Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review :The Edge of the Machete

Abhisar Sharma, a senior  anchor with Aaj Tak has written books earlier. He has won the highest award for journalism in India -the Ramnath Goenka  Indian Express award for his book "Lal Masjid Ka Safed Sach."

In this book "The edge of the machete",by Westland books ,he tries to weave a tale, on what could have transpired in Pakistan.It is a fictional account which rings true.

This is a gory tail of the jihadis ,the Indian journalist Rahul Sharma,Ed Gomez,a  CIA operative ,a white Muslim,Shahid Khan.It is also the story of how youngsters like the dreaded Aamir Sherzai are indoctrinated into fighting for jihad.

There are so many organisations fighting for jihad that it becomes difficult to keep track of them. The  the terrorists, their bosses, the ISI ,the Pakistan establishment all have their own agendas. They would like the world to believe that the jihad is being fought for Muslims though all the parties are in it only for power. It is just power play though disguised to show that it is against Kafirs.

Ed Gomez ,the CIA operative has infiltrated the terrorist outfit, to avenge the death of his buddy, Jason who was butchered in Pakistan by Aamir Sherzai.Ed Gomez has an alter ego, which he is unable to shake off as he progresses further in his plans towards completion. Ed is unsure if he will save himself from being killed in this war of wars or be caught like Jason.

The white Muslim, Shahid Khan has joined the terrorists to reclaim his faith. He feels wronged by the West. He is unable to mix with the jihadis, whose cruelty is limitless. He is in a dilemma. He wants to remain a true Muslim & is unable to follow the commands of terrorists who suspect his intentions.

Rahul Sharma who wants a big story, is sucked into this war after being captured by militants. His wife & mother pine for him. The journalist becomes the news, in this gripping tale.

Aamir is a sadist, as he is in love with his machete which must taste blood every now & then. The crux of the story is how the CIA plan & try to further their agenda on friendly soil, in Pakistan.

The tale is overflowing  with accounts of capture ,savagery & cunningness. The cruelty is very appalling & makes us hate all militants. I felt like stopping reading, as I encountered such details of pain & unimaginable goriness. I feel that women readers may  feel extremely uncomfortable reading  accounts of mindless torture.

This book does present a realistic picture of Pakistan, where, the Government does seem powerless .The reins are in the hands of   many, who have anything, but Pakistan in mind. It shows that power is an end in itself & it corrupts all so much so that nothing remains the same anymore.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books

Friday, November 23, 2012

The picture

This post is part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

This picture evokes memories of our family trip to Goa. This was about three years back.My daughter was at an age, where she would be able to fondly recall about her family outing & we decided on this trip.It helped, that my brother & family had recently concluded a similar trip to Goa.

 It was a package tour.Breakfast was on the house & even dinner.Every morning ,there was an outing to a place nearby for exploring.Evenings were free for us to shop & stroll. It was the first morning after we had landed in the resort the evening before.We hurried up with our breakfast.We gobbled up all that was there.Because ,lunch was on our cost !

The bus was waiting to take us on our first local trip. We went & sat down in the bus after having got comfortable seats.It was a pleasant morning.There was a cool breeze.It was October.The bus started after all guests had occupied their seats. The first stop was to be the Aguada Fort.

We reached the fort.We got down.The guide who had accompanied us in the bus gathered us all & started speaking about the fort.He said that a part of it was Central jail where many prisoners were kept.He showed us around & then told us that after fifteen minutes,all were expected back in the bus to move on to the next destination.

 We were all on our own now.We explored the vast spaces of the Fort.The space fascinated us all, as many of us ,were from cities where space crunch is the only reality.My husband & kid were walking around.I had the camera.I started clicking pictures randomly. Then I saw an opening of a door- without the door.I felt, that this was a good photo opportunity.I started to click & at that moment,a foreign national- a teenage girl ,with a scarf wrapped on her head just walked into my picture frame !

 I had seen her with her dad & brother - this is my guess.She was not Indian.Maybe, from the Gulf.She was fully covered.She was fiddling with her camera as well.I don't know, when she walked into my picture.I was spellbound ! There was no time for another click of the camera.We could hear the guide, calling us all back into the bus for our onward journey. I gathered my kid & hurried up to the bus with hubby, in tow.

I was wondering about the photograph.I was just an amateur.I felt awesome, having clicked that snap.I would have to wait till we reached home after our trip.Then, only, would I be fully able to comprehend the photograph in its entirety. I clicked many snaps on our Goa trip.We did go on many trips after that.Still, that snap, is one of the best clicked by me.Moreover ,that girl with the head scarf holding camera in her hands in the photograph, has given a new perspective to it !

 The door opening with the girl, looks like a photo frame.I simply love that photo ! Though the girl is framed in the snap,I feel it is my talent, that has been framed, vide that picture ! And that too, for posterity !

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Laughter & Silence.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekendan initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
Many times, it so happens, that there are  animated discussions .All are debating pros & cans.All are in the mood to say vociferously what they believe in or rather would love to believe that the world agrees with their view or views.So all are very aggressive. Then someone says something which silences all.

This happens umpteen number of times.We tend to forget how we can hurt unknowingly.This leads to silence.Till, someone says something out of the blue, which makes  for a smile   which breaks the silence !

Like suppose ,there is a death in the family.All are sad .They have suffered an irreparable loss .The mourning family ,& others prefer to keep silent.People are coming in, to pay their respects.Many are dressed appropriately in white or dull pastel shades.There is no music &  sounds are muted. At that time ,a cell phone rings & the caller id or tune is " Main zandu balm hui ,darling tere liye ....' I am sure ,many want to laugh but cannot, in such circumstances.Though ,all may be unable to maintain silence & one or another may burst out laughing because of the ring tone.The person whose cell, has that caller tune, is embarrassed,  only, for that moment.It is not that the caller tune is going to be changed.It will be exchanged for the next popular number never mind how indecent & hilarious it makes the owner appear as & when it rings

The other day ,we were discussing about the interiors of a new flat.The interior decorator had suggested a carpet.I ,being someone who believes that carpets are something under which all dirt gets swept was totally against the carpet.I still am.I said that it is the most uncouth idea.My blunt comment caused a pin drop silence.I realised, that I had bitten more than I could chew.I also remembered that the said flat was not mine.Before I could stop myself,I could hear myself blurting out ,"There will one person who will be the happiest in case ,you carpet the living room.That would be the maid . Her work of sweeping & mopping would reduce substantially  !" That did it.The lady who owned the flat started laughing & soon others joined her. Her laughter broke the silence.And was I glad ? Yes,I was.

I know I must control myself & not be so frank .I have no right to push my opinions on others.This habit of mine may lead to many awkward silences.Moreover ,I may not get lucky chances to transform them into smiles.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Review : The Bankster

"The Bankster" is the latest book by Ravi Subramanian ,the winner of the 2008 Golden Quill Readers' Choice Award.The publisher of the book is Rupa ,New Delhi.It costs Rs 250 /- only & has 358 pages.The cover of the book shows a man dressed in an overcoat & trousers in  dark glasses, carrying a gun in one hand & a briefcase in another against the city skyline .He is standing near the sea at night time & a flight is leaving the city.This in short ,depicts the story.

This is a thriller,  based on financial frauds going on in a bank .It also connects internationally with blood diamonds & arms procurement.It describes the NGOs which are funded  & hence, have their own hidden agendas.The story also deals with protests at a nuclear power plant which has echoes in the agitations at the  Koondakulam nuclear power plant.

The writer  has spun an intricate web of threads which run across  the world .His writing is effortless & includes lots of research regarding the war in Angola & the illegal arms trade.He strives to inform the readers that banks manipulate customers to suit their own ends.His writing is interspersed with humour & sarcasm.

The author is quite critical  of the banking sector as can be seen from the dialogues spoken by the characters he has created.This is a tale of a scam  which has connections in the bank ,the arms deals ,the NGOs & the blood diamonds.The bank employees manipulate the clients .Some scamsters use the banks for their own ends very smoothly .That  is till, someone smells a rat & starts probing.This leads to a  body pile up.The investigation gathers speed & ultimately the thugs are exposed.

The NGOs are not what they seem to be.They are funded by nations & others who have their own aims to bring to fruition.They will pull all stops, including leading protesters to death, as in poor nations, there are many who can be indoctrinated to death for a lakh or two.

The characters are very vividly described.In fact ,we have encountered  such characters in our dealings with the banks,the NGOs & the like.Hence ,it makes for a compelling read.The suspense builds up from the beginning till it ends in a spellbinding climax. Moreover ,now that scams are a way of life in our nation ,this story throws some light on how some will use  institutions & people  to achieve their dreams  destroying   them in the process.So ,this warns readers to beware of such crafty people.

I would recommend this book to all, for a peek into the financial scams that are springing  up on a daily basis even as India goes liberal & opens up.India needs to have laws & rules to  prevent & arrest financial frauds -otherwise, the public, will find it increasingly difficult to trust the financial institutions.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

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