Looking for Love?

April 29, 2012

Book Review - 79 : In the name of Luuuv

Author: Chandra Mehendrou
Publisher: Tinkan Publication

In the name of Luuuv is a terrible, cliche title for a book that is actually not so bad. A collection of 5 short stories set over various age groups and diverse time periods is a sincere attempt to find THAT elusive true love. Inherently Dil-to-pagal-hain in its theme, it has flavours for all kind of questions in love but thankfully it never makes the mistake of turning into sentimental or sappy book.

The stories aren't particularly imaginative or inventive, but the book moves briskly and has a consistent tone. The book works even when the author hammers the point of today' youth being obsessed with jumping from one relationship to another, and far away from indulging in some serious emotional BS. Much of that negativity is complemented by strong central characters which have a mind of their own and even though they have seen worse of times being in relationship, they believe in themselves and follow their instincts.

Thoughts of Maya is told from the perspective of an old man and his incomplete love story. Think of Love-Aaj-Kal's Rishi Kapoor with a women by her side to pour in the details of a period romance. True Love at first Click is the longest story in the book about two people who meet through Facebook and marry, only to let the woman realize the disastrous repercussions of an hasty act. Together Forever has an inherent sincerity attached towards it which is irresistibly captivating. It brings home the point that everyone leaves eventually, be it through death or choice or distance. The sooner you accept the fact, the happier you will be in life. Tale of Love and Deceit set in a time period of raja-maharaja shows how emotions of love remain the same, though the parameters around it changes with time and become more complex. Till I can Create Love is a roller-coaster ride about the eccentricities of love at your work place and how complex it can make life.

The only let down is the mixture of fiction and non-fiction portions which take away a seamless feel from the narrative. However, if you are looking for a quick chi-lit break, this is a perfect set-up. Almost all the stories maintain a brisk pace and all the character recover from heartbreak and betrayal without too much of a fuss. I am going with 3/5 for Chandra Mehendrou's 'In the name of Luuv'. Like the demographic it represents and targets, the book makes for good company, and isn't meant to be analyzed too seriously. An enjoyable one-time read.

April 23, 2012

Before Sunrise, Before Sunset

[The following article first appeared in my weekly column for Scribido Magazine dated 23 April, 2012]


I kind of see this all love as this, escape for two people who don't know how to be alone. People always talk about how love is this totally unselfish, giving thing, but if you think about it, there's nothing more selfish. - Jesse, Before Sunrise

The above quote defines the brimming romance between the lead pair of Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply. Before Sunrise (1995 and its sequel, Before Sunset (2004) are the kind of love stories that just goes with the flow, unhindered, uninhibited. It also defies logic why such a film would work in the first place. Long shots taken, just two people conversing all the time, moving in narrow spaces across the city. It is nothing but surreal. But at the same time over the course of both the movies, there is an unearthed magnetism that you as an audience ultimately surrender.

Before Sunrise revolving around the theme of self-discovery through another person hits all the right notes in the right way. But that route is not easy. It questions all the romantic delusions we have been bestowed on for ages, it questions the romantic clues thrown via popular cultural media references and most importantly, it questions our existence in this fragmentary, selfish world. In a world where relationships are slowly becoming transient, filled with confusion and anticipation.. the world of Celine and Jesse provides hope and happiness of that one special person.

Before Sunset unfolds at a languid pace between the lead couple who has a decade of loneliness to share with each other. It possesses that rare, strange hybrid of incandescent emotions and real life messiness; interspersed with sublime yet grounded dialogues. It brings about a gamut of buried emotions within them - parenthood, sexually void marriage and a series of failed relationships. Every inch of them registers the weight of the moment - acute, honest and emotionally naked. Both of them wear their heart on their sleeves and an aesthetic achievement keeps the fun going. . It is engaging, yet so heartbreaking at times. It makes you root for the characters, yet you can't help seeing the irony in their words and actions. Both of them are older and (apparently) wiser and the wide disregard to the usual cliches in the screenplay makes their conversations just so damn fascinating.

It is the most unabashedly romantic slice of life one would ever see in cinema. If you feel low, if you feel high, if you feel love, if you feel romance; It is not at all a bad idea to revisit both of these movies. It just feels magical once again. All over again.

April 22, 2012

The 'Wall' Conversations...

She: I miss you.
He: Thanks, much appreciated.
She: Oh hello, i am not your client.
He: Really, i thought so.
She: How rude is that?
He: Tit for Tat
She: What did i do?
He: You did not 'like' my last status.
She: Big deal?
He: It was for you.
She: I see.
He: You better see.
She: OK, chill
He: Ya right, what difference it makes to you?
She: Oh ho, i was  just lazy.
He: Lazy enough not to 'like' my message.
She: Hmm..
He: Disgusting.
She: Why are you making such a big deal of it?
He: Am i ?
She: I did not said anything when 3 days ago you did not commented on my SM.
He: So is this some kind of revenge?
She: Noooo....
He: Then what the fuck is this?
She: I said, i was just lazy.
He: Fine.
She: What u did whole day?
He: Nothing much, n u?
She: Went for a hair cut.
He: You said you were lazy.
She: Ya, but not for a hair cut
He: Right.
She: Now don't make it an issue
He: I did not say any thing.
She: You were about to say.
He: You are assuming.
She: You are over reacting
He: You are mad
She: You are super mad.
He: I missed you.
She: Thanks, much appreciated.
He: You......
She: ....Love me.
He: No, i don't
She: You do, liar.
He: OK, if you don't realize, this wall is public.
She: So?
He: people can read our conversations.
She: Good na...
He: I don't want that.
She: Why?
He: I am not comfortable.
She: Then be uncomfortable.
He: Shut up, come on gtalk
She: I am not coming.
He: Why?
She: Mera man...
He: Your man.....that's me. Now, come online.
She: He he, ok fine coming.
He: Good.
She: First give me a kiss
He: No
She: Yes
He: Just one.
She: No, two.
He: I am not giving.
She: I am not coming.
He: Fine, :-* :-*
She: Cool.
He: Now come on Gtalk.
She: I am already there.
He: What?
She: yes, i was invisible. Just pinged you.
He: I will kill you.
She: With your anger, sure.
He: With my love.
She: Ahem ahem, Sadistic lover.
He: Let me show you some nifty moves next time.
She: *Yawn*
He: Thappad khana hain...
She: nahin, khaana khaya hain.
He: Treat this thappad as dessert.
She: I wish you offered something else.
He: You are not that lucky.
She: (smirks) Yes, i am dying to be lucky with you.
He: Whatever. let's talk on Gtalk.
She: OK
He: Remove this wall post.
She: Why? this is a proof of your sadistic nature.
He: Soon it will be a proof of a murder too, so remove.
She: Fine.
He: Good, over to Gtalk.

April 15, 2012

Rahul Dravid : The Last Genteman Indian Cricketer

[Really late, but the post somehow remained in the drafts after being written and i forgot to click 'publish']

Dasvidaniya Dravid.

There will be no Rahul Dravid again. There just can't be. Never. Period. 

Kolkata. Adelaide. Rawalpindi. Jamaica. Oval. Durban. The memories are too many and words too less to describe what you have done for Indian cricket. I guess the real worth of you will be realised once India goes overseas (which is scheduled almost 20 months away, the tour to South Africa in Dec 2013). Imagine on a green pitch, Indian 10-1 and there is no Dravid to counter the seam, the bounce and the swing. It is an incredibly discomforting to even imagine that.

You took over the wicketkeeping gloves which make you look awkward on the field, but made the Indian team look so good. You will be remembered as probably the last classic batsmen and the gentleman, unlike most Indians, unlike most sportsmen. There is only one word which personifies you - RESPECT.

April 9, 2012

Book Review - 78 : The Ordeal

Author: Mangesh Jadhav
Publisher: Frog Books

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had jointly developed a satellite based technology that had military used. The Russians found out about it and tried to steal the technology through a source in the NOAA. The source travelled to France to deliver the 'package'. But CIA agent Michael Jones was close behind, intending to stop the sale. Did he succeed? What is the end result?

The author picks up an interesting scientific-led premise of this thriller which works just fine as a concept but forgets the most important thing in such a book - it should thrill you to bits; it should make you forget everything around you while being deeply immersed in finishing the book. Even though the narrative is kept at a tight leash with more focus on reaction of twists and turns than the twists and turns themselves, it is kind of a book which will leave you underwhelmed in the end.

The author takes you bang into the center of action by starting briskly with US and Russian counterparts worrying about the tsunami and its indifferent constantly changing nature. There are dozen of characters thrown in, most of them interesting though plagued by ridiculous dialogues and ludicrous situations. So the agent sourced to France has all the time in the world to seduce men, have elaborate meals and dress ravishingly at each of the occasions. Such kind of non-urgency plague the narrative deeply. Pacing is not a problem in this book but because the situations are repetitive, lines are said by elaborate explanations almost underlining each of them; it makes the book a task to finish.

One of the most infuriating aspects of this thriller is the loose editing. My favourite one is how the author constantly describes the setting of a room or a place - giving detailed half-page descriptions EVERY single time. It breaks the reading speed, it takes away the focus from the main narrative and just does not allow you to emotionally invest in the characters. Probably the editor working on the book fall asleep while going through the narrative. Well, my guess is as good as yours.

Priced at a steep INR 445 and too long at over 400 pages, the book does not work as a whole, though keeps you moving through the narrative because of its interesting premise. I am going with generous (2+0.5=) 2.5/5 for Mangesh Jadhav's 'The Ordeal'. Read it if you can somehow get past that loose editing.

April 8, 2012

Book Review - 77 : You Can Sell

Author: Shiv Khera
Publisher: Westland  

Who is not selling? A candidate at a job interview, apolitician making speeches to get votes, a boy and girl dating with the intention of getting married . . . all are selling themselves in some or the other way. You Can Sell challenges the age old cliché which delineates sales to be the sole domain of a sales man. 

You Can Sell addresses time-tested principles which make a successful sales professional. The word used is ‘principles’ and not ‘tactics’. Tactics are manipulative whereas principles are based on the foundation of values. Many times you hear people saying that to succeed you need to learn the ‘tricks of the trade’. Good professionals learn the trade, and that’s exactly what You Can Sell teaches.

Reading Shiv Khera' s 'You can Win' around 10 years ago in the hostel dormitory, i laughed my guts out. I thought it was a book definitely not written for the people of earth, it was so away from the reality. I remember arguing then with a fellow nerdy student how the author sees the world from a rose tainted canvas which very few can relate to and a world which only some of us can think of inhabiting. In short, even though it was a ridiculously successful book the self-help book never worked for me. Now, years later after reading his latest venture, i can't help laughing again. This time, out of sheer boredom.

Published first in 2010 by Rupa Publications and short-listed for Vodaphone Crossword Non-fiction Award 2010, the book has been repackaged and released again by Westland. The book has more of exercises and tests after each chapter that the previous version, which i conveniently skipped. They add to the length of the book and quite unoriginal to put it politely.

The best bits of the book are the one where the author decides to put real-time examples of selling from his own life. They are not only interesting to glance through, but also effectively communicates the points of selling across the spectrum of business verticals. These are the portions which people in Sales, Marketing or Business Development will find most useful applying in a professional set-up. There are few good pointers to those people too who are starting up their career and can have a deeper look into their positives and negatives.

The most sore point is that it does not tell anything new on personality building and selling skills which you have not heard before - Same cliches about dressing well, listening to customers, understanding the situation, being patient, following up with them and many more. It is the same jazz you have read so many times and it sounds just so damn familiar.

I am going with 2/5 for Shiv Khera's 'You can Sell'. I believe it is going to sell many more copies and earn lot of money for publisher/author. I just wish it was a much better book than any other self help bible you come across on a bookstore shelf. In its current form, it is just a one time read which you may like to pick up if you hadn't read a self-help book in a long time.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

April 1, 2012

'Chicken Soup for the Indian Couple's Soul' in Bookstores!

Chicken Soup of the Indian Couple's Soul is now available in bookstores. I have got a short story tucked in there (Section 1 - Made in Heaven, Page 37).

You can also use the following websites to buy the book online:







[The final price may change depending on the discount offered by a particular merchant - if you want to do a quick comparison, use India Book store to check out prices at any point of time before buying]

If you want a *free copy* and you are a member of Blogadda, you may apply for review of the book here.

If you do get a chance to read it, pour your love and hate mails to Cheers!