Book Review: The Temple is Not My Father by Rasana Atreya

The Temple is Not My Father

 About the Book:

Ensnared by a tradition hundreds of years old, a woman fights for her daughter’s happiness.

From the author of 'Tell A Thousand Lies,' which was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award. UK's Glam magazine calls 'Tell A Thousand Lies' one of their 'five favourite tales from India.'

If you like Rohinton Mistry or Shilpi Somaya Gowda,you might like this short story of 40 pages.

Details:

  • File Size: 442 KB

  • Print Length: 58 pages

  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

  • Language: English

  • ASIN: B00LQE95FU

  • Price: INR 49 (I got mine as a review copy)

About the Author:

Rasana is the author of Amazon bestseller 'Tell A Thousand Lies', which was also shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia award. UK’s Glam magazine calls this novel one of their five favourite tales from India (June 2014). Her other works are 'The Temple Is Not My Father' and '28 Years A Bachelor'.

Now on to more personal stuff – Rasana would like to be able to tell her readers that she once stopped a robbery single-handedly, except she’s terrified of robbers. And geckos. And two-year-olds who throw tantrums. When she’s not running scared, she’s mother to a girl and a boy who were respectively six and eleven years-old when they wrote and illustrated 'The Mosquito and the Teapot'. She lives with her husband and children in Hyderabad, India, where a lot of her stories are set.


Review:

Rasana Atreya’s novella, The Temple is Not My Father, does not take one much time to read – but the story resonates in your mind long after. The story begins on one day when the protagonist, Godavari’s daughter, Sreeja asks her innocently about marriage, Sreeja’s father and the temple.
Eight-year-old Sreeja doesn’t understand why if her mother is married to the temple, the temple couldn’t be her father.

In their lonely existence comes two girls, who turns out to be Sreeja’s second cousins.

The long short story or the novella mostly deals with the relationships these women develop with one another and the narrowmindedness of the society that we take pride to be a part of. Godavari’s story makes you wonder about the devdasi system – how it had begun so many hundreds of years ago where there was the concept of the public and private women, and what those high statuses are reduced to right now.

Set in the small forgotten town, the story manages to stir you up and ponder about the position of women in the world even today. The climax of the story is heartbreaking but beautifully written.

The Temple is Not My Father ends before it can properly answer a lot of questions. I had to flip back and re-read the last few pages a fair few times before I could draw my conclusions. I believe that is precisely what Rasana Atreya had been aiming at. The silence in her story is left to the reader’s imagination.

Over all, I really enjoyed reading the novella – with its well fleshed out characters and detailed narration about the rituals and rites followed in the devdasi system. 

Verdict:



 This review is written as part of the India Readathon.

Author Interview: Ruchi Singh, author of Take 2: Second Chance at Happiness

Hello, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. 

Thank you Aniesha, its an honor.


1. First things first: how did you take up writing?


It was in 2013, when my daughter went to college. I was feeling a little low due to empty nest syndrome, that was the time friends and family suggested writing. I really enjoyed the first few days of putting my thoughts on paper. Since I am very fond of novels, so I began with a novel and the result was Take 2. 


And here I am writing and enjoying.


2. What was your very first attempt at creative writing?


Apart from writing at school , which I don’t remember much. The first attempt at writing was a poem for my daughter on ‘Blackboard’ for her ‘Show and Tell’ competition, she came second in the class. This was in 2002.


3. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?


Primarily it is from my imagination and the books I have read, but reactions of characters are from real life experiences and studying people around.


4. What in particular gave you the idea for your current novel?


The plight of few of my friends who were single or divorced, gave me the idea of Priya’s character. And since I am an eternally optimistic person and all my stories would have HEA, Abhimanyu’s character was conceived to compliment Priya. 


If you are in love with someone you have to nurture it by showing care and affection. And that is what Abhimanyu does for Priya. I have tried to bring out that sentiment in the story along with some drama to entertain the readers.


5. Do have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?


I write in the morning when people at home have gone to their respective school and office. The house is relatively quiet with essential daily chores out of the way, I love that time of the day.


6. A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?


I think it is a personal choice and as long as the finished product is professional enough. By professional I mean the book is well edited and cover is attention grabbing.I have seen books having errors from Traditional Publishers too, so it all boils down to quality of people working on your book.


But alone it’s a lot of work and accountability.


7. If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?


Amen. 

Pooja Sharma (played Draupadi in recent Mahabharata serial) and Siddharth Malhotra.

8. What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?


While ‘Take 2’ is a contemporary romance with a spice of social drama, the next one is a romantic thriller. I am also planning a suspense detective series, which is at a very nascent stage.


I might write a literary piece one day, there are lots of ideas floating in my mind.


9. Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?


My favorite authors are Frederick Forsyth, Georgette Heyer, John Grisham and Judith McNaught, amongst the Indian authors I like Chitra Divakurni and Anuja Chauhan.


10. What would your advice be to aspiring authors?


This is a good question Aniesha, my two, rather three, cents are:

Read ‘On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft’ by Stephen King and follow it.
Buy a good editing tool and use it
Write, write, write and edit, edit, edit…

11. What would be an ideal gift for you?


A good thriller book


12. And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why? 


This one is a little tough, because my movie GK is bad. The one that comes to my mind is… er… all of them have been made into a movie or a TV series… hmm… … sorry can’t think of any…


Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works. 


Thanks a lot for having me on your blog! 


An excerpt from her novel, Take 2: Second Chance at Happiness:


“This conversation is absurd!” Eyes ablaze, he threw the box, bracelet and all, across the room. 

She flinched, but couldn’t tear her gaze away from the storm swirling in his eyes.


“You’ve always trusted others more than me, Priya. But enough is enough. I will not let you toss my actions and feelings back at me like this.” Though he spoke calmly, his eyes mirrored the depth of his anger. “In these months that I have known you, you have never called me once or made that first move I hoped for, but now you will have to! You want a risk free life. I have got news, you don’t get anything until you take risks. You may have your way today and I am tired of waiting for crumbs of your attention and affection. Now I want either all or nothing! The choice is yours and the risk is also yours. If you decide either ways, be completely sure about yourself and your feelings. There will be no going back.” 



A wave of regret and sorrow moved on his face. He caught hold of her arms and jerked her against him. She gasped. Plastering her against him, he kissed her, as if there was no tomorrow. Then he pushed her free, as if she was a piece of smouldering coal and stormed out of the house, slamming the door shut.

If you liked the excerpt, you can buy the book from:

Amazon.com|Amazon.in|GoodReads

About Ruchi Singh:



Ruchi Singh has a degree in Engineering and is a freelance Quality Consultant. She began her writing career writing short stories and articles, which have been published on various online and print forums. Her story ‘Boomerang’ in crime genre, won the Indireads Short Story competition in 2014, and is part of the Indireads Anthology ‘Voices Old & New’. Another of her short stories ‘Debt of Kheer’ is part of Author’s Ink anthology ‘The Turning Point Of Life’, both available on Amazon and Flipkart. ‘Take 2’ is her debut novel.

Review: Take 2 - Second Chance at Happiness by Ruchi Singh

About the Book:



Priya’s idyllic world turns upside down when she realizes her husband considers her dead weight after stripping her off her inheritance for his ambitions and lavish lifestyle.

Instantly attracted to Priya, Abhimanyu knows getting involved with a married woman is inviting trouble. But despite common sense, cautions and hesitations, he is drawn to help her.

Happily ever after has become a myth for Priya and trying to keep the relationship platonic is becoming more and more difficult for Abhimanyu.

In the tussle between ethics, fears and desires... will Priya embrace a second chance at happiness?


About the Author:




Ruchi Singh has a degree in Engineering and has been working in IT industry as a Consultant. She began her writing career writing short stories and articles, which have been published on various online forums. Her story ‘Boomerang’ in crime genre, won the Indireads Short Story competition in 2014, and is part of the Anthology ‘Voices Old & New‘. Her, another, short story ‘Debt of Kheer’ is part of Author’s Ink anthology ‘The Turning Point of Life', both available on Amazon. 'Take 2' is her debut novel.
A voracious reader, her favourite genres is 'romantic thriller'. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.

Connect with her: Facebook|Twitter|Website

Details of the Book:

Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 641 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ruchi Singh; 1 edition (13 February 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital South Asia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00TLHD2S
  • Price: INR 155 (I received mine as a review copy)


The Review:

Even though I had received Take 2: Second Chance  at Happiness right after the book had released, I only managed the time to finish it last night. Firstly, many congratulations to Ruchi Singh for her debut novel. J

The story revolves around Priya and Abhimanyu who are opposites who attract. The twist in the tale is the fact that Priya is already and extremely unhappily married. Like the good wife, she is determined to save her marriage. But as her wild scheme to win back her husband progresses – she finds herself drawn to Abhimanyu, who has agreed to help her out. It doesn’t help that they are both linked to each other via Komal(Abhi’s cousin and Priya’s co-worker), and have to keep running into each other, even when they decide to part ways. Things keep going from bad to worse for this couple. Even with their friends supporting their decisions. It feels like Fate just cannot stop meddling with their affairs.

I liked how Ruchi Singh used plot twists in order to keep the reader engaged until the very last page. It is quite a breezey read. But it does addresses a lot of social issues. Is it always the woman’s fault when the marriage doesn’t work? Is she really obligated to stay with her husband even when he wrongs her? (One of the minor characters, Mrs. Bhatia certainly seems to think so.) Will a divorcee be accepted with open arms into a new family again? (Abhi’s mother is initially skeptical of getting a ‘divorcee’ for a bahu.) It is the little nuggets of reality in the story that makes you believe that there is no easy road ahead for Priya and Abhi. It grounds the story in real life and makes you think about the other Priyas who are not as brave as she is. Nor have such extreme plans to save their marriage. Sometimes they don’t even get to meet their Abhis to save them. This is was one inspiring story.

My only complaint is that sometimes minor characters were introduced in certain key scenes without any previous references. I cannot tell you who those were because it would give away some key elements in the story. But I definitely recommend getting your own copy and reading it!



Rating:



Review: The Guardian Angels by Rohit Gore


The Guardian Angels:

PublisherGrapevine India
CoverPaperback
No. Of Pages328
Date of Publication2013
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 139789381841280
ISBN 109381841284
Year Of Publication2013
Author

About the Book:

Guardian Angels is the epic and tumultuous story of two star-crossed lovers who weren’t just soul-mates but were also each other’s protectors.

The fates of Adi Mehta and Radha Deodhar are deeply entwined when within days of their first rendezvous they save each other’s lives.

Despite their vast sociopolitical differences, they are drawn to an uncertain future fraught with contrasting ambitions, personas and ideologies.

. . . he is the son of a billionaire, she is the daughter of a socialist.

. . . he is quiet and unassuming, she is a firebrand and spirited.

However, the unexplained phenomena ties them forever – whenever they are in peril, they are each other’s only saviors.

Over the following two decades Adi and Radha live through hope and despair, joy and sadness, and try to decipher their relationship. As the truth of their bond is revealed, they must confront the true nature of love, and ultimately, their destinies.



About the Author:

Rohit Gore grew up in a number of towns in India. At various times in his childhood, he wanted to be a theatre actor, an architect and a bookshop owner.
After his engineering degree, he was based in Mumbai. An MBA from S P Jain Institute followed and since then he is in the IT industry.
He loves sports, specifically the discussing and watching part of it, since the playing days are long gone. He has travelled a lot – a consequence of living in Mumbai and London. His greatest passion is reading and it inspired him to write. He is a frequent contributor to many online writing forums and wishes there were more writing groups.
He has a keen interest in history, especially the history of music and arts. One of the things he would like to get better at is photography. 
He currently lives in Pune, a wonderfully vibrant city with his wife Pranita and son Sahil.




The Review: 

I discovered Rohit Gore last year when there were ads on homeshop18.com for his book, Circle of Three. I had liked the book immensely and immediately, but never got around to reviewing it - because simply put, I'd not become an official reviewer till this year. 

I applied to review The Guardian Angels from the Tales Penseive because, I wanted to read more from Rohit Gore and also because the blurb really attracted me, The key words for this attraction was, "star-crossed lovers." 

The book arrived at my doorstep on Panchami (09.10.2013), the day before the five days of Durga Pujos start in Bengal...I was a bit worried about when to begin reading the book, because I knew once our crazy days start, I wouldn't get to spend two consecutive minutes with the book. 

I finally managed to get some time for myself and once I began reading the book, there was no stopping. I think I paused once to have dinner, and once to sleep a little and till I finished the book, I couldn't leave it aside...

Adi and Radha are characters who are brought to life by Rohit Gore. We encounter them first, when they are merely twelve years old...and we witness them, growing up and changing into distinct individuals. 

One could say the book actually narrates the lives of Adi and Radha since the time they met each other, then they go their separate ways...but something always pulls them back to one another. In truth, they are exactly what the book's title tells us from the start - The Guardian Angels.

The writing is simple, lucid and well, at times heartbreaking. From experience I know, it is the simple words which manages to wrench your heart. I don't remember crying so much, while reading (unless you count the time I bawled my eyes out when J K Rowling mercilessly killed Dobby in Harry Potter.) Nor do I remember getting so involved in a book. 

Rohit Gore uses a semi-epistolary form of writing, with the help of entries from Radha's journal. Other times it is either Adi's perspective, or other characters from the story. What I greatly appreciated was that even though the supporting characters have their own roles to play and do not seem like mere puppets for the story, the focus never shifts from Radha and Adi. 

This is a book definitely worth reading, especially on a rainy afternoon, when you don't feel like doing any work. You might finish the book in record time (like I did), but the story will stay with you for a long time afterwards. 

A friend of mine had once written on my Facebook timeline (back when it was called a wall), "One day the music will stop, the curtain will fall, and all the characters would leave the stage. But you'll still remember it." 

There can be no other phrase to describe the impact this book is going to have on you, especially if offbeat romance tales are your cup of tea. 

Rating: 4.5/5
                     


The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Originally Posted on 14.10.2013 on Aniesha's Musings.