Two Fates Cover Page
Judy Balan’s debut novel “Two Fates – The story of my divorce” is an extension of the story of “Two States – The story of my marriage” by Chetan Bhagat. The plot is about separation of the couple (Deepika and Rishabh) who are like Yin and Yang, intrinsically different but complementary in nature. While the pair plots for their severance, their family unknowingly conspires against their divorce. Two Fates is story of these opposing forces, full of humour, sarcasm and some high schoolish turn of events.
Yin Yang Symbol
Judy narrates the story through the protagonist Deepika’s perspective and sticks to Aam-Janata syle of writing – use of plan language. Though the story is fun, Judy’s story is built around some very hard-core beliefs of the Indian society like inter-class or inter-religion marriages are social stigma, divorce decisions are not personal but family decisions, non-conventional form of vocation/studies/career like writing, vetenary doctor etc are not easily accepted by society. The author is also bold in presenting the sexual life of the couple in a very comic way.
The central characters of the novel might relate to many urban cosmopolitan citizens but the turn of events presented in the story like the baby making conspiracy by the families, the events related to the clandestine divorce, the union of the two inter-community families involved, the openness of the family to talk about sex etc are way-off from the life of a common man. The constantly-fighting-yet-loving-sort-of-relationship between Deepika and Rishabh is also expected to strike a chord with many couples.
Judy’s job of extending Chetan’s story line is remarkable as I believe extending someone else’s imagination is more difficult than creating a completely new plot. Hence, I think that the book is better than many other books belonging to modern literati genre. The book is a stand-alone success and does not require readers to have read “Two States”. The story is racy, dramatic and quick read (Should not take more than five hours to read).
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Bombay Duck is a Fish Cover Page
Kanika Dhillon’s debut novel “Bombay Duck is a fish” is partly an autobiographical book on career in film-making. Fast paced novel set in the tinsel town of India – Mumbai – is about dreams and ambition of the film city.
The protagonist of the story “Neki Brar” chucks a cushy corporate job to follow her dream to become a film-maker alike the author of the book. Young ambitious Neki successfully lands in the Assistant Director role to a famous director Fiza but soon discovers the darker side of the film-making. Cruelties of the city and of the profession soon teach her the act of survival and she adopts to the bollywood’s way of moving up the ladder. However, her entanglement with second lead actor, Ranvir, of Fiza’s movie unfolds ugliness of true love, which brings destruction to her life. Kanika cites in the book “Test of true love is to ask oneself if one would happily be destroyed by the other person. If the answer is yes, it’s true love.” Neki’s love for Ranvir destroys her.
Kanika tells the story via filings of Neki in her diary “Nano” in a fashion similar to Annie Frank’s narration via a diary “Kitty” in “Diary of a Young Girl”. The timeframe of the story is less than a year and sometimes the reader might find the pace of the story to be unrealistic. Kanika has effectively used humor in the story and has christened the chapters creatively. The title of the novel derives its name from one of the chapters of the novel where Neki realizes that “Bombay Duck” is a misnomer and “Bombay Duck” is actually a fish. The interspersed allusion to Freudian theories and quotes from novel “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse makes the reading interesting.
Character of Neki is etched well and in parts seems to be heavily drawn from the real life of Kanika who also started out working as an assistant director in bollywood. The characters in the story are young and ambitious and the racy life of the characters presented in the story might connect with many bollywood aspirants. Kanika has been honest to writing and has presented charcters like Aslam, Minty and Ranvir giving a peek into the dark side of film-making.
Language of the book is plain. It sometimes throws film-making jargons like AD (Assistant Director), Vanity Van, location recce etc. but does not really interfere with the reading. One must not read this book for wellspring of information on movie making but for the narration. The book is fast-paced and a seven to eight hour read. The plot is bereft of surprise elements and is predictable; unfortunately the end of the story is a let down.
My verdict – Thumbs Up for narration and recommended for light readers. Must read for bollywood aspirants. A three of out of five to Kanika for the work.
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Exodus Cover Page
“Exodus” is a novel built around numerous passionate attempts by Jewish zealots to establish a homeland for themselves – “Israel”. The title “Exodus” refers to the movement/immigration of Jewish community across the world to “Israel”
Leon Uris has been able to bring out the travesty faced by the Jewish community during the World War II and also offers insights into political stage during the era. The author has also spent considerable time in describing the concepts of Kibbutz (Collective farms of Jewish Community) and formation of Haganah (self defense army of Jewish community) which are indicative of the immense research work put behind the novel.
The story revolves around a few characters like Ari, Kitty, Karen and Dov. The characters of the story are quiet serious and is in line with the seriousness of the subject of the story. Leon has successfully tied the determination of these characters to establish Jewish nation with their past lives, which enables the reader to empathize with the mindset of the characters.
The story never deviates from the underlying theme of the story “Creation of Israel”; moreover the last hundred pages of the novel only describe the fighting, killing, murder and victory, which can be drab at times to the reader.
The language is simple and is easy to read. I will recommend the novel to serious readers only, especially ones interested in learning the story of Israel and the state of Jewish Community during World War II. For the light readers, the movie “Exodus” based on the novel is a good alternative. The novel is an excellent work of bringing together fiction and real events of the past and hence I award a rating of 3.5 on a scale of 5.
P.S: If you are interested in learning about state of Jewish Community and the travesty that befell them during World War II, “Diary of a Young Girl” is highly recommended.
Romance with Chaos
“Romance with Chaos” by “Nishant Kaushik” is a story of young professional who finds his job as one without challenges & recognition and is in constant fight to find peace in his chaotic life. Life of Nakul, the protagonist of the novel, mirrors life of any other young professional in the corporate sphere who struggles with harsh realities of job and aims to identify an “X-Factor” in their life.
The author has used random events of Nakul’s life like betrayal by a colleague at workplace, breakup with girl friend, meeting with a co-passenger in a flight and coming across a few random sketches drawn by an acquaintance to shape the story.
The plot seems to be partly inspired by the experience of the author in the corporate and therefore many young professionals can find a good connect with the story. Description of Nakul’s relationship with Kavya has Nishant’s humorous touch and forms the most interesting part of the story for me. Reader might feel the characters of the story to be stereotyped as the characters might resemble many real personalities in an urban readers’ life. The book misses detailed descriptions of settings and characters, which seems to be a typical trait of the books of this genre.
The book as in the case of many Indian fiction books is a recommend for short reads and might not vet the appetite of true bibliophiles. Overall, a 3 out of 5 to Nishant for the piece.
“Two States” by “Chetan Bhagat” is a love story of individuals from two different states of India, who fall in love with each other in their campus life at IIM Ahmadabad and post the campus life work towards convincing their families, revolting against inter community marriage of their children. Female protagonist Ananya, unlike typical south Indian girl is characterised as a smart, intelligent and extrovert female while the male protagonist Krish, an intelligent IITian from Delhi is presented as a whizkid.
The book differs from the other campus stories in two dimensions: a) A larger portion of the book is devoted to post campus life of the protagonists of the novel unlike campus stories which are purely devoted to the campus b) Secondly and majorly, the book delves on slightly more serious subject of “commitment and marriage” rather on the present day buzzword of numerous other campus stories “love & fun”. The author should be commended for his ability to present a very serious subject of inter-community marriage in his style of humour and fun and hence the book becomes a light read. The story has patches of gloom interspersed with happiness surrounding the small victories of the couple in events that helped them convince their families.
The book owing to its presentation style can be categorized in the genre of humorous writing rather than in the romantic novels. It is recommended as a light read and hence attracts a lot of young audience. From the perspective of a mature reader, I expect Chetan Bhagat to graduate to higher levels of writing and present to its reader a slightly more serious work.
“The Satyam Saga”, a Business Standard publication book, is an anthology of articles by journalists of Business Standard covering multiple facets of the Satyam Scandal, referred as biggest corporate scandal of India Inc. The book not only chronicles the turn of events in the Satyam Scandal but also covers other related areas like Corporate Governance, Multiplicity of Investigating Agencies, Regulatory Measures of Indian Inc etc.
The articles form a good ground for initiating discussions and debates on issues raised during the scandal like role of independent directors and auditors, business-politics nexus, principle agent theory and crisis management. The articles do not detail much on each of the above management topics and the readers should not expect to derive much detail on these topics as these are presented in a cursory manner.
The facts and quotes presented by the authors are not biased in nature. Book dedicates a few chapters to understand Ramalinga Raju’s mindset, though the articles are non-conclusive in nature. A few inferences about Ramalinga Raju’s attitude and business acumen are:
- Ramalinga Raju was an aggressive but media shy businessman one who wanted to jump to 1000 from 100 without talking about 200, 300 etc. This aggression might have led him to inflate the books to be among the Big 4 IT league of India.
- Ramalinga Raju played his cards close to the chest which precisely meant that the large section of the top management was unaware of the misdemeanours of the Satyam chief.
- As expected from a true entrepreneur he was good at networking skills as displayed by his closeness with Chandrashekhar Naidu, Y S Reddy, association with Bill Gates and APJ Abdul Kalam Azad which allegedly might have won him many business.
Book also presents details on Social Enterprise of Satyam like EMRI, HMRI and Satyam Foundation. The reader would be awed at the doing good philosophy of Mr Raju which earned him great respect among his community and near-dears. The facts presented in the book drive the point that had the directors and auditors played their role responsibly the misdemeanour would have been unveiled ages ago. The book can be recommended to business and management book readers who want to get hang of events in Satyam Saga.