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For the LOVE of the GAME


For the Love of the Game…

The oldest but the strongest memory that I have from1975 my childhood is of me holding a plastic cricket bat and my father bowling with a plastic ball in the small verandah of our house. He always reminds me that he saw cricketing signs and potential in me from the very beginning and hence made it a habit that I get a daily dose of cricket with him after he returned from office. He played the game at a respectable level and always egged me to do the same. Whether it was playing the game or watching it or following it over different mediums, both of us were cricket fanatics at least since my existence.

1979          I was just two years old for the 1987 world cup and hardly have any account of it imprinted but, by the 1992 world cup, I was grown-up enough to remember glimpses of it. I remember how my father made me sleep by 8 pm so that we both could get up by 4-5 am and catch the day match as it was being hosted in Australia and New Zealand. Our cricket love didn’t translate only to India’s matches. We watched most of the matches and cheered on not only for India but also for cricket as a whole.

Currently witnessing my seventh World Cup, again being hosted in Australia and New Zealand life has kind of come a full circle for me. I have seen cricket in colored clothing with white balls under floodlights for the first time. I have seen Jonty Rhodes fly to run out Inzamam and have seen the same Inzamam single handedly batting New Zealand out of the World Cup. I have seen the terrific South Africa, on their world Cup debut, being robbed of their place by the rain gods and some genius that formulated the then rain affected matches’ rules. I have seen a captain’s (Martin Crowe) masterstroke by opening the bowling with a spinner for the first time and using Greatbatch as a pinch hinter in the 1992 World Cup. If I close my eyes I can still see Wasim Akram’s hatrick and then Imran Khan, the cornered tiger, lifting the shinning crystal trophy.1983

I have seen two Sri Lankans (Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana) opening the batting and destroying bowling attacks in the first fifteen overs. I have seen Amir Sohail intimidating Venkatesh Prasad after hitting a boundary and then losing his off stump the very next ball. I have seen the mighty West Indies being floored by the debutant Kenya after Richie Richardson failed to get them through. I have seen the Eden Gardens being decorated by plastic bottles and stones by the spectators to get the match abandoned and an in form Vinod Kambli in tears after the match was called off in the 1996 World Cup.

I have seen a cricketer1987 who was written off to play one-day cricket, score the most number of runs by a wicket keeper in any world cup by Rahul Dravid. I have seen Gibbs dropping Steven Waugh’s catch and then that lead to their ouster. I have seen Lance Klusener blasting attacks after attacks and then failing to score one run. I have seen a team (South Africa) draw a match and still being thrown out of the World Cup in 1999.

I have seen Sachin Tendulkar hit an upper cut to Shoaib Akhtar for a six and playing one of his best knocks though this was not one from his century of centuries. I have seen one of the greatest leg-spinner (Shane Warne) the world has ever seen, sent to home after being tested positive for banned substances. I have seen an associate member, a non-test playing nation (Kenya) reach the semi-finals of the biggest event in cricket in the 2003 World Cup.1992

I have seen two of the biggest cricketing nations, India and Pakistan, being knocked out in the first round of the World Cup with one of them resulting in a coach’s death which still remains a mystery. I have seen Dwayne Leverock of Bermuda shake the earth with his one handed diving catch. I have seen Ricky Ponting lift Australia’s fourth title in the 2007 World Cup.

I have seen Kevin O’brien score the fastest world cup hundred and chasing down a mammoth English total. I have seen Yuvraj Singh demolishing teams single handedly and win man of match award game after game. I have seen Australia not making the finals for the first time since 1992 world cup. I have seen the famous MSD six at Wankhede, which fulfilled Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s biggest dream to lift the 2011 world cup.

Over the ye1996ars I have seen many performances…many legends being made and destroyed. I know I am no cricketing expert but still one thing which really bothers me, is the standard of cricket that is regularly dropping. I know the numbers in the performances have been improving but that doesn’t mean that the standard of cricket that is being played is of the highest grade. Blame it on the newer and newer cricketing rules, which hugely stack against the bowlers or the pitches being prepared flatter and flatter or the grounds and boundaries becoming shorter and shorter or the cricket bats becoming bigger and bigger. Many will counter this, but to rest my case I won’t give example of Viv Richards the batsman or Wasim Akram the bowler but instead of Jonty Rhodes the fielder. I believe when Jonty burst on the international scene in the 1992 world cup he took fielding to an all different level which no one ever imagined but I’ll say, still after 23 years and six world cups later he is the greatest fielder the game ever saw. Many have come close but he is the one who still sets standards. If you observe the current world cup there has hardly been any match without a drop catch. Remember during 2011’s India Vs Pakistan match, Sachin was given three to four opportunities from Pakistan as if they were the ones who never wanted Sachin to get out.1999

Similarly, now if you watch other facets of cricket, the great players can be counted on fingers of a single hand whereas in earlier world cups every team had about three to four potential match winners who could single-handedly turn a match on its head. Even the same can be said about captaincy where a world cup leader was known by his decisions and performances. From Clive Lloyd’s leading from the front attitude to Kapil Dev’s inspiring a generation…From Imran Khan’s never say die attitude to Martin Crowe’s pulling a new rabbit-out-of-the-hat every other game…From Steven Waugh’s gritty attitude to Ricky Ponting’s aggressiveness…From Sourav Ganguly’s in your face attitude to Arjuna Ranatunga’s never back down strategy.

2003         Lets talk about bowling for a moment. Every world cup team had a great bowling line up in the past, and even if they didn’t have three to four frontline bowlers, they always had one or two world-class bowlers up their ranks. Remember when Zimbabwe defeated India in the 1999 World Cup they had Heath Streak and Henry Olonga in their side. But sadly that doesn’t reflect in the recent teams. After Wasim, Waqar and Akhtar retired no one seems to fill their shoes for Pakistan, Similarly for Australia and likewise for West Indies and every other team. For me the biggest downfall for West Indies was their inability to produce Fast bowlers of the caliber and class of teams that played till 1996. The last spinner who has an awesome record in all formats of the game is Daniel Vettori but sadly he will also finish this world cup and then we will be left with some part-timers who can just roll their arms over to complete the quota of overs. I guess by the next world cup we will have all the 11 players as batsmen and whosoever scores more wins.2007

I don’t think so I should discuss about all-rounders because I hardly see any genuine ones at this world cup, considering the fact that you can’t even consider Afridi as one these days. Its high time that we realize what impact T20s are having over the game.

I believe that for any sport to grow it needs heroes and super stars for the younger and coming generation to idolize them. Just look at the stars playing the 2015 world cup who are tipped to take cricket forward and become the next legends of the game, From Virat Kohli to AB De’villiers, from Hashim Amla to Kane Williamson, from Steve Smith to Shikhar Dhawan, all are batsmen with a lone Dale Steyn or Mitchel Starc here and there. If the game really wants to maintain the standard of the game it needs to produce stars in all departments. Otherwise you’ll have Virat Kohli breaking Viv Richards’ records and in a months’ time Hashim Amla doing the same to Virat, without being in2011 the same league in which you could keep Viv, Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, Jayasuriya n the list goes on. They are legends because of the bowling they faced in that era. Viv Richards to have a strike rate of around 92 in that era is actually freaky. Just imagine what he would have done in this era when the many of the grounds don’t have 60-meter boundaries.

My humble request to ICC would be to make the game more competitive and this can only be done if there would be a balance between bat and bowl and then only there will be players who will go from good to great and great to legends otherwise it will be just like the present world cup, win the toss…elect to bat first and score more than 300 and make the match a big bore. Make it an even contest otherwise that day isn’t far away when the stars that rule the game will be very few and even fewer who appreciate the game, who follow the game and the ones like me who simply worship the game.

This blog is part of Blogger Dream Team

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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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!

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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 

 

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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.

 

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