Book Review::Wedding Wallah by Farahad Zama

Opening lines*: Mrs. Ali could have sworn that the thief had a sneaky look in his eye as he crept close to his target.

Publisher: Abacus

Genre: Fiction

Can be picked here

The main story is about a Marriage Bureau (MB) which is named as “Marriage Bureau for the Rich People.” Run by Mr. and Mrs. Ali, the MB invites several community people who are affluent and seek a suitable bride/groom.

And, Mrs. Bilqis is one of their affluent clients. Her proposal is for Mr. and Mrs Ali’s niece, Pari. Mr. and Mrs. Ali are astonished as Pari is a impoverished widow. A bright and beautiful girl, Pari lost her husband but has adopted a young boy from her hometown.

Pari lives independently and works in a Call Center. She loves her son dearly and wishes to make his life as pleasant as possible. Mrs. Bilqis is ready to accept the son and also give him a wonderful life, much to the astonishment of everybody who knows her.

Why would Mrs. Bilqis, a fiercely status-conscious woman do this? Her son, Dilawar is a handsome and intelligent boy. He accepts Pari too at the persuasion of Mr. and Mrs. Ali’s son, Rehman.

What happens next? Will Pari go ahead with such a mysterious proposition? The story also speaks of topics and subjects which are considered a taboo. But I wouldn’t tell it all. Read the book to know more.

The best part of the book is the fine detailing. Based in Vizag, the book eloquently speaks of the jargons, the culture there. If I were not a Telugu-speaking person, I would have still understood the culture of the place. The strong characters and the narration, garnished with good grammar makes this book a wonderful read.

But, the book has too many subplots and some of them are incomplete.

This is part of a trilogy. The other two are Marriage Bureau for the Rich people and Many conditions of Love.

Excerpt (Found this conversation amusing):

‘Where is my tea?’

‘I am busy,’ she said.

‘I can see that but what is so urgent about scraping the coconut now? I have been waiting for my tea

for almost an hour’

‘Who am I doing this for?” said Mrs. Ali.

About the author: Farahad Zama, born in 1966 at Vizag,

is a alumnus of IIT Kharagpur. He now lives in London with his family.

*-Just this one time. I liked this on Lindy LouMac’s blog

Advertisements

Book Poview::Animal Farm by George Orwell

Personal Note: It was gifted in a pdf form by a friend, Hari. I took me few months to sit down with this much talked about book. Now I know why people love this 54-page book.
The book Animal Farm, written by Eric Blair aka George Orwell, is an allegory. It is a must read for everyone who loves the alphabet and oppose the notion of a free society. I tried to capture the essence of the book in this poem and review (Poview).

Beasts of Rebellion Beasts of Rebellion
Beats of freedom of expression
Slaughter the innocence
Savour oppression

First it was the man who ruled
Butchering and slaughtering his command
Disguised as the animals’ companion,
The Pigs now demand

As the pages turn, layer by layer,
Now work hard the fools,
In the field of tyranny
As malevolence drools

Slowly the baton passes
To the cruel and the might
Declared as their savior, the animals sing
“Comrade Napoleon is right”

in their rulers’ face, man they see
Too feeble to protest
Piqued! In a turmoil,
They merely detest

Excerpt:
Twelve voices were shouting in anger and they were all alike. No questions, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say, which was which

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

About the author:

Born in 1903, in Motihari, Bihar, Eric Arthur Blair, known as George Orwell, wrote the books 1984 (published in 1949), Animal Farm (published 1945), and Homage to Catalona (published in 1938) and many essays.
His novels are best known for it’s opposition to a free society and the term “Orwellian” has been coined as well based on his ideas.
Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005). The novella shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved.
Orwell denied that Animal Farm was a reference to Stalinism. Orwell had returned from Catalonia a staunch anti-Stalinist and anti-Communist, but he remained to the end a man of the left and, in his own words, a ‘democratic socialist’.

For more book reviews, click :My Reviews

Source: Wikipedia ; george-orwell.org

Book Review:: I have a dream by Rashmi Bansal

Pages: 337
Price: INR 150 and INR 101 if you purchase it from Flipkart
Genre: Inspiration

20 social entrepreneurs. One common dream – to change the world in their capacity and with their capability and beyond.
The author’s note defines the book, best, as “These are people like you and me, not Mother Teresa. They are using the principles of business, to create a better world”
A world where profit does not equal greed. Where people come together for a greater common cause. A world where “I” does not mean crushing “them.”
The book is divided into:
Rainmakers, Change makers, and the Spiritual Capitalists.
Rainmakers:
It’s a collection of social enterprises where the motive is to do good and not charity. Initiative like Sulabh International by Bindeshwa Pathak (born in 1943), was conceptualized to realize Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a “Clean India” and his struggle to remove the caste system in 1960s.
The story will clean your mind about various prejudices that holds the mind.
Then stories like DesiCrew, India’s first BPO project by 23-year-old Saloni will help you envision what one can do best with technology.
Then, Anand Kumar of Super 30 fame will help you embrace the limitations set for you and what can you do best for the society in those parameters. He has a record of almost cent percent admission into IIT, every year.
What do you do when a courier man comes to your doorstep. You sign and take your parcel. And that’s what instigated the idea for Dhruv Lakra, a young man to start “Mirakle Couriers” An incident in a bus journey made Dhruv realize that hearing impaired can be given job opportunities too. And the best fit was a courier company where the customer need not communicate verbally. A signature and you take the courier.
Changemakers:
And.. there are some who believe in the one-man army.
Here is a anecdote i would like to paste
The corpse carrier remarked “In the winter, business is good. Sometimes, there is so much work, I cannot handle it”
And his five year old added “When I feel cold, I cuddle a dead body and go to sleep”
And that’s when Anshu Gupta realized
“I bunked my classes for the first 15 days and that was my first exposure to ‘village India’ I roamed here and there and I saw how people are not worried about houses or food. They are only worried about warm clothes and blankets.’
(Disclaimer: is it so? I wonder)
And.. he started Goonj, an organization where clothes are distributed among the needy and they are instrumental in deputing clothes during disaster relief.
I was thrilled to read about Parivartan, a movement or an NGO started by Mr. Arvind Kejriwal. If you are following the LokPal Bill closely, you will know who this man is. Read the book to know more about him.
And then the last segment of the book is about service for inner purity. If you believe in it, then this segment is just for you.
With stories like the inception of Akshaya Patraya, where they serve meals to a house for many, Parivar Ashram, started by a young IIM graduate, this segment, though the shortest houses food for thought.
I have mentioned only few organizations here, but all of them have something to offer. I have read Connect the Dots and Stay Hungry stay Foolish by Rashmi Bansal. This book follows the same pattern. Her thoughts followed by the story of the individual and then “Advice for the Young Entrepreneurs.” the book ends with a list of the e-mail address of the respective individuals featured. However, they missed contacts of two individuals: Dhruv Lakra and Madhav Chavan.
Here is an advice I related most with:
And if you want to make a difference, it does not have to be a full time for everybody. Do it along side a job, You have time for movies, parties, friends, family, chatting on the net, why not an hour to volunteer?
There are people who spend lives on social issues, you can flow with them.
I feel: Or you can make your own tide!
P.S.: I love volunteering. And have been doing some activities related to social work and this book helped me understand the nitty gritties and the challenged faced while starting one’s own organization.
Recommend this book for everyone who is inclined towards social entrepreneurship.

Book Review: Bala Takes the Plunge and Random Questions with Author, Melvin Durai

Balasubramaniam or Blue Submarine, as the Airport officials call him, is a B.E. specialization: Mechanical. He is cursed to be intelligent and hence he cannot do what who he likes i.e., to direct Tamil films. Like any Engineering student, Bala moves to the United States. The story progresses to his life in the America. Mostly intended to be humorous. He is almost 30, a Director of the company, flex-it, which coaxes people to buy fitness machines but yet, single. While his parents want him to get married and pressurize him, he is hell-bent on marrying he likes/loves. His search for a perfect bride lands him into situation of sorts. What happens o his dreams, his ambitions, marriage plans follows the rest of the story. Few things most of us who are going through the “Quarter Life Crisis” will surely agree with Mr. Bala.

The book is a welcome relief from the myriad books penned by different newbie Hinglish driven Indian Authors. The book is funny but sometimes the jokes get overboard. Few parts that I liked were: There should be a Dal-Mart in India (we have so many types of Dal – tuar, moong..etc). Comparisons between the East and the West are drawn very well. I usually like blogs related to Tamil Nadu as they have a charm of their own. This one was similar to that. The cricket mania, the language..et al.

Personally, I liked this book. A perfect travel read.

Random Questions (RQ) with Author, Melvin Durai, author of “Bala Takes the Plunge”

How did your close friends react to the book?

MD: The reaction is always the same: “Can we get our money back?” Actually, I haven’t forced my book on my close friends, but those who’ve read it have given me positive feedback. Some have raved about it, others have merely said they enjoyed it. (The former probably did love it, the latter probably hated it.)


Is the character Thiru, in the book, any close friend of yours?

MD: He’s a composite character. I’ve had more than one friend who were like him.

Why did you think such a story for your book, Any incident?

MD: The book arose from my own experiences searching for a bride more than a decade ago. I wrote a few humor columns about my experiences and realized that there was a lot more humor that could be tapped in a book. The character Bala isn’t me, but some of his insecurities are definitely mine.

Why writing as a career?

MD: To this day, my mom keeps asking me that question! She wanted me to be a doctor.
But I decided to follow my heart, though it wasn’t the smartest decision financially. I was meant to be a writer and find it very fulfilling.

When will your next set to release?
I’m not sure when my next book will come out. I’m still working on it. Hopefully
in 2012 or ’13.

How long did you take to write this book?

MD: About four years. Much longer than I should have taken. I didn’t write
continuously, sometimes going a few months without adding much to the book.

What is your mantra to avoid writers block?

MD: My mantra is “Just write.” It doesn’t matter if what you write is terrible or
uninspired. The “delete” key is your friend. Use it frequently.

Ruskin Bond loves to write in his little room. Few writers love to write in the
garden. So which is your place?

MD: I can’t say that I have a special place. I do most of my writing on the dining
table. Other times, I write on the couch or in bed. At least one of my three
kids is usually around, so I don’t have the luxury of uninterrupted writing.
That will change in a few months, when my youngest goes to kindergarten, so I
hope to be more productive.

Thank You!

Book Review:: The Outsider by Albert Camus

“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know. I had a telegram from the home: ‘Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours Sincerely.’ That doesn’t mean anything . It may have been yesterday.”
are the opening lines of the 118-paged, modern classic “The Outsider” authored by Albert Camus. The protagonist, Meresault, soon after he receives the telegram takes leave from work , which his boss reluctantly gives and visits his mother’s funeral but little does he show a feeling of pain neither does he weep to show his emotions.
“The room was too hot “ he says. After catching up on his sleep and drinking white coffee, he visits the funeral of his mother. The same day he goes to visit his girlfriend, Marie and then they go for a movie, where he apparently enjoys thoroughly.
Meresault seldom talks about his mother after math. The only time he talks of her profusely is when he allegedly murders a Arab at a beach and during the hearing of the case when the prosecution lawyer blames him for his insensitive nature, he says he loved her like everyone does.
And soon feels tired of speaking. Meresault is an Outsider to the society where every action of his is from his heart and not to please the world. Hence people treat him differently.
The author summarized his book in one powerful sentence “In our society a man who doesn’t cry at his mother’s funeral is condemned to death”
Read the book to know more about Meresault. This Nobel-prize-winning book actually made me feel like an Outsider too at some places. A modern tale of Harischandra, if I am allowed to say so.

BOOK REVIEW: GIVING – BILL CLINTON

Martin Luther King once said “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve”
And Former U.S President Bill Clinton in his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World citing inspirational examples has proved the same.
Divided in thirteen chapters, namely: the Explosion of Private citizens Doing public good, Giving Money, Time, Things, Skills, Gifts of Reconciliation and New Beginnings, Gifts that keep on giving, Model gifts, Giving to new ideas, Organizing markets for the public good, Non profit markets can be organized too, What about government, how much money should you give and Why?
The book helps us understand what people across the world are doing and how can one use his abilities, opportunities to help others.
Few of the things that I found interesting are:
• The most common problem: Terrorism is because other’s problems are not being taken care of, he says. Uneducated people, spread of disease due to lack of health care, ..etc. He speaks of his foundation and how they have funded for AIDS-affected people.
• Moving on, the author emphasizes on giving money. He speaks of influential organizations like “Melinda and Gates Foundation” which gives $35 billion to a range of issues and also ordinary people, In the chapter, giving time, a six-year old McKenzie Stener who has volunteered to clean up a beach near her home in California. If a six-year-old can , can’t we?
• John Wood, a former employee of Microsoft and now founder of “Room to read,” an organization which started after his visit to the Himalayas and witnessing enthusiastic education-hungry kids having no books to study (you can read: Leaving Microsoft to change the world, for more details).
• Speaking of education, “Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters(HIPPY)” which was developed in Israel in 1969 by Dr.. Avina Lombard helps immigrants prepare their young children to succeed in school. Such endeavours help parents analyse their skills as well and make them better.
• Also, several celebrities have also started their own foundation like Andre Agassi Foundation which supports young people through educational and scholarship programs.
• “Young Arab Leaders (YAL)” is an initiative in the Middle East by the angry youth who were frustrated by the lack of economy growth and positive aspects of global dependence. They participated in the Clinton global initiative in 2006.
• Gerald Dove, Jr., a thirty year-old inmate was given the gift of skills for a job after prison-life. He has now started his own business and recruited many like him.
• “Help Other People Endure (H.O.P.E)” is an organization where kids help kids and the charity causes passes on like a relay.
• Social Entrepreneurship can change the way millions think. Bill Clinton quotes incident of a Nurse who had succumbed the ghastly ambush of fate but she rose up and spoke to millions about AIDS. She was gang-raped and left to fend for herself but she did not give-up and learnt it the hard way.

The book ends with the following lines: “There’s a whole world out there that needs you, down the street or across the ocean. Give.”
** For those of you who want to give it back to the society, do read it.