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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Book Review : 'The Shooting Star : A Girl, Her Backpack and the World' by Shivya Nath

I had read a few books about females and their solo travelling adventures. And so, Shivya Nath enthused me. This particular travel memoir consists of a girl, her voyage and her vivid book, ‘The Shooting Star : A Girl, her Backpack and the World’. 

It probably is of all the places, she went to but for me, it began at home. She is after all, from Dehradun and her first ever international travel is to Singapore. From here, she travelled to South East Asian countries and worked at Singapore Tourism Board. But around then, was when she started feeling that this was not the life for her.

It talks of her life, before she took off on her journey through Spiti, way back in 2011. Monk/Nun for a Month, where one can try out how it would be, and she checked it out. Solo travelling was the calling; she got on nights at Spiti. 

She took off to France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, on her first ever Euro trip. This entire trip was just the beginning of a journey into dreams of stars and green hills, lands, spaces and different countries. She travelled on different modes of transport and met different types of people. She went to Mauritius too, where she discovered paradise! Of course, it had its scares and its fears too.

She actually began fending for herself at Delhi, and this was a lesson for life. Shivya was in Central Americas, and she began learning the Spanish language and tried living with Mayans. In 2014, she stayed at a vineyard in South Australia, with a Hindi speaking Gujarat returned Polish man. He had walked through the Ural Mountains, finally landing in Gujarat. It was 1948, when he was put on train to England, and where he would meet his wife and years, afterwards, he would have Shivya staying with him in Australia!

Turkey, Bahrain, Canada are only a few names in the shorter stories here, in India too, deserts of Rajasthan, deep into the coastal villages in Karnataka and Goa. Of course, in the book too, we cannot miss the bittersweet taste of chocolate, all the way from Costa Rica. Shivya lands up in a village, deep in the rainforest. We also turn pages of a few strangers and then we come to the strange pages of a mugging incident.

Writing for me has been an oddly solo journey. Am not comparing it to some of the solo travelers, I have read but something about the essence of solo travel, appeals to me in a way. She wanted to see the meteor showers, have a few adventures and experience life and that’s what Shivya Nath is doing…

You can Buy the Book, right here...

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Author Interview : PC Balasubramanian, author of ‘A Drizzle in the Desert' (Part 2)

Read up, the concluding part of the Interview with PC Balasubramanian, author of 'A Drizzle in the Desert'. Questions such as, how he relates the book and its main characters and their lives to our day to day lives, the next book he has planned, and also the books, he is currently reading are all answered here, Folks...

How would you relate the book and its main characters to our day to day lives?

Not just me, each one of us would relate to it, each one of us became judgemental in our lives without knowing what’s happening in others’ lives.

PC Balasubramanian
The several missed opportunities, where a little help and time from us, when we could have helped someone, a lot. How comfortably we forget the help, that we had obtained, with no strings attached. The way we carry some guilt pangs and what we do or fail to do while we carry such pangs etc...

What is the next book that you have planned? 

Not yet and not sure, it should happen, and I can’t force myself into the next book, it has to happen, a subject should impact me and hence force me to do it. 

I shall wait until then. It could be a fiction or may be a non-fiction.
Dr Brian Weiss

Which books are you currently reading?

I am currently reading two books, ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ by Dr Brian Weiss (this was gifted to me, by a friend) and ‘After the Storm’, a fiction by Lakshmy Ramanathan.

You can Read the Review, the First Part of the Interview, here and Buy the Book, here as well.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Author Interview : PC Balasubramanian, author of ‘A Drizzle in the Desert' (Part 1)

PC Balasubramanian
Read up, part one of the Interview with PC Balasubramanian, author of ‘A Drizzle in the Desert' (Part 1). Here, he answers questions about how the book first came about, and how he feels the lives of the characters are related to our day to day lives. 
The author also tells us, what the most challenging and the most fulfilling parts of the book were. There is more coming up, in the second half, Folks...

How did ‘A Drizzle in the Dessert’ happen? Could you describe the journey?

My earlier fiction, ‘Ready.. Steady.. Exit’ was released in 2015 and it took three years for me to release my next one. I took one year to write this book, considering the heavy subject that I had to convey in a light manner. Plus, thanks to the constraints on time to write the book. 

‘Relationships’ always fascinated me. How we deal with and relate to people, their selfish behaviours, positive and negative vibes, conditional and unconditional love, complacence when it comes to predetermined relationships, happy people and cribbers, people who walk that extra mile to sprinkle happiness around them despite their own distress and complex situations… these fascinate me. 

I observe many of these, on a day to day basis and many of my observations get stored in my heart, some are good for the heart while some cause pain. I discuss what brings happiness, because people around you more often love to listen to happy incidents and episodes.

This book is a way to express happiness, how we can spread happiness, how we can bring joy in others’ lives through simple acts, how we need not be cribbers all the time, how we can elevate our thoughts and actions. This book is purely on ‘relationships’.

What according to you is different about your book?

This is an emotional drama and the big difference in this book is that there are no villains in this book, no bad characters, in a way this book is about normal, good people and the situations and incidents they experience, influence them.

It is not easy to write a fiction where all are reasonably good people and out of them a very few are elevated souls. That’s the difference and this book is for all ages.

How would you relate the lives of characters to the lives of today? Any similarities?

There are a few similarities, in terms of the characters and nature of people but not the incidents. That’s how you add a lot of fictional elements and give life to these characters and try to make it an interesting and engrossing read, I just tried that.

After reading the book, most readers may identify with some characters or parts of them. This could happen, especially with people they interact with on a very regular basis.

What were the most challenging and the most fulfilling parts about writing ‘A Drizzle in the Dessert’?

After sketching the overall plot and the subtle message, the challenge was having the right fillers. The ones that go with the plot, and at the same time; the ones that do not drag and disturb the readers’ attention and curiosity.

The other challenge is convincing my publishers, the main reason is that I keep hopping between fiction and non-fiction and the genre also is not the same. Perhaps, I confuse the publisher and at times some subjects are not in their ‘lists’ and hence it becomes difficult.

The most fulfilling part is when you are able to complete a task and get the book published. And when you get the first two or three comments as positive feedback, you know you haven’t done a bad job.

What is fulfilling is that a majority of the readers, are enjoying reading it, and are relating to the subject and the characters in their own fashion. In this case, many are calling me and talking to me and this is extremely fulfilling and gratifying. 

You can Read the Review and Buy the Book, here as well.