Thursday, August 11, 2016

Second Lives

“Second Lives” by Anish Sarkar is a gripping tale of murder, emotions, friendship and relationships. Although narrated from different angles by the characters, the story progresses at a rapid pace. The story begins when three school friends, Omar, Neel and Sara get together at Sara’s plush bungalow to find further details about the death of another member of their group, Rachel, although the police had already closed the case, terming it as suicide. 


Their investigation not only re-opened the case, but went on to reveal one shocking detail after another. This was a case of a serial killer, who kills brutally for his own sadistic pleasure and yet manages to get away with it. The story swings to flashback, twelve years ago and lifts the covers off the past, which gradually add up to the present… and 75% through the book, however unwilling you may be, you would have guessed who this psychopath was.

From this point onwards, it should have been a story of tracking down the criminal and stop him before he spreads the massacre any further. However the real identity of the murderer is a big surprise!

The language is simple and easy to grasp even if you are reading while travelling or in a noisy environment. It is the narration of events that keeps you glued to the book, and you would put it down once the mission is accomplished.


Although there may be a few loose ends, and too much adult content according to me, the focus on string of deaths does not waiver, which makes the book an enjoyable read.
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Published by Westland Publishers

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mandate: Will of the People

Vir Sanghvi is a childhood name for me. I remember some of his articles vividly even today. So, when I discovered "Mandate: Will of the People", I picked it up just for the author. Being someone with absolutely zero interest in politics, sketchy ideas about various events, if someone could make me read a book on Indian politics, it has to be Vir Sanghvi.

The book starts from the days of our first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It moves through the eras, with a detached perspective, narrating facts. The account is quite brave, as it puts forward different thought processes, conspiracies, blunders and also lauds achievements of every succeeding era. The author offers his own point of view too- unafraid to call an eminent personality quite incapable at handling crisis situations.

What the book made me realize was how little I knew about Indian Politics. Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated few years after I was born - which means I've been around some time and have borne witness to many a turmoil in the political scenario. Yet, there is much I did not know. For example, who was I. K. Gujral? Or P. V. Narsimha Rao, V. P. Singh and Charan Singh? How did BJP manage to overthrow the mighty Congress, who were ruling for long? What led to the demolition of Babri Masjid (I remember the curfew that was imposed at that time.)? I had heard much about the Emergency, but neither did I know why it was imposed and what changed the scenario later - Vir Sanghvi opened my eyes in many such aspects.

India is all set to become a global super power today, having evolved from a country with slow economic growth. This book is a must read for anyone who wishes to know about the true series of events that shaped the present-day India.



  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Hunt for Kohinoor


What can you do when you are asked to solve a mystery with no clue available? And given just 96 hours flat? That too, with not only your life, but life of your father and many more at stake? Mehrunisa finds herself in such a critical situation. The odds are fiercely against her, yet she must deliver.

The Kohinoor, although a valuable diamond, has only brought doom to its owners, except for females. Documents pertaining to a terrorist attack, hidden by an assassinated President, are ironically its namesake! Mehrunisa finds clues and cleverly solves the riddle two-thirds into the book, but that is not enough! She must foil the plan - but when pitted against a jihad-motivated cruel enemy, what can she do?

The story is narrated like a film - a character is introduced at a time in completely different settings, and pieces culminate in the climax. Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, the author, keeps you on the edge of your seat as every chapter begins with the time. So you know when parallel events happen, and also helps you assess how much is left. Reading the book was an amazing experience for me, for I felt the nerve chilling tension as the clock kept ticking.

I'll give it 4 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Homing Pigeons

Do you believe in love? Then, this book is for you.

The two protagonists, Aditya and Radhika, had always been in love with each other..call it destiny, or circumstances, or sheer stupidity, move in different directions in life. 

Homing pigeons have an uncanny ability to find their soulmates... so its imperative that Aditya and Radhika would unite, even if it takes failed marriages, heartbreaks, estranged relationships and loads of time.

The setting is during the economic slowdown when Aditya loses his job. In one fateful night, his life changes - he finds a source of income, but, at the cost of morality. Radhika, in another part of the country, finds herself at a crucial juncture - she is the widow of a rich man, free to live on her own terms, now that her step daughter is married.

The book is written in an interesting style - its in first person, but the narrator is Aditya in one, and Radhika in another. So, the reader gets the perspective of both. There are times when you would wish you could scold either one of them, for thinking in the wrong direction. The story swings from the present to past, telling you about turbulent childhoods etc., bringing the reader and characters at the same platform. 

The language is surprisingly simple - and maybe because, we all are romantics at heart, you would find yourself glued to the book till you finish it. You'd draw you breath many times towards the end, when Radhika and Aditya's paths come dangerously close, but do not cross, much like a Bollywood movie.

I'll give it 3.5 stars.    

Saturday, November 16, 2013

English Bites!

Having studied in institutes that taught in English all through, I held high opinions about my grip on the language. That is, until I read "English Bites!" by Manish Gupta. 

Some of my classmates in college did not know English well, and I have seen them struggle with the language. I can identify the difficulty in studying and conversing when you do not know the language. This book starts from a similar background - it is the author's own journey from not knowing English at all to knowing the language inside out?

As children, you too may have wondered how strange a language English is - Why is CUT and PUT pronounced differently? Why is the P silent in PSYCHOLOGY? Where is the vowel in RHYTHM? Similar questions may have come to your young mind, but you had to accept these idiosyncracies and move on in life.

Manish, however, is not someone who would let go. While he learnt the language, he would dig up the etymology of each word, forms sentences or phrases to remember their meanings, finds out different ways one can use a word, what its synonyms and acronyms were, and whatever possible was there about a word!

He has compiled all his findings in this book, and narrated it in the form of a hilarious tale. There are notes and sometimes exercises for those who want to learn more. Read the book slowly, and you would enjoy it immensely. If you try to rush through it, it'll appear like an English word book. 

Unless you are a facuty or student of English, you would find in this book words you had learnt once upon a time but have forgotten due to unuse, words whose exact meaning you dont know but have guessed from the usage and words you absolutely haven't come across. Even if you are someone whose life revolves around English, there would be something in this book for you to discover!

In my childhood, my Granny used to advice me to note down new words in a copy whenever I learnt one. Needless to say, I did not do any such thing. This book appeared like a job done to me!

I will give full five stars to this book, for it achieves its purpose to the hilt. My Dad also read this book, and loved it much more than I did!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Aisle Be Damned

Are you a frequent flyer? Even if you aren't, you must have flown by any airlines from one place to another some time in your life? If you belong to any of these categories, you'd enjoy this book. And just in case you are yet to step in an aircraft, this book will get you looking forward to an airborne experience.

Rishi Piparaiya, the author, as he puts it, has a "1000 plus - flight career" across both international and national boundaries. And he is utterly bored of it. See, I may fly a couple of times in a year, and I find plane journeys predictable and don't think much about them. For a person who has flown so many times, you can imagine that he'd go crazy. And that's when he starts noticing finer details - and a compilation of his take on various aspects has evolved into this book.

For example, he advices that a passenger hopeful of being upgraded to business class from economy should be wearing an expensive jacket and look very polished waist upwards - and may even opt for shorts below, because the attendant at the check-in desk would just glance at your upper half. Rishi gives you tips about whether you should opt for a window or aisle seat, whether you should rush while getting in the airport bus, or what to say lest you be seated against celebrities.

There are some really funny parts in the book. You may have witnessed the in-flight demonstration of security aspects, but have you given a second thought to the language used? Rishi wonders why the Hindi version seems so out dated - using terms like "nishedh", "vilambh" - words no one uses in spoken language.

Read this book to learn about Rishi's experiences, and you'd find yourself grinning for most part of the book!

Bon Voyage!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Look out for "The Reckless Engineer" !


A murder takes place on the very first page. The main accused, Jack Connor, fervently denies his charges, since he was in a romantic relationship with the victim, and was expecting a child as well. But what to do, if all evidences seem to point at him?

His friend, Jeremy Stone and attorney, Harry Stavers, embark on a challenging task to unveil the true murderer. What they find unravels the reader - everyone seems to have had the opportunity and motive for this heinous act. What is more, there's some hired criminals on the loose who can kill unblinkingly if required. Relationships come in loops, loyalties and personal interests arise and seem to make the situation very complex.

This is a crime thriller that keeps you hooked till the very end. Its been in front of your eyes all the time, but you cannot pinpoint the killer. The language is gripping, and the characters are very real. Jac Wright has come with a best seller, and possession of it is an absolute must!

Unpublished at present, the book is likely to become available very soon. Look out for it!
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I had received an advance copy from the author. I was lucky!