My friend Sanch by Amit Varma

My friend Sanch by Amit Varma

My Friend Sancho, the first novel by Amit Varma, is about a crime reporter working for a tabloid. The story is set in Mumbai.

Abir Ganguly works for a tabloid and is present when a person is mistakenly killed by the local police. To make matters worse, his boss asks him to cover the story. For this, he has to meet Muneeza, the victim’s daughter. He falls in love with Muneeza and a gecko on his wall gets jealous.

The book has been well written and kept me glued till the end. I loved the printing style.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Hachette

Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies, the first book written by Jhumpa Lahiri, is a collection of nine short stories.

All the stories are very deep and take a lot of time to understand. They end suddenly and leave you wanting for more. Some are sad. She has written them well and it is very easy to relate to them. The flow is very good and the characters are well developed.

I liked the book and feel if read at leisure the stories would be better understood.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Harper Collins

The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur

The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur

The Inscrutable Americans by Anurag Mathur is the story of Gopal Kumar, from a small town Jajau in Madhya Pradesh, who goes to the USA for his higher studies. He belongs to a rich family who has been in the Hair Oil business for generations and plans to pursue a Diploma in Chemical Engineering to carry forward his family business of hair oil. When he reaches New York, two Indians, Sunil and Sushant, receive him at the airport and he stays with them for one night before going to Eversville, where he will study in the university.

The books talks about his observations, comparisons, experiences in the United States, the problems he faces because of language and cultural differences and the temptations he succumbs to. His letters to his ‘Beloved Younger Brother’ are funny to say the least.

I liked the book, maybe, because, I could relate to the nineties when the US Dollar was worth thirteen rupees and Coke was not available in India.

Book Source: Gifted
Publisher: Rupa

Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khazana of Indian Recipes

Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana of Indian Recipes

I had bought Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khazana of Indian recipes way back in 2001 at the then Calcutta Airport. I have tried a number of recipes over the years but it was just this weekend that I actually sat down and went through the entire book. I realized that I have made almost everything from the book. Being written when recipes were not so easily accessible over the internet, I still feel it is a must have in every home that cooks Indian cuisine. Don’t mess with the ingredients and follow the instructions to the ‘T” ie if the book says ½” piece of ginger, then that’s it. My sister who got it as a wedding gift fifteen years ago, still swears by it.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Popular Prakashan

The Winning Way by Harsha Bhogle and Anita Bhogle

The Winning Way by Harsha Bhogle and Anita Bhogle

The Winning Way by Harsha and Anita Bhogle is a collation of their collective learning. They have quoted examples from cricket, football, hockey, multinationals, FMCG industry and even Harry Potter to illustrate. It is a motivational book.

At certain points in the book, it felt that you can actually hear Harsha Bhogle speak. For cricket buffs, like me, the mention of certain matches, would bring back memories and even the matches could be visualized.

The book is very well written. A must buy for not only managers, but also for everyone. I learnt a lot from the book and felt that I would learn more, when I read it again in bits and pieces.

It is good self-help kind of book and can be referred to anytime.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Westland

31 Somnath Street by Sandhya Sridhar

31 Somnath Street by Sandhya Sridhar

31 Somnath Street by Sandhya Sridhar is her first novel. The story is set in the compound of plot no 31 Somnath Street, Chennai, belonging to Kameswaran and Janaki. They live in the homestead on the big plot and have made four independent houses on the same plot for each of their sons and have given one to each one of them as a wedding gift so that each son had his privacy and yet did not lose connect with the rest of the clan.

The Blurb:
31 Somnath Street is Ranjini’s home. It’s Srikant’s as well and they are close to being kissing cousins. But they are not.
Srikant has a history he cannot get over, yet… or so it seems.
Ranjini has a history too – she has been in love with Srikant for as long as she can remember.
But a disapproving and large extended family and a comical yet larger-than-life grandmother ensure that things get knottier.
Can Srikant and Ranjini ever walk into the sunset hand in hand?

The story:
Ranjini, 28, the only daughter of Swaminathan, the youngest son of the Kameswaran, is an MBA working in a multinational company. She quits her job suddenly and moves back home, much to the surprise of her parents and relatives.

Srikant, 36, an orphan adopted by Ramachandran, Kameswaran’s oldest son, loses his adopted parents at the age of fifteen and is cared for by his uncles, aunts and grandfather. His grandmother makes it clear that he is adopted and not related to them. He marries Shalini at 24 and she divorces him, two years later, when their daughter, Sita, is one. He owns a business and his aunts and the grandmother take care of her daily needs since then.

Both of them have been unlucky in love.

My take:
The story is nice but I felt it dragged too much. Sita is my favourite character, very mature and understanding at ten. Some Tamil words have been used and this made the story better. The story was more a family drama than a love story.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Pageturn

Draupadi in High heels by Adidi Kotwal

Drapadi in High heels by Adidi Kotwal

Draupadi in High Heels by Aditi Kotwal is Mahabharata with a modern twist. You can find all the relevant characters with twisted names which does not take long to correlate.

The Blurb:
When love comes with a mythic twist!

Born into a well-known business family, Deeya is a high-flying, spoilt, rich girl who owns an elite fashion store. Her parents want her to get married and hold a swayamvar of sorts for her to select a husband. And she has a dilemma to go with the extremely attractive, intriguing Karan or the dashing and outgoing Arjun!

She is determined to make the best decision when she finds that her life resembles that of Draupadi from the Mahabharata, in more ways than one.

Will she be able to find her own path in life? Or will she flounder? Funny and romantic, Draupadi in High Heels explores the power of one s choice and how deeply its affects life!

The Story:
Deeya, 24, the daughter of the Panchals, one of the richest industrialists, owns a designer wear store in Mumbai. Her twin brother Deepak lives in London. Born after ten years of her parents’ marriage, after blessings from Baba Dinanathji, she is the apple of their eyes. Her parents want her to get married and organize a lavish party for her to meet the eligible bachelors. Her best friend is Mitali Paranjpe, whom she met in the Finishing school. Krish Gopinathan, her closest friend, is doing his PhD and his thesis is titled, Karma, Dharma and Moksha.

Karan Ravi, owns SunChip Tech, and has grown up with the children of Dhritiman Kapur of the Royal Group, Dhiren, Dhiraj and Dhara and is indebted to them. Their cousins, the sons of Late Pandav and Kirti Kapur, Dharam, Arjun and Vyom,dislike them.

My view:
The characters are well developed and too close to the original Mahabharata. The language is simple and easy to understand and the book is a fast paced. Overall, a nice enjoyable book.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Penguin Metroreads

The Better Man by Anita Nair

The Better Man by Anita Nair

The Better Man is Anita Nair’s first novel set in the village Kaikurussi in Malabar in Kerala.

Mukundan was eighteen when he fled from the village and his father to work as a lower division clerk in the explosives factory in Trichy where he makes friends with Narendran, also a lower division clerk. He retires and fate forces him to return to his village. His past haunts him. He finds that the village and its people have changed in all the years that he was away.

There is Bhaskaran Chandran, a graduate in botany and a post graduate degree in English language and literature, who also starts living in the town as a twist of fate, and works as a house painter and as a healer.

The author has described Kerala and the characters very well. Both the characters and the setting can be visualized.

The book is mesmerizing and certainly worth reading.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Penguin

Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Arranged Marriage by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Arranged marriage is a collection of twelve short stories by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It is her debut work. Some of the stories are about arranged marriages and some are about the experiences of women, those living in India, those living in India but later in America and those living in America. Most of the stories are in first person.

She talks about the suffering in marital violence especially the children; about how we want the best for our children and what women go through when they move across seven seas to their marital home to be with their spouse. She also mentions about the insecurities we have when we live abroad and how we react to them. She mentions about insecurities in both arranged and love marriage; about how children, even unknown, enter our lives and change it and about male dominance even among Indian immigrants. There are stories about the friendship of childhood being maintained even across seven seas and about the guilt that comes in when we lie to our friends.

I enjoyed the book, though I found it emotional and depressing at times. I felt that somewhere, the stories were somewhat incomplete. Her language and flow are good and no two are same. She has even acknowledged authors whose stories have inspired her stories.

Book Source: Bought
Publisher: Black Swan

Satyr of the subway: Urban stories by Anita Nair

Satyr of the subway: Urban stories by Anita Nair

‘Satyr of the Subway’ by Anita Nair, her first work of fiction, is a collection of fifteen short stories.

The stories are different, interesting and bold. Each story is independent from the other. It took me a lot of time to understand each story because it is not a light read and requires concentration.

So maybe, one story at a time.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Penguin