Thursday, 25 September 2014

Heritage - a poem

The glue that
holds together
with resilience of wisdom
Forever present - the heritage

The old not
appreciated always
the invaluable antiques
Forever new - the heritage

Infused in tradition
open to new
with roots in time
Forever cool - the heritage

The celebration
of what was
The beauty of what is
Forever joyful - the heritage

Prompt by and Shared with - Poets United

Clouds... and life (poem)

Image Source

Collecting drops
reminiscent of ants
Spreading the smiles
with their tears

Drifting together
yet strangers
Sad and lonely
crying their pain

Temporary, ever-changing
Colors and shapes
just a mask -
Clouds... and life

Prompt by and Shared with - Poetry Jam

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Digs galore... Book Review - Digs, Dogs and Drama (Rachna Singh)

Book: Digs, Dogs and Drama
Author: Rachna Singh
Genre: Fiction (Humour)
Published by: White Tarantula

Digs, Dogs and Drama (DDD) is a compilation of satirical writings about various day-to-day experiences. There's a total of 46 chapters, each narrating independent anecdotes, and can be read in any order.

DDD is about looking at world with 'humour-colored' glasses. The final write-up gives you a comical view of various routine things, like ordering a cake or a hotel stay and even bollywood movies.

The fun starts from the word go, when the author starts with this disclaimer -
"No animals or editors were harmed in the writing of this book!"

Most of the anecdotes are very good, a few average. All in all, a good read.
My personal favourite in DDD is the 'guide to Bangalore'.

The flip side is that some portions read as if the author is trying too hard to make them funny.
Also, there's the question whether one can get offended with such 'harmless' humour. I think, yes. I like to believe that I don't take myself too seriously, but a couple of things in this book made me a little uncomfortable. I could smile, let it go and read on.
DDD takes digs at caricatures of stereotypes.

A few interesting quotes from Digs, Dogs and Drama -

  • 'Flat belly' is an oxymoron. If God intended it to be flat, he would have given us a board, not a belly.
  • The word 'sneakers' means that it should allow you to sneak some bare essential stuff into the gym. Do check if the pair you are buying has enough space for a bar of chocolate.
  • don't really NOTICE things that are unsaid, simply insinuated or hinted. And women live with a mission of sensitizing them to NOTICE things.
  • Amusement parks are places which have several fun rides that last for thirty seconds to two minutes each, with waiting times that, sometimes, exceed the time you took to deliver the same child who is the reason for you being there.

In the acknowledgements, the author writes about a reader of her previous book, looking for a 'message' in her writings, and being disappointed. She writes "The DDD series is about putting a smile on your faces: if you are looking for something with deep, meaningful message, they may not work for you."
I say, there is more than one purpose to this book and I'm assuming that holds true for the author's previous books too.
The first is entertainment. It makes you smile and thus entertains you... do you need to look for a moral then?
The second is that it inspires you to look at life, and what life offers you, with humour.

DDD is great for amusing, light reading.
Read this book, if you are capable of taking jokes with, not just a pinch of salt, but rather a handful of it. Or read it, if you want to develop that ability and have fun while doing so.

Connect with the author of Digs, Dogs and Drama, Rachna Singh on her websiteFacebook and Twitter.
Digs, Dogs and Drama' is reviewed by me as part of Write Tribe's Books for Review Programme.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Book Review - 60 minutes (Upendra Namburi)

Book: 60 minutes
Authors: Upendra Namburi
Genre: Fiction (Thriller)
Published by: Westland Ltd
No. of pages: 361
Cover price: Rs. 350

Agastya is the chief marketing officer in a big company, on verge of an important product launch, which can give a big boost to his career. Suddenly, everything seems to be going wrong. 60 minutes is the story of that one crucial hour, when his career and his personal life, including his marriage seem to be on a downward spiral.

Sailesh, in contrast to his past modest past and academic brilliance, is part of the corporate maze too.

60 minutes begins with Maithili's struggle to hold on to her sanity. Maithili is a beautiful, successful woman, who feels she has lost it all.

Sailesh and Agastya are both exceptionally good at their jobs. So, not only are they aggressive competitors, over the years they have gotten to respect each other too.

60 minutes is a fast-paced thriller, set in the corporate world. Not even a sentence seems to drag the story. Even the descriptions, whether of feelings, or of surroundings, convey the underlying mood.

The book starts with an impressive epigraph. The last line of the epigraph is 'The truth lies in the shades of grey'.
Each character in 60 minutes has these shades of grey. I may have felt repulsion for a character, but the same character would rouse feelings of pity and understanding too.
The story effortlessly moves back and forth between present and past, giving glimpses of 'what is' and 'why'. With each revelation, my affinity would shift from one character to another.

This book brings into focus the pettiness of the politics in corporate culture and the almost-inhuman stress.

Each chapter has a a few intense words, as if giving a peek into what is to come. One of favorites is 'history trusts turmoil and suspects stability'.

Poignant Quotes from '60 Minutes'

  • "The illogical nature of the corporate world was far removed from the order of academia and research... The fetish for emails amused him, the illogical allocation of resources on the basis of persona over economic opportunities fascinated him. He was disgusted with the obsession with designations..."
  • "Revenge is a natural instinct... But there's more often than not too much collateral damage and in most instances we miss the point in the process, and hurt ourselves."
I feel happy when the stories I read, give a closure to the characters. The only thing that had me a little restless at the end of 60 minutes is that I would have ideally liked something else/more for Agastya, Sailesh and Maithili. I guess what I am asking for is that everything be tied in a pretty little bow. I do realise that it is foolish to expect every thing to end in the perfect way. Certain imperfections are the truth of life, and thus of fiction too.

60 minutes by Upendra Namburi is a riveting, page turner... although I am sure it would have been yet more interesting to me had I known more about the corporate world and stocks. The upside, I got an insight into a world I don't know much about.

An interesting read...

© Nimi Arora

This review is a part of the biggest" target="_blank"> Book Review Program for" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Book Review - The Black Cane (Eileen Harris)

Book: The Black Cane (Dowager Diaries: Book 1)
Author: Eileen Harris
Genre: Fiction (Mystery)
No. of pages: 336

66 year old, Amelia Armstrong, a widow, is living a life of leisure. Her weekly bridge game at a restaurant, with a group of friends of similar age group, is her only source of amusement. Her curiosity over a snuffling sound that she hears from a dark alley, changes the course of her life, and also the life of her friends.
She rescues a kidnapped boy, Marc. As the friends and a few friends of these friends, come together to solve the mystery of Marc's past, their lives take unexpected, exciting turn. If the women are going to save the boy and stay alive, they are going to have to use skills that have been dormant way too long.
Amelia carries a ruby-studded, eye-catching black cane. The cane was the last gift from her husband and she carries it even though she doesn't really need it.
When giving it to her, he had said, "This is for you. I may not always be around to catch you if you fall. This may help you if the need ever arises."

Amelia, a little too conveniently, has an ex-cop, an ex-social worker, a doctor, a detective, a mysterious bodyguard-like housemate, computer hacker, a childless couple, etc. among the people she knows or happens to meet through the course of the book.

The book has a sub-title - 'Dowager Diaries: Book 1'. Clearly it is supposed to be the first in a series of books.
But the story of this book itself, actually, has a number of short stories in it. There are a number of mysteries solved in this one book, because of which the first mystery gets dragged along for too long.

In this book, there is a reference to Nancy Drew. And that is when I realised that reading this book, felt like reading Nancy Drew. It has been years (many years...) since I read my last Nancy Drew, so I would have to go back to be sure, but there was a simplicity to the mysteries that it reminded me of the teenager detective. The only difference is that in this case, it is a group of dowagers who get together to solve these mysteries.

Some parts of The Black Cane are interesting. I found certain parts of The Black Cane a little too verbose for a mystery.
It just so happens that I read this book after 'Private India' - a fast-paced thriller. This book is milder in comparison.

Certain things in the books are not convincingly explained. An old woman living with a man she knows nothing about, just because he seems trust-worthy and has been around for long, makes me question the decisions of this old woman.

But then, I guess, a group of old women cannot become detectives (Dowager Club) and be central characters of a mystery book without being foolhardy, which they certainly are.

One thing that I found amusing was that there is lots of cooking in the book. Every meal has been planned, in a way that the boy, Marc gets exposure to a variety of cuisines by the time the mysteries are solved.

The characters in this books are Grey and White. Most of the characters are good. The others either become good, or at least become a lighter shade of grey than they were before.

The Black Cane (Dowager Diaries: Book 1) is good for light reading. There are mysteries solved, but there is no blood-chilling gore.

About the Author:
From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of the upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane: Dowager Series Book 1 is her latest release.
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Reviewed by me as part of the Review Tour by

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