Book Review: Kaal Kothari by Swadesh Deepak [Hindi Play]

It was a small book. I picked it up in the library because I wanted to finish it in one sitting. I didn’t know if I’d find time to come back and read the book again, though I never thought anybody would get it issued in the meantime. It just doesn’t happen with many Hindi books in a city like Bangalore.

But still, thanks to libraries like JustBooks, and some readers of course, Hindi book sections exist, and survive too. They seem to, as yet.

So the small green book I picked was called Kaal Kothari. It was written by Swadesh Deepak, who, I found out, is an author who writes in Hindi as well as English, and has masters’ degree in both the languages.

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Flipkart: Time to Do or Die?

Flipkart vs Amazon: Will FK Survive?A few years ago, say beginning of 2011, I became a Flipkart fan. Not the Facebook one, but one who bought something every month at least. 2011 was when I bought from them extensively. Especially after an order that was worth Rs 101 and was sent to a relatively remote town in UP via two registered posts, without any delivery charges then.

Then times changes and they upped their minimum free orders to Rs 200 and soon 300.

One day soon after that, I told my then girlfriend (and now wife) while passing a Flipkart office that FK had just moved their Rs 30 delivery charges to a minimum order of 300 and I thought they’d make it 50 and 500 in some time.

In 2012, I was checking indiabookstore.net regularly for who gave the books cheapest, and most of my books began to come from Homeshop18. Though most of the big things are still coming from Flipkart. Except my Galaxy Note, where I saved a bit by buying from Infibeam.

[I believe that’s what they wanted. To give small orders to small websites and keep selling the big ones. But once people got good with other websites, they bought from them as well. Not with as high expectations as from Flipkart, but expecting two days extra for a delivery.]

A couple weeks ago I got an email. Flipkart flyte music store was closing, and I should download the songs before a certain date.

Around the same time, I found there was a 66-67% off sale on a lot of books on Amazon.in. After much haggling with myself, I ordered only five of them. The bug that bit me – Amazon was ready to deliver even a single book for no delivery charges. As of now.

Next day, I found out Amazon was selling 66 Kindle books for rs 66 each. I bought 2 of them. Then after three days 2 more, and finally 2 more. Total 6.

Book Review: Maharani by Ruskin Bond

Once again I’m writing a review for a Ruskin Bond book. Something that I should not do. Because I’m a fan, I love whatever Ruskin writes. And this was no exception. Pre-ordered the day I got to know about the book. Read within 36 houts of receiving it. Still, here I am writing, so read if you are interested.

We’ve read about the Queens in Ruskin’s old books. But most of the time they were either creatures of mystery, never coming out of their unreachable Palaces (turned ruins, at times) or just part of third hand stories. But this time, the queen is not so mysterious, not part of some fable, and very much a real person with a real life and real faults.

Ruskin’s writing style is the same, but nature is a little less and story a little more. Other than Maharani, there are accounts of a few more people in his life, but not very long. One of them, of a friendship with a little boy, is lovely.

In the name of shortcoming, I didn’t find many, but I was a little confused with the timeline as it goes up and down a few times. That, however, will most probably make a good reason for me to read the book again. Yes, that’s how fans are.

A word of warning. The book is a little sexually explicit in some places, and is not exactly the thing that you would like to give to a early teen. On the other hand though, teens today are reading so much more, more explicit and much worse, so this one is not really a problem, but then that’s a different issue altogether.

Maharani is actually one of Ruskin’s most multi-faceted book. It’s not just a thriller, or drama, or his nature love, or humor. But a mix of them all. Yes, Maharani is a Cocktail, in Ruskin Bond’s glass, with his own flavors.

I enjoyed this. And if you’re a Bond fan, you will too.

See also: Book Review: Secrets by Ruskin Bond

Book Review: ‘Two Fates: The Story of My Divorce’ by Judy Balan

When I read the name of the book a few weeks ago on Flipkart’s list of Pre-Order books, I somehow found it interesting, and since it was for just Rs 105, I ordered the book right away.

Fast forward to December 1, when I got an email from office mail room saying there was a Flipkart for me and I should come and collect it (that’s what they wrote). While going, I suddenly realized it was the pre-ordered book (I still didn’t remember the name), and then after having scribbled something in the mail register I proceeded to remove the great Flipkart packing.

No, I am not a blurb reader, but those who did read the blurb in the office almost immediately queued themselves up for the copy. And then I had to make them read the absolute first page of the book, which I found interesting.

And then, through my busy schedule (you claim your schedule busy when you work Saturday, of course) I kept turning the pages of the book, which was happening quite fast and the book was over (with this schedule, surprisingly) in just two days.

That was the story of my well spent hundred and five rupees.

Yep. I did like the book. The beginning of the book was funny, and that again means the absolute first page which is Judy Balan’s introduction. After that, the first two acknowledgements made me a bit impatient and I simply moved to the last one, to find what I had expected. And then, the book started.

The Prologue was nice and made me think I was going to read yet another Chetan Bhagat novel. The first page of the first chapter, however, made me a little afraid that I was in for yet another round of the exact same things I had read in Two States. But thankfully, my fears never got realized.

No, not that the story or the way Judy tells the story here are different, but the book, simply is not what Chetan’s book was. It’s not the same two people that were there in that one, and then, the similarities are more the ones which make you laugh, than the ones which make up the real story of the book.

Now before my review goes completely haywire, here are the points that I noticed about the book.

  • It’s a page turner. Simple and entertaining.
  • In case you had any doubts even after the first one, here I say clearly, It’s funny. At least I found it so.
  • Characters of the book are interesting. Though Judy doesn’t describe them specially, their traits come out with the story going on. Liked that.
  • A few things (not many, really) are simply impossible to believe to have happened in reality, but they have been added to make things funny and mostly they pass.
  • Near the end things go a little too dramatic, but by the time you close the book, things are again mostly sane and real, so you don’t feel cheated, at least.
  • Overall, I totally liked the book, though it’s not something I’d read again, hopefully. Yet, I’d like to read the author’s next.

In short, Two Fates is something really good for a first novel and would not disappoint you if you like light reading. That’s all I have to say.

PS (with Spoiler alert): I do not think anyone who went to IIM may not know who O’Henry is. Hope I am right.

Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat: Book Review

Chetan Bhagat this time takes one of the most simple and highly used stories — A love triangle. And at the outset, there is nothing special in the story, except that it is written by him.

But then, this does make a difference. Chetan’s novels are known for their quality of engaging a person, and this one does that well, though it may not be as engaging as, say, Five Point Someone. Probably the main reason for that is this one doesn’t go in the same series as Five Point Someone and 2 States, the two of his better novels, which were both autobiographical in nature.

Like all other novels by Bhagat, this one too has a Prologue which keeps you hooked to the story, though this time you know that prologue is continued at the end of the story and not much before that, putting the entire story in the flashback. Interestingly, this time the prologue does is not as thrilling or even mysterious as some of his previous ones, but very few pages into the prologue and it sounds mature in a way.

As for the book, it is quite fast paced in the beginning, but becomes slightly dragged in the second half, that for a Chetan Bhagat book. But as a normal author of Indian Fiction, I think Chetan still maintains his distinction as he keeps the reader hooked throughout. Things happen a little predictably, but not too much.

One good thing about the book is that CB tries to add some serious stuff, in terms of country and society, but has not gone over the top like he did in 3 Mistakes. In fact, mostly he has been quite realistic in the way his characters deal with things.

In short, Revolutions 2020, the first book by Chetan that does not start with a number, is not really a revolution, but if you like his reading, I think you wouldn’t be much disappointed. He has been better that this before, and then I’m pretty sure, he has been worse than this too, and this would probably lie right in the center somewhere.

Secrets (Ruskin Bond): Book Review

Secrets. Yet another book by Ruskin Bond. I saw the book at Flipkart website and I ordered it without even realizing that it was a story book. But then again, it hardly matters whether it’s stories or novels. When it comes to Ruskin, especially when he writes about his beloved Dehra, anything is everything is just unbelievable.

By now you must have understood how great a fan of Bond I am. Still, I’ll try to give an unbiased review of the book. But then again, a fan is a fan, so no guarantees attached.

The one hundred and fifty page book has seven stories, out of which, the first, called The Canal, was one of the best. Even the story doesn’t have so much of a ‘story,’ Ruskin is just superbly natural when it comes to depicting his childhood, when he talks about things he did with friends.
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Silhouettes Unravelled by Advika Gupta (Book Review)

The book is a collection of poems written by a sixteen year old on various topics ranging from coffee to friendships to even Dr Manmohan Singh. There is a range of myriad emotions depicted through various poems in the book. The poems are written in very simple sentences and most of them seem like a prose than a poem. Some of the poems are very short while some extend to even nine pages. While we should appreciate the author for putting together a range of poems as vast as this at this young age, a careful editing is missing in many of those.
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Diddi: Hamari Maa Shivani, by Ira Pandey (Book Review)

Shivani, to me, is an author who could say things very deep, even while talking of stories that are, say, next door. I have read some of her novels, and some memoirs that she wrote later. But even with them, you don’t get that picture of Shivani that Ira talks about here. While on one hand she claims that she herself does not know the real Shivani and is still searching for her complete personality through her stories, she has been able to present a picture of her celebrated mother that the outside world does not know.
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The Secret of the Nagas: Book Review (Amish Tripathi)

Here is a review of Amish Tripathi’s second novel, The Secret of the Nagas, by Soorya.

It’s a perfect sequel! A one in a thousand case where (especially) an Indian author writes a trilogy and the sequel is as thrilling as the first book, if not better. Applause for Amish Tripathi for pulling it off in such a grand manner. May be because we had to wait for a long time that the sequel tasted better. The Immortals of Meluha was the first book by the author, which saw a lot of criticism for amateur writing. Unfortunately Amish follows the same style here which often irritates the reader because it has already caught attention as a mythological book and the reader expects a lot of maturity in the language.
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Chetan Bhagat’s New Book: ‘Revolution 2020: Love. Corruption. Ambition’

Chetan Bhagat: Revolution 2020

So here is a quick look into Chetan Bhagat’s new book, Revolution 2020: Love. Corruption. Ambition. The book is a love triangle with a girl having to choose her love between two guys, one who gives in to the system and goes corrupt, and the other who does not.

The cover of the book can be seen here.

A teaser of the book can be found at the Author’s website: http://www.chetanbhagat.com/revolution-2020.html

Update: The price of the book is not Rs 95 like all other CB books, but at Rs 140. You can also pre order the book from Flipkart at Rs 80. (Now Rs 84)

Read the REVIEW of the book HERE.

Jangalnama by Satnam: Book Review (English, 2010)

I had just read Hello Bastar and once I had finished the book in a day, I wanted to know more. I got the reference to Satnam’s Jangalnama in Hello Bastar only and I decided to read this as well since I had hardly read a thing about the Maoists and what was happening in their area before this.

And so, one month back, I ordered the book from Flipkart and started reading it some two days after it arrived.

The book in the beginning was something very interesting. While Rahul’s book had been very well designed, this was not going to be that way. This was a travelogue, and as I read what went like a diary, I could almost see things as they were happening as Satnam gives quite descriptive a picture right from how he entered the Jungle.

As the book progressed, I found a lot of interesting things, about Guerillas, and more than that, about tribals in the area. This included facts like the tribals there did not drink milk and didn’t even eat eggs, or what they understood, chickens waiting to be hatched, and also details about development done by the guerillas with the tribals’ help inside the forests.

Of course, the book talks about the problems tribals and guerillas face there, especially the harrassment of the tribals by the outside world. I knew that things were bad there, but only after reading the book I was able to understand the scarcity of the very basic necessities of life. You might have heard that common sense is not common, but the book told me that in those places, even common salt was not common.

To tell the truth, even after reading such a well researched and designed book as Hello Bastar, I found Jangalnama interesting, except for a few negatives. One, the book starts getting a bit repetitive towards the end as the things author finds there are more or less the same with a few changes, throughout his journey and hence throughout the book. Two, the original book, the one in Punjabi, was written in 2003 and has things seen in 2002, not in the recent times.

But still, the book gives you a good insight into an unknown land and its unknown people, who we hardly acknowledge as our own. So if you’re interested in the topic, go for the book.

Hello Bastar (Rahul Pandita): Book Review

Till yesterday, I hardly knew a thing about the Maoist movement in India. Except for the number of Police men and people killed by them, and a few articles here and there which could only tell, at best, that the other side of story wasn’t being shown, something quite obvious.

But then, while reading Rahul Pandita‘s blog ‘Sanity Sucks‘ a few days ago (I don’t remember how I came across the blog, but it was recently only, when I read Rahul’s post about Hemchandra), I came to know about his book called Hello Bastar.

And something inside me, probably the curiosity to know the ‘other side’ of the story (add to that my recent obsession with Flipkart), made me order the book instantly. Two days ago I got the book, and Tuesday morning I started reading the book while on the road to office. On the journey back home I read again, and then kept reading through the evening, to 1:45 AM, when I turned the last page of the book.

I think even the story says something about the book. I do not say that it’s a book you can’t put back once started, but if you are interested in the topic and want to know, the book can be easily finished in a reading, that interesting it is.

As for the Author, I would first like to praise him for the research he seems to have done for the project and then for coming out with the book. I cannot decide which of the two needs more guts.

About the book, the first thing I would like to say is that it’s the outcome of some real hard work, and the research done for the book is extensive. The author has not only gone to the areas and interviewed people, but has also got their pictures, and more than that their experiences, which cannot come without a sincere understanding and rapport.

At the same time, Rahul has clearly written about the agendas of the the Maoists, including the ‘Urban Agenda’ that, according to the book, they plan to follow. I am still trying to understand how the Maoists have opened so much of their plans, even though just in shapes of basic ideas, to the Author.

As for the other side of the story, Rahul hasn’t really written a lot. Except for a few small incidents and the ‘big’ incident, the attack in which 75 CRPF personnel were killed, not much is talked about. This may be taken as a negative of the book, but then where state is giving us all the details about the other side of the story anyway, there is not really such a need to write about the state’s side of the story in detail.

Now, I don’t think this is part of the book review anyway, but in case you are interested, a line from the book even expresses my thoughts about the Maoists plans. The last line of the chapter Urban Agenda says, “It may sound like a far cry, but it’s not as far as the government thinks it is.”

To end the review, I have just one thing to say. If you’re interested in the topic, read the book. And if you don’t have any interest in this, develop some. After all, it’s about our own country.

You can buy the book from Flipkart on some good discount HERE.

Down the Road: Book Review

Almost a month go when I received this story book, Down the Road, to write a review of, I thought I’d read it cover to cover within 2-3 days, maximum a week and get the review out. But as it generally happens with story books, it took me a month passing through the mixed bag of the good, the bad, the okay, the innocent and almost every type of story that could be there connected to schools and colleges. And the good part is, that I enjoyed most of the time I gave to the book.
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Book Review: Another Chance (Ahmed Faiyaz)

One day a Twitter friend randomly asked if I was interested in a book review. I had not done much book reviews in past some days, so I randomly said yes, and he said he’d send the book. Then there were some delays from both sides and finally after some three and half weeks I could find some time to start the book.

And very frankly, within less than twenty four hours, I had finished the book more than 90 percent, when I had to stop due to some reasons. Of course, the book was running through my mind and of the things I wanted to do was to thank the author Ahmed Faiyaz as well as the person who had asked me to review the book, Aseem.

No, ANOTHER CHANCE is not a classic, nor is it the best book I have read. But somehow the book touched me deep inside, and that is what I truly loved the book for.
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