Monday, February 18, 2013

And then there was someone --

He was a Demigod who walked the ground. His very smile or a slight wave of the hand would send the female following in to a feverish frenzy and the menfolk simply wished they were HIM. Such was his charisma that couples named their kids after him. His ingeniousness on the field was talked about in revered hushes. He owed his name and fame not only to a rigorous and punishing practice schedules but also to a wizardry though slightly maniacal prowess. All was well for a while ---
Then he met a group of agents who promised him a ride to heaven and back . Initially he was unmoved by the glitz and glamour dangled in front of him by them, that would  put the Gods to shame. But then slowly the virus introduced by the shrewd manipulators steadily worked in to his system. He got sucked in to the realm of greed and deceit. He tried to fool people by acting saintly, but he was so transparent that his actions showed on him. And thus began his downfall -----

This is off to Sra & Aparna's Fifty-Two weeks of 2013 Project

Sunday, February 10, 2013


The society is inflicted with a strange disease - the disease of looking down upon people who are differently abled. Despite a whole lot of awareness than earlier times and an increase in the general sensitivity to the issues of mental and physical disabilities, the differently abled still have a lots of odds facing them. The novel 'Once upon the tracks of Mumbai' gives us a glimpse into the lives of one such person. 

The protagonist is autistic, schizophrenic as well as psychotic. His hallucinations as well as odd behaviour puts him into a whole lot of public glare, humiliation and mirth. We are privy to the tumultuous shades his life goes through resulting from a lack of inclusion from everyone including his own family.  With this disorder is Balwant Srivastav aka Babloo who lives an isolated life and is happy in his own world. His family rarely interacts with him and their indifference stems from the lack of awareness of his infliction.  The only thing that keeps him going is his interactions with Vandana. This lady in turn has her share of inner troubles and wants to break free from the shackles of middle class living and yearns for a soul mate.

Due to this lady, Babloo strives to better himself. The story gets a new boost with the entry of Rail Man, who is portrayed as a super hero and a do gooder. The entry of this character sets the tone of the novel and is practically a turning point. Besides the main characters, the story comes alive with the side characters like the lively taxi driver Manjeet, the parents and relatives involved etc. There is also a villain and a small sub plot that is integrated into the main story. It also talks about how young girls are mislead and taken advantage of.

The books ends nicely with an unexpected twist, though its "All Well that Ends Well".

The review would be incomplete without a special word about the author. Rishi Vohra, the debutante novelist has varied experience and is a certified wine specialist. How cool is that? His style of writing is lucid and the narration is quite engaging. I especially loved the fresh perspective from him on the differently abled. My special thanks to him for sending me the autographed copy for a review. For more information about him, do look in to his website

Now for the yays and nays !

Yay to :-
  • A lot of first person narratives.
  • The real hero of the film is the railway tracks. For it is the tracks that gives a boost to the protagonist and the Rail Man.
  • Refreshing and engaging read.
  • Author's ability to keep the story real and stay clear off becoming judgmental.
  • The story brings a lot of hope and sunshine.
  • It also talks about how neglected children could turn out in real life.
Nay to :-
  • Would have loved it to have a few more sub plots and a bit more racier.
  • The end could have been more realistic. I found it a little cliched and typical Bollywoodish.
Final Word :-

“I know of nobody who is purely autistic, or purely neurotypical. Even God has some autistic moments, which is why the planets spin.”  ― Jerry Newport

Author    :   Rishi Vohra
ISBN        :  978-81-8495-305-3
Price       :  INR 175/-
Publisher :  Jaico Publishing House
Category : Fiction
Recommendation :  Thumbs Up !

Friday, February 1, 2013

RIP by Mukul Deva - A Book Review

I have never read a book of Mukul Deva before though rave reviews of his previous works and especially that of Lashkar had my attention. And the high praises for the author is totally deserved. RIP is one of the most edge of the seat thriller I have read in recent times . And my hubby agrees too. What ensured that we finished the book in a very short time was the mind blowing action that is seamlessly woven in to  the very topical plot that every Indian can relate to. Corruption, the stigma that has rotten the very fabric of the democracy our beloved country prides, is given a thumping smack on the face. The smack stems not from a Gandhian measure but from a deep rooted anguish of a group of people who resort to dealing with the conniving lot of corrupt politicians and civil servants in their own way. In this process RIP ( Resurgent Indian Patriots) as the  group christens themselves hope to a unleash a surge of terror warning the sleazy lot to tide up their act. Besides the continuous adrenaline rush, I loved the passion and the sincerity of the story. The author has taken utmost pain in engaging the readers and the plot does not falter a bit. As a common man we are gripped with a sense of utmost outrage at the rampant corruption all around us. Yes the likes of Anna Hazare are shaking up the system and the many candle light protests, hunger strikes as well as support marches are increasingly creating sensitivity and awareness in the common man but  they are not  enough to bring home earth shattering revolution. In that light, the premise of RIP though spells extremism is heartening and evokes sympathy.

The story begins with back-to-back killings. Responsible for these assassinations is Colonel Krishna Athawale and his Special force officers who have retired from the armed forces. This group calling themselves the RIP become the self appointed doers of justice. Their modus operandi though extreme in nature evokes sympathy from us. On their trail is Raghav Bhagat, a rogue para commando and Vinod Bedi a Special Director- CBI.  The cat and mouse chase keeps us engrossed and  all the characters and especially that of Krishna and Raghav are well etched  and has our attention. The narrative is lucid and keeps you glued till the very end.  Of course there is a glamour quotient in the form of Reena Bhagat - a news anchor.  

Incidentally, the book reminded me of a similar premise in an old Tamil film Ramana where the protagonist hatches a similar plan of meting out justice.

Will the chase lead to the capture of RIP ? Do the vigilantes of justice reach their goal ? Grab the book and enjoy the ride.

Yay to :- 
  • The characters have a real life connect and the theme is topical
  • Action packed adventure 
  • It promises hope and a corrupt free society
  • We are left wondering whether this could come true and be replicated in real life
Nay to :-
  • For such a wonderful read, I really could not pinpoint any nay's. The only grouse I had is, for all his versatility and veteran innings as a Special Ops person , it is surprising that Krishna does not pick up the trail of people tailing him.  
  • Also, would have loved if Reena the female lead could have been given a more prominent role
Final Word :-

A gripping, realistic, wish it were true kind of novel.

Author    :   Mukul Deva
ISBN        :  978-93-82618-19-5
Price       :  INR 200/-
Publisher :  Westland
Category : Fiction/Thriller 
Recommendation :  Double Thumbs Up !

Thank you Blogadda . This review is part of the Book Review Program of blog adda. Participate now to get free books !