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Monday, April 7, 2014

Losing My Religion by Vishwas Mudagal

Title: Losing my Religion
Author: Vishwas Mudagal
Category: Romance/Drama Fiction
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 199
Pages: 350

Snapshot: When gamer and entrepreneur Rishi Rai sets out to revolutionize the gaming industry, something somewhere goes terribly wrong and, like dominoes, the blocks of his life fall down one after the other. An unexpected meeting with Alex, an unpredictable, crazy American hippie, changed his life forever, as he decided to quit everything and join him on an unplanned, unchartered journey across India. From getting irrepressibly high in the mysterious Malana Valley in the Himalayas to starting a shack on the bewitching Om Beach on the West Coast, they do it all. But their adrenaline-charged adventure takes a turn when Rishi meets Kyra, a beautiful and enigmatic gamer. As passions surge and sparks fly, Rishi gets drawn to Kyra unaware of who she is and where she comes from.

What follows next is something nobody could have ever dreamed of...

Who is Kyra and why are the paparazzi after her? Can Rishi connect the dots in his life to protect the love of his life? While the world becomes a spectator, can he mastermind the fall of a ruthless giant to become a global icon or will he become the biggest loser?

Review: These days I feel we all have somehow transformed into a fast paced machine-y lifestyle often dreaming about a respite or taking an adventure leaving behind everything in a wink. Well, nobody gets so practical or rather impulsive and rational but Vishwas Mudagal, the author of  ‘Losing My Religion,’ in his debut novel has successfully tossed and streamlined an excellent work of fiction that accelerates the reader’s adrenaline as the pages turn developing a racy, capricious and exhilarating story of the protagonist Rishi Rai who does quit everything.

The story begins with Rishi Rai, a bankrupt, failed gamer and entrepreneur who accidently meets Alex, an American hippie who is no less than a total shrink. Together, they venture into the unplanned heroic carefree journey (minus the cellular and materialistic elements) across India. From the Himalayan Malana cream fun to the Om Beach in Karnataka where they start a shack, they just flow with the breeze of life like crazy wanderers. And then enters Kyra Blake, a beautiful, charming and brilliant gamer who swirls Rishi’s mind and heart. Unaware of Kyra’s life and her past, Rishi falls in love with her. The romance between the two buds strongly but then ends in a thud leaving him heartbroken. Alex spills some fun beans to fix his dear friend but in vain, ultimately pulling Rishi to their next adventure to Mahakumbh in Haridwar. The entrepreneur germs in Rishi surface yet again with the launch of The Coconutwallas. His mind plough profit and strategies but heart still pains for Kyra.  And bang-bang, she returns in his life with all the paparazzi buzzing like bees along with a popular talent show- The Apprentice staging in the city of Mahakumbh, suddenly exposing Rishi and Alex along with Kyra in the world media. The twists and turns unfold several vignettes of Kyra’s background along with the entry of Gerard Wolf, a shrewd billionaire swelled with pride. Redemption and absolution ride begins for Rishi when he teams up with Kyra and Alex bracing to face ‘The Apprentice’ game challenge in Newyork. The last few pages are truly captivating and thrilling describing the challenge from start to end. It is the epitome of classic entertaining and slow suspense drilling power packed drama joining the three lead characters- Rishi, Kyra and Alex towering their confidence, wit, intelligence and hard work to ache and break ‘The Wolf’ in pieces.

The author has done a brilliant job in developing and portraying all the characters, be it the three lead ones who clearly justify their desires and outlook for life to the side characters like Ram Singh, Laxman and Pappu bloating easily in reader’s mind while reading. Words like Maraaz, Shaab ji, pardner and many more gives a specific vernacular feel. The friendship between Rishi and Alex is absolutely crackling though sensitive at times but mostly hilarious. The character of Alex is boisterous and fun loving who will simply make you nod on his carefree attitude and statements like ‘I was born lost and I love it’ bringing a smile on reader’s face. The writing style and narration is simple, easy yet appealing but at times a bit rough and cheesy. However, the author has successfully managed to sketch every scene clearly in reader’s mind.

The author has voiced about the title through the protagonist’s Rishi stating “Leap out of the existence you have wrapped around yourself … you’ll fall no doubt. But sometime during that, you’ll witness a miracle taking shape around you. That’s called losing my religion’.

LMR, for sure, gives a splendid strangest trippy ride.

Positives: Smooth and well narrated storyline.

Negatives: At times, I felt the first half was a bit too far stretched and slightly meandering. Besides the book has travel stories to places like Himachal, Karnataka and so, I feel a little more talk about the place would have done wonders.

Verdict: I give 4 out of 5 stars to Losing My Religion. Go pick the book as this one is truly a thrilling and exciting read.

About the Author: Vishwas Mudagal is a serial entrepreneur and a CEO with a history of building innovative technology brands and companies. An alumunus of RV college of Engineering, Banaglore, he started his first company at the age of eighteen to educate students in rural Karnataka. He is currently the CEO and co-founder of GoodWorkLabs, one of the hottest technology firms.
Writing is his passion, and he has embraced storytelling as his parallel career. Losing My Religion is his debut novel. He blogs at:

This book has been reviewed by Shaily Bhargava who is an avid reader, freelance writer, amateur photographer and a trait curious soul addicted to tea and coffee. Some of her short stories are published in online literary magazines of repute.

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