Discussion: The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Lately, though I have watched the movie, I picked up the book ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ which, literary critics categorize by a fancy name bildungsroman; meaning books that concentrate on the vulnerability and transformation during teenage years of a person.

I am sitting to write this post entirely out of urge to discuss a book like this which specifically tries to decipher all the perks of becoming an adult from a teenager. So, this is not a review to be clear (and hence it contains spoilers).


So, we have an introvert, sensitive (very) boy who tries to adapt himself for high-school mindset. I didn’t like ‘Catcher In The Rye’ (don’t know why) but I seem to like this one very much. The major reason for that might be huge similarity between Charlie (that’s the boy) and I. Though I am more emotionally attached to Stephen in ‘A Portrait of the Artist As a Young man‘ by Joyce (I’ll come to that later sometime). Charlie really sucks at building relationship with opposite sex and he falls in love pretty soon after meeting Sam. Sam is a very realistic girl, much older and already in a relationship. She understands Charlie’s attraction to her, and she tries to make sense to him like this:

And I felt good that those were the first two words that I ever typed on my new old typewriter that Sam gave me. We just sat there quiet for a moment, and she smiled. And I moved to the typewriter again, and I wrote something.

“I love you, too.”

And Sam looked at the paper, and she looked at me.

“Charlie… have you ever kissed a girl?”

I shook my head no. It was so quiet.

“Not even when you were little?”

I shook my head no again. And she looked very sad.

She told me about the first time she was kissed. She told me that it was with one of her dad’s friends. She was seven. And she told nobody about it except for Mary Elizabeth and then Patrick a year ago. And she started to cry. And she said something that I won’t forget. Ever.

“I know that you know that I like Craig. And I know that I told you not to think of me that way. And I know that we can’t be together like that. But I want to forget all those things for a minute. Okay?”


“I want to make sure that the first person you kiss loves you. Okay?”

“Okay.” She was crying harder now. And I was, too, because when I hear something like that I just can’t help it.

“I just want to make sure of that. Okay?”


And she kissed me. It was the kind of kiss that I could never tell my friends about out loud. It was the kind of kiss that made me know that I was never so happy in my whole life.

These is a very tender way of handling such situation and I love the way it’s executed.

It’s tender because from the beginning I’m telling Charlie is vulnerable, too vulnerable to grasp a situation like following:

After a few minutes, the boy pushed the girl’s head down, and she started to kiss his (). She was still crying. […] I had to stop watching at that point because I started to feel sick, but it kept going on, and they kept doing other things, and she kept saying “no.” Even when I covered my ears, I could still hear her say that.My sister came in eventually to bring me a bowl of potato chips, and when she found the boy and the girl, they stopped.

My sister was very embarrassed, but not as embarrassed as the girl. The boy looked kind of smug. He didn’t say much. After they left, my sister turned to me.

“Did they know you were in here?”

“Yes. They asked if they could use the room.”

“Why didn’t you stop them?”

“I didn’t know what they were doing.”

“You pervert,” was the last thing my sister said before she left the room, still carrying the bowl of potato chips.


“He raped her, didn’t he?”

She just nodded. I couldn’t tell if she was sad or just knew more things than me.

“We should tell someone, shouldn’t we?”

And I was disturbed to read this part, and was quite in doubt if the author did justice to a situation like this. But the way author let him grasp those things is admirable.

There are other situations, which I think, is impossible to come up out of imagination.

When I was done reading the poem, everyone was quiet. A very sad quiet. But the amazing thing was that it wasn’t a bad sad at all. It was just something that made everyone look around at each other and know that they were there. Sam and Patrick looked at me. And I looked at them. And I think they knew. Not anything specific really. They just knew. And I think that’s all you can ever ask from a friend.

Such things couldn’t be written unless the author himself went through them, and though I have not done the required research, I strongly believe Stephen Chbosky in some way, in some time, was involved with similar situations in his early life(it is further reassured by the fact that he has not written anything else since).

The foundation of the path of transformation of being prepared for the hard future of Charlie mostly laid by books and a teacher like Bill. Reading classics and cultivating ideas by writing essays on them is an effective way of developing character and moral basis of any teenager/person.

In later part of the novel, Charlie is forced to be involved in an one-sided relationship with Sam’s best friend and he, in an inappropriate moment chooses to kiss Sam instead of his existing girlfriend, and jeopardizes every relation between him and everyone. He finds himself dangling in between an un-achievable love and unwanted love; thus alienating himself from every friend of his, he goes through a nervous breakdown.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Ph: John Bramley © 2011 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.

At the end he became friends with everyone again via few fortunate and/or critical moments.

But this teaches us an important lesson: everything heals with time. Also, there are few golden moments like when Patrick is being mocked and insulted by his homosexual partner for saving himself from public shame, Charlie interfere and saves Patrick from a disgraceful scene.

The above scene turns Charlie into Patrick’s closest friend at near end and Patrick tries to kiss him in an intimate situation to which, Charlie doesn’t protest. I like to quote what to be learned here:

“Charlie, you’re missing the point. The point is that I don’t think you would have acted different even if you did like Mary Elizabeth. It’s like you can come to Patrick’s rescue and hurt two guys that are trying to hurt him, but what about when Patrick’s hurting himself? Like when you guys went to that park? Or when he was kissing you? Did you want him to kiss you?”I shook my head no.“So, why did you let him?”

“I was just trying to be a friend,” I said.

“But you weren’t, Charlie. At those times, you weren’t being his friend at all. Because you weren’t honest with him.”

But at the same time, we can’t be just shoulders to cry on when we want something more. If we love someone, we should go and try to get it. It’s important to note that I said ‘try’; not persuade. Sometimes, we can’t get things because we never attempt to have them, out of generosity or assumption.

I said, “Well, I thought a lot of things. But mostly, I thought that your being sad was much more important to me than Craig not being your boyfriend anymore. And if it meant that I would never get to think of you that way, as long as you were happy, it was okay. That’s when I realized that I really loved you.”

She sat down on the floor with me. She spoke quiet.“Charlie, don’t you get it? I can’t feel that. It’s sweet and everything, but it’s like you’re not even there sometimes. It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things.”

“Like what?” I asked. My mouth was dry.

“I don’t know. Like take their hands when the slow song comes up for a change. Or be the one who asks someone for a date. Or tell people what you need. Or what you want. Like on the dance floor, did you want to kiss me?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Then, why didn’t you?” she asked real serious.

“Because I didn’t think you wanted me to.”

“Why did you think that?”

“Because of what you said.”

“What I said nine months ago? When I told you not to think of me that way?”


Nearing the end, I can only say that, Charlie has already achieved maturity when he thinks:

The party at Craig’s was great. Craig and Peter bought champagne to congratulate all the people who were graduating. And we danced. And we talked. And I saw Mary Elizabeth kissing Peter and looking happy. And I saw Sam kissing Craig and looking happy. And I saw Patrick and Alice not even care that they weren’t kissing anybody because they were too excited talking about their futures.

By the way, it has left me dubious about existence of persons like Sam and Patrick.

Now, about the ‘A Portrait’ by Joyce:

You’ll get another article like this soon enough.

Thanks for reading. ❤


A Discussion on Midnight’s Children, A Fine Balance and Magical Realism

The origin of the post is the hours long thought process after reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (and the origin of the thought process is not being able to write anything for my blog for a long time).


Now comes the reason of this post and the reason of your wasting (Is it?) time on this fairly unpopular blog and its posts. The reason is this: according to me very few people have a good idea about what magicrealism means and what it is about and why the above mentioned books should not be called a hugely different books.

First of all, let me give a brief account about what the above books are about, which you can find in description section of corresponding Goodreads pages and of course we have wikipedia! And before proceeding any further, let me spell it out; if you have not read or if you have no idea or if you plan to read the above two books, then you can stop right now (and miss some arguably interesting observations).

So here are the short accounts of the books:

A Fine Balance: This is set in emergency situation in India during 1977 where we have a uncle and his nephew treading through different areas of India (both cities and villages) and experienced the awful things that people had suffered at that time.

Here, Rohinton (I’m calling him by first name because I love and respect him too much.) uses those two characters as a magnifying glass to let us see and feel what was happening at that time and how people’s mindset had been changing correspondingly. That’s all. (I now safely assure you that you have not missed much about the book if you are planning to read the same.)

Midnight’s Children: Here Salman (First name because he is admirable, funny and friendly) has apparently done something different. I’ll come to that in a moment, just hold on a bit.

Midnight’s Children is about India’s sociopolitical (mostly political) situations that shaped the nation as it is now. In this book too the central theme was the emergency situation and the happenings in that time (note: beautification, vasectomy etc you can find in the two books.) And a lot of awful events had happened with most of the characters in this book.

Now here I’ll spill the beans about magical realism and a comparison between the two books. In A Fine Balance, you’ll find a conventional, Dickentian style narrative, which is so finely (pun intended) done that it has almost universal appeal (note: just have a look at any random review of the book). It is raw, ripe and ruthless.

In Midnight’s Children, however, things gets a bit different. Here you’ll find people having flying, metamorphosizing, telepathizing and thus in total 1001 (Yes, it’s a fact.) such capabilities. Add to this happenings like dogs suddenly protecting a politician, mother visualizing all about her daughters’ dreams, monkey intentionally ruining a lifechanging deal, girl vanishing persons in her basket, a nation conspiring to make drastic changes in our main character’s life and thus affecting the fate of an entire nation. (Yes the main character is so godly and supernatural that anything happening in his life has reflected to the nation’s fate.) In short: it’s all very symbolic and extremely sarcastic. This is a new kind of writing process to hammer more boldly the same things in a new way.

Midnight’s Children could have been easily written like this: Saleem is boy born in a muslim rich family with no magical power whatsoever, and gradually with change in political situations of nation his life takes turns and he goes through an awful lot of sad things; he goes to places, always crying and invoking mercy in the reader, and can do nothing to prevent it etc etc(which actually happens in A Fine Balance).

Rather, Salman has chosen a hugely sarcastic and arrogant tone, making fun of the victims and readers and constantly referring to vast Indian mythological events. Without magical realism (A world where magic happens and none recognizes it as magic; a basic difference between fantasy and magical realism.), without assuming such outrageous and illogical facts in Rushdie’s book, could it be symbolized to depict history of a nation via merely life story of a character? Could the miseries of a nation be described in an utterly cruel and sarcastic tone by making fun of a character’s pain? It maybe possible, but it’ll be hugely boring and bigger and more difficult.

On a slightly out-of-the-track note: One Hundred Years of Solitude could never be written if there was no magical realism or perhaps, there would not be any Franz Kafka or Haruki Murakami.

The point is: Magical realism is NOT a GENRE of English literature, it is a literary TOOL, same like allegory or oxymoron. So don’t run away from a book because it is written in magical realism technique; it can be fun and it just tries to show a realistic world through a different magnifying glass so that you can recognize and understand the situation more vividly and tequilically (note: tequila is a strong alcohol).

P.S. My future endeavors in literature may cross a line or two with magical realism.


Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko … Bittersweet [Book Experience]


Few day ago, I threw this book after reading 50 pages saying:

This book is very non-linear and full of avant-garde techniques which is pretty hard to grasp for a first time reader of a post-modern novel.

silko 3(Block quoting my own words felt good. :P)

In one word; I gave up. Then I couldn’t move to my next book leaving this book half eaten. So I have read it anyway and I am here writing this Book Experience.

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko is a post-modern, magic realistic and speculative fiction. It has taken 2 weeks for me to complete this book. Two weeks! And that too for 197 pages.

First of all, this is one of the most difficult books I have read, and the author has done it intentionally.

Shmoop has given it 8 out of 10 in terms of difficulty.

The reason would be that she wants the reader to feel confused and dizzy like her protagonist felt in the beginning. Tayo, our protagonist was a half breed (a cross between white American and native American) and he went to war. He had lost his brother at war and right from the war he felt post traumatic disorder by visualizing his uncle Josiah while killing a Japanese soldier. After returning from war, he felt terrible, he was dreaming always and vomiting all the time. His belly was one hell of a thing; every time something happened, his belly would react in some way or other.

He shivered because all the facts, all the reasons made no difference anymore; he could hear Rocky’s words, and he could follow the logic of what Rocky said, but he could not feel anything except a swelling in his belly, a great swollen grief that was pushing into his throat.


“He didn’t want them to know how sick he had been, how all night he had leaned against the metal wall in the men’s room, feeling the layers of muscle in his belly growing thinner, until the heaving was finally a ripple and then a quiver.”


“The smell of snow had a cold damp edge, and a clarity that summer rain never had. The scent touched him deep behind his belly, and he could feel the old anticipation stirring as it had when he was a child waiting for the first snowflakes to fall.”

You’ll find umpteen numbers of ‘tummy updates’ throughout the novel.

This book is mostly based on folklore and ancient unscientific ceremonies and their contextual impact on modern era. She’s written this book without any specific chapter divisions and jumped back and forth through time within passages. Also, she changes perspective without giving any warning. The whole book is written in flowery prose, poetry like. Even in between long pages of difficult prose, you’ll find poems and hymns. Sometimes a complete side story is told in form of poems.

Up North

around Reedleaf Town

there was this Ck’o’yo magician

they called Kaup’a’ta or the Gambler.

He was tall

and he had a handsome face

but he always wore spruce greens around his head, over his eyes.

He dressed in the finest white buckskins

his moccasins were perfectly sewn.

He had strings of sky blue turquoise

strings of red coral in his ears.

In all ways

the Gambler was very good to look at.

His house was high

in the peaks of the Zuni mountains

and he waited for people to wander

up to his place.

He kept the gambling sticks all stacked up

ready for them.

… and so on.

These are a delight to read and in some places she has used magic realism with such expertise that it never felt she was one of the preliminary magic realist of our time. Like when Night Swan killed her lover (he dies due to trampling of horses in his stable) by dancing in her apartment. And there is always a mysterious and obscure environment throughout the novel. Author tries to describe every minimum and negligible detail and cleverly hides important plot points in between them. That’s why I had to go back and find the phrases that I have missed. Unnecessary stress on minor details has ruined the fun while reading this book.

He continued north, looking to the yellows and the orange of the sandrock cliffs ahead, and to the narrow sandrock canyons that cut deep into the mesa, exposing the springs. He was wondering about the speckled cattle, whether they had pushed their way through the fence and were halfway to Mexico by now. They had been so difficult to control in the beginning; they had taken so much from Josiah.He left the road and took a trail that cut directly to the cliffs, winding up the chalky gray hill where the mesa plateau ended in crumbling shale above the red clay flats. The sun felt good; he could smell the juniper and piñon still damp from the rain. The wind carried a wild honey smell from meadows of beeweed. The trail dipped into a shallow wash. The sand was washed pale and smooth by rainwater and wind.

But in some places the beauty of the language is so good that I can’t help but admire the writer’s ability to create magic out of words.

They walked close together, arms around each other’s waist, pulling each other close. A mourning dove called from the tall grass along the wash, and below the cliffs the speckled cattle were grazing. Every step formed another word, thick like yellow pitch oozing from a broken piñon limb, words pressing inside his chest until it hurt: don’t leave me. But he sucked air through clenched teeth and breathed hard, trapping those words inside. She stopped by a juniper tree at the edge of the road and set her bundle on the ground.


Before dawn, southeast of the village, the bells would announce their approach, the sound shimmering across the sand hills, followed by the clacking of turtle-shell rattles—all these sounds gathering with the dawn. Coming closer to the river, faintly at first, faint as the pale yellow light emerging across the southeast horizon, the sounds gathered intensity from the swelling colors of dawn. And at the moment the sun came over the edge of the horizon, they suddenly appeared on the riverbank, the Ka’t’sina approaching the river crossing.

The author, in most places, refers to something in such subtle way that it’ll be treat for you if you can figure out what she’s trying to say.

“I have a sister who lives way down that way. She’s married to a Navajo from Red Lake.” She pointed south, in the direction she was looking. “Another lives near Flagstaff. My brother’s in Jemez.” She stopped suddenly and laughed. “You know what they say about the Montaños.” The tone of her voice said that of course he knew what the people said about her family, but Tayo couldn’t remember hearing of that family.

“Up here, we don’t have to worry about those things.” She was right. They would leave the questions of lineage, clan, and family name to the people in the village, to someone like Auntie who had to know everything about anyone.

But in several places the dialogues are so vague that you can’t understand anything.

Tayo had been drowsing in the sun with his back against the cliff rock; he sat up stiffly and looked at her.

“In case of what?” His heartbeat was fast and unsteady. Her eyes had distance in them; when he looked at her he saw miles spreading into canyons and hills. She knelt down beside him, and he saw tears.

“Out there,” she whispered, “things are always moving, always shifting. I hear them sometimes at night.”

All I can say now is that, after finishing this book, I’ve felt relieved, not jubilant. I’ve felt that finally I have completed a difficult book which has every quality to become a masterpiece. I agree that it definitely is a masterpiece but I also admit that maybe I’ll not touch this book again. I just can’t go though the trauma it has induced in me again.

Read all my book experiences here.

Among the Stars by Dhasa Sathyan … Surprisingly Charming

Among the Stars: A collection of short stories



Among the Stars: A collection of short stories by

Dhasa Sathyan
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

It has taken me a long time to complete this collection of short stories written by debutant author Dhasa Sathyan. I think it’s an wonderful way of presenting a string of ideas in form of connected stories and author is able to pull off quite a fantastic collection of tales ranging from horror to psychology to satire.

To begin with, the author has presented an idea of father telling his son stories looking at the night stars. It’s great feeling in itself and while reading the stories it felt like the author first penned down all the storied and then tried to connect them by a general theme of father telling stories to his son(and also by naming almost all the protagonists as Sanjay). But the stories are neither interconnected nor logically inviting to the next story and rather it’d be safe to say that those conversations between father and son can either be developed better or be removed completely.

And for the stories, I am surprised to witness a talent of this magnitude hidden for this long time. In fact, few opening stories are so good that I almost had decided to make it the “Book Of The Month” of my blog.

Why do babies cry? is a strange way to start a cocktail of stories but it is fine by me, though has not been of much impact.

Next comes one of my favorites of the lot: The escape route, it’s strange and very original. Turning of a regular software engineer into a zombie though seems a bizarre idea, is absolutely possible in literal sense. Reader should note that it’s just a metaphor to describe our shitty city life. And his following way of narration has tempted me to make it BOTM.

It was ironical. Mike did get his “Escape Route” in the end. He escaped from the daily routine, the troubles of a wannabe. The troubles of a middle class man. Sanjay would have gladly swapped places with Mike. Sanjay started laughing. Life sure is ironical. He laughed. You grow jealous at a man who had a pathetic life and died in restroom, eaten by crazed zombies. He laughed. The story was a dumb one. He laughed. The sound of the maniacs? They were nowhere near intimidating. He laughed. He would have swapped places with anyone in the story. He laughed. It would have been a good “Escape Route”. He laughed at his own satire joke.

There was a pen right near him. Nothing would knock his rockers off enough to attack Vikram sitting right next to him. It was a dumb story. He laughed. He took the pen off the stand. What was the sound again?


It would be damn funny to scare the shit out of Vikram as he brandished the knife in his face shrieking. He tried to make the noise again.


That felt kind of nice. Why don’t we just stab him a little? Sanjay thought to himself.


He held the pen high and swung it down, harder than he thought, towards Vikram’s neck just as Vikram turned around.



The block: Two dons, meet up for a deal and there someone was killed for better chance of becoming the next don. It took me a while to figure that it was just a story on writer’s block. Wondering how? Read and go figure.

The Muse: About a horror fiction writer who became a national sensation (which is quite a strange thing). It pretty much reminds me of the Oscar winning movie Amedeus.

The Mission: It’s a gory story on cannibalism which is described perfectly.

Blood Money: It’s a story about a prostitute. Well, there are so many on the same. But this one is a masterpiece because it portrays hurdles of life in a mockery of happily ever after couple. Read it.

Poison Elixir: Schizophrenia that turned into a cure.

The fork: A pretty familiar horror story brings freshness in it by providing choices to reader upon which fate of its protagonists are decided. I absolutely like this idea as it reminds me of few adorable video games I have played.

Happily Ever After: A strange combination of a doctor unable to stop slipping lives out of his hands and his childhood full of tragedies.

The Uncertainty Factor: I would say that this story is a metaphorical and theoretical one trying to combine quantum physics with real life philosophy. Heisenberg’s theory itself is so fascinating that this one is bound to be there in your mind for a long time. Another good piece.

The Second Genesis: Till now, I have to read short fiction in between breaks I get in my daily chores, which is a reason for the long time it has taken to complete. But the last one is a treat; a 50 page long novella, equally thrilling and exciting like a big long thriller novel. I’d say, it’s an excellent effort by the author revealing his capability in longer fiction.

Then comes few normal-nice-and-not-so-awesome stories like Distance Matters (effect of distance on love), Dream of a lifetime, Free as a bird (child sexual abuse; a great theme but not executed properly), First Kiss (won’t spoil, read it), Into Oblivion (Bhagban recreated with artistic touch), The Lone Soldier (a health accident turned into a twisted conspiracy. Good one, but not up to the mark of other stories.).

On a final note, I like to mention the author’s good vocabulary and brilliant use of the same. Though, in many places, he could have beautified the prose a bit with the kind of sonorous words he has. And this is the first time I’ve come across with an author who is obsessed with description of dreams (which I don’t know why, people don’t like that much). I am a fan of dream-like description.

The author will become a notable talent in future if he can come up with a full-fledged novel as beautiful and philosophical as this collection of stories. I’ll be looking up to you for your future work. Godspeed.

Get the book here.

Read all my reviews here.

[BOTM] Slaughterhouse-Five … So it goes.


I am announcing Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is Book of the Month (BOTM) (What is this? ) for September.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I bought this book paying double price for the number of pages, I was quite depressed. But this 177 page classic does what most of the books fail to do: to present a terrible and macabre situation in an awfully casual and indifferent tone. I have never read a book that mocks value of lives to this level, and that too with a touch of humour.
Nearly 135000 people were killed in Dresden, Germany(more people than in Hiroshima); a place totally inhabited by civilians with no military or artillery resources what-so-ever. This was a very illogical attack (Is logic even exists in war?) and was tactically kept away from public so that people don’t start hating America.

“It had to be done,” Rumfoord told Billy, speaking of the destruction of Dresden.
“I know,” said Billy.
“That’s war.”
“I know. I’m not complaining.”

The way this story is presented with continuous time traveling in back and forth that the whole life of Billy seems as a whole picture in every line mixed with millions of emotions. The absurdity and illogicality of war is depicted aptly with introduction of the theory that nothing is there called free will.

“How—how did I get here?”
“It would take another Earthling to explain it to you. Earthlings are the great explainers, explaining why this event is structured as it is, telling how other events may be achieved or avoided. I am a Tralfamadorian, seeing all time as you might see a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.”
“You sound to me as though you don’t believe in free will,” said Billy Pilgrim.

“If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings,” said the Tralfamadorian, “I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by ‘free will.’ I’ve visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.”

Billy simply had no control over whatever was happening with his life and that’s the sole concept of war, isn’t it? And guess what was more painful; you can’t do anything about it but accept your FATE. Can you respond to your death prophecy like this:
He declared,

I, Billy Pilgrim, will die, have died, and always will die on February thirteenth, 1976.

Billy predicts his own death within an hour. He laughs about it, invites the crowd to laugh with him. “It is high time I was dead,” he says. “Many years ago,” he said, “a certain man promised to have me killed. He is an old man now, living not far from here. He has read all the publicity associated with my appearance in your fair city. He is insane. Tonight he will keep his promise.”
There are police around him as he leaves the stage. They are there to protect him from the crush of popularity. No threats on his life have been made since 1945. The police offer to stay with him. They are floridly willing to stand in a circle around him all night, with their zap guns drawn.
“No, no,” says Billy serenely. “It is time for you to go home to your wives and children, and it is time for me to be dead for a little while—and then live again.” At that moment, Billy’s high forehead is in the cross hairs of a high-powered laser gun. It is aimed at him from the darkened press box. In the next moment, Billy Pilgrim is dead. So it goes.

This casually letting go of lives with “So it goes” is the USP of this book, showing us how really small and cheap lives are.
There are not many cases, where the author got emotional in such a difficult and inhuman situation (getting emotional is the most normal thing to do here). But when he did, it was magic.

There were diffident raps on the factory window. Derby was out there, having seen all. He wanted some syrup, too.
So Billy made a lollipop for him. He opened the window. He stuck the lollipop into poor old Derby’s gaping mouth. A moment passed, and then Derby burst into tears. Billy closed the window and hid the sticky spoon. Somebody was coming.

A city (which was one of the most beautiful cities in world) was diminished to mountains of rubble, and Billy was returning home.

Billy opened his eyes. A middle-aged man and wife were crooning to the horses. They were noticing what the Americans had not noticed—that the horses’ mouths were bleeding, gashed by the bits, that the horses’ hooves were broken, so that every step meant agony, that the horses were insane with thirst. The Americans had treated their form of transportation as though it were no more sensitive than a six-cylinder Chevrolet.

Billy asked them in English what it was they wanted, and they at once scolded him in English for the condition of the horses. They made Billy get out of the wagon and come look at the horses. When Billy saw the condition of his means of transportation, he burst into tears. He hadn’t cried about anything else in the war.

All I can say now that, this is the best, best anti-war black-comedy I have ever read. Oh, I forgot; the author himself was there in Dresden when it was slaughtered. So it goes.

Read my experience with other books

Review: #Iam16ICanRape by Kirtida Gautam


#IAm16ICanRape by Kirtida Gautam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Recently I have read a very lengthy and much talked book  #IAm16ICanRape
by Kirtida Gautam which takes on a very important aspect of our judicial system and more crucially psychology of rape.

Now as the subject is really hard-hitting and the book is 630 pgs long, I was excited to read this one hoping to find a true magnum opus on the current position of woman in India. In fact, I have finished this book quite a few days ago, but I was doubtful about my opinion on the same. So after much thought I am presenting my true opinion about this book.

Firstly, this book is an honest attempt. But in midway through the book, I have almost decided to give it a 2-star and stop reading further. There are reasons for that which I will point out shortly. Basically the book gained 1 more star for Chapter 10.1, 6.4 and few more chapters on Aarush, our protagonist.

Too Many Characters:

In my opinion, this book would be better if it had been presented as a non-fiction book. The fact that, with almost 15 characters and 630+ pages; if the story and narration are not gripping enough, the book will bore the reader.

This book has lot of characters and the author has tried to give equal space for each one of them. Whereas, many characters are redundant and removing them would have made this book far more compact and gripping.


Next are narration, language and style. The style is in simple prose for which I have no problem but the presentation is not lively at all. For example consider the following excerpt:

“Around 12:15 a.m., I get a call from the Santosh Hospital. Dad collapsed in the parking area at RK-JEE. How and when did that happen? We rush to the hospital and find out that Dad was backing his car from his parking space when suddenly, he fell on the wheel and fainted. The watchman, Makkhan Singh, rushed to the spot and drove him to hospital.”

As each chapter is devoted to one character only it’s really irritating when in every line the character says “I am doing this, I am doing that.”

Like this one:

(From a chapter on Rudransh)

“I am so excited with this thought that I cannot sleep. I wake up at least five times during the night to check the time. Every night when I go to bed, I get the feeling that it is morning in five minutes; but tonight, the time simply does not pass. By the time the alarm clock rings at 5:30 a.m., I am already up. I go for my morning walk.”

(From a Chapter on Meghana)

“I come home. My cook, Sarojini, has come. I ask her to pack three different Tupperware tiffin boxes. I specify in my instructions to use Tupperware and not regular plastic boxes. The first tiffin is my lunchbox, the second my 4 p.m. snack, and the last my 6 p.m. salad.

I drive to my office. The intern, Shivani, is not in the office. I don’t appreciate it when people are late when they are on an internship. I criticize Shivani in front of Rajkumar, who is my best friend and colleague.”

It’s just telling, not showing. Even you can’t differentiate the tone of each character; all are almost same.


Also, most of the narration is based on dialogues and I am not happy to see the author considering her readers so dumb. A tone, or mockery, or sarcasm should reflect in the dialogue itself. We don’t need a comment explaining meaning of the dialogue each time.

For example:

“Hi Dad, I didn’t notice you. When did you come? What is the time? 1:30?” she asks.


“No, it is 9:30,” I answer.

“How come RK-Ji is back so early?”

Sarcasm, again!

“Has your MIL’s spirit entered in your body by any chance? Why so much sarcasm? At the end of the day, you are a woman and you can’t change that, right?” I am her father-figure, she should not verbally brawl with me.

Good Mind-play:

But at the end few chapters pay off well as mentioned earlier. Very deep insights are presented at very crucial points that question our beliefs. Like this one:

“There are people who believe in the basic goodness of human nature. I believe in the basic evil of human nature.

I am a memory collector. I like to collect memories of high and intensely emotional moments. Any idea why people watch movies or read fiction and stuff? Homo sapiens crave emotional experiences. They need intense emotional experiences, but the fact of human life is that they don’t get those experiences in their real lives. They bottle up emotions, then they go out and watch or read something and their emotions come out, a process called catharsis. The lower the intelligence of a system; the more prone she/he will be to enjoy vicarious emotions and believe in the make-believe. That is how the film and TV industry survives. By stupidiots, with stupidiots, for stupidiots!”


“When Mom slapped me, the absolute first thought that came into my head was, ‘Does she know?’ Then I quickly put all the pieces of the puzzle together. If she knew, she would not have been the only person to know. Bob would have known too! But Bob just hugged me and welcomed me back home. He didn’t know a thing, which implied Mom didn’t know anything either. She slapped me only because she felt like slapping me. Good! That is good! She thinks I was angry with her. I was not angry, I played angry, but in reality, I was relieved!”

I adore this kind of mind-play. The division of chapters, though very unconventional and confusing, is basically a timeline of the events that take place in the book. A clever way of chapter division.

Nearing at end of this review I can say that, it has good insights, an average plot, an average narration and too many characters (so many that you may forget their names). So it leaves me dangling in between whether I like this book or not. Hence, giving it three stars.

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[Book Experience] Domechild by Shiv Ramdas


Domechild by Shiv Ramdas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tomorrow it was past midnight and though I was aware that next morning (I mean today) I have to wake up early and catch a train, I was tensely reading this book clutching the cover and cursing the author for writing such a long book and making me stay awake so late. But it was worth it.

Contrary to expectation, I have found this book a proper mix of Orwellian dystopian and a GOT type thriller. But still, at the end of the book, I am satisfied and happy. The language is good, full of juice and humor proving the author’s mastery over words.

Like any other sci-fi novel this book opens in a futuristic world with total-vigilance on everyone. I was really excited about the theory to be developed later for this totalitarian society . And for that I was reading this book earnestly, waiting for the revelation. But it was sad that I had to wait till next half of the book where things got more complicated with every line. The book is a 100% sci-fi thriller with original thoughts on how our society would turn out if things present in today’s world go wrong. Shiv Ramdas has cleverly used the modern world technology for total vigilance. Here as everything in society is automated, the citizens are appointed for the sole purpose of monitoring everyone’s movement. They have a social network site where people get to check others’ profiles and chat with them (with fake smiles and words). In case, there is some discrepancy, the citizens have to report the same to the concerned officials. I think this is convincing enough in that world.

In midst of all these highly futuristic civilization, there is a different world altogether outside the city(of course the name of the city is Dome). When one timid person is thrown from such a systematic, mundane and fearful world to a wild, dark and addictive world, one can understand how interesting the adventure will going to be. And also, the hidden plot twists have emerged in such unexpected situations that the whole book has become a treat for sci-fi readers. I don’t want to spoil anything but the end few pages are so awesomely constructed that it leaves the reader desperately wanting to read the next part/installation.

I have deducted 1 star because of these:

1. The running through tunnels in mid-section seemed has been dragged too much. Almost 30 pages can easily be reduced.

2. The theory that has established the dystopian world in this book is quite convincing and original. The theory is this: a highly talented scientist with help of a company demystifies the working of human brain reveling which exact points of our brain is sensitive to what kind of information. The problem has arrived when that interface has become corrupted due to some conspiracy and thus making the same information act like a drug.
There is one thought of mine based upon the above theory. In that sense,the information or the digital data itself has the ability to control human brain by inducing exact signals at exact points of human brain. This gives the company the ability to control every human being in the way they have wanted and thus reducing half the effort by everyone(to control and to save). Anyway, this only is my personal thought.

Another good thing about this book is that, unlike other recent books, this one respects your IQ and let you figure out different subtle plot-points by yourself. I thank the author for that.

Well, what are you waiting for! Go give it a read. Highly recommended.
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[Book Experience] A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

A Fine BalanceA Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I picked up this book out of curiosity and excitement about reading an Indian author’s book whose name I had not heard much before. Also, though I had heard about the Emergency declared in India in 1975, but was not aware of its real consequences on citizens in both cities and villages.

Immediately after starting the book, I kept saying in my mind: This book is going to be brilliant. Because the language is strikingly beautiful. Lines like:

The chalks and slates fascinated them. They yearned to hold the white sticks in their hands, make little white squiggles like the other children, draw pictures of huts, cows, goats, and flowers. It was like magic, to make things appear out of nowhere.

Sometimes, unjustified beating was described with mocking comedy, like when Ishwar and Narayan was beaten ferociously they ran.

Ishvar and Narayan ran off with their pants straggling, stumbling and tripping comically.

Or when they went for performing their morning calling at railway tracks bearing a vulnerable ‘louta’ :

The water in it sloshed a little as they scrambled over mounds of concrete rubble and broken glass. A foul-smelling stream, greyish yellow, trickled through the mounds, carrying a variety of floating waste in its torpid flux.

To be true, the book is full of misery, pain and loss. But there are joys in little things, more than enough to delight any reader.

At Om’s prompting, Ishvar got on the carrier behind the saddle. He sat sideways, legs straight out. With his feet inches off the ground, sandals grazing the road now and then, they sailed away. Om’s optimism pealed in the tring-tring showers spouting from the bell. For a while the world was perfect.

Halfway through the book and I was wondering this book should be called “A tragedy too long”. Because to be true, none of the characters is happy in this book, their lives were full of tragedies.

I kept reading anyway, just because of the unbelievably beautiful language and prose style. At nearly 70% of the book, some really nostalgic moments had made me smile unknowingly. I have smiled because the way they found joy in midst of total anarchy. And I knew for sure that Mistry would ruin it soon; it was obvious from the experience I got from reading 70% of this book. And true I was.

A 600 page long book describing only pain would not be a great experience, but Mistry has done it in style. There are ample amount of fun and jokes to make you laugh out loud. And LOL, chess of time it was.

Avinash’s hollow-cheeked father would have lit the pyre. Crackle of kindling. Smoke smarting the eyes. And fingers of fire teasing, playing, tickling the corpse. Causing it to arch, as though trying to sit up … a sign, they said, the spirit protesting. Avinash used to often arch like that when playing chess, lying back, almost flat on the bed, turning his head sideways, contemplating the board. Rising on his elbow to reach the piece, to make his move.
Checkmate. And then the flames.

And I think this would be more of Mistry’s thoughts than Dina to justify above:

How much Dina Aunty relished her memories. Mummy and Daddy were the same, talking about their yesterdays and smiling in that sad-happy way while selecting each picture, each frame from the past, examining it lovingly before it vanished again in the mist. But nobody ever forgot anything, not really, though sometimes they pretended, when it suited them. Memories were permanent. Sorrowful ones remained sad even with the passing of time, yet happy ones could never be recreated – not with the same joy. Remembering bred its own peculiar sorrow. It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain.

This book will remain one of the favourite books I have ever read simply because every single character in this book has come alive with masterful hand of Mistry. I repeat, every single negligible character.

I was on the verge of comparing Mistry to G.R.R Martin, for both like to kill every character they create. But the next moment, I thought GOT is nothing but high fantasy, but Mistry’s atmosphere was true. It was truly horrible and miserable as it said. That was really a spine-chilling experience, and I was thanking my fortune for not coming in this world on those black days. Also, the deaths here were justified from the person’s physical and psychological condition, sometimes even symbolic.

I can now say that I have read a truly black and tragic book which everyone should read at least once, for life is too short and pain is too big.

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[Book Experience] Mango Chutney – a collection of short fiction

Mango ChutneyMango Chutney

edited by Harsh Snehanshu

Okay, here it is: writing a book experience after a long time.

An extremely well written collection of short stories.
Now let me inspect to the bones of each story.
1. Miracle: Frankly, a nice story but not the best of the lot. Sorry.
2. The creation of love: The authoress is famous for her well written stories. This one is good, a bit mundane though. And while I have seen her sensible use of words elsewhere, here her choice of words gives a feeling of forcefully flowery fiction.

3. Wintersong: Small , nice and … confusing.

4. My grandfather’s shirt: Probably one of best of the lot. have to read it thrice to fully devour every inch of its beauty. Truly, SKIN is infectious.

5. Benched: Surrealistic? Theoretical? Abstract? What the f…! It’s uncomfortably confusing.

6. The 37th Milestone: Nice attempt for a horror. But to be true, it never gives any shiver.

7. Valentine Lost: Nice love story. But not good enough to be like no 4.

8. Tainted Red: Nice, like the story idea. I mean, really a good story with good style.

9. The birthday boy: I’d rather say it’s an unnecessarily forced attempt to present a simple/small story in a complex and tangled web of words. But if it is truly written by a 14 yrs old, I’ll be waiting for the writer’s upcoming work.

10. The girl who owned castles: Same story, different ending. Not has much impact.

11. The perfectly poached egg: Shows how to write a story out of nothing. A story on making poached egg.

12. Sawai: Nice. Nothing more.

13. Someone with Character: Good mockery. Liked it.

14. Vaman: Good sci-fi with a heart.

15. Not understanding Schnapsens: No, couldn’t understand it.

16. The lost cause: Congrats! A story on IIT-JEE. Being in IIT myself, I too feel the lost cause.

17. End of a weekend: Yes, finally found a story worthy of tons of praises. Such a beautiful presentation. A waitress describes her Sunday eve, so scattered, so perfect. Well done!

18. Friedzoned: Okay type.

19. Hamsanadam: WOW! If I knew bharatnatyam, this would be my favourite of all.

20. The life changing present: Short and predictive.

21. The rejection ceremony: Being fat. Being a writer and being a woman. Nice but not good enough.

22. The proof of birth: A different story. Well-written.

23. One a penny: Four connected stories. A nice little treat.

24. Angels and demons: Definitely liked this one. Very well-written.

25. Prem ki chasni: Translation of an old hindi classic. Well done Harsh. You won’t get a review harsh!

26. The Postman: Thought it would be an emotional story, turned out to be a funny tale. P.S. I hate the idea of writing a moral (which this one has) at the end of a story. Just a personal thing though. Feels like reading a secondary English grammar book.

Overall, a should be read book. Can’t say must-read. But compared to tons of other anthologies, this will give a far better experience.

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[Recently Read] Memoirs of Love

Memoirs Of LoveMemoirs Of Love

Edited by Arkaprava De and Jonali Karmakar

Completed this book a few days ago. A really compact and wonderful book. This book contains a collection of 20 love stories set in recent India and with theme of pain or joy in love which have an indelible imprint in our memory. That’s why the title ‘Memoirs of Love’. Now, let me go straight into stories. Not all the stories are awesome here and so I’ll point my favourites from the collection.

         Memoirs of Love

1. Love letters by Mitali Meelan :
This one is a real gem. A real eye opener. This is really important for it has handled a very sensitive and important topic and that too in a very nostalgic style of love letters. The ending shock is the central attraction of this story.

2. The Second Date by A Raja Rahul
Another innovative piece. Imagine you are the famous cupid in heaven and your remembering a love story that you organised and made happen. Got the idea? S, read it as it has real fun elements and an interesting plot.

3. Whispers of the night by Neeti Banga:  

WOW! this one, I love this one. Some literary aspects that matches with my mindset makes it one of my favourites.
a) Characters don’t have any name. (I love this idea. Even my story Dust from a butterfly have nameless characters.)
b) Poetic style. The language is poemlike.
c) Short, compact and emotional story.
What other reason one need to read this story?

4. Macaroons by Aniruddha KR
A very good story on childish love. A story encompassing two generations.

5. A letter from the past by Chandrapal Khasiya:
A fatherly love-story that will make you smile till the end.

6. The ignited passion of long lost emotion by Aparna Mukherjee
A nice love story. The angle with which a known emotion is handled is unique.

7. Rain- elixir of love by Aabha Pandey :
A winner for its language and emotion. A fine story.

8. Memoirs of love by Harshita Goel :
A unique story. How motherly love can become a wonderful experience is the key to this story. Small and nice.

Also stories like Never Again by Kavya Shah ; An Incomplete Heartbeat; Jab we met & A special day will have a special place in my heart.

This book demands a applause for its wonderful collection of love tales that will touch every human being.

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Buy it here