0

God is a Gamer – Book Review

Cover - God is a Gamer

Cover – God is a Gamer

God is a Gamer – Book Review

Author: Ravi Subramanian

Reviewed by: Manas Mukul

Price: 299 INR

Pages: 310

ISBN: 978-0-143-42139-9

My Rating: 3/5

 

My affair with reviewing thrillers and murder mysteries continues and I am really thankful to Blogadda to keep blessing me with one of these every other month without charging me anything. I have never read Ravi Subramanian before, though this is his sixth outing, I know for sure he has an undying love for keeping banking and financial services as a backdrop for his novels. And I could make all this just from the titles of his previous works where the word ‘Bank’ will feature in some way or the other.

My Review:

The cover of the book again has an international look and feel to it as there is a pic of White House with the shadow of a Julian Assange kind of figure overlooking White House. This is the first time any Indian writer has tried to play with ‘Bitcoins’ in any form, in fact God is a Gamer is publicized as the first Bitcoin thriller. I believe it has lot to do with Ravi Subramanian’s two decade old background in Banking Industry and he wants to bring out every shade in a thrilling format what this industry can offer to us.

The back cover page highlights, ‘What Happens When You Cross Gamer, Banker, Politician and Terrorists with Virtual Money’, so be prepared for a lot of action and a lot of characters. The book begins with the murder of a US Senator that too in an unholy manner where his car is blown into pieces. Like many characters, the story moves around a lot of locations as well. The chapters keep bouncing between these locations. I recently reviewed Private India where there was a central character and the story moves from his perspective and based on his actions and investigation. In God is a Gamer you won’t find that, at least I didn’t. The story kept juggling among the characters and it was left on the readers from whose perspective they wanted to move forward.

The story has a tremendous pace to it. If you are a regular reader you might end up finishing this one in one sitting. The vocabulary to my surprise was very mediocre but to me that’s a positive as it helps the story to move at a faster pace and you are never interrupted wondering about the meaning of any word.

The biggest positive which I felt was how Ravi used the underlying theme of banking and how he intermingled it with politics, drugs and even gaming companies. There is a good use of knowledge of IT technologies which also adds spice as it keeps your brain ticking while you are already engrossed in unearthing the killer as well as the conspirer. The very fact that how gaming companies these days are using social media to gain mileage over rivals in itself tells us that it has a very modern day feel to it, which everyone can relate to.

Though it’s racy and lot of locations, technologies and newer terms with proper information and explanation have been used I felt as if there were too many characters with too many sub plots. There were characters and names which were mentioned, you took a mental note of it only to find out later that it was non-existent for the outcome. The quality of a thriller should be that the buildup should increase the excitement and when the truth comes out one should be shocked as well as ‘goosebumped’.  God is a Gamer will disappoint you in that respect. You might even get a feel that you predicted the end. The buildup was good, which was helped by the impressive pace of the story but the climax for me was a bit rushed where the shock’n’surprise element was missing.

I am going with three out of five for Ravi Subramanian’s God is a Gamer for the simple reason that it could have been way…way better keeping in mind all the characters and locations that were added to the mix. Nonetheless, it’s a racy, informative and a good thriller.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

5

A Tale of Malabari Chicken Curry and Two Tomatoes

A Tale of Malabari Chicken Curry and Two Tomatoes

‘Bhaiya it’s my birthday!!! Please make that special Malabari Chicken Curry for me na…Please’. My cousin was after my life. Ok…ok…don’t do this Emotional Attyachar…I’ll prepare it…but I am only doing this because it is your birthday.

I poured myself an extra large of ‘Kala Kutta’ (Black Dog) and took out the necessary two tomatoes from the fridge. He again started, “Bhaiya!! No one in your family consumes chicken…so how come this knowledge of ‘Malabari’ Chicken Curry…hmmm…bolo bolo.” He immediately sensed it that I was not at ease with this question. The best I could manage was a smile…emptied one (more) large in a single go and began…

Few years back…

‘Ladies and gentlemen! Our next performer is surely going to take your breath away. When she moves…even her eyes dance with expression…and please get hold of an armor…as her smile is for sure going to stab your heart and take your life away ;). Please put your hands together for our very own Malabari Tomato’, the anchor announced. Actually, I was the one who gave her that name as every time I looked at a tomato…they always reminded me of her pink chubby cheeks. (Sorry can’t mention her real name)

He disappeared behind the curtains. Slowly the lights faded…the huge maroon curtains, which were hiding her from me, sluggishly began to move apart. She didn’t have a clue that I was a part of the audience…not even to this day. Several spotlights began to bathe her in various colors. It was a scintillating sight.

The music reached our ears…it was a malayali song and my Malayalam being so awesome that apart from that I could not make out what a single word meant. Some other guests told me that it was a mallu song…otherwise I didn’t have a clue ;) . She was at her graceful…stunning best in a blue sari. She had this uncanny ability of carrying off a sari from her school farewell days. On those particular days…elegance…poise and grace became her best buddies (read biggest virtues). She was the one who in stored my faith in the fact that a girl can look her superlative in a sari too with the perfect spice up of seduction.

She commenced. Her moves…her dance…made it appear as if she was effortlessly floating like a mermaid. She was glittering more than all the jewelry she wore…but it was her big brown eyes that outshone every jewel. Every time she smiled…it gave an instant kick…with a high that lasted longer than any intoxicants. It was literally impossible for me to take my eyes off her…actually no one was able to. That very instance a thought whispered to me. If ever I am going with a dancing partner…she should be her, if ever I am going to marry anyone…she should be her and if ever I am going to love anyone…she should be HER. My heart without informing anyone…even me…was now already in love with her. But I could never muster the courage to let her know how much I loved her pure soul…that had the innocence of a nine year old and maturity of someone way beyond her ages. To add up to my woes, I knew she was already in love with someone else. He being a mallu…I gave myself no chance and hence never confessed my love to her. I was just content cherishing the friendship that we had.

Dancing Tomato

Dancing Tomato

Years flew…

By now, she had a blog…sorry two blogs. One was dedicated to her cooking and the other – for her real self. I feel that these days’ urban girls are more of a food blogger and less of a cook (no offence to anyone). There was no chance in hell that I was not following her on them, as it became the only medium to get to know about her after college. She was like that old coffee addiction…no matter how many times you have had it…the addiction never fades away…and yeah…I was addicted to her.

One day She wrote a poem…a real heartbreaking one…a rare tearjerker even for the Joker. I immediately guessed it what the reason could be. But me being I…again was ditched by confidence and courage to man up myself and walk up to her and let her know that I have always loved her and I am always there for her in any and every sense she wishes me to be.

A year later…

The moment my flight landed…I switched on my mobile phone and messaged her, ‘I am in your city’. I literally had to dig deepest inside me to find this much mettle and character to make this day actually happen. I had to meet her…I had to tell her how much I care for her…how much I love her…how much I need her…before its too late.

Two hours later I was standing outside her home. I rang the doorbell. From behind the door I was very easily able to make out her childish squeaky voice. ‘Who’s there’, she shouted. With no response…she opened the door. For seconds she wasn’t able to recognize me as in these years, I had gone from a Hrithik Roshan (Hair wise) to a Anupam Kher. She was taken aback…the moment she realized…or I should say…she recognized me. Fighting hard with her emotions and trying to resist her tears…she finally gave in…and gave me the warmest hug ever. Time did not have any effect on her eyes…on her cheeks…on her hair…on her fragrance…on her smile…even on her mallu accent…every thing was just the same. For me… time simply stood still

After catching up with some college ‘gupshup’ and what she was up to these days…she immediately remembered that she hasn’t served me anything. She forced me to have lunch and then go back. She even tempted me by saying that she was going to prepare my favorite malabari chicken curry, which she always got for me during college days. I questioned her, ‘How come the recipe for this is not on your blog?’It’s a secret recipe which has been passed on for generations in our family’, she replied. I pleaded her to share it with me…and to my surprise she agreed today. She gave me two tomatoes of average sizes and told me that to get that perfect taste one needs to put two tomatoes of these sizes.

The moment I took the bite…the years started rolling back…tears started finding their way from my eyes to cheeks and to the plate. I confessed why I was there…and what I felt for her over the years with utmost honesty. She simply smiled through her moist eyes and said I knew this all along…but I guess it’s too late. Her eyes guided me to her marriage portrait on the wall at the bottom of which was inscribed, ‘who needs a prince charming when I am already married to a soldier’. I looked back at her…couldn’t swallow any more bite…the lump in my throat was eating me from inside. I was trying desperately hard to hide behind a teary smile…my stupidity…of not noticing that portrait the moment I entered that room. I was too mesmerized to be in her presence that for a moment forgot a world still existed outside this room.

She moved close to me…way too close…held my face in her hands…trying to wipe off the salt water at the same time. She said ‘Hold me…close to you’. She leant forward…our tears met…our eyes met…our lips met…and we met. She shattered me back to reality…before my hands could ignite anything in her, by saying, ‘I am a loyal wife’. My already broken pieces of heart were now further broken…

Life again made a mockery of me…Destiny again was laughing at me…God again was playing with me…and the joker again was smiling through me…

Every night just wanted to sit next to her…be invisible (if given a special power) and see her type the chats…see her expressions…see her big eyes move more than her lips…remove those strands of hair which disturbed her while she worked…listen to her endless talks in her childish malabari accent…sleep with her head on my chest. The next mornings prepare for her, her favorite coffee before she gets up…give her a forehead kiss before I leave for work everyday…and simply be a part, however small it may be, of her life for the rest of my lifetime.

Today when I miss her…I pour myself endless pegs while I m cooking the same Malabari chicken curry with two tomatoes. Read her blogs…look at her graceful saree pics…her eyes…her smile…her hair…mixing the salt on my cheeks with the bitterness in my mouth…till I the time I start seeing her…and…simply go numb.

For all those who love to dance,

For all those who love tomatoes,

For all those who love Malabari chicken curry,

For all those whose love is still hidden in them,

For all those who have confessed it to their love,

And

For all those who still go numb…

Its not a GoodBye…
But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han…this one is purely fictional ;)

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

 

9

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter – 12

The PEN WARRIORS

The PEN WARRIORS

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter – 12

“Read the previous part of the story here – Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3Chapter 4 , Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7Chapter 8, Chapter 9Chapter 10 and Chapter 11

The evil, which by now was sown in him, was growing in strength day by day. He wanted this madness that was swallowing him blink by blink…thought by thought…to come to a halt…to an end. It was becoming unbearable for him and with all those noises in his head…’that’ evil was on the verge of taking complete control of sense in his sane mind.

Shekhar got up from the sofa with urgency in his steps…pulled out his laptop from the laptop bag…but this time not to write something. He wanted to get on with ‘it’ as soon as possible. For the past three days…the hours he spent trying to find ‘particular’ information, were the only hours he spent on his laptop. His browser was over working with tabs open with every social media platforms that are out there. The whole scene had a frenzy look to it…as if a drug addict is searching for the last sniff. From Facebook to Twitter…from Instagram to Blogs…from Pinterest to Google+…he was hunting everywhere…searching desperately for that one clue. In fact he didn’t even spare Orkut in an attempt to reach him.

Ting tong…it was the doorbell…

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15 minutes back…

She put on her dancing shoes, as today…was Sunday, she didn’t had to go to school. Roohi was unusually happy today…was being her real self after a long time…her heart was smiling which her lips…her face was mirroring. She put on the latest number from a recent super hit. She was not the best dancer and she knew it too…but today…’who cared’. She was doing step after step…move after move without a single worry of anything. The next soundtrack started and she started too with big ‘Yaaaayyyyy’.

Ting tong…it was the doorbell…

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15 minutes back…

To everyone’s surprise and for Roohi’s happiness…Tara decided to stay back at home today. Although it was a Sunday and she knew that the weekends are even more hectic than the usual working weekdays but she had to…had to take a break…for Roohi…and more significantly to get this money issue sorted out asap. She was in a pensive mood glaring at her bank accounts through online banking. ‘I will have to manage this huge amount someway or the other’, she reminded herself.

She checked her every bank accounts even the ones, which weren’t known to Shekhar and tried to hoard the amount in a single place…so that a single transaction would do the needful. A nervous sheen of sweat had formed on her temple by then. She made a quick glance to make sure whether any one was watching her…with what she was up to.

Ting tong…it was the doorbell…

The moment Roohi heard the doorbell…she hip-hopped towards the main entrance still humming the track that was interrupted by the doorbell. She saw her father with his laptop and tried to locate her mom…but she wasn’t visible behind the slightly open door of her room. She opened the main door with ‘Who is there’ cry to complement it. It was their neighbor, Aryan Ahuja. He picked up Roohi in his arms the moment he entered and in his peculiar way planted a kiss on her cheeks with his stubble stabbing Roohi’s soft pink cheeks. Roohi always hated him for doing that. She grunted, ‘Leave me Aryan Uncle…Leave me’. ‘My sweetie’, he said while letting her go. She immediately ran towards her mom’s room. Shekhar’s chain of thoughts, was brought to a stop by Aryan’s greetings. He immediately shut his laptop and greeted back to Aryan with his effervescent phony smile.

Mommy that Aryan uncle is here’, Roohi announced gasping for breath. Roohi made Tara to rattle out of her current wave of thoughts. With certain reasons of her own, Tara never seemed to be comfortable when Aryan was around…today he just added to nervy feel of the air surrounding her. She walked out to the living room and greeted him, with Roohi trying to playfully hide behind her. Moments later, the room suddenly went quite and it was the air conditioning, which turned out the loudest. Glances were exchanged with courteous smiles.

One look at Aryan…you knew he had something up his sleeves and he was not here just for a Sunday brunch. One look at Shekhar…and you knew he looked at Aryan with genuine friendliness and to whom he can always reach out in case of any help. One look at Roohi…and you could very easily make out her disliking to this ‘ever-kissing, stubble rubbing’ uncle. One look at Tara…and you knew she had some other plans with a clear sense of unease with Aryan’s presence…

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“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

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“ Read the next part of the story here – Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18 and Chapter 19

14

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter 9

The PEN WARRIORS

The PEN WARRIORS

“Read the previous part of the story here – Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 , Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7 and Chapter 8

Note: This Chapter was written by Mr. Anirudh Shetty…he wasn’t available because of some unavoidable circumstances so i am filling in by posting :)

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter 9

The room was not very large and it didn’t help with stacks of newspapers piled and scattered everywhere. Dimly lit and windows bolted, the room was shut and had a distinct pesticide like smell. He sat at the center with newspapers stacked all around him. His eyes looked around the room, before it settled on a particular stack which seemed fresh.

He checked the date.
18 September, 2012.

He pulled the stack towards him and kept them on his lap. His eyes were now frantically scanning the paper, searching for something.

Indian Newshouse

He took it from the pile and read a few headlines of each page. On reaching the last page, he kept the sheet back.

Indian Daily

He pulled it by its ends and started reading at a faster pace. Few headlines, rest of it was small news articles squeezed between advertisements. He placed it back on the same pile again.

Times in India

He crumpled the papers now as he lifted the newspaper. His mind couldn’t register any words anymore and he was now searching for pictures. Many photos of accidents went by. He turned the pages but none seemed to fit his required criteria. He threw it carelessly.

Deccan Havoc

He tried lifting the next sheet by its edge, but he dropped it midway. Agitated, he threw the rest of the newspapers which were on his lap and he had reached his saturation a little too early today.
He extended his feet and kicked away the stacks in front of him. He fell back, keeping his arm below his head and stared at the ceiling.
He couldn’t read or search anymore.

Gathering 20-25 different newspapers from the newspaper stands spread across the city, and scanning them page by page for the expected news had become his everyday routine. Every morning for ten days now, he started this task with an excitement and ended it with disappointment.

The expected Headline was not there!! Oh how sure he was that night. After what he had seen, there were no doubts.

He closed his eyes and the scenes replayed in his vision.

The screeching of the tyres, BMW toppling and doing somersaults, the look on the driver’s face. At last the silence inside him with chaos and crowd around.

Business Tycoon found dead, drunk driving mishap
A Perfect Cover Story, yet missing in those worthless pieces of scrap called newspapers.

He was agitated, it was not that he wanted a show but he was looking for a proof.
He knew that there was no evidence, but he was searching for a testimony in those newspapers.- a confirmation!

Else what would I tell her?

His face twitched and he furiously scratched his chin. Did he survive? Did I bail out too early? I should have stayed to confirm maybe.

It didn’t seem logical that the news-hungry journalists could miss to cover the story of The Joseph Kurien’s accident. He would always be in the Business news section, It was now his time to find space in casualties, or at least an obituary.

He may not deserve veneration of an obituary, but in this fast-paced world which always goes behind money, it was not about what you deserve. Rather, it was all about what you could buy.

Interrupting his thoughts, he heard someone banging at his door.

Though startled, he remained quiet. He crawled into the bathroom, opening the door slightly and made way inside. He hid there.. till the visitors at the door were tired of banging.

Even after they were gone, he didn’t come out..

 

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“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

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“ Read the next part of the story here – Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18 and Chapter 19

18

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter 4

TPW Logo

“Read the previous part of the story here – Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 “

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter 4

He was going insane…typing drafts after drafts but with no success. ‘This article has to come up this week otherwise I will lose this job too’, Shekhar thought, frantically typing at his keyboard. The thought of not being able to succeed at anything was now engulfing him day by day. He felt exasperated…never imagined that a day would come when he would be losing his ‘Midas’ touch to the only thing, he considered, he was good at…writing. Realising he was not going anywhere with the current one…he simply banged the laptop screen shut.

In a desperate need for a break…he took a shower…but the thoughts were not yet ready to spare him.

Seeing his reflection in the mirror, he notices what this Mumbai lifestyle…all this stress…all these EMIs…have given him – a receding hairline and more importantly what they have taken away – the genuineness from his smile. The smile never left him…but the sparkle and the truthfulness was now being replaced by the plastic and phony smile.

He put on a casual T-shirt, imprinted with ‘why so serious’ in blood and a joker in the background, along with his regular track pants. He picks up his specs…pours himself some coffee and walks over to the balcony of his high-rise overlooking the Powai Lake.

‘What has happened to me and above all who has done this to me’, his mind still lingered. The only rejoinder that came back to him every time he put this query to his literary mind was…’I myself’

His inability to make peace with his past…or their past…was now getting the better of him. ‘Did I make the right decision by quitting my job?’ he introspected. ‘Will this writing, no matter how good I may be with it, ever gonna take me anywhere’, he continued. ‘Some days I feel as if I am less of a writer and more of a home stay dad’, remembering the laughter of his friends from a friends’ birthday party. Those snide remarks…those passing comments behind his back was beginning to become painful for him…but still he kept that smile going.

In search of the wall clock…his eyes met their huge wedding portrait, which decorated their living room. He remembered how happy he was when he proposed to Tara. She was still pregnant with someone else’s child but he thought that his love was more than enough to overcome that feeling and sail through this lifetime.

‘Was it this that was taking his peace and sleep away’, a troubling thought queried him. ‘Or was it the fear of his wife again going infidel’, keeping him awake at nights. Or was it simply that he could never come to terms with his wife being ever so efficacious…climbing the ladder of accomplishments day by day…while he was on the same ladder…just was climbing in the reverse order. The ambience of such feelings and reflections…was embarking to distraught him…minute by minute…sec by sec.

Remembers what his mentor told him once…that creativity is at its peak…when someone is loneliest in his life. Initially, when Tara was not around he devoted more hours to his writing…the more Tara drifted away…the better he got at his craft, which was certainly giving a boost to his freelancing career. But today there was no success to be seen around…just unfinished documents and drafts and a lot of frustration looming over in the atmosphere.

Next to their portrait was a huge frame of a smiling and a chirpy face…their daughter…or Tara’s daughter. Finally a soothing thought. Roohi gave him that indispensable comfort. Shekhar walks over to her room. She was taking an afternoon nap after school. He walks over to her bed, sits just next to her taking all the precautions not to wake her up. He leant forward and kissed her hand before moving to her forehead and removing that naughty strand of hair, which was making her uncomfortable.

No matter how much he tried to lessen the effect of his past…their past…he was reminded of it whenever he looked at Roohi. On many occasions he found himself simply gawping at her and trying to find any feature, which resembled him…in his desperation. Even if she is not from my seed…what is this angel’s fault? Or is it…

He sensed a cocktail of rage; frustration, infidelity and failure rise within him. Those tender and caring eyes were now shadowing a tinge of evil in them. He felt that it is his past…or her past…that is making him uneasy and realised that he had to do something before this whale of distress and antagonism swallows him completely…

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“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

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“ Read the next part of the story here – Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9 Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 

 

0

Private India – Book Review

Private India – Book Review

Private India

Private India

Book Review:

Book: Private India

Author: Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Price: 350 INR

Pages: 450

ISBN: 978-0099586395

My rating: 3.5/5

Thank you Blogadda for giving me an opportunity to review Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson’s latest offering ‘Private India’. Somehow I get to only do book reviews for Murder mysteries and thriller fictions and this one is no exception either. Although it’s a collaboration of Ashwin Sanghi with James Patterson but I believe he (James) is happy to take a back seat here as it is not mentioned on his personal website about this book. So, I believe, its pretty safe to say it’s a Murder mystery from an Indian writer. I have never read either of the two before and hence have tried to review uninfluenced from their previous work.

My Review:

When two people who are literally master at their art…collaborate, sparks are sure to fly. Honestly this is the best one I have read so far (from an Indian writer). I have read Dan Brown also and to be fair to them it can’t be compared to his work because when people write, I am pretty sure that they keep him as a benchmark when it comes to a Thriller fiction.

The cover of the book takes inspiration from the James Patterson’s ‘Private’ series where some of the most iconic monuments are usually on the cover. This time it’s the Taj Hotel (Mumbai) and the Gateway of India who get a place on the ‘Private’ cover. The color combinations and the sleekness of the cover give a pretty international look’n’feel to the book.

The tagline reads, “It’s the season for murder in Mumbai” and I swear the book literally lives by that. The moment you take a plunge you are encountered with a corpse in the first chapter itself. The case is handed over to India’s finest detective agency – Private India. It is now up to Santosh Wagh, our hero, to nail the killer. The 51-year-old investigative genius is constantly tormented by his painful past where he has to live with the guilt of killing his own family, which he tries to suppress with regular whiskey shots.

The more Santosh’s rides to investigate and make his mind run…the more he hits roadblock after roadblock…murder after murder. The yellow garrote with which every victim is strangulated makes it a no brainer that this is a case of a serial killer but the intentional clues in the form of strange and uncanny objects that the ruthless killer leaves every time with the corpses makes it chilling as well as interesting from the detective’s point of view.

Private’s detective team included Nisha Gandhe – the head-turningly attractive assistant to Wagh with the same pedigree to her investigation as her boss’. Mubeen – the medical examiner, whose specialty itself was ‘Death’. Hari – the tech wizard of Private who was always awesome at his job. The team gets very able support from Jack Morgan, Santosh’s mentor at one time and Rupesh – the inspector in-charge who was once a very close friend of Santosh but time had its own course.

I don’t know whether this would have worked a decade back but today when one would have at least seen an episode of CID on Sony (read CID TV) it becomes very easy for readers to have a mental map of the characters. The characters are finely written and given equal space in the book.

The book hits the top speed when Santosh tries to connect the clues, which the twisted killer leaves at every killing. The way he connects and with what he connects is truly spine chilling. Once again it shows that no matter how much Ashwin tries; he couldn’t resist the temptation of putting a mythological theme to it, which you will surely love.

The reason for which I personally like this witty thriller is the way the serial killings have been used. You would have read serials killings and the killings would have a pattern but rarely and I mean ‘rarely’ do you get serial killings where the victims were related too. Ashwin very nicely tries to portray the troublesome past of the killer and how each and every victim’s death had a meaning to the killer. Before I spill out too much let me cut it short.

The negatives are very few but they surely are there. I know sub-plots make a book interesting but sometimes too many sub-plots can make the reader wander and loose the plot. Although it is a very fast read and you will complete it in max two days but still the sub plots make it tiring.

The book is a delicacy for those who love racy and pacey spine chilling stuff. The moment you feel that you have figured it out all…you are in for another twist like an Abbas-Mustan thriller. All his (Ashwin) books have been based on historical, theological and mythological themes and this one too uses it but very subtly. After Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy this one has taken Indian writing to newer heights.

It’s a racy, witty and an ‘unputdownable’ Thriller. Make sure you grab a copy of Private India. I am going with 3.5 out of five for the simple reason that it is way too bulky with extra pages…chapters…and subplots. Nonetheless, it is an awesome read. Don’t miss this one from Mr. Sanghi.

 

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

0

IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

IPL – Indian Parliamentary League…

This year’s IPL is on…and is surely heating up. It is becoming more and more difficult which one to follow and which one to let go – Indian Premier League (Cricket) or Indian PARLIAMENTARY league and I felt that this would have been the most apt time for the Joker to come up with something after a long gap of eleven months.

A Year Back…

I shouted…Mummy…come here fast. We had just finished with today’s IPL (cricket) match she was about to go to bed…it was about 1 o’clock in the night. She came hurriedly and with an irritated look asked…what now…what happened!!! She got scared with the way I shouted ‘Mummy’. I said, “Nothing has happened to me…just calm down”…and at the same time pointing my finger towards the TV. A leading news channel was on…and the Breaking news was…three cricketers were caught in IPL spot fixing with one of them being an international star. I follow a lot of cricket and me being at home means that she also has to bear a lot of cricket on TV…but she enjoys it too…and hence follows it. She was more shocked than me to see the international cricketer’s name coming up in all this. She…astonished…looked at me. “I told u so…” with a smirk was my reaction. “But why…these guys have to do such things…as if they are not making any money…they are already earning loads…and still…” she complained.

Cursing them…she again went to her room to sleep…and shouted from there… “Now Mr. you go to sleep…no need to watch this fixed shit…it’s all rubbish…waste of time…waste of energy…and above all loss of faith in the game itself”. I switched off the light…and pretended that I have fallen asleep by not making noise…but sleep eluded me…and what happened got me thinking…serious thinking. While taking this stroll down the thinking lane…I don’t know when this thought crossed me that…what if the elections are rigged…what if they also decide that you rule this time…we will sit in the opposition…what if they fix here too…whether our vote ever gets counted or not. We will never know the truth till the day everything happens behind closed doors or on cctv footage… which again many believe is tampered or false. What we can really do and control is…whom to vote and whom to choose as our representative to lead us. But then again…

“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” ~ Mark Twain

I guess when Twain wrote this he wouldn’t have known that one day it would be most relevant to the largest democracy of the world. What if the person you voted for never gets counted…even bigger question is who to vote to…the available options are all same just under the wraps of different ideology (as they say) but none practice them.
The 16th Lok Sabha…is turning out to be the most talked about Parliamentary League of the recent past with the social media at its peak…the touch points have increased and so is the reach…but are we really getting heard…or are we again getting lost and unheard in too much ‘Marketing and Advertising’ noise. I believe so…the campaigns…the advertisements…the issues were always there and more or less are still same…it’s just that the communications mediums and along with it the audience might have changed. But has the voter changed…has the demographics of those who vote have changed… the caste-ism and the logic for whom to vote irrespective of the nature and background of the candidates changed…My simple answer is NO.

This IPL (politics) for me is the one that is more focused on individuals than the parties and ideologies that they bring…leave alone the ground issues…around which the debates…discussions and elections should revolve. There are three main figures that are leading this marathon from the rest of the wannabes and unrealistic opportunists. One who has got all the popularity charts going…it seems as if everyone from a rickshaw puller to a software developer…from a mason to a CEO…is rooting for him to be the next PM – Mr. Narendra Modi…or as he is referred to as in social circuits…NaMo. The other one…who also has all the popularity charts going… but mostly for wrong reasons…I guess if anyone tracks the number of shares on social media of his blundering speeches, it would easily surpass anything that might be trending on twitter or facebook at this point of time – Mr. Rahul Gandhi…or…RaGa. The third one who you may say is a rookie in the field…but for me is a master at emotional marketing…he is like one who has just debuted for India…scored a triple century…and is immediately eyeing the Indian captaincy – Mr. Arvind Kejriwal…or…Kejru :D .

Then there are some…who are just there to fill up the spaces…but they sure know when to make their presence felt…specially…the Yadavs from UP & Bihar…some cine superstars turned politicians from our very own Tollywood, a self proclaimed messiah of the suppressed…again hailing from UP…the Behenji of millions, a Kumar…who literally transformed Bihar and how Governments functioned there…but with all the development and great work…he was bashed up just because he withdrew support from a One Man Army, a DiDi from West Bengal…who knows which button to press when and some old cranky…always cribbing gentlemen known as the LEFT. There are some more…but I don’t even consider them worthy enough mentioning here. Now you know why this should also be marketed as IPL – the Indian Parliamentary League.

Moving on…throwing a bit of light on the ideologies and the kind of governance that might come with these Super Heroes (remember these are just my views…so no need to get offended). Discussing NaMo…I’ll bring up the most common acquisition of Godhra pogrom in the last… let’s see what are the other issues people might have been missing regarding him and his style of governance which are getting shadowed by the so called development of Gujarat.

To begin with…if NaMo comes in power…BJP comes in power…and if BJP comes in power…NDA comes in power. Do remember the functioning of the previous NDA governments before you actually decide to vote for one individual…it will never be same. People voted for Vajpayee because he was the most respected and eligible of all the options available at that time. He was thought of being the most capable but ironically he turned out to be one of the weakest PMs ever. For those who are ready to vote this time and were in their early adolescence back then should ask their elders. Jayalalitha literally made a mockery out of a PM…he was there at her doorsteps every time she turned the knob and intensified the heat either to console her or to convince her not to withdraw the support. It was also under him and NDA’s rule that the tensions with our not so loved neighbor reached its supreme. He met Nawaz…then he met Musharraf…and what happened at Kargil is still fresh to our memories.

Secondly when NDA comes to power, extremists such as VHP and RSS too gets empowered. Many people hardly know that when NaMo began his political journey it was as a RSS activist only and people want to believe that he, whose whole thought process to begin with was based on those ideologies, would have changed (I doubt). Somehow these policing authorities get a feel that they have the authority to control what we do. From digging up cricket pitches to rampaging rave parties…they believe they have the right to do all. It all just happens because of the shrewd arrogance and the self-belief that nothing will happen to them if they go on doing such things. For me the simple solution is, if you are ready to ban SIMI…then you should be strong and bold enough to ban RSS, VHP etc. Either preach about ‘Hindutva’ with all courage or don’t preach about false secularism. From imposing restrictions on women…to increasing tensions with neighboring countries…to vandalizing stores and streets on Valentine’s day…they do it all…without fear.

Speaking of ‘Hindutva’, one key observation that I made during many of the NaMo speeches which were usually identical wherever he delivered was that many a times he ended up saying we are descendants of ‘Suryavnashis’ n ‘Chandravanshis’. I wonder if you start a sentence with such words…how can you signify secularism (still wondering). For the past twelve years after Godhra pogrom, he has been in power in Gujarat; people came out in good numbers to vote for him…but that population was Hindu majority. They always recognized him as their representative…as their leader and for me, this is the biggest proof that there is secularism only on the outside but deep inside the core still contains the same burning iron of ‘Hindutva’.

Moving on to the biggest topic that many people, who are his worshippers (blind), brag about him – the Gujarat development model. I have never seen so many people of other states come out and speak about a state’s development than the people of the state itself. Its simply because they blindly (again) follow what the marketing gimmicks and the paid media speaks. I have myself stayed in Gujarat for quite some time and let me tell you an astounding fact that you might not have heard from him or the worshippers…that power cuts do occur in Gujarat. I know this might be big news for some because they totally believed what was said in media and speeches…but the truth is ‘to know the truth of a land, you got to stay in that land’.

When you talk about growth and development…I believe it should be inclusive growth. Does the poor not have any right to be a part of the development…because there is strong proof in the land itself that when NaMo was busying developing the state for the past thirteen years…the poor irrespective of what God it worshipped…was displaced…was disturbed…and above all…was ignored. Only the big corporate and business houses (without naming any) that have their roots in Gujarat or are present in Gujarat grew larger and stronger. On the name of development – malls and apartments were erected, but no body has the slightest idea what happened to the poor who were simply tramped by those malls and apartments. It is like the China model…you only hear about the big five cities…about their development…about their progress…no one actually knows what is happening in the rest of the country. Similarly, one only hears about the Ahmedabads n Surats n Vadodaras without even getting a single feed on the Kuchchs n Bhujs. I wonder if that development model is so awesome…why are the other BJP ruling states not replicating the same model. They say that the state has the best development model in the country…I say the farmers are still committing suicide in that state.

One outstanding feature of Gujarat that you will hardly notice in other states is the occupation of people. Business community rules Gujarat irrespective of their religion. They simply follow – I’ll help his business grow…he’ll make money…which he’ll put in my business and help it grow. One unique thing I noticed there – on weekends the women hardly cook at home. The whole family goes out together to have the peculiar sweet ‘dals n kadhis’…thanks to it being a dry state ;).

They cry about Onion prices under UPA without remembering what happened under Vajpayee, when in 1997 it crossed 100 Rs per kg with a huge help from black marketers. They rue the fact about dynasty politics…when they themselves stack up Gandhis (Varun) amongst their ranks. They moralize about speaking Hindi and Sanskrit…when their (especially party president) kids are studying abroad. I hope they are not paying dollars or pounds to study Hindi and Sanskrit there.

They complain that congress ruled for 60 years… rubbishing the fact that, BJPs n NDAs have had their share of luck in the past and only because others were neither strong enough nor capable enough. They claim that RaGa is spending Rs 1200crs in election campaign without even realizing for a moment the Rs 5000crs they are speding on ‘Abki bar Modi Sarkar’…which in itself is more than the total cost of the entire elections process (Rs 3500crs)…forgetting that it’s all people’s money and… ‘Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi’.

This style of governance might end up making us a developed nation for 5 years but a weaker Democracy…and at what cost. People will say that UPA protected Vadra…but they should not forget that NaMo too protected Shah…or I should say both these people were protected with the twisting of administrative machinery…even sometimes against their will.

Finally the issue, which I believe has haunted NaMo the most – the Godhra pogrom (will try not to dig too much into it). No matter what the court says…no matter what anyone else says…but he somewhere deep down knows (or should know)…that people will not spare him of the massacre that took place. No matter how white his clothes be…the blood stains of the innocent will always come back to haunt him. I know many will come right back at me by saying that congress also did the same in 1984…but I guess they forget that no one who has been directly accused has ever contested for the most prized political position in the country. Pointing fingers at others won’t lessen one’s own gory acts. It was only us that brought congress back to power back then also…so it’s only us to blame to…I just simply hope that we are not repeating the same mistake again.

BJP always came to power like this always…but why they fail to sustain is because of their weak PMs and poor policies. NaMo has a strong personality for sure…but…don’t tell me that he wasn’t afraid. Otherwise he should have faced RaGa one on one in Amethi…and not taken a more safe and secure seat of Varanasi. Sushma Swaraj was brave enough to do it…when she took head on with Sonia Gandhi at Bellary. Even our Kejru is daring enough to do that…irrespective of the outcome.

Lets now move our focus a bit towards the title defenders of the IPL – United Progressive Alliance, which ideally should have been responsible for the progress of the country. It is quite surprising that such a weak government (UPA 2), which got thrashed daily for their decision making, actually survived their whole five years at the top. UPA literally had the chance of transforming India…and they did transform India…just that they misunderstood the meaning of transforming in the opposite sense. They gave scams a whole new definition with the staggering value of each one of them. One has to admire the sheer audacity with which they committed one after the other…fearing nothing. If corruption would have been traded in the share markets…I guess it would have peaked daily under UPA 2. NDA themselves rode high on corruption…its just that the media ten years back was not that active running behind TRPs… with only fewer mediums…and truer stories.

For a time even the CBI guys would have started believing as if they are a part of the cabinet and a separate ministry. Since its inception, CBI was a dummy…is a dummy. Every government that came to power used it or I should say misused it not for the sake of getting to the bottom of truth but simply for the sake of gaining political mileage over their opposition.

Their PM was the mutest PM ever…as if a TV never had a volume button…was still kept on mute…with the remote control in someone else’s hand. Manmohan was a weak PM in UPA – 1 and an even weaker in UPA – 2…so there is no difference there…he was never allowed to get into his own…but that doesn’t deny his credentials. The Gen Next who is busy gulping vodkas and smoking sheeshas …should know that he was the one who gave LPG to this country and economy…and I m not talking about cylinders. Still he should have been given the chance to speak ;).

On the other hand RaGa didn’t realise that he should check what all he speaks. It is not always just about polished vocabulary…one needs to be a good orator in todays media frenzy environment. If his speeches n interview were dumb…then the dolts who actually penned them down were even dumber…making even ‘dumb and dumber’ an intelligent watch. Ideally he should have taken a more mature role or a ministry…at least in UPA 2, something like, what Lallu Prasad did in UPA 1 and should have showed whether he can actually lead or not. But he, along with the 1.25 billion Indians, knows that he is destined to be the PM of this country…somewhere down the line. It’s just a matter of one assassination…as that is the normal cause of death in their family…and one out of Priyanka or He will be hoisting the flag at Red Fort.

The surprise package of this IPL…the Maxwell of 16th Loksabha…should be Kejru. He once again proved to the world that it’s all about packaging and Marketing irrespective of the product. Credit should be given to him for making a fool out of everyone who rooted for him and once again validating that anyone can, with a ‘Topi’ n ‘Jhaadu’, take Indians for a ride. The most ambitious of them all…who wanted to achieve the same, which took 30 years for others to achieve. Some of them like Mr. Temple Advani who spent their complete life with a motto (of being the PM one day)…might not live long enough to even see the end of 16th Lok Sabha…Kejru wanted to achieve the same in one go. From swearing on his kids to taking decisions by taking public opinions…he did it all. When he decided to take congress support to form the govt. in Delhi…on the basis of public opinion, I don’t think he has the right to resign without again taking the opinion.

The only reason he won was because people wanted a change. The voting was anti congress rather than pro BJP or pro AAP. Otherwise either the BJP or AAP would have won if the wave were to be believed. I don’t find the same wave in Tamil Nadu…nor in West Bengal…because it can never be about one individual.

Kejru tried to take a leap…the leap was good…he aimed for the moon…but somewhere during the flight he became overambitious n tried to reach the stars in the same leap…and that is where he faltered. I m sorry for him that instead of reaching the stars he is not reaching the moon…but will again end up from where he started. The only thing he did was he gave the generation, which reached the voting age just in this election…a lot of hashtags to use on social media ;).

How Parliament works !!!

How Parliament works !!!

Everyone’s focus is just how to win the elections…no one gives a thought…for the nation…for its development…for its people…for their empowerment. I hardly doubt whether anything will change even if the government changes. It is just the start of corruption. UPA laid the foundation…and the future governments will simply build on it…with the help of pure majority in the parliament.

A report suggests that half of world’s slaves are in India…so is anyone going to do anything about it? If we can feed and be the creators of super powers why can’t we ourselves do the same for our country? I guess slaves in India increase at the same rate, as our population is increasing or maybe even faster.

Our irony is we have been ruled n ruled n ruled and somehow we have forgotten how to rule ourselves…and till the time we don’t learn that…there will some or the other idiot ruling us and deciding what should be our course of life. It’s just that we don’t know how to rule…we are born to be slaves.

When we are born we don’t decide which religion to follow…whether to worship with folded or open hands…then why is it that some bunch of irrationals decides it on our parts…and our stupidity is that we let them do this on the name of religion.

We are hoping for someone to make happen the change for us rather than we being that change. Everyday the system causes so many people to be deprived of so many things that we should actually be thankful for whatever we have and that the blood still flows in our veins and we are not being taxed even for that. If actually and truly anyone wanted us to be developed…I don’t see any reason why we cant be…we would have been developed a long time back…but the truth is no one really cares.

If we really want to remove corruption then get hold of yourself…and become honest yourself…if you are not honest don’t expect it from someone…or someone to fight for your cause…because it was you who brought it in the first place.

I don’t say that the governments don’t work…the administration still does its work…I still believe and have faith that for every 90 people who are hell bound on doing wrong…there are still 10 guys to lay their lives for the betterment of everyone. It’s the politicians that make it dirty to fulfil their filthy motives…and the irony is we end up helping them.

This is an IPL because they are all the same…its just that some have different colour…some are good marketers…and some are from abroad. In the end the motive is that high priced seat by stooping down to any levels of bloodsucking…and we can just sit and be ready with our veins.

For all those who believe in politics,
For all those who hate politics,
For all those who want to be in politics,
For all those who want to have a better future,
And
For all those who want a better nation,

Its not a GoodBye…
But it’s a GOOD BYE…Aur han…be ready…one day he might just get up and make India a dry country.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Note:-
I know many who will read this will question that this article is more anti Namo n anti NDA rather than being anti UPA or against any who claim they have a chance at the big seat at the centre…I’ll not give an explanation or justify myself…its simply that I guess they are the biggest force that is emerging to decide on the future of what is left of this nation.