Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two books

Read two books, both interesting enough to allow me to complete in a week's time:

1. 'Honeymoon' by James Patterson  A 400-page fast-paced thriller which I completed in about 3 days. This was one of the books bought at the fair. I like Patterson's books but this book was a slight let-down with its flimsy plot

2. 'The White Tiger' by Aravind Adiga: I had been meaning to read this Booker for some time and finally was able to lay my hands on it. Took four days to complete this approx 280 page book.This is a dark and brooding novel (though not pessimistic) and portrays the true picture of the poor villagers in India. The story is told through the eyes of a villager who has that spark in him to turn into an entrepreneur. And the most striking feature of the novel is this: getting into the skin of the character to describe the way the world is seen through the narrator's eyes. For this, either the author must have lived in those villages or done a great deal of research to be able to give this perspective. Great book.

Good that I read this book which restored my faith in contemporary Indian writing. Had read 'The Suicide Banker' a while ago and had despaired...the book was more like a documentary on rural banking with some bizarre twists to the story and was such a yawn. It took me about three weeks to complete the thin volume.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

sad-sad :(

Remember those sad-sad heroines of the 50s Indian movies wearing a black cotton saree and a contrasting blouse with patches stitched on both carrying a bundle of clothes at her side loitering around aimlessly with a sad-sad face and singing sad-sad songs...Zindgai dene wale sun ja teri duniya se dil bhar gaya...Teri duniya mein jeene se yeh behther hai... and other such songs?
I feel like that today :( par kyun?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge...just loved it!

This movie title is opposite to what it depicts in the movie. I thought it is about the not-so-educated seeking 'fraandships' with people of opposite gender.
To my surprise, this movie involving college-going youngsters comes as a breath of fresh air as it captures the positive energy of these young people, their enthusiasm, optimism, their belief that the world is not unconquerable, their resilience...
A neat movie, maybe no great script but the pace is kept up. The actors behaving and dressed as 20-year-olds do in their real item dance, no double entendres. In one sentence, the story-line is about how the youth hide behind Facebook to communicate through chats and not through real-time conversations.
I wish such movies were marketed better so that we feel inspired to go to the theaters to watch it as a result of which we could have more such movies made.
A cute, beautiful and a positive movie which forced a tear from my eye.

Falling prey to the marketing strategies of today: a Rs. 135/- worth lesson

Look at the cover of the book and  the blurbs at the back. Make a note of your impressions from both.

If you agree with my first impression, I'd feel redeemed of deciding to buy the book based on these impressions. (Notice the 'National Best Seller' tag on top of the cover?)
My impressions from the cover was that the book is about the enthusiastic abandon which infuses the lives of the college-going youth. I felt it was a light and one time read. When you turn to the back of the book, it gives you glimpses of naughty-naughty happenings. (Eg: Have you ever experienced what happens when a porn movie is mistakenly played in front of your grandma and the CD player refuses to stop?). I can cope with such stuff... I thought. What I got instead was mind boggling to say the least. 
Two things ought to have warned me. The dedication of the book to all his family etc. "who always thought I was good-for nothing." Second, the title of the first chapter says '36-24-36.' This too didnt set the warning bells ringing.  It took me all of three pages to decide that this book was a bore. Yet, I plodded on as I didnt want to give up on a book on which I had spent my hard-earned money. 
I am not sure what language the book is written in? British English, US English, Indian English? Who is the intended reader? The grammar and punctuation pale in fright at being repeatedly assaulted and mutilated. Even the basic noun-verb agreement meets with a royal disdain. Lacking a command over the language, yet seeking to what does the author(?!) do? Right-click, substitute with bombastic sounding synonyms or perhaps words from the thesaurus which actually make you ROTFL with their absurd connotations. But of course, the author promised you a hilarious story in his gimmicky blurb, didn't he?
In the middle of the book, he turns a CB, envisaging the book turning into a super- hit movie. He holds all the pages in his hands and like the clerk at the post office, with a relentless frenzy starts stamping sex sex sex on each page. The moment a woman...any woman... appears on the scene, our hero is ogling, touching, kissing or having sex with her. When the maid was mentioned, I thought in my mind...not her! But then the hero spares none. And this despite having a steady girl friend. But then such trivial things don't stop our Casanova. In the middle of stamping sleaze all over the plot(?!), he perhaps realizes that a movie requires something more than sex, so the next is a murder, a suicide, a sacrifice... think of all the elements of a C-grade movie of the 80s and you have all the shit ( I didn't say it, it is the author). A good measure of gross thrown in as well... just in case, you know. To top it all, refer to the author's blog. The atrocious language, the chat lingo asking you to " Don't judge whether it is right or wrong, just keep your head by your side, and keep reading" I have definitely lost my head after reading this book.This is not all, at the end of his write-up he threatens ..." i will try my level best to entertain you in the future." To that,  all I can say is, "Oh Shit, Not Again!' 
Sleaze by any other name would smell equally awful.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


2012, the advent was on a rather sober note. It vastly differed from what I was used to all these years...spending time with family, celebrate together, or simply lying in front of TV.
This year I was away on a more serious occasion when all the family members gathered for the one-year ceremony of my FIL.
It felt funny to be in Vijayawada which is so unlike our Hyderabad. Even when you attempt to sleep early, the bursting of crackers and the joyous noises from celebrations do not allow you to. On the other hand, the new year was brought in so quietly in noises around. Even within the house, people were so tired with the rituals all day that they climbed into beds by around 11 pm  Spending time with the extended family also felt a bit strange as the siblings now had such vastly different styles of living, vast differences in thinking... Beneath the polite, superficial binding, I strived hard to reach out to that core which means reliability, trust and faith. All that eluded me. Well, this only strengthens my belief that each to his own in today's world.
To look back on 2011, career-wise, it was rather tepid with no great challenges in the new role. Especially after the challenging and super-tight schedules of last year.
Money-wise, I was reaping the benefits of the hard work put in last year, and hence was good.
Relationships...those that mean to me have stood by me and I thank God for those reliable ones.
Health, despite all my negligence, has been quite kind to me. Need to take greater care of the physique.
In 2012, I resolve to be optimistic of the outcome of my efforts and surge ahead with a strong belief that life can only get better.