Completely insane, bluntly stated, funnily accurate, very subjective, surprisingly universal. The story could be about me, about you or about nobody. Philosophy, rants, opinions, trivia or gyaan. This is me! And this is Life... You can love it, you can hate it. But you can't forget it! Welcome dear reader! Your dull, lonely days are over... Coz Princess is here! Cheerio!
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Book review: The Hunt for Kohinoor
Forget about stories that introduce a background and give
you enough time and consideration to adapt to the plot. This one dives right in
and maintains a crisp pace - one that needs complete attentiveness to grasp and
enjoy. Not your light coffee-time read, this.
I was approached by Westland Books to read and review this
book that was published in Dec 2013.
To be honest with you, I am not a regular patron of historic,
terrorism and political stories so I found myself drifting off on a few
occasions. But each time the authoress succeeds in sowing some excitement into
the situation to bring the flighty reader back.
First and foremost, I was intrigued by the name of the protagonist
– Mehrunisa. A quick search on the web divulged that Noor Jahan, the twentieth
and favourite wife of the Emperor Jahangir, was born as Mehr-un-Nissa in 1577. She
is called one of the most powerful and influential women of the 17th century
Mughal Empire since she was a strong, charismatic and well-educated woman. Not
unlike the Mehr in Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s trilogy.
Trilogy season has kicked in big time post Meluha, I guess. “The Hunt for Kohinoor” is a sequel to "Taj
Conspiracy", and I was a little hesitant to read the second book as I did
not have the grounding and knowledge of the first one. Being the organized and
structure-loving person that I am, I was secretly hoping that Westland would
pamper me with both the books (!) However, I was assured and set at ease, and
thus began my reading journey that took me on an expedition across Kashmir, the
Hindukush mountains and Peshawar.
This was my first tryst with Sodhi- Someshwar, an IIM-C alumnus
and author of "The Long Walk Home". “The Hunt for Kohinoor” is an
interesting tale, albeit not a completely original idea. It reminded me of some
Bollywood flicks and also very vaguely the Da Vinci Code. Just like Princess Sophie
sets out on a mission set upon her owing to her grandfather, Mehr is cast into
a dangerous conspiracy by virtue of being the daughter of a secret agent.
I liked the metaphor “Snow Leopard” used throughout the
book, and its relevance to the storyline. The description of the varied characters
is also engaging. Their dreams come alive in their eyes and their realities hit
you in the face as Mehrunisa Khosa’s journey is tracked over a span of 96 hours to
save herself and her lost-and-found father.
The writing is fluid and boasts of a multitude of converging
plots. More impressive for me, though, as an avid bookworm and language
trainer, was the glorious vocabulary used throughout the story: opprobrium, fulminating,
extant... Breathtaking! I don’t know who to applaud for this – the author, editor,
some thesaurus or other individual. Whoever has implanted these in the
paperback – fantastic job!
I do, however, wish that the book was smaller than 425 pages.
I found myself skipping a few paragraphs and pages, not something I would do
with a Jeff Arch or Chitra Divakaruni. Now that could be attributed to my lack of interest in geography and war history, but that is precisely the backdrop so I can't complain, so I flick a few pages and scan through the next chapter. The protagonist travels alongwith
another agent and then a lover to unravel the secret of the “Kohinoor” and foil
a gruesome plot of the Jihadis.
While reviews are still being published across blogs and
mags, the writer suggests (as does Anubhav Sinha) that Priyanka Chopra would be
ideal to play the role of Mehrunisa, should a movie be made. I wonder why that is a pre-requisite these days. Would be so much better if writers focused on writing a great book than making a good movie.
My view: 5 stars on 10. And a special one star for the lexis.
The year has gone by real fast, as I've undoubtedly mentioned a hundred times before :-)
And I look back to see how I've fared, managed to accomplish a fair bit as a mother and professional, and tried to be a better friend, wife, daughter, etc. Evaluating my success on these criteria is outside the scope of this post, and my head, so let me look at how I'm feeling at the end of it.
Working moms like me, how are you doing?
I often end up feeling like I'm missing on so many things in life choosing to juggle my home and office work. The financial and intellectual independence that my job affords me takes its toll on my social presence and connects. I look at womenfolk in my apartment mingling with each other and talking non stop about issues that I cannot make head or tail of, since their conversation started in the kitty last week and will (hopefully) find a resolution by the kids play date the following week. Try as I might, I can't hold a complete conversation…
Almost a month since my last post, time to say Aloha June! Time's a-flying. Like someone once said, "the hours don't pass, but god knows where the months and years went" - okay, that's not exactly what he/she said, but this was the interpretation. More like "lamhe katt-te nahi, saal beet jaate hai". Work's catching up pace and I'm making up for all the lost and compromised time during my maternity leave and baby-raising tenure. Getting ahead at work is a task in a corporate world where people are forgotten the moment you don't connect with them regularly or do something to catch their attention. I've managed to do that and more, and my rating is proof of my effort. Feeling damn kicked about it, and want to do even better this year for my wonderful employer. I am blessed to be with Hitachi Consulting, and I pretty much plan to stick on unless something really extraordinary comes around. The kind of flexibility and support they've allowe…
Having to deal with idiots is no joke. Look around and you will find them in plenty, at work and outside - no dearth of them at all. Birdbrains, the bunch of them.
( Grrr )
And it's worse when you're having restless nights abounding in nightmares.
Not a mighty chirpy temperament that I'm in, I'm sure you can tell.
So, well. I'm back from my sojourn - first to the north and then down south (like not really down down, but kinda downer than where I generally am). I was thinking that I'd be pleased to be away from the city (and most importantly, routine) during this period. But well, I did get homesick after a while and wanted to return to home-made food and family.
Landing in Pune was a delight, and things are back to normal (too fast for my liking!)
So, for those of who are wondering why I'm getting nightmares...
(You forgot, right? That's all right. Shan't let you go unless I address this.)
So, I met my colleagues from Hyderabad, China and the US…