Monday Musings(30.07.18)– Cycle of Life and Profession

Hello everyone.

I have been lost for a long time. But then this is the place I always intended to return too. Apologies for vanishing and for not being able to fulfill the promises to myself and to my readers.

Recently, I was talking to my office colleague when I told him, “Sometimes the life just gets too real.” We all poked and made fun of the statement, but that is what really happened. I was in some weird funk– I had no will to read, no will to write, no will to watch anything worthwhile. All that I have done in past few months is browsing of Netflix and watching the things which call for no-brain and which I probably won’t even think of watching otherwise. But then few weeks back, this all changed. I have a diary full of words (not good ones though). I had my will to read and write again. My life is still a mess — personally and professionally, but I have an idea of “Plan B”, and I guess that is what really matters for now.

Today’s musing is about the cycle of “life” and “profession”. I have been reading a book called Magpie Murders which is a murder mystery. There is one thing that I want to discuss which is triggered by the book. The book mentions Agatha Christie and how she did not like Poirot. I remember reading one article in Guardian about something like this. I could not find the right article, but here is the link of something similar. The article mentions how she was bored to tears by her own creation of Hercules Poirot. She goes ahead and gives advice which speaks volumes about her “love” for the character.

I would give one piece of advice to young detective writers. Be very careful what central character you create – you may have him with you for a very long time!

In one interview, her grandson had confessed that she wanted to create more characters but was never allowed because Poirot sold the best.

And this made me wonder– how our own actions end up creating a cage for us? Agatha Christie has Poirot as her own cage which does not allow her to move beyond to other characters. Arthur Conan Doyle had Sherlock which overshadowed his other works and ambitions. I do remember reading something similar about Milne who wrote Winnie-The-Pooh.

This just set the series of thoughts on how we all end up imprisoning ourselves in the stories we write. I am in somewhat a similar situation, and perhaps, that is why these thoughts are plaguing me. I have not created a character, but I have created an illusion of comfortable life which is obstructing me from moving to other passions of life. I don’t have agents and publishers to fight with, but I do carry the burden of some expectations. How does one end this cycle of “profession” ? Is it like the cycle of “life” which ends only after the death? Or is there a way to get out of this cycle?

Do you also have some “characters”–fictional or real– which have imprisoned you in the life that you have?

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Breach- A Book Club Book Review

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When this book was put for review, I was told that this is the book by the woman who leads Mills & Boons in India. Of course, since I live under the rock, I had never heard about the author Amrita Chaudhary. The only reason I picked up the book was I wanted to know was how a famous publisher writes and why was the whole Indian reading community knew about her except me (I already told the reason for this. I live under the rock! :P) And the book didn’t disappoint me. I planned to read one hour daily, but once I started reading, I was so engrossed in the book that I couldn’t keep it down. I finally rested my eyes  when I finally finished the book i.e. after five and a half hour of reading.

Book Summary

Breach is about the cyber security crime. It starts with Acel which is ready to file the patent for cancer-curing drug in the market. The data and all the details are taking place under the observant eye of Uday Veer in India. But everything goes haywire when some data gets corrupted and the whole Indian team is blamed for their ineptness. The book is about the search for the culprit through the maze of masked online identities. Introduced are a range of characters from teenagers to the local goons who are either the party to cyber crime or victim to cyber crime.

What I liked

1) The Intricacy of the Cyber Crime: That was the first thing that pulled me. I am an engineer but I am not tech savvy in the field of software or hardware or internet general. My knowledge is pretty basic when it comes to the online things. That’s why I enjoyed reading all the things that were shown. I am not sure how much of that can really happen (I do think that most of it can happen!) but it was interesting and a bit fearing to read about all the cyber crime thing.

2) Characters : I think this was the strongest part of the book for me. There were quite a number of characters in the story, but none of them was painted white or black. They were neither good, nor bad. I actually sympathized with all the villains and shook my head at some stupidity of the heroes.

3) Teenagers: The teenager characters of Raghu and Madhu deserve a special mention here. I absolutely adored their story. I don’t have any reasons for it, but these two were my favorite characters in the story.

What I Disliked

1) Small Errors: The book was quite well-edited but still I found some small errors in it. I would not have mentioned these anywhere else, but this is a publisher-written book. At least this book should have been error-free, although I wonder if there really are error-free books.

2) Too many characters in the beginning: There were just too many characters introduced in the story in the initial chapters. This made the beginning a bit slow, but the story finally caught the pace in the middle.

Overall Summary: It was an interesting book. I usually don’t enjoy thrillers too much, but this book was fun. A good read after a long time.

My Rating:

Four Stars

Meet the Author

Amrita Verma Chowdhury is the author of Faking It, an art crime thriller about fake modern and contemporary Indian art.
She holds engineering degrees from IIT Kanpur and UC Berkeley, where she was a Jane Lewis Fellow, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon (Tepper Business School). Her work as an engineer in Silicon Valley led to seven US patents for semi-conductor fabrication – something to show for those bad-haired days. She has done Strategy Consulting and Board Effectiveness work in the US and Australia and has spent long nights fitting five-syllable words inside two-by-two squares. She has worked in the rarefied bastions of Ivy League education bringing together ideas and people. She currently works in publishing.
She lives in Mumbai with her husband Sumit, their two children Shoumik and Aishani, and an assortment of pets including a cocker spaniel, a guinea pig and two turtles. She loves travelling, baking cupcakes with her daughter and hearing from her readers.
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Second Chances: A Monday Musing (Feb 16)

I know I have forgotten to put my musings on Monday, but I always remember to post my musing on some other day, then decide to wait for Monday and finally end up forgetting it.

Made sense? No? Don’t worry. My thoughts rarely make sense.

Anyway, for the uninitiated, the Musing Monday is a weekly meme hosted at Should be Reading wherein we are asked to talk about the book we are reading, and well since I love musing, the post tend to turn into something else.

These days I am re-reading Judith Mcnaught’s book called Perfect.  I adore this book. I have read it many times, but its story moves me every time I read it. This time, this story about second opportunities came along with my friend sharing her V-Day pics in which she had prepared a whole room and everything for her husband. It was all very sweet, except for one fact that this is their second chance. Her husband had been violent towards her in past and had turned over to a new leaf(her words, not mine). They had been fighting for divorce just one and a half year back, and now she prepared a valentine day’s surprise for him.

This left me wondering that was it possible to forgive past transgressions just because you love someone? To what extent one can make peace with the past? The characters of Judith Macnaught novel have to travel only through the blames, but my dear friend even forgave her husband for all that violence and heartbreak.

I seem to have wandered in some tangent here; I guess that’s what my musing is all about– is it really possible to forgive someone or is it just a compromise?

Angelic Beats– The Book Club Book Review

Angelic Beats 
By 
Sarita Singh
 
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Summary
There are many books which deal with adultery; there are many books which deal with the topic of older-heroine-younger-hero, but there are not many books which portray such a relationship in positive light.  That was the reason I picked up this book and finished it.
Angelic Beats is the story of a boy in his late teens who falls in love with a married woman. Both defy their ages; the woman for her looks and innocence and the boy for his confidence and clarity in life along with integrity. The journey of the boy for his passion also becomes journey of love for both that finally takes them to more meaningful destinations. It unfolds the changing perspective of a young boy and a married woman in various situations of life treading the path of love and success together.
What I liked:
1) Subject of the story: This story is more about how this romance inspired the characters to attain their dreams. I don’t believe in adultery as such, but then, I also know that love doesn’t announce itself before appearing in anyone’s life. I have read many books which preach that such a relationship is wrong, but I never found a book which shows how love changed the person. Sometimes, weeds are necessary before growing the crops. So, it fascinated me to read the different viewpoint in the book. The book didn’t sit on judgement, it neither says whether the relationship is right or wrong; it just portrays the effect it had on the characters.
What I disliked
1) Inadequate editing: The book can do with another round of editing to clean up all those missed up errors and those telling scenarios.
2) Underdeveloped side-characters-  This seems like my second problem with most of the book. Even with universal POV, the secondary characters are relegated no pages. They deserve their own stories, their own reactions too. I wished to know more about the secondary characters of the book.
Overall Opinion
It’s a very thin book–the kind which can be finished in one reading, but it left me with so many questions. I don’t think the subject is easily digestible for everyone as it actually doesn’t condone adultery, but for me, it was fun to unravel this other side of the story. The adultery and the age-gap(cougar-ism) are my second and third favorite topics to read on. So the book was fun for me.  Although it’s not mentioned anywhere, I also wondered if this is a sort of biography.
Three Stars

Meet the Author


The author, Sarita Singh, is a post-graduate in chemistry with a post-graduate diploma in mass communications. Born and brought up in Panipat, Haryana, she has been married to a doctor and is blessed with a son. The author is a state civil services (allied) officer, who has also taught in various institutions earlier. Reading and writing have always been a part of Sarita Singh who used to write her diary from a very young age. Like many others, she too loves gossiping and enjoying with friends and family as she loves spending time with them. The author believes in a few optimistic thoughts: “I am alright, I am happy where I am now, but I wish to be somewhere else. And I will try for it.”

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Ri – Homeland of Uncertainty : A Book Club Review

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Ri – Homeland of Uncertainty

by 

Paulami Duttagupta 

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There are many movies which are based on books, but I haven’t come across many stories which are based on movies. That was the reason I picked up this book. Besides, this book talks about the terrorism in Meghalya which is an unexplored topic for me. I, as  a North Indian, can go on and on about the terror and how it has changed life of people in states like Rajasthan, Punjab and Kashmir, but ask me about the problems of eastern India, and I’d be totally blank. That was the second reason I decided to read the book.

Ri- Homeland of Uncertainty is adapted from the National Award Winning Khasi film by the same name.
Trapped in the limbo between ideology and conscience, Manbha finds him himself part of a terror outfit. An unexpected opportunity, anger, squalor and disillusionment – followed by and armed combat and injury lead to the soul- searching that form the substance of this moving tale.

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What I Liked

1) Realistic Ideologies – There are two sides to everything that we see. The police we curse has a story too; the reporters who glorify the terrorist or police has a story too; even terrorists have their own stories. The book doesn’t hesitate to give either of them a good or bad story, it just expresses it.

2) The Hope – The terrorist, the brain-washed people, the communism– can we change that? Is there a way out? I don’t know, neither do I believe it’s possible. The book also doesn’t answer the question, but it does express the hope that the world can change one person at a time.

What I disliked

1) Narrative treatment : I hate writing this and I’m tired of writing this. I didn’t get to feel the action of the story. I loved the way thoughts were expressed; the plot was interesting, but the narrative style made it boring for me.

2) Backstories: I wanted to know more about the characters. It was like the book dropped me in the middle of the war without introducing the people associated with the characters. I wished to know more of their history.

Overall Opinion

A book worth reading as it shows the terrorism and infiltration issues beyond Kashmir.

Three Stars

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Girl From Fatehpur– A Book Review

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The first thing that attracted me towards this book was its cover. By now, you all must have guessed that I love beautifully done covers. A story might be told in words, but the cover artists also tells a story (which might or might not coincide with the book), and this book has a kind of cover which makes me want to frame it and keep it in my living room. 🙂

I love you Rajan,” she had blurted out, hands clenched tightly at her sides.

“Sana, you are only a kid…you will soon forget all this. Besides, don’t you also love Shahrukh Khan?”

A decade has gone by and Sanjana, now a highflying professional in Mumbai, had thought she was over her childhood crush on Rajan. However, a chance encounter at a family wedding in her hometown Fatehpur re-kindles all her old feelings for him. But what about Krish, her persistent suitor who is also a senior colleague in the office? He just will not take no for an answer! His unexpected arrival in Fatehpur results in heated rivalry between the two men.

Will the ensuing tension and misunderstanding put an end to all her hopes of happiness? Her first love Rajan, or Krish, her handsome eligible colleague…who will win Sanjana’s impulsive heart?

The description above tells you the complete story. What it doesn’t tell you, you can guess. This is a predictable romance in which boy meets(re-meets) the girl and then they fall in love and live happily every after. The story is about what happens between these three points.

What I liked

I won’t say the book had stunning visual or language to keep me enraptured. But it’s a romance– the kind which makes you smile at times and frown at others, the kind which you have gone through(sans some drama and cliche scene), it’s the kind of romance which one sees in Bollywood movies. There are many cliches in the story, but then cliches are cliches for a reason.

 

What I didn’t like

1) Linear secondary characters: I think I have been spoiled by all the Korean dramas I watch. In those dramas, the second lead is such an amazing character that you want the heroine to go with the second lead instead of the hero. They’re so beautifully crafted characters that you want to go and give them a hug for not getting the heroine. But in this book, the second lead was meh! I didn’t like him a one bit and had kept on wondering how can even one think about such a person. Not only the second lead, the other secondary characters felt a bit flat to me too.

2) Language : I’m not against a simply written book, but against a book which tells like a narrative. This book is a better attempt at not telling the things, but still there are times when the voice turned too narrative for my taste. Furthermore, the book kept oscillating between universal and third person POV.

Overall View

It’s a very small read. I finished it in two and a half hours. It’s kind of book one can read and enjoy on a lazy afternoon when the heavy tomes and complicated plots can be lost in the drooping eyes.

Three Stars

(IM) Possibility of book-kind romance– Musing Monday (Jan 5, 2015)

Hello all. Musing Monday is  a meme from Should be Reading where in we talk about our bookish rants musings.

The book which induced this rant : Girl from FatehPur

(This is not the book review, but a general view of romance that I read sometimes).

The romance sometimes show quite interesting fairytale-ish kind of things, and every time  I see such things, I am left wondering if this kind of romance is possible or not.

1) Meeting your first crush, recognizing him/her and crushing on them again— My first crush was some 20 years ago (I’m almost 30 in case you’re curious). Then I changed schools and the crush got lost somewhere on the tracks of life. Now suppose if tomorrow I meet him, I’m sure I won’t recognize him, and I’m double sure I won’t even like him because I’ve turned into this awesome diva  I know my tastes have changed a lot since then. Moreover, I expect he would be happily married (I know this for sure after as I did research for my post.)

But the way novels portray it, people meet after twenty, thirty or fifty years and still they know each other instantly. Moreover, there is no hesitation in going out with that person. My question is time is huge factor. What if they have turned into terrorist or they have joined some gang or something of that sort?

2) Carrying someone in arms (bride-style) — I know guys are strong and they have worked out in gym picking those weights, but carrying a human is altogether a different deal. Most of the guys I like(d) have been on lighter side as compared to me. I am pretty much sure that they’ll either fall down themselves or break their back if they tried to pick me even for two steps. I have seen guys practicing the lifts in dance (have practiced it myself for a week), and I am pretty much sure that if ever a guy had to carry me, it won’t be a romantic moment.

So I’m left wondering — whether this kind of romance is truly possible? Or if romance novels need an up-gradation on thought process.

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