Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review : Anti Social Network.

Piyush Jha 's novel "Anti Social Network " is an action cum crime thriller.There is never a dull moment in the narrative.It is dedicated to his wife Priyanka for gently pushing him along.

Towards the end of the book is the Acknowedgements wherein the author admits his gratefulness to many, especailly to his mother & Mumbai Devi ,the deity of Mumbai.

Piyush Jha is an ad film maker .He has made a name with advertisements for India's biggest brands.He has made films like Chalo America,King of Bollywood,Sikander etc.His earlier books Mumbaistan & Compass Box Killer have brought him high acclaim.

The publisher is Rupa .It is available as an e book as well.My book copy says that it is a digital copy.This goes hand in glove with the title "Anti Social Network ".

The cover has been designed by Nitesh Mohanty.It shows a girls' silhouette in black against a blood splattered background across  the upper part of the book .The girl is wearing a short frock or skirt rising  above her knees.She is playing with her hair with her left hand.In her right hand ,is a knife from which blood is flowing.She is surrounded by the buildings of Mumbai at her feet.Maybe  she is somewhere on a hill top or upper storey .Perhaps,  she has Mumbai at her feet .The back page of the book shows the Mumbai stock exchange building,the Rajabhai clock tower & the Gateway of India.The Rupa logo is at the top right handside of the front cover page & also down at the back cover page.

The cover page says that this is a Inspector Virkar crime thriller.It says that it is a Mumbaistan series.This sets the pace of the book.

A young lad is found murdered with his penis missing.Another killing ensues.This body has the tongue cut out.Next in line, is a girl whose eyes have been gouged out.Inspector Virkar who is assigned the case is dumb struck.He has seen bodies with parts missing & yet this all seems to be the crimes of a deranged mind.Or is it, very careful planning to confound the police. Is there one murderer or a gang on the loose ? There is Usman teacher ,an informer turned criminal,who tips Inspector Virkar.He gets eliminated soon.Is that death linked to the series of gruesome killings ?Naina Rai ,the student counseller becomes the comrade in arms, as Inspector Virkar falls for her charms.As the narrative gathers speed,it is clear that the net is being abused for coercion, so that money exchanges hands.Are the murders & the coercion part of the same racket ?  Inspector Virkar has to befriend a geek ,Robert a  hacker who has to be bribed with paid holidays .Moreover,Robert is always on a high, on drugs.Is Robert trustworthy ?

Is Inspector Virkar able to match up to the cyber skills of the killers ? Do Naina Rai & Inspector Virkar become a couple ? Does Robert deliver or is just playing along ?

The novel begins with an epilogue & ends with a prologue.There are forty four chapters in a book of 192 pages.Short chapters teeming with action & thrills.Mumbai slang is used effectively & makes for smiles .The author seems to know the lanes & bylanes of Mumbai too well.He describes them in great details.Hence ,the narrative gets real ! Inspector Virkar is a simple person who needs Jhinga Koliwada & branded beer.He seems to have a keen sense of observation as part of the job & even otherwise.He has an eye for detail, of the anatomy of humans,especially women !

A fast paced thriller which can be read in just one night ! Total  paisa vasool for the price of Rs.195  !

Grateful that Storizen keeps me occupied by sending me books for reviews ! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dove Indulgence !

Dove is a brand, that spells indulgence ! And what better way, to start the summers than being pampered by Dove at the #DovePlay event by IndiBlogger ! It was a ladies only meet & the men & boys protested & went into depression !

We were told to dress in white colour.We all turned up in whites.And one has to look at the pictures to realise that women can dress up in white in   myriad  ways ! White tops,white tees,white trousers,white jeans,white kurtis,white salwars,white churidaars,white skirts,white frocks,white capris & so on ! We landed up at the J.W Marriot ,Juhu,Mumbai for the play date with Dove !

We were greeted by IndiBlogger team & Dove ! We queued up to get our white dove batches with our names & the chart of the agenda  for the date with Dove.We were snapped many times .This alone was enough to make us feel special ! And yet ,there was more grandeur waiting  to unfold, as the event progressed.

There were snacks galore, all lined up .We decided to have just a dekko by tasting the pani puris ! Well,they were simply superb ! Other snacks were bhel,ragda patties,sandwitches etal !We could just imagine what must be lined up for dinner ! So ,we decided to stay put, till dinner time !

In the auditorium,we were briefed by IndiBlogger team .It was in the usual way, which meant   free coupons for many ladies ! Then the Dove host took over.We were told to get up & split into teams based on our bands which were handed over in the queue at the beginning ! Then the zumba dancers held sway ! What a work out it was ...bursting with energy ! We ended up sweating in the air conditioned auditorium !

Then three   teams went into different halls to play different games namely the Hula loop,the jigsaw puzzle ,the Dove ball game & hair styling.All games kept us engaged in teams & we worked ourselves into a frenzy as there were prizes to be won !  And after the  games ,all women participants were pampered by hair dressers who straightened ,curled & cut hair ! All the participants looked like celebrities after the hair makeovers !

Then, we all assembled in the lawns by the poolside for the mixing of the drinks. Janaki was a sport & she made a red very berry concoction which earned her a tie in the drink contest ! I did taste it & it was really good !

After this ,we headed for a sumptous dinner spread ! There was paneer,biryani ,naans,raita,dahi vadas,dal makhani,salads etal.And then, there was another sinful spread of the choicest of desserts.This included chef's special,gulab jamuns,rasmalai,chocolate cakes,cakes, & many more ! And all the cakes & chef's special were vegetarian !

Dinner over,there was another game.This was  to pick up the dove cutouts from a glass enclosure which had a mix of many cutouts.A fan would churn all cutouts into a cyclone & the individual had to pick out the doves ! It was fun ! The winner was the one, who collected the maximum doves !

Then, it was time for the winning team to take a bow ! Blogwati G did the honours as her team had performed the best !

It was time to bid good bye.Dove gave us goody bags.My goody bag had a Panasonic hair dryer & a bottle of Dove Elixir ! It has an actual lavendar petal inside ! So it is real ! I wanted this oil, as my hair has turned dry ! It is simply  perfect for my dry hair ! My hair feels nourished,indulged,pampered & cared for ! It is so easy, to style my short hair as it is moisturised right, by the Dove Elixir !

IndiBlogger gave us white tees .And the best part was Dove & IndiBlogger made sure that those who stayed far away, were dropped home at their door steps in cabs ! I was dropped at my home, at eleven in the night & that too in an  Innova !

I think such overindulgence by Dove & IndiBlogger has set the stage for further meets.

Is it any wonder, that for the # Play date with Dove,lady bloggers had travelled from Ahmedabad,Kolkatta,Pune etal !

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Book Review :The Madras Mangler

Usha Narayanan spins a thriller in her debut novel "The Madras Mangler ".Usha Narayanan is a jack of many trades.She was an English Teacher, creative director in advertising agencies,jingle writer,web editor,journalist,green volunteer ,head of copy right publishing in e publishing,etal.She has completed Masters in English Literature with a  gold medal.She has a diploma in creative writing from the Hawaii University as well.

The cover of her thriller shows a girl's face with hair  scattered all around.The eyes are closed .The cover is in black & white .Just like the snaps of old times before colour photographs became a rage.The title of the novel is printed in red towards the top of the cover.The bottom of the cover states the name of the author in white. The back cover of the book is greenish grey with a synposis of the novel towards the upper end.The back cover has faint images of a beaded necklace & some more scattered hair.

The printer is Jufic books.Paper quality is good.Chapters are short in length.There are fifty five chapters in the book of 280 pages.The author thanks all the people who made her debut novel a reality in Acknowledgements.There is a Prologue to the story, which sets the tone.

This is a story full of action & thrills.It is sets in a college in Chennai. Girls go missing from colleges.This is a tale of five girls.....Deepika,Kat, Lolita,Minx,Moti  studying at SS Padmaja College,Chennai.One of the five girls goes missing.No leads are available.

The deputy commissioner Reddy is eager to mingle with the press. Reddy expects girls to remain indoors so that they will remain unharmed. Vir,the NRI criminologist has a scientific approach to the missing girls problem.His Indian batchmate Bishnu has set up an enviable state of the art technology office for detection.Reddy is unimpressed & keeps shooting his mouth off.The girls have to fight on so many fronts....their parents,hooligans at the college,the khap like dictats of Reddy ,etc.

As the bodies of missing girls are found ,the city gets scared.There is a serial killer on the loose.Why is he targeting girls ? Why does he disfigure the girls ? The bodies are battered & barely recognisable.

Who is the killer ? Why has he started killing girls ? Is he trying to break some record in killing ? Do Reddy & police team unamsk the killer ? What about Vir & Bishnu  ? Are they able to rescue girls from the menace of the killer ?

The story is fast paced.It is so much rooted in the current scenario in our nation where girls & women fear for their safety in their homes & even outside.Molestation,ragging,rapes,eve teasing are so common place .It has humour too. Kat opines  that her mom thinks of the boys available for marriage is like a clearance sale ! Kat sarcastic remarks to boys about their evolution ( if any ).Girls like  the college for  freedom from their prying parents,possessive fiances & others gundas.Yet in college ,they encounter hooligans pretending to study,Principal making rules for the supposed safety of girls,etc.

The language is good.A glossary at the end of the book explains the Indian terms used in the novel.At a price of RS 195 /- this book is worth every page !

The author writes from the perspective of the woman .Her narrative makes it  very interesting & immensely readable.

I am thankful to Storizen for making this book available to me for review.

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