Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: The Tenth Unknown - Jvalant N. Sampat

Like thrillers? Have interest in world History? Have knowledge about the World War II? Know about Ashoka? Heard about the rumor of The Nine Unknowns? “The Tenth Unknown”, debut novel by Jvalant Nalin Sampat, deals with the myth, fact, rumors and the events that occurred during World War II. Starting in Emperor Ahoka’s court in Rajagriha, Magadha in 232 BC and ending with India’s independence in 1947, this action packed thriller, set primarily against the backdrop of World War II, is sure to hook you up with its first page.

Prithvi Rathore: An aspiring cricketer, used to a rich and comfortable life, who is uncertain about the role of British rulers in India and has no viewpoint on India getting independence and cricket is his priority.

Richard Youdale: A British Officer who had joined Indian Civil Service more for the money than the prestige.

Joseph Heidler: A reluctant member of the Nazi Party who did not attach too much importance to the Nazi Ideology.

The Story begins with Ashoka stating his followers that, as a child, he came across nine books in a dusty library and through which he obtained the rare knowledge of mass destruction and methods of defeating every possible nation on the planet and how sorry he is for his deeds. He assigns nine unknowns and entrusts one book to each unknown to keep them safe and away from destructive humans.

Thousands of years have passed and during the British rule in India, a few German Archaeologists have accidently discovered the first book and Hitler is using that book for his own benefit to eradicate all the Jews and Gypsies and to trigger the war. Heidler is assigned the task of hunting down the remaining books.

Prithivi’s grandfather, who is among the nine unknowns, assigns him to prevent the remaining books before they fall into Nazi Hands.

The British officers are puzzled as to why the Germans are interested in digging India’s past and they assign Youdale to obtain the thorough dossier on Heidler and eventually, finding all the remaining books before anybody else does.

Who is The Tenth Unknown? What happens when all these three guys collide? Who finds the remaining books? Who deciphers all the clues and the codes? Read “The Tenth Unknown” to find all the answers!

Talking about the writing, Jvalant and his editing team have used the perfect language throughout the book. Since it deals with all the Englishmen, Germans, and Indians, language is just perfect (though a few printing glitches can be easily ignored) with appropriate and excellent use of correct words wherever necessary. Also, it’s upto the reader whether he/she is able to comprehend the hidden humor in many of his lines in the book.

Though it was visible in a few places that this is the first attempt of the author at storytelling, what amazes the most in this book was Jvalant’s boldness and extreme research. Not every author can infuse the mysterious rumor as a fiction into facts, reality and history successfully. It doesn’t matter if you love reading world history or not (I don’t, for instance), Jvalant’s way of storytelling will surely make you get addicted to his book.

All in all, a great book for all thriller, mystery and history lovers and for all those rare humans who have heard or read about the nine unknowns, it is time they should be aware of the Tenth Unknown.

Pros: Theme, History, Mystery, Thrill, Nine Unknown Books, Perfect Language, well connected story, terrific ending and Author’s Research.

Cons: Not an easy book to read. Many might question the events occurring in the story.  

Overall: A Must Read. 4/5 

Book Excerpt:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Love Was Never Mine... - Kunal Bhardwaj

“When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” While writing, little did Paulo Cohelo think that this quote of his would go on to stir the entire universe and would become the quote of hope, disaster, love and heartbreaks as well. A lot has been spoken and written about it and there is still no concrete conclusion whether this quote is actually true or not. Some like to believe in it, while some…some have believed in it and lost everything in the end. “Love was never Mine…” Kunal Bhardwaj’s debut novel explains the situation of a guy who could never win his love.


Rahul: A simple and down the earth guy with typical guy next door looks, dreams of winning his love Shreya. He believes in himself and is confident of making her reciprocate the feelings despite of knowing the fact that he doesn’t a looks to die for.


Shreya: Confident, helpful, sweet, beautiful yet materialistic. Rahul’s office colleague with whom he is madly in love with. Bur for Shreya, looks are priority.


Does the universe pay heed to Rahul’s desire of true and genuine love or does it ignore his quest?


First thing first, it is not a teen-age love story. It is set in the backdrop of a corporate set-up, where love is just a way of making things work in one’s way or its just lust covered up with fake emotions. Amidst of all this, there is Rahul. Fighting against all odds to win Shreya. Also he strongly believes in that Paulo Cohelo’s line; that the entire universe helps you if you want something genuinely. He has two friends who are there to help him to win his love. Shreya, on the other hand breaks up with her boyfriend due to some reasons and starts relying on Rahul for everything. That gives high hopes to Rahul and he starts expecting. Things take an unexpected turn when Shreya starts ignoring him and ultimately marries another guy. What happens after that? What does Rahul do? Do they come together finally or the future has something else in store for them? Read Love was never Mine to know the answers.


Talking about the writing style, Kunal has used a simple and clean language in the whole book, which makes the book a comfortable read. Although, there are a quite a few grammatical mistakes but the publishers are to be blamed for that. Nevermind, they shall be taken care of in the next edition, hopefully.


The book flaunts the detailed human insight and emotions. Kunal has explained Rahul’s situation beautifully and has made sure every reader who has ever been in love, whether successful or unsuccessful, should be able to relate with Rahul’s conundrum. His description of Shreya, everytime she enters in the story is brilliant. You can’t help but imagine and her smile.


All in all, read this book, if you’ve ever been in love for you can easily relate with Rahul everytime he feels for Shreya. Also, read it for Kunal. As he has tried his best to make sure everyone, even those who don’t read, should understand how it does feel like to be rejected everytime you expect a little love!


Pros: Very relatable story, Simple and clean writing, Unusual Ending and love!


Cons: A little amateurish writing style, grammatical and printing mistakes and the commonness in the beginning.


Overall: Good Read. 3/5

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Delhi Belly

Dear Aamir Khan,

There is no doubt over the fact that you’re on the peak currently. You actually posses that Midas touch. Whatever you’re doing is being praised and applauded. People have started to call you Cinematic Genius, Legend and Best of all time. I really do not want to comment on that. Everybody has a different opinion and nobody is wrong.  Most of the time.

All I would say in your praise that you have immortalized yourself and years from now on people will talk about your guts, courage, choices, decisions and actions. It’s true that whichever movie you make or produce is a case study in itself and people will always learn something from it. Be it Lagaan, Taare Zameen Par, Jaane tu, Peepli Live, Dhobhi Ghaat or Delhi Belly.

Here are a few things I learned from Delhi Belly:

1)      Humor can be age and culture specific and intelligent for some while it can be crass, crude and horrible for some.

2)      The movie can be named after any city to make it rhyme even if there is no show of that city in the movie.

3)      An average script, terrible lead actor, all the other actors being terrific, good and fresh music, ace producer and intelligent promotions can combine to make a memorable movie.

4)      Bollywood is finally expanding. People like to see different and you like to show them something different. Stereotypes don’t work now.

5)      One cannot watch this movie with parents. Certainly.

6)      One should not watch this movie with friends from opposite sex and lovers, for some scenes will embarrass them for sure.

7)      One MUST watch this movie with friends from opposite sex and lovers, because, you know. That awkward moment when you want to laugh out loud but just cannot. These moments are funny in their own way (sic).

8)      People farting, talking about blowjobs (well not just talking), camera focusing on cleavages, using highest level of profane language, can make people laugh.

9)      Actresses can surely do a marvelous job in a raunchy, men-oriented and adult comedy.

10)   A former movie director can make people burst out of laughter with his stomach gurgles, dialogue delivery and expressions.

11)   A standup comedian can crack people up with his constipated expressions and poor looks.

12)   A terrible actor who is your nephew can kiss numerous girls in numerous places.  So it obviously will shock people and make them laugh.

13)   Songs of the movie alone can make you laugh. Appropriate songs in appropriate situations. A perfect example of icing on the cake.

14)   One should not ‘try’ to make anyone laugh. Comic scenes should always be situational just like the ones shown in Delhi Belly.

15)   People will always remain a little hypocrite (if not completely), i.e., they will always accuse the movie for showing excessive vulgarity and will laugh at it once shown. Silently.

16)   Camera angles, lighting, color effects and other technical aspects sometimes don’t matter.

17)   A lot of talent is being wasted in Bollywood. This is what you get once you give newcomers the responsibility of making a unique film. They seldom disappoint.

18)   Censor board is finally learning that sometimes they just need to let go of all the scenes, and need not chop out anything.

19)   Your item song in the end is amazingly hilarious. Even you thought why let everyone move out of theater silently, they deserve to laugh till their vocal chords give up, after all they have invested their money in your film. It outdoes everything.

20)   Shit Happens.

Just Another Young Man.

PS: Why the fuck should you miss this movie? Go shake your biscuit.

All Guys Are The Same?!

She stood in the evening light, as if the light was coming from her own body, from her bosoms and eyes and where her dress had been. He couldn’t wait. He brought his face closer to her. His eyes speaking a million things, his sweaty forehead speaking about his situation. She smiled. His hands were shaking. He arched with her nakedness. Suddenly he felt something very soft and wet on his lips. He felt a charge developing inside his body. He kissed her ravenously, devouring his neck and earlobes. He mustered courage and gathered enough power to put his hands behind her back and broke free with muscular ease, unhooked her bra, and with composed expertise caressed her bosom. She sighed. Their hearts were pumping very fast and beats were loud. She touched him with her shaking and warm hands. He sighed. His hands were now going down. He jerked. She felt his breath stop and something deep inside her bloomed making her bold. She eased her hands down his belly to his bulging erection and cupped him through his jeans. "I want all of you this time," she whispered in a voice she nearly didn't recognize as her own. "Everything you've got to give me." She had her eyes close; and wanting to enjoy this moment to the fullest.
"Wider," he murmured, pushing her thighs apart. His mind had stopped working and he was full of lust now. Testosterone had gained full control over him. The secrets of her femininity lay bare in front of him; the sweet scent of her arousal filled his head. He rubbed his right thumb down the center of her, circling the exposed bead, then plunging into her glistening moistness. He was shivering. Badly
She arched against him reaching for him. "I want to touch you." He moved slightly to grant her access, and her hands slipped around him, adoring him with her touch.

“What are you doing, Naveen?” These words were so powerful. Powerful enough to break my fantasy. I  froze; petrified. “Take your hand out of your pants. Damn it, this is a college, have some manners.” For me, this was the biggest embarrassment I could ever face. ‘I’m screwed, librarian has spotted me.’ I said it aloud in my mind. Slowly, I took my right hand out of my pants. Turned around. Again froze. Eyes wide open. “What the hell? What are you doing here? Who allowed you here?” I was shocked to see him standing in front of me in the college library. Lebnox was here.

“Why were you following me? I mean, do you always follow me? Train? College?” I needed an answer this time. “Boy, I’ll come running every time I feel you’re up to something that you’re not supposed to do.” He replied back. Smiling. “What? What do you think of yourself? Who hired you? How come the guard let you in the college?” I again demanded answers. “Don’t worry about those things, Naveen. No one can spot me here. And I’m not gonna let you go without answering a few of my questions.” And he sat down.

“Not again! I’m in no mood to listen to your boring philosophies.” I sighed. “Do you think you have options?” He said while looking over to that magazine, I was caught reading. Goosebumps. “What is it?” I asked. A bit frustrated. Just then my cell phone beeped. SMS. I kept it back after reading and replying and looked up to him. He had noticed my smile. A diabolic grin appeared on his face. “What is that magazine that you were reading? Weren’t you afraid that someone will spot you fantasizing here?” The question scared me. “The place where I was sitting is fully isolated. No one goes there. That’s why I was shocked. And even more shocked to find you there. And err..umm.. the magazine isObject of Desire.” I still can’t believe I actually told him the name of magazine. I must have been some exceptional kind of idiot. I still am, I guess.

He started laughing. Anybody would have laughed at my reply. Everything happening was so embarrassing, I tell you.
“Mate, you know what? It’s not entirely your fault. Tell me, do you have a girlfriend?” Lebnox was in a total mood to mock me. I thought he’d guessed it after seeing me smile at the SMS. “Why? What does me having a girlfriend has to do here?” “General question. Passing the time, you know.” He winked. I could sense a storm approaching. “Umm.. Yes.” “Nice. Now tell me, do you love her?” I again froze. What kind of question was that? I mean if I have a girlfriend, I must be in love, right?“Yes, I do.” I replied super confidently. “Do you even know what love is, mate?” This was enough. He was making my gorge rise. “Enough. I am leaving. You appear out of nowhere. Ask questions that are not relevant. I’m late for class.” I noticed him laughing, adding fuel to the fire. “Sit down mate, you don’t even know which class is going on and what is next and what are the timings. You are going nowhere.” He replied. I mean how can one be so jobless? “I’m not jobless. My job is to keep your life on track. And yes, you said that aloud.” Shit.

“Yes, I know what love is. I have seen thousands of movies and read quite a few books on love. So please don’t teach me what love is as I don’t want to know.” I was almost screaming. The most irritating part was, he was enjoying all of this. “Okay, I’ll not say anything. Rather, I’ll listen to you, tell me what all you know about love.” My vocal chords stopped working. My mind went numb. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. “Love is…” I tried to speak. “..something surreal.” I stopped. I mean I couldn’t speak anymore. “Wow, quite an answer that was. When did you realize that you’re in love with her?” Why the hell was he enjoying so much!!

“I mean she is sort of hot and stuff. I feel good with her. She makes me happy. I like her company!” He was almost laughing on hearing this. Why?! “Have you kissed her?” “No yaar, I’m wait…. Err.. Umm.. What the heck? What are you asking?” Shit. What had I done?! “That’s what I wanted to know. Does she know all this? Why did she accept your proposal?” I had to compensate. I had to give a convincing answer. “She smiled when I proposed her. She said yes without much ado. And she added,I’m different. Rest all guys are the same.

His expressions were enigmatic. Either he had won a world cup or he was fuming with anger. I didn’t know. “She is wrong, Naveen. You actually belong to that group. That is the bitter truth.” His smile had vanished. That was not a good sign. Nothing was, actually. “What? We’ve met only twice, you don’t even know me.” “I know you more than you know about yourself.” Goosebumps. “And I’m here to tell you a few facts, and I hope you’ll follow them.” Goosebumps. “You know why girls say all guys are the same?” It was my turn to answer. “Yes, because they think all guys think about sex all the time.” “And?” He was expecting more. “I.. I think girls are wrong. Not all guys.” He was not convinced. “See Naveen. Over the years, effect of west has grown exponentially in our country. Young generation has been the biggest affected group. And there is a difference as well. Guys watch more and more Hollywood movies and many get inspired by the activities shown in them. Not all, I must add. On the other hand, girls watch Hollywood movies and many get inspired by the looks shown in them. Not all, again.

I really didn’t know where the hell was he going??!! “So the problem is, watching or reading excessive porn is quite harmful. It pollutes your mind to a great extent; when you see a girl, you start imagining lot of stuff. Stuff that you shouldn’t imagine. And in that process, you look at her with such luscious eyes, that girl starts feeling uncomfortable.” He continued. That is actually the truth, I guess. I had to face it.

Many of you look at the cleavage and the bosoms before even making an eye contact. Tell me how that girl is supposed to behave? Why, in many places, they have separate seating arrangement for girls? Why the metro train has a separate coach for ladies? Answer is simple; some guys cannot handle a girl standing next to them. They are desperate.  And why desperate? Excessive porn, my friend! Watching it quite a few times a day, increases the level of testosterone in a guy and all he can think of is sex. And you, you too are a victim, Naveen. You have made a girlfriend just to get laid with her, nothing else. Accept it.” I almost fell on the floor. Somehow, I knew deep inside, he was somewhat correct. I was wrong. “The day you stop watching girls with lusty eyes, stop assuming them as your object of desire and start respecting them and giving them the equality they deserve, will be the day where you’ll see a huge change around you.” The last line gave me confidence. I could now at least make an eye contact with him. He was in full flow today. “Also, the day you stop watching porn, will be the day you’ll secure a healthy and problem free future.” He said looking at my pants. Man, I wanted to kill him. How could he be so brutal??!!

“What should I do then?” I gathered courage and asked. “It’s time. Go attend your lecture. Be honest with your girl, and love her. Stop thinking about sex all the time. Even if you don’t, just remember this. And if you want to know how you can do this? Stop watching porn.” I had been looking down all the while. My watch was screaming that I was late for the lecture. I got up and I could see nobody in front of me. I looked around; again, nobody. Damn it! Was I dreaming?!?!

A few points:
1)      All guys are NOT the same.
2)      Even if they were, now they won’t be.
3)      There was no use of that sex scene in the beginning.
4)      The writer wrote it just to flaunt his writing skills.
5)      He does not write porn and nor promotes it.
6)      Naveen is a good guy; just sometimes he is caught doing wrong things.