Sunday, 21 October 2012

Faces In The Water by Ranjit Lal

Title: Faces In The Water
Author: Ranjit Lal
Number of Pages: 202
Cover Price: Rs. 199
Rating: 3.5/5

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Ranjit Lal was born in Kolkata (1955), educated in Mumbai and graduated in Economics and Sociology. He is an independent writer and columnist for over last two decades. He has thousands of articles and lots of books on natural history and child psychology. According to him, his all books are for everyone from age 10 to 100.

About this Book:

It is a fictional story based on female infanticide - preference of male child.

The story is about Diwanchand family who is proud of two things - 1) having only sons in their family and 2) no one in the family ever fell sick. They give all the credit of this to a magical water from the well which is near their ancestral house.

Once, a son of this family gets to spend a few days in that house and wants to explore the area (especially the well) and what he discovers there changes his life and that of others for ever. There he finds the exact reason why there are only sons in the family. He sees the faces of his sisters who were drowned in that well because they were girls. The interesting part is that the ghosts of those girls start interacting with the boy and almost created a virtual world.

Although it is an adult topic, it is written in such a manner which makes it appropriate for children as well. The author has put lots of funny incidents related to magic, cyber world and lots of charm. I skipped some of such incidents because these were hardly moving the story. There is a bit of twist in the end of this story.

The description of the girls, their innocence, their expressions are narrated very beautifully and it made me laughed at sometimes as well as bought some tears in my eyes many times.

"What do you do when you discover an unspeakable truth about your parents?"
The book conveys a very powerful message and author has shown the injustice being done to girls very nicely, still there are lots of parts where I felt the story is loosing focus from its main subject. This is for all young and adults but I would like to recommend this book to readers of young adult fiction.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

If I Pretend I Am Sorry! : Will You Pretend And Forgive Me by Prashant Sharma

Title: If I Pretend I Am Sorry! Will You Pretend and Forgive Me?

Author: Prashant Sharma
Number of Pages: 221
Cover Price: Rs. 100
Rating: 3/5

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Prashant Sharma is working in strategy and marketing for a multinational bank. He passed out of IIM Lucknow in 2009 and Delhi College of Engineering in 2007. Apart from this, he is author of another book - Love, Life & A Beer Can.

About this Book:

The book is written in very simple language and can easily be finished in couple of days. The story mainly introduces us to the bad world of Mumbai.

It is a fictional story about three men (who all are related to each other) playing game with underworld.

Rannvijay Singh (DOB: Apr 30, 1950)
Viraj Singh (DOB: Jul 25, 1960)
Rajvir Singh (DOB: Oct 20, 1931)
Book is divided into 3 parts in which stories of these men are narrated separately.

Rannvijay Singh - The book starts with a story of a  Rannvijay Singh who lives in the slums of Mumbai. His mother and him got shifted to Mumbai from Punjab. He doesn't know a bit about his father. He started working at early stage by opening a tea stall. Later he started stealing money and doing illegal things; putting all this illegal money to his legal business. Once he stole money from a don. The don in turn burned his mother alive within her house. So Rannvijay made up his mind to kill all of them.

Rajvir Singh - His family was murdered in the riots after the India-Pakistan partition. And he murdered a person who killed his family and ran away form there to Punjab where he started working as a farmer. And he gets engaged with a zamindar daughter. The reason behind getting engaged with zamindar daughter was for money. After few months, after killing his father-in-law and taking his all money; he ran away from their to Mumbai alone, leaving his pregnant wife alone.

Viraj Singh - He took a birth in a very rich family. So has never faced a money crisis like the other two characters. He enjoyed his life with a fair amount of money. He had all those things whichever he like cars, girls, etc.  He had fallen in love with a french girl. After spending around 10-12 months with her. They decided to get engaged. But Viraj wanted to convince his parents for that so he leaves for India after finishing his post-graduate. There he met an another girl. With her also he falls in love. And when the french girl got to know that he is getting married. She comes to India on the wedding day. Viraj feels guilty and gets confused. He decides to run away with her.

These are just overview of characters however the climax is nice in which you would get to know how all these men are related to each other :)

Below are some lines from book:
"I was sitting in a room with four of the most dangerous men in Mumbai. All four had a gun in their hands. I had a single malt in mine. And I was the one who was going to dictate the terms. - Rajvir Singh"
"I felt relieved, I felt scared, I felt guilty. I had finally made the deal.
I had paid for my first murder. - 
Viraj Singh"
As any underworld bollywood movie, the book is filled with incidents of murders, kidnappings, ransom, gang wars, smuggling, drug dealing, protection money, parties, the roads, the cars... etc.

Although the plot is good and interesting, don't buy this book with lots of expectations. Still Rs. 100 is not much in exchange of a fine story that you’ll not let putting it down till you finish it.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Difficulty of Being Good by Gurcharan Das

Title: The Difficulty Of Being Good, On The Subtle Art Of Dharma
Author: Gurcharan Das
Number of Pages: 488
Cover Price: Rs. 699
Rating: 5/5

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Gurcharan Das graduated from Harvard University and was the CEO and then VP for Procter & Gamble India between 1985 and 1992. We worked in various MNCs across different countries. Later he took retirement at around 50 to become a full time writer and started writing columns for various newspapers.

About this Book:

Before writing this book, Gurcharan Das spent around 6 years continuously with 'The Mahabharata'. He studied each character, the problems they faced and tried to map those issues to our present lives.

This book is not just restricted to the story of Mahabharata but also a very good analysis of its each character.

The book is divided into 10 chapters, each corresponding to a different character (Duryodhana, Draupadi, Yudhishtira, Arjuna, Bhishma, Krishna...). In each chapter, he took examples from present world and showed how the incidents happened thousands of years ago are being repeated even in this modern world. Below are some lines from the book:
"Assume, too, that life is a dice game, governed by rules known to be deceptive, in which the least experienced, least adequate player is nevertheless pushed to the point of staking everything he has including, in the end, himself, with the certainty of losing . . .Assume a world in which each of the players in this game must be seen to die in most cases violently and unfairly; in which, moreover, the poles of life and death are present in every move with the death pole always strangely privileged, cognitively and metaphysically, so that death is, in effect, the only possible outcome of the game. In such a world, one mostly fights for time." 
"To save the family, abandon an individual. To save the village,
abandon a family; to save the country, abandon a village. To save
the soul, abandon the earth."
Examples of Ambani brothers co-related with Duryodhana. And later how their mother (like Dhritarashtra) split the family as happened in Mahabharata.
Explanation of the scandal in 2009 by B. Ramalinga Raju is again provided through Mahabharata. How and why should a person of such talent, achievement, who lacked nothing in life, turn to crime?
You will find lots of such examples which helps in distinguishing between right and wrong.

I enjoyed this a lot and would strongly recommend this for everyone. After reading this you will come to know the hard work done behind this and investing Rs 600 would surely return much heavier knowledge... :)

A must read !!