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!



Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Balloon Superheroes

You know when you're really bored at an outdoorsy party where everyone else is speaking another language that only you don't understand? No? Guess that only happens to me. Thankfully, I was equipped with not just a lot of free time and boredom, but also my camera.  So welcome to my first photo-journalistic venture. Customarily, I began by snapping pictures of the colorful flowers in the vicinity, then I moved on to the dogs and the baby goats in the area.
Isn't he adorable?
look at this goat shake her bootay!  
   After I took so many pictures of baby goats that would make Aussa proud (Congratulations on getting married, Aussa!), I found some interesting and unsuspecting human subjects to take pictures of. Because that's where the real story lies.
Meet the heroes of this story
These two little boys are the balloon superheroes. They kinda saw me vigorously taking pictures for this story, but they didn't care.  Particularly the guy in yellow, because Iron man isn't the coolest, you know? The pictures will probably tell you the whole story, but these two little boys were just having a lazy boring Sunday morning, until they turned it around. No, They didn't play temple run or plants Vs zombies on their phones, they weren't even part of the party crowd, nor were they invited, they were just two kids who probably lived by the park. They were probably the kids of one of the boat men in the park who took the tourists out for a ride on their old fisherman raft style boats down the stream(More on the boat men later). But these little kids had their own little raft. which they probably built themselves.
It floats on soda cans wrapped in what I think is fishing nets
 So this party was by this stream, and for some reason we had balloons. Balloons, that the kids of the people in the party were playing with. These two little boys would stand by one of the trees and watch everything that was going on, just like a superhero who likes to slink around in the background until he's needed. Think Clark Kent.

Every once in a while, One of the little girls in the party would let her balloon fly away, Now these weren't helium balloons that would fly straight up into the sky. No. these balloons would just float away, into the water, carried off by the wind. 
The Pursuit for the Purple Balloon


This was a job for the Balloon Superheroes. Saviors of balloons on water. There's not enough room for both of them on their little raft. (Insert batmobile reference). So one of them takes the raft out and rows towards the runaway balloon, Because there can only be one batman at a time. It's no easy job to sit on a tiny raft of crushed soda cans and fish nets, and row towards a purple balloon that is still floating away. But these little guys don't give up so easily.

It floats left. It floats right.  It floats whatever direction the current takes it.  Our superhero keeps going after it. 
I was just standing there cheering him on, and taking pictures to document the whole thing. I don't know how many people caught the action on the stream, but it was definitely way more entertaining than the party for me.
Eventually he catches it. 
But it's not easy to row the raft and hold onto the purple balloon too. 
You're heart breaks a little that when the balloon starts to float away again.
But don' t worry, his brother gets it back along with a bunch of other balloons on the water, In the next few hours, together, the brothers will save about a dozen balloons.
And they'll do this to entertain themselves. quite simply, for fun. 
When one brother makes it back to the shore, the other one will tie up the raft to a tree. Then they give the little girl her balloon back, for nothing more than to see her smile. They don't keep the balloons. They never wanted to play with the balloons. The little girl quite possibly had another balloon to play with, nevertheless these little superheroes will save the day balloon to return it back to the little girl. 
They probably didn't think they were being so compassionate. It probably wasn't even on their agenda for the day to be nice to some little girl. They certainly got no returns out of it. They didn't get a penny for it, from me or anybody else. Even I got this story for the blog. They got nothing except a way to entertain themselves that cost nothing. They didn't care. They were just doing it for fun. They were just doing this naturally, so effortlessly for fun. They were smart and brave and so content. They didn't expect anything, even though they didn't have much. They were satisfied. 
 One of my biggest demons has been wanting things. I'm not nearly as compassionate enough to write about these people, but for me this is the goal. Some day I want to be as happy and as content and satisfied as these kids. That will be the definition of success for me. See? I did it again. I said 'I want'. Maybe we all have this happiness somewhere inside us. We just forget it when we grow up. But sometimes life reminds us of it with a story like this one.We just have to be attentive enough to catch what's playing on the sidelines. Happiness is a myth. I've said that before. I've always known it. We don't have to pursue happiness. All we have to do is pursue a purple balloon, and the warmth in our hearts and the Happiness in the eyes of others could quite possibly fill the gaps in our own empty soul. And then maybe we'll feel whole again. These kids were just taught that they don't need things to be happy. They don't have many things. But they do have many things that a lot of us don't, They have happiness, and bravery. They have imagination, creativity and a beautiful content life. And we could learn a lot from them.
This is the India that you won't see in any documentary. The India with kind and compassionate people, who are content with their simple uncomplicated lives. This is one story that I think everyone should know, one story that everyone deserves to know. And these superheroes deserve to be heard of too, don't you think? That's why I am going to ask you to share this post. So please do hit the share button. 

Have you ever had life sneakily throw something beautiful likes this at you that you could have easily missed? Has it changed your views? Have you met such content, happy, compassionate people? Do you think the compassion in us erodes with age? What do you think is success in life? 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

#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!




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