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! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Queen

The walls sing to her a symphony dry
Of life that flutters by her closed window pane
And some dim lit lamps blatantly glorify
The ageless wait for her lover in a luxurious den

She has a story to tell
The one of big halls but closed doors
Of colours and hues
And grandeur but also blues

A story of a girl full of life
But who lost herself in some vain strife
For name maybe that of a queen
But reality is grave and often unseen

Her face is now shadowed by a lull
But tearing her apart is a raging storm
What had she got in name of fortune’s call
A caged bird she was to be part of some historic form.

-Vaisakhi Mishra

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rise of the Sun Prince - Book Review

Book: Ramayana: The Game of Life - Rise of the Sun Prince
                                                               Author: Shubha Vilas
ISBN: 9788184955309
Pages: 252
Ratings: 4/5
Price: 250

Something from the Book
Sweet, genuine words of gratitude are the best welcome drinks!

Ramayana is the way of life. Haven’t we heard this line a number of times? But do we believe it? Do we really see glimpses of our lives, our day to day challenges, our reverberating thoughts of what is right and wrong, in the versions of Ramayana that we know? I don’t know about all of you but till last week Ramayana was nothing more than a mythological story for me. Then what changed in a week? It was this book - Ramayana: The Game of Life #1 - Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas.
There have been hundreds of renditions of this ageless saga but none have come this close to making me look beyond the tale. Rise of the Sun Prince is the first of the 6 books that have knitted the story from the poetic verses of Valmiki to the veiled analogies of Kamba Ramayana. The first book mainly focuses on Bala Kand of Ramayana but with a lot of insight to various aspects of the epic.
The book starts off with a gist of Ramayana in a very fundamental form but slowly delves into the era and the circumstances of the era. Ramayana that we have read till date runs on the high emotional quotient and the theme of love and sacrifice but this book makes you look at the book from the angle of society, struggles, and “not everything is black and white along with the emotional built up. The story starts with how Rishi Valmiki came to be despite of his sinister past and then gives you the whole insight to the great king Dasharatha. Did you know Dasharatha had 350 wifes other than his Prime Queens? You don’t believe me, it is ok, I didn’t believe either. But this book not only mentions that, it also gives the reason behind it. After that starts the journey of a hero in making and the journey of a spiritual teacher to find the true sense of the spiritual realms and the strength of the Guru Sishya relationship.
The protagonist of the story might be Rama but for this book it was Vahishtha – Flawed, Strong, Famous, Respected, Lost and on the journey of finding himself. He was the guru of the Suryavanshi Princes, but the short tempered sage was also on a quest of his own, to defeat the demons that were determined to spread the negative energy everywhere. But in his journey he tends to lose himself cause of his anger and spreads some level of negativity himself. The book connects to our very own lives with that of Vashishtha and the way he learns from the young princes all while teaching them. At the same time the story of Ahilya and that of Sita talks of Fate and dedication.

Pros –
1.   Narration - Powerful yet simple and crisp narration.
2.  Perfected Rendition - Logical, bit philosophical but very apt rendition of Ramayana and not just a direct rip off of the story in different words.
3.  The chapters – The way the story is written, it makes you think clearly and connect directly to the physical and metaphysical lines of the mythology.
4.  The footnotes – The give you all that you need to know but not enough that you would have wanted to know. For example The Author started with Ravana’s story, gave just a sneak peek of his beginning but it was the footnotes about him and his brothers and sisters that made me say – I want to read more about them!

Cons –
1.   If you are not a mythology fan, I don’t think you will enjoy the book.

On the whole the Book is a sure read for every mytho-fiction fan and is a soul stirring yet a very light read and re read version of Ramayana. More than the story you will end up learning a lot out the characters, era and about life. This book is a sure 4 on 5 book and am eagerly waiting for the next part.

P.S. - This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Monday, August 4, 2014

In The Blur

In the blur called life
I am lost for some time
With a destination unknown
Now lost in my hazy travel zone

Wondering at nature's might and beauty
Enjoying its pitter-patter symphony
Trying to gauge the clarity post the haze
To let go of some unwanted worldly craze

The race towards never ending achievements
The life that makes you question all your commitments
Is washed away in the breezy pour
Letting me see beyond a lot of closed doors

But all it is, is a moment of clarity
Soon it will be a reason lost in some busy vanity
And I will set out again on some forlorn path
Shrouded by disbelief and menacing self-doubt

- Vaisakhi Mishra