Indian Writing & A Review


Honestly, I was never a fan of Indian writers. Having grown up on Danielle Steel and Jeffery Archer, I always found Indian authors to be not up to the mark. Well, I was no one to judge I know, but I do have the right for an opinion. Chetan Bhagat managed to change my mind when "Five Point Someone" came along. But I was soon back to square one after his next. I had turned cynical and refused to pick up another book from an Indian author. My next experiment was "You Are here" by Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan. Two chapters into the book and I couldn't bear it anymore. "Almost Single" too had the same effect on me, except the fact that I stopped at two pages instead of two chapters. "Two States" was the last Indian author book that I read. And I was determined to keep it that way.

When I decided to toy around with the idea of writing a book myself, I wanted to check what was it about Indian writers that irked me so much. I might be one of them someday, so I decided to silence the cynic in me and explore. Apart from Bhagat, the first successful Indian author who came to my mind was Ms. Preeti Shenoy. I had been following her blog initially, but then it started getting on to my nerves. It was all about how talented she is and how slim she is in spite of her having two kids. Then started a photo spree of her paintings and portraits. Every link in her blog redirected to an e-commerce site where we could buy her books. Having had enough with her blog alone, I refrained myself from clicking on it. 

When I won a Flipkart voucher at a blog contest, I decided to buy some Indian author books and see if my opinions would change or not. I ordered "Tea for two and a piece of cake" by her and "Two Fates" by Judy Balan. I started "Two Fates" first. But the number of times the characters had sex in the first five pages, made me take a break from it. From reading it, I mean. So, that's how I started "Tea for two and a piece of cake". I liked the simple language used, the limited characters and most importantly, the realistic story. I was flipping page after page, and within two days I was done with the book and I had a big smile on my face. 

Lets talk about the book first.


Title: Tea for two and a piece of cake 

Author: Preeti Shenoy

The gist: Nisha is a plump plain jane kinda girl who doesn't have a mother or a good relationship with her father. Nor a boyfriend. She is swept off her feet by Adonis looking Samir who happens to be her boss. She marries him and has two children. After eight years of marriage, Samir decided to call it quits. For reasons vital to him. 

What are the reasons? What happens to Nisha next? This forms the rest of the story.

My Take: I could not identify myself with Nisha at all. But I could understand and feel for her. That's a winner right there. Preeti Shenoy makes Nisha lovable and real. It could be any of us in her place. Samir might be a bit over exaggerated, but so are most men these days. The story flows smoothly and I loved the toggle between the past and the present using Nisha's journals. Her decisions to move on by herself pleased the feminist in me. And the idea of a business with her best friend, was believable too. 

But...

The best friend being in love with her much before Samir came into her life, baffled me. Too cliched perhaps. I would have liked to know more about the silent relationship that Nisha shared with her father. Its hardly mentioned in the book. Along with the love story, this simple relationship too would have added more weight to the book. And the fact that she was so lost in her life after having her kids, that she ignored her husband, seemed to go right past me. How could she not recognize the signs? 

Apart from these, I think that it was an overall good book. There is a reason why Preeti Shenoy is publishing her fifth book now. She's good at what she does, and she has earned the narcissism that she dwells in. 

Verdict: Definitely worth a read. Neat take on a real, simple story. The story stays with you for a long time.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Indian writing has improved a lot now. Less masala and more importance is given to the story. Of course, I'm basing my judgement on this book alone, but it did come as a welcome surprise to me. I'm looking forward to read more of them and hoping to be awed.

I'm currently reading "Frankly Spooking" by my dear friend Sriramana Muliya and "Two Fates" side by side. I shall put up the reviews once I'm done with them. Pray for me.

~ Soumya

22 comments:

  1. First!! Yay :)
    I'm a Sheldon n Dan Brown girl. I read Indian authors at times. Tea for two is a nice book. Try reading life is what you make it by Preeti Shenoi. Its good too. I set my expectations high after reading these and they were all shattered completely by her book the secret wish list. One of the worst books I have ever read.
    Try reading along the way by Tgi Prasad. Its very hilarious :)

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    1. Yay! :)

      'Life is what you make it' eh? Title sounds like another cliche :P. Lets see if I can order it and read. Haven't even heard of TGI Prasad. Let me try that one too :)

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    2. Tilte does sound very cliche and hence, I refrained from reading that book. But its worth a read.
      TGI Prasad even I haven't heard of him until this book happened :)

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    3. You're tempting me now. Off to order them.

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  2. Ashwin Sanghi is the Indian writer of my choice. Fast, crisp and well researched. We have our own Dan Brown :)
    Indian writing has two pain flaws- Too much sex without details and too less a story with lot of details :D

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    1. Indian Dan Brown, how come I haven't heard of him? I'm really bad with the Indian writers I think :(

      Totally agree on the flaws. The sex scenes are a nightmare to read. Only Sheldon and Harold Robbins got that right ;)

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    2. You haven't heard of "Rozabal Line" or "Chanakya's Chant" or " Krishna Key" .. Just start already! He is the best in Rozabal line.. Once you read, you will become a fan. If you love Dan Brown, you will absolutely love Rozabal line.

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    3. No :(

      Wokay, wokay. I'm gonna start all of it soon.

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  3. I have a lot of flipkart vouchers - buying books by Indian authors sounds like a perfect idea.
    Even though Chetan Bhagat gets a lot of flak from all corners of India, he is the one who encouraged a lot of writers to come forward. Just for that, he gets a vote from me!

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    1. Yes, try that!

      Totally agree on that. He is good too at what he does. Sometime he screws it up though.

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  4. To date, I haven't read many authors, let alone Indian. This means, that I cannot yet decide if I should join the critics or the lauders club. As for the review, it is good, and though I haven't read the book or any of her books as such, might just be like the book itself.

    :)
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Without reading, you write so well? WOW!

      :)

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  5. I really liked You Are Here, though. But Two Fates was one of the most boring books I have ever read. Terribly written and a horrible plot.
    I quite like Indian authors, actually. Have you read any of Manu Joesph's books? Anuja Chauhan also writes very well.

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    1. 'Two Fates' is bad eh? Damn, I shall out it down soon then.

      Will surely try the other two authors mentioned here. Thanks :)

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  6. I , like you, also don't like Indian writings a lot, but some of them write good. If we keep Khushwant Singh's fantasies apart from his writings then he is a very good writer. Pree ti Shenoy might be good, I ll try this one some day.....nice take on Indian writings and good review

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    1. Thank you and welcome here :)

      Yes, Khushwant Singh is epic!

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  7. You gave me a few books to add to my list! Thanks for that :D

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  8. Not 'pray for you'...pray for ME :P

    Take care. :)

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Care to leave a word or two? Thanks for dropping by :)