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A Love Life so Painful
Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai
Those enchanted four and half years
Shantaram
HEXAGON
One and a Half Wife
The Bankster
Love You Forever : Only In That Way
Nine Lives
The Mistress of Spices
The Fortune Hunters
I Too Had A Love Story..
Ladies Coupé
The Krishna Key
Mumbaistan: 3 Explosive Crime Thrillers
Of Tattoos and Taboos!
Left from Dhakeshwari
I loved a Street woman
Chanakya's Chant
Dreams in Prussian Blue


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Monday, April 30, 2018

The Malhotra Bride by Sundari Venkatraman

Title: The Malhotra Bride
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Fingerprint Publishers
Price: 175/120 (free on Kindle unlimited)
Pages: 224

Sunita, a beautiful young girl, the only daughter of eminent businessman Gokul Rishi wants to live her life, work, travel, etc. While her father has other plans. Being from a reserved family, she knows there are limitations, but the heart wants what it wants. Akshay Malhotra, the scion of Malhotra empire, happens to be her ideal match. Both parents want it, more so, hers. She is in a fix and cannot convince anyone otherwise. On her first meeting with Akshay, he being smitten by her beauty offers a deal, a contract for a few years instead of a marriage and then freedom if she wants. Knowing the next suitor wont give her anything, she accepts.

Akshay however is madly in love with her. Each day he spends time with her to get to know her better, he falls in love more. She gels well with his family too, who are much more modern and chilled out compared to her own parents. Her family loves him, especially her grandfather who she is closest to. Will she fall for Akshay? Will love take over other ambitions? What happens to the contract? If the contract stays, will her family?

The story is laced with romance, passion, action and twists. The only flaw being the two twists in the end were resolved too fast, they could have been exploited well instead. 

Though nothing less is expected from an experienced writer like Sundari Venkatraman, this one is certainly a fairy tale you wish were true. A breezy romantic read. 

RC Rating : 3.5/5

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Another Week Full of Humans!!!!


I am confused. Should I feel secure for I am no more an innocent child of eight and thus am incapable of arousing heinous barbaric minds? Or should I still be anxious for I continue to be a woman?

Humans, unlike dinosaurs or our other fellow world mates who failed to adjust with evolution, have mastered the art of survival. Have you ever wondered how they are doing this? Species are coming... species are going... humans stay put. Marvellous! Right? Wrong.

I have a theory. I am no Darwin but if Charles were here, he would second my discovery, I assure you. Humans are gone. What you see now is an evolved form of that species which may look and act like humans, but is something else. Dystopia has silently hit us. I say, start packing for mars.     

The other day I was riding back home in a cab while listening to the radio. These days’ cabs are the only place where I listen to the radio, need to work on that. Anyhow, during that ride I heard this news of extreme elephant poaching in Africa for ivory trade. This slaughter has reduced the count of elephants by alarming numbers.

I have resolved to never buy anything ivory ever. I strongly urge you to do that as well. I mean, it is okay if you do not have someone’s teeth hanging around your neck or sitting on your mantle.

While elephants are being killed for their teeth, back home Rahul Gandhi has opened his mouth, again. He has decided to impeach our CJI just before the final leg of the “I-don’t-care-just-build-an-amusement-park-over-that-piece-of-land” Babri case. If there is one person who holds the power of my sanity, it is Mr. Gandhi. I think, like Einstein, Mr. Gandhi’s brain should also be preserved and studied. Just a suggestion!

Here in Kolkata, happily oblivious of the world, some of my human friends are extremely worried about Shahrukh Khan’s health. Apparently in an IPL match he looked starved and flogged. When you buy a team composition like current KKR’s, you may look a bit tan. The relief is that KKR has picked their game up so Mr. Khan, I am sure, is fine.  

Amidst all, I am not going to refer to the Kathua case because it’s heartbreaking to even write about it. But playing politics-politics with the Kathua case is beyond repulsive. A little girl went through what she did, in a civilised society, by people who claim to be human representatives, and the religious-politics surrounding it, I am ashamed. Being an atheist I simply do not bother for religion, but even I believe that this is the deepest it could stoop to.

I am sure all of you have signed the ‘Justice for Asifa’ petition doing the rounds. If you haven’t yet, then please do it now. 

Here is the link:

Will get back with more update on humans, till then, keep your zombie kit closer. 

Article by Koel Ganguli: 

Koel was born and brought up in Kolkata. After completing Mass Communication, she got into content writing. Apart from her love for writing, she likes to read, travel alone and of course, sleep. She has the superpower to survive solely on chocolates and is a firm believer in fantasy. Koel also believes that stories choose writers and not the other way around. Here is a fantasy that chose her as its storyteller.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Age of Azmoq: The Valantian Imperium by Rajamayyoor Sharma

Title: Age of Amzoq: The Valantian Imperium 

Author: Rajamayyoor Sharma

Category: Fantasy Fiction
Publisher: Self Publsihed (2018)
Price: 499/ Kindle edition (free)

Serious fantasy fiction lovers have one more reason to rejoice- The Valantian Imperium, the first book in a series called The Age of Azmoq, is finally set to captivate readers into a fictional world where a gripping saga unfolds.

 A series of events…
The protagonist, Dev, works as a shop assistant in Villasboro, a self-contained village where the last ‘outsider’ had come three centuries ago. Not surprisingly, the extended presence of an outsider makes one of the villagers worried. This sets the ball rolling. Dev befriends the visitor. A series of events follow that leads the young unsuspecting boy into a long and dangerous adventure.

On his journey he befriends Karn and Eric, two brave people who stand by him. The three have their own reasons to get together for a common goal. On a quest, the reason for which is revealed as one reads the story, they have a series of adventures and unique experiences. They learn mysteries of the mind from nomads, fight with soldiers and escape death a multitude of times. Grim, who is Dev’s employer, also plays a vital role in the story.

These three individuals have an individual goal they want to achieve. Little do they know, that a more supreme cause waits them. It is to do with Azmoq. Azmoq is a magical metal that holds a supreme power thanks to its properties. Those who control Azmoq control the world. The ‘fight’ for this control is the crux of the entire story.

The world he creates:

One of the biggest challenges of writing fantasy fiction is actually creating a fantasy world. This book is set in Valantia. The continent of Valantia is vast and exists in a world with five oceans and seven continents. The Valatian Imperium rules the continent. However, after a revolution against the rulers, there seems to be a witch hunt for the revolutionaries. Amidst this, there is a trio of dedicated young men who are on a mission to seek justice.

The author creates a believable fantasy world, replete with the minutest of details. For instance, one of the key villages where the source of action begins, is Villasboro. Not only do we know about the very different and unique personality of people there but also mundane details like their monetary system and so on, complete with explanatory footnotes! He also invents the fictional language Deusorthok, that is used in the book at some places. The appendix at the end of the book explains the entire creation and functioning of the government- The Valantian Imperium.
  
There is a lot of elaborate history of this fictional world- how it was created, who ruled it and how the order was now threatened. The author uses footnotes at various points in the story to introduce finer details about this world. He gives the reader a choice as to whether he wants to read the footnotes and understand the setting a little better, or move on with the story. This makes the place alive in the mind of the reader. 
  
Parallel stories..

The pace is leisurely though the novel is filled with many details. This is not a regular quick weekend read. It is a book that needs to be read with time on hand. 

However, despite the length and the plethora of details, it never gets tedious. Something new crops up in every chapter which adds to the element of suspense, and you just want to know what comes ahead. 

Another element which keeps the excitement going is the changing narrative. The novel switches between the first and third person, thus adding to the element of interest. It also experiments in the narrative- parallel stories across time are narrated and the loose ends come together. The book starts off with Dev as the narrator but there are instances when the story is in the third person or when another character takes the narrative strings in his own hands. The story also oscillates between the past and the present. 

For me, this experimentation in taking the story forward and building added to the experience of reading the novel.

Everything is political

On a basic level, this is a good versus evil story. The underlying theme is the quest for power by controlling Azmoq. A lot of themes emerge in the novel- the dangerous nature of power, the ambiguity of what is good and what is bad, the nature of true friendship, the futility of war and most importantly the nature of government and how governments can control the minds of people.

At a deeper level the story is also about power and how those in power, manipulate it in order to control the general public and retain the power. When it comes to power politics it is difficult to understand what is good and bad or right and wrong. Can society be controlled and manipulated by those in power, even without the victims being aware that they are being controlled? On careful reading this aspect comes out strongly.

Consider this quote by Karn:

“There are many forms of oppression. The cow that fills the land doesn’t think that it is oppressed. It gets beaten twice a day and its masters tell it repeatedly that it’s forefathers world get beaten every hour,”

Or, what one of the opposition assassins tells the protagonist:  

I killed a man I didn’t know, for rulers I have never met....your friend never had a chance. If not me, there would have been some other assassin who would have come to kill him. As long as the Imperium dictates who lives, who dies....there is no true...choice 

 The theme of authoritative powers controlling the entire perception of a society recurs.

As another wise character puts it,

“Reality was finally, a convergence of infinite perceptions. Our perceptions were being increasingly bound by the information we possessed, which was being molded and controlled by the rulers of our land. There was no avenue available to anyone to shake the shackles placed on their mind by the Valantian Imperium. This made it easy for the Imperium to hold onto power, while we languished and suffered without even realizing it,”

Elsewhere in the novel a sage talks about the four key components that are needed to lay concrete foundation for a successful and sustainable society, thus cementing this philosophical angle. 
  
Wars make up an integral part of the novel. Both the futility and the necessity of war is something that is sensitively brought out in the story. 

The turn of events spirals towards a satisfying conclusion...or rather a pause. For though things are good for now, the varied incidents in the story have set in motion a chain of events that will change the world forever. And the story will continue...

Looking forward to the next book.

Grab a copy here:

Legends Over Generations by Ashraf Haggag Now Available in Hindi.



Book Summary (Hindi):
इस विश्व के प्रसिद्ध व्यक्तित्व कौशलव्यक्तिगत गुणों और अन्य बाहरी कारणों के साथ जुड़े वास्तविक प्रयासों के विशाल कारणों को बंदरगाह है जो एक नेता की पूरीतस्वीर को आकार देने में आवश्यक हैं 

यदि हम व्यापारअर्थशास्त्रविज्ञानसामाजिक या राजनीतिक क्षेत्र में प्रसिद्ध नेताओं के जीवन को देखते हैंतो हम सभी पहलुओं में व्यक्तित्व गुणोंकौशल आदि मेंकई समानताएं देखेंगे।

यह पुस्तक एक चित्रण है  इस विश्व के प्रसिद्ध व्यक्तित्वों का  और उनके कौशल,और व्यक्तित्व लक्षणों का जो  उपलब्ध होना चाहिए और मौजूद हैफिर आगे बढ़ते हुएहम देखेंगे की किस तरह विभिन्न किवदंतियों , उनकी विभिन्न शैली और उसके प्रभाव ने पूरी पीढ़ी के दिमाग और आत्मा को आकार दिया।

अंत मेंविभिन्न क्षेत्रों में चयनित नेताओं पर प्रकाश डाला है है जो हमारे जीवन पर  मजबूत प्रभाव डालता है और आकार देता है।


Book Summary (English):

People contributed to various life aspects such as science, politics, literature, arts, social activities and so many other fields. These genius minds put a keen interest in every phenomenon right from when they were young. The zeal, passion, dedication, hard work and efforts they put into their work helped them discover something new about the world we live in.

In these Legends, we’ve seen inexplicable abilities that helped us define our existence and human life. Their names are engraved in the sands of time for their work in the welfare of mankind with different inventions that have made our lives easy, enjoyable and successful. The following chapters commemorate the greatest personalities we’ve ever seen who changed the world.

They are among the most influential people in today’s world. With practical advantages in various aspects, they have helped us to grow a better understanding of the world and different working phenomenon’s that governs us. Their way of shaping modern day culture is completely unrivaled.

The book is available here: