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I haven’t given up on reading, it has slowed down because of so many other distractions. I rarely have time to just sit and read… there is always something to do. Earlier I would read while travelling but now that has been replaced by movies on my ipod touch. But there are (rare) days like today when I manage to finish a book in a day.

I read 2 books this month:

– Sorting Out Sid by Yashodhara Lal:

I have been reading Yashodhara’s blog for a year now. She is funny, witty, intelligent and a mother of 3 kids (when she did not even want 1). Her first book was ‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ which was based on her life… how she met her husband, married him and had kids. Yashodhara did come across a little amateur in the book but that was excusable. It was, after all, her 1st book. I was looking forward to the 2nd book. It is easy to write the 1st book, most authors just base it on some incident of their lives like Chetan Bhagat did. The 2nd book is the real challenge… the author has already talked about him/her self. Now they need to use their imagination and create an entirely new story. And thats where they fail. I cannot respect people who read Chetan Bhagat… he is the author for illiterates.

Coming to this book, it is about Sid who is around 35, successful, married and then gets divorced and then finds love. Quite predictable since Yashodhara is also around 35, successful, married… I mean, she has not thought out of the box …. or beyond her demography… She cannot think beyond her background.

I picked up the book after months of its launch because the idea did not appeal to me. But after reading a few good reviews I decided to read it. Big mistake… I wanted to dump the book mid way but then decided to finish it. You see, I hate to leave books mid way. I remember every unfinished book and they are lying aside on the book shelf… waiting to be picked up some day and finished … no matter how boring. It is a failure on my part if I don’t finish.

In short, avoid this book unless you are a Chetan Bhagat fan. And if you are a CB fan please give me your IP address. I will block you from my blog.

Btw, not to sound like a hypocrite or anything but I have read every book by CB except his recent one on India or youth of India or some shit like that.

It is a big disappointment when women I like end up writing chick lit. Why don’t these new authors think beyond??? Will there never be another Arundhati Roy? First Meenaxi Reddy and now Yashodhara. Smart women…. today’s women… women I admire… and they write such amateur love stories.

– I am Malala written by Malala and co written by Christian Lamb

What did I know about Malala before reading the book? That she was shot at by the Taliban for speaking up about education for girls and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace.

What do I know now? A lot more… so much more. The book traces Malala’s life from the time she was born to the time she was shot at… and then moved to UK for treatment.

And it is not just about her life… but her life in Pakistan and the political events during that period. I have always been curious about how people, specially women, live in that country and more importantly, why? I don’t understand what it is like not to be treated equally. Sure, I have complaints about treatment in India towards women… but that is nothing compared to Pakistan or UAE. There were times KC would suggest that we could move to Dubai, I was very clear; ‘I am never moving to an Islamic country’. I have nothing against Islam but I don’t like a whole country defined by the religion they follow. Division along religious lines is the worst thing in my books.

And yet, if there was one place in the world I would like to visit… it is Pakistan… Why? Because my ancestors are from Sindh. Sindhis are a minority in India. They live in small pockets in states like Gujarat. And most of us are moving away from the language, culture, food. I know so many Sindhis of my age who don’t speak the language. My kids will never speak the language or have any connect with fellow Sindhis. So, to actually visit a place where I belong (or atleast my ancestors belong) will be interesting. And I think Pakistani women are beautiful… and the food is awesome. So, yes there are many reasons to want to visit Pakistan. Someday!!!

This book gives an insight into life in Pakistan… Talibans… Islam… and so many other things. For all those who crib about Indian politicians this will definitely be an eye opener. Guess what? Politicians can be worse… much worse.

I don’t think Malals qualifies for a Nobel Prize but she sure is a very gutsy teenager. It takes courage to speak up and not many people do it. It takes guts to fight for rights you believe in when everyone around you believes otherwise.

And yet when I finished reading the book I thought, if her father would have been shot would he have received this kind of attention globally? No! Would he have received treatment in UK? No, he would have been left to die in the hospital. The reason Malala got the attention was because she is a teenager and a female.

A worth read. A must read.

 


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