Private India – Blogadda Book Reviews Program

Title: Private India
Author(s): James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi
Language: English
Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Crime
Publisher: Arrow/Random House India, Year Published: 2014 July
Pages: 480
ISBN-13: 9780099586395 , ISBN-10: 0099586398

I first heard that Ashwin Sanghi was working with James Patterson on a novel set in India, at the beginning of this year, at ‘The Hindu Lit for Life Literature Festival’ in Chennai. The announcement had me excited because JP is a master-writer spinning plot upon plot and is I believe among the rare few people who does not suffer from Writer’s Block. The prolific output of work is testimony to the statement above :)

JP surprisingly was a recent entrant in my reading list; read one of his books about three years back and then a friend gave me a full bunch of his ebooks with about 15 or 17 of his works and it was an absolute blast reading his books.

Ashwin Sanghi has won the title of India’s Dan Brown and his books have found success with the steady mix of history, mythology, science and politics. I enjoyed ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ and look forward to reading more of his solo-efforts.

Now let me tell you a bit about my reading tastes – I am a bit crazy about serial killers and murder mysteries. There was a time when I hoped I would go on to do an MPhil and a PhD and my thesis would be ‘Serial Killers in Fiction and Reality’. Well fate had other plans and all I do is read books and write reviews when time permits. Jo Nesbo has been the single biggest novelist who has managed to charm his way into the hearts of readers with his Harry Hole series and his translator deserves equal merit.

Now moving back to ‘Private India':

In Mumbai, women are being strangled and killed with a yellow scarf. Strange motifs and symbols are being placed next to their corpses. Private India, a team of super exclusive private investigators is brought into action and headed by Santosh Wagh, ex RAW, the team of Nisha Gandhe (ex Mumbai CID), Hari Padhi (tech wizard) and Mubeen (forensic expert) take it upon themselves to try and find the killer before he strikes again.

Step-by-step the case unravels, the book is paced fast and lots of secrets tumble out. I do not want to add too many details as this would make reading the book boring. The book is a great read for those unfamiliar with the works of JP. To seasoned readers of books by JP and other crime-thriller masters; this book is a bit of a letdown.

It is evident that the descriptions of Mumbai references to the various forms of the Goddess and the Navrathri are by Ashwin Sanghi – but somewhere deep down I felt this book was going like a bit of a tour guide for international readers. Somewhere there seems to be a disconnect, I am just not able to put it clearly, perhaps I am wrong and it is my personal viewpoint. May be if I had not read any of JP’s books before I would have waxed eloquent and offered five stars. Read some of JP’s earlier books and you will feel the difference.

Mahesh’s Rating: Three stars out of five for this thriller.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

JUICE by Mohit Jain – Book Review

This is the second book that I have received from ace-teacher, inspirational speaker and author – Mohit Jain. The previous book that I had reviewed was Four Corners of the Circle. You can read the review here.

J.U.I.C.E. stands for – ‘Join us in creating education’

The book has an intriguing cover in blue – with the outline of a cocktail glass designed with various words.

juice

The book focuses on explaining tough and complicated principles in management and economics through simple tales that can be easily understood and retained in memory.

One of the other aspects that I liked in this book are numerous illustrations and cartoons with some text in them. These ensure that readers are not bored and the interest in the book is maintained throughout.

The writer takes various incidents from his own life – his stint in Direct Marketing, his evolution as a teacher and motivational speaker and uses these incidents to cover a number of topics that are part of the curriculum in all management programmes.

I would love to write more about this book – but then it would rob potential readers the joy of reading the concepts that have been explained in easy to understand ‘no-nonsense’ style.

My only sore-point with the book is some spelling errors that have crept in – then again the message and the value of this book to management and economics students is much higher than the minor irritant of a few spelling mistakes.

I would whole heartedly recommend this book to students; please buy this book. I wish I had read this book, when I was younger :)

Buy from Flipkart.

Priced at just Rs 199 – equivalent to a movie-ticket and parking at a multiplex – please invest money in this book – you will not be disappointed.

The Goddess to the Rescue

‘Brennen beginnen die Waffen'(Commence firing the guns) – Captain Karl von Müller’s voice was clear; the darkness of the night was suddenly illuminated with flames as the oil tanks exploded. The labourers in Madras Harbour were in deep sleep and it was absolute chaos. An alarm began ringing somewhere; the British officers lulled in a false sense of security never realised what hit the Madras Harbour.

As Captain Karl continued to oversee the attack – a strange apparition appeared before him. He was in absolute shock – it was an Indian lady with dark skin, long hair, deep red eyes and a red silk saree draped around her. From where had she come? Karl rubbed his eyes thinking it was a hallucination – but the lady stood before him – visible only to him.

She said nothing – all she indicated with a swift move of her arm was – ‘Leave at once’. Karl was a Christian and not necessarily a God-fearing man; but this vision was a bit too much for him as the lady vanished as suddenly as she had arrived.

‘Rückzug’ (retreat) – shouted Karl and the ship ‘Emden’ left as swiftly as it had entered the harbour.

The guarding spirit of the city of Madras had saved her! Was it Goddess Kali? We do not know!

All we know is that if Karl had wanted he could have inflicted maximum damage to the city of Madras but he chose not to and the city now known as Chennai marches proudly into its 375th year of existence.

Learn more about the Madras Day Competition organised by the British Council.

Arunachala Animal Sanctuary – Where Love is God is!

The Arunachala Animal Sanctuary was established by Mr. Leslie Robinson a yogi whose love for animals is deep and profound and reflects in the care that he bestows on every creature. Ably supported by Dr Raja, Dr Arun and support staff – Shekar, Mani, Vishwa and a few more people whose names I do not recollect. This group of people protects and cares for abandoned animals, accident victims with unconditional love. There are a number of dogs and a couple of monkeys in the sanctuary now. Squirrels, donkeys, cows and calves, pigeons and crows and other birds all the beautiful creatures of the Lord have received care and love here. Stray dogs in Tiruvanamalai are sterilized and over the years there has been a significant control in the number of strays and incidents of human-dog conflict.

It was an overwhelming experience at the Sanctuary and as I spoke to Dr. Raja and Mr. Leslie, I realized the value of their selfless service. Currently around 175 dogs and around a dozen puppies are there at the sanctuary. The dogs have been hurt, are strays or abandoned pets. All of them receive care, love and warmth. When a dog relieves itself the place is mopped immediately, there is no flinching, no fear or worry, all I found here is love lots of love. The dogs started barking when they saw me for the first time then they came to me sniffing and settled down comfortably. If you are suddenly accosted by 30 odd dogs of all shapes and sizes, you do not jump, run, shout or be angry. You remain calm, patient and let the dogs know subtly that you are a friend.

The Sanctuary also provides veterinary support to people who bring their pets for treatment and those who can afford to pay are requested to make a donation. The main diet is milk, rice, vegetables and nutrient supplements a mix of Ayurvedic and Allopathic medicines. Every month at least 750 to 800 kilos of rice are needed, every day at least 30 to 40 litres of milk if not more is needed. The wonderful people who do this service need Rs 4.5 lakhs every month to foot expenses and manage day-to-day activities.

Stats:

Since the shelter opened in January, 2007, they have:

  • Performed 5,192 ABC sterilizations.
  • Given 8,561 anti-rabies injections (the homeless dog population is rabies free…people bitten still have to get the anti-rabies serum injections…there’s always the remote possibility that a dog had been bitten by a rabid bat, or other wild animal)
  • Gone out on 1,638 emergency rescues. (In the last twelve months, averaged 45 rescues a month).
    Had 20,879 out-patient visits for treatment in the clinic. (And have seen over 4,000 “owner dogs”…That’s a guesstimate).
  • Given 64,442 in-patient treatments.
  • Found good homes for 633 puppies/dogs, and 12 cats/kittens.
  • Treated 1,812 animals other than dogs: 327 cats, 480 birds, 373 cows & calves, 354 goats, lambs, & sheep, 71 monkeys, 83 rabbits, 12 squirrels, 28 donkeys, 3 pigs, 24 peacocks, 18 parrots, 3 eagles, 14 horses, 3 bullocks, 6 deer, 2 snakes, 5 turkeys, 1 owl, and 5 ducks.

I humbly request the readers of this blog to please visit their Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/arunachalasanctuary

Also their website – http://cms.arunachalasanctuary.com/

No donation is too small no contribution is insignificant. The Sanctuary needs your help and support. I humbly request you to help them.

Make cheque payable to “Arunachala Animal Sanctuary & Rescue Shelter” and mail to:
Arunachala Animal Sanctuary & Rescue Shelter
Chengam Road, Next to Government Arts College
Tiruvannamalai 606 603 Tamil Nadu, India
Important: Include a note with your name, address, and email address
 
Please write to – arunachalashelter@yahoo.com for more details and options to transfer money online.

Also do read:
http://www.anaflora.com/articles/fe-ther-ani/india-shelter.html
http://richardarunachala.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/puppy-pooja-at-arunachala-animal-shelter/

We can make a difference – I have belief that my readers love creatures big and small and they will offer support.

In you my dear readers I place my trust. Thanks with Grace!!!

Dear Uncle Robbie

Dear Uncle Robbie,
You are no longer,
With us in person,
But you shall always,
Remain in our hearts,
In our minds and thoughts.

Be it a man dressing up,
As a middle-aged lady,
Trying to save his marriage,
From falling apart.

An English teacher inspiring,
A room full of students.
Inspiring a generation of kids,
To puruse Literature.

The radio jockey in Vietnam,
Cheering up soldiers,
With witty one-liners,
Ruffling up feathers,
And raising laughter.

So many roles,
So many characters,
So many smiles,
All reduced to tears!

Wherever you are now,
I am sure you are,
Safer and happier,
And are no longer,
A tormented soul.

Dear Uncle Robbie,
Our prayers are there,
In support and grace,
For your family and friends.

Finally you have been set FREE!
Take care my captain,
For I know,
Perhaps this too is a role,
That you are playing out.
Oh Captain! My dearest Captain!

Lines from “Dead Poets Society’
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

“We’re not laughing at you – we’re laughing near you.”

“There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.”

A genius who was too talented, a manic energy that radiated from him, a life full of worries and battles with himself, his inner demons and alcohol. Finally the mind caved in and he chose to end his life. Wherever he is I hope he has found solace. R.I.P. Robin Williams!

Fall Like a Rose Petal – Book Review

Title of the Book – Fall Like a Rose Petal : A Father’s Lessons on How to be Happy and Content While Living without Money
Author – AVIS Viswanathan
ISBN – 9789384030445
Genre – Self-Help/Motivation
Publisher – Westland
Pages – 322

href=”https://teerthadanam.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/flrp.jpg”>FLRP
Description on the Amazon India website:<a
In early 2008, the author AVIS Viswanathan and Vaani his soul-mate, friend, wife and business partner were staring at a bankruptcy of their Firm. A series of business decisions had literally brought them to the brink of penury. This book is their story. It captures learnings from this excruciatingly painful, Life-changing, phase that they are still going through. It also explores the nature and continuum of Life. There is no beginning to the story. There is no end either. There are simply experiences. Of hopelessness. Of fear. Of insolvency. Of pennilessness. And also of faith, patience, love, companionship, abundance and soul. Of integrity and of leading a principled Life, despite temptations to take the easy way out of painful or messy situations. This book has been written to share how AVIS and his family have learned to be happy despite their circumstances. You too can benefit from their learning, and experience, and discover the right way of thinking, living, working and winning in Life for yourself!

About Avis:
AVIS Viswanathan (47) is a happiness curator, Life Coach, inspired speaker, author and organizational transformation consultant who leads change management, culture and leadership development mandates in the corporate sector globally.

I had the good fortune of attending the launch of this gem of a book and I finished reading the book the next day. On an average I finish reading at least two or three pieces of fiction (novels) a week. Non-fiction and self-help are genres that I read rarely. Books on spirituality and self-enquiry are a completely different box of chocolates and I do indulge myself in these treats once in a while.

This particular book – ‘Fall Like a Rose Petal’ – chronicles the incredible journey of a family; a husband, wife and their son and daughter. From being one of the top-notch entrepreneurs in a niche business area and finding success in every stream, to staring at abject penury and bankruptcy and being chased by 179 creditors. The book is an incredible true-life tale of survival, courage, faith and self-respect.

All good things come in small packages, the book has a minimalist yet powerful cover image of a single rose petal and the title of the book in black lettering on a white background. The book will definitely stand out in any store.

Sounds interesting right???? I am transferring you to my website now which has the full in-depth review. Do read the full review and please do buy the book!

Kishore da an Enduring Love Affair

One wonders if Rajesh Khanna would have enthralled a million hearts if Kishore da had not voiced some of the biggest chart-busters of the first superstar. The same holds good for some top songs of Big-B. Kishore Kumar fondly known to his legion of followers as Kishore da was the younger brother of Ashok Kumar a fascinating actor who enthralled three generations of movie-lovers. But this post is not about Dadamoni it is about Kishore da and what he means to me.

The Indian cinematic system is a strange one, for over a 100 years we have been making movies, once audio came in – song and dance became integral to the movie-making process. The early years of the talkies saw singers who became successful stars; as the years progressed and war and revolution and independence and nation-building commenced the public wanted bonafide stars who could dance, fight, sing emote and a hundred other things from horse-riding to archery.

Playback singing in Bollywood from KL Saigal and Mukesh and Mohammed Rafi all legends in their own right brought out the nuances of the characters on screen. When Kishore Kumar burst upon the scene; he had the fortune of powerful rhythmic tunes, great lyrics and some of the best looking actors of the time. Kishore also acted and produced movies; he had immense success as a comic star. Half-ticket, Funtoosh, Padosan are wonderful for the manic wit of the star.

This post is about the songs, the power, the pain, the anguish and paranoia of a genius whose personal life was a mess; his wives left him; he had so many acquaintances and contacts but no true friend; a loner whose only solace was the songs that he sung and the satge shows that would become an integral part of the last decade of his life.

When I read the tributes that appear in newspapers, magazines and websites, I wonder, what is the price of fame and success? The anguish that the performer’s soul undergoes but still manages to ring crystal clear like a bell and sing, dance and act. There are somethings that just cannot be understood or explained. Sometimes i fear for myself when I realize all my heroes in real life and in fiction are loners who die a sad anguished death. Guru Dutt, Hemingway, Sahir Ludhianvi, Charlie Chaplin; the list just goes on. Perhaps it is a Piscean trait that loners bond together – I just don’t know!

In times like these when one just reflects on one’s solitude and pain there is just music for company, just music!