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October 23, 2012

Book Review - 97 : Confessionally Yours




Author : Jhoomur Bose
Publisher : Penguin Metro Reads

If one makes the mistake of reading only the first few pages of this book and thereafter, abandoning it I would not really blame the reader. The way it starts, it can easily be classified as soft porn literally shouting from the roof top to proclaim, “Look at me, my language, my expressions. Oh, I am so cool”.  It is only when the author start concentrating on letting the readers invest in the characters and their emotions, the real motive of being engaged as a reader comes out in this book. Unfortunately, it finally reaches its climax by taking too many sentimental detours and clearly, by that time your appreciation of the story has thinned off.

Enter Bose’s protagonist Polly Sharma, a frazzled newly married trainee trying to find her footing not just in the weekly paper she works with but also in her not-so-perfect marital life.
Polly is not aggressive enough for her bitching colleagues and friends... In the midst of all this, Polly has to write an expose on an anonymous blogger who has the entire media talking. Polly has been offered big money to write the story but writing it could cost other people their jobs and Polly her closest friend. But when things take a drastic turn Polly knows she will need to sort out her life and this story might be her only resort...

It has all the required ingredients of being a chick-lit : bitchy talks between females, dash of melodrama, couple of erotic references and a strong non-judgmental climax. The main protagonist, Polly believes that there is something good in everything unless things turn blatant nasty for her. In such adversities, both personal and professional, her true strength emerges. It also reiterates the point that you can let people run over you only that much; beyond a point no one else but it is you who has to stand for your dignity, for your respect and for your future.

I am going with 3/5 for Jhoomur Bose, 'Confessionally Yours'. It is not the best chick-lit you will read this year, just that if the author would have concentrated more on the characters that investing too much in settings, this would have been a far more rewarding read. In the present form, it is a one time read for the fans of Penguin Metro reads.

October 17, 2012

Book Review - 96 : The Householder




Author : Amitabha Bagchi
Publisher : Fourth Estate

I must admit i was not a big fan of the writer's debut novel, 'Above Average'. I thought it was a book which was true to its title. But in his next book, the writer explores the dark underbelly of power, greed and corruption in Delhi. It has delicate touches of humour and sensitivity which is rare to find in the India based fiction writing these days.

The novel incorporates two worlds — New Delhi’s babu-dom and the flashy gen-next culture of Gurgaon’s call centres. He takes us into the labyrinth of bureaucracy to meet Naresh Kumar, PA to Shri Asthana, IAS. Although he failed to make the grade as an IAS officer, Naresh learnt early in life how to negotiate the path to success — from upping the dowry amount set by his father to securing his first bribe. Naresh’s moral justification is that he is a householder, a man whose primary duty is to provide for his family.

Naresh’s life progresses satisfactorily until a series of calamities occur. A complaint on a deal — which helped Naresh pay for the catering and the tent-wallah at his daughter’s wedding — leads to a departmental inquiry that results in Naresh being suspended. His daughter Seema’s marriage flounders because she has not borne the obligatory child despite IVF treatments. His son Praveen, who works in a call centre, gets implicated in a murder and runs off to Manali. And moreover, he is attracted to a widow colleague Pinki, who has marriage plans of her own. The Householder is about how Naresh charts his journey through these turbulent waters. 


There are scenes which stay with you - like the one where the mother and the daughter in a casual dining table conversation discuss about men's approach towards sex or the one where Naresh is fired.  The decaying moral fiber of the society and families, in general always loom around in the background and gives us a surprising, yet disturbing overview of each of us as individuals.

The writing is taut in most cases and even though the book does get slow at times, but then picks up pace once more toward the final leg. Amitabha writes about a world where money rules and nothing can be done without it – he presents the dilemma of a common man – of morals, of the metaphoric good and evil and the choices we make.


I am going with 4/5 for Amitabha Bachi's 'The Householder'. It is slow at times, but in the end it is an extremely rewarding read. It promises to break new grounds and in make sure, it achieves that with some solid storytelling. Don't miss it.

October 9, 2012

Book Review - 95 : Artist, Undone





Author : V. Sanjay Kumar
Publisher : Hachette India

Artist, Undone is like being on an Adventure Island, not really knowing what to expect but in the end you will be more than happy to have taken this trip. It is the narrative of one man's understanding of the creation, the commerce and the critiquing of the contemporary art. It is also finding your true self even when it is late in life with redeeming qualities and redefining perspectives.

The novel traces the life of Harsh Sinha - who sees a similar portrait of himself in a painting(Titled: Fat, Forty and Fucked, rechristened in Hindi as Chaalis, Charbi aur Chootiya)and purchases it on an impulse. He decides to take a year-long sabbatical from his advertising job in Mumbai to return to his family in Chennai, to be able to spend time with his wife and daughter. Sadly, for him his wife doesn't want him anymore. Ironically, she is interested in the artist next door - Newton Kumaraswamy. Harsh is perplexed. His life has crumbled right before his eyes and he has nothing but a painting to account for. He then goes back to Mumbai and gets involved in the world of art and artists.

The author gives us an inside view of the Indian art world: how some artists live and survive, the cold silence and unique marketing style of Mumbai galleries, the ad-hocism of price and purchase of art work et. al. The author put this on paper with great detailing and paints a realistic, honest portrait of the art world which very few of us can claim to know. There are brilliant portions where the juxtaposition of the inner world of Harsh along with his newly acquired perspectives of the art world will leave you spell bound. All the more, it raises an important question, what exactly art is in India?

I am going with 4/5 for V.Sanjay Kumar's 'Artist, Undone'. It is one of those rare debut novels which you may start with little expectations but will be pleasantly surprised by the turns and twists it takes through the narrative. It is worth your money and time. Go for it!!

October 3, 2012

Start of the Final Love Story...



Love stories never get old. They are not meant to be touched, tampered or tinkered with. They age with time, just like wine. Sometimes even better, sometimes a bit nastier. Love stories evolve, but never dissolve into pieces. Just like ghost stories, they become more elusive. More meaner, more spicier, more engaging, sometimes heart-breaking, and mostly all the more ridiculous and almost every time, without logic.

PS: It's a little late to update for blogger friends and followers but you see - another bachelor has got caged, on 23 September, i got engaged. And yes, it's my 30th Birthday today. One year more, not sure a year wiser! ;-)