Friday, October 19

Book Review for Blogadda : Barnabas

Five words...

"A very, very good book"

The shortest review ever and the most appropriate.

Barnabas, written by Sangeeta Nambiar is a murder mystery investigated by a young, intelligent chap, self-proclaimed "the first Private Detective of Bombay".

- Bombay, coz the book is set in the pre-Independence era (though thats the name I still use and prefer)

- Barnabas, coz the word rhymes with "bandobast" - a term that the protagonist's father has memories about.

Now Barnabas, as some of you might know, was one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem.

Not that that has any link to this story. Except maybe for one line about "flock" and religion.

When Blogadda sent me this book to read and review, I liked the cover (although I rarely judge a book by that feature). I don't expect too much from books of late, so this one came as a very pleasant (and rare) surprise. The author is extremely gifted and superbly simple. Isn't that the best combination to create a delightful story?

The vocab is sprinkled generously with words that will impress you and make you run for the dictionary. So also, is the modesty and honesty of the detective who has no qualms in confessing that mundane observations and conclusions skip him. You see him growing through the pages and his cracking the case soon becomes a personal victory for you as well. While I'd hit upon the solution long before it was spelt out in the climax, I enjoyed the stumbling and exploring, conversations and nightly excursions undertaken by Barnabas. The author has fantastically woven into the mystery, the upbringing and philosophical side of Barnabas, a true masterthought, as it helps you relate better with the detective and empathize with his well-wishing father and uncle. Even as you detest the nosiness and commanding attitude of the British policeman, and the high-mightiness of the firang folk. That's as far as our patriotism goes in the 21st century. LOL


The plot itself speaks about a woman who leaves her husband's house and is found dead in a remote, unlikely location. Characters include her domestic help, husband, friend, sister, the police and obviously Barnabas and his folks. Allusions to the freedom struggle and important entities are several, but they do not take away from the book, rather they add flavor and passion to the scenes.

The writer's theatrical background is clearly evident from the way the enigma unfolds. The plot, though not totally original, has its fair moments of surprise and revelation.

As I said, very, very well written. Not a waste of time or money at all.

(Not that I had to pay any; Blogadda has sent me most of the books that I am reading these days in exchange for my thoughts on the books.)

So, when are you grabbing your copy of Barnabas?


Friday, October 12


I wandered lonely as a cloud,

(But don't they flock in groups so sook?)

Underneath me, the world moved,

Nobody to spare a wave or look.

The trees and shrubs rustled their leaves,

Mocking my lonely passage in space;

I showed that I didn't care a bit,

Belied by my voyeur pace.

I watched the merry streams frolic,

My snow white fleece darkened by my sorrow;

I wanted to disappear, vanish, evaporate,

Like there was no yesterday, today or tomorrow.

In pensive thought I stood and rocked,

Moments felt like days and months;

You drifted past as I trudged behind,

The breeze to me what you were once;.

When does it stop, I mused aloud,

Exactly how does it all end;

A cloud with me to stay for life,

Where can I find you, my friend?


Thanks to William Wordsworth for the opening line of this poem, taken from the super popular and awesomely famous creation "Daffodils".

My own two-pence (twenty lines, actually) to follow it... Hopefully should get 1/1000th the recognition and 100% mental connection.



Tuesday, October 9

Jhakk and Luck


Your best friend and worst enemy.

So many of us would have been such better people without this phenomenon.

A young girl with stars in her eyes wanting to study abroad, an old man who keeps waiting to see his grandson but is often told the family’s too busy to visit, a teenager who desires a gadget that his parents promised but never got, a lover who does everything for her partner only to be told time and again how she has screwed his life and happiness, a professional who worked hard all year round only to be told that somebody else shall be winning the alpha numero position…

And then you are told to not be low and keep up your strength and perseverance, to not lose hope, time will pass, everything will be all right, god has better things in store, destiny and blah.

If you ask me, destiny has very little to do with it.

Most of our disappointments are caused either due to another disappointed individual seeking to spread the sorrow and sense of failure, or by substandard effort – not enough effort either in terms of dedication or magnitude.

But when the above is in place, and then disappointment strikes, woah baby. Not a pleasant sight. Not a nice feeling. Been there, done that, haven’t we all?

C’mon, you tell me. Who’s perfectly fine after being disappointed? People may hide their sadness in their hearts or their smiles, but the scar never goes. It stays long after the goal is finally achieved, if ever it is.

Then again, they say justice delayed is justice denied.


Disappunto. Teleurstelling. Desapontamento. Zhgënjim. Desencanto. Besvikelse. Enttäuschung. Niraasha. Pagkabigo. Díomá. Skuffelse Désappointement.
So many names, but the same effect – being crestfallen, broken, sulky, depressed, hurt, fury…


If it’s your friend, you shall never see it.

If it’s your enemy, it will keep haunting you, returning to mar your joys and kill your passions, each time you wish for something, every time you work hard for something.

(Coincidentally, disappointment means little when you haven’t worked for something or don’t truly want something. You obviously don’t care. Which is perfectly fine, let me tell you that. If someone else is choosing your dreams and you allow them to become yours, then you’re asking for a letdown my friend…)


Wallow in it for a while. Feel bad. Go on, be crazy. Hate the world, hate the people in it. It’s fine to vent. (Not publicly, if your dream is intact, it may backfire and unleash another spate of disappointments.) But really, it’s okay to not be okay. You’re human, no matter how strong you are.  And if people don’t know or believe that, or don’t permit you the freedom to feel bad, then they’re obviously a bunch of dumb*ucks.

And then, once you’re done with the grief, ready to move on…

Understand the reasons. The what, why, how of everything that went wrong. You may not work on it again, or maybe not in the same place with the same set of people, but learn from it. So that either you don’t repeat it, or you know what to expect when a similar situation arises.

If it something than can be fixed with a confrontation or expectation setting session, do it. Don’t hesitate. Direct spoken communication is the best form of dealing with people, the best way to clear the haze and let others know what you think and your rationale behind your actions.

Simple, innit?


Displeasure. Discontent. Disillusionment. Dissatisfaction. Distress. Disenchantment.  Frustration. Failure. Defeat. Regret.


May you and I never be harassed by it anymore.

Easier to deal with it when you don’t have to face it.

Buena suerte!!

- Princess

Wednesday, October 3

Oh-some Threesome

Time for another review, fellas!

(Is my blog getting too commercial and less personal? Well, apologies are in order if that is the case. However, I possibly cannot say no when someone offers me a free book (or a free meal / trip / ticket / tour / blah). Since my writing skills are above average, I guess it is part and parcel of the deal. Get something to experience and write a review in return.

Not a bad deal now, is it? In fact, I would call it my dream job. Offers anybody?)


The experience in question this time is a book by Rohit Gore impressively titled “Circle of Three”. The name enamored and excited me, but the book, sadly did not do much justice. No doubt the writing is engaging, but the plot could do with a little magic. You know what I mean? Something that was not so run off the mill.

Having read books of the caliber of the Godfather, Prisoner of Birth, Palace of Dreams, Fountainhead, (even the Harry Potter and Twilight series for that matter), I certainly expect more deep and engaging than the average Archie comics fan.

But let me tell you the story and then you can decide for yourself if this is your kinda novel or not.

It’s about three people, and every chapter is named “Three (something something)”. It’s like a progression of sorts, where three miserable individuals move on from their agonizing existence, due to certain circumstances, to a more live-able, pleasant life.

Thanks to each other, obviously. That’s why it’s a circle. Though a triangle would be more apt a shape…

So well… a boy who’s bullied by his schoolmates and ignored by his parents meets a woman who has lost her hubby and child and thereby her will to survive, and then they both meet a chap who is a glorified loser. They help each other re-discover themselves and this is what the book is all about. 

Sprinkle in some masala scenes and crazy side characters and you have a concoction called Circle of Three. 

As I said, nothing extraordinary. No doubt the author’s got literary prowess; he manages to make some drab scenes pretty exciting. But hey, we’ve all been there and done that. At least seen it, if not experienced it first-hand.

Honestly, I don’t know what else to say. If you’re the sort of reader (like me) who wants to read a book just for the sake of it, go ahead, grab a copy. But if you think time is money and you expect to read books that blow your mind off, let this one pass. I’m sure Mr. Gore’s next one will be much better. The author has it in him, hopefully it should be more evident the next time around.

Many thanks to Grapevine, though, for sending me this book to read and finding me worthy enough to express my two pence on it.

See you later, alligator.


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