Sunday, April 6, 2014

Masquerade



I see the crack in that tranquil face
I sense the darkness invading our space
Forlorn love is set for its final test
And failure is what it will achieve at best

The fading colours of the fall
Turning auburn with no shade of anything I recall
The hue spreads with your increasing disbelief
Burning faith’s tint is now on the fallen leaf

Blinded by the glittery mask of flirt
I fell into your arms like your desert
But you played with my feelings like a broken doll
If only had I sensed the devil you were behind that wall

I am holding on to the illusion of the love masquerade
For reality is grave and I would do all I can to evade
I know it all just slipped away
But letting go is so much more than I can say

I see the darkness now seeping out of you
Your poker face turning all my nightmares true
‘Cause hidden is a hungry sadistic smile
Singing in silence - this one is down another will be mine!


-Vaisakhi Mishra

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Key to History? - Krishna Key Review


Book: The Krishna Key
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
ISBN: 9381626685
Pages: 464
Ratings: 3/5
Price: 250

Something from the Book

“The Divine is simply that which science has not yet explained. In effect, God = Infinity - Human Knowledge.” 

The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi was a book suggested by at least a dozen of my friends to read A.S.A.P. Obviously the perk of strong P.R. means high expectations. But was it really a plus side? The phase that this book reminded me of was - A good beginning is half work done. Krishna Key revolves around one of the strongest Historical (for me he is not Mythological, sorry) Character of India and most Iconic person of Hinduism – Krishna.
The book starts with the death of an archeologist-scientist, Anil Varshney, by a psycho killer, who thinks he is doing it for some greater good after all he thinks he is the reincarnation of Krishna – The Kalki Avatar. But why is a God on a killing spree suddenly? Anyways, Anil turns out to be childhood friend of Prof Ravi Mohan Saini, who is a historian and post Anil’s death is the accused one. He is safeguarding something and with the help of his protégée and almost crush, Priya he sets of to find the reason behind the murder. Enters Radhika, our kick-ass, stern yet a bit rustic or rather desi cop who is determined to catch this cold blooded killer – Saini! Like you guys already guessed it, the whole situation is a boiling pot for Saini, but our dear professor only cares about the seasonings being put in the pot one by one. And so begins the rat race and quest to reach the truth about Krishna.
Now does all this sound very similar? Until someone has been hibernating for quite some years or just started reading books, people will directly connect this anthropological thriller to Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ and wouldn’t be wrong in doing so. Krishna Key though was a complete plotline copy-modification of Da Vinci Code had a lot of scope to build the story. But unfortunately didn’t really have the magic Dan Brown very smartly weaves into his books. But never the less the book gets full points for keeping the readers glued till the very end. It has a spark of what books using tapestry of Indian Historical Characters can have in future.

Pro :-
  1. The Theme – Picking up Krishna and Kalki avatar itself was a very bold move by Ashwin Sanghi. Krishna is one of the most complex yet interesting characters ever and that won the author half the battle right in the start.
  2. Taraak Vakil – A very strong antagonist, well portrayed and definitely more convincing and terrifying than Silas.
  3. Use of Numbers and Facts – The book linked sacred number 8 very effectively and influentially. The theory about Jyotirlings, though not true as per facts known till now, were really compelling and keep the readers hooked to the book till the very end.
  4. Well Researched – If not anything, the book didn’t present false theories and truth. It is a very exhaustively researched work and kudos to the author for that.

Cons:-
  1. Be Original – From plot, to characters, to flow, to style everything was inspired, cause that is the word Bollywood loves so much!
  2. Break Break Break – Not Lord Tennyson’s poem, but the story. The flow breaks in so many places that you tend to rewind a bit to get the link quite a few times.
  3. Unnecessary Storyline – There are stories that call for a love story in it, and then there are others that tend to do fine without one. The issue with most of the Indian authors these days is Invasion of Bollywood to Book-O-Wood and that makes them fit in a love story anywhere, not gauging the need or consequence.
  4. Weak Characters and timeline– A man on run too involved with everything other than saving his life, a couple of people who become a part of the quest just for the sake of it, a very week back story to the actual material of the hour and the disconnect in the timeline.
  5. Google Failure – This is my personal agenda with any history related book, I use google exhaustively. For Dan Brown books a lot of facts and points mentioned in the book checks out easily and hence the story turns out to be a make belief case, but the same can’t be said about Krishna Key. Most of the points in mentioned in the book had no relative evidence on world wide web so the book lost on the authentic feel.
  6. Extensive use of the good – In the initial phase the use of 8 and then 3 was actually one of the most interesting part of the book but as and how the story proceeded it seemed like the author made all the attempts in the world to make 0-9 all numbers important to Hinduism. It spoilt the fun towards the end.
  7. Weak End – Though the whole book is highly inspired by Da Vinci Code, the end was the result of the author doing eeny meeny miny moe with the ends of Lost Symbol and Da Vinci Code.

On the whole it is a sure one time read and might find a huge fan base with the Mythology Lovers' Club but failed to make it to my list of amazing books by Indian authors. It is a 3 of 5 book which would have been a 3.5 minus the squeezed in love story. A certain stuffs mentioned in the book are really interesting and narrative is sure to keep you glued till the very end. And the Author surely shows the spark of well researched work so looking forward to his older books, which I have heard were better. Pick this book for and interesting read on some lazy day and stay away from internet during the reading period else Google failure would make to your list too.


P.S. - There are a few grammatical errors and spelling errors in the book.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Marbles of Life



There it slips, and there one goes again;
For it all shows me freckles of my petty existence.
Not all I crave for, can be mine
A fool I was, for hoping all would be fine.

Rounding marbles on polished glass
Hoping it would stay not fall apart.
Two are the sides of a coin not life;
Six faces of dice come with this double edged knife.

For hope had no power, if darkness didn’t remain;
Joy has had no friend like sorrow till date.
Not all can be right or wrong in sight
No life is protected from this annoying fight.

But gold only boils to shine when stills

And no one can rest without climbing some hills.

-Vaisakhi Mishra

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Scary Milestone Year


Book: The Crossover Year
Author: Bhargavi Balachandran
ISBN: 9788180460883
Pages: 288
Ratings: 3.5/5
Price: 200

Something from the Book

"Aren't we all nothing but a bunch of memories and attitudes born out of our life experiences?"


What scares a girl the most? Putting on weight, cockroaches, pimples, bad hair day and age 30! Yes not everyone but this is the case with most females, especially if you are 30 or turning 30 and feel your life is going absolutely nowhere. Same is the case with Sri Anu Prabha, the protagonist of the book The Crossover Year by Bhargavi Balachandran.

Sri Anu prabha is a twenty nine year old banker with engineering and MBA degree (yup banks are places where people with 2 awesome degrees get max jobs at).  The story starts with her wanting to quit her job and questioning her career option, but all in vain. After some twist and turns and meandering events, her confused self forces her to map her future and set up a five pointer flowchart. She gets rid of her job but all at the wrong hour as the demon of recession has a strong hold in market and Anu has no choice but to get hooked to Tamil serials. I the journey to find herself she falls in love with Raakkesh Kumar - a T.V. star; well what better companion than the Idiot box right. She joins a funky (not even close) gym called the Pink Panther Gym after an incident with her husband Mukund. She also streamlines her career options and is determined to drown herself in world of poems. But when has life worked your way? Neither did it go according to Anu.

The Crossover Year is a perfect chick lit without the theme of romance. (Now don’t ask me how, read to know..:D) It is a story with pages picked out of many normal women’s life. Everyone can relate to the confusion and turmoil of life that Anu goes through before coming of age. Life is a rollercoaster and Bhargavi lets you enjoy every turn and drop of it in this book though Anu’s journey.

Pros:
  1. The book is a light and hilarious read. It can be picked anytime of the day and read just for enjoying leisure time. Instances like Pink Panther, Hitler and Birdie make you laugh.
  2. Relatable situations – Almost every other page of the book you will find yourself saying “this so happens.” The book is a string of relatable events. From an Engineer MBA working in a bank to irritating Boss; from know it all friends to partner in crime shopaholics, from I don’t like my work to being ultra-modern Brahmins (adaptive actually); from not being an Aunty to being one and road to undoing it. The list just doesn’t end and keeps you involved all the time.
  3. Narration – Anu makes sure you know her and see her story as a friend not reader. The 2nd page of the book gives you’re her introduction which makes you smile for sure but makes you a part of the book too. I loved the way the story is narrated.
  4. No real love story – When we think of chick lit we think of emotional journeys, mushy love stories and heartbreaks but I was so glad when I found this book to be none of the above.


Cons:
  1. Localizing and use of jargons – In a way it gives insight to a section of the Indian Society – The Tam Brahms; but at the same time too much Madrasi flavor of the book spoils the taste to some extent.
  2. No closure to her career line. She was something, wanted to be something else, became something else and was content. I really hoped in the end she would have decided to embrace the new life but never stop herself from trying to do what she actually decided to. I was a bit disappointed with the end.
  3. A lot of characters seemed wasted – Though Bhargavi tried to pitch in all the characters everywhere possible, I felt accept for Anu and Smrithi the other characters were wasted.


On the whole the crossover year is a must read for every girl in her twenties and new to the corporate world. Apart from them it is an enjoyable weekend book for all the book lovers. I would rate the book a 3.5 on 5. The strong female protagonist and the today’s story made me remember the last scene of Zoya Akhtar’s Luck by Chance. Movie buffs this is your cue to pick your next book from any book store you visit next.

P.S. - Thankyou Bhargavi for giving me a chance to review your book. Really loking forward to your next one. Best of luck. And this is a completely unbiased review of the book...:)

Pictures - Personal

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Memory



The fragrant spring knocks on his door,
When he opens it to a new day, with hope.
The Daisies and Sunflowers sing the morning hymn
While he waits for the girl to wake up from her dream

A place where love once danced to nature’s cacophony
And peace was dappled by a canopy so woody
Maybe, will get back what once was his
And he would thank these mountainous trees

“Why are we here and who are you?”
Breaks him from his trance too good to be true
The woman was up and standing appalled
And he knows his attempt was yet another fall.

“Calm down my love, for you are my life!”
“You lie”, she shouts and picks up a fruit knife.
With a “Trust me my dear” he moves towards the damsel
And in fright and defense she uses the blade

Amidst the raining “Sorry”s and regretful “Oh No”s
The blade clinks when it hits the marble floor.
And a body with a loving heart lies in a crimson pool
Still pleading to the trembling girl to keep her cool.

She goes up to the phone desk just to witness the fact
A framed picture of her marriage shows her with the same man
In tears she shouts “I love you, just stay with me Okay!”
And dials the number that might end up saving her day.

But while the phone rings; memories are washed clean
“How may I help you?” simply makes her think.
There is a man, I know not of, is dead on my floor

She keeps the phone, and with calm demeanor walks out of the door.

-Vaisakhi Mishra

PS - I read a story, quite sometime back and the basic idea of this poem is a direct pick of the story. I would have given it credits but i don't even remember where i read it. So if any of you come across a similar story let me know. The poem is my own though...:)

Picture Courtesy - google.com

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Force of Love and Friendship


Book: Love @ Air Force
Author: Gaurav Sharma
ISBN: 9781630416287
Pages: 287
Ratings: 3.5/5
Price: 150

Something from the book  :
When a person, has one peg, he remains a man. When he has the second, he becomes a lion, when he takes the third, he becomes a barking dog, and after that, he becomes a pig.


Imagine a lazy afternoon and you just don’t feel like doing anything. Then you scan through your whole book collection to find something refreshing and different. Well that is when you would need a book called Love @ Air Force by Gaurav Arora. I decided to read a romantic novel after a very long time and by the time I was done with this book I was smiling. People who know me would know what this means because a romance novel making me smile is a rare phenomenon. Why? Well this is how.
The book Love @ Air Force is Gaurav Sharma’s debut novel and I have to say it is a very well researched work. The bits and pieces of the Air force life and the discussion of the academy were bang on. The story starts with a chanced meeting of two teenage friends Shabd and Sushil in Agra Air force station, but Ranks play truant in their meeting. Shabd has ended up being two notches above Sushil and the air force norms add some initial awkwardness to this reunion. With them catching up on the years passed we come to know Shabd has denied to get into the shackles of married life, the same shackles that have been Sushil’s nightmare for quite some time. And as you guessed it, it is all about love here – enter Soumya Maharishi, the daughter of a senior Air Force Officer and Shabd’s unrequited love whom he has not seen since 1990. If I say anymore I would be revealing the plot so guys pick up the book and start right away.

Pro
  • The Narration is just amazing. The Author did a commendable job is weaving his words together. He makes sure we laugh at least one time in every couple of pages. It is witty, it is sarcastic, it is hilarious and it keeps you glued to the story.
  • The characters – All of them were so authentic. I found Sushil’s character most compelling though, as he narrates the story he gives you insight into his life in the common man’s tongue which makes you laugh even at his misery. The maturity of Soumya and Sharmistha was also something I admired.
  • The poem - Read to find out which poem, but being a poetry freak i just couldn't help falling in love with that simple and yet amazing poem. And not to forget the letter, it was sincere and stirred feelings like anything.
Cons
  • The plot – Not that it was weak, but it wasn’t unusual either. A short sweet love story - that is all it is.

Certain stories are just like a breath of fresh air, breeze of early spring and this book totally fits into this category. Think of a situation that you meet some very old and dear friend of yours after some years, suddenly and then you just end up meeting a whole bunch one after the other. Just imagine and you would love this book. It is hilarious, close to life and funniest part is it celebrates friendship more than love. It is a book we would love to read over a cup of tea on a lazy rainy Sunday. But the book surely establishes Gaurav Sharma as a strong love story writer. For me it was a onetime read and would give it a 3.5 on 5.

And like the book says - It is always better to have a life partner who loves you rather than the one whom you love. Enjoy the feeling of love with this book.

P.S. - "This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com"

Friday, February 14, 2014

Just One More Time



It’s time - just one more touch
I hang in the balance, my memories blush
A word of love and kiss of life
To feel your radiant glow, just one more time

The adoring gaze of your brimming eyes
The mellow murmurs of your daring goodbyes
They sang to me all the lonely nights
And were my strength in these worldly fights

But hear me now ‘cause I am back for you
Our love’s as pure as the morning dew
And let no moment pass us by
For I am yours, beyond the years I die

I crave for the embrace of those frail arms
Those cease the storms of my mind to calms
But this tranquil love now waits for me   
I sit beside your grave waiting to lay here for eternity. 

P.S. In the bivouac of today's busy life we often forget to acknowledge how much someone means to us. Take a day out of your life, take a moment out of your day just to thank the people you love the most in the world. Don't wait for some right time to nudge you to speak of your love, do it then and there every time is the right time every moment is the moment to be remembered forever. And people Happy Valentine's Day!

Photo Courtesy - Google.com

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Bitter Sweet Almonds

Book : The Almond Tree
Author: Michelle Cohen Corsanti
ISBN : 9788172344870
Pages: 352
Price: 295
Rating : 4/5

Something From The Book:
“You cannot go back and make a new start, but you can start now and make a new ending”


Life is not gonna be a bed of roses ever. You have to frame and shape it, such that your death bed surely is one. Just never give up!

How much do we actually know about the Israel Palestine feud that has been going on for ages? About the plight of people living in Gaza Strip and West Bank? Well frankly I didn’t know much before I started reading The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corsanti but I must have hunted 30 reports on the condition from Google from the day Reader’s Cosmos and glad I did that else it would have been impossible to feel the book cause this book is meant to be felt. Some books just have too much and you go browsing the pages like crazy to know more and some books have so much in them that after every chapter you feel what the protagonist is going through. The Almond Tree definitely is a fine example of the later.
The book starts on a very powerful note. The first few chapters are almost like a blow. Set in the backdrop of the feud in West Bank, the books revolves around the Hamids – A Palestinian family whose suffering start when the Israeli government takes over everything that was there. The protagonist of the story, Ahmed, sees all his dreams turn to ash at the tender age of twelve when his father is imprisoned and they are forced to live a doomed life. But it is Ahmed’s determination and goodness that help him crawl up to existence again. He paves his path from the sufferings to success using his will power and intelligence. The story is heart wrenching and inspiring at the same time. The author adds a very realistic facet to the story by not making the Hamids a perfect family, they are flawed, they give in to hunger, anger and hatred but Ahmed rises above all to achieve something no one would have thought he would accomplish, ever.
The book explores the Feud and the sufferings very vividly. It matches the emotional quotient of Kite Runner to quite a level.  There are a lot of instances you feel like swearing, crying, letting out a sigh of pity and all this just forces you to get involved with the story. But this is where the biggest flaw of the book lies too. It focuses too much on the evil doings of the Israeli side and just pure suffering for the Palestinians, but the fact is not so and thus the story somehow loses its authenticity.  Also the story takes you on a rustic fairy tale ride and no matter how much you enjoy the ride in the end you can’t help but question, “Wasn’t that a bit over the top?”

Pros:
  1. The backdrop – The book for me was a 3.5 but the description and the backdrop sure get the extra 0.5.
  2. The suffering and the determination of Ahmed – As a character Ahmed gets a gold star. Not because he was too good, but because he goes on and on and makes us believe nothing can actually pull us down if we decide to challenge fate. He is an inspirational character for sure.
  3. Characterization of Baba and Abbas  - They were realistic and just perfect. Baba was the sweetest character of the book and Abbas was the perfect rebel. The fact that a family that goes through so much can never be perfect was so well inculcated in Abbas’ character that I kind of fell in love with him too.
  4. The touch of the all serving Almond Tree – Everyone should get one. No spoilers so can’t explain anything here, sorry people you will need to read the book to find out.
  5. Editing – Another gold star to the author here. Being her Debut novel I really didn’t think the editing would be of pro level, but was pleasantly surprised. The book flows from scene to scene, situation to situation and year to years like a river with fresh clear water. You see every facet and remember it and the editing makes the book is easy to connect to.
Cons:
  1. Too much saintly approach – I believe every hero is flawed. There are layers to heroes and villains. But in this case Ahmed is just too good to be true, passionate about math and guilt ridden after his father’s imprisonment – that is all the layers we get to see of him and this leaves the character underdeveloped. Also Nora – she is portrayed as the perfect girl who is almost like a saint. Real life people can’t be that way. Everybody is flawed in some way or the other and thus the story loses its authenticity.
  2. Israelis are just bad – They are monsters and the author does everything to embed this thought in our minds. Agreed the condition in Gaza strip is gloomy and inhumane but there are always two sides to a coin. I felt the book showed just one side, the other was completely untouched which is something I seriously didn’t like.
  3. The end – Like I mentioned earlier, the end was overkill. Achievement is appreciated and would make sense also, but too much of anything is always bad, and this case the end was.
All and whole the book is a good read and very inspiring. It takes us with the phrase “Every cloud has a silver lining” on a rugged trip and leaves us with a satisfied smile in the end. At a lot of points the book turns very depressing but picks up steadily every time. I would give the book a 4 on five star rating – 3.5 on the book and 0.5 for the premises and for making me read about the age old war. People who are feeling low for some reason in life, this is a must read for them cause it makes you appreciate your life no matter how bad you think it is.

P.S. "This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com"




Monday, December 23, 2013

Bombed in a Good Way


Book : Baramulla Bomber
Author: Clark Prasad
ISBN : 9381523975
Pages: 313
Price: 395
Rating : 4/5

Something from the Book

The old coffee reader Kasha from Srinagar - 'Fight your destiny, build hope and Make it happen,' because you don't know which forces of the universe are conspiring against you. But which force is controlling us?

The confluence of Bible and Vedas and their tryst Quantum Physics is in Kashmir thanks to Cricket!
Sounded weird....
Read ahead to go crazy...


Espionage thrillers and Indian authors are a weird combination, and this thought has been embedded in my mind for years now. Being a voracious reader and a big time fan of spy and suspense thrillers, I can confidently say Espionage thrillers by Indian authors have strongly disappointed me over the years and thus my mind set. But what if I tell you, I am ready to let go of this belief finally? Readers like me would find this to be a joke, but brace yourself because Baramulla Bomber is here to change our beliefs.
The book Baramulla Bomber by Clark Prasad was sent to me by Readers Cosmos and I can’t thank them enough for sending this amazing book to me(not to forget, all gift wrapped)!  Anyways the book impressed me in the first look itself. I have to say its cover design is awesome, but like it is said never judge the book by its cover, I dived straight into the story. The story begins with the ill fated meeting of an royal decendants’ group called Chos Skyong. There is a blast while the meeting is on and most of the group members are killed. But in the survivers is a man named Abhimanyu Kashyap who cheats death with his determination to preserve the secret. But what secret?
Soon this inciedent gets tied up with Mansur Haider who is nothing but an aspiring cricketer from Kashmir. But as the story moves we know Mansur is being tracked by intelligence agencies around the world. Adolf Silfverskiold, a swedish intelligent officer turn out to be tracking Mansur and a mysterious earthquake that happened in the Shaksgam Valley. Also Shaksgam valley inciedent is being investigated by Mansur’s girlfriend Aahana who lost her mountaineering team there. The readers realize the small hole drilled by the bombing is nothing but a stepwell with steps going from anywhere to everywhere, storylines joined to form a huge web of danger.

Pros:
1.    The book is fast paced and keeps on the edge of your seat till the very end.
2.    Character sketches are perfect to the ‘T’ and every character is well used.
3.   The story explores intelligence agencies other than the much explored CIA, and yet does complete justice to it.
4.   The integration of quantum physics, history and modern world spies is the whole and sole of the book, and personally I loved it.
5.   The looming secret of Shaksgam valley and the much talked about weapon,  as I am not allowed to give spoilers(though I am dying to) is too engrossing.

Cons:
1.    Too much to digest and too much used – movies, cricket ,physics, Kashmir, Sweden, India, politics and so much more. It just felt a bit cramped.
2.   Editing could have been crisp. Dialogues didn’t seem powerful or memorable.

The author explores a lot in a very short time, or so it seems as the book is super racey. He also does full justice to all the characters of the story as they are given ample time to evolve and the story is thoruoghly entertaining and engrossing. I would give the book a 4 on 5 rating and am desperately waiting for the next books. I hope the editing of the other two books is better but at the same time don’t want them to turn out to be a disappointment like the 3rd book of Shiva Trilogy. Best of luck to the Author, may you succeed in giving us awesome stories always..:D

P.S. "This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com"


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ballroom Dance



The shimmering light of the chandeliers
And the colourful flowers here and there
Made the ballroom a maiden’s dream
But the men pouring in, were from some medieval stream.

 All men wearing sleek Raymond suits
And posing with sophistication in woodland boots
But all re-colouring the whole room sepia
Unshaved and shabby; they pile up my dilemma.

Not one handsome knight
To break my cold feet plight
Not one striking gentleman
Suitable for this prince charming fan!

But there he enters like a gallant king
Clean shaved, McDreamy and super dashing
One glance and him and all ladies swoon
But he comes up to me with a cheesy woo

We dance all night in the artificial moonlight
While the ancient men play with thier stubble in spite
But not one of them scores a damsel for the eve
If only they had known, the secret was to shave.

I stared at the bright loving eyes of my crush
Who smiled like a rose, every time I blushed
His clean shaven look bowled me over
Wish I could sway in his strong arms forever.

The other ladies looked on, with envy in their eyes
Waiting for just a dance beneath the candled sky
While giving the retro crowd a cold weird pass
But this night was like a dream for me, at last!


-Vaisakhi Mishra

Something funny after ages!!!


Also I was tagged by Ankit Jain for the contest. I tag Amrit, Sarah, Namrota and Bushra for the contest.