Monday, November 13, 2017

An Infamous Army - Georgette Heyer (Book)

An Infamous Army - Georgette Heyer.

Every-time I come across a new Author especially the Classical ones that I haven't heard so far, my happiness knows no bounds if I like their first work. This book too happened to me accidentally when a SRR brought it for our meet and described the book in one word "Beautiful" the way she stretched it with those facial expressions, I was totally excited. Now, the moment I started reading it last week, first ten pages made me cringe that its a big mistake. Totally not my type of book with at least a good 30 characters introduced in the first chapter itself. Plus the language which initially I just couldn't digest although it took me back in time to the Dicken's era and reminded me so much of much loved Jane Austen too. What I love about their books is the use of words like "presently", "Offices (when they are not talking about work)", "by the by" and so many others that we do not get to read in today's Authors works. As the story progressed it gradually made me fall in love by the time I had hit the page 100. And it became totally unputdownable after another 100. Trust me when I say this that by the time I was reaching the ending (another 200 pages+) I wanted it never to end and prayed that it should have a sequel. But let me tell you, the last 50 pages are simply outstanding, I have never and I mean NEVER read a more beautiful love story with the war as a backdrop ever. I anyways do not reach much war related books but now I've gotta get her other works and I am delighted to know and disclose that most of her works (Historical / Regency Romance) revolve around the same - thats such an amazing thing to know and guess what, this one is actually the fourth of a four book series :).

Also, let me tell you one thing very clearly that my words do no justice to neither the book nor the Author as I am totally incapable of doing the same with my super limited vocabulary so you've got to read this and her other works too. This one revolves around Napoleon Bonaparte's attack on Brussels (Belgium) where the story is set. The first half of the book covers up the drama part and the making of the love angle whereas the second part deals with the War and the end result of the affair in question. I mean this is one of the best love stories which turns into a thriller of sorts, goes through an epic war of the times, kept me totally engrossed (never over doing the war part ever to turn off a fragile guy like me) and ends on an amazing note. As it is a work of fiction what amazes me is that they all are super rich people a kind of fairy tale for us readers when they talk about the Colonel's, Princes, super rich and respected Dukes and what not. Although she had me in splits by the subtle way she refers to Napoleon as "Boney" during the entire course of the book, how funny is that someone calling a legend like Napoleon lovingly as "Boney". Love story of Colonel Audley with the ravishing beauty Lady Barbara (recently widowed and a totally frivolous character) grand daughter of the Duke of Avon. The legacy that they take forward, the way they talk, walk, eat and go for morning walks is so out of this world experience that is very hard to explain and let go so soon. I so much want to continue their story which unfortunately ends with this book. Gotta go back in the past and re read the whole thing.

It is totally unbelievable yet so damn entertaining even when the story goes around exactly 200+ years ago from today. A surreal unreal experience. If you have read this one, I am sure you must be smitten in love with the whole thing just like I am right now but if you haven't read this or her other work exactly like the way ignorant fool that I am, you know what you've got to do man. But if you have read her other works, do let me know how you like it and which one you recommend most to me that I can grab and travel back in time.

Oh! By the way, did I mention anything about the gorgeous book cover? Oh My God. I spent quite sometime looking at that beauty who I hope is no one else but lady Barbara :) but I am heartbroken that the book belongs to someone else and I've got to return it shortly. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ittefaq (2017) - Movie

I saw this movie with my Dad in Law, wifey and kiddo (11 years). Had no memory of Old Ittefaq and since I don't usually read reviews of the movies that I am yet to see, I had no idea what to expect. Hence this was a good surprise and an equally good entertaining movie.
I have always loved Akshaye Khanna when it comes to his looks and acting and he did impress me here too, no doubt on that. Sonakshi Sinha wasnt required at all in this movie, all she does is look good and look more good thats about it.
Sidhartha Malhotra is the surprise package, first time he really gets to act a little after a long time (from the sort of movies he has done so far) and as an Author on run with a name "Vikram Sethi" it was too good .
Plus a movie which is supposed to be a suspense thriller with murder mystery is actually good, if you keep talking about it for hours after it finishes. In that department its a good movie but if you compare it with the movies that we are being served by Bollywood in the recent past, this one is a terrific watch.
Otherwise it felt more like a good to very good "Drama" served as a Suspense, Murder mystery and Thriller.
Ending did surprise me as I was expecting a different ending. Its served on a platter as we Indians are dumb idiots if our movie makers are to be believed. They could have left it to audience imagination but No, they have to satisfy everyone so they fail quite a few passionate people like us.
All in all it was a definite 3/5 and worth watching on big screen as on TV you will miss out a lot of fun and attention and it will be a total disaster. I will give it one star each for Akshaye, Story and Akshay's side kicks (both the cops).
A good family entertainer which invited some good discussions till dinner.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Is reading a book that easy? (Blogpost)

Can a person be in love with two people at the same time and still oblige them both? I am kind of doing the same these days, the problem is that the second person in question keeps changing, Why and How? Read on to know.... The first person that I am talking about is ofcourse the love of my life - my wife Mona :) who else? The second person as of now this week, it is Georgette Heyer, you must have heard of her name, if not, you know now.
Scene 1: 12 O Clock (Afternoon)
Mona: Maid is not coming, if you want to have tea, make it yourself. As I enter the kitchen, Prof Snape stares at me from my favorite mug as if saying "After all this time?" I had to make tea myself? and I say "Always". Georgette Heyer: Calling me to finish the chapter 12: Napolean is about to attack Netherlands, Duke has ordered his army to get together, England has sent a huge convoy to help them too. Before even I could finish the Chapter 12, I get a call.
Mona: Can you take out the cloths from dryer and put them on the terrace please or you will have no Hanky and Socks for office in the evening. (I oblige). Gergette Heyer: Calling me to finish chapter 13: The beautiful widow Lady Barbara has taken Charles for a ride, even after getting engaged with him, she is having fun with his own comrade a married man and the whole town of Brussels is talking. Before even I could finish the Chapter 13, I get another call.
Mona: Arre Suno, can you please take out those diwali lights off from the drawing room window please, I keep forgetting it everyday. (I oblige). Georgette Heyer: Calling me to finish chapter 14: Barbara and Charles engagement is broken, culprit is thrown out of the country and is send to England still smitten in love but committed to his wife. Charles going through the tumult as the Duke is happy that his most important Colonel is finally out of love and is ready for the War. Napolean is about to attack and I get a call again :)
Mona: Do eat Maithi ke paranhte in lunch and leave the aloo parantha's for Naina, she wont have Maithi paranthas you know na? and what are you doing? (I oblige) she knows I am reading. Gerogette Heyer: Calling me to finish chapter 15: The gossip of Charles and Barbara is dying its own death but poor Charles goes back to Lady Devenish even surprising her yet her happiness knows no bounds, I so much want Charles to go back to sultry Barbara and door bell rings.
Naina: Dad, you know I am late? You didnt come down to check on me? I was playing with my friends for last half hour. I respond: I know babe but I finished another chapter in the meantime (with a glint in my eyes). She slams her bag down on the sofa and a book falls off her bag with tears in her eyes "You dont love me anymore, you mean I am disturbing you na.....go away dont talk to me" (Now how do I oblige that).
And people think reading a book is such a cake walk.
Whats your story guys? What happens to Charles and Barbara? Watch out for the scene 2 or wait for my review.
PS: The book in question above is "An Infamous Army" by Georgette Heyer.

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Gurukul Chronicles - Radhika Meganathan (Book)

The Gurukul Chronicles - Radhika Meganathan.
Mahabharat is one of the most loved epic (by me for sure) and if someone asked me about who are my three favorite from the epic, the answer will always be Karn, Bhishm Pitamah and Krishna exactly in that order but my mind is always curious to read or know more about two more underrated characters of all times. One was Eklavya and the other was Ashwathama. If my granny were to be believed and also as per the epic he was Immortal, he was last scene some 30 kms from Kathmandu (her village) around the 1940's when while digging an icy hill some people found a ten feet tall guy inside a cave with a broad vertically split forehead as if he had some sort of a third eye. The moment they woke him up, the first question he asked was "Is Mahabharat War over?" (in Sanskrit) and then no one saw him ever again. Now how interesting is that :) but unfortunately I never get to read anything neither on Eklavya nor on Ashwathama till I landed this amazing book giving the two guys what's been long over due to them. I guess I was destined to read this book as I got a copy from the Author herself long ago and unfortunately it got lost inside my Kindle (A black-hole of sorts as of now). Last weekend I had to travel to Mumbai on an urgent call and return by evening, as I was reading a thick paperback that I couldn't take along, this was my filler read and I am glad I read it. Now, Imagine all these three guys together in a story, what if they were friends? or what if they came to each others rescue, even in fiction it was a too good story to tell and Radhika has done a tremendous job with the same.
When we talk about Mythological Fiction, I must have read a dozen odd books, loved some, hated some but I was mesmerized by the character of Karn, totally loved him in quite a few books. Now this one does the same, although he is a little arrogant in this one but thats alright. Its OK to have some attitude (not when Parshuram is in front of you) but you see its Fiction so lets give it a benefit of doubt, the guy is always struggling for his past and has no future as well. Coming to Eklavya, no one has ever given his story any due and we hardly know anything about his birth, family, clan or what happens to him while the Mahabharat is happening and whats his end? This one was terrific and so was the story of Ashwathama, who never got his due. Yes, he does gets a mention here and a little credit there but never a full fledged story on him ever, this was certainly the best of the stories among the three as per me. What soared my interest was whether these three ever meet in person? and what if they did, that made me sit back and read it back to back without a break. The way story keeps changing the versions was simply awesome, it does takes a little time to realize whose version it is but is done very smartly and totally convincing. A breeze of a book, as I got a Kindle version so not sure about its length but I was able to finish it in two sittings of 3 hours and a little more each.
I just saw its terrific cover to post my review with three heroes on top :), Unfortunately the Kindle copy doesn't even have that :(. If you have read this, do let me know how you like it but if you haven't and you admire any of those characters, you better not miss it. Give it a shot and you will be surprised by the twist and turn of the story(s). I will recommend it big time.