A talk with Saurbh Katyal


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I love interviewing debut authors on the blog. This is because aspiring writers can look at their path to publication and identify what they did right. Today’s featured author is Saurbh Katyal. He works in the frenzied corporate world and manages to steal time to write while travelling for work. His most prolific writing happens in dingy cabs lit by street lamp-posts, cramped liquor joints inside terminals and long, monotonous flights. He has published short stories and also won an international short-story writing competition some years back. This is his first novel and has already won critical acclaim.

What were you like at school?

Imaginative and naughty. An overactive imagination used to amplify the naughtiness quotient too.

Were you good at English?

Yes, I had a natural flair for the queen’s language.

 What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Write compelling stories that entertain, and if possible, increase the perspective of the readers.

Which writers inspire you?

John Fowles, Graham Greene, James Clavell

So, what have you written? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

I have written short stories: got published in Urban shots anthology, won an international short story writing competition, etc; I have also published articles on marketing and spirituality.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

The story starts when detective Vishal gets a call from his ex-flame Aditi, who had dumped him and married the rich Sunil Kapoor years back. Now, Sunil’s elder brother is found stabbed in a hammock and the first person she calls is Vishal. Past demons haunt Vishal, as he takes refuge in alcohol and clashes with a villain who is truly a mastermind. The protagonist, Vishal Bajaj, will win a lot of hearts with his hardboiled humour and impress a lot of critical minds with his incisive investigation skills. The reader feels like he is standing on the crime scene with the detective, as the detective unravels the murder scene for clues.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

I would probably want a good director and a capable script writer to write the screenplay. With these two facets taken care of, I feel, the actors become incidental.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

Seduced by Murder took nine months to complete. I usually write on weekends. My pace of writing is extremely slow.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: saurbhkatyal.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seduced-by-Murder/616454285108738

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23009716-seduced-by-murder

 

Seduced by Murder


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Blurb: When detective Vishal Bajaj receives a call from his old flame Aditi, he is seduced into a vortex of family lies and a murder. Vishal sets out to catch the murderer, while dealing with the resurgence of an irresistible desire for Aditi that he had buried years ago. Vishal is a witty, hard drinking, tough private detective who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty as he races against time to catch a meticulous killer. Seduced by Murder weaves a web of noir and suspense that keeps the reader riveted and guessing till the end.

About the author: Saurbh Katyal works in the frenzied corporate world and manages to steal time to write while travelling for work. His most prolific writing happens in dingy cabs lit by street lamp-posts, cramped liquor joints inside terminals and long, monotonous flights. He has published short stories and also won an international short-story writing competition some years back. This is his first novel and has already won critical acclaim.

Review: I was sent a copy of Seduced by Murder by Saurbh Katyal for an honest review by the author himself. I finished reading it today and pending down the review right away. Now coming to the story, what took me by surprise was the climax. I did not expect the author would weave such a plot. For vary, an Indian writer did not attempt at boring page 3 stories but opted for thriller. The story had humour which was not extraneous but restrained. The book is so handy with less than 300 pages. I liked Saurbh’s writing which was very clear and did not confuse anywhere. I like fast moving stories and this definitely was one of it. All the characters in the story are well written, it remains a secrecy who is the murderer, creating tensions towards the climax. The story has been skilfully written so that the offender is exposed only in the end and not before. I enjoyed reading as mystery genre is my personal choice and the author was successful in making me hooked to the book right from page 1 till the end. If you like mysteries, this book serves your purpose well. I hope Saurbh Katyal comes up with more of Vishal series.

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The Last Word


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Blurb: Mamoon is an eminent Indian-born writer who has made a career in England – but now, in his early 70s, his reputation is fading, sales have dried up, and his new wife has expensive taste. Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise both Mamoon’s career and his bank balance. Harry greatly admires Mamoon’s work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist’s life. Harry’s publisher seeks a more naked truth, a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines. Meanwhile Mamoon himself is mining a different vein of truth altogether. Harry and Mamoon find themselves in a battle of wills, but which of them will have the last word? The ensuing struggle for dominance raises issues of love and desire, loyalty and betrayal, and the frailties of age versus the recklessness of youth. Hanif Kureishi has created a tale brimming with youthful exuberance, as hilarious as it is touching, where words have the power to forge a world.

About the author: Hanif Kureishi is an English playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker and novelist. In 2008, The Times included Kureishi in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Kureishi was born in Bromley, South London to a Pakistani father, Rafiushan Kureishi, and an English mother, Audrey Buss. His father was from a wealthy Madras family, most of whose members moved to Pakistan after the Partition of British India in 1947.

Review: This is my first Hanif Kureishi book. This is an emotional story of a literary novelist Mamoon Azam an Indian immigrant who moves to England, who commissions a young writer Harry to write his biography. In old age, and with struggling book sales and depleting income, the septuagenarian novelist sees his biography as a good publicity stunt and to come full circle with ‘the last word’. Kureishi’s characters are perfect examples of a Freudian world in which everyone responds to their libido in a not reserved way. The story is entertaining, funny and interesting book. Mamoon was full of life and boldness and he captivated at times with his performance. Sometimes slow-moving here and there but still fascinating. This novel seems to be based upon on Hanif Kuerishi’s years of experience as a writer, a creative fiction professor, an award winning and acclaimed novelist, and just an ordinary human being who is trying to get on with life. Hanif Kureishi’s novel the Last Word is recommended reading, especially for aspiring writers.

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If I were


If I were a month: I would be November.

If I were a day of the week: I would be Friday.

If I were a time of day: I would be night.

If I were a season: I’d be the monsoons in India.

If I were a direction: I would be North.

If I were a tree: Eucalyptus. I love the smell.

If I were a flower: Rose.

If I were a gemstone: I would be diamond.

If I were a kind of weather: Rainy and/or cloudy.

If I were a color: Red. R

If I were an emotion: Happiness

If I were a fruit: Strawberry

If I were a sound: I’d be a alarm.

If I were a car: Jaguar

If I were a material: Sweater

If I were a food: I would be coffee ice-cream.

If I were a taste: I’d be sweet.

If I were a scent: Lemony

If I were a body part: I’d be the eyes

If I were a place: I would be India

If I were a facial expression: Smile

If I were a pair of shoes: I’d be Jimmy Choo

Toe rings


I love wearing them. I think they are really fashionable and stylish. I am waiting to own a few pairs and wear them accordingly.  Of course, toe-rings- as with every Indian ornament- have a deeper meaning. Wearing toe-rings signifies that the woman is married (it is the Indian equivalent of the wedding ring). And is mandatory in some regions of the country. Yes, that’s how I will start wearing them. But then, I started liking them for their own beauty, not for their significance. They are a pretty piece of jewellery.  Now-a-days, the toe rings are not just for married women anymore, a lot of unmarried girls also wear them and it has become a huge trend in the west.

Though there is no documentation on when and why toe rings came into use but, according to the scientific reasoning, there are some health benefits of wearing toe rings. The reflexology scripts mention about treating gynaecological problems by massaging the second toe. There is also a belief that the wearing of toe rings press on certain nerves that pertain to the reproductive system, which helps in keeping the system balance and healthy. By wearing these rings in both feet, it is believed, that the menstrual cycle course is regularized with even intervals. This gives good scope for conceiving to married women.

Shouldn’t we be wearing because it makes us happy, rather than because it signifies a custom?

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Beat that misery off


Putting the depression on paper is always relieving. It may be embarrassing to discuss with anybody. Write everything down. It relaxes you completely. Buy yourself the wardrobe you have been wanting to. Pep up your appearance. Get a haircut or a face/body massage. A back rub and foot massage will lift your spirits anytime. Get manicure and pedicure done. Trust me it works and it has worked for me.  If you like to paint, then paint with passion. If you are a designer, put all your nervous energy in creating beautiful designs. You love to write, and then write more when you are melancholy. Write a poem or a story. And all that working with creativity takes your mind off negative thoughts. Avoid friends who you know will add to your woes by provoking and urging on to make hasty, angered decision. Idea is to cool off by getting unpleasant things off your chest. Look for good listeners and not provocateurs. It always works for me to talk to my best friend. They do not rush to offer me solutions, just give a patient hearing. They don’t trivialize my woe either. They have all the time in the world to listen to me. And they do follow up. :) No good friend worth their salt will dismiss your troubles because you did not keep in touch. They would understand. Meeting people is good way to relieve yourself. Talking always helps, you are lucky of you have a sympathetic ear. I always make meetings with friends when I am upset. Yes, there are times when you would better be alone. You are your own best judge. For a movie buff like me, it works. If it is good movie, you are completely engrossed for 2-3 hours. No time to think about your own “sorrows”. I can curl up in bed and watch movies in go. Before you take a decision in anger or frustration, take a walk. Fresh air cools and clears your head. It gives you time to think over things in peace, prevents hasty decision. Read as much as you can. It keeps your mind entertained as well as engaged. An engaged mind has no time to think of personal sad thoughts. I did my maximum reading in this period. I went for happy, popular books. What a pleasure in counting the number of books you finish in few days!

 

These serials


I really don’t understand how anyone can watch these serials (I don’t believe I was one of those who never missed a single episode Ekta’s serials in the past). These serials producers are minting money.

The most common things of every serial:

 All the females wear cheap designer clothes.

 They wear high heels in the house

 All the married females wear heavy sindoor.

 There is always a vamp who wants to spoil the relationships.

All the actors go to sleep with their shirts tucked in.

There is always a granny in all the serials.

Most of the families live in palatial houses.

Daughter in law is also insulted.

Each scene has different back ground music.

Most of the actors and actress participate in reality shows.

Lead actor does have an extra marital relationship or his past cropping up.

Under the light


2 years ago, I sat bored, wanting to do something new that’s when H told me to start a blog. Things were different then. Blogging has helped me realise the importance of online community, re-realise the significance of words, meet some pretty fantastic people, come into contact with others who I wouldn’t have known. I thought of stop writing when I started blogging, writing for myself that is, and then I fell in love with it all over again. And I read the archives, I marvel at how I can see entire 2years unfolding over the sections in my blog.

Little updates as of now:-

  1.  I turned into book reviewer, thanks to my blog.
  2. I have become famous over twitter.
  3. I’m single (which means I’m not married) but I am in a committed relationship with such an amazing man that he has made my life so beautiful.
  4. I am the laziest and boring person on Sundays.
  5. I am doing my research on “entrepreneurship” which is just the opposite of what I write often for blogs.

Private India


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Blurb: When a series of seemingly unconnected murders rock the city of Mumbai with the macabre rituals and artefacts found around the corpses, Private India, a leading investigation agency takes the case. Santosh Wagh, the head of the organization, has only one mission. He needs to stop the killers before they strike again. However, in a city of over 13 million people, he finds that the clock is ticking too fast. He finds himself pitted against underworld dons and a Godman who isn’t what he seems. However, the worst is yet to come and Private India itself may be threatened with a revelation that could destroy the entire organization.

About the Authors : Ashwin Sanghi is an Indian writer and entrepreneur. He has also written: Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key. He is also known by his pseudonym: Shawn Haigins. A graduate of the Yale School of Management and St. Xavier’s College, he has since been awarded several acclaims for his work. His second book has been optioned for a movie by UTV and is expected to begin production soon. He currently lives in Mumbai with his loving family. James Patterson is a bestselling American writer. He is best known for Along Came a Spider, Jack & Jill, When the Wind Blows and Step on a Crack among over 100 others.

Review:  After reading all the books authored by Ashwin Sanghi, when I came to know about “Private India” I was over excited to read it and it was also collaboration with James Patterson (his Private Series are world famous). I finished the book in just 3hours. But I was not much happy with the book. Ashwin Sanghi’s earlier books were just amazing thrillers. Private India despite being written with a fast tempo and gripping excitement, the book just did not appeal to me. Like Ashwin Sanghi’s former books this story had all his signature essentials – fascinating historic and religious angles which made me guess what would happen next. With so many characters in the story I had to make a note of all of them so that I don’t miss or forget who’s who after I complete the book.  Santosh Wagh, the main protagonist, heads Private India supported by a technical expert, medical expert and a smart ex cop. Like a typical Bollywood movie, there are Godman, ISI, and Indian Mujahidin in the story. The novel despite being attention-grabbing, did not reach the heights of suspense. A recommended one time read.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers.Participate now to get free books!

Ramayana – The Game of Life : Rise of the Sun Prince


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Blurb: Ramayana: The Game of Life. Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? How is this one different? And is it relevant to our ever-changing modern lives? Yes, there is a need, yes this is different and yes, it is relevant. This new series of books, each following one khand of the Ramayana, decodes the eternal wisdom of that poetic scripture through gripping narrative and thought-provoking instruction. In the time-honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, every fascinating story in the epic is retold here and every character unfolded to captivate your heart and open your mind to lifes deepest questions. The narrative closely follows Valmiki’s Ramayana, gently weaving in folk tales as well as the beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana. The first of this six-volume series, Rise of the Sun Prince, takes you through the divine story of Lord Rama from His birth up to His marriage. Through these pages are revealed the tales of Dasarathas leadership, Vishwamitras quest for power and the intriguing story of a little-known stone maiden. Ramayana: The Game of Life has all of this and much more – food for contemporary thought drawn from an enduring masterpiece.

About the author: Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and law with specialization in Patent Law. His leadership seminars are popular with top-level management in corporate houses. He also helps individuals deal with modern-life situations by applying the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana and other dharmic traditions.

Review:The Rise of the Sun Prince is Bala Kanda of the Ramayana written by Valmiki. When I read the blurb I thought this book would be serious and concerned study of Ramayana but it turned out to be easy and simple read, though not being my genre, only after 100pages did I find this little interesting to read. Special aspect of this book which I have found after a long time is foot notes in each page which explains the stories of that page with modern day. Another good thing about this book is that it has kept intact with the original book. It has not by passed anything or added extra. It can be read to learn lessons of vedic culture. The author has used capital H whenever he used ‘Him’, ‘His’, ‘He’, capital S for ‘She’ for Lord Rama and Mother Sita. Book 1 is out-and-out about Lord Rama’s birth to marriage. I liked that part of the book which made me read – story of Ahilya turning into stone, the formation of Srilanka, the fight between Vayu and snake. The highlight of the book is the story of Vishwamitra (the real protagonist of this book) from the time of him being King to being granted the title of BrahmaRishi by Sage Vashishta. Situations as in dealing with parents and children, husband and wife, brother and sister, a leader and follower are explained in a righteous and contented way in this book. There are many versions of Ramayana’s in the market, but this is one of the easiest versions of understanding the epic. I’m not an enthusiast of philosophical books so this book did not influence me much, but definitely is one of the best sources for behaviour moulding and character building, hence I would recommend it.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers.Participate now to get free books!

Aha Moment of life


Do you trust your inner feeling? I am sure most of us are familiar with the powerful Paulo Coelho’s quote in The Alchemist, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I know, it can be derided as romanticism and mushy lines which is only good to hear. I belong to this stupid tribe who believes in the power of those lines.

It always happens to me. Unbelievable but true! When it happens, I always get a gut feeling, a ‘sensation of sort’ that something extraordinary gonna unfurl in my life. I become overtly positive that nothing can go wrong at a time when the bumpy ride characterizes my life. I become happy for no apparent reason, jumping with joy and ready to embrace the strong gush of wind and breeze, percolating in the atmosphere. The stage is set and it’s my ‘aha’ feeling. Don’t ever try to question me on this feeling coz I have no reason to give some kinda justification. It’s something that only I, ME and MYSELF can feel within.

No! It got nothing to do with the self-help books. The world is too big to run away from the Wayne Dyers, Robin Sharmas and Deepak Chopras of the world. Nothing wrong with these gentlemen and new-age, Gurus. True, the going gets tough and you start doubting yourself, whining that you shall see no light at the end of the tunnel. Then, the ‘Aha’ moment of life strikes like thunder at a place where you would last expect it to hit you. A bit like love, I would argue or the gun shot. But, this time, it sounds like petal of flowers adorning your existence as a human being who, no matter what, would never stop dreaming of extraordinary things.

It can happen in any form, the Aha moment. The gentle breeze of wind stroking your face, as you gyrate to the tune of monsoon and drenching your body from top-to-toe. Live is simply beautiful. You feel the magic and the sixth sense tells you that the bad will soon be buried in the distant past. This is my moment of life that I cherish like mint choco ice-cream.  It’s my Aha moment.

I am a forever romantic. I can never say no to love and gratitude of the people who surround my existence. There have been plain strangers who surprised me with kindness that makes me believe in the beauty of existence. At times, I can become sullen and angry with the world when I am not getting what I want. I know! It can be frustrating and kill you at every moment. But, Phat! It disappears like fire crackers bursting in the air. It’s life gentle reminder that nothing stays forever in life, the good, bad or the ugly.

Why languish over the bad moments of life? Worry never heals the broken heart. Just go with the flow and believe in your ‘Aha’ moments of life. Trust me! When it comes, it gently touches your soul, acting like the harbinger of hope. Romantic?! You bet. Just believe.

By, Vishal Bheeroo

About him: You cannot remove an Indian from India. An Indian settled outside Desh, Vishal is a freelance journalist and blogs at http://www.vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com. He also do book reviews and can be contacted on vishal.v.bheeroo@gmail.com.
He is passionate about movies, books and loves writing short stories.

Far Beyond The Dead End


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Blurb: Millennia ago, the valley of Mohenja-Daro held one of the most organized and advanced civilizations for its time. Discovered in the late nineteenth century, all that was left of it now were ruins, and dead bodies. The mound of the dead, they called it, and rightly so. There were many dead bodies lying everywhere, and there stories were as mysterious as their states. What happened to the city of Mohenja-Daro? In a time when the city thrived, Koli was a seductive girl with an enigmatic charm. Sindhu lived with dreams burning in her eyes, and Girad with his burning passion for life. There were others, like the priest who professed to seeing a doomed future, a future cursed for all time. Their love, dreams, greed, mania and delusions formed a part of their lives, and added colour to it all the way. A mysterious series of deaths follows a frantic hunt for lust, gold and glory, and they do not stop until they destroy the very foundation of the city. Or until they venture Far Beyond the Dead End, to be discovered in the remnants of the lost city thousands of years later.

Author: Saikat Bakshi is an Indian writer and mechanical engineer. He enjoys exploring the unseen alleys of life, and observing people as he goes along. He enjoys taking in history, literature and art as well as writing whenever he finds the time. This is his fourth novel and he has also written: Did You See The Joker?, Fallen Leaf, Weathered Wind and Something In Your Eyes: Smiling In The Sky.

Review: It is about Koli, beautiful and intelligent girl, whose father wants her to get married to Sindhu, but Girad, a failed businessman wants to marry Koli. What a typical love triangle, Hindi movie manner, but this is not set in 2014 but set in Mohenjodaro when it was a flourishing society, a twirl unlikely.  Simple, suspenseful, straight plot with twists in the story and flawless narration made this book one of my best reads of this year. The author has successful brought back the oldest and dead civilization back to life with this story. Historical fiction of which I am a huge fan of, was written with such ease by the author, his years of research on Indus valley civilisation is proven. This book turned out to be a page turner as every page is impulsive.

The book is divided into three parts:

  1. The first part introduces the reader to the plot, characters and their qualities. It does throw light on customs, traditions and practises of Indus valley civilisation – especially that of the city of Mohenjadaro.
  2. The second part takes the story ahead and narrating the episodes and experiences of all the characters of the story.
  3. The third part (what I loved reading the most) exposes the secrets, turn outs, shockers and surprises and the truth.

I liked the way; the author kept the thrill and the excitement part away in the first and second parts of the story and bought it out only towards the conclusion. The urgency and the pace of the story in the end for me went with the flow of the story well, I did not feel it disturbed or broke the course. I did not wanted to read any emotional content making the character of Koli a sensitive, emotional or a timid girl. I like female characters intelligent and intellectual.

Pros

  1. The ancient Indus valley civilisation woven into a fiction plot.
  2. The characters are well written and develop with the story.
  3. The detailed bibliography shows the hard work of the author that has gone into writing.
  4. Historical fiction, a genre never before read or explored.
  5. A great visual peek into history, each line made me imagine an entire ancient civilisation in front of my eyes.
  6. Affordable, light and easy read.
  7. After a long time I came across a book without much of spelling errors.

Cons

  1. The quality of the paper used should have been better.
  2. The editor should have re-read the content couple of times before the final print as I found many grammatical errors in the book, in the first 80-100pages.

I give this book 4stars out of 5. Spellbinding apprehension (which is my preference) set in Indus civilisation, which the author thoroughly researched about, took me to an era beyond the present.  If you are an aficionado of historical fiction then this is the right book to keep you engage till the end. More over it is not an easy job to write historical fiction, and full credit to the author Saikat Bakshi for selecting this variety and coming out of it fruitfully.

I thank Saikbat Bakshi and Writers Melon for hosting the wonderful historical civilization contest and picking me out as one of the winners and sending this book as prize.

Round Ireland with A Fridge


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Blurb: Have you ever made a drunken bet? Worse still, have you ever tried to win one? In attempting to hitchhike round Ireland with a fridge, Tony Hawks did both, and his foolhardiness led him to one of the best experiences of his life. Joined by his trusty traveling companion-cum-domestic appliance, he made his way from Dublin to Donegal, from Sligo through Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Wexford, Wicklow–and back again to Dublin. In their month of madness, Tony and his fridge met a real prince, a bogus king, and the fridge got christened. They surfed together, entered a bachelor festival, and one of them had sex without the other knowing. And unexpectedly, the fridge itself became a momentary focus for the people of Ireland.

About Author: Tony Hawks, is a British comedian and author, famous for his Quizotic travel accounts undertaking bizarre wagers with friends. Hawks performs stand-up comedy, and is a regular on TV and radio panel games in the UK, including I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Just a Minute, The Unbelievable Truth and Have I Got News for You, although he first came to prominence as one of two resident performers — the other was Jo Brand — on semi-successful BBC monologue show The Brain Drain.

Review: I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t know what to expect from this book when I ordered it. I don’t read a whole lot of nonfiction, but when I was challenged to read it, I accepted it wholeheartedly and I don’t regret it. I’m so glad that British humour/comedy didn’t turn me off. This book is really funny with a terrific story. The touching tale of a man  (English comedian Tony Hawks ) and his fridge, who for a £100 bet, hitch-hikes around Ireland in 1 month with a fridge. This book reveals the good of people and the lengths they will go to help someone without any thought of rewards. The book provides details of the lives of all the people Tony encounters–in bars, hotels, tourists, at the radio station, the king of Tory. Tony writes about all these people in a personal way that allows us to see them not just read them. And in the course, Tony forms associations with all of them. I found the book, the story and the writing to be daring, bold, thought-provoking and very funny. Some readers will definitely choose to see it as only an enjoyable comedic read but for me it is really a lot more. It’s about a witty man who boards on something admittedly silly only to discover something much more meaningful connections with people, the randomness of life, challenges, obstacles, support, friendship, fun, frustration, self-knowledge and insight. And the country of Ireland and the Irish as never seen and experienced before.

And we remained


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Blurb: And we remained was a story which needed to be told. The story though, wasnt a short one. How it had to be narrated had to be very different as well. And we remained is a 51,000 word novel, with an absorbing storyline and a unique narration style. In the 1990s, India is going through tremendous socio-economic changes. Set in this era, it is a coming of age story of five engineering friends – Sahir, Sandeep, Gopal, Anand and David-and the women in their lives, especially the beautiful Wardha. Their intertwined story is told by these friends through first person accounts of events in their engineering college contrasted in alternate chapters with their lives a few years later when they keep in touch, narrate events in their lives and share their experiences in India and abroad through emails. And we remained takes you on their entertaining journey through college, love, heartbreak, prison, politics, drunken binges, strip clubs, US and Europe as they hang on to sanity and their identities in a fast changing society and a nation in flu

About author: Asad Ali Junaid is a design professional in Bangalore working in the area of Human-Machine Interaction. Junaid’s book – And We Remained – started as a story which needed to be told… and one which needed to be told differently. While he was struggling to get the narration style and structure right, he joined a three week in residence ‘Just Write’ fiction writing workshop where he got a chance to learn the nuances of and hone his story telling skills from authors Anil Menon, Anjum Hasan and Rimi Chatterjee. Junaid writes whenever there is a compelling story inside him bursting to get out. Junaid has written several short stories and is currently editing his second book – which like his first one – has an absorbing story and is very different in narration style. Junaid has been a resident of Bangalore most of his life except for brief stints in the US for higher education and work. He has seen Bangalore’s transformation from the sleepy town that it was, to an IT hub of today. Junaid’s wife is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Their toddler completes their home while keeping them on their toes.

Review: Sahir, Sandeep, Wardha, Gopal, David, Anand, Engineering, Sex, US, Philosophy, Ragging, Porn, Loafers, Electrical, Mechanical and Placements – caught my attention the moment the book was in my hand. The black and white of the cover and blurb on the front side was something which I had not come across yet. The author impressed me with the cover itself. I finished the book in 2days. I appreciate the author for not just writing this book but for even designing the cover and also publishing it.  Narrating the story through emails is something which caught my fancy since I first read love virtually. In the current story the past was narrated from everyone’s point of view and the present through emails. I liked that friendship was described in a fun way. Effortless and simple humour was another big good feature of this story. The email conversations between Sahir, Sandeep, Gopal, Anand and David about Facebook to  Bollywood in UK to India where sex is taboo, strip clubs of USA, fall of Twin Towers, Indian education system is something which generation of not just 1990’s but that of even today would like to be a part of. There is love, heartbreak, prison, politics, drinking and college life. ‘And We Remained’, for me remained as an enjoyable read about college friendship, which I am sure not just me but all of us can connect with. Through this book I could revive my own first day at college, fresher’s party, annual day, elections, college canteen, bunking classes, love affairs, heartbreaks, crushes, movies. I highly recommend this book to all.

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