Feb 20, 2021

Jasmine Builds on Shifting Sands- Book Review

It served a philosophical curry with a pickle of fiction. I crafted my diet, made my chapati, ate with the curry and touched the pickle.

‘Jasmine builds on shifting sands,’ I was unsure before picking this up, thinking should I read it or not. Every debut book generates this feeling in the reader’s mind. I pondered, “What does the title mean? Does it mean about Jasmine as a flower which grows in the sand or... I don’t know? Or is this is a non-fiction book? But whatever may be, it looked like the story of growth and hope.” 

And it turned out to be like that. At the end, I was hopeful, motivated, and blew off an air of doubts and prejudices I had since some time.

This is a story of Jasmine. A middle-class girl, studious, living a good and comfortable life with her friends. And then one day, a line of events put her into a modelling show in college. That little success changed her ambition and life forever. 

Spotted by Shaheen Jaiswal- a legendry name among the glitterati of Mumbai, Jasmine was fortunate enough to get her attention and later a chance to enter the modelling industry. 

Her life  followed a topsy-turvy track of highs and lows in the modelling industry, and then achieved success in her life.

This fictional story is the facade author created for the philosophies he wanted to convey with this book. The book talks about growth, motivation, focus, willpower, teamwork, manifestation of goals, realizing oneself, channeling your energy, being meditative, enjoying one’s life, failures, jealousy and self healing through Jasmine’s story. 

The introduction starts with this, 

"People will never truly understand something until it happens to them" It's not possible to make anyone conscious; self-awareness is the only way.

Author, Sanjay Desai created a relatable story to convey this message, and he was successful to an extent. 

I liked the emotional detox process mentioned in the book, and it reconfirmed my faith in spa treatments (no pun intended). I always had doubts if spa can be helpful or not, but this book helped me understand that spa treatments can be very helpful to destress your mind and body.

Author has also given equal importance to Yoga and how it can help to restore moods, destress mind and maintain hormonal balance. 

I liked when author compared dancing and music to meditation.

There are many epiphanic moments that he created, and I loved one when I read about middle-class people-

“Jasmine, I have read somewhere that it’s much better to belong to the middle class; because they don’t have to search for a goal in life. They only look up. They won’t go down, and hate being stuck where they are. You and I have had this advantage of being born into the great Indian middle class”

I think the below lines can be helpful to people who want to understand how much practice and dedication one should aim for, to achieve anything-

“What I want you to understand, Jasmine, is that the zone you are reaching, is the zone of creation. That’s the reason your performance is so scintillating. In spiritual terms, that’s the state of no-mind. In that moment, your mind and body are one, immersed with just the intent of dance. All your focus is on dance. You are not thinking of any outcome or anything else; you have no mind. Jasmine doesn’t exit; only her mudras and movements prevail”

The Epilogue of the book brought in surprising elements for me, as it explained the importance of prasad offering and doing arati to God. 

I could put other lines explaining arati and prasad, but I know the review is getting long so lets come to the overall picture of the book.

One point where I didn’t understand the author’s intention is about the role of Guru in life. Somewhere I felt Jasmine was successful only because she had people supporting her. In the absence of it, she would have been a failure. It didn’t go well with me.

If I truly look from the perspective of fiction, then the story could have been framed in a better way, but it does not take away anything about the thoughts and processes that explain the manifestation of one’s goal. I would like to call this a very good non-fiction book.

Lastly, guys read it if you are in that frame of mind to accept and learn from philosophies. 

Gulp it, if you cannot figure about your unsuccessful attempts in anything, and you can also checkout this ConsciousLeap course.

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Happy Reading :)

Feb 13, 2021

Me Before You -Book Review


Glad! I found this book, somehow missed noticing it may be because last 1-2 years I have been reading more of non-fiction books. But since mid-2020, I am back on my reading strike and covering many such fiction books that I should have read earlier.

 I got this recommendation on Facebook, checked it out to be an international bestseller, and a cover page described it as an International Phenomenon. This much was enough for me to try out the Kindle sample.

Pulled into the story from the beginning, the plot and the theme were powerful enough and hooked me till the end. I was curious to know what would happen with Will? The story was not fast, but it was coupled with good banter and sarcasm between main characters and kept me entertained.

This is the story of Will Traynor and Lousa Clark.

While Lousa Clark had an ordinary and a monotonous life, Will had lived the life of a fearless explorer, playboy and a CEO of a company. But, a fateful accident left him quadriplegic, which meant the rest of his life depended on other’s mercy. He could not move his hands or legs and always needed a help for his daily chores.

And this girl, Lousa, got into a job of his carer for six months. Her task was to keep him chirpy, make him feel that the life is good, but it was only for six months. 

Will’s plea for euthanasia was accepted, and the day was after six months. Lousa wanted to change his mind and made him feel that life could be beautiful.

Will Lousa be successful in her job, and will Will (confusing right, I also thought while writing) be able to understand there still is life left for him.

With this job, will Lousa’s life take a steep turn to new roads from her very mundane and monotonous life?

Unwilling to write more, I would like the reader to find the answers in the book itself. I do not want to kill line up of events and how the story takes a shape.

Author has been successful in letting the reader empathize with almost all his characters- with Will’s restrained life, with Lousa’s monotonous life, her enforced relationship with Patrick, her family’s troubled situation by the lack of money and with Will’s mother’s messed up life. The story also gives a glimpse of the life of a lower middle class family of UK.

Narration was ok, it was a mix of good and ok phases throughout the book. Light-headed dialogues were the best part in the narration. I could relate to that side of Will where he so gracefully gives sarcastic looks or comments, we sometimes get to see these people in our daily lives.

Is this a love story?

Yes, in a bigger sense, it is a love story but a little selfish one. I think that is why the name of the book is Me Before You. 

Only at the middle of the book, I realized this slow and steady formation of a love story.

This book had been adapted to a Hollywood movie in 2016. I first thought that the Bollywood movie- Guzaarish-starring Hrithik and Aishwarya, was also based on this movie. But it was released in 2010 (and this novel in 2012) and was actually based on another Spanish movie. Surprisingly, the character in that movie was also quadriplegic and the actress- Aishwarya was his carer. Not sure about the inspiration, but one can not ignore the similarities that the theme had. Researching about this further, movie-adaptation has given this a wide reach and quadriplegics have not liked this book a lot. Why so? Maybe, it is better you read it and then you will get it.

Jojo Moyes is yet another addition in my To-Read authors, and I will pick his other books as well.

You will have a great time reading this one from Jojo Moyes. Do pick it up.

Read other book reviews here.