Friday, 31 May 2013 | By: AbhiLaSH RuHeLa

Mafia Queens of Mumbai by S. Hussain Zaidi with Jane Borges (Book Review)!!!

851st BLOG POST -->>

         
 Recently, Shootout at Wadala released and earned approximately 60 crore+. Everyone felt that the movie had potential except that the acting of John Abraham didn't go well with the role. I had a big problem with the movie because I was expecting it to be just as the novel "Dongri to Dubai" was from which it has been adapted. Over this, in the movie, the main protagonist is Mania Surve instead of Dawood Ibrahim, the protagonist in the book. But while reading Dongri to Dubai, a huge respect for S Hussain Zaidi grew in my heart. And it was an honour to converse with him later on. After that, I picked up his book "Mafia Queens of Mumbai" which also has the tagline "stories of women from the ganglands" this morning. While the DTD covered the male gangsters, this book covers the females. And after finishing this book in a day time, I am so impressed that I am soon going to read Black Friday, his first novel on which Anurag Kashyap also made a movie that got huge critical accolades. :-)

About the Authors:-

S. Hussain Zaidi is a journalist, a veteran crime reporter, and an author.

Other books by Zaidi include Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia, and Black Friday: The True Story Of The Bombay Bomb Blasts.
His books are mainly about crime and the Mumbai underworld.

S. Hussain Zaidi has worked in various publications like Indian Express, Mid-Day etc. He is currently the editor of Asian Age, Mumbai.

Jane Borges is a journalist.

She has co-authored Mafia Queens of Mumbai with S. Hussain Zaidi.

Jane Borges studied at the SNDT University and is currently a journalist with Asian Age, Mumbai.

The synopsis of the book says:-

The Mumbai underworld, or the Mumbai Mafia is as much a part of the city as Bollywood is, and as much a stuff of legends. The well known stories from this murky world are all male-centric. Haji Mastan, Dawood Ibrahim, Varadarajan Mudaliar, and Karim Lala, to name a few.

But, there were women who ruled the roost there too, women who remained in the background and pulled the strings, women who acted as mentors and advisers to the famous dons, women who were wives of the dons and then took over when their husbands were killed, women who assumed leadership to try and bring down rival leaders who had harmed their family.

Their stories are varied and just as intriguing, and hitherto untold. But these stories are well known in the ganglands of Mumbai. This book now brings together a set of stories about interesting and powerful female leaders of the Mumbai underworld.

There is the story of Gangubhai, a girl who ran away from a small village and ended up in Mumbai streets and eventually became the powerful matriarch of Kamathipura, Mumbai’s red light area.

Ashraf, who learnt of her husband’s underworld connection only after he was killed, transformed herself into the powerful Sapna Didi, to try and take down her husband’s killer.

Mrs. Paul and Rubina Sayyed, associates of Chota Shakeel, Tarannum Khan, a bar dancer who became rich through cricket betting, and more such stories.

But, the most intriguing story is probably about the very powerful Jenabhai, who was closely associated with many underworld dons like Haji Mastan, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Dawood Ibrahim etc, and advised them on various matters and helped in shaping important events in the underworld.

           Coming to the review of the book, S Hussain Zaidi is a great writer for the main reason that even when he writes on the same topic again and again- the crimes and criminals of Mumbai, still he does not bore us. Every time he writes, he gives a fresh touch to the book. He knows how to keep his readers interested in these real tales of Mumbai. While reading him, you will always want to know if his new book is releasing soon or not. :-) You just don't want him to stop releasing books as you don't want to read anything else than the real stories being narrated by him in a style that it seems all fiction and imaginary. Sometimes, I distrust that if the incident is real or fake but there's no question of latter doubt arising as all the incidents are well covered by media. S Hussain Zaidi, I respect you like anything. 

             I was not sure initially if the women gangsters would have done something so incredible that Mr. Zaidi will get a chance to deliver a phenomenal performance through this book but I am amazed to know through this book about how powerful, witty, determinant a lady can be. Jenabhai's story about wit and convincing power is something that every reader will become fan of. The way she handles all the rival gangsters of Mumbai, police force and politicians simultaneously is something that made me believe that a whole book dedicated to her would be less. Gangubai's story tells about how respectful a woman can be even if she heads a brothel and business of prostitution. Her conversation with Nehru made me laugh. :-) Ashraf urf Sapna didi's story tells about the determination a woman has. Her story is the most reflective one. I totally got submerged in it. 

           Laxmibai Papamani's story is quite boring and I just wanted to finish it off soon as it wasn't giving me any reason to jump off my bed like other tales. Monica Bedi's tale in her own voice makes us feel pity for her. The way she gets caught in this trapping life of gangster even when her career just took off makes us ask God as to why did he make her go through hell. But then this is all about being in a wrong place in life because of the wrong and sudden decision that one takes. In the latter part of the book, author, in short, has described about the life of few wives of gangsters who played a prominent part in the gangsters' life. And the last part tells about few ladies who acted charmer in the lives of gangsters. The last part is also totally intriguing. The Acknowledgement in the end itself shows how humble S Hussain Zaidi is. In all, I would say that this book is as good as Dongri to Dubai and I give this one 4.75 stars out of 5. YES!!! Go Get It!!!
 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!! 

EXPRESSIONS UNLIMITED!!!

850th BLOG POST -->>


Cover Page of EXPRESSIONS
          It has been quite slow and steady journey from last 50 Blog Posts that I have written and you have read. I got busy with my academics and as this Master's is getting tough with each Semester, I just can't promise the amount of time I would be able to give to this space but whenever I would be having time, I would post the way I am doing it from last 11 days since my Vacations have started. It's already 10 Blogs in 10 days. Lots of book reviews are already in store for all of you. Do follow them if you trust my opinions and purchase the ones that you feel belongs to your kinds of book. For now, a hearty congratulations to all of you as we have completed yet another half-century with 850th BLOG POST. :-)

            In 151 days of 2013, this is the 101st update on the blog site with an average of 1 Blog Post coming every 1.5 days. I am surprised to see that even when I have been absent for so many days, still the Blogging rate has not gone down. As always, God is with me. :-) My target is to publish 150 Blog Posts in the remaining 214 days of 2013 i.e. with the rate of 1 Blog Post coming in every 1.43 days. Simultaneous to this milestone, the syllabus of Semester 3 of my Master's got released by Mumbai University yesterday. There's 46 Chapters in all. And if you will see the content in each of the chapters that's divided into 5 subjects, you will find that the total number of topics that is to be read is between 500 to 700 approximately. This is not enough. 25 Practicals are to be done with the maintenance of 3 or 4 Journals. And yes, besides all this, a Mini Project is to be created. I don't know with so much of studies, assignments that would be given as an additional task, internal vivas etc, how I would be able to post 2 blogs in every 3 days this year. But then, that's the challenge. Right? :-)      
The First and Second page of EXPRESSIONS!!!

           Chalo, this blog has been too depressing till now. Let's rejoice all of you. As you all may be knowing that I got my work published in a book called "Uff Ye Emotions" in the month of February and I have got pretty good comments for it. Just after that, on the day of Holi, I got an offer from the cover designer of my book, Mr. Sunill Kaushik to be an Executive Editor in a magazine called "EXPRESSIONS" that would be the first ever magazine in India which will cover Literature and everything related to it. Since Mr. Sunill Kaushik has been very dutiful towards me and if you remember, he is also the Logo creator of my Blog, I immediately said yes to him and became a part of this venture. I am being asked to review a book every month or write any of my kind of posts or do both of these. In the first issue of the magazine that got released in April, I wrote the book review of "Someone Like You" by Durjoy Datta and Nikita Singh. The magazine is currently launched as an E-mag but if the response would be good and we would be getting good amount of Subscribers, we will be printing it and sending it to our Subscribers' doors. I hope you are going to be one of them. :-) To read the First issue of EXPRESSIONS, CLICK HERE!!! . Waiting for your response. 

P.S.: Thanks for being supportive in this journey of 850 Blog Posts. It's just because of appreciation and feedback that I get from all of you that I write. :-)

 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!! 

New Guy In The Office by ISHITA BHOWN (Guest Post) !!!

MEMBER's BLOG POST -->>


       Miss Ishita Bhown is one of the youngest authoresses today. Her first book- "To Get Her" is already one of the favorite novels of youth. I have been her friend since her book released. I generally don't talk to authors but her humbleness is something that is to be complimented. She has promised to write on our Blog space every month on 13th. Though this time I am late in publishing her Blog as I got confused between 13 and 31. :-) Ok Sorry. But her post next month will be on time. Now let's read her piece.


NEW GUY IN THE OFFICE ….

New city, new project, new office- my life was suddenly set to witness some major changes. This is what corporate job does to a man- makes him ready to adapt to changes in return for a few extra bucks and some more years added on to the resume.
During the time of recession, and being struck with cliche technologies, in IT world,its a 0-1 situation, either you lose your job, or you lose your dear city. I had to opt for the later. After a lot of pursuation, my manager had agreed to cut short my stay and re assign me a new project in Chennai within 2 months again..yet 1 month away from home was not a very welcoming idea for me.
With a heavy heart,bag full of wonderful memories about the city i had always lived in, and tears in my eyes, I stuffed all my other belongings into two suitcases,ready to accept the challenges that life had to offer.After a comfortable flight of 2 hours, i landed at the Pune airport, apprehensive about the new city, about acceptance of a Tamil guy among the marathi manoos, about my ability to mix up with the people and make some friends.
I didnot know hindi or marathi- so English or Tamil were my only ways to communicate with the busy people in the city. I signalled an auto driver and tried my luck with English, least expecting him to understand. But , the city offered its first surprise to me- The pot bellied driver, with a  white kurta and a ‘gandhi topi’ on head nodded and signalled me to sit. I was pleasantly surprised when without a word, he put the meter on running. i was saved the trouble of negotiating for the fare.:-)
The office was to pay for my accommodation for first 20 days, and so i settled in the luxurious hotel that had a corporate tieup with my office.
The next day, i got up with the excitement of a kid going to school for the first time. After the sumptuous breakfast of ‘meesal pao’ , a dish i had never tasted earlier,and a quick call at my home, I finally reached the office at around 11am. Soon i was introduced to my new team mates- just 3 of us. I was told that other members worked from Sweden. I was a bit disappointed by this discovery. My previous team size was close to 20 and so we all operated from a separate room. This gave us a great chance to know each other and office was a fun because of that interaction we had between work.
But, on the very first day, I figured that Ganesh and Vitthal, my teammates were both marathis and preferred to talk minimal. Most of their conversations were in their own language, which made me a little upset. I was lonely.
There was no one to talk, or nothing to refresh my mood. During the occasional tea breaks, Ganesh and Vitthal preferred to keep quiet, or at times ask about my previous project. They had 7 years of work experience and treated me like a kid, with my 2 years into the corporate world, i was actually a kid! A kid, who was sad  at the uninteresting office environment.
The same continued for around a week. By now, i was quite used to the work life. The work pressure had taken its toll, and or rather i had engrossed myself completely into the new office and its dull life.
The code freeze was scheduled for the next day, and there were still some debugging to be done, so i had to stay a little longer, while Ganesh and Vitthal, bailed out stating some family obligations as an excuse. I was a bachelor, and my room too had no fun to offer, so i was still working.It was around 9 at the office and the workplace was almost empty now.
Suddenly a voice caught my attention.
“Ohh noo….i think i did that mistake Rohit, can you please check if the SAP files are properly installed!Or else i will be doomed.” The innocence in the sound made me smile. It was rightly said that females have the sweetest of voice.
“Rohit! Rohit! Please check na!! ” the girl was restless. I smiled at her.
After a few minutes, a guy replied.” Offcourse madam! Its properly installed.Afterall,you doing mistakes is as unlikely as Siva working overtime”
And both of them laughed.
The careless laughter, which made the hectic  and silent office very lively and cheerful.Although I could not understand much of their joke, but still a smile popped up on my face.
The next day, the code had gone for freeze and so i was comparatively free. The sites like facebook etc are blocked in my office, so I had no other way to pass my time. I was surfing wikipedia to find out the places to visit in pune and its vicinity, when the same voice caught my attention again.
“Hi guys! Very good morning! I am so sorry for being late..there was so much of traffic on the bhel chowk, and then my mother called up, she kept on chitchatting and i just could not put the phone down.Did Siva call for me?” she asked her teammates, all at once.
“Bhel chowk! The name sounded interesting..i had often heard my North Indian colleagues discuss about a dish called Bhel . I had never tasted it. I immediately googled Bhel Chowk, to see what was the place about. Was it some eating joint? I smiled at my own foolishness when i discovered that Bhel chowk was some area in Pune. I further read about more strange names of the places in Pune.
Throughout the day, i kept reading more about Pune., and in between i could hear her occasional conversations with her teammates. Apparently her team had 3 other girls, and Rohit was a guy whom she often asked for help.The other girl had some complicated name and was the most sincere in team- she spoke very less, just like my own teammates.But unlike my team,their team talked in english most of the times, and the ascent of Lavaya made me assume that she was from Tamil.:-)
I assumed that she was a reason for their team to talk in English. I was happy, because unlike me, Lavaya was lucky in that regard..she had good company in an alien city.The sweet voice often dragged her in the talks and was more like the communication center in their team.
I faced my desktop, smiling at her innocence. I even tried to locate her, but the high walls of the cubicles blocked my view from the team that sat on the opposite side.
From the next day onwards, her voice was a part of my day. I still didnot know her name, or her desk number..all i recognised was a sweet and innocent voice- that often got late and offered unasked explanations..that kept on doubting her own work and asking Rohit or Lavaya or another complicated girl’s name for confirming is she was doing alright..the girl who would suddenly sigh loudly and say “bahut pakk raha hai yar” and would start humming some songs.
I smiled whenever she brought upon the topics for discussions..most of the time about the movies….I smiled at her reviews, which she gave in an animated voice with proper expressions and dedication  
She was fascinating..and so were her talks.
Her voice clearly spoke about her mood- in the morning, fresh and energetic..then in the noon,she would feel sleepy and would complain about her lack of sleep due to hectic office..as the evening approached, she would daily start backward counting for the time to leave office.” Rohit, review my code, I have to leave in another 2 hours.” she would chirp.
“Lavaya..I clocked in at 9 AM today..do you think it’s okay if i leave the office at around 6.I have to go to MG road and shop. Will you accompany me?” she had asked with excitement brimming from her voice.
When Lavaya excused herself , saying she had to “complete her office hours..” i could sense the disappointment on the girls tone, when she said a soft “ohhhkaay”.
That very moment i longed to see who was that sweet voice..a person so simple and bubbly.I had known her for almost a month now..still i didnot even know her face or her name.
I focussed hard on listening more and more talks of her team, in hope to catch her name..
My office became interesting because of her talks..though i was in no way involved in their conversation..yet i often smiled and felt involved.
After almost a week, i figured out that her name was Maya. I looked for her name in the people directory of our company and was upset to see over 100 Maya’s listed.
It was impossible for me to find her out or locate her without raising doubts in the minds of Ganesh and Vitthal.
I had always been a shy guy, I knew it was not that difficult to get up and look for her on the benches around..there were hardly 8-9 girls in the rows adjacent to my seat. She had to be one of them..yet i was scared..scared of upsetting her..scared of making her quiet.
Over one month had passed by now.Within that month, i had explored Pune through her eyes.sometimes she mentioned about MG road, and the next day i was curious to visit that place..she talked about the Inorbit Mall, and i had to visit it once. She described about Lavasa and its beauty..the very next weekend i witnessed how well she had described the place. She was like a local guide for me..the only little concern was that she was unaware of being eavesdropped– daily– for around a month now.It made me feel a little guilty,but to befriend her..i had to know her…
One day, i got a call from my manager, confirming that my request for transfer to Chennai had been accepted and I could leave Pune in another 7 days or so..
I was happy about the idea of returning to my own city..and among my own people..yet I knew i would miss Pune..the beautiful city i had explored through the eyes of an unknown girl.
Hectic office had not given me a chance to make any friends in this city..yet i felt connected to Maya…I could recognize her mood by her voice and her mood even changed my mood at times…
I knew this was my last chance..I wanted to talk to her ..just for once.
For the next week, i kept on making plans to face her..to talk to her..i mentally rehearsed the dialogues i would say to introduce myself.I was scared of making her angry. Afterall, i had been evading her privacy for quite a long time now.
It was my last day at the office.Quite surprisingly Ganesh and Vitthal had planned a farewell for me. Over the days we spent as teammates…our relationship had not changed much. They just considered me as a sincere teammate, who was an outsider , non marathi speaker, and who smiled at the conversations of other teams.. Yes, they had noticed me smile, but thankfully, had never mentioned that to save me from the embarrassment.
” Lavaya! I have a headache today. I need a strong coffee! Is anyone coming along?” she asked.
Suddenly my attention was on their team. No one replied to her.
“Comeon guys! Just a 10 minutes break! My head will blast! ” she pleaded.
“Maya, yaar, today you go alone na please…you see Siva is gonna kick us hard if we miss the deadline!” Rohit responded.
On usual days, I knew Maya would not have gone. By now, i had figured it out that she never went alone anywhere- for lunch, for evening tea or snacks, or even for the walk..she was always with her team. That was also a reason, why i had failed in recognizing her till now.I knew the 3 girls , one of them was Maya.But which one, was an unsolved mystery….Today was my last chance to know that!
“Ok Fine!” she clearly was irritated.
My excitement level knew no bounds.This was a chance i had been looking for!
Immediately i locked my computer, and moved towards the coffee machine.Despite the hurry, i did not forget to take the strip of “Disprin” which i always keep in my office bag.
There she was…she was the tallest of the 3 girls in their team.
She had often smiled at me, while passing by my side.
She was the face i had seen almost daily, the voice i had been listening for weeks..the only person who made my stay in pune worthwhile.
I smiled at her….she reciprocated.
She was about to take her cup of coffee towards her desk, when i finally managed to call her name ..
“Excuse me, Maya!” i almost mumbled…
She suddenly stopped.
“how are you?” i asked.
She looked at me , puzzled.
Before she could answer, i offered her disprin. “Take it, It will help in your headache.”
She was all the more confused..still she took it.
“Hi, I am Venkat, from Pega team.” i initiated a handshake.
After initial hesitation, she shook hands with me.
“Hi, I am Maya, from SAP” she introduced herself. Mentally, I smiled at her.I already knew a lot more than that about her.
“Yes, i know!” i confessed.
“How?”  she was obviously surprised.
And then i honestly told her about the unique one sided bond of acquaintance that i had developed with her.
She merely smiled…and quite unexpectedly she even added –” I never knew i talk so much and so loudly. It must have been disturbing for all others! Gosh!!! that’s bad!! I will try to speak softly next time onwards!”
With that we shared our first and the last cup of coffee together, she told me about a few more places that i had not yet visited in Pune..and with that the sweet meeting with my only friend in the new office  ended.
We walked back to our desks, and continued with our work.
After around 20 minutes of settling in, I heard her voice again….
“lavayaaa, you know what, i speak soo loudly.There was this guy from the Pega team around and he…….”"” and then she narrated the incidence to her team.
I merely smiled!!

ISHITA BHOWN!!!
Thursday, 30 May 2013 | By: AbhiLaSH RuHeLa

It's Not About The Bike My Journey Back To Life by Lance Armstrong!!!

849th BLOG POST -->>

   
        When Yuvraj Singh survived from his cancer, recovered and started giving interviews, the one thing that continuously gave him inspiration that we kept hearing was the book "It's Not About the Bike My Journey Back to Life" written by World-champion cyclist, Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong himself survived Cancer and went on winning 7 Tour De France which, recently, this year, has been taken away from him because he accepted that he doped during the races. It shocked even Yuvraj Singh who saw him as inspiration throughout his treatment. In one of the interviews, Yuvi said that he started reading the book once before being diagnosed with Cancer and left it at 50th page but read it again after he himself got the disease. Even I left it 5 months ago exactly at the same page but after reading what Yuvi said, I found it better to complete it now than feeling guilty once even I get... Ok leave such negative talks. :-) 

About the author:
The Chairman and Founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation for Cancer Support and Research, Lance Armstrong is a world-renowned cyclist, seven times consecutive winner of the challenging Tour de France, and the most inspirational success story of a hard battle against cancer.

Other books by Lance Armstrong include Every Second Counts (with Sally Jenkins), Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal, The Lance Armstrong Performance Program: 7 Weeks to the Perfect Ride (with Chris Carmichael and Peter Joffre Nye), and Lance Armstrong: Images of a Champion (with Robin McLaurim Williams and Graham Watson)

Although his writing is brutally straightforward, the sheer honesty of his life’s account and the way he bares it all make his books gripping. The book is rich in medical detail. The account of his comeback, with the gruelling training sessions and arduous hard work, is truly intense and serves as the perfect guide for coaches and trainers. The charm of his writing lies in the sincerity that pours out from every page.

Armstrong retired from cycling at the end of the 2005 Tour de France in the July of 2002, but returned to competitive cycling soon after, finishing third in 2009 Tour de France, and retired from competitive cycling as well in February 2011. He has three daughters with his first wife Kristen Richards. He also has five children with girlfriend Anna Hansen.

The Synopsis of the book says:- 
As the title of the book states, this is not a work chronicling the victories and achievements of an ace biker. Lance Armstrong, a 24-year-old sportsperson, and the ‘Golden Boy’ of cycling was success’ favourite pick when he was titled as the top cyclist in the world, having consecutively won the esteemed Tour de France. However, Armstrong would soon come to realize that life, and not the track, was going to be his real challenge.

In October 1996, Armstrong was diagnosed with stage-3 testicular cancer. The tumour soon spread to his lungs, abdomen, and brain. With only a mere 40 percent chance of survival, it seemed that his good life had come to an end.

It took cancer to change Lance Armstrong completely. The blessings of a good family, supportive friends, and the quiet nobility of a fulfilled life came to mean much more to him and he found himself transforming for the better. After undergoing rigorous sessions of chemotherapy, he underwent surgery. Finally, he decided that he was ready to let his ruptured body and soul heal. Thus began the training session through the mountains of North Carolina, and as his love for the sport came back, he decided to make a comeback.

With the greatest comeback story the world had ever witnessed, criticism and controversy were not far behind. After winning the Tour de France again, he was accused of consuming drugs to enhance his performance.

Inspirational and uplifting, It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life traces the life of Armstrong as a sportsman, patient, father, and transformed man.

Published on May 22, 2000, people all over the world have found tremendous inspiration from this book. Written in simple language that all readers will be able to understand and follow, it is enough to stir one’s life and perspective. This real life tale drives home the point that nothing is impossible and that a strong mind can surely conquer it all.

           Coming to my review, I was expecting a lot from this book but in all, I would say that it's average and nothing as exceptional as I kept hearing about it. Yuvraj's autobiography on his fight against Cancer is written in a better way than what Lance Armstrong has attempted some 10-15 years ago. He has gone into lots of description that killed the interest after a short moment of time. The first 100 pages and the last 100 pages of the book are exceptionally written, mainly because of the reason that it is about his take on how he chose cycling as a career and how he kept stepping ladders step by step and at last, became a World-class cyclist. In the last 100 pages, he tells about his struggle to participate and win Tour De France. Its really hard to imagine him struggling with a chemotherapy-suffered body on a bike to win a race that goes for three week on mountains where the rider has to climb up and down over it. 

           Initially, the way Lance Armstrong has told about his mother's struggle for him shows that every success story has a hard-work hidden behind it. Then the frankness of Armstrong when he speaks about both of his father is also commendable. The way he initialized his cycling journey is descriptively written and its interesting to read. The book only gets boring in the latter half of his Cancer treatment. He starts describing things too much and goes too much in depth and narration. He should have kept them short to keep the interest alive. I felt like quitting the book then but I didn't as I wanted to read how he came back and won the World Championship title. Every time Lance Armstrong talks about his riding experiences, its cool but whenever he starts speaking about his Cancer treatment, the book turns boring. Unfortunately, I have to say this. I can't give the book much more than 3/5. I would recommend Yuvraj Singh's The Test of my Life than Lance Armstrong's It's not about the bike My Journey Back to Life. 
 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!!

If I were Dhoni, I would not have attended the Press Conference :-)

848th BLOG POST -->>

     
     Outrage against Dhoni has been seen quite evidently all over media and even among Indians because he didn't speak anything whenever a question got hurled by a journalist regarding BCCI and their take on spot fixings in the recent press conference. MS Dhoni has just become villain because he chose to maintain silence rather than give his inputs in media about what should be done to handle spot fixing and other misuse of being in the team squad. Just after the Press Conference ended, media started outraging against Dhoni as if he is the chief of all the nonsense that has taken place in last one month within the favorite sport of India. I remember once Sachin Tendulkar was asked about the Shivsena and MNS take on expelling non-Maharashtrians out of the state, he replied saying,"I am an Indian first and then a Maharashtrian". This is all what the legend said and Shivsena's newspaper, Saamna had everything written against the legend. Bal Thackeray advised him to play Cricket with all his focus rather than being political. 

           This is what these Cricketers, actors or other public figures in our country have to go through once they speak against the person that's powerful. I, sometimes, don't understand what's exactly the view of Indian media and public. When someone expresses himself in the media, he is being said to stop speaking senseless things as it hurts the majority of citizens. Then we, the minority who wants to speak, start outraging about the Freedom of Speech being violated by such measures against the person who speaks his mind in front of all. MS Dhoni kept quiet because he didn't want to hurt any of the two parties. Neither BCCI nor the Indian Cricket lovers. He reacted in his style statement by being cool even when the personal questions were thrown at him. A question regarding his wife- Sakshi being seen with Vindoo in the stadium was also hurled. Dhoni just gave an uneasy smile to it but didn't speak anything.

            Why should he speak when there's already a probing committee being allotted to see the whole case of fixing and implement some rules so that next time when such incident occurs, there would be a rule according to which the culprits would be punished. He is the Captain of the team and the only thing that he can ensure is total commitment on field by him. If he turns out to be someone playing a major part in this illegality, then he should come up in media and give details as to how and why did he committed himself to something which he knew could have costed his career. But now when he is purely on the right side, as it seems to be, he does not need to give any inputs on the whole matter in public. He can talk to BCCI or the probing committee as an Indian Captain about what he feels should be done to avoid such incidents but speaking in public? No, at least not now when we are in the middle of all the issues.

         In our Indian culture, aren't we taught "Jungle mein rehna hai toh sher se koi bair nahi"? Even in the Corporate world, we see that a manager or supervisor keeps on getting accused, blamed, overloaded but still, when they get a chance to speak against their bosses, they find it better to remain quiet than speak anything against them. We have seen many cases recently that the Principal of the school kept molesting teachers for years but they never complained until the water went above limits. The molestation case of the Indian hockey coach with our girls' team is still remembered as a black day in Indian sport. Even in college, when students dislike a teacher, out of 60 students in class, only 2-3 have guts to stand in front of HoD and complain against the teacher. For the very same reason, I didn't find anything weird or disheartening when I saw MS Dhoni choosing to ignore questions related to BCCI that owns him. What are your views now?


 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!!
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 | By: AbhiLaSH RuHeLa

A Survival Guide For Life by Bear Grylls (Book Review)!!!

847th BLOG POST -->>

             
After reading lots of fiction novels, I am done reading a non fiction self-help book "A Survival Guide For Life". Seems to be just another Self-Help book but no, its not. The name of the author will itself make you determinant to read this novel as soon as you can even though the author has scripted more than 11 books. Awesome!!! He is no one other than our very own adventurous role model- the host of Man vs Wild- Bear Grylls.-Bear Grylls' prime-time TV adventure series is one of the most watched shows on the planet, reaching an estimated 1.2 billion viewers in over 200 countries. Bear has authored eleven books and, as a former member of the UK Special Forces, was made an honorary Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy. He continues to lead record-breaking expeditions to the world's extremes, and these missions have raised over £1.5 million for children's charities. Bear recently took over as the youngest ever Chief Scout to the Scouting Association, acting as the figurehead to 28 million Scouts around the globe. He lives with his wife, Shara, and their three sons, Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry, on a Dutch barge in London and on a small remote island off the coast of Wales. After such an introduction, do you feel that I should even review the book. :-)

 The synopsis of the book says:
How to make every day an adventure.

Life in the wild teaches us invaluable lessons. Extreme situations force us to seize opportunities, face up to dangers and rely on our instincts. But living a purpose-driven, impactful life can be an even greater challenge...

In A Survival Guide for Life, Bear Grylls shares the hard-earned lessons he’s learned from some of the harshest environments on earth. How do you keep going when all the odds are stacked against you?

How can you inspire a team to follow you in spite of obvious danger? What are the most important skills to learn if you really want to achieve your maximum potential?

Bear’s instantly inspiring tales from his adventures in all four corners of the globe include his personal life lessons you will never forget. We’re all capable of living life more boldly and of having more fun along the way. Here’s to your own great adventure!

       
   The best part about the book is that it is being written by someone who has been adventurous and hard working himself. We have seen him doing the daredevil acts umpteenth number of times on Man vs Wild ourselves. I have always been fan of Robin Sharma when it comes to self-help books but reading it by Bear Grylls is different because Robin Sharma asks us to follow what he says but Bear tells what he has done himself which made him learn several things. Thus he asks us to follow what he has done and attained success. This is why reading this book was less of a lecture on motivational stuffs but more of an adventurous journey. I loved reading the book and now I am sure that I am going to read his most talked about book- Mud, Sweat and Tears very soon where he tells about how he climbed the Mount Everest by overcoming all the obstacles. 

          The tagline of this book itself says "How to achieve your goals, thrive in adversity and grow in character". And yes, 75 chapters of this book are surely something that can change our approach. Any lazy chap would feel like getting up from bed and doing something that will help him explore himself. It has been a long time since I have read a chapter-based self help book and thus this book seemed more interesting than anything. My interest is again re-generated in such kind of books as I started my reading journey through such novels. The best chapter according to me which really moved me are: 43rd, 48th and 49th. Also the exercising tip given by the author has been fantastic. He says that promise yourself that you will at least do it for 3 minutes. That will at least move you up to start. And once you will do it for 3 minutes, the pleasure that you will find will compel you to continue it for more. :-) 

            I have never seen a full episode of Bear Grylls' Man vs Wild but I only heard it from some of my friends. Also when I visited their house, I used to have a glance or two on the show. I never understood as to why would someone see a show where a man is asking us to learn how to survive in jungles when we are never really going to go to a jungle for weeks. But continuously reading appreciation about him on Twitter made me read this book written by him. I always chose reading before watching TV/movies. :-) Hence, as I am done reading this and turned fan of this guy, I would surely some day see a full episode of Man vs Wild. I give this book 4.5/5. Its amazing. But too costly. 
 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!!
 

Some people are old at 18 and some are young even at 90!!!

846th BLOG POST -->>

         
   Every day starts with its own routine, drama and involvements. Our job should be of managing the whole day such that the permanent elements of our routines don't get affected and still we end up doing something magical and distinct which can help us in identifying something bizarre about ourselves. The moment we realize that we have done better than what we have been doing from a long time is the most wonderful moment of our life. Academic results may go up and down, people's view about you will change, parent's assumption about your future shall change but the learning and findings that you possess, will always strive you to go for excellence and this is what matters the most than any result or judgment. Our own moments give us the most pleasing segments of our life. But all that starts is with the first step that we take. If no step is taken towards building ourselves, there's no achievement, result and judgment. 

           Our evolution should happen time to time. But what stops many of us from doing what it seems to be impossible for ourselves? It's age. The first excuse that a normal human being gives before taking a risk or learning something new is His/Her Age. This is where the self being retracts itself from achieving anything. Once you put your age or the amount of years that you are going to live aside, you will get to learn a lot from life and that will give you the biggest pleasure in life. Yoga and Meditation at some peaceful location like Himalayas or Mount Abu does nothing. Its only you who knows the potential of yourself. No location can bring any difference. In your bedroom itself, or while sitting in a crowded train, you can get an idea that can change your life and bring peace into it. But when an idea comes, the first thing that stops you from moving and accomplishing the imagined dreams is your age and risks involved with it.

            Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who played Harry Potter on screen, says that he wants to marry before crossing 30 as he wants to be energetic so that he can play football with his kids. He is exactly right while planning this. One should always have in mind at what age one wants to accomplish what. Considering marriage itself, doing it before 25 is risky as well as doing it after 30 is not less risky. The best time to marry is 27-28 years, according to me. This gives you enough months to stabilize your job as well as save money so that you can afford your own marriage and honeymoon without giving any burden on your parents' lifetime saving. In the same way, studying is the best that one can do in his/her life but stopping it after getting your Graduation degree is as bad as continuing to study till 30th age of your life. Age should always be kept in mind before knocking a door that needs a lot of time to open and welcome you inside.

             Though I don't believe in age much when it comes to doing things which I know I have to in any case. If I think that I have to do this and this, I prefer doing it today if its possible. If it's not, I already start walking slow steps towards the direction of my dreams so that when the appropriate age comes, I would be enough closer to achieve it. Suppose if I dream that I want to be an entrepreneur. That is currently not possible as I have at least 2-3 years of studies left. But I will start walking on the road already that will take me to create something of my own. So that once when my studies would be over and I would be in a job, I will already have all the executions planned. I would have decided what capital I need to save from job to open my own adventure and race upon life to gain profits and feed my family. This is how things have to be planned seeing our age. It's never too late and nor its too early. You can always manage your activities according to your growing age.

           Age is not stoppable. It will keep on increasing with each day. You will have to plan your life accordingly. I know some people whom if you will ask to learn something new or try something that they have never been into, the first thing they would say is- "Yaar 50 saal toh kaant liye hai aise hi ab bache hi kitne saal hai jeene ke ki in cheezon mein lag jaayein". Oh come on. Its obvious that you have 20-25 years of living left; half of which will go in fighting with health and old age. But whatever 12-15 years you have when you will have a totally get going body, why not try something that you have always procrastinated for? Once you learn what you always wanted to at any age, you feel as if you have completed a legacy by few more cents. :-) The day I would learn driving, playing cards, dancing in pubs, swimming etc, I would feel that my life has gone from a level to a totally new standard. :-) And then I would automatically feel that I am 20 years old again. :-) This is why age does not matter, your approach at the certain age does. But still plan life so that age do not come in between. :-) 

 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!! 
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 | By: AbhiLaSH RuHeLa

My Vows Remain Unchanged by Amrita Phadnis (Book Review)!!!

845th BLOG POST -->>


         
   I am done reading 159-pages book "My Vows Remain Unchanged". It's written by the debutant authoress- Amrita Phadnis who is twenty five years old, works as a Senior Tax Consultant in Deloitte Tax LLP, Hyderabad.  I am not sure about the book, but if you would ask me to review the authoress, I would give good marks to her beauty, smartness and accent. :-) The book is been published by Power Publishers which is a self publishing firm. Because of this very reason, I have very rarely enjoyed any book by this publisher. Going by the trend, I didn't even find My Vows Remain Unchanged any interesting. It's target audience is the people in the teenage. Someone like me who is 23 years old and read 140 books in last 2 years, this book was nothing but a personal diary of a girl who loved a boy and got heart broken many a times because of being very emotional and weak. 

           The synopsis of the book says:
Rita works as Tax Consultant in Best Tax Practices being from an Human resources background. She loves her professional life but her personal life does not excite her anymore after her first heart break. Running away from love she falls in love with Aryan, a Media consultant residing in Delhi.The story is about how they fall in love, the vows they make, and at the end where it leads. Will they be together forever? Well may be, may be not.

     
    Coming to the author, I would say that it would have been easier for her to write this story because its very simple without much of an unexpected twists and turns. Her writing language is something that we use when we write our personal diary. She has not impressed me much with her first book as there's lots of room for development. I would suggest the author to at least read 50 books by Indian authors before attempting a second book. Because the story that she has written in more than 150 pages is something that seems to be a forcible expansion of a 1000 words short story. She can definitely try her hands in Short story/anthology section but she is yet to discover herself in a full-fledged novel writing.

            As every debut Indian author, even she has scribbled about a love story that has lots of excitement about the love involved. The book starts with a description as how the protagonist is still into the depression of her first break up but still goes out for second love affair as she finds conversing with him attractive. I had lots of problem in reading the Google Chats that's been shown as conversations between both the protagonists. Why would someone spend Rs. 250 on a book just to read Google Chats between two lovers? A better narration could have done wonders to the book. In the same way, writing "Hahaha" in the conversation part isn't a good literature. It should be described separately that the character laughed. Similarly, author herself exclaims "Huh!" at many events. Rather than generating exclamations forcibly upon the reader, the story should have emotions imbibed in itself. 

           In all, I would say someone who has not read more than 5 Indian love stories can go out to read this book and compulsorily, the audience should not be more than 20 years old as this novel is not quite mature for the adult audience. 

 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!!
Monday, 27 May 2013 | By: AbhiLaSH RuHeLa

The Homing Pigeons by Sid Bahri (Book Review)!!!

844th BLOG POST -->>

       
   It's the third Srishti Publication's book in the series. :-) This time I am done reading Sid Bahri's debut novel- "The Homing Pigeons" which also has the tagline "Not all love stories are perfect, but then, neither are people". It's 318 pages thick. The book is covered in a very beautiful cover page. The pigeons flying in the sky and the font in which the title of the book is written is in itself so compelling that one would pick up the book. Sid Bahri is a
 hotelier by education, an ex-banker and a senior executive in the outsourcing industry, Sid gave up a plush career in the outsourcing industry to follow his passions. Based out of Ranikhet, he is now a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. A self- proclaimed eccentric, he is an avid blogger who loves to read and cook. Cooking stories, however, is his passion. The Homing Pigeons is his debut novel.

             The synopsis of the book says:
In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar. Little does he know that his life will change forever.

When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it.

They say homing pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. The Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

         
  I would say that few authors makes us, Indian light-book readers, stand proudly and tell the foreign book-lovers to try them and see if Indian author are any less than their writers. Sid Bahri is definitely one of such writers. In the first 10 pages itself, he made me love his writing style, narration and the imaginations. I, after completing the book, wants to go and meet him wherever he is and personally thank him for making this 2 days journey so wonderful which has been passed in reading his work. Undoubtedly, he is in my Favorite Authors' list. And I am looking forward to read the sequel of this book as he has already written it. :-)

             The way Sid Bahri has narrated a same plot from the point of views of both the protagonists- Aditya and Radhika builds a great interest of reader in the book. Once you start reading it, it becomes hard to stop even for a 5 minutes breakfast. Only I know how I have stopped myself from continuing it further yesterday evening as I had to watch IPL Final Match. But I waited for today's morning desperately to begin the book again. And now as the book is completed, I am sad. Yes. Because I wanted to read more of this story and from the very same author. The way story of both the protagonists meet at different points is a very creative aspect of this book. I would say the USP. Every time you want a reasoning as to why did this happen and the chapter ends, you find it somewhere in the chapters following this chapter and you understand why author didn't express the whole reason of the specific happening before when it got its first mention in the story. :-)

            The way story begins and Aditya has to turn gigolo is exciting. The way Radhika is being shown as a villain initially and then suddenly you get to know about her past, you start feeling bad about what happened to her in the childhood. The past of Aditya's family too is intensely put. Ok wait, let's stop here. How many such parts of this book am I going to list down here? There's so many of them. :-) This book is the perfect thing in which one can invest all his money that's in the budget of book-buying. And without any second thought, you can gift this book to anyone as its assured that the person is going to thank you immensely for giving them something which teaches so much about life. This book has every thing about life. As stated in its tagline, its not a cheesy love story as we presume it to be as its from an Indian writer. It's about life. It's about how we take decisions and later regret for it and then how life makes us go back to the starting point and repair every thing but this time the person for whom we wanted to change does not want the change. And its about many other perspective about life. You can see how speechless I am while writing this review that I am unable to understand as to which of the 100 good things about this book should I talk in a review that has to be short. :-) Ok let's end this then. 

             I am simply giving this book 4.5 out of 5. YES. RECOMMENDED LIKE ANYTHING. DO INVEST IN THIS BOOK. Your trust in Indian writers will be rebuild. :-) My favorite book of this year till now. And Sid Bahri sir, do release your 2nd book soon. :-)
 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!! 

And Sachin Tendulkar retires with an IPL Trophy is his hands!!!

843rd BLOG POST -->>


             And the IPL 6 ends. It has been 4 years since I started supporting Mumbai Indians after I realized that there is a very little amount of time left for me to experience the Cricket God- Sachin Tendulkar play Cricket. It is already an honour to be from the era when he has been playing Cricket with best of his skills. I pity the guys who are just 3-4 years old and will grow up to only hear the legendary stuffs of this man but they will never get a chance to see him again. Mumbai Indians won the IPL Trophy this time after a good hard labour of 6 years. There has been a big fan following of Mumbai Indians because of the biggest name that I have mentioned above being the Captain of this very team. In the same way as Rajasthan Royals suddenly became the favorite as Rahul Dravid became a part of it. This is what these Legends do. Their name is itself for us to start loving and admiring the stranger that's associated with them. :-) 

              A team can never win a match/tournament until everyone does not come forward to showcase their individualistic powers in the favor of the team and not for their personal achievements. Any player who plays for record/himself gets into the eyes of the viewers. Cricket is religion for those who watch this sport. When they start analyzing things, the man with the least involvement in the team comes out as the target. With Mumbai Indians it all started with the excitement to see Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting opening the batting line-up together. These are the best two legends that the Cricket has ever seen. Once Ponting realized that he is not doing good as a Captain and batsman, he chose to sit out in the pavilion rather than being part of the Playing XI. And its sure that if he would have continued, Mumbai Indians would not have reached till here as he was out of form. This shows that even a non-participation by someone at the right time or from the right time helps a team to win the trophy.

              In the same way the way Sachin Tendulkar got an injury after hitting that SIX into his own stands- Sachin Tendulkar stands in Wankhede stadium, he got retired hurt and the way Pollard came in and batted, made us win that match which was too important to get the confidence back, showed how some unfortunate incidents also helps sometimes. As it is evident that Sachin Tendulkar could not have scored the way Pollard scored in the game that Mumbai Indians were sure to lose. And yes, there's also another bad news that we have to talk- Sachin Tendulkar has announced it very clear while talking with Harsha Bhogle that this was his last IPL. Even Ricky Ponting got shocked with the news. I don't know why has Sachin Tendulkar decided to leave all the formats of Cricket without getting that one last Farewell match. But at least this will always be remembered that he ended the IPL career by hitting a SIX on the last ball that he played which made the ball land in his own- SACHIN TENDULKAR STAND in WANKHEDE. :-)

             Malinga didn't work quite well for the team throughout the season but on the final day when the bowling power was needed, he did it in the first over itself like he always did in the previous seasons. Pollard was never known to play big games but this season, he scored three half-centuries. A new bowler- Johnson coming in the team and working while all the other bowlers failed was another boon. In all, God wanted to give the trophy to Mumbai Indians because he himself was playing for the last time. ;-) A great team where there's no "I" but "We", no one fails. I lack such a team in my real life and I always want such group of people around me where each of them gives their best for someone else rather than to prove themselves. The day I would get that, I would automatically win with my team. Whatever, let's leave this topic for now. Some other day... :-)

       
    In the end, I also never thought of a team winning an IPL season under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. This guy did it very well. Neither Sachin Tendulkar nor Harbhajan Singh and not even Ricky Ponting, it's this new boy- Rohit Sharma who brought the Cup home. Kudos to him. And Dhoni, you have always been a great Captain. Even when your team needed 29 runs off the last ball and it was impossible in any calculation of Cricket to score this, Mumbai Indians were setting their players on the field. This is the fear of yours in this Sport. And why won't there be a fear of yours? You hit a Four even after such a tight fielding. :-) Your runs were exactly what rest of your team scored. Your scored runs were more than the highest scorer of the Mumbai Indians' side. And it's your 5th Final in the 6 editions of IPL. Now, as from next year there would be no Sachin, all the eyes will shift over you and your team. Best of luck for the future if there's any future of IPL now after so much of accusations and breaking news that has suddenly arose. 

             Well done, Mumbai Indians. Thanks for bringing the Cup home. The wait of 6 years has been ended. 

 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!!
Friday, 24 May 2013 | By: AbhiLaSH RuHeLa

Stumbled Upon Destiny by Jolsna Rajan (Book Review)!!!

842nd BLOG POST -->>

       
    I am done reading another book by Srishti Publication. Some of you might think that I am their official reviewer but I am not. It's a miracle that whenever I pick up a book for a light read, it turns out to be from Srishti Publication. :-) The name of the 177-pages book is "Stumbled Upon Destiny" which also has a tagline "A Star-Crossed Knot" written by a debut authoress, Jolsna Rajan who is from Bangalore and is working as a market Research Analyst in an elearning firm. Beyond her work, her interests include reading, writing short stories, movies and music. 
This is her first attempt in writing a novel. 

           The synopsis of the book says:
Surprisingly the modern day arranged marriage institutions still in vogue. Girls and boys continue to give up their dreams for their parents happiness, yield to their family's demands and end up snuffing all joy out of their lives.

Some of these couples have the luck of the draw and a happy story to tell, finally. Others seek comfort in compromise. Yet others fall apart and eventually go their separate ways. Why do they part ways? Who is to blame?

Vineet Hariharan and Meera Madhav, a couple trapped in a mismatched relationship, have decided to call it quits. The story begins with their relationship coming to an end.

The story in narrated from both Vineets and Meeras perspectives, with some scenes described from the point of view of both.

Stumbled Upon Destiny is about their loveless marriage which gives rise to many issue lack of communication, complacency, unresolved arguments..

     
       Coming to the authoress, I would say that Jolsna Rajan has skills that can be sharpened with more writings and experience. Currently, while reading her first work, I found that she was trying to build the book on an interesting line but it didn't happen at every place. She sometimes touched the perfection while sometimes she lost it by a very less margin while sometimes she went totally off-track. The first half of the book wasn't very captivating but the second half was surely catchy. She could have been little more innovative with the part when she tried to narrate the story from the point of view of both the protagonist. I, personally, feel that after 2 more books by the authoress, we can try putting her under the category of Preeti Shenoy-types but currently, she needs to work little more.

             The topic on which she has written has been the favorite topic of the married authoresses. :-) The interesting part of the story is that it begins from the point where this couple has already filed for the divorce. The husband- Vineet Hariharan starts as a protagonist initially and tells how his life changes after the divorce has been filed. He also tells how he wanted this to work but his ex-wife, Meera Madhav wasn't interested in giving it a try. The problem is that Vineet speaks as a protagonist for only 36 pages. Better than this, authoress should not have created this part at all. Meera's speaking as a protagonist right from the first page would have been better. There's already nothing special in first 36 pages. When Meera's part begins, initially, its too cheesy and suddenly I started feeling that the first 36 pages were fine. 

               But, right from the Page No. 98th to the last page of the book i.e. 177th, book goes to a very superior stage where you find the maturity that the writer has. She just wanted her best to be displayed in the second half of the book. I just wanted to ask author personally during that part as to why didn't she start the book with the same maturity and energy. :-) From 98th page, the story is about what happened post-marriage that lead to the conditions where both of them had to part ways. The incompatibility shown between both the characters makes us think about why is it going wrong between them when both are a good character. I also liked the part when one of the protagonist realizes the mistakes that he/she has kept committing and apologizes on his/her behalf. I also liked the meetings that are being shown of both the characters in pre-climax and before that too in post-divorce scenarios. 

              I liked the Meera's character a lot in the end. And Vineet is equally highlighted. When the book started, I never knew how authoress is going to build the whole story around such plot and where the climax would intersect but it is beautifully done. The parts where the condition of parents of both the protagonist is described is also done sensibly. Meera's mother's conversation with her in the pre-climax is another beautiful piece. In all, the authoress has beautifully displayed the life that both- husband and wife goes through when they take a mutual decision such as of divorce even when they don't have any better specific reason for it except that they are totally different personality. Author has shown how things can be managed even if there are two different personalities getting into a marriage if one learns to accept mistake, apologize and correct it. I would give the 1-97 pages of the book- 1.5/5 and 98-177 pages, 3.75/5. In all, I would say an okay attempt with 3 out of 5 ratings.
 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!! 

Complete/Convenient by Ketan Bhagat (Book Review)!!!

841st BLOG POST-->>

         
      It's almost 2 months since I am writing a book review. A long time. And yes, this is the FIRST full-fleshed review of COMPLETE/CONVENIENT on Internet. :-)

     I have finally completed reading Ketan Bhagat's debut novel- Complete/Convenient. I have been one of the promotional partner of this book since it was in its editing stage and after reading this 373-pages book, I am satisfied that I chose a good product to promote/market. :-) As said several times by Ketan Bhagat in his interviews, this book is exclusively about every NRI or everyone living in India and continuously thinking of shifting abroad because of unwanted chaos here. The clarity of thoughts regarding NRI life is what I appreciate the most about the debut author. He does not seems to be confused over the topic that he has selected to write a story about. 

     Ketan Bhagat, on his website, introduces himself as- Professionally, Ketan joined Satyam Computer Services (the company that Mr Ramalinga Raju made both famous and infamous) post his MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute in 2001. After a 1.5 year stint of trying to learn programming and Tamil, destiny finally took mercy on the young, frustrated North Indian and made Satyam show him little bit of the world – 2 years in Malaysia, 9 months in NZ and 4 years in Australia. About 2 years ago, he moved back to India. Currently he works as a regional sales manager at an MNC in Mumbai. Creative at heart, Ketan has done stints in Television (anchor, script writer) and Print (articles in national dailies) during his college days. Few years ago, he helped his brother script a Bollywood movie.

                The synopsis of the book says- 
"Have you ever heard of any NRI who:
Hasnt washed dishes and vacuumed carpets
Hasnt missed any of his friends/ family members wedding in India
Doesnt watch Indian movies, no matter how long he has been outside India
Hasnt been to a striptease
Doesnt indulge in Indian food whenever he visits India on a vacation

Do you know any Indian who:
Hasnt thought of moving out of India for a better, safer life
Isnt fed up of the scams, traffic jams, filth, noise, crowd and crime that are part of everyday life
Isnt tired of attending endless weddings, festivals, birthdays, farewells, parties, lunches and dinners that happen almost every second day in India
Has never envied (secretly or openly) his friend / family member living outside India
Hasnt wondered what makes NRIs return to India

Welcome to the world of Kabir newly married and newly arrived in Sydney, hoping to live the glamorous and sophisticated life he has always dreamt of. After all, a life without frantic competition, traffic jams, queues, dirt, corruption and social obligations (read evils) can be refreshingly convenient. Professional success, new friends, a sincere boss... everything seems to be going just fine. But doesnt this sound too good to be true?"

         
    Coming to the author, I would say that Ketan Bhagat has done a great job in his debut novel. A book that's made up for a light read is written wonderfully with good narration, easy vocabularies, funny one-liners every now and then (it seems as if this part is in his genes :-)), relative scenarios and yet something that is intense and makes us think about our plans and life. When in one interview I read Ketan Bhagat saying that his stories begin where Chetan Bhagat's ends, I didn't take it seriously but now I can say that this book, at some point, seems to be a sequel to "2 States" where a couple is being married after too much involvement of families and then rather than "And they lived happily after", book discusses what exactly happened to their lives. :-) In short, Ketan Bhagat is someone whom you can't ignore. If he is not very good, he is definitely not someone whom you would ignore. 

            Coming to the book, let's talk about good points first. Book starts with a very good set up where this boy working in an Indian MNC suddenly gets an offer to shift Australia. His college-time girlfriend immediately talks to her parents and decides to marry him before he shifts to Australia and forgets her. The initial family drama while the talks of marriage and while marriage is something that made me laugh as much as 2 States did. Later on, the initial settling in Australia is also shown with okay-ish narration. Then the kind of involvement an abroad job demands is also powerfully and aggressively discussed. :-) The problem that a boy is unaware of before marriage is clearly shown when Kabir's tussle with newly-married wife begins. The differences shown between wife and mother can make any unmarried boy like me get scared of marriage. But Ketan Bhagat has done it well by filling the scenarios with funny statements and expressions of Kabir. Some of them are still making me chuckle. :-)

           The second half of the book is better than the first half. Kabir's situation when he comes to know about a mishap that his sister creates in India is where the book attracted me the most. How even after giving his limbs and arms to his job, he does not get his deserved credit is another pity scenario. The way he got distanced from his father made me weep. How even his mother does not invite him for a function makes me feel bad. Later when his sister invites him, made me more emotional. How he starts finding his Indian friends more emotionally connected than any in Australia (after 2 years). How he starts finding India better than Australia in every term warns us, not-yet-NRI team. :-) How he and his wife, Myra understands each other's situation is another wonderful moment in the book (in the pre-climax). These are some of the few incidents that I have put down in the review else there are many which will drive you crazy when you would be reading this tale yourself.

         Coming to the drawback, the major problem that I have with the author is that even when he promoted the book as a tale about a confused NRI residing in Australia and thinking of India as a better option always, the book is less about it and more about the differences between husband and wife after getting into a love marriage. Rest, if the author isn't talking about Kabir, his wife and his mother-in-law, he keeps on talking about Kabir's working culture and scenario. Though author has tried to give enough of Australia and its life but still, it is something that I was expecting more. I wanted to know about how, as soon as Kabir lands up in Australia, he finds difficult to adapt to the new environments and how he also finds every system far better than India. But all I got to read was stories blocked between the four enclosed walls of his rented flat in Australia. Also, the book could have been easily summed up in 250 pages. 

       Well.. but still this book is something that one shouldn't miss. And it is particularly for the people who are NRIs or are thinking to shift abroad for dollars or for systematic life unlike India's. To the first half of the book, I would give 3/5 and second half, 4.25/5. In all, 3.75/5 what I would give to the first attempt of Ketan Bhagat. 

 Thanks.

 ABHILASH RUHELA - VEERU!!!