Posted in Books

Book Review: House of Cards, by Sudha Murty

About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. 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.

Cover and blurb:
Simple cover with the photo of a girl, as is with most of her novels I guess. I liked the blurb, and it promised a family tale, one that is common in India perhaps, but mostly remains a story untold.

My thoughts:
I’ve become a fan of this author of late. This is the third book of hers that I’ve read in the past two weeks and the fourth in this year. When I read Sudha, it is like simplicity takes the wheel, and everything else takes the back seat.

House of Cards brings a small family drama to the fore, with the simplicity of village life clashing with the city life. We are introduced to Mridula, a young studious hardworking girl, daughter of Bheemanna, who is a very rich person in Aladahalli, a small village near the towns of Hubli and Dharwad, in Karnataka. She’s the apple of her father’s eye, and a very jovial girl. She enjoys her life, and is always brimming with energy. Years pass by and Mridula grows up into a beautiful young lady, and talk of marriage starts. We are then introduced to Sanjay, a talented, but poor doctor, who works in Mumbai. He’s a little careless and forgetful, easily influenced. The two meet at a wedding, and then again cross paths when Sanjay has to deliver a package to Bheemanna’s neighbor, and spends a little time at his place while that neighbor is away. They soon fall in love, and get married. The couple shift to the city of Bangalore, where he pursues his post graduation, and she takes up a teaching job in a government school. Things appear to go smoothly, till he takes up private practice after getting tired of the job at a government hospital. The story is about their family life, and how they rise in status in the city, but begin to find differences in their relationship.

When it comes to tone and language of the reading, as I said before, Sudha keeps it simple. But in the plot, she explores relationships in depth. How Mridula stays the same hardworking innocent self throughout, how Sanjay is influenced by the power of luxury that he finds coming toward him and begins to want the best of the best, rather than what is necessary, and how their son Shishir realizes the value of family very late. It shows the love between daughter and father, in Mridula and Bheemanna; love between husband and wife, in Sanjay and Mridula; and a whole lot others. It is a light read, and I could finish it soon, but the story stays behind.

You can pick up the book for reading while traveling, because it is worth it, and it will hold you even after the story has ended.


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

Book details:
Title: House of Cards
Author: Sudha Murty
ISBN: 978-0-143-42036-1
Genre: Fiction / Drama
Publishers: Penguin Publications
Price: INR. 250

 


This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Aug 7th, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: The Music Room, by Namita Devidayal

About the author:
Namita Devidayal was born in 1968 and graduated from Princeton University. She currently works as a journalist with The Times of India and lives in Mumbai. She has a keen interest in music and there was a time when she aspired to evolve as a professional singer and be the inheritor of the Jaipur Gharana.

Cover and blurb:
The cover is what attracted me to the book in the first place. A woman with a tanpura… it was very relevant to Hindustani music, and very classical and simple as well. That, and the thoughts of Pandit Ravi Shankar on the cover made me want to read it. The blurb only increased my curiosity.

My thoughts:
I am a lover of music. But for books and music, I feel life would have been a bore. However, I have read very few books about music, and listened to fewer audio books! When I took up this book for reading, I honestly had thought it was a fiction, not a memoir. But this turned out to be one beautiful read.

This memoir takes us back to the author’s childhood days, to when she was ten and was forced into learning music at an age when perhaps, she was more inclined to be playing with her friends or having fun. She puts it to being part of a family of business people, where girls were groomed for finding good husbands, and knowledge of music or dance played a big part in that. The book then goes on to narrate Namita’s journey in music, her lessons under the guidance of Dhondutai Kulkarni, and that experience. However, the book is not just about Namita’s journey, but also the life of Dhondutai, and her teacher Kesarbai Kerkar and other musical geniuses of Hindustani classical music.

Namita’s narration is direct, and it is easily imaginable, which is a plus point for the book. The conversations between Namita and her teacher are detailed, so you feel like you are going into the class, sitting beside her and learning along. But just to clarify, it isn’t a guide to classical music. I liked the book because of the memories. It took me back with it to when my sister went for music classes. I like music, so I could understand a little as well.

Unless you are a big fan of classical music, you might not like the book as much, because it is like a concert in words, one to enjoy slowly and not at a stretch.


Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: The Music Room
Author: Namita Devidayal
ISBN: 978-8184000542
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir
Publishers: Random House India
Price: INR. 395

 


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
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Aug 7th, 2013)