Monday, October 27, 2014

Morning...



Her eyes opened to a precariously dim lit room. She wakes with a jolt and stands, still unsteady from her slumber maybe. A sharp pain in her back and her sore eyes remind her, she had slept on the cold carpet yesterday. Her body still in grip of the sleepy inertia; she settles back on the oddly fresh rug and looks at the vacant room for some time. She fiddles with her hair wondering about the cold. There has been a weird lingering cold all over the place lately. Her bright and lively house seems to have given in to the cold, as it gives her the chills too. It is morning but still feels like there are hours left for the sun to wake from its own nap.
She finally gathers herself, for there is work to be done. Her children are off for a walk with her husband she figures. They didn’t wake her up? Killian didn’t wake her up? They did have a fight last night but it was unlike Killian to not come and sleep next to her in the middle of the night and wrap his protective arms around her. His warmth could take this cold away. But guess he was more angry than usual this time. Pancakes and espresso! That would bring the smile back on his face. She briskly walks towards the kitchen, the pain still refusing to subside from her frozen bones.
The carafe hazes with steam, ready with the boiling coffee and she languidly glances at the wet cobblestone. The pancakes are ready too, but her joyous troop has still not returned from the stroll. She opens the front door, stands on the porch; worry taking over, hollowing her somehow. Where are they? She wonders but soon her pensive trance is broken by nature. She notices the delightfully green grass pepping out of the white sheet slowly. The pancakes!
She finally manages to shake off the fear from her mind. They will be reaching any moment now, she thinks. Her children would be hungry. Killian, he loves her, he can’t be angry for so long and she has to make amends this time. It was her fault but only now that she thinks about the last night she can’t recall the reason behind the fight.
She hurriedly arranges the table. The pancakes, the maple syrup, the coffee pot all there, but her family is missing. She rushes inside the kitchen to fetch the box of Chocos for Marie. How did she forget that? Marie needs her chocolate filled milk every day first thing in the morning. How did she forget? She almost runs out with the box and a jug of hot milk and settles down on a dinning chair, tired and panting; the pain - more than she could bear now.
They are all there! Eating, giggling, enjoying; and so is she. She can see them, but not feel. The chill is growing with the day, and she knows now why. They are never coming, at least not to her. She exists but not as herself. She stares blankly at her own black eyes and the devil sneers. She is forced to watch her family; her Killian, her Marie and her Dan. They eat something in which, only she can see - blood, her blood with the devil flavor now. The devil is feeding them her blood! She runs towards the mirror right across the table, the mirror through which she was pulled into this grey cold world and the devil smiles at her.

“Marie, Honey, Mama loves you; now eat fast!” Is the last thing she hears before her new world echoes with ‘It is Time’.

P.S. - Photo Google!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Review: God is a Gamer


Book: God is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanium
ISBN: 9780143421399
Pages: 310 
Ratings: 4/5
Price: 299

Something about the book: (Goodreads)
Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a highrise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai.

Enter Varun, parttime drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into he shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions—drugs, sex and money. God Is a Gamer culminates in a stunning climax where money means nothing, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

Pop quiz – What happens if you have not read a good book for months?
Ans – You are literally going through literary withdrawal and would get high with even a small insignificant dose of good fiction.
Of late, I have been reading some really ‘not upto the mark’ books (totally my fault!) So when Blogadda sent me God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanium for review, my expectations were below the zero mark but it had me from the very start - the prologue! The story starts with an intense conversation, between two corporate honchos, regarding Wikileaks. The story rushes straight into action with an explosion and from there on the book doesn’t really have any drop points. The story moves with parallel plots in multiple cities including Mumbai, Washington DC and Goa. Characters range from S senators, to Heads of Banks and Mastercard and Visa to drug dealer cum gaming genius and many more. The death of a US Senator was what sets the pace of the book but is not the only one and the way the story is weaved with phishing issues, Bitcoins and world financial drama is what makes it impossible to keep the book down.
Pros :
1.   Plot – When you use Wikileaks and Bitcoins in the initial pages and do a damn good job at it, half the battle is won. And when you get large plotlines together with such ease and in a convincing way, it means you can pat your back. The plot is not only intriguing, it is written in simple yet in a very engaging fashion.
2.   Characters – One of the major issues with thrillers with a lot of characters is readers tend to lose track of the characters and a lot of times some characters and under used or just appear as fillers. But with the short chapters and the constant plot swings of God is a Gamer, it is hard to lose track of the characters. And each one is important, or at least that is what I felt.
3.  Well Researched Matter – The content is not only fresh but is very well researched making it an enjoyable read.
4.  Ending – Oh didn’t I fall for the pseudo ending and say seriously before I got the mild attack! *Have said too much already!*
Cons :
1.   Logical Loopholes – Data transfer from a system that is shut down, that too cause of a malware! Is that even possible? There are quite a few logical loopholes but this one stood out glaringly for me (an IT professional). Another one was the phishing attacks – don’t they need cell phone access for the one time password or something? How do Account ID and Password give you total access of the account?
2.  Ending – Yes, I liked the fact that I almost fell for the pseudo ending, but the actual ending was a bit unrealistic for me to digest.


Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would give it a 4 on 5. The book would make a lot of readers hit Google for atleast a couple of hours. It is fast paced and fresh and totally justifies its sub genre of Banking Thriller. And this is confession time – after reading this book I realized what I have been missing for months. Totally recommending the book!

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Review - Me, You & Of Course Love



Book: Me, You & Of Course Love
Author: Himanshu Chauhan
ISBN: 9781630417772
Pages: 266 
Ratings: 3/5
Price: 150

Something from the book: (Nothing really stood out so it is going to be the blur this time)

"Every love story has something extraordinary in it."Well, it was a myth for Himanshu till he met Ishika online. Ishika is a nurse from Mumbai. But love comes with a "conditions apply" tag. Six years age difference, career & different cultures.
Anusha, is a girl who wears her heart on her cheeks rather on her sleeves. She was the little "extra" in Hims extraordinary love story. From her vodka to his favourite website they always share a little "extra"and become best friends.
Himanshu's career is on stake as he plans to destroy Ishika's marriage. Would he be able to save his love? Would he be able to get out of the best friend-zone?
A tale of love, emotions, betrayal and much more. It's not a cliched love story but a story they had both dreamt of.
For every new comer in the storytelling kingdom these days, Romance serves as the scrutiny free, immigration free gate and same is the case with Himanshu Chauhan, whose debut novel Me, You & Of Course Love was sent to me by BlackBuck publications for review. The story is of Hims aka Himanshu who falls in love with Ishika, a nurse from Mumbai and their roller coaster ‘something extra’ love story. The issue with Ishika and Himanshu was – A. Age difference of 6 years (Hims has a thing for a smart older lady); B. Career and Cultural difference C. Anusha. Anusha is Himansh’s best friend but not his love – so you can imagine! The story goes from simple love to full swing drama zone with Himanshu’s plans to wreck Ishika’s marriage. And then there is the side kick best friend zoned story line.

Pros –
1. Narration – The flow helps a reader connect well with the story.
2. Last Chapter – Glad it did not end with an over the top incident. The last chapter sums p the whole books feel pretty well.
3. Relatable characters – The characters of the story are people we would easily find around us, hence you tend to get in the tone of the story.

Cons –
1. Nothing New – The story is not a fresh one, nor is it the best version of this typical storyline.
2. Editing - There are so many places in the book where you feel 'this bit was not needed'. Grammar needs polishing, content needs brushing up and story needs to be crisp.


The story seems to go with a Chetan Bhagat flow with pages out of My Best Friend’s Wedding, Mere Yaar Ki Shaddi hai and many more. But the end of this total Bollywood material is on a very subtle human note. The story is nothing new and has been told and retold in a million ways before, but the book still somehow is refreshing and light for a one time read on a lazy day. I would rate this perfect chick-lit a 3 on 5. 

P.S.- This book was given to me by BlackBuck Publications for review and the review is completely my own view about the book.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Out Of Denial


Flying blind in the realms of darkness
Is a soul so torn, lost in madness;
But denial is the citadel she has built for herself
Refusing to let go of her decimated self.

Rendition of life, ripples of past
All have some dark spell cast;
Luring her to a sparkling Mangata,
Feeding on her grieving platter.

But torn she is, not defeated yet
Unknown to all, she has now put a self-bet.
Breaking the walls of denial with a sneer
She now wanders to find acceptance’s lair.

Hath no power like a scorned woman

How dark would she be, once out of the gloomy den?

-Vaisakhi Mishra

Monday, September 29, 2014

Who Told Men Not To Cry - Book Review


Book: Who Told Men Not To Cry?
Author: Azar
ISBN: 9781630414306
Pages: 249 
Ratings: 2/5
Price: 150

Something from the book:
It gave me the happiness
It gave me the pain

When a book starts with wrong grammar, you know for sure it is going to be a disaster and same was the condition of ‘Who told men not to cry?’, by Azar. The story is of a boy with adjustment issues. Raj the protagonist of the book belongs to a middle class family and is termed unlucky from the very start because the day he was born, his father suffered a loss in business. The book then moves on to his school life where for Raj the whole world revolves around his friends, teachers and ‘his girl’ aka Keerthi his love interest.
 He was a topper and was loved by all till class tenth but life took a turn (like it does for everyone) when he had to shift to high school. That is when his real struggle started as he had to face the consequences of not being a topper – no more the apple of his teachers’ eyes, no more genuine and trust worthy friends and no more ‘his girl’. Raj then works hard and tries to overcome his adjustment issues in order to sustain the pressures of High School but one of his biggest concerns is if he will get ‘his girl’ back.

Pros –
1.   Funny moments and light jokes in the book keep you going to some extent.
2.  The end – For a book with a very week plot to end in a funny satisfying end, it is a big thing. I liked the quirky poem in the end.

Cons –
1.   Grammar – A full length novel that starts with – “My son, it’s again you are going to be late to your college,” shouted my mom as I was busy singing in my bathroom. – gives you the picture of the book and takes the rating of 5 straight down to 3. (Sorry I am a Grammar Nazi)
2.  Raj’s Character sketching – Why does Raj call his friends mothers mom? And how does a flirtatious guy become teachers’ favourite by literally being cheesy and flirting with them? Also Raj hardly ever talks about his own family; his friends’ families have been given more importance in the book than his own mother and sister.
3.  My Girl! – Keerthi is her name. I found myself saying this God knows how many times in the 3 hours I took to finish the book. The author addresses his girlfriend as my girl almost everywhere. It gave the book very non – bookish feeling.

The story seems like ranting of a teenage boy and the storyline is not something an avid reader would enjoy. This book is the debut of the 20 year old author, Azar; and for his age it is a decent work but as a book or story it is a big failure.  Unfortunately the book needs a hell lot of editing and serious revision in case of grammar. Except for the end – atleast it was realistic, tragic yet funny, I personally didn’t enjoy the book much. Might be a onetime read for many but I wouldn’t pick the book again. 

P.S.- This book was given to me by BlackBuck Publications for review and the review is completely my own view about the book.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Of Course, We are Best Friends : Book Review


Book: Of Course, We are Best Friends!
Author: Sonia Bansal
ISBN: 9781630412920
Pages: 200 
Ratings: 3/5
Price: 140

Something from the book:
A bond so strong
A longing so necessary
A feeling so precious

Here is one of the biggest advantages of travelling for almost 4 hours a day – You can finish a book! Yes recently I have finished 2 such books and this is the first of the two. ‘Of Course, We are Best Friends!’ by Sonia Bansal is a short and sweet tale of friendship and love. The story revolves around the protagonists Aditi and Aditya who are classmates in school. Even at the young age, and with absolutely no idea about the depth of the emotion named love, Aditya falls for Aditi. Aditi being, the free spirited girl, though naïve in her thoughts is more rational than Aditya and feels young love is nothing more than infatuation. Soon they become best buddies and are the target of every Tom Dick and Harry in their friend circle. Teasing, helping, making random jokes slowly pulls them towards each other and very soon they start dating each other.
Their love blossoms in school against all rationalities but fails with the first real challenge they have to face - long distance relationship in college. They meet after some years but the awkwardness of past haunts them. Aditya being more involved than Aditi, fights with every inch of his will to let go of the weirdness and in the end the friends do make a decision, saving their friendship from the dark clouds of immature love.

Pros:
1.   Point of views – The author gives you the point of view of both the protagonist throughout the story. The way the story is written is refreshing and keeps you going.
2.  Narration – Simple and effective, just like reading your regular day to day diary. Something light like every tired book person would want after a hectic day.

Cons:
1.   Nothing new – We hear these things, we know these things, and Durjoy Dutta and Chetan Bhagat have made sure we read these things too. There is nothing to take away from the story, nor does it leave you with a long lasting feel good effect.
2.  Editting – It is very important for a book to be free of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes cause if the reader is like me, it breaks the flow and gets irritating.


Over all it is a onetime read for sure, but that is all it is. It is a book you would pick to refresh yourself. When I got this book to review from the publishers, I thought it would be the same as any random teenage love story book these days and wasn’t wrong; but having said that it was a refreshing read thanks to the narration and the point of view writing style. To let go of the heavy life and hold a mirror at simplicities, that we seem to have forgotten these days, teenagers included. I would give the book a 3 on 5 rating and would really want the author to try some new and different genre because she sure shows the flair of storytelling in this book. The book manages to break the illusion that a girl and a boy can always be good friends but in a very conventional way. I would have enjoyed it more, had the story explored unconventional track to explore the emotions. For people who love chick flicks and teenage romance, this book is surely something you will enjoy.

P.S.- This book was given to me by BlackBuck Publications for review and the review is completely my own view about the book.

A Passionaate Gospel of True Love : Book Review


Book: A Passionaate Gospel of True Love
Author: Poonaam Uppal
ISBN: 9788192105
Pages: 1084 
Ratings: 3/5
Price: 595

Something from the book:

"I would wash your path with my tears of plea
My eyes are fixed on the road that brings you to me
Beholding the ocean of love in your eyes"


Shrouded by myths and reality, A Passionaate Gospel of True Love by Poonaam Uppal, is the journey of an ambitious Indian girl Moh Lal. The story moves through the corridors of glamour and desire as Moh has her mind set on becoming an internationally acclaimed Fashion Designer. And destiny lets her wallow in her yearnings too, until one day when not only it deceives her desire but changes her course all together. Moh gets a premonition, a sign from Goddess Durga that she would meet her ancient lover in 1997 and that sets her on the path of finding her true love.
The story takes you National to International and back and makes you her unseen companion through her journey which is donned by Deja vu, divine interferences, premonitions, idiosyncratic occurrences and past birth revelations. The journey makes her a believer of love, beyond the sexual and artificial meaning people have accepted for the word these days. And also leads her to misty terrains of Himalayas for a cryptic secret waiting to be unveiled.

Pros :
1.   Narration – The flow is such that it makes you feel you are reading a diary and keeps you intrigued about the next incident always.
2.  Descriptions – If one thing every reader would cherish in this book (whether the book is of his/her type or not), it is descriptions. They were intricate, vivid and literally pen painted every page of the book in front of you.
3.  The Himalayan and Khajuraho sections – Can’t reveal much here, but I really liked these bits and yes the book has pictures too!

Cons :
1.   Autobiography – Fact that it was an autobiography kept me distracted for a very long time. And I have to be frank and accept; only when I started reading it as a random novel did I enjoy tits and bits of it.
2.  Love Messiah – Moh to Messaih, the story I still can’t digest. Kama Sutra and Love the holiest of the religions! I don’t really believe any god would preach religion. They or their messiah preached principles and way of life and people segregated them in religions. If Moh really was dragooned by her destiny set by Ma Durga , Love can’t be the religion.
3.  Over exaggerated events. – Sorry, again it is a read to know more con, but I found that ruining the flow.
4. Grammar and Punctuation - The book is some serious need of revision where grammar and punctuation are considered. Repetitions and random sentences going on and on. For a 1084 page book, these factors do matter. It gets annoying!


The book is apparently the autobiography of the author, but I went on reading is as some fantasy novel and it had many sections where I felt the situations and happenings were gonzo incidents. And my review too is totally for the book as a novel and not an autobiography.  Nevertheless the flow of the book is such that it feels like you are reading someone’s diary and surely by the end of it, it leaves you with a new thought about love; a more mature and to be pondered upon thought. I would give this book a 3 star on 5 because I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptions else would have been a 2.5 for the content. Even though the story felt dragged it did make a sense and most of the points were tied up. It was a onetime read for me, given the fact that I don’t usually enjoy books related to romance and love. But for all the lovers out there, who knows this might be your kind of book.

P.S. This book was given to me for review by @share_books . The review is completely my own view and is unbiased. I do not intend to hurt anyone's feelings with my views but review is purely for the benefit of my readers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lost


Wisp of darkness looms around,
Stealing the dusk off the ground;
While lost in reminiscence of the day past by
She gazes aimlessly at the starless sky.

Fiddling with her old rusty locket,
Stretched she lies, on a verdant bed.
Alone she was from the very start
But least she wanted to be this world’s part.

The descant of people fading leaves her pondering deep,
While a surging familiar loneliness takes her by a sweep.
Yes: she walks, smiles and talks just like she always did,
But little by little, piece by piece she only faced defeats.

Strong and bold, but hollowing so;
Tranquility lost with every blatant blow.
Innocence of spirit to grow and fuse
But virtue lost in this disdain deluge.

All she wanted - to be one of them
A pawn she remained in this wicked game.
A dam of endurance now broken all,
Floods the smile of this porcelain doll.

She braces herself for a sleepless night
And witnesses the fading silver light;
Again she rides high on her daily lies
Orphan she was always, but now she cries.


-Vaisakhi Mishra

P.S. - Picture Courtesy - Google Baba

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Waqt


Waqt ki chaadar par
Aazmaaish ki silvate na ho
To woh waqt bhi fizul ho jata hai

Bikhre palon mein
Gar khwaish ke chheetein na ho
Toh who pal ek dhundla saya hojata hai

Katra Katra
Jo haq na ho humse rubaru
Woh haq bhi humse chup kar hume daga de jata hai

Dil mein daba ho koi ehsaas
Jo waqt rehte bayan na ho
Toh woh ehsaas bhi khud se beparwah ho jata hai

Har lamha thehere pani ke tarah
Hai dikhata humara aks hume
Par na rahe hume ilm yeh
Toh waqt jhonke ki tarah sab khatam kar jata hai


-Vaisakhi Mishra

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Private India - Book Review


Book: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
ISBN: 1780891725

Pages: 447 (Excluding extract by Patterson)
Ratings: 3.5/5
Price: 350


Something from the Book
Yellow Garrote Killings, read the headline of the Afternoon Mirror.

And the Private Investigators are finally in India thanks to Ashwin Sanghi. Ashwin Sanghi teamed up with International Thriller King James Patterson to get Patterson’s Private series to India with a case brewing in Aamchi Mumbai. Murder, Investigators, Shady but not guilty characters and Twists – this is thriller 101 formula and Private India capitalizes on most of it. The story starts with the murder of Thai national and more women are killed rather strangled with a yellow scarf as the story progresses. Enter Santosh Wagh an ex police officer who is a rough image of Detective Spencer of True detective – Alcoholic and Dark past. He is appointed to solve the curious case of the yellow scarf by Jack Morgan, the head of Private worldwide. Mumbai police overburdened with their work, in awe of Private’s quick response to Marine Bay Plaza’s call and puzzled by the deaths and their frequency hand the case to Private India, the best “private” detective agency of the country and so begins the hunt for the psychopath.
The story is a typical crime/murder mystery, so some of you might be wondering why Mr. Sanghi, right? Well turns out the scarf and the murder pattern has cultural and religious linkage, so the expertise. The story however doesn’t restrict itself to the main track. ISI makes a special appearance so does Indian Mujahideen and the story maintains the drama punch thanks to the cop sidekicks and a Don. The book is fast paced and enveloped in the essence of Mumbai from Taj to Dharavi from Chowpati to Malabar but has many flaws that make it a onetime read and that too an unimpressive one.

Pros –
1.   Fast Paced – Classic James Patterson novel needs to be fast paced and this book doesn’t disappoint.
2.  The End – No matter how the story went I didn’t realize the mystery till the end which was somewhat satisfying.

Cons –
1.   Language – Bad editing or bad writing, still in a fix cause no matter whose fault it is the book has numerous flaws when it comes to English.
2.  Unimpressive Characterization – Sanghi makes all attempts to let his characters make a significant impact but fails terribly. Even the Main characters Santosh and Neha don’t really impress you at any point of the story.
3.  Research in terms of the Religious and cultural aspects – Poor, that’s the word and have to say it is so unlike Ashwin Sanghi’s works. The religious aspect of Thuggee cult seemed interesting in the beginning but lost the charm mid way. To portray any fact as historical stuff proper research and clarity on the topic is required and failing to do so is one of the biggest flaws of this book.
4.  Over cooked Tale – I sincerely want to ask Ashwin Sanghi why has he started writing stories with a Bollywood frame. There are so many things in the book that scream “this is such a Salman Khan Thing.” I am ready to let go of the flaw in the very concept of the book – Mumbai Police giving all authorities to a Private Detective agency; but other than that the cold war between old pals, the unwanted intimate breaks and the overdone climax, was all that really needed?


On the whole the book gets a tick as a thriller for sure but fails to impress as a novel on the whole. I would give this book a 3.5, would have been a 3 had I not found the pace fast enough to not spend time sulking over the logical errors. The story is a ready to hand over script for a Bollywood action movie but not a one to find its corner in any reader’s paradise. 

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