Saturday, July 31

The White Tiger-a review

The White Tiger: A Novel (Man Booker Prize)Highly Recommended

Arvind Adiga has me hooked. I loved this book- his first book for which he won the Man Booker Prize. His writing style is simple yet powerful. This book by virtue of being ironic, was quite humorous. I could not help but laugh out aloud (on a crowded "T", yeah and I did get "the looks") many a times. There were times throughout the book where I would give a knowing grim nod. Balram, a despicable character, did capture my heart. I usually have strong opinions about various characters in any book, especially the protagonist- but here I was not so sure- did I pity Balram, do I fathom his reasons for being the way he is and is he justified in doing what he did? The book is in the form a letter, a narration to the Chinese Premier. Balram escapes his life of nothingness and fear of landlords (with creative pet names such as mongoose and stork!) who collected hafta from the poorest of the poor, to start anew as a driver for a rich family (Amrica-returned golden boy of Stork and his wife). Now the story is all about how Balram gets there, how he learns all about "The Rooster Club" and how in all desperation he wants out of the club.

A beautifully crafted story that will melt your heart and make you laugh.

Read it to feel it!

Sunday, July 25

Sultan's Seal- a review

The Sultan's Seal: A Novel (Kamil Pasha Novels)This was our book club read for June and the exciting part was that the author Jenny White was going to be at our meeting. But unfortunately, I was unable to attend the meeting (I was enjoying my stay in Chennai!). Set in Stanbul on Bosphorous, close to the end of Ottoman empire, this book was quite a riveting read. It is a mystery novel with a subtle yet beautiful romance between the protaganist Kamil Pasha, the magistrate and Sybil (daughter of the British ambassador, who helps Kamil during his investigation). Kamil Pasha's investigation in to the drowning of an European governess becomes increasingly difficult as he finds out that the lady (Mary Dixon) was a governess in the Sultan's household and that that this murder might be linked to a previous similar murder. The book has its fair share of chicanery, passion and betrayal. I liked the author's style of writing a lot too.
                                Overall this book was unputdownable.

A trip to remember...

This India trip was not your, or rather, my usual, run-off-the-mill trip. I did a teeny weeny bit of traveling. Landed in Chennai and rather unusually, my parents were out of town (well I did know that before hand)- so I was off to my uncle's place (my gran was there to pick me up!). The third day I was out of Chennai.
Next stop: Pune, Maharashtra to visit my aunt (mausi/chithi) and chitappa.
Day 1: Talk, talk on the way to Lavassa (a planned hill city) and more talk on the way back since we had to play a guessing game "will we reach the city before we run out of gas and get stuck in the middle of no where?". Since we did reach the city, we treated ourselves first by stopping to get some farm fresh happoos. I also got into fight with a security guard outside the National Defense Academy- I mean the sense of power is so misplaced. So when you see a big bulky canon being promptly displayed- what is your first thought- "I need a picture". Now you would think that this was a harmless endeavor- no not for this security guard, apparently he was guarding the antiquated, hardly functioning canon outside the academy that was in full public view.

Day 2: More talk, on our way to Mumbai to see more people...night show Rajneeti, of the 4 of us that went to the movie, only I thought it was kind of alright- the rest of them hated it!

Day 3: Leave Mumbai, en route stopover at Lonavala. Now as a sight to be seen on "World day against Child Labor"- I saw two little children, a girl (pictured here) and a boy were running a small tea shop that also served roasted corn (of course the mother was there too). I was so distressed with the amount of plastic strewn about in those beautiful hills- I do not even know where to begin and for this I blame no one but the damn people who lack curtsy and even the slightest sense of guilt when they go about throwing their shit around! Funny story: we walk around the "Lion's point" for a few minutes. A Tata sumo with three people, all three of them stuffing themselves with food. The lady drops throws her napkin on the ground. I turned to see what the gentlemen were going to do and I held my gaze on one of them. This guy held napkin for as long as I was staring and smirking at him- the moment I got in the car, the  damn guy threw the damn paper on the ground.

Day 4: Early morning flight to Delhi, out of the flight and into the traffic jam! After a considerable talking, it was dinner time which was at some fancy schmancy Dhaba- they even had a truck cut out and dhaba music but sadly food was no where close to a real dhaba food and neither were the people as nice as the people who usually run dhabas! So in the midst of all talking, I even got some pictures of the baby pigeons!

Day 5: DU by metro with cousin, spent a couple of hours there watching students dance their way through a college admission. I was quite impressed with the Delhi metro system. And as usual could not help but get angry with men who could not stop staring at women (age no bar). Dinner at a place whose name I cannot remember!
Day 6: Flight back to Chennai. Appa was there. Thankfully not on his "Hero Winner" moped (I think we are the only ones in the entire country that have this model)