Book Review Treat: Her Last Wish by Ajay K Pandey

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Book Review Treat: Her Last Wish by Ajay K Pandey

This book is a very poignant tale over the unsaid and suppressed stories of millions of AIDS patients who struggle so much living their last days among a judgemental world and spending last moments of love and despair with their loved ones.
The story starts with the protagonist Vijay Sharma, being dropped with the news that his wife is diagnosed by HIV after she donated blood at a camp.
The author then starts with the story of the protagonist over how his life was prior to meeting Astha, his soulmate and life partner. He lived a life of mediocrity where he could neither fulfill his dad’s expectations nor could he become successful in making a desired living. The only thing he really knew about with surity were rejections and failures.
Her Last Wish is a very strong social commentary, not only about how Indian society views and treats the people suffering from HIV etc but also on the Indian society and mindset, some comical others intriguing, each presented in a very light and yet an impactful manner by the author. The author made sure to include powerful observations on Indian parenting, education system, marriages in India etc. However, unlike the usual patriarchal society and the mindset that characters have on general, the author has brought out a very strong male protagonist in his novel and an equally strong message for the readers that a woman suffering through such a disease requires as much love and support from her family as she would have given had the situations been the other way round. The maturity of the protagonist while dealing with his wife’s disease, and the amount of awareness that the author has managed to pack in his book over the nature & treatment of the disease and the prejudice surrounding HIV AIDS is seriously commendable.
The writing style of the author is very simple and easy to relate with, however the dialogues don’t manage to pack the same punch as the plot, characters and the message. The cover of the book is very apt to the main theme of the book and also the love and bond shared by the protagonist and his wife, which shows in his determination to care for his wife. The narration style of the author is very impactful as he manages to bring out all the heavy emotions without being dramatic. The book is written just the way the events happen in a person’s life going through such a situation.
Overall I would rate this book 4/5. It’s got a very matured theme and it has been aptly treated with the same sensitivity and understanding that it deserves.
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Book Review Treat: City Times and Other Poems

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City Times and other poems is an impressive collection of heartfelt poems by Vihang A. Naik. This delightful book is divided into six parts- Love Song Of A Journeyman, Mirrored Men, The Path Of Wisdom, At The Shore, City Times and Self Portrait. I love how distinctions are made by the author and the kind of poems the author has introduced over various life experiences is amazing. The poems are very short, around 10-15 verses but these short verses pack such immensely powerful and emotional personal experiences. My favorite poem is “Eye” which talks about perceptions and resolve.

What is love about Vihang is not just another contemporary author who just aims to get his book published, no matter the content. Instead, he has quite laurels and contributions to his name and that makes this book an instant choice for me, and for any reader who’s looking for an insightful, intellectual and entertaining read at the same time. Vihang has qualifications in English Literature, Indian Literature and Philosophy, and his academic background reflects in the themes for his poems and the approach he has used to craft them. Despite the intensity of his beautiful pieces, they are not hard to connect with as he introduces topics that everyone has experienced and observed in their daily lives.

What I feel about his poems are, these are not just one time read. These are short, yes. You can finish a poem in 5 seconds. But they are so thought provoking, each poem will make you think what all interpretations could be made out of it. But since all the poems are based on common nature scenarios, interpreting them if at all is only going to be interesting, never hard like the classic poets.

The poems in this collection are philosophical, expressive and have an emotional flavor. The 1st part, “Love Song Of A Journeyman” is about the choices we make, especially when we have to choose between things we love, and the betrayals we cause or face in life. The journeyman goes through many heartbreaks on his path, and that is evident in the poems in this section.

The 2nd part, “Mirrored Men” is all about man and the material world. Or in other terms, the illusionary world. How humans react and think in the world of illusions and limited perceptions.

The 3rd part, “Self Portrait” talks about what we are and how we project ourselves in the world. But most importantly, our strengths in reserve and real qualities that we realize when we face tough situations. It talks about the faith that we keep over others only to realize that we were our own saviors all along.

The 4th part, “At The Shore” is about the myriad emotions that a person faces over his lifetime. The sea shore witnesses all our poignant experiences- whether they be of love and togetherness, or loneliness and desolation. It knows our most guarded selves and the most shining selves. The light and the dark.

The 5th part, “City Times” reflects the busyness and activity of the cities. The vibrancy, the challenges and also a new angle is brought down by author for cities- that is connection to nature even while in cities by the city people.

The 6th part, “Path of Wisdom” has little nuggets and pearls of wisdom on life et all. This is the most intriguing section as it makes us aware of the consequences of our thoughts, actions in society.

I would rate this book 4/5. The title could have been better, atleast better in encapsulating the essence of the thought that went behind this book.