Bookish Witch

The Red Diary by Neelam Saxena Chandra

Book blurb:

“The Red Diary” is the story of a young lad Rihaan, who stays in an orphanage Ashiyana, desperately longing to find his parents, who, he is sure, exist in some part of the world. His best friend, Ina, is adopted by a family, and she leaves Ashiyana despite her wishes, since Rihaan expects her to. Later, Rihaan, does find his blood-relatives, but not his parents. His mausi, Arpita adopts him and he shifts to her place. He tries to find out more about his parents, but Arpita tells him that she will be telling him about them only after he is twenty-one. What’s the mystery behind his missing parents which Arpita has kept secretly hidden in “The Red Diary”? Also, will his quest to find the ever-illusive Ina end? What will happen to Shivi, who gives him company after Ina leaves Ashiyana? What will happen to the personal life of Arpita amidst these harsh realities of life? Read on, to fine more.

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

Pages: 108

Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback


  • Kindle eBook: 49 INR/$2.99
  • Paperback (available only in India): 199 INR

My Ratings: 3.5/5

Rihaan spends his childhood in an orphanage named Ashiyana. After losing all hope in life, things seem better when his long lost aunt, Arpita, comes to take him away. Though Rihaan considers himself fortunate to finally have a relation, he still yearns to know about his parents. His life is going much better than his days in the orphanage but all he craves is to know the truth about his parentage. What is the mystery behind it and why doesn’t Arpita, want to tell Rihaan the truth till he turns 21? Read the book to find out.

An emotional and beautiful read about finding one’s identity. This book is a tragic yet positive tale of family and friendship.

What I liked about the book:
–>A simple yet heart touching story.
–> We immediately feel empathy towards all kids who do not have parents/family and have to face many difficulties in life, all alone.
–> It sends out an important message that under the right kind of leadership and administration, an orphanage and its kids can also thrive and rise to the top.
–> The characters of Arpita and Shivi, who are shown to be intelligent, strong-minded, and kind, which is inspiring to read.
–> The bond between Ketan (Arpita’s love interest) and Rihaan. It feels good to see Rihaan finding an elder brother cum fatherly figure via him.
–> The bond between Arpita and Shivi. It feels good to see that Shivi has someone who understands and supports her.
–> The character of Mrs. Sabharwal, which throws light on many aspects of our hypocritical society.

What I did not like about the book:
–>The time-lapse was a little mixed up (Arpita was 26 when she adopted Rihaan at 12 years. But she is told to be 32 when Rihaan is 19 after a passage of 5 years)
–>The way Rihaan takes Shivi (his friend from the orphanage) for granted and behaves in a very offhanded and rude manner with her.
–> Rihaan chasing behind Ina (his love interest) through various cities seems a little absurd and unbelievable.
–> After the time-lapse Rihaan is shown to be between the ages of 19-21 but there is no mention of his college or what he is doing after completing his school education.

Quotable quotes :
—> Struggle is a part and parcel of life – some people have to exhibit more courage than others for their survival.
—> What is gone is what God wished and what we have is our destiny. We should make the best of what is available to us.
—> A family means, they will take care of you fully. And you will also be showered with affection and be blessed with the exclusive love of someone.
—> You and I – we both love Ina and have done our best. But there is something called destiny which is above all our desires. Only time can tell if the decision was indeed good for her.
—> Having a relation was better than not having anyone.
—> Even the world seemed to look so different from the car! The trees seemed to have suddenly flowered. The colors of the blooms appeared vivacious. The sky was perfectly blue, welcoming him with open arms.
—> What was the use of a Mercedes if he didn’t have his parents? The world suddenly seemed meaningless.
—> You ask too many questions, don’t you? Of course, it is a good habit which will help in learning.
—> Rich women, especially the royal ones, don’t go to hospitals. The doctors come to their houses.
—> Certain things can’t be explained in words. It has to be experienced to comprehend it completely!
—> Old people sometimes behave peculiarly. Children and the aged behave similarly. Your nani is no different. She expects everything to be perfect – the way it should be.
—> Certain things only time can tell.
—> She wanted to weep, but tears often make one weak. Crying is often like accepting your defeat.
—> The world never moves in the direction you expect. You have often got to acknowledge the direction in which the world is moving.
—> Don’t decline something without listening.
—> Only time can provide answers to certain questions that pester us so much during our lifetime.
—> Love doesn’t happen just like that. It happens for a reason and stays for long.
—> Matters of the heart have always been like this right since historical times. They make one weak.
—> Why do you wish to plan everything in life? I’ve seen that things don’t follow the path we envisage, and it hurts. Let’s live in the present.
—> Love-making is just a small part of loving, for it is worshipping someone.
—> In matters of heart, one has to often have patience.
—> If he couldn’t love her back, he could have been a little considerate at least.
—> Matters of heart follow a different pattern altogether rather, they follow neither any pattern nor logic.
—> A girl who makes her lover forget his family can’t be good.
—> Conversations clear many a doubt.
—> People have begun to accept everything these days without a word.
—> We shouldn’t give up without trying.
—> Though everyone wished to comfort him in their own way, they knew that he could not be reassured by anything. He would find solace only after a reasonable amount of time passed by.
—> I really can’t help my fair complexion. In our country, there still is a view that associates fairness with beauty.
—> I don’t understand these man-made differences. When a child is born, they define everything for him – his religion, his caste, and his status in society. So eerie! Let him decide what religion he wishes to follow!
—> I am a big fan of Hindi songs. I spend my free time listening to them. Agreed that it is a slightly odd combo – Physics and Hindi songs, but that is how I am!
—> So what if he is from a different background? So what if he is an orphan? So what if he is poor? After all, he is a good human being, and that is the most important of all things.
—> For me, wealth is not so important. Is my mother really happy with an abundance of wealth? Are wealth and happiness really related?
—> In the long run, luxuries in life do not matter. What matters is love.

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