Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When The Signal Turns Red By Jayanand Ukey -A Book Review



Book Review

Drama is something that has become the oomph factor for the entertainment industry in India. Books, movies, TV shows, all of them have a surplus of drama which overflows like the butter on a Punjabi guy’s Aloo Parantha. But most books tend to over do it. At its heart, simplistic drama is simply cute to read and that’s what this book brings to you.

Book Review of When The Signal Turns RedThis 198 paged novel is Jayanand’s first novel. It’s a fluffy little book about a typical Indian love story. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy, they want to get married. By a miracle, their parents agree but alas!cruel fate strikes and suddenly the marriage is off, and the boy has to woo back his girlfriend’s parents.


In this book, we step into the world of Girish and Prajakta, both software engineers set to be working in top IT firms immediately after graduation. Something I really liked in this book were the characters. Most books try to simply overdo the need for detail and end up creating mystic, well framed descriptions which ultimately leave the reader dissatisfied. WTSTR on the other hand, creates simplistic characters with basic personalities. This in turn leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination and lets him or her connect with the book in their own unique way. For example, we all have that one relative from the Military( ex or serving) who loves being punctual, inspires terror and loves to mull things over Whiskey. In this case, it is Prajakta’s dad.


Moving on to the book’s Achilles’ heel,  I found the book to be little to fantastical for my liking and defied the logic which I observe in real life. The nearly instant approval of all parties involved, a clichéd crisis which is something now considered as over-the-top and a Bollywood drama like end( not that I am complaining, I love Bollywood!) Nevertheless, as a reviewer I clearly need to point it out as some things simply don’t go down well different audiences.


As a complete work, this book is an easy to read, cute little romantic scene from the life of Girish and Prajakta. The book is earthy, charming and has the brilliance of a simple story teller. It doesn’t have metaphors and references that require you to read it with your iPad open on Wikipedia. It is a book for everyone and anyone, and simply fun.


Like: Easy to read, Simple characters,Earthly,Fluffy

Dislike:  A wee bit fantastical, Bollywood like over-the-top end




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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Catharsis

This is a guest post by Rafaa Dalvi who blogs at www.rafaadalvi.blogspot.in and tweets at @TheWittyKid
PS:It's a short story!


Silence.

Pitch black darkness.

Except for a circle of blinding light in the middle of the room. And at the centre of illumination a man, chained to a platform, with electrodes all over his body.

He is naked. Stripped off all clothes.

He has 'The Fringe' haircut.

The silence is shattered by the steps of heavy boots as a figure steps into the light from out of the shadows. Dressed in a black cloak, he leans forward and smiles at the prisoner.

“Good evening. You can call me The Shadow. And you are looking at your downfall.”

The prisoner looks up and can see anger and hate in his eyes of his captor.

Holding up a newspaper The Shadow reads:

If you are sick and tired of watching Justin Bieber all over the place, then beware you are suffering from Bieber Fever.
So get set to learn music form the Justin Bieber School of Music, wear your love for him by buying dresses from his clothing line, get a recording deal under his music label, spend quality time with your close ones at his chain of restaurants and pit your talent against others in his reality shows.
“Justin Bieber as a brand is a 'cute and talented' person and wants to work hard and continue to do so,” Bieber said.
His fashion label, designed along the lines of his songs, kicks off with T-shirts that will hit the local stores soon.
Bieber will also starting his own line of salons whose branches will be opened in all the major countries.

The Shadow stares straight into the eyes of his captive.

“So Bieber, why don’t you start by telling me about this Bieber Fever— this huge conspiracy to corrupt the youth of the world? You think I don't know that when a man or a woman buys a Bieber Tshirt, they actually sell away their souls to you? You think I am unaware that you are trying to start a new cult? That these so-called Schools of Music are nothing but devious churches whose only job is to preach that there is only one true saviour— the 'cute and talented' Justin Bieber? What were you going to call your followers? Your Biebs?

The prisoner tries to turn his face away as The Shadow’s words and spit hits him square in the eye.

The Shadow gives a humourless and cruel laugh.

“I am sick and I am tired of you, Bieber. Turn on the TV and it’s you. Go to any part of the world and I can hear your music blaring. I see ladies wearing revealing “One Less Lonely Girl” tops and all the rowdy low lives flirting with them singing ”Love Me”."

Bieber smirks.

"You are a disease, Bieber. And you need to be eradicated.”

Bieber knows that The Shadow has stripped him naked and shorn him off his dignity. He realizes that his manhood (seriously?) is being silently mocked.

The smell of fear invades the room.

Bieber remains silent.

The Shadow whispers “I don’t think you understand what sort of trouble you are in, Bieber. Trust me, when I say I will send 440 volts of electricity through your “Eenie Meenie” if you continue to remain silent.”

Bieber finally breaks his silence.

“You have made a big mistake and now you will suffer for it. You have chained my hands, my legs and wired my entire body. You have even wired up my "Eenie Meenie". However, you forgot one simple thing.”


“What the hell are you talking about? Everything has been planned meticulously by me. You are looking at your downfall.”

“No, you are. You forgot to gag me.”


Before The Shadow can react, the prisoner unleashes a blood-curdling “Baaaaaabbbbbbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy“. The Shadow is flung away. Glass and wood splinter fly all over. Tongues of blue electricity leap outwards. The prisoner sings “Ohhhhhhh Baaabbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” drowning out the metallic voice in the background:

“Level 5 security breach. Facility lockdown. Quarantine process activated. Biohazard uncontained and dangerous.”

The Shadow clutches his ears in pain. His ear drums have been blasted to pieces. Blood trickles down his body.

As he drifts away into the darkness, the last thing he sees is the naked figure of 'The Fringe' haircut Bieber flying into freedom.

Epilogue:

The Shadow awakes. A golden gate lies ahead. A light blue cloudless sky all around. A gentle breeze. And he feels peace.
An old kind man comes upto him and says:
“My son, welcome to heaven. Peace be with you.”
The man has 'The Fringe' haircut. And his white gown says “Never Say Never”.

Image

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chanakya’s New Manifesto by Pavan K.Verma-A Book Review





The Republic of India was born on 26th January 1950 after Hindustan gained independence on 15th August 1947. These two marvelous events are the important highlights of India’s history, results of a exhaustive meticulously fought revolution. Jump to modern day India. We are in the middle of a transformation, a revolution if you will. Yet, what we are missing is a concise pathway to follow. The struggle for independence, although never backed by a document, always followed a principle. The principle of non violence, ahimsa etc also cumulatively known as Gandhi’s principles. Somehow this book is exactly what we need right now.
Author of Chanakya's New ManifestoThis 247 paged novel is an excellent book by Pavan K. Verma. Before I dive into how the book is and how it deals with India’s needs perfectly, a word about the author. Mr.Verma is an ex-civil servant who took voluntary early retirement from the Indian Foreign Services and now leads an actively involved public life. I believe these credentials are enough for him to provide an accurate commentary on the topics this book covers.

Inspired by the great Vishnu Gupta or more commonly known as Chanakya’s Arthshastra, this book lays down a blueprint of systematic changes India needs to become a superpower. It clearly lays down five key areas which are down in the dumps and are in a desperate need for improvement. Mr.Verma, in a concise and precise way, first details the current situation in that sector, tells us how this problem came about and what its roots are. Thus, after establishing a firm background and working knowledge of the topic to be dealt with, Pavan elaborates on the changes he thinks are needed while backing each one of them with a sound and logical reason(s).
The only flaw which I could even possibly relate to this book is extremely remote i.e. it didn't debate the cons of the plans laid down in the book. But in the author’s defense  he ends the book by humbly saying that these points are not perfect and should be debated. So, no harm done. This along with a grammatical error or two, the book is perfect.



Chankaya's New Manifesto

As a whole, the book is something India desperately needs right now. We are plagued by inefficient governance, archaic policies, slow judicial mechanisms, a corrupt system and a lax bureaucracy. Although we have an enraged population, anger is not what will change the system. People hate corruption but have no way to fight it. This book presents an idea, an implementable idea. Something for us to follow and do. The X factor lies in the fact that the author himself has been in the very system he is trying to change. As he is already aware of its nooks and cranny, his ideas lay out the battle plan to combat them as well. I don’t say the ideas of this book are perfect as that perception differs from person to person in a free and independent society like ours. All I am saying is that like those fancy self-improvement guides we buy, this book is a nation-improvement book. We have the blueprint, we want the change. All that’s left to do is, ironically, is to do!

Like: Clear, concise, precise, effective, well planned, well thought out, reasonable logic
Dislike: Nothing



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

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mistakes That Are Not

Cat Stevens is one of my favourite artists. His songs have an amazing earthly charm to them and I somehow connect to them. One of his masterpieces is a small track by the name "The Wind" which goes as follows

I swam upon the devil's lake But never, never never never I'll never make the same mistake No, never, never, never

The honesty behind this statement couldn't be more deceived. All through our lives, we embark on thousands of tracks everyday, each one diverging into its own path.Sometimes the path breaks into a road of two and we somehow reach a moment when we ponder over the road not taken. That's the brutally clear point when you realise that despite self assurances, advice from peers, family and friends, desperate cautionary measures and everything else, we make the same mistake ALWAYS.

Mind you these mistakes don't matter much. They are as trivial as forgetting to carry a toothbrush on an overnight trip(Okay wrong example but you get the point).The thing about us humans is that we always rectify the supposedly high magnitude errors and let it be.We never take into account those chotu mistakes which cumulate to have a huge impact on us.Not necessarily in a negative way. 

Here's an example.There's this friend of mine who always forgets that he often falls asleep with his spectacles on.The poor chap wakes up most mornings with a near perfect vision courtesy those frames yet bound by innate habit, scrambles about his room for about 5 minutes before realising the truth.Technically this does count as a mistake and may not be life changing but never the less remains integral to the person as a whole.It becomes a part of his quirk as a whole and before you know it, it turns into the person himself rather than being a mistake.
I guess sometimes not all mistakes are wrong, or are even mistakes in the first place.It all boils down to perception.It's your nazarriya that matters rather than the act itself.The classic Himalaya example is well, a classic example of this.
I admit this piece sounded more like a deranged teenager's rant but it is one of the many pondering thoughts that bother me.Or rather bothered me.Wodhouse in his masterpiece Right Ho, Jeeves wrote "....The snag I always come up against when I'm telling a story is this dashed difficult problem of where to begin it.It's a thing you don't want to go wrong over, because one false step and you're sunk.I mean, if you fool about too long at the start, trying to establish atmosphere, as they call it, and all that sort of rot, you fail to grip and the customers walk out on you.Get off the mark, on the other hand, like a scalded cat, and your public is at a loss.It simply raises its eyebrows, and can't make out what you're talking about"

For this article, I think I just caught the latter one.Or the first. Or surprisingly both.

Clicked by Siddharth Gupta

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Consuming Love

This is a guest post by Vaisakhi Mishra who blogs at  http://vaisakhimishra.blogspot.in and tweets at @vishvaisakhi

In her own words, here's who she is:

Cynic blatant but a total happy go lucky person who loves exploring various shades of colours on the canvas of life. I am an engineer who loves poems, painting, singing and photography - which currently seems to be the trend everywhere. I believe in accepting what ever life throws at me and accepting its challenges with a "watch me" attitude and guess everyday finds a new me.

She has composed a special poem as Valentine's day nears.Here it goes

A Poem By Vaisakhi Mishra




My cold heart whimpers

For it can’t feel the glow

It’s a cracked piece of metal

For all that I know


Where lies turn to truth

It sacrificed just itself

You blamed it to be frozen

And now it has no silver help


But rosier days await you somewhere

And it flutters with the thought

Silently it sings to self

The lullaby of consuming love.


Why love can’t be simple,

Why its castle of glass falls?

What choices can we make-

When we are forced to let go.


Emptiness fills the sorrow pools

Where light mirages memories

Truly said, light is not accredited

If challenged not by darkness always.
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Friday, February 8, 2013

The Second Liebster Award Post

A few months back, I received my first Liebster and I was on Cloud 9 because honestly, I never expected another one. Yet, my comment box surprised me as a sweet,kind and wonderful blogger Himani Agarwal nominated me for my second Liebster! A huge hug to her! (http://itjusthappenandthen.blogspot.in/2013/02/presenting-leibster-award.html)



To the uninitiated, the Liebster works this way:

A Blogger is nominated by another winner.
He/She has to post 11 facts about themselves
Answer 11 questions posed by the nominator
Create 11 questions for their nominees
Finally,nominate 11 bloggers

So here it goes,
  • 11 Things About Me:
1. I'm thinner than half of USA's population and fatter than half of Somalia's population.
2. A Bibliophile for life( PS: Potterhead and Twillight hater)
3. Aspire to be a diplomat one day(even an International lawyer for a kickass firm works).
4. Love anything that's a video and a huge Bollywood fan
5. Huge social networking junkie
6. I kinda have incognito entrepreneur wishes
7. Fierce debater and MUNner
8. Studying to become a lawyer
9. Deist by religious preference and believer of a Socialist Democracy
10. I often sit on the bench of an empty railway platform to just think  Got over this weird phase :-)
11. I've this weird tendency to overdraw from any event that happens in my life.
  • Answer to Himani's questions:
1. What would you name the autobiography of your life?
>>  Being average AND awesome.

2. One thing when something happened to you that you thought was bad but it turned out to be for the best?
>>The fact that I joined a rat race coaching class-cum-college for becoming an engineer but ended up shifting to the noble and amazing line of the law. Although 2011 was a horrible year, it toughened me up, showed me a whole new world, taught me the importance of friends and family. But most importantly, it taught me the golden rule " If you are not happy about your life, no one else can be happy about it for you"

3. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
>>Harry Potter. Anyday.

4. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
>> I would stay 15. Life was fun, and although I had not discovered the joys of writing, everything was perfect for me that year

5. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
>> Folding clothes and arranging them in my wardrobe.

6. Your favorite Pick up line?
>> Not a serial womanizer yet but if I had to pick one, it definitely would be "Who's your Daddy?"

7. The best compliment you have got till date?
>>" You know you write well and are a terrific orator. Stop being modest you ass! "

8. Honest feedback for my blog?
>>You're writing is good and fresh. But the theme is too girly. I prefer neutral themes. But then, whatever floats your boat!

9. Blogging to you is_______
>> Exhilarating relaxation and an amalgam of out poured pent-up feelings.

10. What was your last facebook status update?
>>If in your life if you ever read a T&C (pretty sure you didn't), using iTunes to build nuclear weapons is against their terms of service xD

11. What is the most difficult question for you to answer?
>> Melody itni chocolaty kyun hai? *I personally hate Melody*


  • My nominees: 
A slight departure from usual tradition.I'm quite embarrassed to say that I'm not very vociferous blog reader. So apart from my previous nominees, I have no one else to name :( It breaks my heart to conclude this award chain here. Sincere apologies


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Friday, February 1, 2013

RIP by Mukul Deva-A Book Review




Mukul Deva, author of RIPToday’s India is defined by scenario which is disturbing. A corrupt political class which was used to ruling over the masses and fooling them, but is slowly meeting its downfall with the emergence of what I call, “the part-time street activist”. These new citizens of India refuse to accept the idiosyncratic standards of Indian governance and using mass-appeal techniques like social networking, protests and anshaans, have taken the country by storm. It is not news that India is changing. But a portion of the crowd believes the change is slow. This book is like wine to them.

 
This 286 paged novel is Mukul’s 12th novel. As I have not read any of his other books, I cannot comment upon the continuity of style, but this book is what we Indians like to call, teekhior spicy. The plot is pretty simple and straight forward. No detailed mysteries to be cracked or codes to be interpreted. Just a bunch of ex-army men wishing to eliminate corruption from their beloved nation as they swore to. How do they do this? By killing of the corrupt and jolting them into reactionary phases. The characters of the book are relatable as well easy to connect with. Deva has been creative with the real life inspirations as all the politicians and political parties referred to in the book, although slightly differently named, can be guessed in one go.


RIP(Resurgent Indian Patriots)The factor that drives this book is the honesty of the author’s thought process, brutal expression of ground reality and it’s impeccable timing( the violent revolutionary anti-establishment mood of the book is extremely similar to India’s reaction to the Nirbhaya gang rape case). The author is clearly a person who wishes to change India, but unlike Anna’s Gandhian movements or Kejriwal’s political outfit, he wishes to do this, Rang de Basanti style. A idea advocated by a growing group every day.


Coming to the bumps in the road, RIP, according to me is a bit too fantastical. The way the protagonists execute the key figures of the Indian political arena is yet believable. But the fact that they get away with successful assassinations of many important figures in a period of just 2 weeks, is slightly unrealistic. It is something that none of the major terror organisations have been able to pull off. In fact such a case has never been observed in history. That was one thing that put me off. Couple this with the over-the-top Bollywood like end; I was left feeling a range of emotions. Imagine that you’ve just seen an Anurag Kashyap movie which ends like a Yashraj flick. That’s what I’m talking about.


Overall, this book is an excellent read and is easy on the eyes as well. Mukul tactfully narrates the story through different POVs without any glitch or loopholes, a feat which is an achievement in itself. So to every angry young Indian out there who is seething at the government, rush to the nearest store (or just buy it online). A revolution is in the making.


Like: Easy to read, Revolutionary, Radical ideas, Matches the mood of the nation


Dislike:  A wee bit fantastical, Bollywood like over-the-top end


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

Click here to buy from Amazon or Flipkart