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July 25, 2012

Book Review - 87 : The Terrorist

Publisher: Penguin Metro Reads
Author:  Juggi Bhasin

The Terrorist by Juggi Bhasin is a fast-paced, adrenaline pumping ride which stays just a bit longer than you would have ideally liked it to be, but till it stays it is worth every word. It moves at the rate of knots, not giving you many moments to think about and finishes with a thrilling climax which is sad and destructive in equal proportions.

The Terrorist tells the tale of Suvir and Murad, both numb with the pain of having lost their loved ones, choose their different paths. Both are victims of circumstances, both numb with the pain of having lost their loved ones and choose to do things differently. While one crosses the border and becomes the most dreaded of terrorists, the other joins the Special Forces. Their face-off is a fight to death as one is out to carry out a major terrorist operation in Delhi and the other has been specially called in to foil the attack.

The research and descriptions of all the places - be it Srinagar, Dehradun or Delhi is etched out with near perfection. I particularly enjoyed the passages of the narrative taking place in Old Delhi and its various by lanes. They are done with minimum fuss and takes you right in the center of the action.

With a Ghajini style cover, the novel does not shy away in going the details of the inhuman treatment met out to the religious group or even showing the sexual exploitation of the same. No doubt it is written with an intention of turning into a Bollywood film, it is only because the settings and situations are complex and written with deft hand, the author comes out with flying colours and give us a novel worth reading.

The complete terrorist plan of having a 1993-Mumbai blast kind of scenario replicated in various parts of Delhi is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Considering how easily these terrorists fit into our society before carrying out the barbaric act even though not new, but is quite fascinating to read specially with those elaborate set-up scenes and detailing of their planning activities. 

There are few stereotypes here, for example: The conversion of a unemployed, ill-treated and sexually abused Muslim man had to become terrorist. What else, some would say. Some of the other supporting characters are not developed fully and too many instances of 'power' talk does get monotonous by the end of the novel.

But you tend to overlook these small niggles in the brisk pace of the novel. So considering it is nearly 500 pages long, you do stay in for the final act to actually see how it will all unfold. I am going with 4/5 for Juggi Bhasin's 'The Terrorist'. A first book in the trilogy, there is promise of more blood and gore, all in the best form of the word. Don't miss it!

July 11, 2012

Change of Coordinates, Delhi to Pune

Ok, i know this is around 10 days late. But yes, i have moved from Delhi to Pune. Those who know me well, you can stop rolling your eyes. Yes, indeed i have left Delhi and moved to somewhere else in India.

As expected, lot of things has happened. Here is a little gist :

Resigned from my previous job with one-day notice period. I know it sounds crazy but i think i planned and managed the work-load well. Tried completing most of the projects on hand or at least leave them in a "logical" state. Most of the people were shocked and i quite liked it.

Had couple of weeks off before i joined here in Pune. Read around 10 books. Slept like a Dog. Had a mini vacation. Caught up with old friends and regretted it immediately. Shopped around till my credit card limit was exhausted. In short, advice to everyone - take a break in between jobs. There is nothing like recharging your batteries to full.

It's again back to living alone and doing the daily chores. Reminds me of MBA days in Australia. But it is not that bad and kinda liking it so far. I think it is much easier here in India since things are provided at platter and domestic help is easily available. Crazy work and travel schedule though is taking its toll.

Weather has been awesome so far with monsoon setting in, a welcome breather from the scorching summer heat of Delhi. It was burning there, it is raining here. I am liking it though i must say it is getting monotonous having rainy or non-shady days all the time.

So, there you are. Little short nuggets from my life so far here. Will post in more as we go along, and will be back soon with more writings. This reminds me, i need a label for Pune Posts. Pour in your suggestions!

PS: I am going back to Delhi tomorrow for a conference for couple of days. Don't even feel like i came here. But anything for Mom-cooked food, you see!

July 9, 2012

Book Review - 86 : You Never Know When You'll Get Lucky!

Author : Priya Narendra
Publisher : Fingerprint

When Kajal, a sassy never-afraid-to-make-an-idiot-of-herself-in-public copywriter, finally decides to put her love-life on hold and focus on that long-overdue promotion, fate mysteriously throws her way a stream of eligible bachelors: from Mr Could-Be-Right who lives in another city, to a reputed lech of a neighbor who becomes her knight in shining armour, from a hunky researcher intent on proposing, to a childhood-nemesis-turned-amorous-pursuer.

Add to the mess a client who is a pain in the ass, a crucial ad campaign for a brand of condoms, disapproving middle-class parents and, to top it all, the most romantic rainstorm of the decade and Kajal seems to be no longer in control of anything! But luck has its own sweet way of dealing with troubles. After all, you never know when you’ll get lucky!

I must confess upfront that I have never been a great fan of chick-lits mainly because most of the authors tend to get all so emotional and drown their characters in sympathies that in the end the narrative is devoid of all the fun they might be having. You Never Know When You'll Get Lucky! by Priya Narendra is a breath of fresh air in a clouded and muddled array of numerous chick-lit authors where feminism is turned into male bashing, independence comes at the cost of relationships and romance is so drowsy you feel like puking. The charm of this book though lies in the fact that it keeps the over-the-top moments well out of the narrative and brings in surprises which linger on well after you have finished reading the book.

The story is fast paced, and even though it maintains delicate balance between personal and professional lives of Kajal, ultimately you are bowled over by the sensitivity with which author uses minimal expressions and words to convey the feelings of almost all the characters. There are enough LOL moments which will make you smile but also intelligently interspersed are the quick-burst moments of self introspection and nervous energy. I particularly enjoyed the portions where Kajal is in two minds about Mr. Right and how desperately she wanted to work out this relationship instead of being in two different cities.

My only grudge is the fact that there are too much cliches when it comes to Kajal's parent - their dialogues, their reactions (or rather over-reactions) and their ambitions. Apart from this, the final act of both lovers coming together has been wrapped up with such ease you wonder if the writer was running short of words or time or both. The gay character redemption in front of the parents has been dealt a little too easily in the climax so as the meteoric rise of Kajal in the advertising world.

But keep these nitpicking apart, you have an absolute perfect chick-lit in your hands for a weekend read. I am going with 3.5/5 for Priya Narendra's 'You Never Know When You'll Get Lucky!'. It is humorous and witty in equal measures. It is packaged well and will keep you hooked most of the time in the narrative. Even though it is predictable in parts, you will not feel time and energy wasted at all. For how many chick-lits by Indian authors you can say the same in these times?

July 8, 2012

Book Review - 85 : The Fallen Love

Author : Rashmi Singh
Publisher: Pigeon Books

Not wanting Madhuri had started drifting with the song, stretching and reraching out for the remote of the Television with her right hand to switch it off. The song "Baby don't leave me, I remember all the memories-I remember the name...that was calling my name-stary with me Baby-when the lights go down I am drowning-please help me I know one day you will feel the same-baby when the lights go down...," had started casting its musical, magical spell making her unknowingly feel the words and getting emotionally entangled in them........

That was one moment when Rohan lost his sanity. All his life he had craved for love. His Ma, Shilpi, Radhika and now Madhuri.." No now I am not going to lose Madhuri. Love has always played hide and seek with me but now it is time for me to snatch love from life. And something reverberated in his mind-unknown voice-"Go Rohan Go..If you don't snatch now then never-never Rohan-Never-You'll never get the love of Go get the power-get your love-It is your love Rohan-Yours! This time don't let greed overrule true love-don't let sex subjugate the timid! Go snatch it or else again the demons will snatch from you!" The voice was constantly creating havoc on hi senses......

Exploring the life of its main protagonist Rohan, through the various ladies in his life, the novel alienates the readers by cramming in too much to digest in one go. It doesn't help that the author uses analeptic references all through the novel to tell the narrative, allowing very little time for readers to invest into these characters or their emotions.However, the author neatly checks off all the concepts of love, lust and sex across various strata of society. The pace is fast and there is a sense of urgency which is prevalent all through.

Any reader who is looking for any kind of newness are surely like to be disappointed. The language lacks subtlety and most of the lines feels overwritten and laboured, both at the same time. Even though it is commendable that the author tries to bring in certain taboo topic of Indian society including sexual perversion, but it is mostly done in such off-coloured and heavy handed language that i failed to recognize the real need for having those particular plot-points. You can't have a sub-plot inserted just because it makes the book a masala, filmy-kind entertaining book. It is criminal and IMHO, the biggest flaw.

If you can get pass these flaws and looking for a light, easy read, this could well be your Sunday read. I am going with 2.5/5 for Rashmi Singh's 'The Fallen Love'. Reading this book is like being to your favourite pub to have a good time but returning home with a muddled mind. Give it a chance if you are a fan of exploring old wine in the old bottle.