.The Con man book by Surender Mohan Pathak is a thriller

Publishers       Westland publications.

ISBN               9789387894136

The book belongs to a series of crime journalist called Sunil Chakravarthy. Who is the crime reporter for a popular newspaper called Blast in a second tier city in UP. The town is up beat enough to have resto-bars, and youth clubs.

The story begins with Ramkant Malhotra the owner of Youth club bringing a pretty girl Kiara Sobti asking for help, she was conned by Aditya Khurana an NRI investment banker who had returned to town. But when Sunil goes to talk to the person he is found dead. Then the fabric begins to weave. Cops confiscate the mobile of the dead person and find 6 names on the frequent caller list, Kiara, Toral, Kavya, Devayani and Prakash Raj. The story then meanders like a Perry Mason with the first three women being conned while Devayani is the next prey.

Aditya Khurana it turns out is a conman who lived in a local middle class housing society and Prakash Raj is his partner. Aditya’s wife  Jyothi does a pick-a-boo. Then we have Nidhi who works at a jewellers shop who happens to be Prakash Raj’s extra marital affair. Prakash Raj himself being a high flying gambler. Though the character of Dimple Saxena as Nidhi’s roommate is interesting has all the signs of being conned, I would have made her the murderer. Another red herring appears in the form of Toral’s brother who works in the same hotel as the victim.

Lestrade of the series is the cop Prabhu Dayal of course there are rookie journalists, and cops a few henchmen of a loan shark all thrown into the cauldron.

the book gets weighed down voluminous dialogues. The original case being often forgotten. Westland could do well in insisting on editing the book. The book reads like the Hindi version was run through a google translator, at times I suspected toogle.

The book is best read in the original language Hindi.

About the author: Surendra Mohan Pathak is India’s highest selling crime writer. He has 298 novels to his credit. He has individual series for the protagonists he has created, like Sunil series for the crime journalist, Sudhir series dedicated to a private investigator Sudhir Kohli, Jeet series featuring a petty thief who takes to crime after a heartbreak. Finally the Vimal series where the protagonist Sardaar Surendra Singh is a gangster with a conscience.

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An evening with Sankarshan Thakur,

An evening with Sankarshan Thakur,

The international centre goa. has come up with Patrakar, a concept for interaction with journalists who are also published authors. This time round it Sankarshan Thakur, who the editor of The Telegraph

patrakar-sankarshan thakur.jpg
with Mr.Sankarshan Thakur.

The talk discussed the books by Mr.Thakur, particular his biographies on Nitesh Kumar and Laloo Prasad Yadav. The focus was of course his newest book, “The brothers Bihari” he called it the Bihari’s take on Bihar its politicians and politics. The two giants of Bihar, Laloo Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Chalk and cheese.

Laloo Yadav the muse of Thakur’s Subaltern Saheb and the making of Laloo Yadav, populist but tainted. Nitish Kumar the muse of Thakur’s Praise for single Man:The life and Times of Nitish Kumar of Bihar which by the author’s own confession was not truly his.

Mr.Thakur talked of the times when the men were young and complimented each other, gradually drifted and today they stand as foes. Taking turns to lead the waltz of Bihar’s destiny.

He was talking of the ground realities of liquor ban which has only added to creating a new career for the young of bihar, bootlegging. The liquor ban in Bihar has made it lucrative for youngsters to deliver liquor bottles clandestinely which brings them an income of 1500-3000Rs/day. People step over to Jhumri Telaiya for their drink.

As Mr.Thakur has spent a large spans of time at Kashmir, the conversation had to go there. He says the average Kashmiri is as courteous as ever, but fear has vanished from the valley, military vehicles no longer inspire awe or terror. Just resignation.

He was sharing the insight of a senior Kashmiri writer,(I forgotten his name) who felt what is happening to Kashmiri is it has got walled with only opening left. The opening is to the south, while the orientation of Kashmir is inclined towards central Asia.

Through the interaction, Mr.Thakur gave us a ring of sincerity and passion.  It was not just about the Saga of the despair of Bihar or Kashmir, it is the saga of what the dream of 1947 stroke of midnight has crumbled to. We seem to have lost the understanding that to disagree does not mean non- acceptance. To voice a contrary opinion is not being anti-national.

Thakur’s conversation was not funny, it was terrifying. Some insights that stayed with me

Kashmiriyat has left Kashmir… does that sound familiar Goankarpon has left Goa. We are all becoming “Indian”

We want Kashmir but not Kashmiri’s.

Kashmir is currently hurt that the mothers sing wedding songs at their sons funeral as there are no more weddings.

It is time for us to sit up and read the subtexts and understand what we allowed ourselves to become, very far from where we were to go.

The official conversation between Bihari Brothers Sankarshan Thakur and Dr.Pushkar  Launch event Patrakar.





The Female Sherlock Holmes: C. L. Pirkis’ Loveday Brooke

The Female Sherlock Holmes: C. L. Pirkis’ Loveday Brooke

Now this is interesting.

Interesting Literature

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle applauds the 1890s short stories featuring an early female detective

The name Catherine Louisa Pirkis is relatively unknown now, but Pirkis left two legacies of interest. The first arose out of her animal charity work: with her husband, Pirkis was one of the founders of the National Canine Defence League in 1891. This is undoubtedly a worthwhile legacy in itself, but it’s the second legacy of C. L. Pirkis which concerns us here: her small but nonetheless notable contribution to detective fiction.

In 1893, C. L. Pirkis (1841-1910) wrote a series of short stories featuring a character who has been dubbed ‘the female Sherlock Holmes’, the lady detective Loveday Brooke. It was an opportune, if not out-and-out opportunistic, time to create a new fictional detective: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had just killed off his popular sleuth Sherlock Holmes

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Drab debut.– Paradise Towers

Author:                Swetha Bachchan-Nanda

Publisher:            Harpar Collin India

ISBN                     978935303157

I have always been a HarvanshRai Bachchan fan.  I had quite enjoyed the soul curry by Amitabh Bachchan.  When Women’s Web invited me for the book release and I could not make I was rather disappointed.

Unfortunately I never read Ms.Bachchan-Nanda’s column. If I did I probably would have been more cautious.

Is like trying on the hat to emerge as a celebrity in her own right. It was modelling, well that seemed to fall flat, now the book and a clothes line. Hope she has better luck with the clothes line, than she has with cleaning the dirty linen of the residents of Paradise Towers.

Published by Harper Collins I assumed there would be a reasonable level of quality.  Well the language was decent I shall not deny it.

Like the synopsis said the book is about the residence of Paradise Towers an apartment building in central Mumbai.  In fairness Ms.Bachchan-Nanda tries to be inclusive both of the genre of story and the characters.

The story opens with the fastidious Mrs. Kapoor conversing with her mother. The Nosy Mrs.Mody who peeks into people’s life with a pair of binoculars. There is the gossipy Mrs.Kapoor her Muslim friend. A voyeuristic Mrs.Mody.  To this community come an NRI Punjabi family with teenage kids. There is a shy girl next door.  With this fabric like true Indian tail wanting to please all

The wannabe romance is taken care of by the Romance between Laila and her Hindu boyfriend. But all is set right by the two of them eloping and the parents accepting the couple in the true Hindi movie style.

Teen romance between the shy girl next door I have forgotten her name, and the NRI boy.

A thriller when the domestically abused Mrs. Rangnekar is revealed to be ferrying counterfeit notes.

A wannabe murder mystery in solving how did Mrs.Mody die mystery.

Paradise Towers does not allow the reader into the community because the author has not introduced us to her characters; I neither know Mrs. Kapoors first name nor her friends.

paradise towers
buy your copy here

However there is an interesting observation that Ms.Bachchan-Nanda makes “police in uniform is noticed, but a lift man in the same uniform remains unnoticed.”

The blurbs Mr.Karan Johar and Priyanka Khanna are rather misleading. Hope Ms.Bachchan-Nanda has more success in her next outing. I have to redeem myself.




An Indian Platter

Flavours of nationalism,

ISBN   9789387693661

Publisher Speaking Tiger.

The International Centre Goa has periodic book releases and conversations with the authors. I love attending these lectures, Ranjit Hosakotti and Nandita Haksar being few authors that I love reading. So when the invite came I jumped at it.

Though the conversation made feel that the much traveled Lady was trying to whip up a Thali

Nandita Haksar has a tag line to it, recipes for love, hate and friendship. The book is a collection of essays on her Pan Indian life and her life as the daughter of a diplomat patronized by the Nehruvian regime also speaks through.

The first essay on the meat eating kashmiri Brahmins, she refers to them as downstairs Kashmir where Kashmiriyat was diluted with the merging of Delhi culture into it. Some things that struck me in the essay was.

  • Kashmiri Pandits are meat eating but did not eat garlic and onion.
  • Mangoes were not indigenous to Kashmir, so there are no mango recipes.
  • Also when people dine to together some smells could cause problems.

Nandita talks of the gradual erosion of the elegant UP influenced Delhi culture by the invasive loud Punjabi culture. One interesting observation she makes is eating various cuisines may be adventurous and accommodative but it also  comes with a sense of rootlessness.t Nandita presents the meat eating Kashmiri Brahmins as a unique existence, of course Kashmiri Pandits are unique, Maharashtrian Brahmins particularly the Puneri Brahmins are quite often meat eating.

Some recipe’s to look up,

  • Kudaya-handa bhaji.
  • Karachi halwa
  • Bedmi
  • Nagoris

In page 131 she makes an observation that fat says, ‘screw you!”

In another place Nandita talks of her grandmother who told her grandfather, that he has married to her and not his mother, this changed his behaviour he began respecting her more. Interesting maybe some of us should try this on the men we married.

In page 158 she compares the Naga style of parenting with the Pan-Indian Urban parenting. Her observation is that Naga children are made to be useful contributory members of the society by the time they are 8-9 while Urban Indians do not allow their children to become adults for as long as they can.

In a conversation with her friend Ulka she observes that our inability to appreciate the other is more about our own limitations.

The book documents the changing culture of the subcontinent through the eyes of a much travelled person, her travel is both through geography and her who identity. Her journey at through feminism is to the human rights in Nagaland is very interesting.

There are few recipes in the book, though personally I think it was dinning that seem to dominate. In her final chapter she does question the random tourism growth in Goa the 5 star boom, causing a fish famine. She also comments on the vanishing frogs as their food has diminished with increased pesticide uses.

Over all an interesting book, serious issues have been put across through musings and observations, Nandita does not really  pronounce a judgement.

Buy your copy here.

On a personal note I should thank her for the Menu card on page 78 it kind of resolved a challenge for me.

A very interesting book for everyone who wants to know a little more about life, living and indian culture. Maybe I shall gift this book to all my NRI nieces and  nephew’s.

Though through the book one question kept bothering me, why equate Hinduism to Brahmanism, also why portray brahmanical culture as inhuman? Isn’t it  like saying all muslims are terrorists.


Self Pity Is not constitutional.

Self Pity Is not constitutional.

When I received the mail from Kalyani with a request to review her book. I accepted as I had an over dose of mythology genre.

Title:                Bend Your Knees and Do Your Best.

Author            Kalyani .B.V.

ISBN                9789352019939

Publishers       Leadstartcorp.

Once in a while we come across an author who makes you want to pick the phone simply because the book could have a conversation between likeminded friends, which was what happened as I read the book. I could not put it down.

The whacky sense of humour, the candid presentation of situation it was amazing.  There was so much I could empathize with like the way she arrives to “the God of Randomness.” Her staple of Amar Chitra Katha. Her usage of Raag Inkaar.

She has an Asura partner in Hiranya, it reminded me of My Ravana. The book traces the journey of nearly having a breakdown IT professional, I shall not go more than that, the book is definitely worth a pick.

The way she presents the interpersonal relationship in a board room, she actually writes it as, “Sastri’s presence contaminates Maggie and makes her more mad.” Kalyani I love you.

I like the ditty she uses,

My name is pooja, java ki mein raani…LOL

Just as you get comfortable with the humour, and you are smiling, the author throws an emotional volcano which most of us in our 40’s and 50’s can definitely empathize with.  Maybe the emotional exhaustion of the protagonist who is also called Kalyani vibes with a phase that I am just emerging out off. The support system of the Hiranya an Asura, (Ravana in my case,) the prosaic voice of aunt …I have forgotten the name but the grounding connect in her life, the mysterious psychic connect who sends her messages. It is all intriguing.

Kalyani presents a very subtle presence of a supportive universe, with interesting observations like the universe is trying to resolve the conflicts of 7 billion individuals, and a little help might be required. Or looking at the universe as a partner.

There is this bit where Kalyani decides to get healthy and the epiphany she has on the treadmill, is that it was all about running to stay in the same place, which she finds is very similar to a career in the IT.  At a point in the narrative she talks about data tracking and analysing is like accepting a God was keeping track of our good and bad deeds.

Another very down to earth observation she makes, is auto drivers and maids are really more privileged as they can get to choose their assignments.

Towards the end of the book she goes house hunting. Which is hilarious and I could empathize with that too. Her observation of one property, lush green view till political will protects…LOL.  As she takes us through the real estate jargon I am reminded of Asterix’s and Mansion of Gods.

Somewhere she finds a soul twin in Dubai, again amazing.  Her insights to life and contemporary lifestyles are so hands on and practical,

Like in page 364 she talks about how fear rules us right from the age of 15.

In page 383 she gives the panacea for all recoverees– which is one day at time. This was exactly what I did when I was recovering from burns, and am doing now as I am care giving my husband who is recovering from a threatened stroke.

I also agree with Kalyani’s mom self pity is not constitutional.

The icing on the cake was the way she used facebook status to declare a situation. What really struck a chord was her epiphany on being chained to her work.

The most amazing epiphany of it all Grihastashram is about finding ways of staying in the ecosystem long after you are tired of it!!

Buy your copy here.

I enjoyed the book so much that I handed to my 20yr old niece who is hanging on it, she keeps telling me, “I cannot imagine a 40+ person having this kind of humour. The book felt like a conversation between me and my friends.”

Right at the fag end of the book she shares an experience in Japan which makes her realize that life is all about bending your knees and doing your best.

Thank you Kalyani B.V. for giving me the honour of reviewing your book.


Desi Blend of Demi-Gods

Desi Blend of Demi-Gods

I am a total Christopher Doyle fan. So is my daughter. When the Pataala Prophecy was heralded I definitely prebooked it.

The book arrived and I was looking for something to do with opening of the anathapadmanabha temple at Kerala. Well it had nothing to do with it.

My daughter read it first and told me, not Christopher Doyle at all, it is Percy Jackson, Harry potter and red pyramid series blended with Indian mythology.

Her analysis was bang on.

For some reason the book begins with Napoleon in the desert. He does not tell us how many books are there in the series. Shukra the Asura-Guru has returned he seeks something and is unstoppable, the child to stop is born and Shukra seeks the destruction of the child.  The prophecy talks of a child who stops Shukra, the scion of the chandravanshi’s the descendents of Yayati. Each of the descendent is guided by a guru. Right out of the Red Pyramid series of the Osiris the king and the magician guide.

Dementor like floating zombies. The tapping of the boulders of Panna forest reserve to enter the Gandharva loka, like the tapping the wall to enter the diagon alley in Harry potter. A gurukul where maharishis are trained in occult and Sadh’s or sadharan who equivalent to Rowling’s muggles. We do not have oracles making prophecies but Saptarishi’s making one. The saptarishi constellation is fixed with the North Star Dhruv, the name of the leader of the rishi. There are seven teenagers who are to save the world, like the saptarishi, the Prophecy of seven from the Percy Jackson series.

“Shukra is after me,” sounds like “Voldamort is after me.”

The book carries ample references to the stories from the puranas.  There is a reference to Brahmabasha, or the Devabhasha as a language older than Sanskrit. The mantras used however are from the later Sanskrit period and definitely not the vedamantras which are dedicated to the elements of the nature.

Some very interesting observations like everyone are suspicious of what they do not understand. The soul transition described in page 218 is very beautiful.

Overall an interesting book the language being very good, I somehow have a gut feeling the child of the prophecy is Maya the later blooming daughter of the leader of the sect Maharishi Dhruv, this rings the DaVinci code feeling. That would definitely be an interesting move.

The concepts of telepathy, astral travel are used.

I am looking forward to reading the other books of this series.  A great book to gift a young adult. The concept is intriguing, language is good. The extensive referral articles and books at the end allow the reader to carry on his or her own further reading.

Author: Christopher Doyle

Publisher:    Westland publication

ISBN 9789386850478

Quest club is the club created by Christopher Doyle to make his readers part of his journey click here to join the quest club, and click here to buy your copy of the book.