Private India - Book Review

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Prelude

Private India, latest in the Private series by James Patterson, co-authored with Ashwin Sanghi, is a story set in amchi Mumbai. Those familiar with the Private series might find it at home, those not - this probably is not one of the best introduction to the concept. The fundamental requirement of any story is a plot. And when a story grows to be a novel, it requires some sub plots. And then the craft of the writer comes into picture to tether the sub plots together with the underlying plot, taking the reader through ups and downs, twists and turns and a satisfying climax. Though the coming together of names like James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi would set the expectation of a crisp thriller baked to perfection of style and genre. Sadly, this one falls short. It is apparent that Ashwin wanted to try out something different from his usual mythological thriller genre. This one is a fairly straightforward serial killer story, with a small twist about terrorism, which does not work.

Plot 

(*Spoiler Alert)
Protagonist is Santosh Wagh, head of Private India headquarted at Mumbai. With a team comprised of an attractive lady investigator, a forensic expert & a tech wizard - Santosh sets out to solve serial killings happening all over the city which are apparently very connected and yet not at the same time. Throw in a politician with a murky past, a god man, terrorist involvement and sprinkle a dash of erotica - there you have the standard mish mash of thriller plots.

What works?

Few things. Story is a no brainer, easy to read and follow, in spite of a new character being thrown every now and then. It appears that there is deliberate attempt to keep the language simple and
fluid. That is why in spite of running over 450 pages, it is a relatively quick read. The sub plot of terrorism, though a bit predictable in the end is an interesting twist.

What does not work?

 The use of F* word seems forced at places. Many a times, writers have attempted too hard to divert reader’s attention, ironically, making the twist extremely obvious in the process.
The attempt to throw in an extra fact which if correlated can actually make story unpredictable - actually falls short each time, making the reader actually rightly guess what will happen next.
 Erotica is mainstream these days and the love making scene in the story looks a forced attempt to keep the story racy - a trait of a lot of mainstream contemporary writing. There does not seem to be any need for it from the perspective of the plot progression. But then what’s the need of a song sequence in a thriller, nonetheless it is there in our movies!
The protagonist character is absolutely clich├ęd. A former hero with a glorified past who suffered a personal loss losing his charisma in the process and landing up as a liquor wielding, bad tempered person. He cares about his team, but is not a man of many words. And even gets lucky, when nothing else works!

I was expecting a page turner, a tale which keeps my attention from the opening scene, keeps me guessing, closing all possibilities each time - thus frustrating me a bit who could have dunnit? This
is a far simpler story. If you are on a long train ride, this could be used to kill time. Sadly that is exactly what it does.

Rating

Plot - 2/5
Language - 2/5
Pace - 3.5/5
Hype - 4/5
Overall - 2.5/5

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Karma and Fate

Corporate world or any world as I see closely can be very harsh with ego clashes among people to win the rat race. Hope these lines written by Piyush and me will show some way through the maze.


When someone tries to boggle you down
smile and giggle and take him as a clown.
When someone races and push you hard
let him go ahead, while you take a stand guard.

When someone tries to cross your path
and make credits even for your part.
Do not fret and bear any grudge
for destiny give its own clever nudge.

Wish everyone with blessings and love
Forgive the devil, embrace the dove.
Pity those who do things wrong 
as they dig their own grave all along.

And who are we to judge error or right
whose robe has no stain and all white?
For there is nothing which goes unseen
Howsoever sublime may be the sheen

Fruits of actions has strange ways
Failures can be rejoicing days
Successes it can make hollow
It is our heart, that we must follow


The circle of life leaves no one satiate
Law of karma decides everyone's fate.
Love as "life is long in grudge and sorrow
But very small in each tomorrow..
O, so very small in each tomorrow..."

                                                         - RuhiPiyush

Art Blend Cafe - An artist's wonderland

One fine weekend Piyush took me to this wonderful place for coffee. I love him for such pleasant, cute surprises as this cafe has the uniqueness of being a one stop point of great coffee, snacks, art gallery and art workshops. Did I like it? Oh, I simply loved it and visited it again today :)


Art Blend Cafe - Coffee with a Hobby, is a venture by two lovely ladies - Archana and Prateeti. The former is an artist from Lucknow while the latter is a ex-IT professional and the brain behind the cafe business. Being in HSR layout gives it a leverage to be constantly buzzed by IT and other professional crowd during day time and couples, families in the evening. Opened on 14th Feb this year, the cafe has already made its mark by being on the list of  "11 cafe with Character in Bangalore" in polkacafe.com.

Every month ABC exhibit paintings from different artists, most of them non-professionals. As per Prateeti, it brings the whiff of art into the life of people who otherwise have no time or inclination to visit a mature art gallery or exhibitions. They also do various other activities like silent reading sessions, live paintings, art and craft classes apart from celebrating events and festivals in full vigor. The first time I went there, the Cafe was showcasing the paintings of professional artist Babun Ghosh who also conducted some live painting sessions.


  As an amateur artist myself, I was immediately mesmerized by the beautiful paintings in all the rooms. "Rooms", ah, I forgot to mention another beauty of the cafe. HSR boasts of many eating joints set up in rented mansions. This gives them with enough prospects of having different kinds of seating arrangement. In case of ABC, each area is decorated with different artistic flavors, one with book shelves, one on a terrace, one being the art workshop. 


But there is no good cafe without good coffee? We ordered both hot as well as cold coffee and were more than satisfied by both. Unlike the heavy caffeine laden coffee of CCD, here you get the perfect mix. I guess everybody knows how to prepare good coffee except CCD ;) Along with coffee the snacks surprised us. We were confused for what to order as they have wide variety in their menu. We couldn't resist ordering Italian which turned out to be delicious. These guys have done their homework pretty well. Recipes are really good. One thing they can improve is background music. Last time there was no music, this time they were playing some but not very memorable tunes. 

All in all, it is one place where great minds can discuss ideas. I am looking forward to spend some quiet, quality time while Pihu can be busy doing some art experiments in the workshop area. Of course, she needs to grow little older and less destructive (I mean playful :P). Till then, I am better holding my naughty girl from breaking stuffs while managing to sip my coffee in between. ABC reminds me that I too am a person with arts as a hobby till the time I paint my next. Keep yourself posted about the updates from ABC by liking their FB page!!


My two kids

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I am lying in the middle
My two kids on my sides..
I feel blessed
My life complete n suffice.

As the night progresses
One moves, the other snores..
Both play gimmicks
That never makes me bore.

Both are innocent..
Also, naughty sometimes
As they tease me
And bring me sunshines.

I look at one and then another
And hug them with both hands..
Why not, for I have just two kids
One a girl, the other my husband :)

Irony of life n death

I wrote this piece recently on a transit during a sad journey which made me reflect on the importance of everyone connected to us  in life. Do we realize and celebrate that importance during our each and every dealing with everyone. How many of us realize this while speaking to a person that he may or may not be alive tomorrow or I might not live to see a tomorrow?

Unlike life that announces its arrival 9 months before, death never tells its due date. It just knocks at our doorstep unannounced like a shameless guest. Yet, we behave as if life will go forever for each of us. What else then explains our egoistic fights with our near ones or friends or even strangers. We fight among ourselves for our materialistic desires, for our fake identity ignoring or to be precise forgetting, the probability of demise. Everyone feel that they are right and it is the other who should accept fault. The irony of life is we never stop looking at the shortcomings of a person when he /she is alive but when the person cease to exist we just want to remember his/her goodness.
What if, we could see the countdown of death. Maybe we would be more sensible with everyone in our day to day life. Think about it, a son is pissed off from his father's nagging and about to loose his temper when he see the countdown at his head to be 5 days and so he decides to face him in a calm state. Or a daughter-in-law is about to pick a fight with her mother-in-law who constantly irks her how to be a good wife when she see the counter telling 2 days, and she decides not to hurt the dying one.
 It sounds scary but it is still better than the scarier after thoughts that haunts the mind when you come to know about someone's untimely demise with whom you didn't reconcile after having a bad fight. You tell anyone or not but deep in your mind a thought is planted that why the hell you didn't make peace with that person when he or she was alive and around. For nobody wants to be in the bad books or unfulfilled wishes of a departing soul.
A very close, reverend, elderly member of my family is no more. I don't want to name the relationship I had with her as that doesn't matter since I have loved her as my real grandma. When she embraced me for the first time I felt very happy and it made up for all the times when my real grandma wasn't there to love me or play with me. Still, I didn't see her for last one year even when she would ask us to visit her along with my daughter. I was too busy building my materialistic life. Now I can't do anything about it. Had there been the counter or in short, had death been lesser evil and would announce its visit, I would have got her to stay with me and enjoyed her presence, her blessings, her scolding's. Its difficult to comprehend that she is no more. For she was so full of spirit that we assumed nothing can ever happen to her and we can meet her anytime as per our convenience. We no more have that luxury.
I know she is still around but that doesn't fill the void created forever in her place and the guilt I shall carry always in my heart. I know there are always unfulfilled regrets left behind when a person departs but that doesn't forgive the fact that we underestimated death and undermined the life. Thus, I have decided and also request you all to keep aside all the fights, egos and move forward and patch up with  broken friendship, relations, parents, siblings, children. Don't hurt anyone. You don't wanna change then don't. They don't wanna change then let them be happy for what they are.  But don't stop talking and seeing each other. For who knows may be that call of theirs which you let miss and didn't talk is their last for nothing can beat death in its unpredictability.