Sunday, 9 September 2018

Groomnapped - Book Review

Sundari Venkatraman is a prolific writer and a constant source of inspiration. I have always loved her writing.

Groomnapped has all the essential Sundari Venkatraman elements. The words flow freely and there is not even a dull moment in the book. Her fans will definitely enjoy the throbbing romance between Ameya and Surekha. As a romantic writer she may not disappoint with Groomnapped. But when it comes to the issue of grooms being kidnapped in Bihar, I felt she has totally belittled the issue. At least she should have titled the book something else. Groomnapped builds a certain set of expectations with regard to the theme of the book, which unfortunately are left unfulfilled. When women are to be respected, men deserve some respect too. I didn’t like the way the author made fun of Mishra’s looks. His character flaws are revealed only at a later stage.
Yet, if you are a Sundari Venkatraman fan, you will enjoy the book.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

A Girl A Stolen Camera and a Borrowed Bike - Book Review

A Girl A Stolen Camera and a Borrowed Bike The Tale of a Journey, is a title that is both odd and intriguing. However I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by reading this debut work of Nikhil Singh Shaurya. Though he calls it a novel, it is not a novel, not even a novella. It is a slim book which at the most can be called novelette.

But the author presents a nice and entertaining story. He creates multiple characters with back stories at ease. The story takes you on a nice journey of the Himalayan mountains. It has an element of surprise too. The language is lucid and except for one place there are no typographical errors. Quite a feat for a first timer.

At the same time it doesn’t mean that the book is flawless. The author utterly falls flat while getting in to the skin of a woman’s psyche in the first half. The heroine a medical student comes across as a woman who wants to lose her virginity on a Goan holiday to any Tom, Dick and Harry. This is hard to digest, particularly when she has been seeing a senior for some time. The author ought to have researched more to write in the tone of the girl.

Yet I am impressed. I liked the book. It is a breezy, quick read. No harm in laying your hands on this book. You will enjoy it despite all its flaws.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Krishna Rajya - Book Review

We all know that Lord Krishna has been an astute politician and a seasoned statesman. But this role of his has never been appreciated and fully explored. Prafull Goradia and Jaganniwas Iyer have filled this void through their book – Krishna Rajya.

We all have heard of Ram Rajya, the state of utopia. But Krishna Rajya? How could there be any Krishna Rajya when Krishna was not even a king. According the authors very little political science has been distilled from India’s long and abundant history. Is Arthshastra the only ancient text which speaks about economy and political science. Absolutely no. The author duo has taken great pains to present a concept like Krishna Rajya which is daringly novel. It is neither preachy, nor eulogy. It is contemporary and modern thesis on political science visa-vis the ancient Indian culture. According to the authors Mahabharata is a historical document. The places mentioned therein are verified. It diligently records all the major events in Krishna’s life. Even the earliest scriptures like Shatapatha Brahmana, Chanayoga upanishad, Aitreya Aryanaka and the Nirukta mention Krishna.

The most interesting aspect of the book is that it is a comparative study. So alongside Krishna we have chapters on Plato, Otto van Bismarck, Abraham Lincoln and Saradar Vallabhai Patel. Thanks to the book. It liberates Krishna from the mythological rasleelas and makes him stand along the tall order of political thinkers. Krishna Rajya is a great contribution to the writings on political science across the world and should not be missed.

Friday, 22 June 2018

A Cage of Desires - Book Review

Shuchi Singh Kalra’s A Cage of Desires is an offspring of Shashi Deshpande’s marriage to Mills & Boons. Renu is a housewife trapped in a loveless marriage. One day a young dashing tenant enters her house and her life is turned upside down. She finds all the love that was missing from her life standing at the threshold of her gate. Will she step out and embrace it? To know answers to these questions you will have to read Shuchi Singh Kalra’s A Cage of Desires.

The book underlines that women, like men, are sexual beings too. They too have desires of their own. At the same time it shows the perils of seeking sex outside the marriage. The characters are real, laced with a tinge of fantasy which all us crave for. The last quarter of the book is full of twists and turns. They are entertaining for sure. But they rob the story from the realistic plane in which the other part is set. The author succeeds in riveting the readers to their seats. The book contains some beautiful lines. I reproduce them.

That’s the thing about truth – it doesn’t flinch, it doesn’t falter, it sears and burns. And the truth singed her heart, scarring it in places she never even realized existed.

Truth and lies are like oil and water. You can shake them up all you want, but they will never mix.

There’s a kind of love that makes you go down on one knee, and there’s the kind that brings you down on both. You don’t need the latter, because no matter what you do, you cannot make anyone love you back.

I may push you off the cliff but I’ll still break your fall because I may have the strength but I do not have the heart to destroy you.

While Mills & Boons heroines are spineless bimbettes, Renu is a brave woman, but not a super-heroine. She is some one like all of us, with her own positives and weaknesses. What I didn’t like about the book is too much of sex scenes. Yet I enjoyed A Cage of Desires. Shuchi you have earned an admirer.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Trust Me Not - Book Review

Trust Me Not by Ankita Verma Datta is the story of Reeva Rai. Reeva is the rising star in the corporate industry. She has a boy friend who is the most eligible bachelor in the country. But then she is faced with a dilemma. Beneath the corporate belly lies tale of exploitation. Governments are managed, poor are uprooted and rendered homeless. Will Reeva survive this cut throat industry? To know this you will have to read Trust Me Not by Ankita Verma Dutta.

The problem with Trust Me Not is that its cover and blurb promise it to be a thriller, but the first half of the book reads like a mills & boons novel. The language is good and error free. The novel shines in the second half, but fails miserably to hook the reader in the first, the way any good thriller should. If you don’t Trust Me Not, enter at your own risk.

Monday, 21 May 2018

A Selfie a day keeps forgetfulness away

The slanting morning rays were entering in the drawing room through the eastern facing window. It was a Monday and I was in a rush to get ready. That was when Niva, my daughter crawled up to my feet. She held to my calves. She wanted me to pick her up. A smile opened on my face and I lifted my darling daughter. She caressed my face with her hand. Her touch was so soft, so true, devoid of any selfish motives. I was thoroughly drenched in the love which she showered on me. Unconsciously my eyes fell on the wrist watch. It was quarter past eight. I had to go to office. I tried to persuade the apple of my eye. 'Father has to go the office. He will return in the evening with toys, fruits and lot of goodies for his babies.' I told her. She jerked her head and disapproved the idea of her father putting her down. The moment I lifted her by her shoulders, she began to cry and she was back to her joyful self when her head rested against my chest and her bum comfortably ensconced on my elbow. 'You wont allow your father to go to office, will you?' I asked her. 'No.' She said. That was the first time she had used the word no. I was elated but torn between the desire to enjoy some more company of cynosure of my eyes and the possible repercussions of my reaching office late.

'Okay shall we take a selfie?' I asked her.
'Safee, safee.' She babbled.
I took out the phone and took our selfie. She was too happy to see her in the photograph. I put her down with my mobile phone in her hands. She sat there with the mobile phone in her hand, admiring her round face like a moon.

This picture remains special. Whenever Niva sees it, she comes running to me and hugs me tightly. Clinging to my legs she says Baba and I pick her up and hold her tightly to my chest. Wriggling and loosening my grip she says 'Safee. Safee.' I try to capture this moment in my heart, for these moments of innocence will not last permanent. Today I am her world, but tomorrow she will go out to create her own world. Though she will love me, the time we will spend together will shrink. Over a period of time I may even forget her babbles and little moments of joy which we shared. Her first smile, her first baby step and so many other first things. But thanks to selfies, now I have repository of memories, which I will dig out when I grow old and have nothing else to do and when Niva is busy finding her own little sky, carving an identity of her own.

The debate whether we should allow our children to use mobile phone is endless. When we were children it was about television, now it is about mobile phones. But the fact remains that you cannot keep children away from mobile phones. They can be informative too. Everything in moderation is ok. 

Moreover no one can deny that taking pictures is fun. Now the Mobiistar phone’s front, dual Selfie camera that captures a 120° wide-angle shot. This Selfie experience is going to surely change the way we perceive selfies. Now we can have multiple people and locations in a single frame. Every one gets his/her own space and yet we are together. 120 degree shot is for sure no less than 180 degrees and will cover huge expanse of area, be it foliage of trees or an intricately carved temple, nothing can be missed from the frame, including your good self of course. So what are you waiting for? Grab your Mobiistar phone now.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

To Hell and Back - Book Review

Anurag Anand's To Hell and Back comes with a tag-line Not all Tragedies are Orchestrated by Fate. The book opens with Namrata and Akash taking the road. A white SUV blocks their road. Its occupants kill Akash, leaving Namrata untouched. Akash was a cofounder of a start up and his death caused by a road rage makes newspaper headlines. Was it really a tragedy or something sinister. After all not all tragedies are orchestrated by fate.

Anurag crafts two women characters whose lives are poles apart. Namrata is a young, independent woman who can even walk out of a marriage when she finds it is not working. Renu on the other hand is a demure housewife living in a village with outdated code of conduct for women. Girl child needless to say is unwelcome there. Yet she tries to catch the scratches of happiness that come her way. Describing her thought process the author says, 'But then each moment of victory deserved to be savoured, untouched by the fears and uncertainties of tomorrow, and this Renu had learnt to do very well.'

Describing the unhappy marital status of Namrata, the author says 'It is relationships are like rubber bands. Each time they are stretched beyond their acceptable boundaries, the boundaries redefine themselves to accommodate the breach. And just like a rubber band doesn't need much to be stretched to lengths it has previously withstood, the degree of incivility a relationship can take is also defined by what it has been through previously. Once you disrespect your partner in a particular way, the next time you will probably end up doing the same, in a greater magnitude, and possibly on a much feebler pretext, once you begin flinging cuss words at each other, the abusing becomes a veritable constituent of your relationship. Until the relationship, just like the rubber band, can bear no more and snaps.' What an astute observation of marital relationships.

And then their lives intersect for the good. The story takes a very different turn from here. Though the author has woven believable characters, I felt that Namrata overcame the agony of gang rape too soon. Also Akash's past deserved a little more mention. Yet To Hell and Back is lucid and holds promise for sure. Do read this book.