Author Arjun Raj Gaind’s New Book

‘The Anatomy of Scars’ by author Arjun Raj Gaind was my first read in The Himalayan Book Club in January 2021. At that time, I had received the Advance Review Copy( ARC) of the book, which was later self-published by the author on Amazon and available for free for a limited period on Kindle Unlimited. I also attended an online meeting with the author arranged by the Himalayan Book Club.

It was published with this cover. I’d written about it on this blog then.

Recently, the author has published a book called ‘The Anatomy of Loss’ with Bloomsbury. ( 28 July 2022)

The new book cover

Here’s my review of the ARC of ‘The Anatomy of Scars’, which I shared on Goodreads and Amazon in January 2021.

‘The Anatomy of Scars’ by Arjun Raj Gaind is the story of Himmat, whose nani ( maternal grandmother) is a Muslim married to a Sikh. The initial part of the story is set in 1984 when Indira Gandhi is assassinated. Himmat witnesses something his nana (grandfather) does that disillusions him.

The story highlights how the Sikhs were persecuted after Operation Blue Star. It also conveys the other side of the story. Nana says “In the future, a time will come when people will speak of 1984 dismissively and blame Bhindranwala and Mrs. Gandhi for what is happening here in Punjab, but they are not the ones to blame. It is us, puttar, you and I, the watchers and the talkers, sitting on our sofas and running away when it is time to stand up and fight for what is ours. We are the ones who have killed Punjab. We were given paradise, and we have turned it into jehannum.”

Several years later, Himmat moves to London to study, and the rest of the book details his experiences there. Himmat is a man searching for his identity. His sense of rootlessness is highlighted – “I wasn’t Indian anymore or Punjabi, or even Sikh. I was a nobody, a man without a country, without history, a refugee in the truest sense of the word. A refugee from my past, a refugee from myself.” In London, he becomes part of an anarchist group, who wanted a separate state of Khalistan. When Himmat meets the leader of the anarchist group, he thinks “And now he wanted me of all people, someone who had never believed in anything to become part of his stalwart band.” When he stands up for his Pakistani friend, he realises he does not want to be a part of the fringe group anymore.

The story also traces how different people are in search of their identities and their roots, be it Himmat or the character Kev-O that the author meets in London.

Himmat reflects, “London had changed me far too much. In the few short years that I had spent there, I had become a true émigré, an immigrant not of body, but of soul, of spirit, of self.”


The book examines stereotypes, gender and sexuality through a confessional tone. It also examines infatuation, falling in love, falling out of love, and explores the concept of manhood as defined by society. The story is about moving on, disappointment, disillusionment, and scars – Scars that nations inflict upon us, scars that history inflicts upon us, and scars that people inflict upon us.
The protagonist Himmat has led a chequered life replete with a spectrum of experiences from consuming drugs to being arrested. There are brief descriptions of self-harm and suicidal ideation.


Himmat tries so long to run away from the past but he realises that the only way to live in the present is to make peace with it and go back to his roots. He reflects on what it is to be a Punjabi and an Indian. The story is about brokenness and reclaiming the lost parts of one’s soul. It’s about releasing old memories and breaking free. It’s about hatred and forgiveness. The story highlights that sometimes one is a victim of circumstances and that every scar conceals a story. The characters leap off the page and the story deals with raw, visceral emotions.

The book is a bildungsroman, which is slated for an international release later this year.
Note: I received the ARC from The Himalayan Book Club. All opinions are honest and my own.

First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author, or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

Here’s how it works!

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Preface

This is the journey of my cultural memory. The five elements -ether, air, fire, water, and earth, known as ‘Panchabhutas’ – have always fascinated me. In Sanskrit, ‘pancha’ means five, and ‘bhutas’ are the natural elements. As I begin to delve deeper into the ancient texts, I found that each of these elements was related to one particular sense.

V

V

V

And the book is…

Book cover of Beyond the Horizon Beyond – Haiku and Haibun by Kala Ramesh

This is the book I plan to read next:) Have you read it? What are your impressions? Anything you’d like to share?

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

I recall getting one of my first autographed books in 2013. It was from Yasmeen Premji, the wife of billionaire Azim Premji. It was at the book launch event of her ‘Days of Gold and Sepia.’ That year, I would also get the autographed copy of ‘I’ll do it my way’ by Christina Daniels and ‘Men on my Mind’ by Radha Thomas. But I would foolishly (a few months later) lend these autographed copies to someone and never get them back.

After this incident, which still rankles, and several others where people I know have borrowed books, only to never return them or returned them in a damaged condition, I’ve become absolutely blunt (if necessary) with them that my books aren’t for lending. On rare occasions, I have deviated from this principle, but in general, I realize that people don’t value my books the way I do. And drawing boundaries with people is the only way I can have any kind of satisfactory friendship with someone.

Speaking of boundaries, I recently bought a copy of ‘Set boundaries, Find Peace’ by Nedra Glover Tawwab. I got this book recommendation from Melody Wilding’s newsletter. I have spoken about Melody Wilding before on my Instagram here. Nowadays, there is more awareness about HSPs or highly sensitive people. About 20% of the world’s population consists of HSPs. Coach Melody Wilding’s work will resonate strongly with you if you belong to this section of people. So do let me know via comments if any of what I said struck a chord. Ciao.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

#BlogchatterBlogHop – A genre that I don’t usually read and why

First, I’d like to preface this with “Never say never” to anything. A genre I don’t usually read though is dystopian fiction. I don’t usually read it ‘coz the ones I have read so far in this genre have been bleak, depressing, and have messed with my mind. I remember proclaiming a few years back that I would never read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. I’d said that due to the reasons I mentioned here. But just a week ago, I was *considering* peeking at it. Which is why I say, ‘Never say never’. 😀

This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop.

Book Blogger Hop

Hello Everyone!

The Book Blogger Hop is now being hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a new question is posted for bloggers to answer during the week. The purpose of the Book Blogger Hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and maybe even receive some new blog followers.

This week’s question is:

Have you ever switched reading genres? If so, why?

(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)


This is Aishwariya Laxmi’s answer to the question: (That’s me, y’all)

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I switch up my reading genres every now and then ‘coz else I get bored, LOL. It gets monotonous to read in the same genre. I need a palate cleanser after each book, just as one needs to smell coffee beans after spritzing on some perfume. Since I read more than one book at a time most days, this switching happens automatically. What about you? Do answer the question, too.

Some of the stories and videos I consumed recently

  1. Lizzo’s episode of carpool Karaoke – You can view it here.
  2. About 30 minutes of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – movie
  3. The image of the lost soul- a short story by Saki
  4. I also read several articles online.
  5. I watched the first short story ‘Forget me not’ from the Ray anthology on Netflix

Pic from Unsplash

What did you consume today? Have you read/ viewed any of the above? Do leave and comment and let me know.

Book Blogger Hop

So just a couple of days ago, I shared a Bookish Blog Tag that I saw posted by @booksare42 on Twitter. Today, she posted a great question for a book blogger hop that I’m answering.

Photo by Joyce Busola on Unsplash

If you are listening to an audiobook, do you follow along with the print version?

I haven’t had much success with audiobooks. My mind drifts when I listen to an audiobook. But your idea of following along with the print version is pretty good and maybe I should try it.

Drawing on my instructional design knowledge, I can give some gyan that we are all different types of learners. Some of us need to see words on a page, while others do better when they listen. ( auditory learners). I belong to the former category, but my eyes are being overstrained.

So maybe I will try it out a bit later:)

What about you, dear reader?

The Bookish Blog Tag

The Bookish Blog Tag

I follow @BooksAre42(on Twitter) and subscribe to her blog. Today she tagged her readers, so since I’m one of them, I’m taking up the tag.

What are 1-3 of your favourite books of all time?

Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Harry Potter series

Rosy is my Relative by Gerald Durrell

What are 1-3 of your favourite authors of all time?

Enid Blyton

Jeffrey Archer

Sue Townsend

Who is your favourite female character of all time?

It has to be Scarlett O’ Hara. She was brave, bold and beautiful but was also coquettish and not without her flaws. She was a human being.

Who is your favourite male character in a book?

Call me crazy, but it’s Rhett Butler.

What is your favourite mythical world?

Potterverse

What book has your favourite cover?

Any of Sharanya Manivannan’s books.

What is your favourite book-to-movie adaptation?

The Great Gatsby

If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be?

More cosy mysteries should be made into movies. Preferably with cats in them.

What was your favourite childhood book?

The Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton

Fantasy or sci-fi? (Or neither?)

A little bit of fantasy and a little bit of sci-fi.

Now, tag you’re it! Do tag me on social media if you decide to take up these questions. I’d love to read your answers:)

Why is my hair curly?

I recently bought ‘Why is my hair curly’ written by Lakshmi Iyer. It is by Red Panda, an imprint of Westland.

A slim volume of 138 pages, the book is ideal for children of ages 8-12.

Avantika and Avnish are adopted kids. Their parents have been upfront with them right in the beginning about this. They know they are loved deeply. But Avantika keeps wondering why her hair is curly when everyone else in the family has silky straight her. She often wonders if her birth mother had curly hair. Sometimes, when other children tease her, she feels bad and wishes she had straight hair just like her amma. There are plenty of questions swimming in Avantika’s head like why her amma works so much, what happens inside a bank etc. She writes about the things that bother her in a diary. The book also touches upon ‘stranger danger’ and ‘good touch bad touch’. There is also a mysterious paati who makes an appearance. Children can learn from this book that it is okay to be different.

Book Cover of ‘Why is my hair curly’ by Lakshmi Iyer

When I was a child, we didn’t have many children’s books by Indian authors. Like most kids of my generation, I grew up on Bobbsey Twins, Enid Blytons, Trixie Beldens, Nancy Drews, etc. I had to be content with reading about treacle pudding and scones. Today’s kids can read about poori aloo in Chennai and also grasp “grown-up” topics like adoption through cheerful tales, such as this one.

The illustrations by Niloufer Wadia add to the liveliness of the book.

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