Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Hello Everyone,

This is my first book review on the blog . The book I'll be reviewing is Sagarika Chakraborty's A Calendar Too Crowded and it is a part of Blogadda's Book Review program.

Title: A Calendar Too Back

Author: Sagarika Chakraborty

Pages: 189

Price: 295 INR

Publishers : Niyogi Books

ISBN :978-93-81523-06-3

Author speaks: The stories and poems in there, cover an entire year – January to December and each story is based on a particular day of the month which in some corner of the world is dedicated to women and children (Jan 24, National Girl Child Day, Nov 25- Anti Dowry Day etc). Each story is spun keeping a particular day in mind. The book goes on to discover the paradoxical situation of how despite having so many days attributed to women all over the world, there’s little that we achieve at the grass root levels. It goes on to urge us to spread awareness about the crimes against gender each day. The characters in the book are as nameless as the places they reside in the book – for the book encourages the readers to pick out that one character whom they feel they have met and whose voice can read the stories to them in their heads.

Swarnali Says: As the author says, the book is a collection of stories and poems for each month of the year. These tales and poems are the author's take on those dates of our calendar that are marked to celebrate/remind us of a definite social reality. Be it January 24 marked as the National Day for the Girl Child (India) or be it March 8 celebrating International Women's Day, Sagarika Chakraborty, through her book compels us to ponder over the validity of such days. Does having one day as women’s day means the rest are for men?? I am not sure, yes that is what you are left with once you read the book, it does not provide you with concrete answers, it just makes you question the pre-conceived notions about the role of women and their status.

The best thing about the book is - no character is given a name as “they represent the millions of female voices that they seek to free from the clutches of injustice and oppression” and giving a name to them would make them one Sita or Gita and not the universal woman the author intended them to be. She could be you, your friend, your mom or that woman on the other side of the street. The issues picked up in the book are numerous and there are high chances that every woman who reads it identifies herself with one character or the other or maybe finds a strong similarity with some other woman she knows from very close. With issues like dowry system, the concept of the modern woman, the adoption scenario, prostitution, rape, nationality, puberty, motherhood, female feticide, women’s emancipation, domestic violence, the author hardly leaves any topic untouched, unquestioned and thought over.

I try to take a neutral stand while reviewing, this book turns to be strongly feminist at some points and men may not accept all that the author says. However,a sensitive and empathetic approach without prior biases while reading the book will help the reader understand that the author intends you to think and try to understand the plight of the women around you who are tortured on a daily basis either mentally, physically, emotionally or sexually, if not all of them. Every woman, no matter her nationality or her social status has at least once in her life gone through a situation where she was humiliated or taken advantage of, only because of her gender. Sagarika Chakraborty does not intend to be the champion to the women who are not allowed to fight for themselves, she attempts to bring to us the realities that happen every day, things that we have taken for granted. She puts a finger into our eyes and asks us if we should continue letting this happen or try to make a change.

The tales which were closest to my heart were "Naked" and "Selling a Body to Gain a Mind" . The first one is about the morning when a girl's body is found on the pavement , who died after being gang raped the previous night. The hypocrisy of the society we live in, is clearly reflected when people instead of trying to find the girl's identity and sympathizing for her and her family, blame her provocative dressing and not-so-sober habits of going to a bar to be the reason of her death. The second is a mother-daughter story where the mother, who herself being a prostitute tries everything she can to shield her daughter from getting into the snare of prostitution. The question "why a prostitute is ashamed of what she does all her life,but the society is never ashamed of what it has done to her?" is very thought provocative. This story reminds me very much of an Academy award winning documentary I saw sometime back -" Born into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids".

Not all stories are sad,some do have a happy ending like "Homecoming" and "Sisters by Choice and not by Chance", indicating that a happy end is possible.This is not a book that you can read over a cup of tea and forget after you get up from the chair, the book and the characters remain in your mind for a very long time. I loved the author's style and the double narrative technique she adopted,some tales in the first person for a direct view and some in the third person for a more impersonal perspective. The book makes a good read and a very good one for a debut.

Rating: 4/5
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


First of all I confess,I am addicted to Bones,yes the Fox TV series..and there is not a single episode that I didn't like. Be it the super awesome facts that you come to know,the most innovative ways to solve murders or be it the on off Bones-Booth love story,I love it all. Am so glad they are finally together, yay!! :P
And the songs that play during the episodes are great and are well selected to convey the essence of the situation.
Here are my favorite songs that were used in the series till now-

1) "Girls Just wanna have fun" - I don't like the original song by Cyndi Lauper but I loved Emily Deschanel's karaoke version of the song. Its kind of my daily anthem,my day is not complete without hearing it at least once(I am not exaggerating!!). I only wish she had sung the entire song... *sigh*

2) "Anchor" - This song by Mindy Gledhill is played in episode 2 of Season 7 when Brennan is listening to her ipod. The lyrics are amazing.

Random lyrics from the song-
 "There are those who think that I'm strange
They would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say

That you wouldn't have me any other way"

3)"My Ghost" - This one by Glass Pear is one of my favorite songs of all times..Is played in Episode 7 of  Season 5. It sounds different every single time I hear it and that is what I love about the song,it doesn't fail to surprise me every single time. The weirdest thing I just realized is that the lyrics of this song are very similar to a few lines from the poem I wrote here. I guess the song was so ingrained in me that I couldn't help putting it in my poem,even if that was sub-consciously done.

Lines from the song-
"How can I love without grace?
Shine a light on your face
If you're real then show me now
Who you are

4) "Far Away" - Most of you must have heard this song by Nickelback. I heard this song 25 times back to back after the first time I heard it and I was so glad when I heard this one on Bones,it couldn't be better,your favorite song playing on your fave show :)

My Favorite lines-
"That I love you
I have loved you all along
And I miss you
Been far away for far too long
I keep dreaming you'll be with me
and you'll never go
Stop breathing if
I don't see you anymore

Do you like Bones?? What are your favorite songs from the Series??

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Valentine Kissses' Mega Giveaway

Crystal Valentine B. of Valentine Kisses is having her January 2012 MEGA giveaway. You stand  a chance to win more than 65 beauty products in total, yes 65+,you heard it right. Hard to believe?? Checkout here to believe!!
Here is a sneek peek of all you can win-

There are Nail Colors,Lip colors,Earrings,Bracelets,Body Creams,Shower gels,Lip Glosses,Shampoos,Conditioner,Headband,Eye liners,Lip butter,Eye liner gel and what not!! The list is practically endless!!
Make sure you enter this one!! Giveaway ends on JANUARY 31,2012 . Those who don't have Facebook or Twitter accounts can also participate in this one!! No mandatory rules apart from following her via GFC !! Isn't that great???? SO Hurry up and participate!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

An award and another book win!!

This year has been just too good and lucky for me!! I got my first blog award and won two book giveaways!! What can be better!!

The lovely Opal of Girl with a Pearl Earring presented me with the Happy blogger's Award. Thank you so much!!
Talking about her,she is my oldest buddy's sis and I have been copying her since the time I knew her :P I totally adore her,be it her book reviews I heard at school, her great fashion sense and her endless lot of AWESOME earrings, there is nothing I don't like about her. She has been my idol since times immemorial!!! She is the loveliest older sister to have,am so jealous of Sankar (he is THE lucky friend of mine). She is getting married soon and I wish her all the best of everything that she so much deserves....Do visit her blog here and check out her awesome earrings :)

As the rule says,am supposed to pass the award to 10 fellow bloggers. Here are the ten Bloggers am passing on the award to-
Anju of indianmakeupways
Jennifer of I know, right?
Mitr-Friend Bhushavali of Fashion Panache
Kiran of Cherry Lane
Riddhi of Sugar,Spice and All Dat's NICE
Joanna of The Violin Style
Pinks of Pretty in Colors
Rakhshanda of Chamber of Beauty
Rashmi of mY F@Sh!nK wOrLd
Priya of Now Serving

I also won a book at a giveaway hosted at Fashion Quotient . I get a author signed copy of the book Love was Never Mine by Kunal Bharadwaj. This is the second book I won this year :D

Hope you have a great weekend :)


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life as it is

Hurray  exam over...yay!! Well I shouldn't be this exited as exam-saurus will be returning after two months ... :(
Never mind, am somebody who is a strict follower of the carpe-diem  theory (It means "seize the day" in case you didn't know). So enjoy as long as its not exam time again :P

This time we had to do creative writing in our paper VII. Had to do either of these-A poem on life,a short story about the little joys in life,a dialogue between two old people about their likes and dislikes in the modern world or a travelogue about a place of scenic beauty. I had planned to do this question in the end. But as luck would have it I was left with only the last 5 minutes to finish this one!! After a quick debate in my head,I decided to do the quickest i.e. the poem!! That was the only one which could be completed in a page,others would take a minimum of 5-6 pages. 
This was the first time I attempted a poem (for that matter I never tried to compose anything before,not of the creative type,see??). Just thought of sharing the poem that I wrote in less than 5 minutes-


Life is a queer little thing;
Comes around everyday
Dressed in a new garb
Shocking sometimes,
Sometimes surprising.

People come and people go.
Some usher joy,
Some bring sorrow;
Some come with sunshine and

Some tread paths like shadows.

Love and hatred move
In an endless coil;
These sudden twists and turns
Are what makes it life
And living it better than death.

I found this one a bit too simple for an exam but I couldn't do anything better within that time limit. Some friends who read it found it to be good enough. Aishwarya of Sweet Hug said she liked it...thank you so much girl!! Would love to know your honest comments on this. Feel free to tell me even if you didn't like it and also what changes I could do to make it better.

On a different note,this year begun the most wonderful way it could. I won the new year's giveaway hosted at A Lot of Pages. I received the book yesterday from wrapped beautifully in a pretty shiny paper and a cute congratulations card :D. Thank you so so much A Lot of Pages for hosting the giveaway and for sponsoring the award. I got,Shock Point by April Henry,a teen fiction I suppose (not a big fan of this genre but I didn't know it before choosing the book,the book might surprise me though!!) Its an imported edition,so took ten days to reach me after I had ordered. 
Can't wait to read it!! Take a look at the book. -

Bubbye till next.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Muzic of the week

These are my favorite songs of this week...the songs I have been constantly humming for some days.

1) You Haven't Seen The Last of Me

Artist- Cher

Heard this song first in the movie Burlesque (not a good one but fine for time pass,kind of a chick flick) and went head over heels in love with Cher's voice...she's totally awesome.

Random excerpt from the song-

" I'm gonna stand my ground
You're not gonna stop me.
You don't know me,
 you don't know who I am.
Don't count me out so fast...
you haven't seen the last of me"

2) When I look at you

Artist-Miley Cyrus

Li'l sis (who is a big big fan of Miley Cyrus,the Hannah Montana star???) was humming this song a few days
back and I have joined the humming since!! I do think she is Disney's best find amongst teen singers,she is far
better than her peers (Selena & Demi and others).

Random excerpt from the song-
"when my world is falling apart.
When there's no light to break up the dark,
That's when I, I, I look at you.
When the waves are flooding the shore,
and I can't find my way home anymore.
That's when I, I, I look at you

3) The Call

Artist- Regina Spektor

Remember the song which plays in The Chronicles of Narnia-Prince Caspian?? Yep this is the same song...soft and sweet...soothing on the nerves...perfect for the mad mad time am having now...

Random Excerpt from the song -
"I'll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye
Just because everything's changing
Doesn't mean it's never
Been this way before

4) Stereo Hearts

Artist / Band - Gym Class Heroes Feat. Adam Levine

I was never a fan of Adam Levine before I heard him in this song and then on "The Voice" . He has got a really different kind of voice (wondering what the difference is)...enchanting...yeah...

Random Excerpt from the song -
" Make me your radio
Turn me up when you feel low
This melody was meant for you
Just sing along to my stereo

5) Why This Kolaveri di

Artist- Dhanush (soundtrack of a Tamil movie "3")

Well this song should have been on the top of the wonder it rocks the world...Japan ,New Zealand, Pakistan...this one has taken every place by a storm!! With its catchy and simple Tanglish lyrics this song is now on everyone from 8 to 80's lips....Am lovin' it....

Random Excerpt from the song -
"lovvu lovvu
oh my lovvu
you showed me bouv-u
cow-u cow-u holi cow-u
i want u hear now-u
god i m dying now-u
she is happy how-u

So any of you humming the same songs that I am?? Or do you love these songs as much as I do?? Tell me...


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Book Wishlist for 2012

A very happy New Year to everyone.
This year I have sworn to read at least 100 books(that is too much to dream,will settle with 50 then :P)
So here's my book wishlist for this year,all that I have been wanting to read for a long long time....
the graphic version of Hosseni's The Kite Runner
Saw the movie,its awesome. Now want the book(another graphic novel)-Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis (I and II)

J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace and Life and Times of Michael K.

The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer

Ilustrado - Miguel Syjuco
Chanakya's Chant- Ashwin Sanghi


All books by Kathy Reichs - Am a crazy fan of Bones.
Phantoms in the Brain by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee. This book tells the weird and surprising way our brain works and adapts itself after organ amputations. A must read for all who want to know how our brain works.

All books by Robin Cook. By this time you should have understood that I am a sucker for biological thrillers. I can read them endlessly without breaks.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (the movie made me cry like anything,dying to read the book.)
 Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. (loved the film version starring Tom Hanks,the book is the next thing I want)
Who hasn't heard of Brokeback Mountain. Too bad,I haven't read the book,the film was beautiful,the book should be better.

Ok now enough of my wishlist.

What are the books that you intend to read by the end of this year?? Are you planning to read any that I included in my list?? Tell me,would love to know