Book Review: How I got Lucky: Farhad J. Dadyburjor


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A well drafted satire on how entertainment industry works in Mumbai, the city of shining lights.

The protagonist of the book is Raman, 35 and confused about his sexuality. He is a journalist and covers the Page 3 stuff in Mumbai. We also have other characters who play an equally important role throughout the book from a lesbian photographer to a male model who would satisfy his male clients over the internet.

This book is a raunchy and a racy narration of how the industry works. From bisexual man to actors who would spread rumors about his own death before the release of his movie. This book has all into it. It makes you laugh a lot of times, but sometimes it makes you feel sick ; especially, if you are not among those who would enjoy same-sex pleasure.

In general terms this book does not have anything new into it. It is the old story of how things work in entertainment industry. It is just the prospective which is new. Sometimes when you would read through a character you would yourself think about one or another person from industry. It may look as if author is talking about a specific person indirectly.

The elements of dark humour is very prominent through out this book. And so was the reality of how a newspaper works. This Book is a clear pun on newspapers that would run news stories for selected clients who decide to book advertisements slot in their newspapers.

Continue reading

Book Review : Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri


The long- short stories by Lahiri takes us through the lives of thousands of Indians living abroad and in broader context it talks about the lives of Bengali families living in different parts of world. This book is divided into two parts.  First part of the book is left untitled and the second part is titled as ‘Hema and Kaushik’. The book in total comprises of eight stories.

The first part has short stories with different characters in them whereas in the second part of the book we see that the stories are interlinked with the appearance of the same protagonist from the previous stories. The title of story takes us through the life of Roma, living in Seattle with her husband and son. Her father is half American half Indian especially with his growing gray hair and white skin. While taking us through the father’s character, Lahiri talks about the individualistic society wherein we see Roma’s father cooking his own meals, roams around the world alone and does not have much to take care of anything else except a suitcase.

The other story Hell-Heaven is in first-person and talks about the American way of life. It also takes us through the crush that narrator’s mother had on another Bengali man- much younger than herself and her husband.

The last three stories are about Hema and Kaushik, childhood acquaintances, who meet in future to be lovers. Once in a Lifetime is about Kaushik’s parents returning to America and then staying at Hema’s house.

Year’s End is about when Kaushik’s mother dies and he then learns about his step-mother and stepsisters. He tries hard to settle himself in the new family and somewhere also starts liking his stepsisters. But, one day he moves ahead, leaving the house.The book surely makes one think about those relatives and friends living away in some other country; those who would visit you once every three years; those who do not exist among you anymore and those who were left behind- into a different world.

The book can also be taken as a satire of our everlasting ideology that settling down in west can be so cool-and-hip and having a far better life ”there”. Another significant relevance I found in this book was with protagonist of Home and World by Rabindranath Tagore. When I was reading ‘hell-heaven’ I could sense so much same-like things between protagonists of this story. The love for music, poetry and the sense of coming out of a marrige bond.

The narrative technique Lahiri has used is breath-taking. With every story that ends there is an imaginative picture in your mind already about what has happened and what may come further. The language used is graceful and is easy to read and understand. One thing I liked the most was use of small, very small sentences.  Though her writing style is simple she has used both metaphors and symbolism throughout the book.

The pleasure of reading Lahiri was commendable. for the first time i have read a book written by lahri and I am surely going to take up her other two books as well. For anybody who wants to look in the ‘hell-heaven’ of west, this book is recommended.

The title is taken from a quotation by  Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.

About Author

This books was sent to me by Publisher for an unbiased review. If you are an author or a Publisher please send an E mail to adityabhasin81 [at] [gmail] [.com]

About: Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way.

Fb.com + About.me + Twitter.com + StumbleUpon.com + LinkedIn.com+ FourSquare.com + Pinterest.com + Digg.com + Reddit.com = /meadityabhasin Email: adityabhasin81 (at) (gmail) (.com) This book was sent to me by publisher for an unbiased review. If you are a publisher or author and would want me to review your books, please drop an email at : adityabhasin [81] @ gmail [.com]

Reading : Bombay Stories by Sir Manto


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This is not a book review. It is just a reading of the book after which I am now going to express what I felt about this book. I do not think I should be reviewing work of Sir Manto. He was himself a generation of writers. And if I attempt to review his work it would be certainly be a shameful thing on my part. …

….on INTRODUCTION

Been a literature student reading introduction to an author is very common practice for me. From Chaucer to Eliot to kalidas, I have read introduction to all authors  And with great confidence I can say that this book had the best introduction to an author by far. It is indeed beautiful in its own way that translated  have described Manto’s life, Bombay and Bombay stories so well. Just reading the introduction makes one read this book so much more.

An irony of reading this book was that in background I was over-hearing some news that Manto’s play “Matorma” and “Kaun ha ye Gustakh” were been cancelled in New Delhi.

An irony of reading this book was that in background I was over-hearing some news that Manto’s play “Matorma” and “Kaun ha ye Gustakh” were been cancelled in New Delhi

….On Stories

All the stories are based in Mumbai. Most of them revolves around prostitution and movie industry. Stories are crisp and short and delivers the message in much elegant manner. Among all my favorite were ‘Mammad Bhai’ and ‘Rude’. Manto’s Bombay stories were mostly written in Pakistan, where he lived his last years.

….On Translation

This is not the first work of translation that I have read. Before this I’ve also read English version of Toba Tek Singh and Shakuntalam among many others, but with sense of respect towards translators Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad I say that none of the other work has been so mesmerizing.  If this book had not been a translation and just a book of short-stories by translators, my respect for the writing would have stood same, if not higher. The language is flawless, and is an absolute pleasure to read. No questions that the stories add to make it much more pleasurable.

I would travel anywhere with Manto. In every lane, he points out the errors of God. In every bazaar, he kicks away the gold coins of men. He can hear colour in betrayal and street argument, and can smell disease in the bloodstream. As long as there is a Lahore, a Bombay, a Toba Tek Singh, a Wagah- Manto will be alive. He is magnificently immortal

-Nadeem Aslam

…..On Appendix
Apart from stories, this section of book has a three letters like essays written in first person by Sir Manto.  These letters can surely be read with great interests. Among these three, ‘Why I Don’t  Go to the Movies’ and ‘Women and the Film World’ are my favorite. They are written with rare honesty and give the readers a joyous end to a beautiful book.
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..Final words
You do not have to be a book worm or a student of literature to read this book. This one is actually meant for anyone who is looking forward to be a progressive human. (Reminds me of the section where sir Manto talks about Progressive literature and humans.) This book is a sheer delight to read and I must recommend this book to everyone.

P.S. Time to go back to read this book again. I feel intoxicated reading Manto.

About: Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way.

Fb.com + About.me + Twitter.com + StumbleUpon.com + LinkedIn.com+ FourSquare.com + Pinterest.com + Digg.com + Reddit.com = /meadityabhasin Email: adityabhasin81 (at) (gmail) (.com) This book was sent to me by publisher for an unbiased review. If you are a publisher or author and would want me to review your books, please drop an email at : adityabhasin [81] @ gmail [.com]

Book Review: Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai: Rishi Vohra


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Signed by Author

COVER

Book: Once Upon The Tracks of Mumbai

Author: Rishi Vohra

Price: Rs 175

There is something of Everyman in this book. The protagonist is an autistic, schizophrenic, psychotic in words of everyone around him. Whereas deep down he is a brave man, who has ideas but no means to implement them. He is disturbed because of not been accepted by his family but brave at heart. He wants a change but fails to get it under his own identity. He is Balwant Srivastav a.k.a. Babloo.

As what the title and the cover photo suggest, this book is well based in Mumbai and upon the Tracks of Mumbai. Vohra, takes his readers onto a ride where he explores Mumbai- from slums to BEST buses, ambitious people to political gangs, films like villains to real lives like police to fascinating characters of superman and shaktiman.

Apart from the protagonist we have other characters too who play an important role in developing the whole story. Vandana- She is portrayed to be like a typical Indian person. She is been made to think about all the bullshit we are told about west. West is this and west is that. The other side of Vandana is that little-mean attitude that we tend to see in most of the people. She tries to take all the advantage she can from Sikander. In him she sees ‘Bank of America’.

Vandana had read a lot about America in books and was totally enamored by the country. She was fascinated by the fact that the freedom of thought, and action was a way of life there.

Sikander is a typical loafer-like character. Who knows well how to woe women and take benefit out of them.

Raghu is one of those male-chauvinist pigs you end up finding somewhere or else. Not to mention that he fell in love with his ‘Would-be’ wife in first meeting only.

There must be something else behind the story,’ said Raghu. “If she were from a decent family, she wouldn’t’t be out all night. She probably deserved it.

Vohra does an awesome job with Babloo’s character; he manages to bring out his different shades beautifully and later lets the reader to judge. Babloo’s character is well-researched and same goes for other characters. Vohra must have done an extensive research in developing these characters, which is commendable.

The middle-class-family-connection is very prominent in book; Vohra manages to describe 1BHK flat that a usually middle class family lives in perfectly. On the other hand he managed to potry ‘sheer-racisam’ that exists in a middle class family along with Raj Thankrey like characters in few of the instances:

But the saying was true that you can take a bhaiya out of UP but you can’t take UP out of a bhaiya.

The narrator in book switched way to rapidly. One paragraph you have a third-person narrator and just the next line we see Babloo speaking. One has to have smooth transition between one narrator and other narrator which obviously was missing.

The book is meant for all age groups, especially those from Mumbai because eventually they would find ‘something’ of themselves in this book. The story as I mentioned is fresh, but fails to generate interest after one point of time. One has to push himself way too hard to read further. It is sometime drastically monotonous. The best part of the book is the kind of details Vohra has mentioned. The way he takes his readers through Mumbai, it is clear and sometime mesmerizing.

Kudos to the author for attempting to write a book. This is his first novel. No questions that Vohra is a good story-teller. And this book leaves the reader with a gist of reading something of themselves.

Final Words: This book can be read on a lazy weekend; especially when you are bored of reading all-same-like-love-stories. This book will not disappoint you.

About Rishi Vohra: He recently relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco state university and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he has had a successful career in the Indian entertainment industry.Have been a guest columnist for various newspapers in India, he currently writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. This is his first novel.

Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way.

Fb.com + About.me + Twitter.com + StumbleUpon.com + LinkedIn.com+ FourSquare.com + Pinterest.com + Digg.com + Reddit.com = /meadityabhasin

Email: adityabhasin81 (at) (gmail) (.com)

This book was sent to me by author for an unbiased review. If you are a publisher or author and would want me to review your books, please drop an email at : adityabhasin [81] @ gmail [.com]

Book Review: Like A Virgin by Richard Branson


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Looking for advice on setting up your own company, improving your career prospects, or developing your leadership skills? Why not ask Richard Branson? 

There are some books that does not need a review, they are already a master piece. One such book is ‘Like A Virgin’.The author of this book is none than owner of Virgin Group, who has more than 400 companies under the banner.
In this book he has shared his ideas of making a venture successful and all tips that a
budding entrepreneur or an already successful entrepreneur will ever need. The beauty of reading a book that gives you practicable tips and advice to be successful by none other than a successful personality himself naturally leads to higher expectations.
Branson, unlike his not so simple life had written this book in most simple manner possible, with no use of difficult business terminology. The book is no where a step-by-step guide to a successful venture, but simply shares Branson’s ideas of how to do things differently and be successful into it. The book takes you on a journey that Branson started when he was as young as 16 yrs old and yes, how he failed badly in two of his first business ventures. The book is not an autobiography, nor a 332 pages of ‘self-talks’ The book has some great short chapters which is a delight to read and learn from. Sir Branson’s ideas on marketing, PR and internal communication is refreshing and thought provoking. One thing I like most is when he talks about taking over phone instead of sending email. It saves time, he adds.

As now I have completed this book,below mentioned are my favorite chapters and lessons from book:

1) Don’t like the second opinion ? Get a third;
2)What is success? Some positive thoughts;
3)Watching your waistline. Will help the bottom line.

1) Work/ Life Balance: The quote ‘no one on their death bed has ever said I wish I had of spent more time in the office’ says it all.

2)Make mistakes: Making people make mistakes sounds to be a great idea. And to learn and review from it is another great idea. (my addition to it: Learn from failures)

Final Words: If you are young like me or a CEO of your own company, this book is what you should read.

Here are some of my favorite sections from the book :-

1) “If you were given $60 to start a business, how would you do it?”

A: “If I were well known, I’d sign the dollar and sell each of them for $20.I would then sign $20 and sell them for $50 and so on. As they say, nothing makes money like money ! ” Pg. 5 (loved this one) (Nothing makes money like money !)

2) “This mysterious anonymous entity ‘they’ is held responsible for limitless problems. Bad news tends to be delivered in the third-person plural, whereas good news is much more likely to be relayed in the first-person singular. I wish my old English teacher could read this, as he was convinced I never listened to a word in the those lessons!” Pg. 52

Also, most of the sections in this book is about questions by people across the globe and been answered by Branson. I am also enclosing two questions, and hope they shall be answered by him.

Ques 1: I am 22,somehow a graduate, into a job which my parents hate and so do I. Love reading books, making opinion,writing, expressing views and good with communication skills. I sometime think to start a venture, with many ideas in my kitty I fail to zero-down on one of them and also scared of taking that steps towards entrepreneurship. Please suggest. Please.

Ques 2: The biggest dilemma of Indian youth today is about working at a call-centre.I have not met anybody who told me that “I wanted (want )to make a career in BPO industry. They say they feel stuck and sometime claustrophobic. BPO’s hire anybody with good English skills, so most of the people endup only been high school pass outs or graduate. We know BPO’s are not here for long, espically when countries like Philippians and China is after our bread-and-butter. Any suggestion for this section of Indian youth? ‘

Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way.

Fb.com + About.me + Twitter.com + StumbleUpon.com + LinkedIn.com+ FourSquare.com + Pinterest.com + Digg.com + Reddit.com = /meadityabhasin

Email: adityabhasin81 (at) (gmail) (.com)

This book was sent to me by publisher for an unbiased review. If you are a publisher or author and would want me to review your books, please drop an email at : adityabhasin [81] @ gmail [.com]

Book Review: Untruly Yours: Smita Shetty


Book: Untruly Yours

Author: Smita Shetty

ISBN: 978-93-81836-29-3

Genre: Romance/ Chicklit

Sometimes you have to judge a book by its cover and that is probably what I did when I decided to read Untruly Yours by Smita Shetty. The cover design is refreshing and the story summary at the back is extensive, rather very extensive. I personally don’t like more than one paragraph of the summary written at the back cover of the book. To me it was something like ‘A spoiler alert’. I mean it almost revealed the whole story.

Shetty wrote a simple story that is spread across 146 pages; the book takes you through the Journey of a modern era women who is starving for a spark in her relationship, which she fails to find in her love marriage she is been into for more than a decade. The story line is not new and have been a part of many fiction novels but, this book has its own good things to offer which over writes that ‘old story’ tag.

The language used by author is very mature and clearly depicts that it has been written by an individual  having great experience of life and not just some IIT graduates. The book takes you through a journey of protagonist, Natasha who is trying to find a  way out of her marriage to enjoy the missing romance, passion and excitement. In simple words- on verge of infidelity.

It took Natasha a journey of more than ten-thousands miles to find that she demands more from life in terms of her yearning towards Steve; her office mate from US and Veer; her college days crush. Natasha after seeing no progress in terms of her relationship with Steve straves for Veer; who eventually hurts her more and forces her to make a decision that will change her life completely.

Throughout the book you will find many instances where you would give a calm smile and some time a huge laugh. I am personally suggesting this book to everyone. Pick it up, it is worth the read.

Also, apart from all this, I have a quick question for Shetty : How come somebody who just attempted suicide can change her whole life in that one ten-minute conversation and start talking about Fashion police and all? (Just asking)

Smita Shetty has been in the creative field for over seven years. In her spare time she enjoys involving herself in community work. She offers her creative support to an Asian women’s network group and has taken up several designing projects for a County Councils employee network group. Untruly yours is her debut novel.

Smita is originally from Mumbai and currently lives with her family in the United Kingdom.

Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way.

Fb.com + About.me + Twitter.com + StumbleUpon.com + LinkedIn.com+ FourSquare.com + Pinterest.com + Digg.com + Reddit.com = /meadityabhasin

Email: adityabhasin81 (at) (gmail) (.com)

This book was sent to me by author for an unbiased review. If you are a publisher or author and would want me to review your books, please drop an email at : adityabhasin [81] @ gmail [.com]

Book Review: How About a Sin Tonight? : Novoneel Chakraborty


How About A Sin Tonight?

Novoneel Chakraborty

ISBN: 975-8-184-00031-3

Imprint: Random House India

From the most beautiful space in their souls to the most confused portion of their hearts and the dirtiest corners of their minds… Love.Took.Them.Everywhere

In the rat-race of IIT-IIM writers we see that almost everyday there is a new book release. Apart from story line everything seems to be new in these books –cover-page, the writer and publisher. Most of these books will either revolve around protagonists (read: author’s) college life plus love life plus breakup plus sex life and in some rare cases marriage life. But, this book is different and bold –all for good sake.

This book is third by Chakraborty and second of his work that I am reading. The story revolves around five individuals who were bound to meet some or other day among these flashy lights of glamour world. All that they do and all that is done to make them meet each other, makes this book a must read. From fantastic one-liners to good narration, this book has all in it for you to be glued and wait to know- what happens next?

A living legend Shahraan, who fell in love with a prostitute; Nishani- the ‘star-kid’; Reva and Neev- new comers to industry with a common purpose and Kaash- the guy who loved only one women and made love to many. Welcome to ‘How About a Sin Tonight?’  A book, as mentioned at back is truly a beguiling tale of love, ambition, jealousy and betrayal.

Set on the backdrop of bollywood and TV industry this book is a bold step by Chakraborty. The story line is different and fresh. And has great sense of maturity in it.  The characters are crystal clear and one can easily relate to them. For me I had many instances when I could relate myself to Kaash. And could think of people I know personally who were almost like many other characters in the book.

Chakraborty’s style of writing is informal and consist all sought of ‘F’ words and going a little forward this book now also have ‘C’ words of Hindi dictionary. It is divided in three-books- Book One: 1986-2010, Book Two: 2012 and Book Three: 2013. The book is very much capable to connect with its indented audience and author was brilliantly able to define its concepts clearly.  The language used is far better than what we see in a typical-CB-fiction-novel. Chakraborty at few instances used very good use of metaphor. (Pg. 4  …Happened to notice the haphazard blotch on the wall)

A lot of dialogues and phrases used in the book are worth appreciation. To me most of them were new and Chakraborty deserves a pat on his back for this, Kudos.

1)      When a man is desperate, he injures others. When a woman is desperate, she hurts herself the most. (pg 3);

2)     Sex is everybody’s home, nobody’s address (pg 3);

3)      But when loves sit in silence, it’s never quiet. The glances seemed like flying kisses, the abrupt eye contacts were tight hugs, and the averting of it was a love bite. (pg 42)

4)     That’s the life of a woman in every prostitute and the prostitute in every woman. Men come and light a fire in some corner of us and we keep burning till we turn into insignificant ash and thereafter slave to the wind of destiny that carries us as per its desires. (pg 8)

5)     Hailing from a middle-class family, money is the only ugly thing I find sexy. (Pg 83);

6)     When a wife sleeps with another man, she is a whore. But when a whore decides to sleep with only one man for rest of her life, she still remains a whore. (pg 53) ; and now my favorite;

7)     I am Neev Dixit. And I want to be an actor. That’s all I know about myself. Everything else about me, except my sexuality is in state if confusion (pg 62)

And to talk about my favorite character- Nishani, I would say that she is outrageously good. She is bold and aggressive. She knew how to feed the infant of interest so that it grows into a man of obsession.

About most funny character; a minor character- Rakesh, all I can say is he is way to Mommy’s boy. Imagine: He once said he would talk to his mother, to ask if he should have sex or not. And in the other instance when he says that his mother is trying to strike a deal for their honeymoon where she will accompany the couple.

Though everything seems flowery in this book, I also think there were many instances throughout the book where the connection between previous and next set of narration was completely absent. Suddenly a character would drop in and one had to flip pages to check if one had missed out anything about that character in last few pages; only to find out that no- nothing of that sought happened.

Only one thing that I am curious to ask author:

1)      On page 161: “…They went to Marine Drive, India Gate, and lastly to Flora fountain” Please explain when and how India Gate was shifted to Mumbai from New Delhi?

 

 

(Thankyou to Arvind Passey for suggestions he gave me last time.)

About Aditya Bhasin

Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way.

Fb.com + About.me + Twitter.com + StumbleUpon.com + LinkedIn.com+ FourSquare.com + Pinterest.com + Digg.com + Reddit.com = /meadityabhasin Email: adityabhasin81 (at) (gmail) (.com)