‘One Amazing Thing’-Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

About the book

Author

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Picture of the Author

 

ISBN

978-0-143-41655-5

Price [INR]

250/-

Pages

208

Main Plot

A group of strangers put together in a difficult situation by nature’s fury. They are stuck together for hours in that dark hole which has no opening and even if the opening is there, they aren’t aware of it. Do they befriend each other? Do they remain strangers? Do they find the way out?

No. of Characters

9 characters

Tone of writing

Refined and rich, a reader gets connected easily and instantly.
My take on the book

Do I recommend the book?

Yes. I liked it.

Reasons Being

>There are characters and there are their stories.9 characters, 9 stories, one amazing thing and all this in one life !

>Beautifully written and in a refined language. CBD’s hold on language is certainly the one which a reader looks forward to in a book.

>Have you ever imagined yourself thrown in a situation with complete strangers for an unknown period? You’ve got to read this book to feel this feeling.

>9 different stories woven in one plot with ease. It is not a murder mystery or a suspense thriller from any corner but it still is a page turner.

>Like the characters in the book, you’ll want to hear (read) all 9 stories before something big crashes and everything ends or before a positive ray of light enters and everyone scatters.

>It is about life and people in it. It is about relationships and emotions entangled in them. It is about feelings and their heaviness. It is about decisions that we humans make which have impacts on others’ lives. It is practical and real.

>I’ve loved CBD’s books (so far read 3) and can certainly recommend this author to one and all. Her books are for all, the genre suits every type of reader and will keep them engaged till the last page.

>Having said the above, I still would say that so far I’ve loved her “Palace of Illusions” the best as compared to the other 2. Her writings are intellectual and so much thought through. She is a blessed writer indeed!

‘The Palace of Illusions’-Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

I read this novel almost a month back; what took me so long to write this review? Honestly, it was not because I didn’t find time to post a review but it was the munching that was being done by the mind after reading the novel. And it doesn’t stop there. I also got the entire Mahabharata TV series, that most of us have seen in our childhood, and watched it again; there are some 94 episodes ! Not only did my childhood memories rekindled but a newer perception to look at the story was formed. I’m glad I picked this boon on recommendations from so many blog friends, truly it does justice to the expectations one has built on reading raving reviews!

About the book

Author

 Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni [CBD]

Picture of the Author

 

ISBN

9780330458535

Price [INR]

395/-

Pages

360

Main Plot

The epic tale-Mahabharata.

No. of Characters

1 main lead

Tone of writing

Narrative, Capturing, Assertive & Reminiscing.
My take on the book

Do I recommend the book?

Yes, very much.

The reasons I liked the book

>It showcases one of the sides of Mahabharata. The Panchali’s side.>It has the essence of all emotions of women. How giving a woman could be, how sacrificing, how intelligent and how her anger can get worlds collide into each other.

>The book appropriately describes Draupadi’s point of view, her feelings, her aspirations; anything and everything related to her very existence- right from her birth to the day she got married to 5 men, to the day she was humiliated by Duryodhan, to the day when she took oath to take revenge and to the day when she and her husbands came out as winners yet she lost so much!

>The writing has a flow, which takes you with it; you don’t want to stop reading it at any time. Even if you put it down, the next time you pick it up the flow continues. That’s brilliant writing, according to me!

>The author has done a deep study of the epic tale of Indian history and has done justice to the original plot.

>One might have seen and read Mahabharata several times, or must remember the TV series from their childhood, but the version that CBD has presented, is not seen or heard, I’m sure!

>The story takes you to the nooks and corners of Indraprastha, Hastinapur and eventually Kurukshetra.

>It’s immensely commendable how one can feel the jealousy that Duryodhan felt, the anger that Bheem felt, the vengeance that Draupadi felt, the unspoken love in Karna’s heart for Draupadi, the unconditional love of the 5 brothers for each other… every single aspect of Mahabharata can be felt because of the way it has been written.

>I absolutely loved the fact that it is not named on the lines of Mahabharata but it is named what it should’ve been-The Palace of Illusions, cause that’s what it is all about! The Indrapastha was the palace of illusions from where it all got kick started, the entire tale is an illusion in itself because everyone can have his or her own view on the parts of Mahabharata. It is all illusive yet real!

>It makes your heart ache for the love that Karna could never express, It makes you feel unjustified for the boundaries that Bheeshma gets himself surrounded by, it makes you feel sorry for Gandhari who lost everything even without being a part of the conspiracy her brother weaved and with all these emotions and more, at the end of it all you feel why it had to happen because it just took so much from every person involved in the story and had after effects too!

On the other hand

>For the very first time there is a book, for which I don’t have not a single negative remark to list or maybe the pluses of the book would not give a chance to the reader to invest time in finding negatives J

‘Sister of My Heart’- Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Quick Data
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

ISBN: 978-0-552-99767-6

Price: 425 INR

Website: http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/

Ha! Where do I start from? I’m overwhelmed by reading this tale. A story of two sisters-cousins actually. A family secret and an entire story of these girls’ lifetime-right from their birth to them are having babies. I read this novel in flat one day..could not just put it down!

It starts with these two cousins,Basudha and Anjali, as kids and takes you through their school and college life. How these fatherless kids are brought up with no man in the house and only mothers taking care of everything for them. There is this family secret which is entwined in the story so aptly that you are made to think what happens next. It gives a flavor of suspense too. Sudha is the first one to know the family secret and is taken aback-after all it is related to their fathers and how they died. The guilt takes over her and she becomes more protective of her sister Anju. Once the school is over these girls ,due to family crisis, have to give up further studies and marry the men their mothers choose for them. The fear of  an arranged marriage. The fear of unknown. The fear of leaving everything, you own right from your birth, behind for the one custom called marriage. Sudha, in between this process, falls in love with an unknown man whom she has seen just once. They haven’t spoken at all yet Sudha can feel that Ashok is the one she should get married to. But destiny has something else stored in for Sudha. These sisters are so bonded to each other that for one’s happiness the other could go to an extent of sacrificing one’s  life. To save Anju’s marriage and the bad name her elopement would bring, Sudha leaves Ashok behind and marries Ramesh-the man the mothers have chosen for her. Both the girls are married on the same day. Anju gets married to Sunil who is an NRI.

Something happens on their wedding day that makes Anju feel that Sunil has fallen for her cousin-Sudha. The pang of jealousy comes into her heart. It’s so strong that she for that very moment hates Sudha-her sister of heart. She herself is amazed to feel this hatred towards the one who she loves the most in the world-Sudha. But soon enough this feeling is at rest since Anju goes to the US of A and Sudha settles down with Ramesh Sanyal in Bardhaman near Kolkata. Their marital lives start and they are transformed into women now. The change that they go through-leaving each other at this huge distance, leaving their home behind, their mother’s and the most important part of their lives-their childhood together. The life they have lived each moment and cherished it. Marriage takes them through a roller-coaster ride. Although they are both prepared for being the good-dutiful wives they are not prepared for the pain and agony they will go through in their respective marriages. After 4 years they both are pregnant. Ironically Sudha’s mother-in-law discovers that it’s a baby girl and demands to abort the child. Ramesh, who is not more than a pet nodding in consent with his mother, doesn’t come to Sudha’ s rescue when she needs him the most. And then she calls Anju and these girls finally decide that Sudha needs to return to Kolkata- to their mother’s home. Sudha does the exact thing because she wants to save her child and leaves Ramesh and his house the very same day. Of course she has to bare the repercussions of this act and Ramesh divorces Sudha.

On the other hand, Anju exerts herself and works extra to save some money so that she can bring Sudha to the US where she and her daughter can start a new life-after all there is no future in Indian society for a divorced woman with a child. In the course of putting extra efforts to earn more money Anju has a miscarriage. Back home, Ashok is still waiting for Sudha and as soon as he knows that her marriage is no more he again comes to Sudha asking for her hand for marriage.

Will Sudha marry Ashok ? How does Anju cope with the loss of her unborn child ? Does Sudha go to the US with her daughter ? Will Anju’s jealousy towards her cousin creep in again ?

You gotta read this book for sure. There are places where I really did cry. Especially if you have a sister who you are pretty close to you will understand what Sudha and Anju go through the entire plot. The way these girls love each other, the way they are ready to do anything and everything…their agony and pain…their happiness entwined with each other’s..the  secret which is the history of the family but still peeps into the present….Chitra has her own way of spilling the words through pages and weaving the emotions and feelings into them so easily..I liked the way she writes. The title truly suggests what’s inside this book…a story of two sisters of each other’s heart. The story touches every aspect of womanhood..daughter,sister,friend,lover,wife,daughter-in-law,mother-to-be and mother !

My rating for this book is 4/5