Posted in Books

Book Review: Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits, by Rahul Pandita

About the author:
Rahul Pandita is the author of the bestselling book “Hello Bastar: The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movement”, and co-author of the critically acclaimed book, “The Absent State”. He has reported extensively from war zones including Iraq and Sri Lanka, and Kashmir and Bastar in India. In 2010, he received the International Red Cross Award for conflict reporting.

My thoughts on the book:
It’s difficult to recollect painful memories. But that’s exactly what Rahul Pandita, the author, does through his book, “Our Moon Has Blood Clots”. Just into his teens, at 14, Rahul and his family, who are Kashmiri Pandits, were forced to leave their home in Srinagar because they were the minority within the Muslim-majority state. Being forced to abandon the place they are from, to find themselves without a proper home or foraging for food, or even see others fighting for food isn’t easy or enjoyable. Such events leave a mark on any heart, and it stays longer when the heart is young.

The book however is not just a sob story or a narration of just hardships. Rahul mixes his memories and blends it in the narration. The effect touches our hearts, and we lose ourselves in the reading. Many of us would have scars, but not of such an incident in childhood. So what we read brings us some notion of understanding, and we feel sad that at one time, our country did experience such, and perhaps it is still experiencing it now as well.

I’ll quote a line that to me tells of his understanding of home, his “shahar”: “Shahar was also about friendships, bonding, compassion and what elders called the lihaaz, which, in simple terms, means consideration.” That line means much more when you see its placement, which is right after a paragraph that says there was an irreversible bitterness in those days between Kashmir and India that felt evident by the time children learned the alphabet, and that the minority Pandits felt the wrath of that bitterness. The lines after that quote showed the importance of that lihaaz as he remembers how they bonded, as they went to neighbors’ homes during Eid and wished them and their neighbors did the same during Shivratri, still trying to maintain religious considerations.

For me, this was a difficult read, firstly because I’ve only recently taken to reading non-fiction and I still imagine certain parts of the narration, so it becomes vivid in my head; and secondly because it is recollections of reality that occurred. It’s not a book that can be read over and over again I feel, but it leaves a mark on us with its first read. To me, this has been the best non-fiction of the year so far.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits
Author: Rahul Pandita
Genre: Non-fiction
ISBN: 9788184000870
Publishers: Random House India
Price: INR. 499

 
 


This book was given to me for review by Random House India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with the First Reads challenge at b00k r3vi3ws and Indian Quills at Tales Pensieve.


(March 18th, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: Tea for two and a piece of cake, by Preeti Shenoy

About the author:
Preeti Shenoy is an author and artist based in Bangalore, India. She is the author of the books “34 Bubblegums and Candies” and “Life is what you make it”. This book is her third published work. She has also been part of the Sulekha Book series, with her poetry being published as part of that collection.

The book in a nutshell:
The story is about a girl, Nisha who leads a simple life, nothing perfect in it. She’s single, plump and plain looking. All that changes when her name is pulled out of a draw to go to an important function. There, she meets, and falls in love with Samir Sharma, who is a senior partner at another firm. The chance meeting doesn’t go that well on one count, as she ends up losing her job. But other things do go her way. Her luck changes and she’s invited by Samir to on an even more important tour. After her return, her personal life gets an even harder hit. Samir comes to the rescue again. They get married, and she thinks their life is going happily. Their lives are blessed with two children, a daughter first and then a son. Nisha becomes a devoted mother.

After eight years of married life, she one day finds a letter from Samir saying it isn’t working out. He offers to give her the money to take care of the children. Overnight, she has to make changes in her life. She moves out of her house, finds a new place to stay. She finds support in her old friend Akash who tries to help her out. Akash helps her to start a new career, and her new neighbor, a lovely lady Mrs. B also gives that career a push. Is that enough to help her rebuild her life and her status in society?

What I liked in the book:
It’s a light read, a simple love story that flows quickly and is narrated in a simple language as well. There are parts that make you smile. I liked the character of Akash, who brings some excitement into the story once he comes. The cover design is nice too.

What I didn’t like:
The book is too predictable. I’d have loved it if the character of Mrs. B was done in a little more detail and brought out to the fore. That being said, only Nisha’s character seems to have got the complete attention and the other character sketches somewhat fall by the wayside. It’s quite hard to imagine that Samir, who falls in love with, and becomes a part of many positive changes to Nisha’s life in a very short period of time (and he wanted to do it) can get so grouchy so quickly. The reason for that change is also very fickle, unbelievable; as is the ending.

Closing thoughts:
It’s a decent read. I guess quite a few women might be able to relate to the plot. If you really like romance stories, then you’ll find it to be a page turner, even with the predictability. I wouldn’t say it’s just a one-time read, it’s got enough to hold you a second or third time, as long as you put some time between the reads. It’s a good book, but it could’ve been a whole lot better.


Rated a 6/10
Rated a 6/10

Book details:
Title: Tea for two and a piece of cake
Author: Preeti Shenoy
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 9788184002799
Publishers: Random House India
Price: INR. 125

 
 


The book is a personal copy. The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with the First Reads challenge at b00k r3vi3ws and Indian Quills at Tales Pensieve.


(March 18th, 2013)