Monday, 11 November 2013

Lending books is not my business




Recently I lent a book to a friend who is not so much into reading and books like the bibliophile in me, but nevertheless was interested by the theme of that little piece of non-fiction that shone like a pearl in my hands, credits it’s flawlessly designed cover and the immaculate white color which covered most part of it.
DON'T TRY THIS WITH MY BOOKS

So, feeling like I am on a mission to spread knowledge and provide everyone with the book that suits them, while hoping that they shall also one day appreciate the habit of reading, the power of literature et al. Alas! this idealistic vision of mine turned out to be too utopian to be true, and refuted all my noble anticipations in the cruelest way possible.

Okay, so I had heard this enough number of times to get it etched into my memory that borrowed books are seldom returned. But considering the stickler that I am when it comes to my prized possessions, I was sure that this won't be the case, and that I shall be getting my book back as soon as my friend is done with the task at hand
So I was confident that what is mine shall come back to me, and I shall personally and keenly see to it that it does!

UNDERSTAND?
However, what I was not prepared for was this: receiving the book back after dispatching incessant reminders, occasionally hinting that I crave to see my baby back, commenting how borrowing is not a very noble deed (in an entirely different context, of course), and making a hell lot of excuses to make the urgency to have the book back sound genuine. No that’s not it: receiving it in a torn condition, so tainted and coal-resembling that I had to actually remember what its cover page looked like before this misfortune befell me. *sigh* 
And you know that thin layer of plastic which shields a book from potent dangers like the dirty hands, uncontrolled pens of careless people? That was gone too.
And I am not exaggerating (except that comparison to coal).
Book lovers out there, you know that feeling, right? It elicits a reaction similar to this
followed by sobbing...


Now I have decided, that no matter how weird or annoying I may sound, I am always going to launch into this didactic instruction list prior to lending a book to a person who is not as fervent a bibliophile as me!
1)      Books are for reading, you may at the most devour them and chew them and digest them, (in case you took Francis bacon just too literally), but they don’t have a digestive system. So kindly keep your pickles and cheetos-soiled fingers away (gosh! You still eat them? anyways, my book doesn’t, so mind the distance)
2)      Oh, and my book doesn’t have any immune system to make sure that it doesn’t get ill by the dust. And there are other functional reasons as well for providing that transparent plastic foil-cover. So if you ever feel like rolling your fingers with my book in your hand, make sure you have a stapler/punching machine to put your mischievous little fingers into, and end it once and for all.
3)      I guess you get real confused when its time to bathe, because you bathe my book instead of yourselves! Don’t worry my book wont ever emit the foul smell that you do.
4)      Gain all knowledge that you can, this is going to be the only time I am gonna lend you my book, never again, because I won't like to mar the beauty of my library.
(especially after seeing how badly you have thumbed it at the edges, giving it a look of a old book straight rescued from termites).
IF YOU DON'T LEARN HOW TO READ!

 Trust me, I am sure of that.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Book Review: Aisle be Damned By Rishi Piparaiya

About the Book:


A Hilarious Take on just about Everything Associated with Air Travel.
- Getting seamlessly upgraded to Business Class.
- The hows and whys of micromanaging the pilots.
- Action plans to counter the airlines Technical Snag routine.
- Sure shot strategies for winning the affections of flight attendants.
- Awesome icebreakers to start conversations with attractive co-passengers.
- How smart executives deal with the Walk of Shame to the economy section.
- How a water bottle dramatically improves flight safety.
- Breezing through immigration and customs, always making your flight connections and a whole lot more

Rest assured, your flying experience will never be the same again!

Details: Paperback, 216 pages
Published: September 2013 by Jaico Publishers

My Review:

To begin with, this book offers an immaculate treasure-house of hilarious anecdotal nuggets of wisdom to mark up on our heads while making the air-travels, nothing less of an ordeal.

Okay, that might scare the wits out of someone who hasn’t air-traveled ever, however for the regular air passengers, this is an indispensable tool, a weapon (no exaggeration intended) to fight the demons of serpentine queues, badly-labeled luggage, bad-tempered crew, a variety of co-passengers exhibiting traits ranging from schadenfreude, sticklers, the-eternal-gossipers and so on, words like “Flight Delayed” all in their digital manifestation mocking at you in their sadistic best, multiple dilemmas as regards seating arrangement, et al.

So, the best part was the beginning, which eased me into the forthcoming hilarity. The ensuing hilarity also lends the book readability, and the author’s self-inclusive comical gags and antics were profoundly awe-inspiring.

He mocks the mechanism of the currency exchange counter by asking the reader to repeat the exchange transactions and count the number that it takes to leave you with empty hands and pockets, and at one point, you have to admit, the writer, with the magnitude and finesse with which he directs his sarcasm, has forced you to deprecate yourself as a nitwit. Such is the flawlessness with which the sarcasm, hyperbole, and mocking comments have been made and executed as a written word. He goes on to describe numerous travesties, without losing his humour ever, which is a rarity among first-time writers.

In the most jocular fashion, he describes the mortifying trek to the economy section, the catchphrase of cabin crew “Technical Snag”, the escapades of meals, dealing with infants seated next to you.Even loos couldn’t escape the glare of this man’s keen observation and sarcasm.Who knew that LIFO and FIFO are not just inventory management systems

This book has the best compilation of quotes, a smorgasbord of witty-one liners and what not. So when you prepare yourself to board the plane and soar high the next time, make sure you have this little companion! If for no other reason, (which shouldn’t be the case, since there are plenty), then at least to find the relevance of LIFO and FIFO as strategies during air-travel.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Book review: Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat



To put simply, Five Point Someone is a story of three friends, Ryan, Alok and Hari who land up in IIT, and don't give it a damn. Yet, they have their own stories to narrate, their own experiences to share and their own selves to discover. It is as much a story of their transformation from Five Pointers (labels derived from their CGPA) to five point someone, as it is about the lacunae in our education system.

The author warns at the very outset that it is NOT a guide to survive your college days, but revolves around “what not to do at IIT”. This is indeed one of the direst warnings, since the plot is infused with a plethora of incidents that can put even the sassy and insolent of us to chagrin and mortification. 
    
Well, that also saves the author from being accused of writing a story, whereby the acts of the protagonists hint at moral corruption time and again. From a different perspective, this book is also an iconoclast in that it reveals the dark side of studying at such prestigious institute as IIT, what with the inherently high expectations, among other usual criticisms (about mugging and cramming) made of the education system.
For a reader, there's enough to treat the eyes, a senior who looks like a demon from cheap mythological TV shows, a terrific troika of protagonists, drudgery of routine that makes fun conspicuous by its absence, insipid food at the hotel mess, being reinvigorated to study with dedication and commitment in the aftermath of a bad quiz performance, a professor's daughter-turned-girlfriend of the narrator, a  piece of advice for friend trying to play the pacifier: if you just paraphrase everyone's arguments, you get to be the good guy... you get the drift.

As far as the theme goes, the author seems genuinely concerned about addressing the flaws of the education system when he remarks,”Where is the time for creativity? Where is the room for original thought?” but the sad part is that eventually, even the passionate Ryan after exhibiting much of his creativity in a project, ends up succumbing to the demand of the curriculum to rote-memorize. The reader can only be thankful that he has at least abandoned all his strategies and shortcuts-to-success-formula!

No mention of this book is perhaps complete without reference to its cinematic counterpart, the much loved film 3 idiots. Even if you try to remain objective, one is forced to conclude that the movie has outdone the book in ways more than one.

Well, I would say that I have tried a couple of times to like Bhagat's fiction pieces, even to the extent of ransacking them to find any meaning behind them. And I have failed this time too, like always, now I have understood that the meaning behind the words penned by him in his fiction is not hidden, but hideous. Still, in sharp contrast I am in love with his non-fiction. Yet, if you are game for an easy-to-read contemporary novel to add to your list, go ahead and get your copy.

Book Review: My Happily Forever by Shifalika Kanwar, Kaysa


About the book:

My Happily Forever is a romantic fiction, portraying the life of the beautiful and talented Pia Sharma who has only two things on her to do list before turning thirty. One - manage her own team at JB Standards, a private banking firm in New York City. Two - find, fall in love and marry her own Mr Darcy, her knight in shining armour who would think that her crazy family is adorable. Alas! She is stuck with a boss from hell who has it in for her. Working donkey hours makes it impossible for her to have social life. And Mr Darcy never attends the scary weekend svayamvars her meddlesome relatives set up.

In despair, Pia undertakes a secret mission. With a bartender as her Fairy Godmother and her eccentric, gossip loving BFFs for guides, she arms herself with the top ten dating books in an effort to master the law of attraction. But when her efforts to find her Prince Charming yield some unexpected results, her entire life is thrown upside down.

To what lengths will she go to find her Mr Right? Does Pia have what it takes to fight for her happily ever after?




Paperback 240 pages
Published 2013 by Grapevine



My Review:
Grapevine India has been publishing some real heart-rendering chick=lit stuff. This one is an exception in that it is an episodic novel, dealing with a girl's life. First and foremost I commend the authors, like quite, for their portrayal of the protagonist Pia and her family: an unorthodox father, a concerned-about-daughter mother, the dire matrimonial attempts, relatives who would stuff you before they slaughter you, a string of prospective grooms who somehow always manage to let you down. this is such a humorous account of the ordeal (no exaggeration intended) that Pia's facing.
The opening sentence itself lends hilarity to the whole task of reading. the humour and puns, which the novel is so replete with, are so addictive that you almost succumb to it and find yourself in the place of Pia, feeling a surge of the same emotions as her, and with the same intensity. So, while the girls reading this book can relate to her in entirety, they might as well start laughing at their own status quo.
This book is a must read for all Indian girls especially, living here and abroad, whether from orthodox or unorthodox families, united by a common problem: the societal (read:baseless) pressure to "settle down".
At another level, the novel is a critical account of the status of single hood in our society: it is still deprecated and despised as if a curse. Girls like Pia are compelled to find their "happily forever" and then this already fantastical notion of Happily-ever-after is peppered with the yearning for a Mr. Right, prince Charming, and other abhorrent names you might give straight out of some Bollywood movie.
And then, more than anything else, it is a contemporary story, so it also depicts the professional roadblocks faced by the girl. There are relatives more desperate than herself. People just don't seem to understand that it is a decision of a lifetime, that it is not undone casually, that it remains forever,....you get the drift.
If I had to choose the best part of the whole story, it is undoubtedly going to be the character etching. The authors have had some real skill in creating hilarious, eccentric, despicable, endearing characters, all at once.
BFFs who laugh hysterically while watching movies, who keep pulling your leg when you equip yourselves with books on dating, but nevertheless rescuing you from the abyss of the singlehood-syndrome!
The relatives, who butcher you every weekend in the guise of your well-wisher.
the parents, who've been pestered enough by relatives to believe that their daughter has to get married, no alternatives, no questions asked!
A string of foolish boys: some desperate to live-in, some to conceal their sexuality. A boss who could not have been more hateful, whose absence ironically augments work productivity.
So, if you are in for a light read, which you can relate to, go treat yourself NOW!
In fact, this is a must-read book for every girl out there....



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