The Secret Window to Life : A Year of Wednesdays by Sonia Bahl

Copyright (C) Privy Trifles

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”― Oscar Wilde

In life, we have a lot of in-betweens. Times when you want to say, but are scared to say and still want to be understood. Where you want to belong but want to be free too and can't define this exact complex feeling. This book is that 'in-between' for me. I simply cannot put in words my exact emotions after having read it. It talks about the intricacies of life, dreams, desires, relationships and a lot of other things so beautifully that you want to hug the book just to feel the warmth it manages to emote through its words.

About the Book

A flight from New Delhi to new York. Two strangers, seat 7A and seat 7B, who have nothing in common. Absolutely nothing. Except they are both hoping the seat next to theirs remains empty. It doesn't. Mid-flight turbulence and infant incontinence forces them to interact—the cool wall Street guy and the mom-with-the-drool-stained-sweater-and-ordinary-aspirations. Blistering wit, opposing views, and some unexpectedly poignant admissions keep them addictive engaged and hopelessly sleep deprived through the fifteen-hour journey. 

Touch down... And they leave the cabin without a backward Glance, jumping right back into their dramatically different lives. Never to meet again. But somehow they continue to travel together—interlocked forever through an inexplicable connected-ness. Can one meeting change everything forever? The Japanese have a term for it: ichi-go ichi-e. One time, one encounter, lasts a lifetime.

Grab your copy 

Author Sonia Bahl for me has been someone whose books I can blindly buy and recommend to anyone. Her writing has soul in it, which reflects in the stories she tells. There is an instant connect with the reader for its simplicity and sheer honesty that radiates from her stories. She comes across as someone who is a keen observer of life and manages to capture it beautifully in her writings. So there is no surprise when I say I loved this book to bits because this story just like the previous one celebrates imperfection, a theme I relate to very closely.

I love how her writings revolve around various themes of alienation, loneliness, imperfection interwoven with tons of positivism, hope and magic. Her work celebrates the quirkiness of an individual, the misfits, the dreamers, the artists, the free souls who live life to the fullest in every breath they take and make memories on the go. For me, she as an author tops my go-to list of books, movies and music I reach out for when the world around gets too chaotic.

With a stunning cover and an enticing blurb, this book teases the reader's imagination from the word go.The story begins with two strangers who meet on a flight and happen to share more than the fifteen hours they spend together during the flight. Like it is said, you meet someone for a reason though it might take you a lifetime to understand that reason. These two lost souls have met for a reason and it takes them a while to understand it. The beauty of the book lies in those simple yet relatable characters who are straight out of real life. They are confused, lost and vulnerable like most of us and it is this that somewhere makes them endearing. For they are not perfect, they are flawed and their flaws make them real, like you and me. And it is difficult to pick one favourite for the whole lot.
About the author

Born and raised in Kolkata, Sonia has lived and worked in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Jakarta, Miami, Brussels, Johannesburg, and Singapore. With home being everywhere and nowhere, her belief in the power of the moment became a religion. An affirmation that unexpected and undeniable human connections are everything. 

Meanwhile, on the work front, she spent a huge chunk of her life, her days, and sleepless nights, in advertising—writing ads for all things from coffee and cars to condoms and candy—while dreaming of morphing 30-second commercials to full-length feature films. Not surprisingly, she threw caution, and her full-time job as creative director, to the winds and embarked on a riveting rejection-filled screenwriting journey in the US. Finally her day job entails writing movies! In a recent, delightful plot twist, her debut novel, The Spectacular Miss, was optioned by a leading Bollywood studio and she was commissioned to write the screenplay. Sonia writes and re-writes in Singapore where she lives with her menagerie: gorgeous itinerant daughter, honorary proofreader husband, and her made-for-the-movies golden retriever, Ari Gold.

She can be reached through her website:

If you have read her previous work, you would agree that author Sonia Bahl is known to create characters who are far from being perfect and still manage to connect with a reader deeply. Her stories might look ordinary at the first glance but have always been extra-ordinary. Her stories are full of hope and magic that she sprinkles liberally all over the narrative, to ensure some of it rubs onto the reader also. With this story also, she has woven magic and managed to create a feel-good read which leaves you with a contended feeling towards the end. Contentment of having read a good book, of having a glimpse into a world so beautiful, of a reminder that life is still beautiful and so are people, that miracles do happen, all you need to do is believe and stay hopeful.

The narrative is engrossing and extremely witty. Written in her inimitable style, Sonia Bahl ensures that the reader is smiling right from the beginning till the end of this tale of two co-passengers.  She lends a distinct poignancy to a seemingly ordinary story and adds her insights to make it into a soul-stirring read, one that will leave you pondering. Having met under absolutely normal circumstances, the story of these two strangers grows onto you along with their characters as the author peels layer after layer  to reveal the real meaning behind it all. Or is there no real meaning at all? Well, that is something that can only be interpreted by a reader for the book lends different meanings to different readers. And believe me, each interpretation is equally enchanting!

The book is in first person, told through the POVs of both the co-passengers and sounds so convincing that by the end of the book I felt I knew them and couldn't thank them enough for having shared their unforgettable journey with me. This is a strange story of connection which goes beyond the visible ties. It is about the invisible ties which bind us all in some form or other. The story talks about such ties managing to bind the reader to the plot. This book can easily be called Pandora's box because every chapter evokes a different feeling and adds a new meaning, one that can only be felt and not explained.

~For me, this book has been all about~

Of lazy summer afternoons.
Of memories.
Of hope.
Of dreams.
Of desires.
Of broken hearts
Of lives un-lived
Of unsaid
Of unheard
Of unseen
Of all things beautiful
And, of all things, not so beautiful. 

A book I would recommend for the unforgettable experience it brings along, not to mention the brilliant characters, crisp narrative and a hauntingly beautiful story line!


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