When a lady commented to Lucky Boyce, “You are lucky today, you escaped miraculously.” Lucky simply said “I am Lucky Everyday”.
Can a name make you lu...moreWhen a lady commented to Lucky Boyce, “You are lucky today, you escaped miraculously.” Lucky simply said “I am Lucky Everyday”.
Can a name make you luckier than others??
What we get to see of Lucky’s life can never be called a lucky existence. As an outcome of her bitter divorce she was forced to flee from Mumbai to New York leaving behind a trail of bitter memories & a business which she had nurtured with her sweat & blood. She tries to start afresh in New York and starts teaching Yoga to prison inmates but the lure & passion for high adrenaline life pulls her back into a business with some old associate.
It is then that her life takes a u- turn. Life which was turning look up starts throwing unpleasant surprises on her. From getting mugged, to getting into an affair with a much married man, to being falsely implicated for a crime; she sees it all. All the while her lone strength is the learning’s from her friend Shanti. Besides the friendship of some prison inmates it is the art of seeing things in perspective and of letting go which keeps Lucky afloat.
But how long can she survive?
How will she fight her enemies when she doesn’t even know that her enemies exist?
The book moves from Calcutta to New York to Bombay and back to New York. It begins on a note of déjà vu. Falling in love, resistance at home, a workaholic couple, cheating husband, deceit & divorce but in the later part of the book the author springs a surprise on us. It isn’t a simple book of fighting for your dreams but it is a little bit more than that.
If we talk about negatives of the book there were places where I was bored especially at places where there was spiritual talk. Though the principal characters though are well etched but there are small characters which are mere caricatures & their actions unexplained. Even the ending leaves a lot for your imagination but I guess the author is looking out for a sequel.
However as a whole the writing is taut and by the time the book ends you will feel so much is encompassed in so less pages. Slowly the book catches upon you and the twist n turns make the book unputdownable. Your heart goes out for Lucky who has been anything but lucky in her life and she still shows a strength which only a woman is capable of. As is written somewhere in the book
"One does not choose this kind of life. This kind of life chooses you."
So true na?? We are mere puppets in the hand of God & destiny.
To sum it up I will consider it to be an above average book and a nice read for Time pass. (less)
This is the story of two good friends, Second Lieutenants Deepa Shekhar and Anjali Sharma who are posted at a remote army location in an all male terr...moreThis is the story of two good friends, Second Lieutenants Deepa Shekhar and Anjali Sharma who are posted at a remote army location in an all male territory & have a big task ahead. They have to prove that they are no less than their male counterparts. Is it an easy task? Not when one of them is a femme fatale.
The two friends had joined the army against their parents wish and have a lot riding on them. Lt. Deepa believes that to prove her mettle she has to be one of them however Lt. Anjali loves to use her looks to get an easy way out.
The book is their journey of proving themselves, of their ups & downs and of course of finding their soul mates.
I simply loved this book for its simplicity and the way it project women in army. The author has projected two different personalities very well and manages to drive in the point that “irrespective of gender it is the spirit that matters. What matters is what you feel for your country and the reason that has made you join army.”
There is not glamorization in the book and nor is it “I-have-been-to-the-academy” kind of book. The grim & grind that the characters go through is very projected. Every time a read a book based on Army I feel sad that I never thought of it as a career choice.
Another Chance is the tale of modern love; it is the story of Ruheen Oberoi, a beautiful & very liberated girl. Unfortunately she has never been l...moreAnother Chance is the tale of modern love; it is the story of Ruheen Oberoi, a beautiful & very liberated girl. Unfortunately she has never been lucky in love but she has no one but herself to blame for it. Not a good judge of people she falls for wrong guys, loses the only genuine relationship she had to an obsessive ex-boyfriend, marries a junkie who turns out to be a wife beater. But luck smiles her way when she meets Aditya the only guy with whom she had a genuine relationship. They start their life together but as always her bad luck follows her.
Is it her estranged husband who causes trouble?
Or was it the ambitions of Aditya to excel in professional world that causes a rift in their relationship?
Will Aditya let the relationship sour? Will he let go of the only girl that he has ever loved? Or will he try for Another Chance from her?
Well you need to read the book to know that.
As is evident by the storyline, this book is a contemporary love story and very modern take on it. It is a fast paced book which grips you from the word Go. The characters are all well etched and contemporary. The part of the book where Aditya looses himself in the web of work is something which is very identifiable. Too busy in coping with work pressure, work related travelling leaving the relationships very vulnerable.
I liked the book for its pace & the light manner in which it has been written. But there were things with which I couldn’t relate, specially the way Ruheen moved out of one relationship into the other, the fact that she only had a grandparent (who pampered her) was too convenient a situation for me because that became the ticket which allowed her to do anything she wanted. I couldn’t relate with ease with which she moved into a live in relationship and the pregnancy out of marriage, maybe I am too conventional but I couldn’t adjust to the idea as the book is based in India. But hey, who am I to question the author’s perspective because at the end of the day it is his story and he has all the rights to keep it the way he wants. And all is well if the story is well told and entertaining which the case with this book is for sure!
Here I must add that I had reviewed Ahmed’s first book and I must say that in this book he shows a leap of growth as a writer. Kudos for that :)
All in all a good time pass read, there will be parts with which one can relate to.
The best way to describe this book is to quote this line from the Publisher’s note
“Urban Shots is a collaborative effort, pulled together from writers...moreThe best way to describe this book is to quote this line from the Publisher’s note
“Urban Shots is a collaborative effort, pulled together from writers of diverse backgrounds, who live in different parts of the country.”
To the above line I would add “it is a collection of contemporary stories which are immensely relatable & are a slice out of our own lives.”
Grey Oak publishers, is an endeavor to support Indian writings and going by their first Short Stories collection I am sure this publishing house is here to stay. I was offered to write a story for this collection but my motherly duties kept me away and trust me after reading the book I regretted not taking out time because it would have been a proud moment for me to be a part of this lovely book.
Yes, I loved this collection and coming from me that is a big thing because I avoid picking up short stories collection as I have experienced that not all stories in a collection are of same level and once my interest wavers it is difficult for me to finish the book.
However Urban Shots broke that myth for me because each story of this collection is worth a read and more. The book is sectioned into a range of human emotions – Relationships, Love, Friendship, Angst & Longing. Of the whole collection the stories that stood out for me were
“The Right Thing to Do” by Paritosh Uttam, the story of a chief justice who has very clear ideas about the rights, the wrongs & the ethics of life, society & justice but does he follow & apply the same ethics in his life? I loved the way the author has put forward the irony of contemporary lives in this 3 pager story. The story reflects the we-are-all-talks-but-no-action attitude of present generation quite well. If I had to rate this story it would get 5 on 5 from me.
“Just Average” by Malathi Jaikumar is the story of lady Shashikala who leads a very average life & in her own words she has never done anything noteworthy in life. Been working for years, travelling the same route same train forever but one evening this average looking lady did something which made her different. She reacted!!! This is one story which should be read by every woman because we always believe that we are plain normal but the fact is we are not & we have it in us to react but we need a push for it. Excellent story!
“Apple Pies and a grey sweater” by our blogging friend Prateek Gupta tells us the story of a couple who share a lovely bond of friendship & it takes some shocks to make them realise that what they share is actually something more than friendship. Loved the story for the fact that I could relate to it also loved the narration.
Then there is “Love…in a fast lane” by Ahmed Faiyaz which tells us the story of a young independent working girl for whom love is just a ladder or rather an opportunity. I am sure each of us has met a girl like her.
Then there is Trial & Error by Naman Saraiya & Effacing Memories by Paritosh Uttam, each of these stories (the ones that I have mentioned here & the ones I haven’t) are screaming to be read. They sometimes show you the mirror & sometimes reflect the present state of society & people.
It’s a collection which is worth every penny.(less)
Alternating between past & present Truly, Madly, Deeply tells us the story of Rahul who is currently based in Philadelphia. Out there for his stud...moreAlternating between past & present Truly, Madly, Deeply tells us the story of Rahul who is currently based in Philadelphia. Out there for his studies, Rahul is shown as a brooding but intelligent guy who isn’t bothered about niceties of life around him; he has more important things on his mind as he can’t keep his mind off Seema i.e. his past.
Through Rahul’s brooding we are transported to Mumbai. He was the most popular guy of his class (he is good looking & brilliant as well) and was attracted towards Seema, his junior. She is the most popular & beautiful but shy girl of her batch. They don’t realise how this attraction crosses the line of love & they fall for each other. The magic of their relationship is such that they never confess their feelings but let their actions speak.
The author takes us through the journey of this innocent but young, immature & yet-to-be-confessed love with an expertise. The setting in the school & the way Rahul & Seema conduct their affair will surely remind you of your school days. While I was reading the book I remembered the crush I had on a school mate & how I used to believe that he was “looking only towards me” :D sigh! The innocence of love.
But like every other love story this one too has it’s share of villains in the form of jealous classmates, the desire to flaunt love in front of every one, insecurities, lack of trust, misunderstandings, ego et. al. will Rahul & Seema’s love overcome these barriers or will it be another incomplete love story? You need to read the book to know more.
Truly, Madly, Deeply is a fast paced book which keeps you glued till the last page. What left me dissatisfied was the same old “Bollywoodish” flavor of the book. Though Rahul is a young lad but in the beginning of the book he has been described the way heroes are described in a Mills & Boon novel. I could also not connect with his obsession for the girl; I mean he is just a teenager how could he fall in love so deeply that he had to leave country to concentrate on his studies? The guy has been depicted as too mature for his age. Another thing that I couldn’t fathom was the way Rahul used teachers for his love and the way teachers helped him. Am sorry but that was quite beyond me.
Leaving all that aside the book is a good time pass read and falls in the category of read it forget it types. What works in the favor of the book is its pace & the fact that we all can relate to it at one point or other. I also loved the sweetness & innocence of the relationship shared between the protagonists. The author should be given credit for the way he builds up the ending of the book. Despite the beginning of the book (with the guy sad & depressed) you will want to know what happens next, will Rahul woo back Seema or not is the question which remains in your mind as you turn pages. Isn’t that a marking of a good author? Waiting to read more from Faraaz Kazi, for a debutant this Truly is a good book of a Mad Deep love. Young readers will surely relate to the book & us oldies will surely reminisce old times while reading it.
When I had received a mail from somebody from Hachette India asking for my mailing address (to send a book), I was apprehensive on two counts. It is u...moreWhen I had received a mail from somebody from Hachette India asking for my mailing address (to send a book), I was apprehensive on two counts. It is usually the author who contacts me for sending a review copy & mostly there is a build up about the book before a request for a review comes in. In the case none of the two happened and after a few mail exchanges “Bangalore Calling” was on my desk. The cover was attractive & the blurb on the back page promising. Hachette India had sprung a surprise on me.
Bangalore Calling is a collection of 15 interconnected stories with Callus, a call centre based in Bangalore being the focal point. Handsome salary, quick bucks, minimal qualification, a close association with US are some of the things which attract youngsters to Callus and if looked at closely there are so many stories waiting to be told. The author uses the opportunity and introduces us to a bunch of characters who are as different as chalk & cheese.
Yvette an Anglo Indian trainer in Callus, her job is to make the new joinees as American as an average American but her own heart isn’t in it. She can not accept the ease with which her trainees forget their own culture & the speed with which they are adopting Americanism.
Bitty has come out of a modest middle class home, her father is an Ayurvedic doctor & Mother a housewife. Few encounters with the most happening trainer of Callus changes her life. Low waist jeans, expensive perfume, jewelry & last but not the least Shopping malls becomes her life and she falls into the vicious circle of credit cards & their bill. Bitty reaches that level of her life where she starts believing that her own parents are her biggest enemy & contemplates moving out. Will she survive the ups & downs of her life?
Then there is the story of the CEO of Callus & his predicaments. He wants the shortcut to success and is unable to digest the fact that the mouse of his batch (during the college days) is one of the most successful businessmen of the country. He leaves no stone unturned to emulate his success but is set to receive a huge shock. Will he survive the shock & make the best of it or will he succumb to it?
Each of the stories is a slice out of life around us. Have you ever wondered about the female housekeeping staff in your office? They all come in a flock wearing saree, bangles and everything traditional associated with an Indian woman but as soon as they enter the work premises they are transformed with most of them wearing trousers (something that they would never wear at home). Do they get lured by the precious stuff like lipstick; jewellery and other cosmetics et al that people like us leave in the washrooms? Rani’s story delves into this very issue. A toilet cleaner at Callus, every night she comes from the slums and her life transforms. She starts believing that she is different from her flock of people & starts striving for things beyond her means. Will she realise her dreams or will reality chase them down?
After a long time I have read a book from an Indian author which delves into issues beyond - love life, BFFs, college issues etc. Bangalore Calling is a mature book which takes us through different socio economic strata’s. The author gives us a good view of people inside a call center & she does it in a way that you never get the “I-have-read-it” vibes. Be it the drivers or the toilet cleaners or the admin manager with an old PSU style of functioning & his clash with the thinking of the present generation, it is all and more there in the book.
The writing is simple yet a notch better than the present crop that we have been churning out in dozens. Different yet interconnected stories, the book as a whole manages to keep us in a grip, with all the stories joining at a point and then moving ahead in different directions, leaving us with a lot of fodder to contemplate upon. How far is the fast money good for a generation of people who lack the maturity needed to handle it? Is it fair that on one hand we expect them to learn & live a different culture for 12hrs of their day and yet expect them to stay away from it? Have many more questions but will save them for other day.
A worthy book, delving into contemporary corporate culture & issues. If you have worked in a call center you will find many things to relate with & people like me who have not worked in a call center will very easily relate to the corporate practices!!! I would say that it is one of the good books coming out from the shelf of Contemporary Indian Authors, a polished work.
Set on a ship, Love on the Rocks is a murder mystery seen through the eyes of Sancha. Newly Wedded to Aaron a merchant navy sailor, she joins him on t...moreSet on a ship, Love on the Rocks is a murder mystery seen through the eyes of Sancha. Newly Wedded to Aaron a merchant navy sailor, she joins him on the ship; Sea Hyena expecting adventure & romance.
The idle life changes for Sancha when a huge stash of money is stolen from the captain’s room. All alone & with loads of time on her hand she tries to unravel the mystery of the theft but ends up discovering that the accidental death which had happened 20 days before her joining the ship was actually a murder. A little prodding and she knew that there was more than what meets the eyes.
The ship is full of colorful characters like the Captain Popeye (infamous for his temper & porn movie collection), 1st Engineer Harsh Castillo (who is fighting his own demons of a divorce & an alleged violent behavior) & then there is Baldy, a fresh cadet (who was tortured & humiliated time & again by his seniors). Each of them has a motive & is a suspect for Sancha but when the clues she has implicate even her hubby Aaron she doesn’t know whom & what to trust.
Will she find the murderer & the thief or would she end up being the victim? Read the murder mystery to know more.
Narrated from the point of view of each character the book makes for an interesting read. It gives us an insight of what each suspect is thinking but the author leaves you hanging with suspense at precisely the right point. It is however the voice of Manna which you would really like to unravel.
Manna first appears in the prologue which sets the tone of the book. Without revealing much I will only say that after reading the prologue you will feel that Manna is your guy but which character is Manna is on you to guess and I must say that the debutant author has managed to keep the suspense quite well which is no mean feat :-) She give out enough hints to keep you glued to the book.
Well written & well paced the author has enough twists & turns up her sleeves to keep you guessing. I consider myself good at solving murder mysteries had my own suspect but the twists & turns ensured that I couldn’t guess the murder.
The book comes with its downsides, after building the scenario quite well the point where the culprit is revealed was a let down for me because of mainly two reasons. One, it was quite hurried & two, the motive not so convincing. The ending of the book is again an open ended one & if you know me you know that I have my own reservations on it. I need a closure especially when it is a murder mystery. Another issue that I had was with the frequent stitching over from formal names to the nick names of the characters, but I guess I should blame my memory for that ;-)
All in all it was a good time pass masala read for a rainy day. Pick it up when you are travelling, time will fly while you are reading this. A good murder mystery to have come out of the nest of Contemporary Indian Authors which is a rarity.(less)
The line kind of sets the tone of the book. Siya (in her early teens) speaks...moreThe book begins with these ominous lines
I, Siya Seth, committed suicide.
The line kind of sets the tone of the book. Siya (in her early teens) speaks to us after her death and unravels the mystery surrounding her.
Born & brought up in a rich & affluent family, Siya has everything in life that a kid could ask for & sometimes more than that. What she doesn’t have is peace of mind. Considered to be rude, brash & unfriendly Siya lives in her own world. She is guarding a dirty secret. The secret compels her to be the way she is, a loner. Over protective towards her best friend Reva as she doesn’t want her to go through what she has gone through, she is often misunderstood. She makes an effort to live a lifelike other girls of her age and ends up dating a much older guy; a recipe to disaster.
She loves her Mom & is ready to do anything to see her smile, even if that means not sharing the dirty secret. Scared that she will lose her mother she never tells her about the sexual abuse she has to bear through the hands of the beast i.e. her father.
The abuse which started when she was just 8 and continued for couple of years has left her shattered & bitter for life. A life which she decides to end.
The author has picked up a very sensitive issue for her debut novel. Narrated mostly by Siya & sometimes through the eyes of her friends & Mom the book takes it’s time to create the character of Siya who is considered to be eccentric by people around her.
The author builds up the character quite well and makes us love, hate & sympathize with Siya. Like all CSA victims Siya too doesn’t realise the enormity of the situation. What she knows is whatever is happening to her is not right.
The abuse portions are written well and will give you goose bumps. There is a portion where the father is trying to blackmail the girl (she has failed in her exams and is scared to tell that to her mom) and is luring her to do unthinkable things, here is an excerpt
‘Have it baby..I won’t tell her that you failed. Come. Come closer…’
‘Let’s tell mom that I failed.’
‘Baby… don’t be scared…I am not giving you a therapy. You simply have to suck the lollipop….’
‘Let’s tell mom that I failed.’…..
And the facade continues, the girl kept saying she is ready to bear all consequences but the father makes her do what he intends to. Your heart will go out for the innocent little girl and you would want to kill the father who otherwise is one of the most celebrated lawyers in the city.
As have said earlier the topic chosen is sensitive & some of the portions well written but what could have been a very good novel remains an average novel thanks to the shoddy editing. There are a plenty of spelling mistakes & grammatical errors. I always feel that anything that is being published on such a large scale should have some class but sadly the book lacks that.
What goes right for the book is that it has its heart at right place and the debutant author tells us the story which many of us have went through (as was proven in the CSAAM initiative). If nothing else the book creates awareness about the issue and captures the psyche of the victim quite well. It is a book which will give you enough goose bumps & will surely leave you disturbed. Disturbed with the thoughts that how can a father something like this and still live a peaceful life. Read the book to know that not all CSA victims do not scrape through.
I just wish that the publishing house pays more attention to the quality of stuff being published. There is no point printing books in ten to dozens if you can not maintain quality.
Sanchit, our protagonist is on a low in his career and is dead sure that this appraisal would see the end of him. It is then that he receives an invit...moreSanchit, our protagonist is on a low in his career and is dead sure that this appraisal would see the end of him. It is then that he receives an invitation to join “Progress in Work Collectives, a mysterious organization aiming to save “work” from the four letter curse that it has become. In their own words “they are a guild of organizational behavior scientists who run an invisible initiative to put the organization’s staff at the centre of its strategy.”
His curiosity takes him to Turkey for the induction as the core member of the guild. The membership though comes after a process of selection. Post the training when he resumes work he sees a major shift there. Things are no more the way they were before he had left. There has been a major recoup; the old autocratic boss who had sidelined the MD of the company had been ceremoniously thrown out by the MD’s daughter & Pause. Pause a Keralite by birth & is Sanchit’s only sounding board in the company. A woman of exception intelligence has lot more on her plate than she shows off.
The new management introduces drastic measures to correct the wrongs in the factory which snowballs into a political matter all thanks to the local MLA. What happens next and how the deadlock is solved forms the crux of the story.
If I have to describe this book in few words then it would be “Corporate Thriller.”
A corporate thriller which takes its time to get down to the business but once it does it leaves you thoroughly satisfied. The book grabs your attention with the word go. The entire concept of having an organization to fight the evils of corporate world is something very appealing though the way it has been put in is a tad unbelievable. The initial pages keep you hooked but at the same time make you wonder where the story is leading to.
The author takes us to Turkey for Lazuli Playshop for the protagonists induction in the guild, creates all the suspense & hype and then leave it hanging in the middle by saying
"For those who enjoy the journey as much as the destination, and like to get off the main road into alleys, I would like to direct you at this point to a separate report published as a booklet. It details how the game Karmaderie Layers panned out at Lazuli…."
After this points begins the Part II of the book which makes you wonder the need of Part I. the only purpose that it served was that of increasing the confidence of Sanchit but then the author could have had a protagonists who was full of confidence from the word go. But as is said every author has a different story to tell and since this is Arjun’s story let me not question his view.
Part II of the book makes for a wonderful read. The corporate games, the interference of the political goons, Sanchit & Pause’s love story (yes there is one) et. al. The way author weaves the story around the deadlock is worth a read. Another striking thing about the book is the characterization. Each character is created in such a manner that you either like them or hate them you surely will not be indifferent to them.
The best part of the book is its last 30-40 pages; the climax has been build well and leaves you with a high. I have always believed that a good book begins well & ends well and A Flawed God surely satisfies me on both accounts.
Final word, a must read for its unique subject & for the fact that it talks about corporate culture in an intelligent & entertaining manner. It is not one of those corporate satires which many Indian writers have been coming up with. The book goes beyond that level and sets a benchmark for upcoming books.(less)
Vineet is our quintessential boy, working for an imminent IT firm and loving the job. He keeps doing the routine job with a hope that one day he will c...moreVineet is our quintessential boy, working for an imminent IT firm and loving the job. He keeps doing the routine job with a hope that one day he will crack through an MBA institute and move out for a better prospect. His dream comes true and he chucks everything to pursue the degree which he felt would give him freedom. He moves back to his hometown Delhi to pursue his MBA degree but fate had decided something else for him. A chance encounter with a local cricket team made him live the dream which he was scared to follow. After few hiccups he has a dream run and is in the process of being selected for the Delhi T 20 teams but that means chucking the MBA degree. What will Vineet Do? Will he achieve his ultimate dream of wearing the national jersey? Will he live the dream? Or will he get close to touching it & then forgetting it forever? Read the book to know more. My Verdict The book is a racy read and starts off well. I could easily relate to the feelings & attitude of Vineet towards his workplace. But the easy way with which Vineet starts achieving everything was kind of unbelievable for me and that was the part which didn’t work for me. My other grouch with the book is the bollywoodish flavour. However as far as readability, plot, pace etc. are concerned the book is bang on. You will relate to the characters, you will feel happy when the protagonist goes through the highs & lows in his career, love et al. All in all a one sit light read. I wish the author had spent some more time developing the plot instead of taking the convenient route of being bollywoodish. My Rating 2.75/5(less)