Book Review – The 3 mistakes of my life

 

The 3 mistakes of my life – Third book of Chetan Bhagat.  

What I liked most was the fact that Chetan Bhagat has narrated the story in a way that almost looks like an auto-biography with the author himself getting involved in the story.  This style definitely increases the credibility of the story.

The story revolves around 3 boys who are good friends and their all-encompassing passion with the national hobby – cricket.  They recognize a great talent in a small boy who has the potential to become a national hero.  It is now their common desire to help and protect this young kid to help achieve this goal.

Based in Ahmedabad and set in the background of Godhra Violence, this story depicts the way emotions and allegiances change in turbulent and violent times.  How people go mad with religious sentiments to shed lives that they have never thought of before.   It brings the worst out of humanity with people killing their own !!

A tale of continuous struggles of these young and budding entrepreneurs and cricketers from a small town and meagre means who have talent to make it big.  Mix it with a little emotional tangle and love, caste and religious differences which pop up even amongst close friends who would have otherwise laid down their life for each other.

Overall a very easy read, written in simple language so everyone can understand with the usual masala’s to make an Indian reader tick.

Rating : 3/5

The Mother I Never Knew by Sudha Murty

Book Review

Story of two young men who discover suddenly that they have a mother they never knew existed.   It is a search for lost love, lost opportunities, lost bonds and a lost family that they need to get in touch with.  A past they never knew existed.

The first novel is about Venkatesh, a bank manager with a money hungry wife and 2 children.   He stumbles upon someone who looks like him when he is posted in Hubli.  He sets out to find out who this person is and soon discovers that he is his brother and his father had married earlier and left a wife and a son behind.    He is horrified to find that they were left to fend for themselves without any fault of their own.  He wants to make amends for his father’s and grandmother’s wrong doing.

The story reveals the struggles he has within his own family.  His wife and son are very ambitious and his daughter who is more attached to him, understands him and his motives in helping out this other family.

The second story is about Mukesh who is from a wealthy family but comes to know through an accident that he has been adopted.  From there starts his journey to get in touch with his biological mother.  The journey takes him to different places and different families.   It is quite dramatic and a bit like a little Bollywood movie.  However, at the end, when he gets to see his biological mother, he is not sure if he is happy to find her at all.   He now feels a deeper obligation towards the mother who raised him and did not let him know even once that he is not her child.

Both stories are gripping and emotionally enthralling.   It shows the myriad faces of people and  their relationships, emotional tugs, confusions and struggles.

The language is simple and easy and the plot deep like the other books of Sudha Murty.  However, there are some dramatic situations that could have been avoided.

Overall a good read.

Rating 4/5.

The author, Sudha Murty, is the chairperson of Infosys Foundation.

Idli, Orchid and Will Power by Dr Vithal Venkatesh Kamat

After reading this book, I had half a mind to go and start a hotel business of my own!  The book was that inspiring.  And I also had the deep desire to meet Vithal Kamat in person. None of these things have happened till now.

It is a very well written auto biography of Vithal Kamat.   The book presents him as a completely self-made man.   From a humble beginning, as the son of a small restaurant owner that served south Indian stuff, his rise to the owner of a huge chain of kamat hotels and finally the 7 star Orchid Ecotel is a long long journey.

It is the story of ambition and will power.  He dreams big and he goes right after it.   In his struggle to achieve these, he also goes through some tough times.   He faces rejection and boycotts and a state of bankruptcy but he sticks on.    And in the end, it all turns around and he is able to complete his dream project of building the Ecotel Hotel.    It is a very simple story told simply and directly.

It is inspiring to the core.  Gives nuggets and tips to show how daring to take that step and staying on the course will bring results.  The book left a huge impression on me and I even wrote an email to him to congratulate on his superb endeavor. As usual, never got a reply!!!

For anyone who is down and out, I would recommend a dose of this book.

Rating : 5/5

 

Gently Falls the Bakula by Sudha Murty

Book Review 

I was introduced to Sudha Murty’s writings by my daughter who had a lesson in her English textbook about a young girl teaching her grandmother how to read.  That was a very touching story and it prompted me to buy her other books.  “Gently falls the Bakula” was the first one that I read.

The author has painted a very realistic landscape of a small town in Hubli with well drawn out characters. The protagonists are very identifiable with any townfolk in India, and that instantly connects the reader with spatial identification and empathy.

This is the story of a couple and their relationship. They study together in one class and stay nearby in one village. Shrikant and Shrimati are good at studies but Shrimati always comes first. So, there is a bit of competition with the male ego getting hurt sometimes. Shrikant is ambitious and wants to go for Engineering while Shrimati though intelligent is plain-looking and simple. There averred goals do not converge for she loves arts and history. She decides to pursue her passion rather than run the rat race!

The Bakula tree under which they meet and grow up sheds its sweet fragrance on their relationship, fusing their attraction into a bond of marriage. But little do they know how much of a “bond” it is for both as they race through life. Shrimati decides to forego her career and ambition as she moves with Shrikant to different places his career takes him to. He is ambitious and spends more and more time in the office and managing his career growth. With time, however, he becomes so engrossed in his career that he forgets about the needs of Shrimati.

She is left to herself and loneliness engulfs her like a disease. Thankfully, there is a ray of hope and she finds herself doing researches in history and going back to what she used to like as a young girl. And one day she finally decides to leave Shrikant and pursue what her heart truly desires.

A very simple story but very relevant to a lot of Indian couples and families these days who are going through the same grind.  Career choices and priorities in life keep pushing them ahead which makes them overlook and forget sacrifices the family has made for them, especially, a housewife.

A wonderfully written book.  I would give the book a 4/5 rating.

The author, Sudha Murty, is the chairperson of Infosys Foundation.

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad

It took me a few hours to go through the book entirely. My first impressions are below.

It was my fault!  I approached the book with a preconceived notion and I realized by the end that it was a completely erroneous thing to do.  It was gross injustice to the book and the writer.

When I accidentally came upon the first book of Twinkle Khanna, I found it to be very funny and hilarious.  I therefore, somehow assumed that she would continue in that genre.  But the assumption was completely shattered by the time I came to the end of the first story in her book.  I still kept searching for her razor sharp humor and kept trudging through the second and third story for a similar thread.  However, by the time I came to the last one which was actually the only story that stood out for me, I realized this is something I had not expected at all.

Twinkle Khanna has managed to surprise her readers a second time.   If in the first one, it was for her witty and satirical style, this one was for her astute sense of seriousness in bringing out social issues.  Issues that people were not comfortable speaking out.   Issues that were considered taboo in public domain.

The book is a combination of 4 different short stories picked up from news articles in recent times.   However, since I was not aware of this when I started reading, I could not make out when one story finished and when the second one started.

The first story is about Lakshmi, the young girl who brings about a change in the status of women by empowering her through wealth in the form of owning trees.    It was a good story by all means but was not gripping enough for me.  It just skimmed past me and ended quite abruptly.

Second story starts with two retired elderly sisters having a relaxed routine.   The story is about the one called Noni Appa who is unable to express her inner desires even at this stage of life.  She is still saddled with the thought of how she wants to be viewed by others around her.  A near death experience makes her realise that it is more important to enjoy the moments and grab happiness when life offers it to you.

The third one that completely flew over my head is based on a Malayali Christian girl who is twice unlucky in marriage.  The first time, she takes the plunge and second time, she goes ahead with her parents’ wishes but still lands in problems. The story of Elisa Joseph is yet another washout.   Twinkle really made an effort in understanding the Malayali Christian culture with the correct names and churches and rituals, the story itself did not stand out very clearly.

The fourth one is about Bablu Kewat, a person who feels concerned about the unhygienic condition of sanitary napkins used by his wife and the village girls.  He makes all efforts to invent a machine that can shell out low cost sanitary pads for rural women.  In that struggle, he loses everything from his wife, mother, house, his work, image etc. but in the end comes back victorious.  Though it is an exact copy of the life of Muruganandan, the story stands out and the way it is written keeps the interest of the reader going on till the end.

So, I would give her a rating of 2 stars for this book.

2/5

 

Read my review of the first book : Mrs Funnybones

Indian Authors – Book Review of Mrs Funnybones by Twinkle Khanna

I was recently introduced to this book by one of my colleagues.   I had never read any article of Twinkle Khanna earlier.  It would be better to say that I didn’t even know she could write.   So, when I saw this book, I was quite intrigued and wanted to know what the famous daughter of star couple Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia had to write.   It was with a mixed feeling and misgivings that I opened the book.  But the first page I skimmed kind of arrested me and riveted my attention.   I finished the book in about 6-7 hours of non-stop reading.

It was a mixed bag.   I kept smiling, wincing, chuckling and laughing throughout.   She could bring out the best and worst in a situation.   Sometimes it was difficult to decide whether to laugh, feel pity or sympathy for the subject.  She did not spare anyone in her circle of acquaintances including her mother.  It was refreshing.  It went quite out of the normal boundary of Indian ethos and culture and traditional values that we are all brought up with.  We are brought up with the notion that we should be respectful to our parents, love our kids and not talk or even think bad about our husband or in-laws and other relations.  Twinkle definitely knew a way to straddle between these thin lines.   She was scathing and yet condescending.  Zor ka jhatka Dheere se would be kind of an apt way to put her comments or should it be zor ka jhatka haseehasee me…

There was satire, mockery of set patterns, traditions.  The sarcasm and ridicule was covered in such beautiful humour that it was difficult agreeing or judging her.

The style of putting everything into timezones, diary notes and small  summary format was very nice..  Each piece stood out on its own.  Nothing was related to each other and yet there was a sacred thread that went through each of the chapters connecting them and binding them together and therefore keeping the interest of the reader intact.  Her experiences were broken down into segments and sequences.

The book gave me an insight into her life, her emotions and her daily schedule.   Quite intriguing to know that she has to go through the same kind of experiences as probably any other girl in India would have to, specially in relation to how a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law is expected to behave.  Every girl in India would feel that there is a part of hers in her life story and therefore, it is very comforting and inspirational.

She had no qualms about telling the truth and the brutal truth that would make one cringe but accept without dissent.   However, the beauty lies in the way she would describe it that she would be forgiven instantly too.

I do wish I had read some of her columns earlier so I would not have had this surprise coming up on me so suddenly.  Now I am scouring the web to get to read all her blogs because she definitely knows how to make people laugh and cringe at the same time!!

I would give her a 5 Star Rating for this book.

5/5

Read my review of the second book of Twinkle Khanna : The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad

About India Travel Blog – We have tried capturing our experiences travelling through India and our aim is to give you a holistic view of the sights,  sounds, smell and feel of this beautiful country!