He Fixed the Match, She Fixed him – Book review

Sneak from the cover

Shreya – I’m a highly qualified Delhi girl earning an enviable salary. My parents are having a tough time finding a suitable groom for me. However, recently they have a proposal from this very interesting guy from Mumbai. I almost get mesmerised when he starts talking to me. I think I like him very much.

Kunal – I’m owner of a textile company in Mumbai. My mom wants me to get married. Again. She has recently suggested a suitable girl from Delhi. What my mom doesn’t know is that I’ve already met Shreya before once in my life and I’ve been looking for her ever since. I have a vendetta to settle.

He fixed the match She fixed him is your typical Bollywood style love story, with a beautiful girl and a handsome boy who are at loggerheads with each other due to some reason. Here, the reason is their past which has some very filmy sequences. To avenge his past, Kunal gets married to Shreya but obviously, they hate each other and keep trying to outdo each other. Eventually, they realize they are not as bad as they try to be and fall in love. And live happily ever after ! <Smirk>

I mean, don’t be disheartened. If you really like cheesy love stories, you should definitely pick it up. And I am not judging you at all. Just that it is not my type. I find the story and sequences all too clichéd. Even though the author has carved out the characters and their families in detail, the plot somehow does not have logic in a lot of places.

Like Shreya is shown to be this ambitious girl who is an MBA, works in a top notch firm earning a handsome salary, but literally marries a guy she has met just once, for 5 minutes. I mean, really? And then, just because it is necessary (for the plot) for Shreya to not see the Kunal’s face at the wedding, she is made to wear her pallu long enough to have covered her eyes during the pheras. And then she eventually uncovers the truth when she sees Kunal in her room on her wedding night. I mean, there is the stage, there is the jaimala, dinner and countless other ceremonies where the girl CAN have a look at the guy’s face on the wedding day. Logic much?

The book moves at a high pace through the first half, and that’s how it keeps you hooked. The second half loosens the pace and there is a lot of technical jargon especially in the sequences where Kunal and Shreya are shown working together. Although it does lend a realistic tone to the scene, I would have preferred this reality in other life’s scenarios as well. The book just drags towards the end, with unnecessary twists to create excitement which end up dragging the story.

I found the book totally average and would rate it 2 on 5.

PS: These are totally my sentiments on the book. Please go ahead and pick a copy if you like this genre.

Book Review : Ramanayana, The Game of Life

I have never been a fan of the mythological drama genre. SO even though the husband loved the Nagas series, I haven’t read it yet. But sometime back I read a book called the “Palace of Illusions” which dealt with the story of Mahabharata from Draupadi’s point of view. All my knowledge of Mahabharata hitherto had only been from the famous tele-series of the 90s by the same name. But the book had so much more to offer. And that is what got me hooked on. Last year I read Shubha Vilas’ Rise of the Sun Prince. Initially I found it a little slow. Maybe it had something to do with my expectation. I had expected it to be something of a story built around Ramayana, which it was, but in a “motivational speaker” kind of way. It starts with how the Ramayana came into being, about Valmiki and why he was chosen to write it. But with the amount of information that I never had, it had me hooked on in no time.

And when BlogAdda approached me to review the second part of this book, there was no way I was not doing it. The sequel to the book, Shattered Dreams, starts with king Dashratha fighting his inner demons. He decides to relinquish the throne and make his eldest son Rama the new king of Ayodhya. Thereafter starts the story of love, anxiety, betrayal and politics. It feels so much like an everyday story of any Indian household. I think we have the likes of Sumanthra, Kaikeyi, Kausalya, Lakshmana, and Bharatha in our families. The author goes through the stages from Rama’s abhisheka as a king to the time he is sent to the exile. Even though we read a lot of motivational and self healing books, there are various places where the author drives home a point in such a subtle way, using Ramayana and its characters as a backdrop that you would be left wondering how you didn’t figure it yourself. Pretty much like what the Bhagwad Gita preaches. That everything is right before our eyes. We just need to discover it through connecting better with our inner self.

What didn’t work for me in the first few pages of the book, became a strong point for me later. I loved the footnotes at the bottom of each page where the author shared wisdom and analogy about situations that are so similar with our regular life. That how all things that appear godly, have such simple humane traits behind them. And how, it is not the people who are gods, but their learning, manner and character that makes them so.

Let me quote some gems from the book:

– Diplomacy is an art that changes your body language drastically with no change in the language of the heart

– A fasted belly and a fattened ego sometimes reside in the same body!

– Love is not a passive monologue but an action packed movie that ends with pleasing the beloved.

– Damned by despair and buoyed by hope. Isn’t that what life is about? Life is a combination of hope and despair. The one that dominates you, carves your personality.

I have had to read the book in a week in order to facilitate this review. But truth be told, this is one such which should be held longer, like a drink, stirred, and held in the mouth to taste it completely. So hold on to your drinks and enjoy 🙂

This review is a part of the biggest Book ReviewProgram for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Love is Vodka – A Shot Ain’t Enough – Book Review

Love is Vodka
Title : Love is Vodka – A Shot Ain’t Enough
Author : Amit Shankar
Publisher : Vitasta Publishing Pvt Ltd
ISBN : 978-81-925354-4-9
Number of Pages : 203
Price [INR] : 195
Genre: Fiction

Being a love child; Moon is anything but a conventional teen. With a leading TV news anchor as her mother, an aspiring entrepreneur as her boy friend, the word LOVE baffles her. The whole idea of having one partner and love being eternal intrigues her.

Life turns upside down when she falls for her mother’s boyfriend. Destiny further complicates things by blessing her with a mega modelling assignment and turning her famous overnight. A war between her head & heart exposes her to various hues of love.

Will she decipher the true meaning of love? Embark on an exhilarating rendezvous with Moon and discover love like never before.

The book revolves around a teenager and love-child Moon, who has had a not-so normal upbringing because of her mother’s Payal Malik’s rebellious thinking. Payal Malik is a hot shot journalist who has spent all her life in the field of journalism, fighting out the cut throat competition and finally emerging at the top. She is now the editor of a leading national news channel. Her father is French and although Moon has never met her, she keeps in contact with him through emails and chats.

Moon’s problems are typically what all teenagers go through during this phase. She has a boyfriend who she thinks she is in love with, but cannot understand her attraction towards other men at the same time. She knows she is beautiful, and yet she longs for people’s approval by posting her pictures on Facebook and waiting for more “likes” and “comments”. Her behavior typically stems from the fact that even though the mother has provided much more than for all her needs during her growing up years like a palatial bungalow, a chauffeur driver car and the spoils, she has raised her with an iron hand. Moon longs for her mother’s sensitive side, and without realizing keeps searching for it in the form of love from men.

Life gets out of control when she falls in love, and eventually moves in with her mother’s “friend”. She is all of 19, he is 45. Their chemistry sure is crackling in the beginning, but of course it has it’s fireworks because Moon is an excited teenager who wants to do all the wacky and weird stuff whereas he, being the director of an ad company has been there, and done that. And probably cannot take risks at this point in his career.

And so, Moon keeps getting in and out of relationships with nobody but her confused mind to blame.During the second half of the book, after the fiasco with the mother’s boyfriend, she comes back to her mother’s place, only to leave it again for an Anna Hazare like political revolution. She realizes she wants to do something worthwhile for the country. At the same time, she s also confused as to why Gautam (the guy who is spear heading the revolution) doesn’t care a hoot about her beauty, even when she is ready to give all of herself to him.

The book looks promising in the beginning, as the author sketches Moon’s character quite aptly for a pampered silly teen-aged girl. but somewhere along the way, he loses plot. The book just seems all over the place. Too many things are happening but none for a reason. The book completely loses its steam towards the end and then I just waited for the last page. I thought everything would converge to amount to something. But to say the least, I was disappointed.

My rating 2.5/5

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Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography – Book Review

Book:Land of The Seven Rivers
Author: Sanjeev Sanyal
Publisher: Penguin
Language: English
Pages: 330
Price: Rs 399

A book that says on it’s cover page that it’s going to talk about the history of your country’s geography is enough to send you a clear signal – either you want to read about it or you don’t. Now I was the worst ever History and Geography student throughout my student life. I could never get the dates right, the innumerable wars, civilizations, and the maps! But history is interesting if you don’t have to sit for an exam at the end of it. And hence, I grabbed with both hands the opportunity of reading this book and making up for my poor knowledge.

Working with a set of questions — Did the great flood of Indian legend actually happen? Why did the Buddha walk to Sarnath to give his first sermon? How did the Europeans map India?
Combining scholarship with sparkling wit, Sanjeev Sanyal sets out to explore  how India’s history was shaped by its geography – answering questions you may have never thought to ask. Moving from geological and genetic origins to present day Gurgaon, Land of seven rivers is riveting, wry and full of surprises.

Land of the seven rivers moves through the Indian sub-continent and along the way are the major landmarks like the Harappan civilization, the Vedas, Ramayna, the Mahabharata and further along the British and the Mughals. The book covers over 6000 years of Indian history about cities, landscapes and its rivers. It tells us about the world before Pangea happened and how India was once very close to Madagascar in Africa. That explains the similarity in the elephants and the genetic code. It also talks about how the various cities came into being, which rivers had flown there, how they were central to the existence of that civilization, how trade routes were created and so on and so forth. It has a lot of information about ancient and medieval India and the book covers historical as well as the geographical parts of it like plate tectonics etc to validate its logic.

I liked the book for it’s never ending information. More so for a historically and geographically challenged person like me. But after a while, the book seemed just like my history text book. Overflowing with dates and names of civilizations and information. When I had read the words “Combining scholarship with sparkling wit”, I had thought may be the book would not be just pure veggies, but a nicely done salad with the thousand island dressing 😉 That was the only thing that was a bit of a disappointment. Otherwise the book is a store house of interesting and (I think) never-before-read geographical aspects of Indian history and vice versa.

My rating : 3.5/5

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Shoes of the Dead – Book Review

Book: Shoes of the Dead
Author: Kota Neelima
Publisher: Rupa Publication
Language: English
Pages: 274
Price: Rs 495

This book is serious business. Coming from someone who is an editor at the Sunday Guardian, I wouldn’t expect any less. With this book, Kota Neelima takes you on a tour of the real world the farmers in our country occupy. Farmer suicides happen in abundance, many because of debts. Others because of successive crop failures. Either case, the farmers’ families want the compensation by claiming it to be a debt related death. The government on the other hand, keeps rejecting claims after claims of debt related deaths, real or not.

Crushed by successive crop failures and the burden of debt, Sudhakar Bhadra kills himself. The powerful district committee of Mityala routinely dismisses the suicide and refuses compensation to his widow. Gangiri, his brother, makes it his life’s mission to bring justice to the dead by influencing the committee to validate similar farmer suicides. Keyur Kashinath of the Democratic Party – first-time member of Parliament from Mityala, and son of Vaishnav Kashinath, the party’s general secretary – is the heir to his father’s power in Delhi politics. He faces his first crisis every suicide in his constituency certified by the committee as debt-related is a blot on the party’s image, and his competence. The brilliant farmer battles his inheritance of despair, the arrogant politician fights for the power he has received as legacy. Their two worlds collide in a conflict that pushes both to the limits of morality from where there is no turning back. At stake is the truth about ‘inherited’ democratic power. And at the end, there can only be one winner. Passionate and startlingly insightful, Shoes of the Dead is a chilling parable of modern-day India.

 
Not that you should judge a book by it’s cover, but I really liked the simple yet compelling cover of Shoes of the Dead. A barren drought affected land at one end, and Rashtrapti Bhawan, the corridors of power at the other.Separated by “Shoes of the Dead” (Not literally though!)
The book deals with the farmers’ suicides in the much publicized Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. The book is gripping because as you read, you realize you are reading something that is true, even though you wish it weren’t. It gives you deep insights into the so-called democratic system of the country where the only driving factor for the political babus is public votes. Pursuing the chair and sticking to it is the only thing that matters. An account of how dynasty politics still runs in the system. The book will scare you as you realize the ministers care a hoot about the farmers. And if this trend of suicides continue, who’s going to produce grains and food for a country of 1.25 billion?
Even though this is not fiction, names have been suitable changed and the author has done justice to character building in the book. The language is simple and the book is a clear winner as it stands on a strong foundation of good content, etched out beautifully. 

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