Monday, October 29, 2018

Book Review #64: Pyjamas Are Forgiving

Name: Pyjamas Are Forgiving
Author: Twinkle Khanna
No. of Pages: 256
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Juggernaut
Price: Rs. 325/- 
Published in: 2018 

How did I get it? From the publisher. 

THE BLURB SAYS:  
There sitting on that porch, that light-eyed man, a pitta like me, was my ex-husband and that woman whose inner element I was unaware of, unless bitch is accepted as an undiscovered fourth dosha, was his young wife.

In the serene sanctuary of Kerala’s Shanthamaaya spa where food is rationed, sex forbidden and emotions centred, Anshu meets someone familiar and deeply unsettling – her ex-husband. Bittersweet, funny and wise, Pyjamas Are Forgiving confirms Twinkle Khanna as one of our great storytellers.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Twinkle Khanna is one of India’s top-selling writers and the author of two national bestsellers, Mrs Funnybones (winner of a Crossword Book Award 2016) and The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad. She is one of Times of India’s most read columnists and has won numerous awards, including India Today Woman Writer of the Year, Outlook Award for Most Inspiring Woman of the Year and Vogue Opinion Maker of the Year.

She is the founder of Mrs Funnybones Movies and in 2018 produced the highly acclaimed film Pad Man. Khanna lives in Mumbai with her family.
MY THOUGHTS: 
"Pyajamas Are Forgiving" deals with the complexities of relationship - love and marriage, and the vulnerability associated with it. The backdrop is Kerala’s serene Shanthamaaya spa. There Anshu bumps into her ex-husband Jay, who is visiting with his young new wife. As old memories and feelings get ignited, Anshu finds herself in a daunting situation. Her peers at the facility are from different walks of life, and they lend perspective to the story.

It is a simple story, dealing with complex feelings. It is Anshu's tale of finally getting a bittersweet closure on her past relationship.

Personally, I enjoy the author's non-fiction writings more than her stories. They are a delight to read. But her stories are very real. To me, they lack the magic of beautiful storytelling, but decent reads nonetheless.
I give "The Idol Thief"


Book Review #63: Ambling Indian Diaries - Jouney India

Name: Ambling Indian Diaries - Journey India
Author: Aina Rao
No. of Pages: 186
Genre: Fiction/Humour/India
Publisher: Jufic Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing)
Price: Rs. 199/- 
Published in: 2018 

How did I get it? From the publisher. 

THE BLURB SAYS:  
A fascinating journey through India, the book offers a never before take on the real India, through the eyes of the ambling indian- a new generation common man and woman, someone just like you and me.

With 31 stories woven deftly into India’s story, take a trip through the gallis, mohallas, lanes and bylanes that make up much of India. Wander around in rickety autos with Cows on the roads, the King of potholes, the Badshah of Bollywood, and take a sneak peak into Indian offices and into the IITs and IIMs, the hallowed institutions of India. Be the commoner that takes an uncommon trip through Indian cities, Bollywood, schools, slums and more, and discovers not just a country, but a new world too- an India that puzzles, amuses, makes you laugh and cry too.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Aina Rao, the author and creator of the 'Ambling Indian' character is a Silver medallist from IIT Delhi and a topper from IIM Bangalore. She is a financial services professional by training and a singer and writer by passion. Having traveled extensively across many countries and now living in Bangalore, the Indian Silicon valley, she brings her hilarious and thought-provoking experiences, ambling along as the 'aam aurat'; the common woman, to her quirky writings and talks on India. Her blog, hosted on www.amblingindian.com, has thousands of views worldwide and has featured in msn.co.in, as the editor's pick. She has also written for the Financial Times publications in London and is the author of a series of books- based on the quirky character - the ambling indian.
 
MY THOUGHTS: 

What attracted me to this book was the cover. It is vibrant, quirky and depicts India at a glance. But for me, the content didn't live up to the attractive cover.
The characters are quirky and familiar. Mangoman, Koffee Johar, potholes, cows, auto-rickshaw rides, rape, sexual harassment, real estate, journalism, media - all feature in this book. As an Indian, you will be definitely be able to connect to the characters, situations and incidents.

But I felt, that the style of writing and content lacked depth and clarity. At several places, it seemed rushed and the humour forced. However, I partly enjoyed few of the stories like "To Audit the Doctors", "Cows On The Road", "A City of Dogs" and "The King of the Potholes".

The stories has great potential.With a little depth and refinement, they can reach new heights.

I give "Ambling Indian Diaries - Journey India"


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Book Review #62: The Idol Thief

Name: The Idol Thief
Author: S. Vijay Kumar
No. of Pages: 248
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Juggernaut
Price: Rs. 499/- 
Published in: 2018 

How did I get it? From the publisher. 

THE BLURB SAYS:  
Subhash Kapoor was a New York-based antique dealer whose pieces can be seen in every major museum of the world. In October 2011 when he presented his passport at immigration in Germany, Kapoor was unceremoniously whisked away into Interpol custody. India had weeks earlier issued a red-corner notice for his arrest after connecting him to audacious idol thefts in two Tamil Nadu temples.

And when the US authorities subsequently raided Kapoor's warehouses in New York more skeletons came tumbling out of his closet. They recovered no less than $100 million worth of stolen Indian art! This was just Kapoor's inventory - he had been in business for close to four decades and the true scale of his loot is incalculable. The US declared Kapoor one of the most prolific commodities smugglers in the world.

This is the unbelievable true story of how Kapoor was caught, told by one of the men who had for years been chasing Kapoor and is still tracking idols that have passed through his hands. From complicit police officers to corrupt museum officials to jilted girlfriends and from two-faced academics to shady temple looters and smugglers - this book has it all. Prepare to be shocked at the 21st-century pillaging of India's temples by a glittering cast of suave criminals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
S. Vijay Kumar is a Singapore-based finance and shipping expert who is general manager of a leading ocean transportation company. In 2007–08 he started a blog on Indian art. In 2010 Vijay got involved with both Indian and United States law enforcement agencies that were investigating cases of idol theft and smuggling. This book is based on his association with these agencies. Vijay has played a role in the arrests of several idol thieves and smugglers. He has also successfully matched several stolen idols with pieces that have been acquired by museums, thereby ensuring their repatriation to India. This is Vijay’s first book.

MY THOUGHTS: 
"The Idol Thief" is a true story of how idols have been stolen from India's ancient temples and smuggled out of the country to be sold illegally to known organizations across the globe. It is basically written to create awareness about this underestimated crime and how one should be alert while buying antique items.

The author writes about Subhash Kapoor and his various associates and accomplices. He brings to light how people who are supposed to protect such antiques are actually facilitating such thefts, smuggling and sale. He also writes about communities and scholars who are doing their bit to protect the antiques of the country. He shares how such crimes are carried out and the  business nitty-gritty involved. He also shares details about the stolen idols and their role and history.

Overall, it is an informational book as well as an interesting book shedding light on the less popular crime of idol theft. It also seems to be good plot for a movie!

I give "The Idol Thief"