Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wanna write a book? first read..it

Book:           Beaten by Bhagath: A tale of two writers. 

Author:        S.V. Divaakar
Genre:         Fiction/Humour  

Publication:  Leadstart publishing
Pages:         193

X-FACTOR:   Inside story of publishing

My Rating:   3.6 out of 5



THE STORY: You talk about an author and a picture comes in your mind of a well-dressed gentleman coming out of an expensive car and giving autographs to his crazy fans, who are chanting his name loudly. Girls are yelling in astonishment of meeting someone they see in their dreams and guys are jealous of his success and fame.

This is only one side of the coin. Have you ever imagined an author travelling by an auto, bus or ‘metro-train’? If not, why? That’s because we have not seen such authors as yet.

As attractive the lime-light of being an author appears, it is as darker and uglier inside. It is all about marketing, promotion, money and politics. ‘Beaten by bhagath’ shows exactly the same.

This story is about BB (Balwant Bhagath). Everything in his life is well places until his lady-boss says that he can write well, and can beat Ketan Bhagat (K-10 in this book).

K-10 was his room-mate and college buddy who becomes renowned successful author lately and forgets about his friendship with BB.

BB starts writing a book ‘The Sinner’s Curse’ and takes it as a direct competition with his old friend. There are many twists in the story and it shows the reality of publishing industry (which is well researched). Once you complete the story, you will have an idea that why a common middle class man can barely dream of being an author?

Story is crisp and well written. Why ‘Bhagath’ has been used in this book is quite obvious (free publicity, thanks to CB). Though the starting of the story is dull and it becomes hard to continue reading at some instances. But suddenly it gets pace and an emotional/funny/reality ending sums up the book.

THE WRITING: The language is sharp and dictionary free. The sentence constructions are particularly good and people can connect with the protagonist. As the story crosses its 9th page, it becomes tad slow but still the analytical skill of writer is appreciable. Writer has compared the book with a ‘slut’ which could make no sense. There are some ‘so called’ funny incidents which fail to make reader smile. Apart from little lapses I would say the writing and editing both had been good throughout the story.

THE CONCLUSION: People often think that getting a book publish is a cake-walk. Let me tell you that among millions of people, who try to write or publish a book, only 100 get success. And only 10 of those 100 lucky people get chance to write again in life. This book shows a big reality of dirty politics and money game in publishing industry. The people who are looking forward to write a book should read this book. The entertainment quotient of the book may be low but the reality quotient is high. I would not recommend this book to people who get depress very easily.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bhagavad Geeta : take it or leave it

Book:             The Bhagavad Gita
Author:         Originally written by Rishi Ved Vyasa
Genre:           Mythology/teachings

Publication:    Severals
Pages:            1008 (differs every edition)

X-FACTOR:    Reality of life revealed.

My Rating:      3.95 out of 5


I have not written a single review for weeks now; the reason is that I was reading something which is really hard to finish quickly. The depth and reasoning of this book is almost unexplainable. I am not talking about a book written by some unknown or renowned author. I am talking about a book which is one of the pillars of Hinduism and which was narrated by a god himself while written by one of the wisest brains of his era, Maharishi  Ved Vyasa – I am sure most of the Hindus or people who study about Hinduism could have guessed, The Gita.

THE BACKGROUND:  There is no specific story of ‘The Gita’; the different teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna have been assembled into a separate book from the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’.  Krishna, who was considered as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, acted as the charioteer of his best friend and cousin ‘Arjuna’ (who has been addressed as ‘Partha’). While biggest armies ever stood ready to fight each other, Arjuna was haunted by the guilt of killing his own relatives, teacher and friends. He dropped his bow named ‘Gandiva’ and seemed succumbed to the situation. Krishna, understanding his situation and for the sake of motivating him, narrated very long teachings and told him about the reality of Yoga, soul, life, death and reincarnation.

THE BELIEFS: Before we get into the beliefs of ‘The Gita’, it is essential to know few facts about the narrator. Apart from the fact that he was the incarnation of Vishnu, he was known to be very tactful and mischievous god, someone like ‘Loki’ from Greek mythology. Though unlike ‘Loki’ Krishna used his tact and tricks for goodness but as we all know the victorious is never villain because he supervises the facts and history being written in his era. Who knows if ‘Loki’ could have won the battles against ‘Thor’ then he may have projected himself as the good one and Thor as the villain.

कर्मणयेवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन’ is one of the most famous lines from the book. It says that you should do your duties and not worry about the results. This line has been misinterpreted and has been misunderstand by many people. It seems as the basic principle on which corporate works. They want us to do our work and forget about the incentives. But in book, Krishna suggests Arjuna that you should not associate yourself with the result because whatever which happened, is happening or will happen is due to me (the supreme power), hence you should not accuse yourself for any of the incidents occurring or which is about to take place.

There are numerous teachings in this book which tells us about life and death. Many of the teachings are relevant and many of them seem just literature and unpractical.

THE CONCLUSION: This book has been rewritten and translated in many languages, and every time it happens, new meanings of the ‘Shlokas’ and new facts are unearthed. Actually ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ is like a mirror. You see what you wish to. If you want to run away from your daily routine forever and be a ‘Sanyasi’ you will see ‘Vairagya’ in the book. If you are a warrior then you will see justification of murdering people in it. Even if you are a thief or criminal, you see your actions as that of god’s, you are just medium. So, it works like a mirror and everyone who reads it, derives his own meanings.     

In whole book the narrator talks about ‘Yoga’ and its different forms but even though the teachings are clear, one can manipulate it for his own benefit. The three forms of ‘Yoga’, goodness, passion and ignorance are very confusing because no one other than you can judge your actions. The brain which controls the soul or the soul which supervises the brain will do everything which can make the body’s situation better without worrying about being good or bad and it will be considered as his ‘Karma’, seems strange.

It is confusing for readers as how people rewriting ‘Gita’ differ from the original one (including Swami Prabhupada). For me ‘Gita’ is just a bunch of instructions given to Arjuna to make him fight. If Krishna talks about being ‘Yogi’ and not being materialistic then what was ‘the slaughtering’ of millions of people for just getting a piece of land. Whenever I read about ‘Duryodhna’ I feel bad because he was not an evil like Ravana, Kansa and many others. He was just a spoiled kid who eventually died because of his wrong beliefs.

To conclude, I will suggest you that if you are going to read this, just be neutral and learn whatever you want to. Applying its all teachings in real life is almost impossible. So, try and develop your own outcomes with its guidance.

It teaches you to be happy in whatever you do, small or big and don’t worry about its goodness and badness because the only one, who can judge you, is the soul which has the essence of god. All the Brahmins, judges, police, politicians, parents and teachers are the structures of this society not someone you should must obey to. The supreme power is soul and whatever he does, is eventually right (At least politicians would feel happy if they get such clean-chit).

Disclaimer: If ‘Bhagavad Gita’ had been the base of our lives, there would have been no AC, TV, Cars, different dishes and so on. So, try and follow it partially, until you don’t feel the burden of teachings. And yes, all the views written are my personal opinions and I have no intentions to hurt someone’s emotions. As far as ‘Hinduism’ is concerned, it is far away from being graced or disgraced, nobody has the capacity to do so.        

Friday, May 24, 2013


Book:              Asura: Tale of the Vanquished
Author:           Anand Neelakantan
Genre:             Fiction/mythology

Publication:    Leadstart publishing
Pages:              500

X-FACTOR:   Know ‘Asuras’ from their point of view.

My Rating:      4 out of 5

He is an intellect, brave, strong and a great dancer. This story tells you the views of ‘Ravana’. And the author has twisted the original Ramayana to some extent, in order to present the perspective of ‘Asuras’. So, if you are a hardcore fan of Rama, then you may not like it very much. However, as a story, writer does justice with its characters.
Yet another story starts in flashback. It seems that today’s writers like starting stories in flashback. So, the first scene is that ‘Ravana’ is dying, result of the courtesy shown by Rama, and he thinks about his life and past. The story revolves around ‘Ravana’ and how he collects all the tribes of Asuras and makes Lanka. Gods are conquering race and they are affected by cast-culture, gender biases and are arrogance; whereas, Asuras believe in equality and liberalization.
The Rama is unkind and he is not a believer of giving a fair chance to everybody. He is someone who could not stand with his own wife and someone who kills warriors from behind. All these may sound anti-Rama but eventually all of these are truth. We know him as one who is bound to his duty and responsibilities towards people but as all of us know that victorious has always tampered with history. The whole story is almost like Ramayana but the protagonist and antagonist have been swapped.
The story is however, slow when it comes to battles and guerilla fights. It could have been edited well but unfortunately it remains less attractive. The charisma of Ravana has been reduced and many facts have been twisted. Sadness prevails in the story after the first half and people may get misguided by few of the negative views in it.    
Despite of all the facts, the story is interesting and pleasant. I urge people, not to take it as anti-Brahmin, anti-Hinduism or anti-Ramayana. It is a ‘story’ which has been wonderfully written.
The story is very easy to read. Though, not completely dictionary free but the writer utilized good words and phrases throughout the tale. As Ramayana has been written and re-written, may be trillion times, hence people tend to compare the language.
The writer has tried his best to keep up the speed in his writing, which he does in most of the chapters, but some of the chapters are really slow and it takes an extra effort to cross them. He has done a very good effort to curse the caste-system in India, but I think, it could have been more impactful. I honestly wish that editor of this book could have worked harder to make it relentless, when it comes to criticizing a system.
The only thing which I can say after reading ‘Asura’ and analyzing the writing potential of the writer is that, I am definitely going to read his next.
We may talk about how negative it is and how the facts of ‘Ramayana’ have been twisted to support the protagonist but the fact is that it’s a good read. Be rational and broad-minded. We should think about it as a story, not as a history book.
A common boy who fights his way out to become a king, he is courageous, bright, visionary, silly, arrogant and at times selfish. He makes many decisions in his life, few of them are correct and few of them go wrong. His fiasco is not Ravana’s failure but a common man’s. A common man who dares to compete with privileged ones.
I am not sure about Rama but I think we all have a ‘Ravana’ inside us. This book may give a wrong message to faint believers but for most of us, it is a must read and refreshing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Shiva and Mahadev are different ??

Book:           Oath of vayuputras
Author:        Amish Tripathi
Genre:         Mythology/fiction
Publication: Westland
Pages:         565
X-FACTOR:   Mythology with a twist.
My Rating:   3.6 out of 5
The immortals of Meluha, The Secrets of the Nagas and now the third (last) part of a well-received tale of Shiva, known as Oath of Vayuputras, Amish is having a dream run of his life (perhaps of all 7 lives). After getting criticized about the sloppy story and editing, Amish have tried to rectify all the flaws and I am sure that the editor must have worked very hard on it as well.
If you have not read the first two parts of this book then I will strongly recommend you to read it first, otherwise, this novel will be more like a History Book. Shiva- the protagonist starts in this novel as a hero of all. He discovers that Somras has to be destroyed eventually and seeks help from other allies and kingdoms. He leads the attack against the fiercest enemy and meets with many foes and friends in the course of doing it.
The plot of the story has been started from exactly where it was left in the last novel. The endless secrets which had been introduced in previous two parts like what is evil, why is it and how it can be stopped, have been answered and answered very briefly. When compared to last edition, this one has better language and crisp style. The secrets and twists are well directed and interesting. It binds the reader to the book and compels to forget about meals, tea and Facebook for a while. The author twists the actual mythology for his story and modifies the characters for the sake of making it more interesting, which overall is good. Usually in the books having more than 500 pages, some sub-stories run along with the main plot, but this novel has only one and good plot.
On the other hand, too much of explanation and experiments with the characters may not suit most of the readers. The secrets have been revealed very early in the story which reduces the interest. Hardcore followers of Indian mythology may get disappointed and unhappy about the experiments done with some actual characters of Indian mythology (like Mahadev and Shiva are two different people in the novel). At some places the book reads as a History book more than a novel. The climax of the stories is bad (it is a strong word, I know). It seems that it had been written particularly for the movie which is based upon this (by Karan Johar and perhaps starred by Hritik).
Overall, it is a nice read with good mixture of Science, Fiction, Mythology and History. The story is smooth and well written. The language is not completely grammar-free but still easy to read.
A very crisp and yet descriptive writing has become Amish’s trademark. It has a touch of history and science. There are not many hiccups in the story. The author keeps the same style which he opted in last two novels, which is simple and beautiful.
There are few setbacks and flaws in the story and writing, like, the reference of Bhagwat Geeta has been taken but the backdrop of the story is pre-Krishna. When compared to the last two novels and the first half of this novel, the ending has been hurriedly written. It looks as if something missing or incomplete. But the overall writing remains new and distinctive.
After reading first two parts of the story, the expectations with this one was huge. People rushed to the bookstores to purchase this one as soon as they came to know about the release. Unfortunately, like several other sequels, this one as well, is not able to satisfy the hopes and crashes in no men’s land. Neither good nor bad is something which comes in my mind. However, apart from miserable ending, the novel can be used as an answer book for first two novels in this series and there are instances where a reader can enjoy and cherish the writing. Though, as Shiva could not cross the line and become god, likewise, Amish remains a good writer and misses the exceptionally good writer’s spot.
I will recommend this novel to all who have read the first two parts and all who want to read something unconventional and want to know more about the history and Mythology (beware of hypothetical incidents and characters though).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bricks of Corruption

Book:              Corruption in Construction
Author:           JK Hirani
Genre:             Fiction/Humorous 
Publication:     Leadstartpublishing/frog books
Pages:             198
X-FACTOR:       Fresh writing style 
My Rating:       3.5 out of 5

THE STORY: It's like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story. So, it is an allegory here more than a story. This story is about a bunch of friends who are engineers (also). I don’t know how many engineers we have in Indian fiction. I guess too many to count. But as I say, every story has something different. This story is short, crisp and fast. Nice incidents, embraced by emotions like love, care, friendship and mischief. Story gives almost equal treatment to all of its characters. The protagonist, Aryan leads the story through different incidents and shows how important it is to talk with your own conscience at times. Aryan represents today’s young generation who is full of zeal, energy and positivity. Despite of all-corruption status of our nation, they dare to see dreams of a developed and bright India. Half of the book reads more like a memoir than a story, but in later half, it takes the shape of a good tale. It also tells many things about the corruption in construction sites and gives an idea about the reasons of delays in government projects.
There are no lapses as such but a few places where the story becomes slow and stretched. I think leaning about furnaces and other engineering stuffs can test the patience of a common reader. In the story, engineers are beaten by contractor’s men but everything settles down without any retaliation. There are instances where the tricks used by the protagonist is unrealistic like while trying to remove truck from traffic, convincing boss for leaves and some other places. The climax is most dramatic, though it does not happen in real life but still people will enjoy it, as an allegory.
Overall, it is nice story. Flirting and rusty language usage at some places makes it a fun read before it gets down to its real business at the end.

THE WRITING: I must say that it is very well written. The language is easy and dictionary free, it has the pace required and most importantly apart from a very few places it compels reader to hold the book right in front of his nose. The writer describes the incidents quite nicely and in an easy-going manner. Every page shows lots of potential and talent.
After reading the whole story, it is brutal to mention about the lapses but reviewers are cruel people. I don’t know whether there is any side lower and side upper birth in 1st class AC (correct me if there are), this is in context of the episode where Rehaan meets with Deepa. At a point the protagonist shows 1000 rupee note to a truck driver and he runs after him leaving his loaded truck (also, the color of 1000 rupee note is written green but actually it is red). The names like Rehaan and Rehanaa, Aryan and Alya give feeling of brother and sister more than lovers (that’s more what I feel than a lapse). But again, these minor mistakes have no impact over the story and the writing remains brilliant.

THE CONCLUSION: I am not sure whether this story can be placed under humor because there are not many paragraphs which can induce smile. But it is a brilliantly written story. It gives some moral messages which are most needed by today’s youth. Moreover, this book expresses the helplessness of an honest employee in big construction companies. All becomes well at last but it shows that in reality, how difficult is for one to adjust in such situations. It is a nice and less time taking story and would say it will attract the readers who like to read the novels which are fast, less complicated and with a happy ending.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chapters, Cheats and Changes

Book :           Chameleons
Author:         Sanket Ghag
Genre :          Fiction/Romance/Drama
Publication: Leadstartpublishing/ Frog books
Pages :           208
X-FACTOR:  Inside story of an interior designer  
My rating:     4 out of 5  

THE STORY: A review is easy to write, as easy as your daily journal, but writing right review is a daunting task. This story is based upon the struggles of a boy, Sunny, who is living with her ever teasing mother, a restless father, a sweet sister-in-law (who does nothing but serves meals, tea etc. basically) and a generous brother. The question is that why on the earth a common man, who is already rough-casting so much of setbacks and distress in life, would like to read another struggle story? The answer is because it gives many lessons to all, like ‘the thing which you love the most may not worth it at all’.
Chameleon has a tight, crispy and short story to tell but it is not at all fast-track. Sunny is an interior decorator and the whole story sails on the tides of his emotions and banks upon the incidents and accidents occurred with him. Prohibiting myself to go into the deep, I would add hints about the plot. It has good explanations about the places and the crook ways contractors earn money. The writer has used ‘Hindi’ to express the feeling at some spots; most of them have come well. The love scenes are realistic and triggers Goosebumps. As every coin has two sides, this story has some weaker aspects as well. Characters appear and disappear on their will (like genie). The flashbacks are used so much that often a person wonders whether a page or two are missing from the book. Hindi has been used more than required. Nevertheless, every writer has his own style and having said that, I would say that a very descent piece of work and it has a very fascinating climax which justifies the name of the novel.

THE WRITING: ‘Words creates wonders’. It is a nicely written book and if you are a regular reader of novels, you would be impressed by the choice of words and way of explanations on more than one occasion (That definitely does not mean on 2 occasions). I would happily place this novel in ‘no dictionary required’ category. Easy but still such a compiling writing is more like an eye opener for the people who think that using ‘dictionary English’ lifts the excellence of their writing.
On the other hand, at some places Hindi has been just translated into English which hampers the rather crispy language of the story like ‘Had she laughed, the world would have laughed with her and had she cried….’
One important thing (which I think is significant to tell), writer starts a flashback and remains in it for couple of chapters and all of a sudden comes back in present which obscures the reader. I think (personally) flashbacks must end in the same chapter. At an incident, Sunny tells that he had sworn never to ride on a bike, and in the very next scene he is dropped by his friend on a bike. But indeed these small lapses can be easily overlooked owing to the excellent writing and dramatic expressions the writer pulls off. A better story and this writer can do wonders.

THE CONCLUSION: The reader would think that ‘why am I reading about Sunny?’ and as soon as he would finish the question, two words will hit him hard ‘why not?’ Sunny is simple, honest and at times adorable. Immaculate writing style and spice of real life makes the story a good read. I will recommend it to people who like to read a good story in 2 or 3 installments. This is an intense story which has been miraculously simplified.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Past lives forever

Book :          The Pink Scarecrow
Author:         Ankita Srivastava
Genre :         Fiction/Romantic suspense
Publication:   Leadstartpublishing/ Frog books
Pages :         173
X-FACTOR:    Usage of ornamental words 
My rating:     3.85 out of 5
THE STORY: I would like to make it clear that this story has nothing to with war, fight, soldiers or even a gun-shot. This story is simple but yet touches your heart on many occasions. The protagonist is in Army and this story swings between his present and past. A very few characters make the story easy-going. Interesting description of a typical Indian girl is eye-catching and realistic. Some nice poems and songs are included in the book which can be easily dedicated to one you love. Congrats to the writer for choosing ornamental words to describe the characters. The whole book appears like a assembly of pearls.
On the other hand the story is a bit slow and almost stops on a few occasions. The descriptions of the characters are too long (though outstanding in the literature point of view) and not all modern readers would be able to connect well. Including songs and poems was a nice idea but a poem or song after every (or few) incident makes the story even slower. In the party scene I was quite amazed by the capacity of the protagonist to drink that much alcohol and still be normal. Overall, this book is a classic example of romanticism (छायावाद) and to admire and understand the instrumental work of words and emotions, a casual reader is not enough.

THE WRITING: As I mentioned that this book has been written under the influence of ‘romanticism’ (छायावाद) and there are not many places which can be mentioned as a writing lapse. It is outstanding piece of work. The taste of the modern readers has change and people need more spice in a romantic book but still it is the most beautifully written book. The hard work of writer is quite visible in the form of artistic words and exceptional style.
There is nothing negative about the writing but it is the ability/understanding of reader which may become a challenge for the writer. May be if the style of writing could be tailored to match the frequency of Indian readers (most) then it can be remarkably well and enriching.

THE CONCLUSION: The story is very simple and becomes predictable after a few chapters. In fact, I felt that the story has been taken over by the writing style of the author. The story was suppressed somewhere, and writing elegance was prominent. Having said that, if you are a true lover of English literature and romanticism then this book is for you. Read it to venerate the words, descriptions, explanations and positioning of sentences.