Book Review: Call Me Al

Bling-bling goes the phone. I open the text. It’s an unlisted number with the message: ‘I’m coming to save you from yourself.’

CALL ME AL - Bookcover

And this is what Altamaash’s mass, i.e. his mind is made of. A savior, a messiah, a leader for the world, a God beneath the God! And this what he claims, the forgotten & exiled politician of Pakistan. The Leader for the immigrants. An entertainer who misstepped on to history’s stage to become a politician and to create a lifetime’s worth of chaos and destruction in Pakistan.

GGGJ – George Gary Gregory Jaffar is a young reporter with Guardian who is Half White and Half Pakistani with his strong views and a determined motive against Altamaash.

Edwin Ned Steinberg – A middle class man who is a bouncer by his will ready to take bullets for the people he works for, aspires to get hired by Altamaash without knowing what future has in store for him.

Phil – The bouncer, the safety jacket, the media network for Altamaash serving him since 20 years and for the future too.


The story begins in London, where GGGJ meets Altamaash at a pub to write about his story. What follows next, is all planned by Altamaash or the God himself. ‘Altamaash Bhai’ as he is called by his party members is once again on a journey to reclaim his throne and what he believes to be a fair governance. A perfect double murder with a single bullet takes the elites in Pakistan by surprise and the journey of fear and chaos begins. Pakistan witnesses the largest seen countrywide riot against it leaders all orchestrated by Altamaash from London. Will Altamaash Bhai adorn the blood-stained crown of Pakistan? Will Altamaash’s leadership pave way for peaceful and equal Pakistan? Is Altamaash ready enough to pay a personal price to claim this blood-shed kingdom?

The narration of the story is in 3 timelines all running in parallel. On the way to Heaven, our first victim from the double murder is able to glance through the PAST complex situations in Altamaash’s life. The days from his childhood, his youth and his entry into the Pakistani Politics is described to us. Altamaash’s past choices, his beliefs and his decisions are all established with various perspectives. His only inspirations in life are his Late Granpda Pir & his Ammi.

The second timeline is from Altamaash himself. Now exiled to a London mansion, abandoned even by sycophants, he yearns to relive the glory days of his rise to power. He lives his life kingsize with his Ammi, wife and his daughter – Fatima(Pinky), surrounded by his bodyguards and running a political party in Pakistan. The PRESENT, which comprises of his thoughts & actions are depicted in such a way that despite Altamaash being a villian, we the readers want him to triumph. And now, he likes to call himself AL.

The third timeline is from our 2nd victim from the double murder who never had any aspirations except to be a bodyguard/bouncer, now for Al. His desires to get himself hired by Al, irrespective of knowing about the heinous crimes of Al paves his way to hell. Here we have various instances from Al’s future life. We get a glimpse of how is future might emerge for all. His health, his powers and his will to live all are glanced upon. As the 2nd victim disintegrates, he is granted a wish. What will he wish for and will it alter Al’s future is all for the readers to read and enjoy!

My Verdict:

This book CALL ME AL has been my first Pakistani Fiction read. The author Sheheryar B Sheikh has a very strong writing and the political satire has been penned down really very well. Initially, the book has a slow start with some tough vocabularies to set up the facade of the book. But as you read on, the pace is up and the plot is intriguing, entertaining and makes you smile at certain instances. The book is enriched with dark humor depicting the political satire in Pakistan. The narration and the writing style is impeccable and keeps the readers hooked. The characters are well portrayed, each having their strong beliefs and repercussions. This one of the best books I have read where an After-Life angle is blended-in perfectly, making the story undauntedly the best. The author brings his characters alive by making his readers sympathize, love, hate, pity and rejoice his characters.

A word of advice for the beginners would be to have a dictionary by side and continue to read till the second section, because once you start with the 2nd Section, it is impossible to put the book down.

Overall, this book has been a thrilling experience and shows us the political scenarios in Pakistan.

Rating: 4.7/5

Pages: 292

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers India

I would like to thank Harper Collins Publishers India and The Readers Tribe for sending me this wonderful book.

#callmeal #sheheryarbsheikh #harpercollins #harpercollinsindia #themummastartupblogs #themummastartupreads #momwhoreads

Book Review: Shrilok Homeless The Ultimate Adventures Volume 2

What happens when India’s favorite teen detective is back?

You pick him(the book), get a cup of hot coffee, take the coziest seat and ride with him in his journey!

And that is what I exactly did when I laid my hands on the book: Shrilok Homeless The Ultimate Adventures Volume 2!


Shrilok Homeless is a book authored by Pika Nani(Deepika Murthy). Her previous books were well acclaimed and this one is too an enjoyable read.

The chaiwala-turned-detective, our protagonist Shrilok along with his trustworthy friend and sidekick Rohan Doctor (not literally a doctor, just a surname!) travel through the busy streets of Mumbai, Delhi and London. The forests of Bandipur National Park also await Shrilok to come and solve the mystery death of a forest officer.

The book has various adventures of Shrilok using his detective and people skills with the super-power of his Chai all along his journey. The case of ‘The String of Emojis’, ‘The Dancing Girl’, ‘The Sights of Four’ are all very interesting and intriguing. These cases pique the curious minds of the readers. Shrilok’s approach to the cases are very unique and the lucid language of the author makes it understandable to the young readers as well. ‘The Wedding Rituals’ gets us a glimpse of Shrilok’s first case and how it shaped him into being a detective.

Charles Agastya Magarson, The Silver Talisman and The Three Players are yet another interesting cases solved by Shrilok.

‘The Vow’ disheartens the readers when Shrilok turns against his bestie Rohan and shoots him with a pistol. What follows is a turn of events followed into next chapter The Final Showdown, where we can feel the endurance of a quality friendship.

The book is good for young readers to explore the detective genre. The Indian take of Sherlock Holmes is enriching with good geographical locations, both domestic and international. The detailing of certain areas are exceptionally good.

Overall, Shrilok Homeless is a book made for young minds which I am sure, they will find extremely interesting.

I would like to thank @penguinindia, @puffinbooks and @reader_viddh for sending me the copy of this book.

Book Name: Shrilok Homeless: The Ultimate Adventures Volume 2

Author: Pika Nani (Deepika Murthy)

Pages: 141

Rating: 4/5

Other Books by author: The Adventures of Shrilok Homeless(2017), Little Indians: Stories from across the Country(2013)



Smitten by a Kitchen!

That’s right! You read it right! I am smitten by a Kitchen! A range of built-in modular kitchen and the elegance of the kitchen appliances.

It is always said that the way to man’s heart is through his stomach! Agreed! But for a woman to cook, to excel in the culinary skills she would require few things:
*Good quality ingredients + great recipe
*The required vessels and appliances
& the most important thing is
*Clutter-free, spacious, elegant looking kitchen!

And guess where I found the bottom 2 criterias?
Only at the #kitchenstudioz by @vijaysalesofficial, Prabhadevi store!

Brand Hafele Built-In Kitchen

The moment I entered the store, it was magical. It was love at first sight, but with the varied range of products before me. I was enchanted by the look, feel and elegance of the studio. Every appliance made it is presence and spoke for its features and quality, and it was all that made the kitchen complete. The look was simple yet brilliant and right from the coffeemaker to the food processor, from the tandoori stove to the all-in-one microwave oven, from the cook tops to the chimneys, every item was unique and classy.

The studio encompassed of various brands like @hafele_india @faber_appliances @whirlpool_india and Elica which showcased their built in modular kitchen samples. The kitchen structures were brilliant as most of them were modular structures or island kitchen structure and few of them looking very pretty despite being a movable structure. Each designs were unique, each color was different. Right from the complete white kitchen to the copper chimneys, everything looked so perfect. There were so many types of cook tops, hob tops, chimneys, dishwashers, ovens, and refrigerators that looked so beautiful and rich. The white built-in refrigerator by #hafeleindia looked more like a royal cupboard from the outside and hardly took any space in the kitchen. But when we opened the fridge, it was just magnificent!

Hafele Modular Kitchen
Hafele Modular Kitchen

We also had a little commercial shoot with the gorgeous and humble @kishwersmerchantt, who welcomed us, THE MOM BLOGGERS COMMUNITY and awed us with her presence and a warm welcome.

Chef Hasnein from @hafele_india gave us an amazing tour of the entire #kitchenstudioz! It was an enriching experience for all of us where we learnt so much about how to choose / design our kitchen, how to choose the right appliances for our kitchen and of course, the products are available at a discounted price in Vijay Sales Store.

After the showcase of the 3rd floor of this magnificent Vijay Sales Building, we were asked our thoughts on the dream kitchen. And the magical aura of Kitchenstudioz made me imagine my dream kitchen too!

How relaxing it would be when my chopping work is done by a chopper/food processor, all my cooking gets done in a jiffy in my all-in-one oven by hafele or the all-in-one steam oven by Whirlpool India, while I have a look around my son through my island kitchen. As the dinner gets ready, hubby darling enters and we eat our food together. Afterall, a happy family is the one that eats the meal together. And as we finish our dinner, I put all the vessels into the beautiful dishwasher and set it on! One hour of family time, we play carrom or ludo or maybe a series in Netflix or a quick refreshing night walk. As we return, we have our chilled juice from the white built-in Hafele refrigerator and retire to our beds. The day starts and so does my household chores, but the only difference being, my kitchen time has reduced drastically and Me-time has been a new entrant. It just feels WOW when I imagine this, however I realise that I should have got my hubby along with me to make my dream come true. So I mentally make note of the dream kitchen and head to the courteous and polite staff for taking a note of the prices of my products.

Faber Kitchen Range

Check my IGTV VIDEO only at https://www.instagram.com/themummastartup to know more about one of the brands in Vijay Sales.

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So, ladies and gentlemen, now you know the place, so hurry up, swipe the card and make the dream kitchen a reality in your life!