Book Review: The City of Devi


The City of Devi, by Manil Suri, is the story of Sarita and Jaz, both in search of their love, who happens to be the same person, Karun, in a war ravaged and under nuclear attack threat Mumbai. Told alternatively from the points of view of Sarita and Jaz, the story is interesting and engaging. Karun, a physicist and a closet homo-sexual, is heart-broken after being betrayed by Jaz, reluctantly moves on and marries Sarita, a statistician. Although he loves and cares for her, their relationship is not like a typical couple. Jaz, on the other hand is still madly in love with him and wants him back. The relationship and the emotional dynamics between Karun and Jaz, Karun and Sarita, and Sarita and Jaz is very well and sensitively written. You really feel the emotional turmoil these characters are undergoing. Kudos to Manil for such a brilliant portrayal of these complex characters and their interactions. Continue reading

Book Review: The Mine by Arnab Ray


“Makes you wonder if God himself is evil? Or whether what we consider the design of the devil is actually nothing but the will of God?” – Excerpt from The Mine by Arnab Ray (aka Greatbong).

To begin with, this book is a very bold attempt. I don’t remember having seen a novel in this genre by a mainstream Indian author. Such disturbingly dark pieces of art (movies/fiction/art etc.) are generally not well appreciated. As Indians, probably, we are not very comfortable with someone showing us the mirror. So, hats off to Arnab for this attempt. Continue reading

Book Review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers


“As every slumdweller knew, there were three main ways out of poverty: finding an entrepreneurial niche, as the Husains had found in garbage; politics and corruption, in which Asha placed her hopes; and education. Several dozen parents in the slum were getting by on roti and salt in order to pay private school tuition.” Excerpt from Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Pulitzer Prize winning author Katherine Boo

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Mumbai in Ink: Five Amazing Novels About Mumbai


Some stories are about people, some are about people living in a city, and some are about cities with people living in it. Most stories set up in Mumbai belong to the last category. The role played by Mumbai in the narrative is so powerful that it becomes an inseparable part of the story, one of the main characters, sometimes even more important than the main characters. Mumbai in these novels is not just a prop, it’s the hero (some times the villain), it is what defines these stories. Put Mumbai out of these, and these stories are dead. Continue reading

Book Review: Asura – Tale of the Vanquished


Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan is the story of Ravan, the primary antagonist in the Hindu Mythological Epic Ramayan. Instead of portraying Ravan as a devil and Ram as a God incarnate, Anand has attempted to depict the human nature of the characters, which is more grey than either black or white. Anand has taken well-known mythological facts and weaved a very imaginative and ingenious story around it. Continue reading

Book Review: Narcopolis


Narcopolis

“Because, said Dimple, it isn’t the heroin that we’re addicted to, it’s the drama of the life, the chaos of it, that’s the real addiction and we never get over it; and because, when you come down to it, the high life, that is, the intoxicated life, is the best of the limited options we are offered – why would we choose anything else?” – Excerpts from Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

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Kindle Single Review: A Face in the Crowd


Dean Evers, an old widower who lives alone, spends most of his time watching baseball games on television. Then he starts seeing familiar faces from his past in the game crowd. These are people who are long gone and each of them reminds him of some guilt or regret from his past life. Things take an interesting turn when he sees himself sitting in the crowd. Continue reading

Book Review: How Parking Enforcement Stole My Soul


“…it’s the story of my journey of learning that a job is more than just a job. It affects who you are, your character” – excerpt from How Parking Enforcement Stole My Soul by Ben Friedrich

How Parking Enforcement Stole My Soul is the autobiographical story of how Ben’s life and character are affected because of his job as a parking enforcement officer – his transition from an easy-going and friendly person who was considered by mothers as an ideal companion for their homely daughters to being grumpy, sadistic and a jerk. On a broader level, it is about the stress and emotional turmoil which results from doing things in your job which your heart and soul are not in agreement with, and the impact it will have on your physical and psychological well-being. Continue reading

Breathtaking Trailer: Life of Pi


Life of Pi is one of the novels which I always considered “un-film-able”. I mean most of it is just a boy and a tiger in a boat with limitless sea all around. As gripping and exciting the story is (I am currently reading it for the second time and enjoying every moment of it), I was never able to imagine a movie out of it. Continue reading