Looking for Love?

January 31, 2014

Book Review - 149 : Love @ Air Force

Author : Gaurav Sharma
Publisher : Blackbuck Publication

An unhappy Sergeant-Sushil Awasthi feels that his circumstances dumped him into doing drudgery in the Air Force and he deserved better out of life. Grumbling often, he accuses his wife, his parents and even Air Force for his agonies. When he finds that, the newly arrived medical officer, Wing Commander Shabd Mishra is his best friend of school days, his inferiority complex plunges further down.

The Wing Commander is still hankering after his school day’s crush Soumya despite knowing of her being married to another Air Force Officer, who too, gets posting at the same station. How to things shape up when three classmates get together? What fate does the love story of the lovelorn Wing Commander meet? How do others around, the officers and the non officers, react to the friendship between a Sergeant and a Wing Commander?

I tend to believe that authors who bring in their own personal experiences into writing need a higher level of self-introspection while writing their stories. Reason that there is so close to the material, they tend to lose objectivity over its plot, nuances, length and most importantly, relevance to the main characters. Love@ Air Force suffers heavily on this account. As a result, the book never becomes a solid love story in the back drop of air forces nor it acts as a much simpler story of three individuals stuck in complex circumstances.

Sharma, who himself is a mathematician borrows heavily from his father's life and experiences who has served in Air force for number of years. There are things to admire in this book - notably the mature romance between the three lead protagonists, the complex power structure in air force stations, the monotonous life officers usually get sucked into and the obsession of ranks. But all these high points are buried under long passages of self-introspection and a running commentary of air force, that as a reader you tend to lose patience and readability with the characters by the end of the book. The novel had to be much shorter and less of all this clutter to have a better impact on it's readers

The author maintains a soft tone to the characters, the flow is easy but there are numerous spelling and grammatical mistakes to encounter in the first print of the book i have received. I am going with 2/5 for Gaurv Sharma's 'Love@ Air Force'. By the end of the book, you could just feel a tinge of disappointment. This book could have been so much more. An opportunity wasted.

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January 26, 2014

Notes on 13 stories based on supernatural - The Other Side

Authors : Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee
Publisher : Mahaveer Publishers

Rating : 3/5

The other side...dare to visit alone? explore stories based on paranormal activities. It's a pity that there are very few books devoted to this genre in India even though our folk culture is resplendent with numerous tales waiting to be written into short stories/novels. In that respect, the book in itself is a brave attempt to break the cliches associated with this genre. Since there is no distinction in stories by the two authors, it is difficult to comment on individual author's style but almost all stories succeed in bringing an eerie atmospherics which is crucial in setting up each of them.

The authors experiment with genre by bringing in some fresh instrument - Ouija board in 'The long weekend' or unqiue backdrop - Roopkund Lake in 'The mystery lake' .  There is an undercurrent of romance, love and lust flowing through all the stories which bind the narrative and ultimately push them to thrilling climaxes. Even though in some of the stories, you can guess the end by a mile, they still keep you engrossed through taut writing.

My favourite story in the book is the last one - Dream Girl where a deranged man collects women body parts to unite himself in death. There are other notable mentions in 'The muse comes calling' where an author is fascinated and captured by his own imagination and 'A Mother's love' which intelligently interweaves a folk story with some genuine scary moments.

'Possession' dealing with exorcism and 'Unfulfilled desires' in reincarnation respectively drag the book down. These are cliche stories seen/read in numerous novels and movies. These portions stood out like sore thumb because not only they are longest stories in the book but far too predictable and hardly offer anything new.

The other side break the stereotypes usually associated with the horror genre in fiction but does not avoid them completely to bring an entirely unique experience. Nevertheless, it is an attempt worth checking out for short stories in the horror genre. I hope there is sequel written to this one!

January 11, 2014

Quick Notes on '9 DON'TS to SUCCESS'

Author : Abhinav Paney
Publisher : Grapevine India

Rating : 2/5

9 Don'ts to success because the Dos don't work by Abhinav Paney take the 'so called 9 rules' of life to be successful and turn them into don'ts to avoid them completely. So, the book ask you to be Fake at times, not real. Be Arrogant and not always polite. Be a show-off and not always humble. Be manipulative to your best intentions and don't be fair to people always. And so on.

The writing style is simple yet filled with urban lingo and someone most of the young generation can relate to. It helps that the author keeps things simple by not overpraising or justifying things. Instead, it has a distinctively 'just-do-it' feel to it which helps reiterating the basic model points the book is trying to convey to its readers. 

What is missing from the book is solid core content - I was not at all impressed by the examples given at the start of each chapter which seem to be more out of imagination than author researching and working hard to get the characters right for illustrating the points mentioned by him.

The book is a one time quick read but definitely not a kind of self-help or non-fiction book you would like to go back again on your bookshelf. A more deeper diagnosis to help your 9 points would have surely helped.

January 4, 2014

Quick Notes on the Jaico Cricketwallah Series

Jaico Cricketwallah series with Ayaz Memon, written by Indranil Rai and C. Rajshekhar Rao take us through the career of 4 Indian cricketers. Cricket is an addiction in India and these short books help in providing the titsy-bitsy recap about their careers.

Rating : 2/5

MS Dhoni - Capital Cool written by Indranil Rai does not delve sufficiently into the cricketing success or failure stories of the Indian captain but does effectively brings out few touches of his initial career - how he was pulled off from a routine railway job or how his first tour of Kenya brought him into limelight. Apart from that there are not many new things which you don't already know about him.

Virat Kohli - Reliable Rebel by C. Rajshekar Rao starts briskly and capture the initial phase of Kohli's career with nuance - his Ranji trophy innings before attending his father's funeral and his rashness on winning the Under-19 WC as captain are couple of events that are feature of the book. His bet with his coach during the Ranji trophy time and winning it by hitting a century is now firmly established in the cricketing stories. The book does not feature his recent achievements as much which may give half feeling to the book in its entirety.

Sachin Tendulkar - Master Blaster by Indranil Rai is an ultimate let down and not really to the author's fault. There is very little that is uniquely written about this man and this book is no exception. Since the book was published before Sachin's farewell series, it even does not capture the emotional punch the country faced on his exit from the game. Overall, not even a one time read.

Yuvraj Singh - Powerful Elegance by C.Rajshekar Rao write about the initial cricketing days of Yuvraj and does touch upon the up and down relationship with his father - Yograj Singh. I am also happy to note that book does reach upon the various controversies in his career along with cricketing achievements. His special relationship with mother, not withstanding. I also don't know of a sportsperson who has milked his disease as well as Yuvi did but that obviously does not take away from what he has achieved for the country. I hope we see him play one more time in World Cup 2015.

January 2, 2014

Book Review - 147 : Romeo, Juliet & Hitler

Author : Rohan Gautam
Publisher : Srishti Publishers and Distributors

Rohan meets Shreya on a train journey and falls in love at the first sight. As Rohan meanders through his feelings, travels across cities, gets thrown behind bars by pot-bellied policemen and is almost beaten in his own life and career, he still has to face the biggest test of all, facing Shreya's Hitler brother.Will he be able to win him over or will Hitler put brakes on their love?

This one is strictly for the now-so-boring fiction of booming love. The story does not provide anything new and the so called twists are hardly surprising. The climax touches a few right chords with couple of dramatic movements thrown in, but that's hardly a consolation for this slog of a book. It does work on a brisk pace, there are fewer printing & grammatical mistakes, but for long time in the book you just getting a feeling of familiarity and a feeling of 'having-read-that-thing-before'.

There are few fresh moments of chemistry between the lead pair but the dialogues seems overwritten and at times, borderline outrageously filmy. I am going with 1.5/5 for Rohan Gautam's 'Romeo, Juliet & Hitler'. It is sincerely written but offers nothing new in a literary fiction where 'being different' is the buzz word.