Blame it on Destiny
by Soorina Desai
By Nimue Thursday, January 08, 2015 Indian fiction, Nimue, Soorina Desai Leave a Comment
A disturbed counsellor who is caught in a violent love triangle, a sculptress looking for an invisible God, a medium for spirits who wants to be loved, a real estate dealer who strives to be a good son and a writer penning an interesting plot are five strangers who never come face to face but influence one another’s lives in a manner which alters their circumstances. The protagonist finds herself being questioned about the unpredictability of life. It compels her to explore the possibility of a human link between life and the events that shape it. Is it an intricately woven web of human actions that determine ones future or is it easier to simply blame it on destiny?
My review : Sharmila decides to write a novel , about different people living in her old grandfather’s home. These people are based on random characters she has heard about or knew of from the past. Based on her assumptions about how these people would have fared, forms the basis of her book. Her belief is that a person’s character -not the circumstances- decide how their lives turn out. Engaged to a successful author , Sharmila writes about his ex girlfriend; a friend of her friend who is a medium for spirits ; a theatre couple she knew, since she had a crush on the guy and a rogue character who dated her cousin’s friend and supposedly stabbed a guy. According to her the rogue guy would end up in jail, the theatre couple would be happily married, the ex girlfriend would probably end up as a social rebel and the psychic would never have a normal life. What follows is an account of each of these lives. They cross each other’s paths sometimes by name, sometimes in real and they all ultimately alter Sharmila’s life with her fiancé, Abhishek.
Blame it on Destiny, aptly describes destiny as the chasm between what we expect and what the reality turns out to be. The beauty of the book is that the relations and relationships between the characters are so beautifully layered that whenever I made one connection between these lives , it kind of made me more eager to read further. The story just pulls you in and doesn’t let you go unless you have closed the book. Perhaps not even then. Soorina has created a fabulous casts and set up a brilliant game of life moving these people like a game of chess! Isn’t it what destiny does? There is love, loss, tragedy, irony, mistakes, death and above all, the human nature to associate with one of these even as strangers.
I loved this book and now I am going to mark Soorina’s previous book in my to-be-read pile!
My rating : 5/5
What a lovely start to 2015 J
Saturday, Jan 03, 2015 | Last Update : 03:18 PM IST
Author Soorina Desai
A student of English literature and history, Soorina Desai always had a passion for the written word. But other priorities kept her from exploring her skill as a writer. Then, one day, a chance discovery of her grandmother’s diary gave Soorina the inspiration to write her first book.
Wanting to capture the essence of a bygone era so cleverly detailed in her grandmother’s daily jottings, Soorina began to weave a tale of an unorthodox romance in an orthodox society. Anamika, written in a span of six months, was longlisted for the Crossword Book Award in 2006. After that, followed her next book, Barefoot To Paradise, and her latest, Blame It On Destiny.
The plot for Blame It On Destiny follows a disturbed counsellor who is caught in a violent love triangle, a sculptress looking for God, a medium for spirits who wants to be loved, a real estate dealer who strives to be a good son and a writer penning a novel — five strangers who never meet but influence one another’s lives in a manner which alters their circumstances.
“The basic concept sprang from the idea that our circumstances are interconnected with those of others. Someone, somewhere could be altering our futures for the better or for the worse, without our knowledge. So the belief in an unseen force planning our lives could be explained if we knew of the actions of other people in context to us. It also means, that we can take responsibility for our actions without blaming or acknowledging a mystical force and at the same time find strength to chart our own way,” Soorina says.
About her evolution as a writer, Soorina says, “Every book feels like a new beginning to me. It’s almost as though I want to forget that there is any craft attached to it and I want to begin the process all over again to give a new story my best effort.”
She is now working on her fourth book, Birds Of The Air. Her prolific output seems to hint at her being a very disciplined writer, but she laughs this off. “The funny thing is that I sometimes keep putting it (writing) off,” she says. “I can while away my time chatting with friends, running errands… I can display a complete lack of discipline until I sit down to write. Then I am consumed by the process and wonder why I do anything else at all!”
So who are the writers who have influenced Soorina? “I admire many, many writers,” she says. “Enid Blyton for making me fall in love with reading as a child, Shakespeare for his rich drama and understanding of human character, Cortazar for reinventing the novel, Marquez for having drawn us so magically into his Latin American vision, Nabokov for conveying the fragility of our existence through his words, Kundera for his exploration of the human psyche and Vikram Seth for finding the perfect balance between English writing in an Indian culture.”
Paper Tree Blogger
Blame It on Destiny: Soorina Desai
By: Kalyan Panja
Blame It on Destiny by Soorina Desai is an eternal flashback that tells the stories of five strangers so different from each other but through most heartrending events of life ends up together as if the world was nothing but a small piece of land in which it is easy to come across someone and elsewhere perhaps it would be enough to focus on a few small events to really understand the story.
This is the story, the lives of five strangers who come from different places have different experiences behind them, but they are united having woven, in one way or another, their lives with a troubled counsellor who is wedged in a sadistic love triangle, a sculptress looking for an imperceptible God, a medium for spirits who desires to be loved, a real estate broker who strives to be a good son along with a essayist penning an exciting plot are who never come head to head but persuade one another’s lives in a comportment which alters their state of affairs.
The central character finds herself being questioned in relation to the capriciousness of existence that compels her to walk around the leeway of a individual connection among existence and the proceedings that silhouette it in an intricately woven maze of human behaviour that decide ones upcoming or destiny. The big ones. The ones like a storm, when it begins to blow overwhelm countries, cities, and disrupt windows, squares, streets and lives and leaves behind only shreds, just like pieces of torn paper and envelopes.
The characters are well characterized, their feelings, their relationships, dotted with care and depth with the ending will leave you breathless and speechless that will remain in the minds and hearts of readers for a long long time as it is easy to identify with all of these characters with your heart beating with emotions, fears and expectations who are sometimes fascinating, sometimes romantic, sometimes mysterious and scary, but left the door open just enough for speculation and doubts.
The writing style is modern but simple with the writer tell stories that intertwine carried out by different points of view and sets the narrative in different locations to create suspense, and let us in the lives of different characters, to give movement to the novel with the result is a novel that for style, content and depth does not, have the frivolous superficiality of most novels.
Its a full-bodied and deep novel with the topics are interesting with the sudden changes of points of view and jumps in time is smooth with an intriguing plot and the right amount of twists, rich characters, divided into six sections that analyzes the psychology of the characters through their vicissitudes with the style is unmistakable with a richly detailed story, told through various points of view, who are different temperamentally, physically, origins and lived but at the same time have something in common.
The real strength of this book, after all, is the attempt to seize an uncomfortable subject of life, its hardships, the perversions in different places, conflicting, distant from each other, as slowly the story thicken and come out of hiding the true identity of these characters, with their fragility and their values that intersect at the end to determine the end of the story, with a result perhaps of greatest emotional impact.
This book will overwhelm you, and would prick those strings inside you that create anxiety and restlessness as it offers us an excerpt of reality, with the rawness, the anguish, frustration, indifference, pain and violence that only real life is able to spit in your face with the continuous alternation of the various characters who speak each from its own point of view and making reading slightly heavy.
By Jaideep Khanduja
Category Archives: Author Interview
She was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. She completed her graduation at the University of Mumbai in English Literature and History. Her maiden novel Anamika, a story about love was written in the year 2005. Her second novel, Barefoot to Paradise, about a struggling painter was published in 2010.
Blame It On Destiny, her third, is a novel that questions the power of human actions over a mystical force that is believed to control one’s destiny. She is currently working on her fourth, as yet untitled novel. She has written several poems and articles, published in International magazines. Those are also available on her website.
Welcome Soorina Desai to my Fish Bowl.
Your real name and pen name?
I don’t use a pen name.
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
The best memories of my childhood are of summer holidays spent swimming at the Cricket Club of India.
About your education
I always adored literature and was naturally drawn to it since a very young age. I chose to study literature and history in college because I felt passionately about the former and the latter gave my literary analysis further depth.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
Life itself is the greatest inspiration.
What living/dead personality would you be:
I cannot imagine being anyone else. One is so embedded in one’s own perception and construction of the universe that it is difficult if not impossible to leave that space.
What is your favourite genre and why:
I don’t have a particular favourite. What I read is dependent on my mood at the time. There is remarkable work in various genres and a lot of great work that evades the boundaries of genre.
When did you start writing:
I know it’s a cliche but I have some writing that dates back to 1976, when I was just seven years old. I dabbled in short stories and poems as a young child.
What is the purpose of your writing:
My purpose is to express the human condition through my own words and experiences.
What is your next book:
It’s titled Birds of the Air. It is too soon to talk about it. However, I can safely say that I am most excited about this project.
What genre do you write in and why:
Broadly speaking, I would categorise my work as reality fiction because it is grounded in the action and inaction
of people, a definite setting, and a plot that aims to reflect the human condition as it is experienced in everyday life.
What keeps you motivated to write:
I am motivated by my inner voice.
What are the key essentials in the project management of writing:
That I discipline myself and write instead of procrastinating.:)
How do you schedule and monitor your writing commitments:
I sit down every morning at my desk and write until I am satisfied with the outcome.
What are your future plans:
To keep writing and to enrich my work with the experience I gain from my previous books and life itself.
Do you prefer paperbooks or e-books:
I have a special attachment to paper books but I do enjoy reading an ebook because of its practicality and because it’s essential to move with the times.
What 4 topmost things do you take care of while writing a book:
– The characters have to be real and believable.
– A strong premise.
– The voice must be clear.
– I must stay true to my style.
How much real life goes into fiction writing:
Life in itself is a fiction of our perceptions. I want to pen that fiction to paper.
Is high level of imagination important for an author:
I think observation and expression are far more important than imagination.
Dream destination on earth:
Japan because I am keen to explore their unique culture.
Your place of birth:
Countries you have visited/ things you have liked about them:
I travel frequently to Western Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim. I admire the equality, discipline, cleanliness and order in Western society.
Favourite time of day:
Morning because that is when I write.
Earthy tones because they are soothing to the eyes.
Last book you finished reading:
Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Future. I am not reading anything at present as I have begun work on my next project.
Which is your favourite book and why:
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera because he expresses his world view by grounding abstract thinking in the lives and times of his characters.
Favourite movie and why:
It’s difficult to choose…but I do love the films of Sai Paranjape and Merchant-Ivory. The former for her portrayal of the lives of middle class Indians and the latter for their emotionally and socially evocative dramas.
What comes to your mind when you think of India:
Diversity and disparity.
Sun or moon: sun
laughter or smile: laughter
morning or evening: morning
coffee or tea: coffee
mountain or sea: both
long drive or short drive: long drive
silence or conversation: conversation
water or fire: water
air or earth: earth
tulip or rose: tulip
red or blue: blue
left or right: centre
glance or stare: glance
fame or money: money
boy or girl: girl
day or night: day
love or passion: one follows the other
What three words come to your mind for each:
– technology: ease, speed, stress.
– life: precious, unpredictable, short.
– God: invisible, detached, sublime.
– humanity: intriguing, interesting, immense.
– love: bliss, blind and bullshit.
First thing you do in the morning when waking up:
State your best quote:
“Life is a cycle of spiritual momentum, continuity not a beginning when we are born” – from my first book, Anamika.
Last line of your autobiography would be:
Even if there is nothing but a vanishing, I am grateful for having had a few precious blessings.
Title of your autobiography:
Over and Out.
Links & other relevant details:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soorina-Desai/612013212258776?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.in/Blame-Destiny-Soorina-Desai/dp/9384226815/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418141264&sr=8-1&keywords=blame+it+on+destiny
Any other links:www.soorina.com
Read, enjoy, then read again!
Blame It On Destiny-Reviews.
A tale well told- Nanda Rane
An amazing, craftily woven story- Anjali Bose
Interesting and true to life- Lopa Desai
Superb book! Enjoyed every bit of it- Vijaya Noorani
An engrossing read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it-Anuradha Mehta
What an ingenious idea for a novel…a series of short stories that, in some way, link the main characters to each other. Clearly, Soorina is a very talented writer- Nancy O. Johanson. Freelance Copy Editor.
Soorina has the one-in-a-thousand skill to write good fiction.-Sarah Cypher. Editor.
A real page turner. Bejamin Creppin.
A book that delves deep into human psyche. Sharman Divatia.
Blame It on Destiny is simply brilliant. It has a very interesting storyline, is extremely well thought out and well written, and provides for a great read. Surojit Mohan Gupta. Editor, Leadstart Publications.
enjoy, then read again if you’ve not paid attention … 21 December 2014
This witty, engaging novel is full of tricks and comic turns. It seems to be light and chatty yet it leads you through the heartfelt concerns of a stratum of Mumbai society. It seems to be simply written; it is in fact a maze in which you might even meet someone you recognise coming the other way. Read, enjoy, then read again if you’ve not paid attention to the signs on every corner you took! Review by Anne Millen.
Great book! Page turner. 28 December 2014
Blame it on Destiny is clearly one of the best books I have read in a long time. The author manages to bring the reader deep into the world of each of the five characters as if they were the only main characters in the book. Yet, she seamlessly weaves a connection between them all. It’s amazing to see it all come together in the end. Pankaj Rajadhyaksha.
Blame It On Destiny
February 4, 2015
To be very honest, I was so busy with a lot of things back then that I kept delaying reading it. However, thanks to the enticing excerpts, I finally started reading it on my flight back to
India in December and I can only say that not reading it would have meant missing out on one of the best Indian books of recent times.
The book revolves around the lives of few people, who to begin with, have absolutely no connection with each other. It is only with the course of time that all of them unknowingly cause drastic changes in the lives of one another. The author narrates the story in a very intricately woven pattern that keeps you glued till the very last and surprises time and again as the story unfolds and the maze is untangled. The in-depth characterisation of all the different people is so strong that you are bound to remember somebody you have known or atleast met sometime in your life. It is witty, interesting and relatable.
This book is as real as it can get and if you are someone from Mumbai or ever lived there, then do not miss reading this for it will feel just like home. Also, the saying, ‘Do not judge the book by its cover’, fits well in this case.
WORDynamics Editor’s Picks
November 09th 2014
Blame it on Destiny
By: Soorina Desai Publisher:
Frog Books Pages: 445; Price: Rs 295
Blame it on Destiny is an intricately woven web of human actions that determine one’s future rather than easily blame it on destiny. She narrates the story through five characters: Sharmila, Leela, Nandita, Shahan and Madhu. The writer shares the experiences of each character portrayed in different situations and telling their experiences in the novel. Blame it on Destiny is the story of a disturbed counsellor who is caught up in a violent love triangle, a sculptress looking for an invisible God, a medium for spirits who wants to be loved, a real estate dealer who strives to be a good son and a writer penning an interesting plot are the five strangers in the novel who never come face to face. But they influence one another’s lives in a manner which alerts their circumstances. The writer finds herself being questioned about the unpredictability of life. It compels her to explore the possibility of a human link between life and events that shape it.