Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Extras - Kiran Nagarkar

Considering that we get maximum hits for Ravan and Eddie on this blog, it is only fair that we write about the sequel. The extras picks up from where the first one left off. Ravan is in love with Peita and Eddie has Belle and everything is well.. until their respective mothers decide that they don't deserve another free meal and throw them out of the house. Their musical aspirations take a nose dive and Ravan becomes a taxi driver and Eddie does a Praveen Babi from Khuddar. But as they say you just can't escape your destiny however glorious or dubious it might be.. so we have our R & E twisting with Helen and reaching out to Aasman and ultimately achieving what they have always known to be theirs.
It isn't as atrociously wicked as the first book.. but it has its moments whether it is notes on bus conductors making it big or the prohibition or the education system. Of course nothing yet beats the one on Afghan snow or "Mazee heart halt zale"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Palace of Illusions

Palace of illusions or Draupadi's Mahabharat traces her entire life.. sort of like an autobiography.. Her love for Karna or a greater feeling for Krishna.. Her conflicts with Kunti.. Apart from all the miracles, this is a more realistic interpretation of the epic. I grew up watching 'Mahaaaaabharaaaat' (note the stress on 'a') on Doordarshan where every character was either white or black. None were normal and although the arrows flying across made it immensely enjoyable, there was always a disconnect. Given a chance, Roopa Ganguly can still carry off a real Draupadi any given day. But I digress.
So the book makes for a wonderful read.. so much that I stayed up till 3 in the morning to finish the book. It is very difficult to view the epic from a woman's point of view.. specially since most stories objectify them .. there is no value add from their characters and even if they do.. it is primarily as the reason behind huge wars. Never have they been portrayed as being intelligence or having distinct individuality.. Although this wasn't exactly what was missing in Chitra Lekha Bannerjee's book, Draupadi did come across as a mere tool in a bigger scheme of things.. things that she was 'destined' for and could never have changed. Not that I expected the entire story to be different, but atleast Draupadi could have at least shown to have made her decisions and not just left it to destiny... hmm..but that would have changed the course of story.. innit? ;)

Karl Aaj Aur Kal/The incredible adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Verghese

So over the last one month I managed to read two books that probably would be listed under the humor section.
Exhibit 1 was Cyrus Brocha's Karl Aaj Aur Kal.. which came across more like a loving tribute to Kunal Vijaykar. Although it did start off well.. ahem..with some insights into Parsi culture (Please to note Mr.Mistry).. it turned into a drag and could have been 100 pages smaller. 
Exhibit 2 was Sidin Vadukut's The incredible adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Verghese. Now this one, I had huge expections. I have been reading Sidin's blog since a long time and really liked his writing. However after I read the book, I realized why blogs are so much better.. There is just one post at a time... You read it.. enjoy it and move on. But with a book you have to read through hundreds of pages of something that never really leads to anything particular.
So I guess, the sales of these two books would primarily depend on the popularity of the writers rather than the actual content of the book.. pretty much like our so called block buster movies

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Pregnant King - Dr Devadutt Patanaik

Today.. when section 377 causes so much of an uproar...where political parties feel threatened by gender equality, homosexuality and quota for women...where female infanticide is as much a reality as child marriage...its interesting to find something like the pregnant kind hardly being discussed in the media or otherwise.. not that the book is extraordinary..but considering the fact that "The white tiger" wins awards..this one atleast deserves a good mention.. Apart from Jai.. I have hardly come across any references ..
The story is set around the Mahabharata and its merges both the fiction and mythological parts...although too many references of gender confusion tends to make it a bit too forceful.
We tend to summarize the Mahabharata solely on the Kurukshetra and the war that these short stories build around it which probably are much more interesting and relevant are missed out..And these are exactly the kind of stories that reflect the hypocrisy of the society that we have landed ourself in...also evident from the fact that we have converted both the Ramayana and Mahabharata into a preachy textbook rather than just a documentation of the civilization that we lived in.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A case of exploding mangoes

There is always something interesting when one reads books from across the border..a lot of revelations.. some misconceptions cleared..although one finds it strange that one had them to begin with ..considering the fact that one never actually gave it too much of a thought..probably just as a reference to Kargil (they were the proverbial villains) or when Benazir got assassinated..of course n the cricket ground ..they were the guys you had to always defeat..even if we lost all other matches..
But these books (well..alteast the three I have read so far...the earlier ones were partition based or from authors who have had to move from here to at some levels they don't invoke the same feelings or rather thoughts).. they provide some sort of an insight.. not much is different from people out there as they are here... although Hamid's book more so as compared to Hanif's.. Hanif's is more black humor (if I understand the definition right)..and would make a brilliant movie.. with someone like Kundan shah or better still Vishal B at the helm..
The Zia in this and the caricature they created in Charlie Wilson's war are quite strangely similar and dissimilar at the same time..
Anyhoo..this is one brilliant book and is totally worth a read.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Moth Smoke...

I have this thing about friends and secrets. Sometimes when I meet a person I like, I tell them a secret they don't know me well enough to be told. It lets me judge their potential as a friend"........
"But let me tell you what I think about secrets before you decide if you want me to tell you one. Secrets make life more interesting. You can be in a crowded room with someone and touch them without touching, just with a look, because they know a part of you no one else knows. And whenever you're with them, the two of you are alone, because the you they see no one else can see..."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

White Man Falling - Mike Stocks

LibraryThing has these fun stats where it displays books that you share with only one other person and thats how I stumbled on Mike Stocks. He and I are the only ones who own Kalki's selected short stories.
White man falling is a story of how sometimes 'suddenly out of the blue' or 'out of nowhere' incidents end up making such a drastic impact on our lives. Its a rather humorous take of how when a white man falls over one Retired Inspector Swami (who by the way is famous for having tried to commit suicide with just a cycle tube) leads to such bizarre events in life that he ends up as Guru Swamiji.
It based in a long forgotten town in Tamil Nadu and its hearting to see someone based in Edinburgh write such a nice little novel about something like this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Blind Faith - Sagarika Ghosh

Well... Why did I pick this book? Mainly because it was written by Sagarika Ghosh of the IBN fame and she does have some decent posts up her blog.
So... was I disappointed.. not entirely. It didn't start off well.. it jerked between a novel and a news report.. but it did pick itself up somewhere in between.. but then again the end was a bit of a damper.
Although the characters are pretty intruiging, there are a lot of unnecessary explanations given to certain events whereas certain interesting ones just breeze through. It comes out more like a first time novel.. although I think she has already published atleast one that I know of.
But I must add that the Indi is one of the best character sketches I have read so far.
A decent one...but could have been a lot better.