- PonderingTwo March 2014 ~ Pondering Two The title of your home page

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Author: Tabrik C
Publisher: Hachette India
Genre: Fiction/ Thriller
ISBN: 978-93-5009-670-3
No.of Pages: 319
Price: INR 350

Synopsis: India has a new Prime Minister. But is Siddhartha Tagore the product of his genius or of his dangerous mind?

India is on edge as a subversive internal revolt against the Constitution, and the threat of Jehadi terror of an unthinkable level, are looming on the horizon..

Ringing Shiva's damaru in and out of the Parliament, a sudden turn of karma catapults outsider Siddhartha Tagore - a conflicted genius, music maestro and prodigal son, with forceful views on China and Pakistan - into national promenience as the head of the Opposition Alliance and finally as the newly elected Prime Minister of a disturbed nation.

But buried secrets are being resurrected and threaten to expose the past. Twisted within the double helix of menancing politics and hidden lust, Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister is a scorching account of Siddhartha Tagore's fascinating journey from Harvard to 7 Race Course Road.

Review: Firstly, I must confess that I am extremely lucky to read such a wonderful book and be a part of all those who have read the book and have liked it. 

The book is a journey of a man named Siddhartha Tagore from his Harvard days mastering his music, to becoming a sensation in music with fans all over the world, to the tumultuous times representing India as her Prime Minister. Set in the year 2016, the author takes into account the current scenario and adds it extremely well to form a well knit plot.

There are various characters through which the author has build upon the story apart from the protagonist Siddhartha Tagore. All these characters are extremely well written brimming with emotions. The ease in which the author has blended variety of things into the plot is something that captured my attention. It almost made me live the experience page by page. 

The writing is exceptionally good with thorough research and brilliant editing that will make you to turn the pages till the book is completed.

Overall: A page turner for sure and a perfect thriller. A must read for the perfect edge of the seat experience. Am sure you will not be disappointed reading this book. Grab it ASAP.

Ratings: 5/5*

This review is for Flipkart Bloggers Review Programme.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Author: Kankana Basu
Published by: Pan Macmillan India
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-93-82616-13-9
No.of Pages: 189
Price: INR 250

Synopsis: Lamplight is based in the picturesque town of Monghyr, in Bihar, in the year 1934. After a devastative earthquake that rattles the town, but the mansion of Chattopadhyas, an old aristocratic family continues to stand upright although a wall is cracking right down the middle. The members of the big joint family find their lives suddenly touched by the eerie and the inexplicable. 

The book is a collection of eight stories that walk a fine line between the ordinary and the paranormal. Family bonds form the backdrop to the stories, and old-world values and the laid-back lifestyle of a bygone era lend them a unique charm.

Review: Lamplight is one of the few books that blends paranormal with relations. The beauty of the book is that apart from giving an eerie feeling every now and then, it also gives us pleasures of knowing the beautiful relations that the Chattopadhyas share between them.

Basically the book is about the Chattopadhya mansion and its members, who have survived the devastating earthquake and how it has affected their lives in an eerie way as somewhere they have started sharing some connections with all those who have lost their lives. The book is a collection of eight short stories told from the voice of one of the family members of the Chattopadhyas. These eight stories shed light on the aspects of relations like love, envy, respect, lack of connection between the members of the family and also brilliantly blending it with the cause behind such strange occurrences that grip the Chattopadhyas.

These eight stories reveal how one or more of the family members has a brush with paranormal world and activities in first person narrative. Few of the stories will really make you sit down and think upon what you have just read! Do such thing exists? Can such things be possible? Afterall there is only a slight difference between the paranormal world and the ordinary.

The writing is gripping and crisp without any proof reading and grammatical errors. The author possesses a very strong hold over writing paranormal stories and is evident in each and every story told in the book. The narrative is endearing to say the least.

Overall: A must read for some thrilling tales of the paranormal world that for once will make you sit and think over it.

Ratings: 4/5

This review is for Flipkart Bloggers review programme. 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Author: V.Sanjay Kumar
Published by: Hachette India
Genre: General and Literary Fiction
ISBN: 978-93-5009-720-5
Price: INR 499
No.of Pages: 248

Synopsis: I hope to be remembered in this street, amongst the lame, as the husband of the one with amorous thoughts and sexy legs. 'There used to writer here in this empty house," They will say. "He had a porous mind."

A stubborn writer struggles with his stories in a city that has been encroached.

The last bastion is an urban agraharam near Mylapore where a bunch of misfits perform a strange kutcheri. Among these are existential street dogs, short-changed lovers, disgruntled housewives, runaways with bombs, veshti-wearing elders, and nihilist teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality. With a singular desire to escape, these characters visit each other's stories creating a layered narrative of loss and ennui. 

In language both gritty and humorous, and often surprisingly poetic, the author's narrative, set in the middle-class, housing -cooperative Chennai, tackles the simple conundrum of being and belonging.

Review: First things first: A beautifully designed jacket on the hard cover, very descriptive and vivid pictures that speaks something of the book. Also the list of praise for the book ranging from various magazines and newspapers to authors speaks volumes about the content in the book. Also from the contents page one can say that this book is different from the rest. A different breed altogether if I can say so.

It took me almost 5 days to complete my read and I must say I was completely exhausted reading the pages. Each page has a breath of freshness in writing that makes one go deep into the stories and ponder further. Humorous at times, poetic in between the prose, the author comes out with a writing style that is different from atleast what I've read till date if not from others.

The story is not about any Kathakali dancers probably evident from the cover but it is a story of a struggling writer based in Rainbow Colony in Chennai, who seems to be the main protagonist. The story is seen written in a haphazard manner just like putting all your life's instances into a book without any order.

There will be times when you'll question your choice of reading as it is not an easy read, leave it half way or run out of patience to read and understand various words that may be alien to you but be assured that the book when completely read, you will be rich literary wise.Because once you have generated some sort of an interest, the author makes sure that you will not leave the book till you reach the end.

The narration is one of a kind, breaking the conventional patterns of novel writing and probably a first to attempt this style of narration. The narration inspite of being not linear is very captivating to say the least.

Overall: Go, read this book for some good literary time with the magic that the author has cast upon through his writing.

Ratings: 3.5/5

This review is for Flipkart Bloggers Review Programme.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Author: Various
Published by: Half Baked Beans Literature
Compiled by: Harsh Agarwal
ISBN: 9788192648002
Genre: Fiction/Drama
No.of Pages: 252
Price: INR 175

Synopsis: Times's Lost Atlas is an anthology of eleven stories of various genre, compiled into one, to take us through the most impacting events of our lives happened during the previous decade. The book is about the events that shook the world, that shaped the world as it is now, told through a concoction of tragedy, romance, mystery and thriller, brewed to perfection to ensure a nail biting experience. 

Review: I am extremely lucky to read such a different kind of a book where stories are woven taking one significant event that has happened and shaped our world as it is now. Few of the stories are exceptional in the way that they have been told, as it gave me goosebumps and left me with many uneasy questions in my mind. 

As it is an anthology, it will be best to review the book based on each written story but without divulging the significant past event described. So here it goes:

1) Beneath by Budhaditya Bhattacharjee

This a story about an informant who gets foxed by a CIA agent for whistle blowing and gets the due punishment for it. The story is excellently told with keeping the suspense till the end. A thriller is a one that keeps you turning pages and I did kept on turning pages. The narration is perfect for generating the thrill and suspense element especially the first few paras. The story will make you ponder on a prime question and that is, How safe are the whistle-blowers all over the world? Overall: 3/5

2) The Motown Conspiracy by Sakshi Shrivastava

This is one story that completely blew me away. It is a story about a big car manufacturing company that is on the verge of bankruptcy and what role does the government play. Will the government help or it won't? The plot of the story is what I fell for; excellently narrated and a well thought of story. For once I thought, did this really happen? Such is the style of narrating. Overall: 4/5

3) The One and Only Purpose by Geetha Madhuri

I liked the novelty of the idea behind this story. The message of peace, hope is wonderfully set across with the backdrop of a significant event in the last decade. The event itself was mammoth and spectacular and so was the story and it's narration. Overall: 3.5/5

4) In The Dark by Pooja Wanpal

This is a story of a boy who is accused for an alleged murder of a very very important person who happens to be a politician. The narration is simple yet keeping me hooked till the very end. Overall: 3/5

5) The Rising by Malavika Roy

This is another story that kept me on the hook till the very end. It is a story about a journalist who goes to cover some sort of uprising in the neighboring country and gets himself into a near life ending situation. What I liked is the story especially the character of Prabhat who even in trying times and situations is concerned about the little girl. Overall: 3.5/5

6) The Filch by Namrata

This is another story that I liked for the start it gave, the characters especially of Samuel which I can easily associate to someone, the plot with just the required tinge of romance and the end. Not even for once, it did let out the suspense untill the very end. And yes, brilliant narration. Loved it. And this story also leaves with an interesting food for thought and that is : You cannot trust anyone when on an extremely important event of your life, but only yourself. Overall: 4/5

7) A Symphony of Concurrences by Vishal Bagaria

This is a story of a banker and a con man who plays a perfect heist everytime he sets out on the backdrop of another significant event of the past decade. I liked this story for it's plot, characters and the suspense it developed till the very end. Not even for once you will figure out who is playing the role of a perfect con man. Superb! Overall: 4/5

8) Pangs of Pain by Shruti Jain

This is a story which will leave you with questions on humanity, life and death, trust and with a big Why. A beautifully told story which oozes with emotions on almost consistent basis on the backdrop of a natural calamity. It is a story of a father and his two kids and their trials and tribulations, how they fight the calamity, their strength and whether they come out victorious is to be found out. Overall: 4/5

9) United We Fall by Anurag Anand

A very very brave attempt by the author on what is his first attempt at getting published. This is a science fiction with all the required jargons with a thorough research on the plot and the terminologies to be used. The story is pretty engaging and worth a read. Overall: 3/5

10) Innocents at War by Adwitiya Borah

This is also another story which will leave you with questions on the mind about humanity, caste, religion and overall The Almighty. It is a very touching story of a news reporter torn between the riots, his duties and how he saves another people and eventually comes home without losing his life. The narration is catchy and can imagine the scenes, the way it must have happened in reality. Overall: 3.5/5

11) The Victims

Talking about the events of the past decade and how can one not talk about the most thrilling and worst tragedy of mankind. It is a story of a man who has witnessed one hell of an attack which has shook him completely and how he copes up with it. A heart wrenching lines at the start and at the end makes one feel go numb. Excellently narrated with a very well thought of plot. Overall: 4/5

Overall: This is a book which will make you sit and ponder, ask questions that one cannot easily answer. I say it is a must read book for everyone who wants a slight change from their favourite genre. And I am pretty sure you won't regret. A double thumbs up for coming up with such stories and such a unique concept. Grab it ASAP.

Ratings: Do I need to say anymore apart from the above? 

P.S. Thank you Namrata for sending me this book across as I would have definitely missed something. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Horses. For many, it is just a simple animal which you love and adore to have a ride on. But for me, it is a synonym to hate and fear. Why so? Because it allowed me to see death in front of my eyes. You don't believe? Just go to Shimla and you will realize it for yourself.

We had been to Shimla on a holiday a month ago. The tour operator had their schedule fixed. So it was the time to visit Khufri which is some few kilometers away from Shimla and at some height.

The vehicle can take you till a point where there are roads but after that it is all Horses and horses. So against my wish, I did had to ride a horse uphill. But if that wasn't enough, the passage through which the horses would go was narrow and muddy due to melting of snow. And yes, it was a passage created, not a developed road. So there was this danger of horse losing the balance.

And yes did I mention that the passage was surrounded by steep open valleys on either side? And to top it the horses would walk on the edge of the passage, banging into other, overtaking and even galloping. So a slight here and there and...

But while reaching to the top the valley was barely for few minutes of our hour and half journey on the horse. So that was some respite.

We heaved a sigh of relief when we reached to the top safely.

But my heartbeats soared as we started to descend. The route taken was different this time. It was the other side of the mountain. As the sun was burning bright the snow had started melting at a quick pace. So much more danger of horse slipping.

While ascending the horses were overseen my their master who would see that they follow the path correctly and don't wander away. But as we started to descend, the master followed us initially and then left us a God's mercy, all to ourselves. Now imagine the plight of the one who doesn't know how to ride a horse. It was frightening and scary.

Amidst lots of shouts, yells of fear and anger, my horse decided it was time to explore the unchartered territory. So instead of taking his well taught off route, he conveniently slide aside, taking me down on the flat although steep ground adjacent to the valley.

And to top it, my horse didn't had that rope to guide his way or I may not have found it, being my first time on a horse. 

So cries of helplessness, anger, and all the other emotions that were running in me echoed in my ears. The horse was just a foot away from the steep sloping valley. My heart had just popped out, as I closed my eyes, thinking that it was over. 

But God said, "You have such a beautiful, loving, caring (and all the other adjectives one can imagine) wife and good amount of years left to spend with her and enjoy this life." As I saw the master taking control of the horse and guiding it to its way.

I opened my eyes after what seemed eternity.

But this constant fear of seeing death in front of my eyes will remain in me atleast for sometime if not forever.

I sincerely thank The Almighty for giving me the second lease of life to enjoy, to keep smiling and to keep spreading love.

This post is written as a part of Write Tribe Festival of Words 3 and the topic for Day 3 being Free Write

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3

Sunday, 2 March 2014

‘Common push, push hard’, bellowed Priya as she waved a caring hand over her head.

Tanya yelped out hard in agony as Priya pushed with both her hands, using hers.

The tension on Priya’s face was evident as Tanya barely had any energy left in her.

‘It’s close, pretty close. One or two more push and it’s done’, said Aachal in an affirmative tone.

Priya patted Tanya’s cheek so as to make sure she doesn’t succumb to the pain.

Tanya screamed again, pushing as much as she could along with Priya’s help and finally she was relieved as they heard the sweet cry of a baby.

‘Cut it’, said the director appreciating all of them for pulling out a fantastic and a genuine looking scene.

‘Who says acting is an easy job’, exclaimed Priya as she took a sip of her green tea. 

I am participating in Festival of Words this week and you can too. This post is written for The Write Tribe Festival of Words. Day 1 - 9 Sentence Fiction

I'm taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words -3