28 June, 2017

Breathing two worlds by Ruchira Khanna - [Book Review]

About the Book:

Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for
further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a 'somebody'
from a 'nobody' she blends with the Americans via the accent and their
mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend,
Adan Somoza.

When illness hits home, Neena rushes to
meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and
friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she
has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a
balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed
mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life
after the loss?

Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an
ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to
form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?

Breathing Two Worlds ventures into
cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and


Book Trailer: 

My Review:

Breathing two worlds is the story of headstrong, ambitious and Independent woman Neena, who is confused between the Indian and the American cultures as she grows up in India with different values and studies and works in the US following an independent life adapting to that culture. Neena chooses Adan as her life partner and starts a live-in relationship against her culture. Though it is easy for her to impress Adan's parents, she couldn't reveal her love to her parents until her Father's death and she is worried about the differences between the values and ethnicity of two worlds (India and US).

She gets more clarity on the purpose of her life when she works as a volunteer in a hospital and helps a veteran Mr.Khan to reunite with his daughter who is separated by the cultural clash.

The book talks about many people who live/ grow up/ study/ work in another state, adapting to another culture and still struggling to retain their home country's cultures and values. Though the subject of the book is great, I felt, it is stretched a lot. I liked only the last 1/4th portion of the book. The writing style is very casual and it is a light read. I felt like there is something missing in the book because of which I couldn't understand the feelings of Neena better. The characterization of Adan is impressive and that of his sister Chamorro is lovely. 

A few lines from the book that talks about the two worlds:

“In States, I don’t even know my neighbor while I am expected to share a
cup of sugar with my near-by resident in India. People don’t have the time to judge
in the US, but it’s totally the opposite in the country of my birth. As an individual, we
can’t express our emotions as wholeheartedly in India since people are concerned of
the wagging tongues. We have to have a decent job, a respectable title, and a
generous amount of ‘latest’ materialistic collection for a ‘status’ in the society. While
I have observed that my colleagues are at liberty to live their life. They can do
whatever they want, be whatsoever in their life, party like an animal as if there is no
tomorrow. Unfortunately, that was not the case for me. I was monitored like a hawk

Culture and ethics bind us as a family, and since America is a
region of immigrants there is a tendency to get lost in its’ diversity making the
upbringing of the child very confusing.

My Rating: 3/5

Ps: I have received this book from the author in exchange for a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

the Author:
Ruchira Khanna, a biochemist turned
writer, left her homeland of India to study in America, where she obtained her
Master’s degree in Biochemistry from SJSU and a degree in Technical Writing
from UC Berkeley.

After finishing her studies, Ruchira
worked as a biochemist at a Silicon Valley startup for five years. After the
birth of her son, Ruchira took a job as a technical writer, so that she could
work from home. Soon, she began doing freelance writing work as well.

Her love of writing grew and she started
working on her own books. After four years of freelancing, Ruchira published
her first book, a fiction novel for adults called Choices.

Then came the children’s book The
Adventures of Alex and Angelo: The Mystery of the Missing Iguana. She got a
thumb’s up review from Kirkus Reviews.

In January 2016, she has published her
second fictional novel Voyagers into the Unknown. It talks about the quest for
happiness as the heavy hearted tourists travel miles from different parts of
the world to Raj Touristry in Agra, India. Return to their respective home with
a healed heart. This book talks about their journey!

In Breathing Two Worlds, Ruchira talks
about ethnicity and cultures, and helps to strike a balance via a fiction-drama
novel as her characters breathe two worlds.

In addition to writing books, she is a
holistic healer associated with Stanford Healing Partners and also maintains a
blog of daily mantras on Blogspot, called Abracabadra. Ruchira currently
resides in California with her family.

her on:
Website Blog

Until next time,


  1. This seems to be the story of every Indian living abroad. It is really sad how we suspend ourselves in two cultures and always pine for one or the other.....Hard choice to make really.

  2. Thanks Ramya for your time to read/ review

    Appreciate your time.


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