Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Book Review "Boots, Belts, Berets"

Book Review: Boots Belts Berets

Author: Tanushree Podder

Publisher: IndiaInk

To start with when I saw this book in library I found the name “Boots Belts Berets” very strange. I didn’t understand what the book wants to talk about. But when I thought hard then word Berets and the cover of the Book which has a picture of very much worn out shoes help me understand that the book has to be about a ‘Uniformed Man’. And when I picked up the book I realized that I guessed it right. This book is about cadets in NDA i.e. National Defense Academy where finest of army officers had been developed. Life of Army men is always been mysterious for civilians. There is some sort of glamour, some mystic powerful aura around them. I am sure every civilian once in his life wanted to join the army. So did I, it is a different story that my physical structure won’t get me in the army for next seven lives.

So I picked up this book I was curious to know what exactly happens in these academies where these Army men are created. Where you enter as innocent / greenhorn boy and comes out as lean, mean, disciplined, respected Man. What do they do with them; to make them so tough fighters? You always knew there is tremendous hard work required for this job even more hard work just to qualify for the job. But I always fail to understand how they manage to survive these tough conditions. I though this is my chance to find all my answers. Frankly speaking I would have preferred if the book was written by a army officer himself like they say from horses mouth. This book is written by a wife of a army officer so it should be lot closer to the horses mouth.

As for the author I never heard of ‘Tanushree Podder’ before. And when I read that she is already penned seventeen odd books, I was surprised and little bit ashamed of my GK. But later I come to know out of these 17 books only two books are novel one is this one and other one called ‘Nurjahan’s Daughter. Remaining books are all on cookery stuff or health instructions or spiritual kind of books. So I feel relived because this is not my kind of books.

Anyways coming to the book itself is about sixteen years boys who decides to join the army and enters the world of National Defense Academy. On their very first step they realized that the world they have entered is not at all like what they thought would be or it is not at all like the life they had been living so far under the shelter of their parents and loved one. Within few days they wants to run away from all this but they couldn’t because for some it is his father’s only dream, for some it is there family ritual to be in army, some wanted to get away from there boring family life, for one he wanted to prove something to his father and for one because this is the most viable option financially available for him and his family.

This book is a tale of a bunch of disparate boys comes together at India’s National Defense Academy (NDA). They find themselves against disciplined system which could get brutal to achieve the desired result. And then there are sadistic seniors like in any other hostel but here they are more atrocious because they have right to humiliate you physically and emotionally as they are seniors and in army you can not disobey a senior. The only consolation they get out of this they will get their chance too when they become seniors. As in any other novel or in stories of friends there is one lover boy, one handsome boy who can charm anyone but does not care, one boringly earnest guy who always warns friends about forthcomings of their wild plans, and one stupid genius who always comes up with stupid plans and always gets subjected to reprimand.

Till this everything is very good. The author had one excellent story line to work with but she failed to develop any of the character. Nor she able to keep the story flowing there are too many unwanted halts. The description of cadet’s activities and drills could have been more graphical which wasn’t there. I won’t say her effort for her only second novel is bad but I couldn’t stop thinking that there was so much more this book could have offered. This may be because I was expecting to be something like the movie ‘Prahar’ enacted by Nana Patekar.

Overall I will give the author full marks for selecting the subject, it is good subject to wite on and also good subject to market the book for publisher too. But if I have to rate this book I can give it 6/10.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book Review: "Comedy of Errors"

Book Review: The Comedy of Errors

Author: William Shakespeare

Genre: Comic Play

This is one of the first literatures from the great legend “William Shakespeare”. All the work from William Shakespeare is literally a literature. His books are referred in syllabus in schools and colleges all over the world. He is in true sense a king of English literature. There are so many contemporary authors whose work is supposedly inspired by him. Frankly I never read any of his books so when I come across “The comedy of errors” and immediately grab it.

Although the title says it is a book review in this article I am rather expressing the feelings after reading the book. As for the book I had very big expectation from it, it doesn’t turn out that great that may be because of various reasons. First reason could be that the plot wasn’t new for me; there are so many books and movies which are made on same plot. There is movie made in bollywood called “Angoor” which by the way one of my favorite movies. It is brilliantly enacted by Sanjeev Kumar which was based on this play. Of course the director used his creative freedom to plant the story in Indian continent and did that effectively. I read somewhere idea for this play has not been originated from Shakespeare’s mind. He got the idea from some French play. Anyway the point here is the story wasn’t anything I never heard of.

And second thing is plays are always the medium for writers to depict the present political and social conditions. And Shakespeare must have written this book in as early as in 1500. Because of that some of the things are not as relevant or as funny today as they might have been at that time.

The book has story of two twin brothers and there twin slaves. It is a story of lot of coincidences and fun happen because of that. The story starts with a death threat hovering over a old merchant for breaking some silly rules. He tries to win duke’s sympathy by telling him the story how he lost his family i.e. his wife and his two twin sons and there twin slaves. And he brake the rule as he is in search of them. Coincidently one of his lost son and one slave was settled in same city for long time who’s been happily married. Another coincidence happens when other twin brother and slave also visit the city. And there happen lot of kayos which results in slapstick comedy as everyone in the city as well as there family mistook their identity as not only the set of twins has identical faces but they have identical names. So you can imagine now what the situation could be and Shakespeare utilized it to the fullest. And when things were going out of control he wisely ends the confusion and all the members of family reunite. So there is the happy ending for it.

It might not be a best work of Shakespeare but it is very good entertaining book. If I have to rate it I will give it 7/10.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Review: Sultry Days

Book Review: Sultry Days

Author: Shobha De

Publisher: Penguin Books

First Published: 1994

Shobha De – is well known personality India, she used to write articles in leading newspaper ‘Times of India’, she wrote several Books, and I think she was editor for some magazine also. Her claim to fame is in being politically incorrect and being critical and bitchy about everything. This is true for her articles in newspaper, But this is first time I am reading any of her book. So I picked up this book to check out what’s new she can offer through other medium.

I don’t know how people rate her as author on her overall work but judging by this book she seems pretty na├»ve in writing novels that too fiction. I am not at all impressed how she developed the book and more importantly characters of the novel although there was lot of scope for her in it.

The book is about a city girl who can be best described as no ambition girl or lost confused girl called Nisha. The book is about nisha and her life, she herself narrates it. It starts of with line when nisha meets God and fell in love with him. That is how the book is marketed. When you read that you feel wow what a great fiction lying ahead of us. But your hopes come crashing down in first few pages. As you know that God is Nisha’s love interest who is “I know all and I give a damm” kind of guy, who’s name is Deb and call as God by his friends because Deb literally means in English as God. And you lost interest in the book.

It’s not like book is totally let down, because the book is based on a high society life of dream city Mumbai. Which is also known as Page 3 circle and everyone is more than curious about what does happen in these parties, how is the personal life of these page 3 socialite. And that’s what Shobha De described in this book. It is full of manipulation with the means of money, position, sex, power. It has all the agitation, lots of bitching we recently seen in Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie “Page 3”. I will say instead of reading this book you can go and watch that movie which puts better light on these high society life which was so long was a myth for normal people.

Other thing is this supposed to be a novel but it turn out accumulation of short stories. In the process of writing the story of Nisha and her life Shobha De start giving whole life history of each and every character Nisha met. And that’s why I said she failed to develop any one character not even the protoganist character.

I believe this is just her second novel and there will be improvement in her writing for next books. For those of you who can avoid reading this book, its good for you. Those who can’ God bless you.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Book Review: "The Shadow Lines"


A Novel by “Amitav Ghosh”

‘The Shadow Lines’ is novel written by one of the well known and celebrated Indian author Mr. Amitav Ghosh. This novel is “Sahitya Akademy Award” winner which is very much prestigious award in Indian literature. And this recognition by Sahitya Akademy led me to read the book.

This book is released in way back in 1988. Amitav Ghosh has really distinctive style of writing. His novel doesn’t have the big glamour, romanticism, heroism or drama like others. But it is more intense, sensitive, moving and more close to human emotions. The book is about a boy and his world through is eyes and his imagination. It is about his uncle who teaches him to travel the world through his imagination. It’s about his grandmother and struggle through her life after husband’s demise to raise her son without taking anyone’s help. It is about boy’s cousin Ila, his love interest who invariably brakes his heart. And it is about many such people. But more importantly is based on the backdrop of riots in Calcutta and post-partition Dhaka in 60’s, as well as in London in 60’s and in wartime of 1939 in London.

The author manage shape up the book as a web of memories of a person, he starts describing from one point which led him to various situations. His interpretation not time or place bound, he keeps on moving in past and present or from Calcutta, London or Dhaka. It is like solving a puzzle, he is arranging the pieces one by one and after some time he comes back to point where he started from and rearrange and start other side of it. It deals with relationship, history, myths, politics, humor and many things.

As the name Shadow Line suggest the author builds story builds the story around the lines drawn between people and nations. Which has been drawn by some unfortunate circumstances or by someone else or the character in the novel themselves draw it; but they could not wipe it away nor could they get accustomed to it. So there comes agitation invariably in nations or relationships of individual.

In simple words the book is remarkable and brilliant. It would move every sensible man. If I have to rate the book I will give it 10 out of 10. The book will find top spot in anyone’s personal collection.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

3 Mistakes by Chetan Bhagat

The 3 Mistakes of My Life – Chetan Bhagat.

The new release of Chetan Bhagat, “The 3 Mistakes of My Life. I read it last weak-end, and what I can say in one line is it is typical Chetan Bhagat style book. It seems that Mr. Chetan Bhagat has some kind software, which he use to write his novel. He just puts new characters, names, situations in the software and the novel is ready. The characteristic of his protagonist is similar, their thinking process is also similar. As in the main character in his first book “Five Point Someone” would have done same thing if he was put in place of Govind patel of this book. Actually his first book and this book is so similar that it seems like he just change the name of his characters and put them in different situation. As you can make out that the main characters in both the book is not at all heroic, he is absolutely normal average person nothing extraordinary. But his best friend is more like a hero. Then the love track of main character in this book immediately reminds you of first book. One more thing which suggest that Chetan Bhagat is working on well thought format is that he included numbers in all the titles of his books five, one and now three. Or may be it is his superstition to add number in the titles. This may be because he is entered in the world of bollywood. He is certainly decided to write his novels keeping bollywood in mind. His first two novels are already on the floor to be in bollywood movies. And the way this book is shaped this is also going in same direction.

If I don’t compare this novel with chetan Bhagat’s earlier works. Then I am really impressed with this book. It has friendship, love, business, cricket, religion, riots, and ya happy ending, everything a bollywood movie demands. The book starts of really well. An email to author from a businessman who is going to take slipping pills. Excellent isn’t it, everyone wants to know why he is doing it, you want to get bottom of it, and so you never keep book down. And if that happens author is winner isn’t it.

Chetan Bhagat has front runner of these new breed of authors who don’t use heavy duty English, instead he use just simple spoken English in India, Indian sentiments, passions. So he is surely represents youth of India. I just hope he doesn’t lost in bollywood and keep up his good work and write many more novels in future.