the-other-side-of-the-table-madhumita-mukherjee

Author: Madhumita Mukherjee

Publisher: Prakash Books India

Price: Rs. 135/-

ISBN: 9788172344474

Pages: 240

Rating: 3.5 on 5 stars

When I got copy of this book, I was not really thrilled. I unfurled its pages- lo and behold- it was entirely in the form of letters! So, I kept it aside with the intention of coming to it later. And on weekend, I opened it once again, assuming it would be worth a read. In one go, I was through it.
What is it all about?

The book comprises of letters written by Abhimanyu, a neurosurgeon practicing in England and Uma, a medical student, addressing to each other. They share over 125 letters over a time span of 10 years, between 1990 and 1999. And in them, they share every aspect of their lives: be it professional or personal. How the two know each other is not clearly stated in the book.

Characters

Uma, aged  18 or 19, is a smart girl who aspires to be a doctor. She is a smart lady determined to achieve her goals, as is clear from her choice of surgery as the specialization, a field that is considered unfit for women. But at times, she also succumbs to pressure: she goes for an arranged marriage, knowing that the boy is not suitable for her. She resigns from her post as doctor when she is blamed for the death of an old patient.
Abhimanyu, the skilled neurosurgeon, is a strong character. He is always there to guide Uma whenever she is confused or when her life hits rough weather. He is fun-loving and enjoys good time bonding with his male friends. Personally, he has been through many failed relationships. As he falls prey to some dreaded disease, he loses meaning of life and is forced to lead a secluded life.

How the characters bond with each other?

The two characters are big loners in their own way. Though they live within the humdrum of two busy cities, they can’t share their feelings with anyone else; so they confide only in each other. Sitting miles apart, they discuss almost everything that their life is connected to. She tells him about her family, Bengali traditions, her experiences as a student of medicine, and her hardships as a married woman. At times, when she finds it too difficult to carry on with his life, she finds solace in Abhimanyu’s letters. He tells her about his life as neurosurgeon in London. Both of them discuss their love lives and sexual relations too.

How does story progress?

The initial letters have the usual chit-chat about what’s going around in their lives. Every letter from Abhi is answered by Uma, but not necessarily. Every letter carries a date on top, so the readers can know about the gap between consecutive ones. Uma gets married one day and Abhi is not surprised. In the later letters, she shares her marital problems and he, his new job and his travel experiences. The story culminates in 1999 when the two are facing grave problems in their lives. The author, Madhumita Mukherjee, being born & brought up in a Bengali family and having practiced medicine in London, has based her story largely upon these two places. And from her writing, it is clear that she knows nuances of these two contrasting cultures.

What does the book convey

The story reaffirms the fact that relationships are fragile; unless they are nurtured with love, they are bound to fall apart. The decisions taken in haste can ruin everything. It tells that world does not take easy on women who chose unconventional path for them. And it also shows that relations can flourish in spite of the long distances between people.

How it ends?

The book ends on a positive note. You need to read it to know how it ends.

My Rating: 3.5


draft_lens21429427_1389899065_a_aaa

 

 

Why books are so dear to us?

Why do we love books? There can be several answers to this question. The lens describes what are the prime reasons behind our fondness for books. Thry can be our best friends when everyone else leaves us. They keep us engrossed us in their tales.

Top Adventure Books You Must Read

  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire (By George R.R.Martin)
  •  The Adventures of Captain Horn (By Frank Richard Stockton)
  •  Quest: A Dane Maddock Adventure (By David Wood)
  •  Hell’s Corner (By David Baldacci)
  •  Empire of Gold (By Andy McDermott)

 

 

The world of books

The world of books is an altogether a different cosmos: a realm that is a far cry from our mundane lives. And man’s tendency to idolize everything supernal does not know any bounds. That’s why we love to dig our heads in them. An author sketches on blank paper the larger-than-life characters that are weaved together around a fibre called story line. A single twist in the story and we are already in a tizzy: The ‘what next’ factor keeps us on pins and needles throughout the book, till we are through it. Well, it is not always the storyline that bibliophiles like us remain hooked to a particular book. There is more to it…

 

A Pleasant Respite from Boredom

When there are bags of entertainment available at hand, where do the books stand? To say the truth, there are zillion of people that go berserk after them. And why not? We have a banausic Sunday: we pick a Jeffery Archer or a Paulo Coelho, and show the doors to boredom. There is Agatha Christie with her interesting and uncountable mystery series; J.K.Rowling with her weirdest Harry Potter characters, and R.R. Martin with his sci-fi thrillers. So, where is the time to get bored?

Books on Short Stories

  • The Best American Short Stories 2011 (By: Geraldine Brooks and Heidi Pitlor
  • A Treasure Trove of Short Stories Workbook: A Collection of Short Stories (By: S. Chakravarthi, R.S. Gupta)
  • The Cabulliwalah and other Stories (By: R.N. Tagore)
  • PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2011: The Best Stories of the Year (By: Laura Furman)

Top 5 books of 2013

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Life After Life: A Novel by Kate Atkinson
  • The Son by Philipp Meyer
  • The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis
  • The Sound of Things Falling: A Novel by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Anne McLean

Good Religious Books to Read

  • Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man (U.R. Anathamurthy)
  • Secrets of Vishnu (Devdutt Pattanaik)
  • Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharta (Devdutt Pattanaik)
  • 7 Secrets of Shiva (Devdutt Pattanaik)
  • The Little Book of Hindu Deities (Sanjay Patel)
  • The Twelfth Insight (James Redfield)
  • Discover Your Destiny with the Monk who Sold his Ferrari: The 7 Stages of Self-Awakening (Robin Sharma)
  • Ganesha on the Dashboard (M Eswaran)
  • You Can Heal Your Life (Louise L. Hay, Dave Braun)
  • Streams in the Desert 366 Daily Devotional Readings (L.B. Cowman, James Reimann)
  • The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (Rick Warren)
  • This Very Body The Buddha (Osho)
  • In Search of Silence (Rohan Narse)
  • Many Lives Many Masters (Brian Weiss)
  • Gitanjali (R.N.Tagore)
  • The Secret Daily Teachings (Rhonda Byrne)
  • Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Eckhart Tolle)
  • Raja Yoga (Swami Vivekananda)

 

 

draft_lens21429427module169114544photo_1574af6de404e40187695

 

New Books in Stores Every Day

 

Books are like stars: endless and endless. There is no single day when a new book does not come out. So, we are at the liberty of choosing from a plethora. There are also series and sequels-if you find the first book interesting enough, you would like to catch its later parts too.  You can hop from book to book, from part to part, and from genre to genre.

Best Books on Depression

  • How to Break the Grip of Depression: Read How Robert Declared War On Depression… And Beat it! (by John McArthur)
  • The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Move Through… (by Patricia Robinson and Kirk D. Strosahi)
  • The Pillar of Strength- How to Free Your Loved One from Depression (by Felix Freeman)
  • Depression: Breaking Free from its Grip (by Krystal Kuehn)
  • Killing the Black Dog: A Memoir of Depression (by Les A. Murray)
  • From Dawn to Dusk to Daylight: A Journey Through Depression’s Solitude (by Bruce Ross)

New Releases

  • Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans Hardcover by Rush Limbaugh
  • Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics  by Deckle Edgeby, Charles Krauthammer
  • Sycamore Row Hardcover by John Grisham
  • Allegiant (Divergent) Hardcover by Veronica Roth
  • Soul Healing Miracles: Ancient and New Sacred Wisdom, Knowledge, and Practical Techniques for Healing the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Bodies Hardcover by Zhi Gang Sha

draft_lens21429427module169114562photo_55efbaab5afcad5c0c39d

 

Different From Mundane Life

A books world is a far cry from the real world, especially if we talk of fiction genre. There are ferocious dragons, angelic fairies & godmothers, scary witches & deadly ghosts And if it is a science fiction, you get to meet gigantic robots, avant-garde spaceships, extraordinary machines and larger-than-life characters ready to give you an electrifying experience. Die-hard romantics can dig their heads into passionate love stories Twisters & teasers, spine-chillers & cliff-hangers: a world that is hard to contemplate in the otherwise plain real life.

Best Biography Books

  • I’ll Do It My Way: The Incredible Journey of Aamir Khan
  •  Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different
  •  Empire of the Moghul: The Tainted Throne
  •  Aung San Suu Kyi: A Biography

 

Top Fantasy Books

  • Allister Cromley’s Fair-weather Belle (Volume 1) (by Shane J Portman)
  • Aesop’s Tales (by Jerry Pinkey)
  • Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (by Philip Pullman)
  • Mermaids: The Myths, Legends, and Lore (by Skye Alexander)
  • Wonders of the Invisible World (by Patricia A. McKillip)
  • Ragnarok: The End of the Gods (by A. S. Byatt)
  • The Palace Job (by Patrick Weekes)
  • Olympos (by Aki)
  • Christmas Rose (by Dalton Delan)
  • Revelations: Book One of Merlin Chronicles (Volume 1) (by Daniel Diehl)
  • The Fairest of Them All (by Carolyn Turgeon)
  • Grandma’s Santo on its Head: Stories of Days Gone By in Hispanic Villages of New Mexico (by Nasario Garcia)
  • The Waste Land: An Entertainment (by Richard Shaw)
  • Danish Folktales, Legends, and Other Stories (by Timothy R. Tangherlini)
  • Atlantis and the Silver City (by Peter Daughrey)
  • Kokopelli (by Donald L. Ensenbach)
  • Comic Sagas and Tales from Iceland (by Vidar Hreinsson)
  • Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov (by Robert Chandler)
  • South of Surrender (by Laura Kaye)
  • The Kings and Queens of Roam (by Daniel Wallace)

Source of Inspiration & Motivation

Fantasy is one thing; a whole new dimension of books is also awaits us. A world of magic words that galvanize our inner selves and generate a spark in our souls. Books on biographies of successful people, religion, karma, moral values can be our mentors when our souls are unable to budge an inch from the rooms of gloom. We can get to read the autobiographies penned down by those who made this world a better place. Such books inspire us and motivate to follow the enlightened paths.

Top 10 Books for Young Adults

  • Inheritance (by Christopher Paolini)
  • The 39 Clues:Cahills Vs. Vespers: A Kings Ransom (by Jude Watson)
  • Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune (by Rick Riordan)
  • Angel Fire: (by L.A. Weatherly)
  • A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire (by George R.R.Martin)
  • Fallen in Love (by Lauren Kate)
  • King of Lanka (by David Nair)
  • Kate Chronicles: The Red Pyramid (by Rick Riordan)
  • The Power of Six (by Pittacus Lore)
  • Abandon: Underworld (by Meg Cabbot)

 

 

 

draft_lens21429427module169116722photo_56a8a3215730a33695221

 

Attachment

We buy a new book and fall in love with the smell. We read the story page by page and get to know different characters, their traits and their stories. While we are reading, we develop a sense of familiarity. We feel for the characters, we are thrilled by their actions, we are aghast when they meet some tragedy; when they smile, we too smile; when their life is at peril, we wish they were not in that situation. And to tell the truth, we never want that such a book to end. When we pick the same book after years and unfurl its pages once again, we become nostalgic as we had been to all those places and met all those characters that lie scattered on its pages. How amazing!!

 


Book by Anne Frank

 

 

Coming right from the heart of a 12 year old girl, this book cannot be dismissed as a babble written from an immature mind. On the very contrast, it is written nicely, and with a good deal of maturity to it. Anne Frank wrote it in the form a diary while she was living in a hiding place called Secret Annex, along with 7 other people. While other Jews were forcibly taken to concentration camps, her family managed to find a place where they could live slyly. It was in the Secret Annex that she took to writing, and in the days to come, this dairy became her best friend.

She starts every chapter with a date, and the salutation, ‘Dear Kitty’: she calls her diary by this name. Initially, she is skeptical if her thoughts mean anything to anyone, she pens them down anyway. Different chapters reflect her different states of her minds while living there in isolation from the rest of the world. At times, she is too optimistic that they will be able to walk freely on earth one day, and that her family is lucky to find a hiding place, at other times, she feels terrified, pessimistic, and depressed of living with a bleak future, of getting caught and taken to concentration camps.

In her diary, she has scrutinized almost about everything and every person she is in touch with. She writes about her mother with whom she feels alienated. The explains at length the way she feels insulted, blamed, and unprotected when Edith Frank (her mother) does not take her seriously. She talks about her equation with ever-fighting couple, van Daans, and the suffocative environment that gives her no room for privacy. Writing is her only outlet, her only way of feeling free from all bondages.

In her diary, she has also written about the changes in her body brought about her puberty, her fascination for female anatomy, here longing to kiss her love, Peter. And on a completely different side, she writes what it is to be lived in a constant fear and under innumerable restrictions. It is a bang on door, and all of them start panicking.

The book paints an emotional picture about the relationships and the extremely difficult times she was living in. She has done a fantastic job in doing so. Her stance on adults’ behavior and unwillingness to conform to society’s norms reflect her independent nature. Written in a simple language, this book is a mirror of the times when a particular section of society was condemned and treated brutally by the other so called ‘refined’ strata. All seen through the eyes of a young girl, a girl who herself was undergoing through several tumults inside her. The way she pours out her heart to her diary touches the reader’s heart. A highly recommendable piece.

There have been several versions of this book available across different languages. A few of these are recommended here. While some are the revisions of the original, others have been written by her childhood friends and acquaintances and throw more light on the type of life peopel were living in concentration camps.

She started writing her dairy on June 12, 1942 and ended it on August 1, 1944. It was only three days later that their hiding was revealed and they were taken to concentration camps. Throughout the book, she has made some cute sketches of the tidbits around her, Her tone remains personal throughout. The dairy was later retrieved by Miep Gies, who handed it to Otto Frank, Anne’s father.

She explains everything in detail, whether it is her lost fountain pen, or her love with Peter, or her discord with her mother. She writes about her loneliness, and about a deeper personality that lies within her, oblivious to the outside world. She gives frank opinion about anything or anyone. She even scrutinizes herself at times.

Image  —  Posted: October 12, 2014 in Biogarphy
Tags: , ,