Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws
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I read Magpie Murders by the same author last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also enjoyed reading Moriarty before that. So, it was almost inevitable that I would pick this one up.

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Hariharan Iyer
“As she crossed the defence team, Indrani saw Sesha sitting in a chair with his legs crossed and looking cool and composed. Mythili, who was by his side, was offering him coffee from a flask. As if they were in a cinema house waiting for the movie to resume after intermission. When everything pointed to an adverse verdict, how could he be so relaxed? He was typing something into his cell phone; perhaps tweeting. He had a massive following on Twitter. It ranged from simple appreciation for his administrative prowess to absolute fetish over everything about him—his trademark cotton pants and shirt, which had become a rage among his female fans, his Santro car, which had become a symbol of simplicity and his frugal dietary habits, which somehow raised him to a sainthood and absolved him of anything wicked. The more the mainstream media like TV and newspapers worked against him, the stronger was the support he got from his Twitter followers.”
Hariharan Iyer, Surpanakha

Hariharan Iyer
“He had been facing heckles since yesterday. It was getting on his nerves. He knew he could not afford to lose his patience. Any display of anger or irritation would be construed as arrogance. His press-meet had infuriated many. Not just what he said. His tone, body language, facial expression, attitude—everything had been analysed and criticised. For some, he displayed arrogance and male chauvinism. Others felt he trampled on the freedom of expression of the media with the defamation threat. ‘Freedom of expression’ was a quaint animal in the hands of secular journalists. It stood up, bent, straightened, coiled, jumped and dived in their hands. When they wanted, it was absolute; when they did not, it had to confine itself within reasonable restraints.”
Hariharan Iyer, Surpanakha

Hariharan Iyer
“Vaishali felt flattered. “But my mother proved that no injustice was done to the girl.”
“You should not worry about that. Those in power will use all means to prove their point. They’ll make it look real, appealing, convincing. And that’s what your mother did.”
“Do you think so?” asked Vaishali eagerly.
Regina smiled as she ticked mentally the first box: Gullible.
Regina continued the conversation. “Going to the US?”
“Yes, my leave is over. I am going back to the university. In spite of whatever I did to them, my parents have agreed to pay for my overseas education.”
“What is so great about it? After all, you are their daughter and it is their responsibility to give you the right education. Indians are unnecessarily sentimental about it,” said Regina.
“Perhaps you are right…”
As Vaishali paused for a moment, Regina ticked a couple of more boxes: Ungrateful. Disdain for Indian values.
In the next few minutes, Regina ticked a few other boxes mentally: Insolent. Obstinate. Unreasonable. Unrepentant.
Regina concluded that she had identified the right candidate for the role of an activist.”
Hariharan Iyer, Surpanakha

Hariharan Iyer
“In the multi-camera TV room, one of the cameras zoomed on Vaishali. A confident Vaishali, with a determined face looked straight into the camera and said, “First let me clear up this misconception. I am not here to defend my father.” She paused for the message to sink in.
It did. Everyone now looked at her with renewed interest. What was she here for?
She continued, “I’m outraged. No doubt. Not because the media is vilifying him, but because he—my father—is vile. She, the nurse, must be what? My age? Or, a couple years older than me. And he molested her? That too, when my mother was sick and fighting for life in the next room. Chi! Nauseating.” She turned her face away from the camera as tears rolled down her eyes.”
Hariharan Iyer, Surpanakha

Hariharan Iyer
“As they passed through the exit, Indrani pulled Zarina’s stole over her head, covering half of her face. The two words—not guilty—had changed Zarina’s stature in minutes, from a relentless human rights activist to someone running for cover. They climbed down the stairs and rushed to the parking lot. Zarina’s car was in a pathetic condition—smashed windscreen, deflated tyres, broken rear view mirrors and torn upholstery. An exasperated Zarina raised her hands in utter disgust. Mob fury. Idiots, if they have won the case, let them celebrate their victory; why smash my car? The fighter in her forced Zarina to take out her cell phone and click pictures of her car from different angles.”
Hariharan Iyer, Surpanakha

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