Sunday, February 28, 2016

Review- Spirit Raiders by Savio Dawson

Book Name          - Spirit Raiders
Author                  - Savio Dawson
Publisher              - CreateSpace
Number of Pages - 366
Publishing Year   - 2015
Edition                  - Paperback

Buy books from Amazon , Smashwords and Barnes&Nobles.

Rating : 4.0

“A chance discovery leads to unearthing a plot against humankind; a plot to steal the very fabric of human creation.” 

Mark is in the middle of a spate of abductions by two different sets of extra-terrestrials. Around the same time, the U.S military unwittingly discovers few alien vessels in Earth’s atmosphere while testing a new technology called GAM. The knowledge of the alien vessels around the periphery of Earth drives a team comprising of Mark, an agency called XTRA-T and the security agencies to unearth the intentions of those aliens. 

In the pursuit of truth, some bone-chilling revelation of Earth’s history comes to the fore. Unexplained events like Tunguska Explosion and many others are answered but nothing compares to the one that is in store for Earth. Mark and team have to find a way out and in many ways invoke the assistance of unexplained powers to redeem them at the time of need.

My Review

The story of extra-terrestrials have always excited us. The curiosity to know how they look, act, live etc have been always debated. Neither did the demand for similar stories die out. What we have been reading were about inhuman creatures with a different language and dissimilar actions. 

Spirit raiders is a fresh diversion to the heard about stories. ET as living beings similar to humans with highly advanced technology which can bypass our Radar and other devices is a fresh treatment. The book is definitely a treat to Sci Fi lovers with abundant scientific fictional and non-fictional ideas. More that science fiction, it could also be counted as historical fiction citing the similarities of construction of Eiffel Tower and statue of liberty.

The relation between Anita and Mark is a breezy distraction from the hardcore scientific atmosphere. Notwithstanding the fact that the book is a treasure of information and fantasy, at some points the surge of information was too much that the reader would be forced to skip pages. 

The book cover is really good in quality as well as the cover design. There were no copyright details in the book, which could be detrimental to the author since it is easier to plagiarize the work without any copyright details.

The genre has a highly targeted readers. Those who are craving for core science fiction stories will not be disappointed.

Reviewed for the author

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

Savio is a resident of Mumbai, India, who grew up on everything sci-fi. Science Fiction has its own charm of unravelling mysteries, boldly going where no man has gone before [yeah I know it is from Star-trek :)] and to seek and find explanations for the unexplained. This is more or less what excites a true sci-fi enthusiast. Savio is one of the enthusiasts too and he is presenting his own version here. Mystery surrounds us in many ways and it is mammoth in proportion to what we know. No one knows what lies beneath the ocean; no one knows what lies beyond our solar system; no one knows how vast the universe is; no one knows if any other extra-terrestrial form exists, but still the pursuit of knowing the unknown will continue unabated and will continue to excite us. This excitement is what Savio attempts to bring out in his books. Savio is blessed with a supportive family and has a day job in India. Writing is his passion and he also writes for many blogging sites. When not writing and not working, which, of course, happens a lot of time, Savio likes to while-away and watch sci-fi movies.

Indian households: The war field

Attention all the soldiers! (or is there a female term for soldier?? assuming that the word is unisex, I continue...)
Your schedule for the month is published. [Well nothing new is there. It has been the the same for years.. or centuries??? Well, doesn't matter]

Morning Session. (Shift for Cook- Role played by wife)

05.30 AM- 6.00 AM Breakfast Cooking [Cooking lunch if wife is working. Starting time subject to change according to the requirement of husbands and children.]
6.00 AM  Wake up call for kids (Shift for Nanny - role played by mother/wife)
6.15 AM  Bathing kids, potty training (Shift for Nanny- role played by mother)
6.30 AM  Cooking Tea and preparing milk with supplements (Shift for Cook- Role played by wife/mother)
6.35 AM  Getting kids ready ( Shift for Nanny - role played by mother)
7.00 AM Serving breakfast for kids and husband (Shift for maid/cook/nanny- role played by mother/wife)
7.05 AM Cribbing on quality of food and number of side dishes (Role played by kids and husbands)
7.05 AM Listening to cribbing while packing tiffin (Shift for none since no servants would listen to B*LL $H@T- Role played by mother/ wife)
7.15 AM  Husband and kids leave for office and school/college.

Well, If wife/mother is working, getting ready for office could be added. and yes if you stay with In-laws,  * Conditions Applied.

My dear readers,

Are you bored reading this! This is the daily routine of 90% women. You just read the two hours in the Morning session. 
Noon session, Evening session  and night session still remains. After all this, cleaning up the mess!! Phew!
They live this same life for years and years but fortunately or unfortunately they never get bored.  All they ask for is appreciation. 
                                                                                                    Photo courtsey

Don't think that an unemployed house wife is doing lesser job than a working house wife. Working house wives get the consideration of a employed woman at least. They go out of house and face a change in atmosphere at least. But for an unemployed house wife, even that is a luxury. And the taunt beginning with " You are just sitting inside the house, I travel whole day, You just have to work inside a 1000 sqft house, you don't have to take responsibilities."

Dear husbands and children, 

Before complaining about the quality of food, unironed clothes, unkempt floor etc, please put yourself in their shoes and see for yourself. Just think if you would be able to handle so much things alone.

Dear wives, 

Please let your family know the value of what you do. When husband insist on having channa curry and kids on paneer curry, instead of making both, make them understand that it is difficult without a help, instead of spoiling them by fulfilling all their silly obstinacy.
                     Photo Courtsey :

Why is it considered unmanly to help one's wife? 
I am so proud to say that my mother was blessed with a husband who used to lend his hand in household chores. He used to do the dishes, tie up my hair, sweep the floor. Except cooking, he could do anything. When I used to tell this to my friends, they used to think that I was lying. Because such a thing was unbelievable and unheard of. It was not that he was jobless. He was a Gazetted officer himself. He was brought up in a scenario where he never witnessed his own father help his wife. Still he volunteered to help his wife because he loved her and respected her for what she did.  So, it has nothing to do with what you witness at home.This is all about your heart which accommodates respect.
 And don't forget, this started thirty years back. So which century are you living in? Still brooding the house hold work for wife attitude??

I have heard men who decided to stay back home to let his wife work, being termed a 'Sisupalans'. Why? If you don't intend to help your wife, that's your problem. Why do you try to belittle those who are willing to?

My aunt used to say that a housewives job is a thankless and pay-less job. No appreciation, No pay, No union. In an office there would be performance appraisal, but when there is no pay at all, what's the point in appraisal!! 

For an instance just imagine replacing your wife with a maid and see for yourself what she deserve. 
Cook: 9000 per month
Nanny : 15000 per month
House hold maid: 5000 per month for Sweeping and wiping. 
+ 50 for everything extra like washing clothes, doing dishes, washing bathrooms.
Cumulatively nearly thirty thousand per month.
What I cited is the least pay package. The real one is something else. 

 If you are one among the husbands who used to say, 
"Oh! my wive's attire sucks. Her night wear looks dirty and sweaty."

"Dude, if your want her look like a diva, lend a hand. Because the divas you oggle at never have to do what she does"

This is not only a husband's job. Children should do their share of work. They might be studying but that doesn't mean that they should not wash a plate that they eat from. If they can wash their clothes and plates in a hostel, why don't they do it at home? Because, if they don't do it, their mother will.

 Haven't you all heard of the year old dialogue " You are a girl. You have to manage a home when you grow up and get married. So study household chores." This dialogue is the first seed to this discrimination which sprouts in the mind of both boys and girls. The moment you stop speaking this at home. The change starts. 

PS: Fortunately, I am blessed with help at home,a h usband whose lends a hand and a father who taught his children that it's not just the woman's job. Hence I did not have to face the predicament. So none of the sentences above points fingers to my better half.

I am joining the Ariel #ShareTheLoad campaign at BlogAdda and blogging about the prejudice related to household chores being passed on to the next generation.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review- Misjudged Nuances by Garima Bohra

Book Name         - Misjudged nuances
Author                 - Garima Bohra
Publisher             - Blackbuck Publishers
Number of Pages - 243 pages
Publishing Year   - 2016
Edition                  - Paperback

Buy books from Amazon

Rating : 4.0

SOUMYA AWASTHI, a medical graduate finds herself in an extremely infuriating position when she is assigned to work with RIDHAAN AHUJA, an arrogant classmate and bitter enemy, who is determined to settle an old score with her. The internship begins on a rough-uptight note where each tries to outshine the other through work, arguments and fights. Until one grave incident which changes the circumstances and makes them forget their grudges. Gradually she starts trusting her foe-turned-friend and soon both develop tender feelings for one another. But the perfect phase of her life shatters when a well preserved secret is exposed causing a serious problem wherein the price of Soumya’s recklessness is paid by her best friends Tarang and Anjali. Will Soumya be able to save herself and her friends? Is Anjali right when she blames Ridhaan for the situation and accuses him of framing them? Can vengeance overpower every emotion? Can your feelings and faith break your own heart and hurt your soul?

My Review

Misjudged nuances is a contemporary fiction, women's fiction, love story, story of friendship and also a book with social commitment. The narrative style is quite convincing and neat. Each character is developed through the story. 

The whole story is a breezy trip through the lives of the characters especially Soumya. There is a lot of sincerity in the book. Let it be the friendship between Soumya, Anjali and Tarang or the relation between Soumya and Ridhaan author explained and easily connected with the readers effortlessly. I have been reading back to back romance stories these days and I must say that this is the first book without filmy scenes and overdose of 'I love you's. 

I appreciate author's effort to bring into light the medical requirements of the neglected sections of the society.

Notwithstanding the positives, the climax failed to impress me. It was a cliche and predictable. With a little more effort on that end, the book could have been a perfect romantic story.

Reviewed for the author
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Review - Right fit wrong shoes by Varsha Dixit

Book Name -  Right Fit Wrong Shoes
Author                  - Varsha Dixit
Publisher              - Rupa Publications
Number of Pages - 250
Publishing Year   - 2009
Edition                  - Paperback
Rating : 3.5
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What does a woman want? Shoes? Nope, Sex? Maybe, Money? Yes but nowadays her own . . . Hmmphh so then what does a today's woman really, really deep, deep down want? Still your hearts and hold your breath. LOVE! And Right Fit Wrong Shoe shall give it to her.

My review

I have always been a fan of love- hate relations. The irresistible love and ever repulsive hatred used to pump up my veins with a rush of adrenaline. Nandini and Aditya's love is so touching and rendered palpably. I have become a fan of author's narration. The quirky humor and snappy hurdle of words leave us panting with zest.

Author herself hints through one of the characters about the overworked mills and boons tales of Celebrity meets and undiscovered stunner, which works out as a justification for the cliche story line. The initial friction and discord as well as verbal attacks and counter-strokes are very lively and pulsating.

Another commendable fact is the friendship between Nandini and Sneha. From saving friend's name a crazy cow to the insensitive exchange of curses, shows a deep friendship without emotional overture.

A major setback of the story is the predictability. The twists in the story could be predicted right after the introduction of the male protagonist. Some areas of the book gave me the feeling of a different narration of the 'pyar mohabbat serials'. With such a great writing style, if the a little more effort was taken to bring about multifarious twists especially towards the climax, the book would have done wonders. Climax disappointed me. I had decided on a 4 stars till then but the last three chapters just oozed out the fun.

Reviewed for Book Club
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

Varsha Dixit is an Indian writer and the author of this book. She currently lives in the US with her family. She originally intended on writing books on serial killers, but decided against it as she finds it difficult to maim or kill anyone. She did her schooling at St. Mary’s Convent in Kanpur and received a B.A. (Honours) in Political Science from Indraprastha College, New Delhi.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Waves in the sky @ #239 in Amazon Yippeee

First day itself Waves in the sky is #239 in Romance and #7915
I mean I made to the list. OH my god, I am so happy. I wouldn't consider it a romance but still it gives me goosebumps to see it at this number among the lakhs of books
Do buy it and let me enter the top 100 list friends…/…/8182534836/

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review - It's not right but it's okay by Anuj Tiwari

Book Name   - It's not right, but it's okay
Author                  - Anuj Tiwari
Publisher              - Rupa Publications
Number of Pages - 226
Publishing Year   - 2016
Edition                  - Paperback
Buy books from Amazon, Flipkart

Rating : 3.0

'...if we have a past that we aren't particularly proud of, it doesn't mean that we can't have a promising future.'

Everyone has a past. But what if it becomes daunting baggage and spills over into the future?
A fiercely independent, career-driven girl, Angira, has recently changed her Facebook status to ‘single in Mumbai’. While work has been her only priority, a twist of fate brings Ved—a strikingly handsome footballer, the heart-throb of the college—into her life. He seems genuine and fun-loving, but based on past experiences, Angira knows better than to trust him!
Despite their contrasting personalities, the two develop an unexpected bond—a link for which they are about to risk everything they have.
A riveting tale about incorrigible lovers with a dark past, It’s Not Right but It’s Okay is a true story about finding friendship and love again.

My Review

It's Not Right But It's Okay is an out and out teenage story. The YA romance purely targets the college going teenagers. The essence of college life is extracted in the book completely. 
The protagonists in the book are Angira and Ved, but other characters like Arjun, Anushka, Charu etc are also given due space. Great effort is being taken in character build up.

Nevertheless as mentioned in the blurb, I do not personally feel that the dark past mentioned is too dark to haunt them in the future. Angira has overcome her heart break easier and within no time compared to the level of pain depicted.  
Ved's family history seemed an over the top description. May be because I have witnessed them lead a decent life in Kerala but may be situation in Kolkata is different. 

Author has underestimated the teenagers, it seems. Because the language of the book is simpler than a toddler's fairy tale. A vernacular writing style is needed to appeal to the masses but it doesn't mean that it should be simplified to the core.

I recommend the book to the YA romance lovers. All in all the book will be a full on entertainer for them and for those who want more of it, I would not recommend the book. The climax is interesting

Reviewed for the publisher
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author
Anuj Tiwari is the author of the bestselling books, Journey of two hearts and it had to be you. A speaker in many colleges and universities, his stories are based on real-life incidents that he has recorded over the years. With an MBA degree in finance and human resources management, Anuj works in Mumbai as an IT professional and marketing consultant. To know more about him, visit or, or follow him on Twitter @AnujOfficial

Book Blitz -Right Fit Wrong Shoes by Varsha Dixit

Right Fit Wrong Shoe
Varsha Dixit 

Right Fit Wrong Shoe, begins at a point where all love stories end. The tale weaves around Nandini and all that is important to her, with two contenders gunning for the top spot; Aditya Sarin and Sneha Verma.

Aditya Sarin, the man Nandini is madly in love with, yet compelled, for some unsolved reason to shun.  Aditya, on his part, in the past declared Nandini to be a ‘millennium bhehenji (conservative girl)’ and ‘lassi (yoghurt drink) in a wine glass’. Yet he fell for her  . . . hard! However, some mysterious episode caused the lovers to, acrimoniously, part. 

Now, Aditya is back in Kanpur,  all his guns blazing (the real and the imagined), determined to devastate her life. Fortunately for the readers, and unfotunately for Aditya, Nandini is determined not to‘bite the dust’ oh so quietly. Wonder, in the battle royal, who wins or who loses it all?

Sneha Verma, the other contender, is Nandini’s BFF, that one friend who knows us better than we do. The one we trust more than Stayfree or Clearasil. Sneha maybe headstrong, hammer fisted and stern mouthed, but for Nandini, she will willingly stand in the path of imminent lightning bolt or a nasty tornado, even if it’s named Aditya Sarin. In standard X, Sneha took Nandini under her wing and that equation hasn't changed much. Sneha, a recent wife and even more recent mom, appears to be fighting some unknown demons of her own.

Right Fit Wrong Shoe, observes and opinionates the society, affected and amused. It fleetingly touches on issues; fleeting as watching discourses (courtesy Astha Channel), is trendier and quicker, than reading them. 

The book is an AAA (anytime, anywhere, anyone) read. It promises to make your day better, and a bad one not any worse. 

Grab your copy |

About The Author 

Varsha Dixit, the best selling author of four successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free, Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman. Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.

Stalk her @



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Launch - Waves in the Sky

Online Book Launch is happening these days. We are also joining the the techno race with the Canaries.
MERRYBRAINS Magazine will be hosting the Exclusive  Launch of Waves in the sky.

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Review of Out of the blue by Ekamdeep Singh

Book Name          -  Out of the blue
Author                  - Ekamdeep Singh
Publisher              - Leadstart Publishing
Number of Pages - 96
Publishing Year   - 2015
Edition                  - Paperback

Buy books from Amazon, Flipkart
Rating : 3.0

Love is understanding, mutual confidence, sharing, and forgiving. Love is invisible. It is a true feeling; it cannot be seen or measured. Sometimes, the voice of the heart is much stronger than all the other sounds and words spoken without feelings.

Love leads a person to the path of truth but sometimes, the truth spoken for love can lead us and the life of our love to the never-ending separation and the conclusion is only destruction.

Welcome to ‘Out of the Blue’, an adventurous story of a young lieutenant, Sebastian, who struggles through many hardships for his tormented old father and his lover, Carole. Furthermore, plans, suspense, lust, and jealousy provide a divergence from the loving atmosphere of Paris.

My Review 

I was wondering if I should write the review keeping in mind the age of the author or should I give a generalized review. Well, the book reminded me of classic adventure stories like Gulliver’s Travel.  As a kid, I used to grab tiny book versions of the adventure stories wherein the storyline would be given without much literary embellishments. Out of the blue is one like that. The story is interesting and engaging with lot of surprising twists and turns. I kept on wondering how a fifteen year old boy, could imagine such an intense story. The language of the author is good. His vast reading is evident in the book. The title and book cover is completely in sink with the story.

Again experience and age matters. The lack of embellishments that I mentioned earlier would be because of his lack of experience in life. Lack of Character build up is one of the major flaws. I cannot be judgmental or biased as a reviewer. But I am forced to say that Ekamdeep has done an exemplary job for his age. But to come into the world of literature a little more experience and hard work is needed.

Reviewed for the publisher
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

“I write because one day I will be gone, but my writings will always live on.” Ekamdeep Singh, a student of class 10, at Little Flower Convent Sr. Sec. School Gurdaspur, has contributed to the field of Literature with his novel ‘Out of the Blue.’ He was born in a small town of Punjab, Gurdaspur, on September 4, 2000. The prolific work, intellectuality and deep interest of the author in English has led to the shaping of this book. The author has also written a French- historical novel ‘An Outrageous Vengeance’ in 2013, endeavouring to meet the desires of the initiated readers. Besides novels and novellas, he is also working on his upcoming projects including poetry, plays, and drama. Contact no.: 7087532777, 9914377007 Email:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Odd and Imperfect

Book Name           - Odd and Imperfect

Author                  - A.A.Gupte
Publisher              - Smashwords
Publishing Year   - 2015
Edition                  - Kindle

Buy books from Smashwords and Barnes&Nobles.

Rating : 3.5

What happens when two broken souls collide?

MARK WILLIAMS. Powerful. Charming. Actor. Shy. Wants to die!

CELESTE JAMES. Philosophical. Troubled. Alone. Guarded. Offers MARK a final cheerful memory before he bids the world goodbye!

A man with no desire for a future, and a girl not letting go of her troubled past. Both suffocating in realities of their own.

One spontaneous adventure for CELESTE becomes a reflective journey for MARK in the middle of nowhere.

A story about faith, friendship, heartbreak, a scandal and a revelation.

My review

Odd and imperfect is the unusual love story of Celeste and Mark. Two broken souls. It's interesting to see how two people with parallel lives intersect unexpectedly.

The connection between Celeste and Mark is interesting. For Example (spoilers ahead) When Mark made tea for himself, Celeste was relieved that he didn't go for the ladies first tag. They are unlike every normal person. Their priorities, outlook are all abnormally normal for each other. Together they fight the demons of their past. 

The subject of the story cannot be called fresh. There have been love stories of broken souls' romance. The combination of the famous male protagonist with bodyguards hovering around and the unknown female protagonist who comes to limelight all of a sudden is also old wine in new bottle. But what makes the story stand out is the treatment. 

Author had assured that there is no erotica in the story but still I was apprehensive since the stories of the similar craft had it and I expected the same erotica. But author stood to his words. There are obviously some love making scenes but the thin line between sensuality and sexuality is maintained. 

There were a lot of grammatical errors. Especially using he for she was confusing since the story is a switch between first person narration of Celeste and Mark.

If you are looking for a tough love story, this would be the right book. 

Reviewed for the author
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

I pursued studies in English Literature to strengthen my love for reading and writing while working as a freelance reporter for a local supplement associated to a national newspaper.

I'm inspired by the uniqueness of people. Their stories, dreams and struggles. My favorite stories involve characters who are reflective. Characters that are willing to push themselves to discover something new about herself/himself. I try to incorporate food, drinks, expressions and music in my writing to define characters and their traits.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

You should know her more- Interview with Jyothirllata Girija the famous writer

Hello Readers
I don't know how to start. Today's interview is the best post ever in my blog. I got a person whose interview would be a priceless addition to my blog. And luckily she agreed to do an interview with me.

Please welcome the legendary writer Jyothirllatha Girija to the virtual interview

Hello Ma’am

Welcome to my virtual teté-a-teté

Tell us a little about your journey through life. How was your childhood and college days like. Readers would like to know about a different era.

There is a saying in Tamil to indicate that a man is uneducated – ‘‘He has not stepped into a school building even to escape getting drenched in the rain’. This has relevance to me as well in that I have – literally -  never stepped into any college premises.  Yes. I do not have a degree.  I am just an SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) – matriculate. You will be surprised to know that I was not sent to any school till I was ten! Please don’t jump to the conclusion that my father was a conservative who was against girls’ education. No.  In fact it was the other way round. He was of the view that educating a girl was more important than educating a boy! My father was a school teacher and also a scoutmaster. He taught me English, Maths and Tamil at home and got me admitted to the high school straightaway in the 8th class, by subjecting me to a special test by the Dt. Educational Officer, since it was the first ever school I was to be admitted. The reason was it was a co-ed. school and the people in my village (Batlagundu – Vathalakkundu – then in Madurai Dt.) stopped the girls before they were eleven or twelve. Due to his forethought, my father wanted me to finish the school-final earlier than the normal age – fourteen or fifteen –  so that I might not have to be the only girl in the 9th, 10th and 11th classes. So, I was 11 when I was in the 8th standard then called the 3rd form. Even then, (in 1949), when I was promoted to the final class, I was the only one because the only girl student – the daughter of our headmaster – had to leave due to her father’s transfer to Nagercoil. (Of course, there were girls in the lower classes.) A funny incident happened then.  Some of the agraharam people (the Brahmins) of the village met my father and asked him to stop me as I  would be the only girl in SSLC class! My father was very angry but controlled himself and said politely they should not interfere. After some argument they left. Then my father called me and asked if I was afraid to be the only girl in the SSLC class.  I said no.  So I continued to study. I was not a very brilliant student – except in English and maths.  Yet after passing the SSLC I very much wanted to continue but my mother protested saying SSLC would suffice not only due to her orthodox views, but also because of our poverty. (My father was a retired teacher and he was eking out livelihood by private tuitions with a very meagre income. Those days, the rule was that employed teachers should not undertake private tuitions and so my father got chances for conducting tuition classes.)  Had I got a degree my language would have become bombastic and may not be this simple.  So, I must thank God, though I was very much disappointed then.  This is all about the schooling.

That was as great journey. But I would say SSLC at that time is equivalent to graduation now. Can you share the details of the books you have written?

 The list is long. Let me be brief.
 Writings for teenagers in Tamil:  6 novels, 100 short stories. Six awards.
Writings for adults: After writing for children, I started writing for adults and Ananda Vikatan, the most popular Tamil weekly introduced me through a controversial novella on the subject of inter-caste marriage, in 1968. In Tamil, I’ve written about 25 novels, 60 novellas, more than 500 short stories, about 60 articles on social  issues, 3 full-time plays, a few poems and several jokes (!) too.   Almost all these have been published in book form.  I got about 12 awards.
It was an accident that I started to write in English. In 1975 (or 1976) Ms. Vimla Patil, then editor of Femina, published my first story in English.  The story contains a story in it.  First, I wrote it in Tamil but it was rejected by all the Tamil magazines. It was about dowry and I liked it.  It was lying idle with me.  An idea flashed in my mind – why not translate it and send to Femina? I did.  To my great joy and surprise, I got an acceptance letter.  Then I started to translate the already-published Tamil stories one by one and began to send.  They were all accepted and published. After Femina, Eve’s Weekly also started publishing my stories now and then.  This was how I began writing in English as well! Thanks to all the Tamil magazines that rejected the said story. So far, I have written 30-odd short stories in Indian periodicals like Femina, Eve’s Weekly, The Illustrated Weekly of Indsia, Pratibha India, Your Family, Fiction Review, Woman’s Era, Alive etc.  (Some of these are originals and not translations.) THE HINDU has published a few of my OPEN PAGE articles.    

   Reg. English publications, I came across publishers, Allahabad, who have published my ten poetry books so far – including The Mahabharatha Epic in Rhymes, Ramayana in Rhymes, Lyrics of the Lord (Bhagavad Geetha) and Thirukkural  They have brought out seven translations by me of my novels too, the most important of them being Goodbye to Violence, fiction based on India’s freedom movement, that bagged the first prize in the Kalki weekly Golden Jubilee contest in 1992 and then after its publication in 1995 it got the Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar Literary Award too,in 1998.  This was also broadcast on the A.I.R., Chennai, continuously during 1998-‘99. It was this novel which I translated in English under the title Goodbye to Violence.  If at all I have accomplished anything worthy of mention, it is this alone!  They say it is my magnum opus.

 What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

   I can’t say for sure what prompted me to write.  It just occurred.  Some are fond of singing and some of dancing – like that! But I should admit one thing. Even before my teens, I listened to the stories read loudly by my aunt’s daughter (my mother’s elder sister’s daughter) for her mother.  Probably, this left an impression and impact on my mind. I liked the greatest legend among Tamil writers – KALKI – especially his novel titled Thyaaga Bhoomi.  It was a wonderful story depicting the condition of woman and her problems that existed then – most of which exist on date too!
Having been brought up in a village I came across women who suffered at the hands of their men folk and this also had an impact on me. Nevertheless I was introduced only as a children’s writer initially.  This was  accidental. I started writing adults’ stories even while in SSLC.  My father admonished me saying that I should only concentrate on my studies and stop writing stories.  I could do it later on, he said. So, when I started staying at home after school-final I began writing stories. About 15 stories boomeranged but I did not stop. Nor was I disheartened. Try and try again and you will succeed at last – was the maxim I liked. But the chief assistant editor of the Tamil Weekly (Dinamani Kadir) was not for tolerating the incessant dispatches. He wrote me a nice letter thus:……Dear so and so….You have been sending stories non-stop. I appreciate your perseverance. Your Tamil is faultless and you have style.  Yet, I observe an immaturity in the writing.  A gentleman from your village is working with me. When I told him about you, he informed me that you are the daughter of renowned school teacher and scoutmaster, after seeing your address. To my great surprise, he also told me you were not even fifteen. So the immaturity in your stories for adults – I sensed.  I do not want to discourage you.  You should stop writing for the grownups – being a teenager yourself. You should read a lot.  After a few years you may restart the venture. You will definitely succeed. All the best….. Even this did not dishearten me.  But as a flash I got a message from his letter.  I was not mature enough to write for adults – so, why not start writing for the teens?  Which I did.  The very first story I wrote and sent was accepted by JINGLY, the weekly. Thus it was that I started my literary career as a writer for teenagers.  This was in 1950 when I was just 15. I became one of the popular writers for children very soon. At one point of time, six of my stories for teens appeared in six different magazines at the same time! No need to say how happy and thrilled I was!

 I have read Motherland and Caught in the crossfire. I noticed a unique writing style in both books. How did you develop it?

I do not know what to say, except that I feel flattered that I have a unique writing style. (Nevertheless, is it good or so-so?) One thing astounds me. When I write in English, I think only in English and in Tamil, when I write Tamil stories! I can’t say how this happens. Late Mr. K.A. Abbas, the renowned writer, I come to know, used to write his stories in his mother tongue (Urdu?) first and then translate it in English and that he had suggested this idea to other writers as well. My experience is translation is more difficult than writing in a particular language originally, because while translating one should be very careful and meticulously accurate in expressions so there is no deviation from the original.  This is my experience even while translating my own stories – not to speak of others’!  This thought comes to me because both the stories – My Motherland and Caught in the crossfire –  referred to are translations by me of my own stories.
 My Motherland for teenagers was written when I was seventeen. I sent it for a contest, but though it didn’t get a prize, the editor accepted for publication in book form.  But for several years it didn’t come out.  When I reminded him after waiting for ten years he told me the script had been misplaced and he was searching for it.  Meanwhile they had also stopped publishing books.  So he said I could submit my (office copy) script to anyone else.  I was vexed, as I was not having an extra copy. I told him I used to write only one script and so requested him to search for it again. After two years he could locate it and sent it back.  Then in 1977 the Children’s Writers’ Association held a contest and I submitted the script without even copying it. (I did not have the time because I had started working in an office.) This script got the AVM Charities’ Silver Medal and then was published in Tamil in book form. In the 80’s a Russian Scholar in Tamil landed in Chennai and met the Tamil writers.  We had been asked to submit a script each for translation in one of the Russian languages. I submitted the silver-medal-winningTamil script and it was accepted.  It was translated into Ukraine and released during the Festival of India in Moscow in 1987.  One of the Tamil members of the Sahitya Akademi – not a close associate at all – had the kindness to ask me to submit a script in English to Sahitya Akademi for consideration. I did so, after translating the story in English. But Sahitya Akademi slept over it for more than ten years.  I telegraphed them either to return the script or ignore it.  To this also there was no reply. Then I sent a regd lr (AD) so there might not be any legal hitch later on in the event of its publication by two companies.  After that I stumbled across Cyberwit and they published this! I am telling you this boring tale only to let you know how irresponsible people are!  The script had to traverse through so many hurdles for release in English. I wrote the original in Tamil when I was seventeen! See the l…….ong gap!
 Almost the same story reg. Caught in the crossfire, too. I wrote this in 1981 or so. Three Tamil magazines rejected it after keeping it for many months. I was upset, because I liked the story. Then a Tamil magazine sent an acceptance letter and told me it would start to serialise it in  its  Independence Day issue, but no advt. appeared nor was it published! When I asked them they said they had misplaced it and were searching for it. It was a comedy and certainly a deviation from the other stories I had written. I was worried it might be pilfered and plagiarized. So I submitted the typed spare copy with me to a friendly publisher with the request to bring it out very quickly and he obliged.  After its publication I thought why not submit it to Mr. K. Balachander, who was making TV serials. I submitted it. He accepted it. It was telecast in 2005, if I remember right. The rest I have narrated in my foreword to the book.  ( Then I translated it in English and the translation could be got published only in 2014. )

 How could you write so exemplarily in both Tamil and English!

I do not actually know and explain how. Anyway, thanks for the compliment. In fact I am not a voracious reader.  I had worked as a stenographer  and my seat was a very heavy one though it was a central govt. department.  I, therefore, could not find time for reading a lot either in Tamil or in English even at home as I left for the office at 7.30 a.m. and reached home at 7.30 p.m. and so would be too tired to read at nights.  I could read only during the bus journey to and from the office. On holidays I wrote the stories.  Had a read a lot more, I might have become a better writer.

 What are you working on at the minute?
In Thirukkural, Thiruvalluvar has advised that one should never reveal what work he/she is going to accomplish while being half way through it. And, one should reveal it only after it is finished.  So, I am not going to brag about it now.  Pl. wait and see.

Caught in the Crosswire was a very successful serial in Tamil. How was the experience with Mr. Balachander?

 I never once went to the shooting spot, though I very much wanted to. Due to acute knee pain, I was avoiding even taxi travel to the possible extent. So, there is noting to say about my experience.  We had met before three or four times in functions and meetings. (Late) Mr. Saavi, the great writer, introduced me to him when he (Mr. K.B.) said a few words of praise about my prize-winning novel which was then being serialised in Dinamani Kadir (of which Mr Saavi was the editor)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I would request the aspiring writers not to write anything obscene which would induce base feelings in readers. Has not Gandhiji said that not a bad word will slip out of the pen if the writer thinks about his mother while describing the beauty of a woman? (I do not remember the exact words.) The writings should either be educative or at least make the readers spend time pleasantly.  Any writing which does not inspire noble feelings and fails to rouse one’s conscience,  is not a good writing.   Writers may bear this in mind.

 Where do you see publishing going in the future?

 I do not know much about the publishing field.  But thousands of people visit book exhibitions these days, though the book publishers are sour about the domination of TV and other media. If parents train the children to like books and buy for them good ones, the publishing will definitely prosper.  Reading of e-books will spoil one’s vision. Reading a book is more enjoyable than watching it on the computer screen. The writer and the reader will become closer to each other while the latter reads a book. But won’t so while reading an e-book according to me – though I haven’t read any e-book, so far!

 Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Nothing else comes to my mind now.

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

I must thank you, Mrs. Rakhi Jayashankar! Thanks a lot. I decline interviews. But I agreed. I was not able to say no to you, Rakhi. I don’t know why.

Thanks again.

All the best.

With love.

Review- Sands of time by Neelam Saxena Chandra

Book Name           - Sands of time
Author                  - Neelam Saxena Chandra
Publisher              - Panther House
Number of Pages - 140
Publishing Year   - 2015
Edition                  - Paperback

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Rating : 3.5


'SANDS OF TIME' is a collection of twelve interesting stories which bring out the different moods and moments in the lives of women.

My review

Sands of time takes us through the lives of twelve women. They are not mere characters. They are human beings in flesh n blood, that we see around us. We have met them may be as friends, relatives, neighbors or news items. But yes, they are there.

There is a lot of sincerity in the stories. The stories reinforces the importance of women education, freedom, empowerment and awareness. Authoress brings into light, those necessities which were neglected or considered nominal. Every aspect of a woman is depicted with finesse. Needless to say that the writing style is quite engaging. She has already proved herself. 

The vile side of womanhood could also have been shown in a story. It would have been an icing on the cake. Authoress has done her part meticulously, but the remaining part was disappointing. Right from proofreading and typesetting to the layout of the book, least care was taken to allure the reader. It is said that one should not judge a book by its cover. Sands of time is a quintessential example of the same.  I am forced to take half a star.

Reviewed for book club
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

Neelam Saxena Chandra completed her Engineering in Electronics & Power Engineering from V.N.I.T., Nagpur and went on to finish PG Dip in I.M & HRD and PG Dip in Finance Mgmt. She is working as Joint Secretary with UPSC. She shares from an incurable passion of writing poetry and fiction. Around seven hundred of her stories/poems have been published in various leading Indian as well as international magazines, anthologies and journals. Many of her stories/poems have been transmitted by Akashwani (Radio) also. Neelam was recently nominated in the list of 78 most well-known authors in India by Forbes for the year 2014