Tag Archives: Indian Society

Book Review of The Persecution of Madhav Tripathi by Aditya Sudarshan

The Persecution of Madhav Tripathi

by Aditya  Sudarshan

This fast paced, yet gentle read, treads carefully the life and prosecution of Madhav Tripathi – an officer in the ministry. And its not just him. Others around him too become a victim. Madhav is abducted, he manages to flee, and gets back to his girlfriend. There on anyone and everyone become their suspects.

The Persecution of Madhav Tripathi

With the turn of events, you see Madhav facing prosecution at all levels – physical, emotional and psychological. People, things and events from his past surface creating a matrix with his present only to ruin it for his future.  There’s an uprising, of feelings, emotions (guilt), and people. There’s democracy covered by the garb of hypocrisy. A latent desire to know more than one must. And an active roar to reach the top.

The perfect tiff between the past and the future.
The author takes you on an enthralling adventure unveiling the truth of our society.

I’d say treat it like a work of fiction which it is. But when you read it, it feels more real than truth itself. Aditya’s style of writing has evolved and he can sure keep his readers captive, slowly. There’s violence, humor, wit, and more importantly a mesmerizing mystery to solve.

It took me a while to pick up the book, but I’m glad I did. The thriller is quite a work of art. A good effort.

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Book Review of “The Sari Shop Widow” by Shobhan Bantwal

The Sari Shop Widow

By Shobhan Bantwal

Shobhan

When the book reached me I wanted to start it at that very moment. There was something about the cover that caught my attention. From the time I turned the pages there was no stopping. At least for quite a bit of the 360-page book.

The main protagonist, Anjali Kapadia, an American-Indian, is a widow who runs her parents sari shop “Silk & Sapphires”. Their exquisite tasteful collection is devoured by most but with the rising competition and building recession, bankruptcy is round the corner for the Kapadia family. Strange how the folks running it don’t realize it until the last minute, and thus look to seek help.

To save their face and their shop, Anjali’s father calls his brother – Jeevan Kapadia, a rich/wealthy businessman from India. When he comes visiting to evaluate the business, he brings his business partner along – Rishi Shah – a complete charmer. With hidden motives none-the-less.

Though Anjali and her mother don’t trust this grey-eyed British Indian, there is something that draws Anjali to him all the more. An empowering attraction that captures her. But what she doesn’t know is a secret that unveils to shake-n-stir them all.

Though the plot of the book is fairly predictable (at least it was for me), the characters stand out with their unique personalities. The premise of the story has it all – love, culture, trust, hope, despair, sex, betrayal, courage, etc. The writing seemed quite effortless and flow- just right.

The characters have depth. Most readers are sure to find a connect with Anjali, or empathize with her.

Though glimpses of life in New Jersey, through Anjali’s story, seemed a bit predictable, the way Anjali has a fling with Rik, her “no-strings-attached” sexual escapades with him, her (fatal) attraction towards Rishi, her loyalty to her sari shop, her undying love for Vik (her late husband), her encounter with Rishi (and his girlfriend) – made the story quite interesting (for those who like chick-lit/romance genre).

The climax, yes, ended a bit abruptly. It could use a little more depth (just like the story overall).

The author brings out the colours (of culture and her characters) quite well. There’s drama, humour, emotions, love, and yes- a bit of senseless entertainment, all mixed well to make it a yummy “masala” read.

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Book Review of “Just Friends” by Sumrit Shahi

Just Friends

By Sumrit Shahi

Picking this up wasn’t a bad deal at all. Sumrit has shown good potential with his debut novel JUST FRIENDS – a story that revolves around the friendship between a girl and a boy. The age old question of whether a girl and a guy can be friends seems to be answered almost perfectly by this teenager.

The story is about the two youngsters Aaryan and Tanie and their growing up years in school and hostel. Very relatable instances of the regular bunking, group studying, hostel tantrums, indulging in sports, examination fevers, friendships, crushes and first love add flavor and fragrance to his writing. School life is an important part of a person’s life. Those are the days of carelessness and alertness all the same. It somewhat leads you to your path ahead in life. For some, those are the most wonderful days of growing up…while for some a difficult road with hardships and bruises. Filled with humorous incidents and decently intellectual conversations, the book overall is a breezy and a refreshing read.

What prompted me more to pick up the book was its blurb/synopsis on the back page. “He knows everything about her, right from her favourite books to her favorite bra. She knows everything about him, right from his favourite soccer club to his favourite x rated websites. He will complete her English homework, even at three in the night. She will arrange an Armani suit for him, even if it calls for flirting with ugly guys. He has her picture in his wallet. She has his number on speedial. They talk to each other all the time. They talk about each other when they don’t talk to each other. They discuss everything from periods to playstation. They have tasted alcohol and then thrown up…together. They have bunked countless tuitions… together. They cant live without each other. YET They don’t love each other. They are JUST FRIENDS.”

Also, for me, most importantly, the correct usage of the language made it an enjoyable experience. I’m happy Sumrit did not disappoint me. There is humor, wit, emotions, and an element of connectivity.

Good work. Worth reading.

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Book Review of “Revolution 2020” by Chetan Bhagat

Revolution 2020

By Chetan Bhagat

I have a mixed view about Chetan Bhagat’s latest novel.

It opens with Mr. Chetan Bhagat visiting GangaTech College in Varanasi for a discourse. He meets Gopal and then we see Gopal pouring his heart out to Chetan Bhagat, under the influence of alcohol and a sad incident.

 

To give a background, this is a love triangle and it also brings out the corruption and facades of the education sector (with coaching classes mushrooming eveywhere, esp. for IIT, JEE and CAT exams).

Gopal belongs to a poor family. His friend Raghav belongs to a middle class family. And Aarti (Gopal’s love) belongs to the affluent section of society. Gopal has to struggle all his life for everything. From making a decent living to taking the exams to claiming his love. Raghav on the other hand stands up to values and fights against the wrong-doings in society. Aarti is a rich girl with her good looks and charming smile and great lifestyle. The three have been friends from childhood. Gopal falls in love with Aarti, while she falls in love with Raghav.

Then comes the “Love, Corruption and Ambition” angle to the story. Gopal wants to prove to Aarti that he is better than Raghav and he designs a plan to seek revenge in his own twisted way. He ends up starting his own college and coaching classes for IIT aspirants and takes the generation under his stride. Raghav is an upright and morally/ethically righteous person who defies everything wrong and corrupt. And we see the fight between the good and the bad.

Quite a bit of the book was clichéd and predictable. The climax was, yes, a bit “feel-good-factor”. The language and the flow of the story is very simple. I would’ve preferred crisper editing. But is it just me or do you also feel that the book read mostly like a movie script.
I even imagined the actors playing the parts while reading this one.
Not something that I would appreciate.

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Book Review of “Ladies Coupe” by Anita Nair

Ladies Coupe

By Anita Nair

This is riveting story of a woman’s search for strength and independence.

The protagonist Akhilandeshwari, Akhila for short, is forty-five and single, an income-tax clerk, and a woman who has never been allowed to live her own life – always the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the provider. Until the day she gets herself a one-way ticket to the seaside town of Kanyakumari, gloriously alone for the first time in her life and determined to break free of all that her conservative Tamil Brahmin life has bound her to. 

In the intimate atmosphere of the ladies coupé which she shares with five other women, Akhila gets to know her fellow travelers. And follows is an exciting and absorbing read.

Janaki, pampered wife and confused mother; Margaret Shanti, a chemistry teacher married to the poetry of elements and an insensitive tyrant too self-absorbed to recognize her needs; Prabha Devi, the perfect daughter and wife, transformed for life by a glimpse of a swimming pool; Fourteen-year-old Sheela, with her ability to perceive what others cannot; And Marikolanthu, whose innocence was destroyed by one night of lust.

A diverse mix of ladies with their share of stories and insights to their life. As she listens to the women’s stories, Akhila is drawn into the most private moments of their lives, seeking in them a solution to the question that has been with her all her life: Can a woman stay single and be happy, or does a woman need a man to feel complete?

The incidents, the lives, and the cultural diversity of these women are very relatable and feel real. The stories of each of the ladies in the coupe are invigorating, enticing, uplifting and inspiring in their own way. Thoughts and feelings and dreams poured in to words that bring to life show the author’s strength as a writer. It does leave you thinking about one of the simplest yet complex question- does a woman really need a man to complete her and her life? The fine art of story-telling is justified by this author in a very rich way.

(Review by Sanajana Kapoor)

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Book Review of “The Better Man” by Anita Nair

The Better Man

by Anita Nair


The novel is set in the northern part of Kerala, and shows the transformation a man undergoes.

Mukundan, retired from government service, returns to the village of Kaikurussi where he was born. He comes with the intention of erasing the memories of his past. He is upset, viewing his life as a failure. He meets “One-screw-loose-Bhasi”, a local eccentric, a housepainter and an inverter of an odd system of alternative medicine. 

 

He helps in healing Mukundan and transforming himself. Then Power House Ramakrishnan, a locally important man, decides to build a Community hall, and selects Bhasi’s land. He threatens to destroy Bhasi’s business if he refuses to sell the land. Mukundan intends to save Bhasi’s land but is flattered into accepting membership on the project committee. Then Mukundan’s father (one of the strongest characters of the book) dies. Mukundan undergoes a deeper transformation and finds redemption.

You might find the story predictable and about average, but the narrative is fresh.
It is a bit sow in the beginning but it gathers pace and evokes a lot of emotions.
The author catches finer points of village life with much grace and ease, reflecting “real life” in the interior of the country. The power cuts, the post office and the people working in it, the tea stall etc. The tone of the narrative is heart-felt and warm. The incidents and the characters are bound to touch your heart. The only problem is that the tempo of the novel drops a lot. At a point when you think the story is picking up pace and indulging, it somehow drops the plot and fades out.
Overall a nice one time read.

(Review by Sanjana Kapoor) 

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Book Review of The (In)eligible Bachelors by Ruchita Misra

The (In)eligible Bachelors

by Ruchita Misra

The Indian chick-lit seems to revolve nowhere beyond marriage. Ruchita Misra’s The (In)eligible Bachelors is one such offering.
Though enjoyable and pretty entertaining, it comes with its set of minor flaws.

Good things first:
There is no major plot. But I like the characters. All of them.

Kasturi with her freshness, and a loving heart; and her mom with her concerns about getting her daughter married to a highly qualified, rich bachelor of the same caste. Kasturi’s dad is the only one who seems to understand her (in the family I mean) but he too escapes to the villages for medical camps, just to get out of his wife’s incessant ranting about marriage and prospective grooms. Quite a fun read, the whole family picture.

Kasturi’s friends – Varun and Ananya –precious I say. The transformation of (almost) tomboyish Ananya to a lovey-dovey koochi-cooing damsel is quite funny.

The line of suitors – Pita ji (Amay), Dr. Purva Dikshit, Vipul Vikas, another one named Lehman, but heading the list is Kasturi’s love- Rajeev Mehrotra- her boss at work and (as she describes him) a Greek God!
I’m sure the title gives in a lot about the story. Kasturi is of course bullied by her mom (emotionally) in to meeting potential suitors and how she does meet them only to reject them all. Quite a few places, I felt, there was an exaggeration of scenes. I understand that Indian setting helps you formulate larger-than-life dramas but humble advice: let’s not go overboard with them.
The emotional drama she faces with family, sometimes with friends and then with Rajeev was a bit typical and expected. The climax did bring a smile.
The pace is quite fast and the language is fairly simple that makes you breeze through the book without much effort. It makes for a good one-time read no doubt. But it definitely lacks depth.
The freshness of her writing style has earned Ruchita quite a place in my head. There is wit, humor and definitely a few laughs. So, if you are looking for a smooth, easy and an absolute fun read- go ahead pick this one!

Wait…I almost forgot the flaws: (sorry someone has to do it)
The book cover isn’t as interesting. The back-cover is bright pink! I mean fuchsia!!! Had it been white with a bit of pink it would still be tolerable. No really.

The book reads like Kasturi’s journal with exact timeline. Now, why would you do that? I did not see the whole point in giving the time/date line. There are places where the author accounts even for the split second. How was Kasturi feeling what she felt and writing about it at the same time? Was she putting it all on some kind of a secret device that was noting the time and her emotions and the dialogues?? Oh and as far as I know, a journal essentially has monologues. Not dialogues.
It would’ve made more sense writing it all without the disturbing time and date lines. After a point I stopped reading those.
Oh and yes- a bit of grammatical errors: we write God (not god); it is “within” not “withen” and it is “anyway” not “anyways”.

Well these are really minor (like I mentioned earlier) but none the less, noticeable. Oh wait…one major flaw- its “Maggi” not Maggie!!!

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