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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Book Review: Breath, Go Away and Other Stories by Sriman Narayanan

 I'm back with yet another book review. And this is a little special, because this marks a lot of new beginnings. This is the first book of short, sweet stories that I'm reviewing. It's also the first book by blogger turned author Sriman Narayanan. "Breath, Go Away and Other Short Stories", is a dramatically short book, but it's a pretty heavy book. It is a collection of stories that is heavy with honesty, humour, happiness and heartbreak.
  Despite the short read and bite-sized format, the stories demand individual attention. Despite the length, The book manages to have a lot of substance. I found it impossible to take it all in, in one sitting.
 The Last story, 'Heights of Height' is an honest portrayal of the struggles a short Indian guy faces on his quest to find a spouse on the monstrous matrimonial site (And you thought Tinder was bad.) This is the longest story in the book, and perhaps the one that held my intrigue the most. 'Heights of Height' highlights how shallow our standards of Love have become. The protagonist, Kris starts out on his quest to find a beautiful bride, particularly, a fair maiden with a slim body, and a tale of cautious internet love unfolds, only to become a cautionary tale of the misguided standards of Indian love that have irrevocably turned a matter of hearts, into a matter of business, and physical beauty standards. We have also witnessed so many stories of men and women with dusky skin get rejected, it was almost refreshing to have this story point out just how hurtful it can be to get judged by any impossible physical standards of beauty. (Take that skin lightening cream commercials. Your products have officially ruined love for this nation.)
  'Kisses to God' is perhaps the only tale with the unforeseen happy ending, which oddly enough, is the point of the story, that sometimes Love finds you when you least expect it, and that you just have to seize it at the moment.
  The title story 'Breath, Go Away' features a beautiful poem that the author admits was written by the pens of pain, on sheets of resentment, fuelled with the ink of anger and heartbreak. The story is an unexpected hurricane of a romance that ensues and leaves behind a devastating calm much like the aftermath of a destructive storm. What is most admirable in this is that the reader really gets to witness all the stages of this tragic story of love and heartbreak. The resent in the poem is made up for by the maturity in the author's understanding words that follow. He acknowledges that perhaps she had her reasons to leave, a story of her own, or perhaps it was just destiny at play. He blames no one and holds no bitterness. And that is a powerful takeaway from the title story.

This book really brings out the feels.
In yet another story, titled, 'Anger and bitterness', Sriman Narayanan, splendidly examines the difference between the very bitterness he doesn't hold in 'Breath Go Away', and righteousness in anger by taking us to our roots, and explaining a slight nuance in the Vedanta that we may have overlooked. Why did Krishna choose to park Arjuna's Chariot in front of his guru Dronacharya and Bheeshma while explaining to him the Bhagavad Gita? But that's not the only spiritual lesson in the book. 'The Tree and it's Secret' offers a well rooted reminder to persevere and grow. 'The Greatest Conspiracy, with Qualifiers' takes the reader in for a quick dip into philosophy that is both enriching and enduring.
'Momentous emotions' is a story of unexpressed love with a philosophical angle that argues for consent. It's a story that supposes that if only hindu weddings included the ritualistic "speak now or forever hold your peace" question of consent, it may just deter hindu parents into forcing their children into a marriage.
Technically, a marriage is saved. So pour the CHAMPAGN
'Tears in the bathroom' is a sincere ode to the bravery of women. What absolutely works and draws you in to this story, hook, line and sinker is that, the tears are considered a sign of greatness, strength, nobility and endurance and not weakness. This story achieves what Madhuri Dixit and the vogue empower campaign have been going on about.
No beta, Tears are a sign of strength. and Women are Strong.
 'Priceless Conversations' is an adorably cheesy story that teases out and celebrates not only the innocence, but also the intelligence in children.
Yeah, I probably added the cheesy bit just so I can add this picture.
 ' A Shiver of Joy', 'That Something', 'Bride Wanted', and 'My Hot Date' are the mischievously humorous stories. There is more than just humour though, There is always a little bit of extra surprise and a hilarious plot twist that has everyone literally do what can only be explained by the following GIF in this book.
Thank god for GIFS
  The added highlight is that the book is peppered with the original cute Tamil/Telugu slang that the stories took place in and mentions of Maddy, Resident south Indian Chocolate boy actor Madhavan in 'That Something', besides the best possible romance story in the entire book,' My Hot Date', the spellbinding and incredibly well written tribute to the madras filter kaapi.
Filter coffee is true Love. <3 td="">
Breath, Go Away and Other stories is an incredibly touching collection of Short stories to be savoured on slow Sunday mornings, best accompanied by a nice tumbler of hot hot south Indian filter coffee, and a tang of love.

Have you read Breath Go Away and Other Stories? What did you think of the book? Are you a coffee person? Leave me your own thoughts and reviews in the comments below.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

Disclaimer: I'm trying my best to not spoil anything all through this review but I'd still like to give you guys a heads up. Proceed with caution.

   This is the second Ravi Subramanian book I've read. And after "God is a Gamer" (You can find the review of that book here), I had fairly high expectations. But "The Bestseller She wrote" is different. Ravi Subramanian has moved away from his usual M.O at least for a significant part of the book. The Bestseller she wrote is not a thriller per se, as I've come to expect of Ravi Subramanian. You will not find any action sequences, or car chases here. If you expect to find murder, gore, or robbery or even some hacking on the side, you're going to be disappointed, because even though Aditya Kapoor, the slightly vain bestselling novelist protagonist of 'The Bestseller She Wrote' is a writer of thriller books, "The Bestseller She Wrote" is itself more of a romantic suspense novel than a thriller.

  This book is a whimsical joyride on an emotional roller coaster. It is about lust, love, love lost, ambition, jealousy, greed and more. In short, it personifies all the sins and shortcomings of human beings. Aditya Kapoor is a successful writer, full time banker and part time diva who has mastered the balancing act, but you can't exactly say the same about his humility. He has a big head, an inflated ego, and lots of vanity. Shreya, the young aspiring writer and management trainee that Aditya starts an affair with is a little harder to pin down. She's portrayed as a ballsy, ambitious, hard to say no to kind of girl. But she's a bad loser, she's possessive and pushy and it becomes evident that her motivation is to quite simply ride Aditya's coattails in to fame. But she claims to love him. An adulterous romantic tryst begins between them, a married man, and his subordinate. Ravi Subramanian masterfully unravels the predictable storyline that follows, the pinpricks of a conscience, the guilty pleasures, the late nights and the lies, that get better and easier with time, the suspicion, the confirmation of Maya's worst doubts, The sting of love, and the heartbreak that follows, only, it's accompanied by ebola, that Maya catches at a global education conference in the city of love, Paris. Oh, the irony. It's at this twisted juncture that the story takes a turn. Aditya repents his philandering ways and the prospect of losing Maya forever really shakes him. What makes it worse, is knowing that Maya will die believing him to be a worthless cheating infidel. This is followed by an abrupt end to his tryst with Shreya and a monologist profession of undying love in the isolation room with Aditya in a hazmat suit and Maya unconscious. Two jabs of a miracle vaccine later, Maya Livesss! *Should've said spoiler alert*.
But this is basically the situation with Maya
    If  this were any other regular romance novel, the story would've gotten its happy ending right there, but this is a Ravi Subramanian Romantic thriller. Remember how Shreya is a hard to say no to, pushy person who is also a bad loser? Yeah, She's not all too happy about Maya's recovery or Aditya's path to redemption. Understandably, She creates a scene when Aditya dumps her, but that's not all. The girl has plenty of other tricks up her sleeve to hold Aditya in their miserable relationship. Aditya promised to mentor her and make her a bestseller and she's not letting him off the hook that easily. Your wife is dying? Maybe you can read my manuscript? It'll help you take your mind off of it. And so begins the damnation of Aditya's life. Losing out on all fronts, will Aditya be able to free himself of Shreya and convince Maya to take him back? Or will Shreya have the last word? It was at this point that I began to speculate if this book would go down the gone girl path. Is Shreya Kaushik the Indian Amy Elliott Dunne? What are her real motives?
Or are there other forces at play controlling even Shreya? Who is the real puppet master?
   Aditya Kapoor gives Shreya a little piece of advice on the style of writing that works in India at a point rather early in the book. He rather simplistically tells her, the secret formula for concocting up a bestseller is easy peasy, give them a heart wrenching, tragic journey all through the story, and then throw in a plot twist and give them a happy ending. This book is also kinda meta in a lot of ways in that it not only follows its protagonists advice in terms of the plotline, but it also provides a unique perspective into the entire publishing scene in India. Something that would be worth reading for any aspiring Indian writer. And I suspect "The bestseller she wrote" went through a strikingly similar  promotional publishing process that Shreya's book gets. Right down to the blogadda book reviews. Oddly, I am sold on the explanation behind marketing books. In the very beginning, Shreya boldly questions Aditya at his IIM-B speech about the morality behind vigorously promoting books as if they were just products. At the time she doesn't seem to buy his explanation, but by the end of the book, She's just as drawn into the circus of promotion going even as far as to view the bad press she gets out of her relationship with Aditya in the tabloids to give her book sales a boost, which really does prove the author's point. Through all this, Aditya has one solid rock. His tolerant best friend Sanjay who not only warns and looks out for him but also takes him in when Maya kicks him out. He puts up with Aditya's antics even though Aditya isn't quite so understanding towards Diana, Sanjay's fiance who he believes is constantly trying to one up him at work, because what is a Ravi Subramanian book without office politics. Diana for her part is just as understanding as Sanjay despite Aditya's attitude towards her.
Just going to leave this picture here
And then comes the major plot twist. Is Aditya able to convince Maya to take him back? How does he escape from Shreya's clutches? Is that even possible? Who leaked details about Aditya's infidelity to the press? These are questions you'll have to find answers for in the book. While it is not as fast paced as "God is a Gamer", It is a good romantic suspense novel, with the trademark plot twists. It is even surprisingly moral in assigning guilt for a book about an adulterous extra marital affair. As Maya puts it, Adultery is a choice. Not a mistake. Will I recommend it to a friend? Yes. Priced at 295, available for cheaper online, it is definitely an interesting read.

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Have you read "The Bestseller She Wrote", by Ravi Subramanian yet? What did you think of the book? Do you like Romantic suspense Novels? What makes a good thriller tick in your opinion? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

10 People Every Book Worm Secretly Hates

  Remember when I talked about how much I love reading? That probably didn't surprise you much. But love is only appreciated when it is contrasted with hate. like how you only notice the light when it gets real dark. (Clearly, I had to resist the urge to copy paste the lyrics of let her go by passenger here. I'll still link you though. ) So in this post you'll see the flip side of me. The hateful annoyed underbelly of me.
Basically, this version of me.
 There’s a very particular set of people who really annoy the avid reader in me.  These people just effortlessly land in my hate list. These little peeves just drive me nuts.  If you’re one of these people, I HATE YOU. If you’re not on my list, you’re probably me, albeit a different version of me. And we can be best friends. If you are on my hate list though, don't worry about it too much, because most of us book worms have a hate list and then a kill list.  

 #1 Are you one of those people who live in a city that has book fairs where you can buy books ‘by weight’, Like x dollars for a kilo of books and the like? And you and I are friends on social media where you post pictures of the 27 books you bought for like 10 dollars? I HATE YOU.

#2 Are you one of those people who owns a cozy bar or a nice little café or restaurant? Where you thought it’d be nice to line up the walls with fake books as décor? I HATE YOU.
#3 Are you one of those people who borrow books from me and then promptly pack up and move across the country to some unknown secret state and I have no way to track you down? I HATE YOU.

#4 Are you one of those people who borrow books from me and lend it to other people only to tell me that the other person has lost my book after I’ve asked you for my book back like 15 times already? I HATE YOU. You really suck. And the worst part is I’m too nice a person to even be mad at you because it was the other person who lost my book, not you. Nevertheless, I secretly hate you.

#5 Are you one of those people who like to point out that I have no boyfriend and no life because I read too much crime fiction? I HATE YOU.
#6 Are you one of those people who like to tell me they love reading, and then later clarify by saying they read a lot of magazines and newspapers? I HATE YOU. And for the last time, reading magazines and newspapers is not the same thing as reading books. You’ll feel the difference when I smack you in the face with a real book.
#7 Are you one of those people who see me intently reading a book and interpret this as ‘not really doing anything worthwhile’ and choose exactly then to tell me about all the adorable cute things your crush is always doing. I HATE YOU.

#8 Are you one of those people with exceptional memory who catch me periodically rereading books and shoot me judgmental looks and say things like “I thought you already read that book” or “Why don’t you find something new read?” or even sarcastically ask “How slow do you read?”. I HATE YOU.  And I have one word for you, ALWAYS.  I will always reread that book. And I’ll hope I have selective amnesia and forget it so I can reread it all over again like it was the first time I read it. Because guess what, it’s better than Falling in love.

#9 Are you my mom who thinks I should really put my book down and be more social and say hello to the aunt who came over who I know is just aching to tell me that the last time she saw me, I was two feet tall? I HATE YOU. Okay, I don’t hate you. I kinda love you. But I’m social enough and all that, Mom. I even liked that aunt’s status about parenting on Facebook. That’s as social as I get. 

Did I miss anyone on your hate list? What’s your book worm pet peeve? Did you find yourself on my hate list? Do you know someone who has crossed the book worm in you? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, 13 February 2015

10 Guys You Should Avoid On Facebook This Valentine's Day Weekend And Possibly Forever After


  You know when you're talking to someone on Facebook and you barely know the person, like you've seen this person around but you've never said a word to him/her in real life or sometimes even when you're talking to random strangers and somehow they are sitting at their computer, typing out their deepest darkest secrets, confessing, pouring out their heart to you, And you're just sitting there staring at your monitor like
"Whyyy?! Whyyy me?!?! How did I get picked for this?!"

 Seriously. This happens to me so much. Is this just me? Did Facebook somehow list me as one of it's in house priests for confessions and forgot to notify me of my position? Are there others out there that belong to some kinda Facebook seminary?  Because here's the thing, My Facebook account is like a church minus the religion, Jesus, and the gravy.
  I'm also constantly amazed by how many "besties" I never knew I even had but actually do when these people tell me things like, "Come on, I can't trust just anyone with these things, You're my bestie, You gottta understand."
And I'm just sitting there like,
"Wow. This is news to me. What makes you think that?"
On a completely unrelated side note: If you're one of the people who've said something very similar to me, of course, I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about that other person who thinks I'm their bestie. Totally not you.
 So, Of course being the nice person that I am, I usually end up wasting two hours of my life listening to this persons life story and all of their problems, and I even try to be as polite as I can and keep the sarcasm out as much as possible, But every now and again these weirdos go just a little overboard and start giving me stalker vibes, and get all creepy, etc and I sneakily screenshot this stuff for blog fodder.
 So here's my list of the 10 guys you should avoid on Facebook this Valentine's Day weekend and possibly forever after.

#1 The guy who won't ever give up
 This guy has real problems. He was in your class in ninth grade and has never said a word to you.  But now he just.won't.shut.up. You replied to him the first time he said hello because you were naive and believed him to be normal. Then he gave you the 'My mom is secretly trying to poison me, help' vibes and you decided to ignore him. but this guy doesn't take hints. He's too busy asking for your phone number.
Fun tip: Notice the date and time stamps.

#2 The guy who resents his ex, and by ex, He means his ex-crush
This guy is an acquaintance. He was probably in your friends' class and You might have been introduced at a party. So this guy starts off by asking you what college you were going to, You make the mistake of telling him. And then this happens

That sad moment when he doesn't even get your joke. :P

#3 The guy with this cover picture
The only reason anyone would accept a friend request from this guy was if they had a death wish, or rather a wish to wind up murdered in an old, dilapidated, shut down subway station, all alone. Because this guy is obviously a serial killer who likes to stake his victims out on Facebook.
The kind of people who send me friend requests.

#4 The guy who asks you to send him a friend request because evidently he's been blocked
You're reading his message and just thinking, 
"You don't really get the concept of blocking, do you?"
You're kinda missing the point, sweetie.
#5 The guy who claims to have seen you at school but you've never heard of him let alone seen him
This guy likes to repeat things. he sends you everything twice and can't spell, as is evidenced by how he keeps spelling school as 'skol'.

Right. I'm sure. skol. of course. How did I forget?!
#6 The guy who sent the exact same message to you and your 300 other girl friends on Facebook
You think you were the chosen one, but then the next day at school, everyone's talking about the exact same flirtatious Facebook message. No, Your account wasn't hacked. This guy just sent that very same creepy message to every single person you know.
This person has a fetish for mallu's too.

#7 The annoying kid who sat next to you in your fourth grade class, He grew up to be the guy with no shame whatsoever.
This guy can't spell the word 'school' either. Your best friend from fourth grade told you he asked her out two weeks ago and she said no. And it turns out its your turn this week. He owns up to it with no shame at all if you confront him about it.
I'm giving you a way out. Admit it's a joke, You idiot.
See?Cannot spell school
You still don't see where I'm going with this?
And Busted!
He still just says "whats's the problem with that?"
You're just thinking,
"Have you no shame?!?!"
#8 The guy who's last name sounds a lot like dental floss
This guy is looking for therapy. He tells you his mother died two months ago and she had your name and you remind him of her. This guy also looks much older than you are.  But you can't stop thinking about how weird his last name is.
Seriously? Flossy?

#9 The guy who sends you way too many smileys after you just said 'hmm'
This guy is probably a liar. Do Not Trust this guy. Who the hell sends so many smileys after you just said 'hmm'. You don't even want to know. Just stop texting him back. right now.

#10 The girl who wants to puhhhh with you. She's probably a guy. 
She has her school listed as the same one you went to. Her profile picture looks normal enough, You accept her friend request, she starts texting you, and she makes no sense. She tells you you look like a doll, a Barbie doll, and pretty and calls you chubby alternatively. She tells you that she just randomly typed your first name because some guy friend of hers asked her to and you were their catch 'as a fish'. She tells you all this in very terrible English. She wants you to accept her friends friend request. She tells you, "He is an boy. Her ID name is John Chris". Throughout your conversation she uses he and she interchangeably and you're convinced that she's probably very confused about her sex. She tells you her friend John Chris needs good people with your name to talk to. You stall and just keep collecting blog fodder. she wants to meet. She wants your phone number. You tell her "Too bad, You can't have it.". Eventually she concludes that you don't seem to like her very much and  tells you she's going to go die now, buh-bye! and you're just like 
"Oh. Quit being so melodramatic"

Sure enough, She's back, sending you numerous 'hi' 's. Not dead. But because you came back to your senses, you don't reply. She probably wanted to kidnap you and sell you on the black market in Bangkok.
She's also the one who asked me if I was Roman Catholic. I have the name of a Hindu goddess. So that was a pretty stupid question, but she got me onto the whole Facebook seminary idea.
I'll spare you the rest of the screenshots with this one.

  How I deal with the crazy:
Besides a serving of  honesty

  I mostly end up blocking these people or turning off the chat for them (That way I always appear offline to these people) after taking screenshots of this God sent gold stuff for the blog, of course. These people are also the reason my Valentine's day plans involve buying cheap discount candy, chocolate and eating it all. Like a boss.

What are your plans for Valentine's day weekend?Have you met such weird people on Facebook, How do you deal with the weirdos? Do you Screenshot? What was your weirdest Facebook encounter? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

That Time I Almost Drowned To Death...Almost.

  I'm the kind of person who makes a conscious effort to spread positive energy in the world. That is why I write posts titled stuff like, "Happiness among other lies". And along the same lines, I've been wanting to write about fear. And overcoming it to take the plunge. Then I saw this dew film by Mountain Dew. And I was finally inspired to write this.

   What better way to talk about rising above fear than by telling you what happened when I did jump? I drowned. Almost died. Almost. And here's my survival story.
  When I was eight years old, We lived in Singapore for about a year, and I went to school there. Our apartment building in Singapore had a huge swimming pool and naturally, I evolved to live like an amphibian. In other words, I was an eight year old mermaid.

  The pool became like a natural habitat. I had swim practice everyday, and I loved it. I was also a pretty arrogantly confident child, fastest flippers in the pool. I was always the kid in the deep end of the pool, splashing water on our coach. There's video proof of this, in our old home movie camcorders tapes. I even had a floating board with a cartoon shark on it. Not that I ever used the floating board, I was obviously a pro. And then as fate would have it, We moved back to India and my eyes burned up and shot up blood red in every single pool here. They put in too much chlorine in the water and none of the pools would work for me here. So of course, I promptly forgot all about swimming and traded in my shark floating board for tennis shoes and a racket.
  But then tennis didn't exactly draw me in the way the water did. And I still yearned to swim again. Years went by, and finally we found a pool that was perfect. Indoors, with lukewarm perfect water that would not burn my eyes. And I couldn't wait to dive straight in. The first time we visited the pool, The water lured me in. And its not like I wasn't a pro swimmer, So I jumped, didn't even take the stairs or the ladder at the edge of the pool. I nosedived straight into the water. Only, I hadn't considered Lamarck’s evolutionary theory about the use and disuse of organs. He was a smart French dude who believed that giraffes initially had short necks, and then eventually their necks grew longer because they had to stretch to reach the branches higher up on trees for food. Basically he believed that if you use a particular organ more, it will adapt to your usage and become stronger, the converse was also true according to his theory, i.e. if you didn't use a particular organ, it's disuse would cause it to deteriorate and eventually disappear. Too bad they only taught me this in high school. Because when I hit the water, I immediately started to drown. I was like Ariel with legs instead of her mermaid tail. And I don't care If Darwin disproved Lamarck's theory, because I'd just lost my mermaid tail, and Darwin couldn't explain that. It had been way too long since I was last in a pool and my muscles had forgotten how to swim. My legs did not kick, the water was pulling me in. And I started to gulp it down and choke. My brain had actually lost touch, and forgotten how to swim altogether even though my heart still remembered the joy that was the water. My limbs had failed me. And I was going under. I couldn't even do the dead man’s float. By this time I thought I was going to die. But I wasn't ready to give in just yet. I started screaming for help between taking lungfuls of air. But There was no one there, no life guard, Just a bunch of kids who were a little further away. I was beginning to hear and see flashes of my too short life. But Thankfully, these kids were older and on hearing me, knew to come rescue me. Those kids were heroes. Now I'll stop writing dramatic clichéd phrases that you've read one too many times. And then I didn't drown. I didn't die.
 But the real trouble came after that. I developed a phobia for diving. My parents enrolled me back in summer swimming classes at the same pool and I could even get over myself and get back into the water because that's how much I loved it but I could never dive in. I always walked down the steps or climbed the ladder. 
This picture is free. I got it from and later customized it.

  Eventually the summer's swim class progressed and they moved on to diving. We had an amazing coach. The man was like a shark himself. You'd see him at one side of the pool, he'd go under and you couldn't even see him in the water. Two seconds later he'd be at the other end of the pool. He was swift and so much like a fish. I respected him. But he could never get me to take the plunge. I'd stand in line to dive in to the pool. But I'd let all the other kids go ahead of me. Because I couldn't jump. Death didn't make the same mistake twice. I got lucky the first time around. Would I again? I wasn't willing to bet my life on that.
This picture is free. I got it from and later customized it.
   So I'd be standing there letting all the other kids go dive ahead of me. This went on for so long, that my dad decided to trick me and push me into the water. And that went on for almost the entire class. Every time I had to jump. I'd be standing there, telling them I'll jump when I was ready, and I'd never be. And they'd push me in. 
   The summer class had only two days left to draw to an end and I still hadn't overcome my fear of diving. And I knew then that if I didn't do it in those last two days, I'd never be able to. I was crunched for time. I was scared but I had to jump. I had to take the plunge. And quite literally too. The previous night, I steeled myself, told myself I'd do it. I'd take the plunge.
  The next morning I packed in some of my mom’s pictures of idols of gods, that she had collected from various temples along with my swimsuit. I needed all the magic and faith I could get. I had to survive. I had to take the plunge. It was now or never. And then that day, I jumped. I did. And I swam. And I didn't drown. And I didn't die. I was a survivor. And that was when I realized God was just a massive source of strength within yourself, a reserve that you can draw from, that had no idea even existed, when you couldn't count on yourself. Those last two days had to be my best memories at the pool, In the water. because ever since the fear hasn't returned. I've been quite fearless. I even went on to win some swim competitions at school. Even went river rafting in the Beas river in Manali, during my trip there.I had the best seat on our raft and fell off nearly twice. It was epic. And guess what I heard there? They told me, that that was the exact same stretch of river they'd shot the old Mountain Dew ads at.
I'm on one of  these rafts! This is us in 2011. I'm wearing a white helmet. and sitting on the far edge/nose of the raft.
My mom and I after river rafting. totally drenched.
This is the rock that we brought back as a ouvenir from river rafting.

Who would've known? Go over here to like the Mountain dew Facebook page

Have you ever had any near death experiences? How do you rise above the fear? What does it take to get you to take the plunge? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Book Review: God Is A Gamer by Ravi Subramnaian

  Disclaimer: I've tried my best to not spoil anything.  But, I'd still like to say, proceed with caution.

     I've had model exam's going on this week, but the cover of "God Is A Gamer" by Ravi Subramanian was enticing enough, that I picked it up over my electronic devices text book, and managed to finish it in about two days. It only took me that long, because eventually, the electronic devices text book guilt tripped me back into doing a little bit of studying as well. But, I'll tell you this much. It was pretty hard to put this novel down once I got going.
Not even my electronic devices paper.
   The narration takes you to various parts of the world, through seemingly unrelated stories of seemingly unrelated characters. You witness a well orchestrated assassination of a US senator. The FBI launches an Investigation. A wealthy business man runs a successful BPO and novel gaming company in Mumbai, alongside his brooding right hand man, who seems to be having a mid life crisis. Someone pulls off a heist of 5 million dollars. There's office politics at a multinational bank. Then, there's the young couple that falls too fast and too hard in love. We even get a glimpse of the seedy underbelly of Indian national politics in this fictional roller coaster ride. You just keep reading, trying to connect the dots.  And eventually the connections happen and the characters begin to relate with each other and meet, and the story seems to start falling into place. Notice that I only said "seems". The plot always remains unpredictable on a certain level, much like the virtual world of currency, bitcoins, which also figures into the plot. This unpredictability may be because the author takes great care to make sure you never get too close to figuring out any of the characters. He lets you in on their emotions and frustrations, which reveals just the right bit. He steers clear of giving you complete character sketches. And he cleverly riddles the plot in a slew of business stats, corporate jargon, and monotone subjective descriptions. Initially, I wondered if it was the best idea to narrate the story, instead of letting the protagonists and characters talk, because I've always believed that the characters and the plot itself, comes alive when you let them talk, but then soon, I realized this was indeed the right call, the dry narrative is really a guise to hide the motives and the plot points. It's what makes it tick, and keep you turning the pages, on your toes, waiting for answers.
   "Is revenge a crime?", The cover asks you.
And that must be avenged.
     You wonder whose revenge it is. Who is responsible for all this? Does the brooding Sundeep have a darker side? Did Swami's self righteousness and anger turn him into an evil master mind? Is Tanya really just a conniving bitch? I found it really suspicious that just as the mysterious 'Altoids' responded to the FBI (failing to realize, it was the FBI) saying he/she was willing to get in touch to find out how to retrieve the missing alpha numeric in the bitcoin key, Tanya decided to log onto the Internet using Aditya's WiFi while waiting for Varun to take her to dinner. Very Subtle.  Even Aditya seems too clean with all his moral beliefs to be just another wealthy, intelligent business man. Does he have more sinister ulterior motives? We've been trained to suspect charming men in suits, and politicians. What's with the finance minister anyway?

    Except maybe Varun, cause, who can resist the charming sweet energetic young guy on a mission to turn his dads gaming company the best in the world? Or is that the only mission he's on?
Let's be real. I'm Paranoid.
  All we're really sure about is that someone pulled the linchpin, and now the dominoes just won't stop falling. And one by one, they will all fall.
Whatever it is, one of them is getting served, and its cold.
   Another thing, about this book, that I really enjoyed, is that unlike most other thrillers, this isn't just yet another quest for justice. It's simple, reckless, revenge. Someone has to pay. And pawns may be sacrificed in the process; it's a deadly game they play. And you're kept guessing until the very last chapter, where Ravi Subramanian brilliantly builds a case, has you believe You know and have all the answers and then throws in one final plot twist to have you question everything you thought you figured out. 
Oh my. Did you see that coming?

   At the end of the day, if you look hard enough, you might be able to poke loopholes, and you can question the morality behind all of this, but it is a good book, a gripping thriller, which is exactly what it claims to be. This was my first Ravi Subramnaian novel, and I will be going out to get the others very soon. Will I recommend it to a friend? Yes. Definitely, Priced at ₹299 (available for cheaper on flipkart), it is probably one of the best Indian Page turners I've read in a while. 

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Have you read "God Is A Gamer" by Ravi Subramanian? Do you agree with my review? What did you think of the book? do you like thrillers? Let me know in the comments below. 

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