Book Review : Murder On The Orient Express

Friday, October 30, 2015 2 Comments A+ a-

Book Review : Murder On The Orient Express


Murder On The Orient Express was written by Agatha Christie regarded as Queen of Crime. This book is published by Harper Collins. I was so unfortunate to not read her till now. Although I was aware of Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot but this book recommended by +Anmol Rawat on Goodreads provided me chance to experience her writing.



Cover : The placement of title on the smoke coming out from chimney of old steam fueled engine train is enough to create mystery right from the cover page itself. Moreover author Agatha Christie's name appearing bigger than the title was proof enough of her popularity.

Plot: Private detective Hercule Poirot cancels his stay at Tokatlian Hotel in Istanbul after reading a telegram calling him back to London immediately in relation to a case. He booked a seat in first class compartment of Orient Express and departs for London the same night. Mr Ratchett a millionaire believes that his life is in danger and asks for Poirot's help to which he deny for his busyness in other cases. The train is stopped by a snowdrift somewhere near Vincovi on the second night of journey and it was discovered that Mr Ratchett was killed brutally. 

The next morning, Mr. Bouc, an acquaintance of Poirot and director of the company operating the Orient Express, informs him that Ratchett has been murdered and asks Poirot to investigate. He examines the body, interviewed all passengers travelling in that coach along with rail coach conductor, search passenger's luggage and so on. From his initial investigations he found that Mr Ratchett was actually Casette involved in a kidnapping and murder of a girl in America. This discovery lead Poirot to deduce that he was killed for that crime of his past. Who killed him? Was the killer still present in the train? Eventually all twelve passengers travelling in that coach comes under suspicion. How all passengers come out as suspects?  Hercule uncover each layer of the mystery to reveal the identity of the murderer.

Review : The book is unputdownable. I have finished reading it in just two days. The simple yet interesting investigation style of detective Poirot keep you hooked to the narration till the end. Even though story is set in Pre-World War 2 era it could be easily connectable to today's time. The characterization, language, pace of the plot, all give you correct material for an engrossing read. It is funny to find a fault in a book which has sold over a million copies but use of French words in the narrative without their meaning is hard to understand for a reader outside Europe.

Verdict: Go grab your copy immediately if you are fan of detective fictions and if you haven't touched that genre then read it to be in love with it. A wonderful example of pure detection without modern day techniques.

Rating : I would give it 5/5. 

Six Word Memoirs : Marriage

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 4 Comments A+ a-

Six Word Memoirs : Marriage


Here is a set of six word stories presenting contrasting images of marriages, different reactions of family and society changed the scenarios completely. 






1. First Sight Love. Killed For Honor.

2. Loved Beyond Castes. Villagers Applauded Wedding. 

Book Review : 35 and Sexless in Ahmedabad

Sunday, October 25, 2015 2 Comments A+ a-

Book Review : 35 and Sexless in Ahmedabad


35 and Sexless in Ahmedabad is written by Robin David and is published by Harper Collins India. I have received this book as part of Book Review program from Reader's Cosmos. It's a darkly comic story about a lonely man's quest for real connections. A mature subject suitable for adults only. 



Cover: Cover depicts Anant's (protagonist of this story) nightmare a three leg dog and some other parts of his dream which is in sync with the story. Heart, girl's footwear and empty red couch justifiable to the title of the book.

Plot: Anant a photographer by profession lived alone in an apartment of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He left his father's home to become a photographer like Diana Arbus (American photographer) after an argument with him regarding his photography and remained disconnected from him for over a decade. He started experiencing nightmares of a three legged dog resulting in distraction from work leading to disturbed life. He tried to contact a psychiatrist to know reasons behind such nightmares but eventually found all answers from self realizations. The story gives you interesting anecdotes of Anant's life, his loneliness and his sex craving.

Highs:  Its interesting how author easily switches between real and imagination of Anant's mind. The references to Diana Arbus, and other photographers and their style of photography to draw similarities or differences between situation's in Anant's life is commendable. The language of book is simple and narrative is in flow with the pace of the story.

Lows: The story ends where it starts it doesn't move forward from Anant's compartment i.e the book is static. There are instances where one feel for some twist in the tell but sadly it falls flat with no high points in the story. Sexual references at some places in the narrative are irrelevant.

Verdict: Anyone interested in knowing a lonely man's sexual desires should read it. Those interested in photography would learn a lot about it from this book. 

Rating: I would like to give it 2/5.

"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com"

The Last Nawab of Cricket

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 1 Comments A+ a-

The Last Nawab of Cricket.





The Nawab of Najafgarh (a place in Delhi) Virender Sehwag announced his retirement from all forms of cricket breaking hearts of all his cricket fans. Like in his career he didn't have the respect he deserved even in his retirement. No special farewell match was planned by BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) for such a great cricketing mind. He was sidelined by the team administration suddenly and then was never selected for either test or one day internationals.

What Sanath Jayasuriya did for Sri Lanka, Sehwag did for India. He accelerated the much needed start after which no target seem impossible and no opposition seem invincible. He was brutal with all world class bowlers of his time. McGrath, Shoib Akhtar, Shane Warne, Shane Watson, Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram, they all tasted his cruelty for the ball. When playing on the field he tried to hit every single ball for boundary whether he succeeded in it o not.

In a way he laid the foundation of super-fast cricket followed by Kohli, Raina and others. I will always remember him as a fearless disciplined cricketer who never feared his opponent nor feared his position in the team and just played his natural game throughout his cricketing career like a Nawab. He scored first test 300 hundred for India against Pakistan in Pakistan's Multan for which he often referred as 'Sultan of Multan' and he is still the only Indian batsman to score a 300. Only batsman in the history to have scored 7,500-plus runs in both Tests & ODIs as an opener.

He played like a Nawab without caring what his critics saying about his unconventional style of playing. He was a nawab because he played on his own terms never tried projecting himself to be a future captain or one who could control team and selectors. When he announced his retirement he kept intact his Nawabian style, no speculations, no controversial comments, no demands just a sudden announcement of ‘Alvida Cricket.’

He is now involved in training young cricketers and instilling in them ‘Viru’ like cricketing attitude but since time has changed and the cricket has changed, the attitude of cricketers have changed hence he became ‘The Last Nawab of Cricket.’  

Real Togetherness

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 1 Comments A+ a-

Real Togetherness

Indiblogger brandcover


‘It’s a small world!’ Really! We don’t know our neighbors, our distant relatives and are unaware of people in our societies and localities and we say that it’s a small world. Perhaps we started believing our smart phone or computer screen as the world because for many of us it is the world. Our friends live in it, we have sessions of hangout there, we grow our circles, poke each other, send hugs and kisses and even share our feelings without being aware of each other’s reality in the real life. We have forgotten what real togetherness means.

Real togetherness for me is doing things collectively. Being together in good or bad times and stand for each other in time of trouble. It was togetherness of human species which resulted in the growth of humans as supreme force on earth. We befriended nature collectively for helping us in our every endeavor. Nature remained our binding force by giving us opportunity to grow together like in farming, sailing, fishing, etc. Today when we hardly get any chance to come together nature could help us in doing so. 

Disturbing natural balance often give us floods, droughts, tsunami, earthquake and many other natural disaster but these disasters brings us together as a community and as human beings and if this destructive side of nature could join us as humans the positive side of it could do wonders for us. In villages children accompany their parents to farms which bring them closer to nature but in cities there is no such practice. Parents are so busy in life that they don’t find time to spend with their children, if they took out some time to indulge their children in planting seeds or watering in garden area or just accompany them to gardens and park to admire natural beauty in flowers and birds then they could experience a real togetherness with you. 

Kissan India provides seeds to plant in kitchen gardens or society garden which could bring the whole locality together for their care. This video gives a glimpse of this togetherness. Efforts by an old man and some children were appreciated and accompanied by whole society as one. They come together leaving behind their smart phones and busy lives in growing and saving the plants. (See video to know more.)





Real togetherness is when we enjoyed doing something together and thus realize the beauty of conversation and interactions with each other. It is not difficult if we give ourselves sometime for this, an opportunity to bring out our real social side as human and not the virtual social side which we display all over the net and which many times is not the correct resemblance of our personalities. When we come together we discover different aspects of not only others but of ourselves as well. 

The Land of Rich and Powerful.

Saturday, October 17, 2015 1 Comments A+ a-

The Land of Rich and Powerful.




It was midnight but a long cue was waiting for the opening of shop to take hold of it. They were waiting for over a month to get hold of this thing which would increase their status. The government has also taken necessary steps to promote the sale of this thing in our country. Prime Minister also uses it and wants this unique item in hands of every Indian that’s why he has given favorable conditions to this US Company to Make in India.  I hope this would increase the sale of this product in India.

############

It was 6 am in the morning.  People were waiting for shop opening to buy essential items used daily in homes. They work hard to earn money for buying these products. The price of one of the product has risen so much that they were going away without buying it. The government despite of poor monsoon was not prepared for this to happen. Perhaps so many options in food items restricted government to make policy for it. This is product of India so PM is also not bothered for its availability in the country.

#############




Are you wondering what I am talking about or have you guessed the commodities I am talking about? The first thing for which a class of citizen only 1% of total population is bothered is new luxurious iPhone 6 and the second thing which became out of reach for about 40% population and is burning holes in the pockets of rest of the population is essential pulses. Its an irony that pulses are costlier than chicken in a country which is promoting vegetarianism (but only among poor as canned and processed beef is available in luxurious hotels for the guests). 


Bhook Gayi, Vyapar Gaya, Gaya Desh Se Pyaar,
Aise Achche Din Ka Kisko Tha Intezaar.                  



High rises came on public village land in Noida (U.P) which was now ordered by court to vacate within two months. First villagers suffered and now middle class who bought those flats are suffering, the rich and powerful builders who used their influences to illegally own these lands earned a huge sum of money will now let off with meager compensations. 

Governments in this country are working in giving more money and power to rich and powerful and for the poor they have communal riots, eating habit debates, religious extremism, burden of culture and traditions, regionalism and other such issues to divert this 99% population from wrongdoings of that 1% population. Some intellectuals (writers, scholars) when question this attitude of governments they were declared as anti-national by people within the government. Recent reactions of government on returning of Sahitya Academy Awards by some writers could make you believe that these writers are actually terrorists.

I have no words to give my concluding remarks for this situation. Day after day country's situation is deteriorating and I see nothing happening on this front. This government is failure at every step be it foreign policy, economic policy or social policy. The steps taken by previous government for their uplift has been revoked or diluted by this government. Intolerance is on a rise and common people are also frustrated. Pollution, environmental issues, gender equality, hunger and other issues like that have no place in public discussion. I am ending with these words, 'God Bless India!' 

Curious Case of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

Thursday, October 15, 2015 2 Comments A+ a-

Curious Case of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose



Subhash Chandra Bose is known in minds of common Indian as a freedom fighter who formed Azad Hind Fauj (Independent Indian Army) to fight Britishers during Indian independence struggle. He was opposed to Mahatma Gandhi's soft approach towards India's independence and wanted complete independence with the help of armed struggle. His quote ' Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Mein Tumhe Azaadi Dunga' (You Give Me Your Blood, I Will Give You Independence) is also famous in the masses thanks to a commercial of Kaun Banega Crorepati in one of its season. But what is discussed the most among the people about him was his mysterious death.



 'Tum Mujhe Khoon Do, Mein Tumhe Azaadi Dunga'           -                      
Subhash Chandra Bose    


He died of third degree burns on 18 August 1945 in a Japanese hospital after his overloaded plain crashed while going from Singapore to Thailand. Even after accounts of doctors and hospital staff who treated him before his death many believed that Subhash Chandra Bose escaped that crash unhurt and lived in Calcutta for many years after his death. I remembered when I first learned about this theory during my childhood in 90's I wished and prayed for his return for the betterment of the country. I thought he should govern India, who would oppose a leader of such reputation? But he never returned and remain a mystery for all of us. I don't know how and when this theory come in public domain but I am unable to understand why he hid himself from the people of India if he was alive after the crash.

I couldn't digest that a fearless leader was hiding because he was afraid for his life from someone in India. Some people say that he lived in disguise somewhere in Calcutta but I am not convinced because I couldn't figure out a reason for this behavior. Are they saying that he was an escapist? If Jawaharlal Nehru was aware of his existence then why no one else knew about it? Why he remain in hiding from his own family? Was he indulged in some anti-national activities? If he was not killed in plane crash and murdered by the government of India after spying on him, where are the proofs of it?

I am happy that Narender Modi is ready to declassify files related to him from January 23, 2016 the day of his birth anniversary after meeting his family and relatives. This would definitely burst some myths about his death. This would also clear doubts about the integrity of our first prime minister. This conspiracy has given some people a way to demean our national leaders, they would get answers to their queries after declassification of these files and a slap on their faces if nothing to their liking come out of it. 

Revisiting Aarushi Murder Case

Thursday, October 15, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

Revisiting Aarushi Murder Case.




A book Aarushi : Anatomy of a Murder by Avirook Sen and a movie Talvaar directed by Meghna Gulzar made me rethink about Aarushi murder case. I have previously analysed Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case  in my post on the basis of records in the media but the book and the movie have changed my perspective on the case completely. From their point of view the police and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) did a cover up of the situation and concocted a story under media pressure. There were evidences of presence of other people in the house which was neglected by both the investigation agency during investigation. Based on police theory my analysis of the situation was also one-sided, I have also blamed Talwar couple for honor killing of their daughter although I doubted Aarushi-Hemraj illicit relationship angle but according to police theory no other angle was possible in the case. 

I am not changing my position and opinion on the case for book and movie but they do highlight the factual inaccuracy in the case. I am not questioning intelligence of honorable court but the court is bound to witnesses and evidences. The negligent approach of the Uttar Pradesh police in the initial investigation lead to destruction of important evidence which they covered by making a story and then did their best to prove it right. Later Talwar couple was convicted by court on the basis of circumstantial evidence. If police would be more careful, if CBI have taken different approach in the investigation the case would not become a Sherlock Holmes mystery. 

This case tells us importance of investigation agencies in solving a case. Their approach towards a case decides the fate of the accused and the justice for the victim. 14-year old Aarushi have suffered a lot in her death. Her character was maligned and everybody believed without any protests. The case must be reopened for a fresh investigation owing to the highlighting of some new aspect of the case. But here we must not forget that since the day of the judgement there were efforts to label all investigation wrong to get acquittal for Talwar couple and this book and movie perhaps is part of these efforts to initiate a revisit on the case. 

Whatever be the reason of this new angle and whatever be the fate of this case one point is certain that process. our system is incompetent enough to let us believe about the discrepancies in the investigation. 
Tweet: our system is incompetent enough to let us believe about the discrepancies in the investigation http://ctt.ec/Y68dV+ via @cifarshayar #Aarushi

Bardasht Nahin Kar Sakta!

Thursday, October 08, 2015 1 Comments A+ a-

Bardasht Nahin Kar Sakta!




Bardasht Nahin Kar Sakta is a song from 2002 Bobby Deol, Akshay Khanna and Amisha Patel starer movie Humraaz this line means I can't tolerate. With this line I want to draw your attention towards an intolerable India. An India which is unable to tolerate defeat of its cricket team and disrupt inning of opposition team, an India which is unable to tolerate a singer just because he belongs to a country they don't like, an India which kills somebody because they are unable to tolerate his religion and eating habits, an India which shoot multiple bullets in people because they couldn't tolerate voice against superstition, an India which throw somebody out of a temple for unable to tolerate his caste, an India which rape a woman because they can't tolerate her success. Intolerance is spreading like a disease posing threat to India's composite culture. 

When and where this India thrived so fast? Who dissolved so much hatred in our veins? Who made these negative voices so strong? Who is nurturing this intolerance, this incapability of taking failure gracefully? The answer to this entire question is tolerance of those who remain silence about such intolerance give way to hate crimes. A large population doesn’t feel about such issues, they don't raise their voices against them. They can share a status about a lost dog a 1000 times but not a single like for a status on death of humanity. Why winning is always necessary for us? Why we always want to prove ourselves right? We have stopped telling our kids that failure is part of life that failure is a step towards success. We must give space for other’s ideas, must listen patiently to other's views.

The communal tension or hate crimes or incidence of intolerance are increasing on national level because our topmost leader, the head of the nation, our Prime Minister is silent on such a crucial issue. He makes mockery of those who talk about secularism at world stages giving more power to anti-national elements in the nation. He who has a say on every issue and an eye on every corner remain unaffected by these crimes. It’s ironical that he otherwise endorses communal tension as an obstacle in the way of development and a poison spoiling a generation of our youth power. 

Sometimes Bardasht Karna Bhi Achcha Hota Hai (It's good to tolerate.) Perhaps wait in reacting on someone's action make his/her intention clear to us. Bardasht (Tolerance) saves relation and is needful in saving a nation. I have provided a YouTube video of the song here, though it is out of context to the topic but tolerate it as a nice foot tapping number.



Book Review : Deliverance of Sarpa Meru

Thursday, October 08, 2015 0 Comments A+ a-

Book Review : Deliverance of Sarpa Meru

Deliverance of Sarpa Meru is written by Vadassery Thaiparambil Rakesh and is published by Partridge India. I have received this book from being part of the Book Review Program of Reader's Cosmos. The book claims to be a thriller set on the backdrop of modern,evolving energy wars and its repercussions on this side of the globe.



Cover : Although the art work by Mallika on the cover is good but for a book cover it is not attractive enough to seek reader's attention. It give a feel of snake monster as the villain or something which is not true for the book. The cover is unconnected to the story and if connected gives a wrong impression. 

Plot: The plot is confusing and starts in a fantasy land. Sage Kshiprajyoti inhabited an island with his eleven disciples including a lady Tripu. They got control over their senses and started living naked on that island. When some disciples died , sage discovered an eight headed snake behind it whom he fought and turned into rock from which island got its name Sarp Meru. When Tripu became pregnant with a baby of a disciple of sage he left them to an unknown place. The story than describes inhabitant  of islands Nightingle, Woodpeckers, Ostriches, Adi Gauravs , arrivals of Strokes and Vultures with little story of Lily, Jasmine and Rose who opened a restaurant in island after their failed relationships. The story took a drastic turn in the end with Indian army's military attack to bring back peace in the island.

Thriller : I liked the part of military action in the book. The sexual drive and some scenes related to it are well penned in the narrative.

Spoiler : The story is confusing as I mentioned in the plot. Reader don't understand what is happening in the book. Communities are highlighted more than the characters. Sudden mention of India and other world countries in a book which otherwise looked as if set in an ancient world is a let down. The story makes no sense for me. The narrative is more about libido of communities than about the story. If writer has tried attempting something different, then he has failed in his efforts for me.

Verdict : I would not like to recommend it to anybody because I have only completed a full read of the book for my commitment to review it. A confusing story which is boring. 

Rating : I would give it 1/2 from 5.

"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com"

Open Letter to Azam Khan

Tuesday, October 06, 2015 3 Comments A+ a-

Open Letter to Azam Khan




To Mr Azam Khan,
I am glad that you are aware of the miserable condition of Muslims in India and Uttar Pradesh (a state ruled by your party). This also arouses confidence in me that you are capable of taking criticism not like before when you jailed somebody for a facebook post. Your letter to UN general secretary Ben Ki Moon have made you a great man by admitting you failure in doing nothing for Muslims in UP the state your party is currently ruling and have also ruled in the past. 
You have admitted through this letter to UN that your government have provided all favorable conditions for the growth of communal and hate related politics. If you are aware that Rashtriya Swayam- Sewak Sang (RSS) is filling hatred and intolerance in the Hindu youth then why your government letting them do this freely. If government machinery was as capable as in the case of your lost buffaloes then such incidents would be avoided. It was not a long time ago that Muzaffarnagar riots jolted your state but the courage of Sangeet Som in spilling hate speech again shows your government’s incompetency in dealing with fringe elements in the society.
Mr Azam Khan it is true that some people dividing the country on religious line and Prime Minister's silence have worsen the situation but this in no way justify your action of writing a letter to UN an organization which itself is a tool at the hands of some developed nation to turn the world on their side. UN has done nothing for Rohangiya Muslims of Burma, Muslims of Syria and Palestine and you know they have no role to play here in India. You have played a political card which further fueled the fire of communal tension between the people of both the communities. You have presented 18% Muslims of India in bad light as if they don’t believe in the law of the land and brotherhood of Hindu and Muslims.
Muslim leaders like you have just used them for your political gains and their deplorable state in Uttar Pradesh is a proof of that. The hate mongers have succeeded in Dadri lynching, the political leaders have also gained considerably by blaming each other for that but the real issue remained as it is i.e. the lost of trust between the communities. I have full faith in Indian values, both the communities have faced tough time together in this country and they know how to come out from such a situation. Mr Azam Khan neither you nor UN nor any Sangeet Som can dictate them how to behave.

In the end I would like to quote son of Mohammad Akhlaq (the man who lynched by mob in Dadri village of Gautam Budh Nagar of Uttar Pradesh) from the show We The People by Barkha Dutt on NDTV 24X7, he said 'Mazhab Nahin Sikhata Aapas Mein Bair Rakhna Hindi Hain Hum Watan Hai Hindustan Hamara,Tweet: 'Mazhab Nahin Sikhata Aapas Mein Bair Rakhna Hindi Hain Hum Watan Hai Hindustan Hamara, #Dadri http://ctt.ec/gx9mt+ via @cifarshayar' 'I have full faith in law and people of the country' he added in the end which shows the true spirit of India. Jai Hind!
From:
A Concerned Indian.