shows. Reading it in the pages of the book was like revisiting his childhood with him. He goes on to talk about his entry into the world of films. We get a huge slice of behind the scene action during the making of Dilwale Dulhaniya, Kuchh Kuchh, K3G and other Dharma films right from how the story was conceptualised, the dialogues written and the costumes organised. That was quite a treat.

He makes for compelling reading, touching just the right chords with his self-effacing story-telling and his honesty.

And then the second half happened…

The conversation turns into a ramble, self-effacing turns self-congratulatory and the story-telling turns tedious, self-indulgent and oh so repetitive.

Over and over again he talks of Aditya Chopra, Shah Rukh, Niranjan, Apoorva and a host  of other friends. I understand they were instrumental in his journey and he wants to give them credit, but that’s where the book loses its connect and becomes one long haze that means little to the reader.

He goes on to comment on love and sex as also the future of Bollywood – all of that remains a monotonous commentary. The narration too gets haphazard and clumsy. I am left wondering why on earth didn’t the editor do anything about it?

However, despite the shortcomings the one thing that stands out is the complete honesty with which he has penned this memoir laying bare his most secret demons.

 

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Told you he was honest!

Last word: If you like Karan Johar you should give this a shot.

On self-esteem #Teaser Tuesday – 2

Joining in with Teaser Tuesday which is hosted by Should Be Reading. This week I’m right on time and I’m picking two lines from my  current read An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar (With Poonam Saxena). All I’ll say for now, is that it is proving to be a very interesting read.

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For some reason, I was not motivated to do anything.
I was so caught up in my own head about being overweight and effeminate that I was resisting any interaction
with the outside world.

So says Karan Johar, director producer of the some of the most opulent and successful Indian commercial films. Watch out for the review.

download

If you fancy joining in, here’s how…
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
• Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Are you a one-book-at-a-time person?

 

My kindle currently has two books open on it and another one stands half read on my bedside table. And that is quite strange. Strange, because I am a one-book-at-a-time person. If I like a book I immerse myself in it, I like being lost in it, I think about it even when I’m not reading it. If I don’t like it much I want to finish with it fast so I can go on to another one.

(Of course the sensible thing to do is to just leave that bad book and move on but that’s not quite me. An unfinished book preys on my mind. It nags me demanding closure, asking for its ‘The End’. But more on that later.)

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The point I’m trying to make is that I like to read one book at a time. It might have something to do with the fact that I mostly read fiction. Perhaps non-fiction readers can read more than one – absorbing and internalising and maybe even practising them – bit by bit while they read another one on the side.

I have a friend who simultaneously reads one book on fiction and another non-fiction. The latter keeps him company during the day – while he’s at breakfast or while travelling to and from work – and the former is his bed-time leisure read.

That works for him. It is perhaps the sign of a sane, balanced person.

However, that’s exactly what I am not, when I get a good book – sane and balanced. A good book erodes my sense of balance. A great book, does away with it completely. To me fiction most definitely needs to be read at one go – in one sitting if life permits. How else do you enter a world or a life, make it your own and love and laugh with the people in the book?

How can you jump from the company of three men in a boat on River Thames in London to Karan Johar’s Bollywood – those being my two current reads.

Nope – I have to put one of them on hold. I am most certainly a one-book-at-a-time person and happy being so.

Do you like to have more than one book on your bedside table?