The Demon Hunter of Chottanikkara – S V Sujatha a Book Review

 

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Aleph Book Company
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 9789386021090, 9386021099
  • Edition: 1, 2017
  • Pages: 200

The story of the demon hunter of Chottanikkara is a super natural  thriller in a unique way. Probably if you know the place and the temple you would more than easily understand the background and appreciate the story telling. That was one of the reasons that actually got me to read this book.

This is a very interesting read because it bares the human limitations and weakness to a level that it is really scary what people can do in some instances.

The portrayal of Devi is a classic case of the super natural among the human and it is very vivid and down to earth and makes her a hero of the masses with an earthen attitude. The all powerful and the rustic portrayal and especially the food habits etc make it a part of the folklore and how the temple manifestation is a pointer in a way. I loved the fearlessness that is so easy going with the character which makes the people worship her. The background and the minute details especially of the rituals and the way the demon is hunted makes for a great reading. I think the story of Kannappa – a thief turned father here adds to the emotional drama.

The characters are so well sketched to make you sit up and though I would say the plot could have been a bit intense towards the end, the story at some point midway almost give away the secret.

I liked the interlude of Parasurama, for me the mythological aspect of him being a Chiranjeevi and his relationship with Kerala are quite folklore and so loved the aspect of his characterisation.

The author has written a beautiful prose and the story telling is fast paced but could have led to the climax and plot in a more intense way and it would have been a better presentation. As for the pace I took three sessions to finish this book.

I was also wondering the date of this story. Absolutely vivid story telling, and simple narrative prose for reading, this book gives you a different perspective on exorcism and rituals.

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book Review Program. Thank You Flipkart for your copy!

Best Stories From Around the World by Deepa Agarwal – Book Review

 

book cover

  • Reading level: 8 – 12 years
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India (2 June 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8129147386
  • ISBN-13: 978-8129147387
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm

Absolutely a delightful read, each of the stories took me back to the childhood. Timelessness is not easy but then the authors in this collection are not ordinary human beings for that matter. So when you get to put some of the best names in a collection the result obviously is going to be something extra ordinary and to that effect I am very thankful to the Editor Deepa Agarwal here.

She has chosen some of the best works from around the world literally. Who can ever forget the Gift of the Magi, or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, I liked some of those stories that will remain etched in life for the sheer magic that they create and make you spell bound when they close.

The story Open Window  by Saki is a classic example of narration and holding you by the wits with the childish innocence that can transform things in a great way! The little girl simply knows what she was doing or does she?

I relished the Freedom the story which actually looks at the present set of police and how the Freedom fighter thinks he can be the same as against the British.

You cant miss the Red Room by HG Wells or the story Dare for its narrative excellence and how it gives you a twist.

One of the relatively longer stories is Saritha Kamakshi makes a mistake by Jerry Pinto makes for a wonderful reading and just gives us glimpses of lives of people around us.

The Accursed House makes for a wonderful reading especially how it makes fun of the character and how things go for a slide, very well articulated and the story stands out for its sheer black humour.

All in all a great set of stories with varied background and delivered by masters story tellers. One thing about the Short story collection is you don’t have to go page by page, you could start reading a new story at will and so I did not read it in sequence as a matter of fact but got to read all the stories. Some were known and had that affinity to re read it at a fast pace.

The editor  Deepa Agarwal has taken pains to present the same without any changes in the way it was told.

Thanks a lot Rupa / Red Turtle for the copy and I am sure this will brighten the days of many who read and those around too!

Pick your copy here: Amazon

Looking for the Rainbow by Ruskin Bond – Book Review

 

Ruskin Bond_Looking for the Rainbow

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House India
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 9780143441076, 0143441078
  • Edition: NA, 2017
  • Pages: 96

Little did I know that the impact of the book will continue to linger forever,  I cannot express in words which  I am trying here, the sheer magic this book will weave on you. I am sure this is gonna be a classic that will be held for long even after we are all gone. Yes you must read this book to know how it feels and the experience will transform you for sure…

That the master story teller had such an emotion hidden so long is itself a mystery and the way it has been presented in such magnitude to us is sheer charm with a wonderful streak of innocence and boyhood that can only be the signature of Ruskin Bond.

The story of a boy who lost his only relationship worthy of emulation and the year that he got to be with him is beyond compare in the way the story is narrated.

The story telling gets you riveted till the last page and tears well up as you close the book, the God here has been so cruel in the way it made the decision to call his father back. The way he reacts and the story of the stamps and how it ends up will linger long.

After a long time, I just got immersed in this book, it was like living close to the author travelling with him, the innocent narration of his world outlook as he decides to mingle with his friends on the street or get better off with his friends at the boarding school.

The illustrations add life to the narration and we have to complement Mihir for his work. Some pictures actually show the emotions so well you would easily take it for real.

I read the blurb at the back of the book after the book has been finished actually and then it dawned on me that I was literally having a Classic in the making in my hands.

I think after a long time, after R K Narayan’s Swami and Friends this one was perhaps the most engaging with some parallels in time – the pre independent India and the like. The letter to be written also was a part of Swami & Friends’ climax.

On another side you will relive some of the childhood days where there was no digital stuff say a phone like now or a TV or internet. Collection of stamps was a big hobby and it was a window to the world as much as the author explains. Hope some of those traits gets to our generation.

A word of thanks is due to the Flipkart Review Program for their copy and this opportunity. Thanks a ton Flipkart (Vivek), this will remain special! I suggest you must definitely pick a copy if you have kids at home. The more I read Ruskin Bond, the better I realise things as a parent, perhaps that is the best part of the master story teller.

You can pick a copy here : Flipkart

Anywhere But Home by Anu Vaidyanathan – a book review

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • ISBN: 9789351775249, 9351775240
  • Edition: 2016

This is one book for anyone who is into running the Marathon as a hobby and then there is some serious stuff if you ask me beyond that. The basic premise about the Marathon and the attitude and the practice that makes it perfect is all there with wit and a narrative that will be so light on you as you read the book.

As for me the book is a narrative in inspiration of can do and must do and how you overcome the odds that present itself when you want to do it. It’s an inspirational first person account of how you should go about things in your pursuit of your goal, not necessarily the one – the marathon or the Ultra Marathon that the author does it as the first Asian woman to finish the race.

When you do things you love, everything gets relegated and especially your weaknesses and then there you are running and fighting it out. The result will make you wonder how did you do it and that’s the best part of the whole training and marching all the way to the goal.

Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian woman to complete Ultraman Canada: a punishing 10-kilometre swim, a 420-kilometre bike ride and an 84.4-kilometre run. She placed sixth. Which is breath-taking. But what is your typical good Indian girl, super-nerd doing at the Ultraman?

This book is also a go to guide for the best Marathon that you may want to run the world over. There are experiences from Canada to New Zealand to US of A. Infact there are stories that will teach you to be a good negotiator, be spend thrift and also gives you ample access to what you can expect at these marathon races.

This first person account will help you get off your seat and try some real active life and can work wonders that way. May be its not the Ultraman but yes go kick yourself to be a part of the Marathon or a Half Marathon happening across the country. Make it a habit and I am sure it can be addictive as the author says.

Pick your copies here at Flipkart / Amazon 

India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E. Sreedharan Book Review

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Paperback: 263 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications India (14 February 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8129145219
ISBN-13: 978-8129145215
Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm

From the blurb

Sreedharan’s expertise and foresight on behalf of those not as richly blessed as he ensured that political will was converted into a multipurpose railway project. The Chithoni railway link bridge was completed eleven weeks ahead of schedule and proved to be helpful to one and all.

Two key railway projects changed the way India travels by train the 760-km stretch of Konkan Railway and the Delhi Metro. Both the projects were up and running in seven years flat and the man in charge was Dr Elattuvalapil Sreedharan, popularly known as the Railway Man. He has been hailed as the messiah of new-age infrastructure projects and his success stories have become railway engineering benchmark

Respected, loved and equally hated, this book covers the amazing story of one man – his perseverance, beliefs and public and private battles. India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E. Sreedharan is a tribute to this extraordinary man.

My Review!

I was doubly delighted when Team Rupa sent me this book, on a personal level he is an icon par excellence especially when I learnt all the stupendous and excellent work he did was after his retirement

Indian Railways owes as much to this man as much as to the British for the first rail network. The first of its kind from the horses mouth and the diligently narrated biography is a breeze to read and its a journey in itself. I took upon myself to make sure I read this book only during train travel. The Coimbatore to Shoranur and back become a habit after my marriage and it has indeed opened up a new perspective to see Indian Railways in a new light

So the other day I took the Sabari Express back to Coimbatore and I had a few of retired and working railway staff to discuss Dr. Shridharan. They were in awe and held him in a pedestal equivalent of God. Someone said he had seen him working close during a visit and his engineering talent was exceptional

The best part is that he is still that down to earth person who goes to the Kochi Metro camp office and still commands the aura that only Dr Shreedharan is worthy of

Right from the Rameshwaram Bridge to the Konkan Railway to the Delhi Metro, he had left an indelible mark in the history and geography of the country. It was awesome to read how he rallied the teammates and how he is one of the most responsible man ever

The classic act of resignation for the Delhi Metro accident and his resignation ( which was not accepted) makes him a Karma Yogi of all times. You need to read these the Guru Shishya relationship and the way he negotiated for Railways and for the future to be the best, Dr Shreedharan will be a case study in all these aspects of management especially when it comes to project management and execution

Its a wonderful read and the author has taken pains to list out some of the bibliography and its vast, I was astonished to see his daily routine and was feeling so bad that at my age I wasn’t even doing 10% of what Dr Shreedharan is doing now

An inspirational study of the man and his strengths and weakness (that I don’t see them as one) will make you get up and go work and get things done

And as he celebrated his birthday yesterday 12th June, I am dedicating this to his feet, with love and salutations

Do pick up a copy here : https://www.amazon.in/Indias-Railway-Man-Biography-Sreedharan-ebook/dp/B01N5SASVW

Senthilkumar R

Veerappan Chasing the Brigand by K Vijay Kumar book review

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Paperback: 263 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications India;
First Edition edition (10 February 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8129145359
ISBN-13: 978-8129145352

From the Blurb

No other bandit in recent times has captured the public’s imagination as much as Koose Muniswamy Veerappan. Be it his trademark moustache, stories of his daring escapades or his ruthless massacre of officers, Veerappan continues to fascinate, even thirteen years after his death. Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand is a lucid and incisive account of the rise and fall of India’s most dreaded forest brigand. Chronicled by K. Vijay Kumar, IPS, the man who spearheaded the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force (STF) that planned and executed the dreaded bandit’s killing, the book relives the various incidents that shaped Veerappan’s life – from his birth in Gopinatham in 1952 to his death in 2004 in a shootout in Padi. It traces his dramatic rise from a small-time poacher and sandalwood smuggler to a brutal fugitive who held three states to ransom for two decades. The ruthless killings and high-profile kidnappings masterminded by Veerappan, including the 108-day ordeal involving Kannada cinema superstar, Dr Rajkumar, are described in fascinating detail. Veerappan: Chasing the Brigand is the most authentic account of the life and times of the dreaded outlaw.

My review:

The book is perhaps the most exhaustive account coming from the person who made it happen makes is interesting to the core. The background of the story has lot of intricate details that otherwise are part of the police stories or files. The story analyses the human ingredient in the man on the run Veerappan and how he manages to escape inspite of STF running him down almost everyplace he goes.

The narration assumes significance for the fact that these incidents were happening right under our nose literally. On a personal note I was really stumped to see some parts of the story happen in my town and my locality to be precise. I wonder if we had seen the police or his wife. This is the one last chance he gave a miss to the STF before the dreadful final clash.

That the word Salem being misspelt was a note I remember then when the news appeared. The preparations have been meticulous and the results incidental. The narrative of the Rajkumar Kidnap and the after math and the familial relationship of Veerappan is laid threadbare in this account.

The account of human lives lost in the STF and on the civilian side makes for a sad reading simply because its was really tough terrain and search was intense in the dark alleys and forest could not give away your presence even if you are two meters apart.

The author could have shown little more light on the Vachhati incident, closing it in a couple of paragraph does no justice to the people involved, I understand the limitation under which the para military forces work but nevertheless this should have been clearly made note of.

There is clearly a political role that helped nab the brigand. That being shown as a well wisher clouds the reality of the politics behind Veerappan. The movie Captain Prabhakaran seems to be spot on the way the guy never lived to tell his tale come true.

Over all a great narrative and a must read to understand the way para military forces work under constrained environment and appreciate their duty inspite of all odds.

Pick up this copy here: http://www.amazon.in/Veerappan-Chasing-K-Vijay-Kumar/dp/8129145359 

 

Baaz by Anuja Chauhan – book review

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 9789352644124, 9352644123
  • Edition: NA, 2017
  • Pages: 432

This is the second work that I am reviewing for this author and she doesn’t fail to impress. I think now she’s got that style of that Haryanvi, Punjaban or whatever you may want to define the language part and its pretty interesting when she puts them in simple and sometimes rustic way of dialect delivery and it actually adds spice to the story telling.

So here we have a story of the Air Force officer Ishaan Faujdaar aka Shanu and the opening in itself is pretty revealing of what you can expect in terms of adventure and I think there are instances that are very close to what the author has seen and it shows in the narrative peppered with real life takes.

It also is a kind of historical in the sense that the story has the war as a background and how the air force pilots played a huge role in making it happen. It is also a kind of life and times of an Air Force Officer. We get to see a glimpse of those days especially the way those days of war with Pakistan. It would be worth remembering that Air Force was an integral part in securing the win.

The protagonist in the novel and the lead characters are strung together with their work life ideations and the female characters with their assertive traits are Anuja Chauhans style of presenting the best in the plot.

And do you remember the Liril ad – the first one under the waterfall, you get to know how it was shot.

It also is worthwhile to remember this comes at a time of political up-manship in terms of nationalism and warmongering if I may put it that way. You can read it at a go and there are places you would feel its a bit lengthy but keeps the pace fast overall.

One more addition to her work, Anuja Chauhan characteristically makes it another work look so easy for her. Pick it up if you like romances especially the fauji ones and ofcourse some with advertising background.

Get to read why its also called or titled BAAZ!

This is a part of Flipkart sponsored Book Reviews. Thanks to Flipkart for the review copy.

To pick the book on Flipkart go here

Senthilkumar

The Rich Labourer – Parthajeet Sarma & Sibani Sarma – a book review

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At the outset let me thank the personalised message from the authors with the copy of the book. Except that I have not been able to rewrite this review, unfortunately because I lost out a folder of files.

So here we have a set of management objectives and how that is being implemented to suit the person who is handling it. This is very much a new kind of project management with an insight into how people and process will make things happen.

Its a very open discussion rather than a book according to me. The authors have taken themselves to identify an approach to understand issues and get solutions across with people  and organisations issues. You can easily relate to your workplace the kind of setting the kind of people and the kind of process that we come across.

I feel this is a learn and do book and you will experience that if you start putting those theories into practice in every walk of life. Use the 3P method, Probe, Ponder and Prove!

The best is it has been designed with design thinking process and that means a lot of work has gone into the book on ground and thus a manifestation of those insights  is now in the pages of this book.

One feedback perhaps would be to have an activity page under each of those workable chapter that can be for self assessment making it a very practicable book.

A very easy to read and assimilate format, language that is simple makes this a great buy and that makes it easy for everyone to implement those things that are discussed in the book.

Look forward to many more titles from the author duo and wishing them all the very best in the writing of the next title.

You can buy a copy here at Amazon

This book review is a part of “The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program”. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com. Thanks to Nimi Vashi for the opportunity to review such a nice book! Also apologies on the delay of the review.

Senthil

Jeera Packer by Prashant Yadav #bookreview

jeerapacker

 

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing; First edition (26 December 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8175994185
  • ISBN-13: 978-8175994188
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm

I am glad that I accepted this invitation to review this book, its a breeze of a thriller and cuts like a knife through the butter. Every page adding to the excitement of who would be the villain of all.

The author has a grip of the plot till the very end. Taking the story with a rush of twist and plots it has the essential element of surprise and politics intertwined in a manner which obviously helps move the book at a pace that I loved.

The first person narration is also at its best and has a very unique charm as it moves between characters and places. The one best part is traversing the characters role in more ways than one.

Its got a filmy shade to it with the politician nexus and  the twist which happen at the most unexpected moment. I would also add that its is very relatable to the state of UP and suddenly it felt like living in the present especially during the last election.

The way the story progressed to its logical end or rather not so logical depends on who you want to support, its a nice wonderful script that make for a nice Bollywood movie.

The characters of the story make you live their life in front of your eyes. The Jeera packer has a history so too the other characters who are inter twined with the fate that could unravel their very existence but then there has to be a story that will also work to what they want.

There are some nice anecdotes you will love if your a Bullet fan well the Enfield kind if you know. The author has a way with words for such niceties that every rider will understand about the bike.

Well written and fast paced, this is a cracker of a political thriller and we don’t have much of these books in this genre and happy to have read this book and hopefully Prashant Yadav will come back with more only thing the title would be intriguing, will wait for the next work.

Go here to pick up this book at Amazon

Thanks to the author for the review copy and wishing him all the very best!

Senthil

Think With Me by Saharasri Subroto Roy Sahara #BookReview

think withme

 

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India; Latest edition (10 November 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8129142252
  • ISBN-13: 978-8129142252

This is a nice attempt at creating a discussion on making an ideal country. To that extent, Think with me makes a valiant effort to look back or sometimes look within the system and try to get some answers.

Here the author takes five important topics, if Indian decides on these it might lead to a new transition of sorts and would make the country an ideal nation. The topics are

1. Electoral system & Leadership
2. Population
3. Education System
4. Media
5. Religion

Here there is a concerted effort to take the discussion seriously but then we need to see if they can be effective, and it needs so much of real work on the ground and needs some constitutional amendment and that is not easy.

The best part if you ask me is the topics which has been chosen and they very largely contribute to what you see in the country whether good or bad.

The Electoral system still can be autonomous and I remember when TN Seshan then Chief Election Commissioner brought about the changes with implementation. Till then no one knew that EC had such powers and it can be the master when it comes to conducting elections. Since then there has been an ideal way of looking at elections and the accounts are scrutinised to a great extent but Indians being Indians we have a jugaad for everything you see.

I am happy that the author took the issue of population, which is very very sensitive subject since it also involves religion for some people. Its a fact that whatever development happens in the country gets offset with the population making it ineffective. Somewhere we need to make this heard and let people know that having more kids leads to productivity is an idea whose time has gone.

Think With Me

Education System is long due for overhaul. I still don’t know if we can get back to rehaul the system in the way we want. The suggestions seems unreal in part though. Anyways a good try if we can inculcate moral values and ethical issues in education with the past being taught the way it was.

Media the so called fourth pillar has become the den of corruption and the role which it was supposed to envisage has now become defunct and its time for a change that will see a lot of uprising and breakdowns in structure.

Religion was good as long as it was one mans personal space. But its a sensitive topic today unfortunately so much so that Supreme court has decided that you cant use religion for election, whatever that means…

As for the solutions offered we can take it with a pinch of salt, given the authors proximity to politicians and we would not judge them unless if it was tried and tested.

A good effort ideally, but lacks the punch when it comes to implementation at the ground zero. Probably if it was possible for common man to achieve things then it would have been different.

Senthilkumar