Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book review- An Autograph for Anjali by Sundari Venkataraman

Having already read two of Sundari Venkatraman’s best-selling novels - The Madras Affair and Matches Made In Heaven, the excitement as I started with An Autograph for Anjali was palpable. The author managed to keep that excitement bubbling throughout - so much, that I was compelled to read the whole book in one go. If I had to describe it in one word – it was unputdownable!

Coming to the story, it started off as a murder mystery, a whodunit kind of beginning. Just when I was beginning to think that if the author had suddenly decided to switch from writing romance novels to scripting thrillers, the love angle gradually crept in. And how!

I would call this a coming of age novel. Perhaps, a voice to the lakhs of women stuck between the devil and the deep sea, confined to the orthodox way of life, masking their emotions for fear of being judged and afraid to give expression to their needs. 

The story explores the loneliness and suffocation of the protagonist Anjali, stuck in a loveless marriage, her struggle with her conscience as she hopelessly falls in love with someone she shouldn’t, and her attempt to break free. The novel also explores how Anjali discovers her needs for intimacy, the need to be valued and cherished as a partner, and her dilemma when she actually finds someone who gives her both of these.

The story is progressive and moves with the times. It is Anjali’s grown up son who first nudges her into thinking why she is still putting up with a loveless marriage and supports her when she tells him she’s contemplating separation. While the mother-son chemistry is endearing, there’s no attempt to demonize the father. The son is mature enough to understand that if couples have nothing in common, they do lose interest in each other’s life and gradually drift away and hence does not end up hating his father though he sympathizes with his mother. The author has responsibly refrained from making the husband the evil one, in order to justify the wife falling in love with another though the husband does have his dalliances which act as a trigger for Anjali to contemplate about her own life. Clearly mature writing.

I also loved the character Anjali falls in love with- Parth, the author. I mean, who wouldn’t find the appeal of falling in love with a writer exciting! Writers, I personally think, are the best people to fall in love with - they connect to emotions better, express themselves better and have all the right things to say. And true to that, Parth turns out to be all that and more! The romantic and intimate scenes between Anjali and Parth are delicately yet sensuously handled. They make you want to immediately cuddle up with your loved one!

The only part that was unconvincing in the story was Anjali recovering too soon from her depression. But again, stretching her scenes of depression wouldn’t have really added much value to the story so that can be overlooked.

I’d say it’s a very well researched and well-written novel. The story is fast-paced and fun to read. If romance is what you love to read, you would definitely enjoy this one.  

Here's the blurb-

Jayant Mathur is found murdered in his bed, shot at point-blank range with his own revolver. Though she’s extremely disturbed by his death, Jayant’s wife Anjali is way more upset about something else. Who stands to gain by killing the multi-millionaire businessman?

Parth Bhardwaj is a friend and neighbour of the Mathurs. Parth is an author who goes by a pseudonym. He appears more than a friend to Anjali; while he’s also on good terms with her son Arjun who lives and studies in the UK. What role does he play in Anjali’s life? Jayant’s relatives are curious to know.

Jayant’s brother-in-law Rana is convinced that Parth and Anjali are the murderers. But Inspector Phadke has his own doubts about this theory. In comes Samrat, the private detective who appears as quiet as a mouse. Will he be able to find the murderer?
Will Anjali find happiness and peace?

About the Author

Sundari Venkatraman is an author of romance novels, living in Mumbai. More than 6000 copies of her eBooks have been sold/read around the world. Her books, The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, Matches Made In Heaven and The Madras Affair have been on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers many times over.

Link for buying- https://notionpress.com/read/an-autograph-for-anjali

ISBN - ISBN9789386009388

P for Post...India Post!

Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!


Those who belong to the pre-digital era would probably identify with the joy of writing letters and sending them by post. The wait for a reply would be tiring and the postal service pretty slow and yet the sight of a postman wearing khakhi uniform, a trademark khakhi cap, and a bag slung across the shoulders, would be enough to offset the pain of waiting!

Digitalisation has now made communicating much easier, and there aren't as many enthusiasts that use the postal service any more. But in spite of the digital wave, India post continues to connect villages that are still untouched by the internet. 

Did you know that the first post office in India was started in 1774 in Kolkatta? The India post has come a long way since then. It now has the world’s largest postal network with over 1.55 lakh post offices employing about 5.66 lakh people. It means that there is a post office every 21.22 sq. km and for every 8200 people!

Isn't that quite an extraordinary achievement?  

India also holds the record for having the world’s highest post office. The post office at Hikkim in Himachal Pradesh is at an altitude of 15,500 feet!

India also has a floating post office. At the Dal Lake in Srinagar, the post office is afloat on a huge house boat. The post office also boasts of a philately museum and shop selling postage stamps. What’s unique about this post office is that the letters that are posted from here carry a special design with picturesque sceneries of the Dal Lake and the city of Srinagar!

That’s not all. India also has a post office outside the country - at Dakshin Gangotri in Antarctica!

So, irrespective of whether a place is high up in the mountains, on lakes, in remote villages or in snow covered land, India post has it all covered!

Before I end, here’s another interesting aspect. India post has a feature called ‘My Stamp’. You can now have your own picture on the postage stamp! You can also personalize it with names, logos of institutions, or your artwork, or simply get your favorite heritage sites, famous buildings or wildlife personalized on it! Sounds like fun, right?

Believe it or Not – That’s Incredible India!

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