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Cricket, Romance and Thrills make the right cocktail this summer!

Cricket is the only game I played in school. Over several years, this is the game that instilled in me discipline and perseverance. It taught me what it means to play with and for your team. It taught me what it means to compete fairly. Lessons that were to benefit me immensely in later years in my corporate life.
Cricket is also the only game that kept me glued to the television screen for hours. Growing up through the eighties and nineties, I watched my heroes on the field snatch unexpected victory from the jaws of imminent defeat, or, lose gracefully in the true spirit of the game, only to rise from the ashes in the next match. And my scrapbooks with their pictures kept piling up.
My interest was not limited only to their antics on the field. I wanted to know them as human beings and not just as larger-than-life heroes. This curiosity drew me to sports magazines and memoirs of cricketers, which, needless to say, I devoured with relish. I would also spend hours watching their intervie…
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Book Review - One Indian Girl

With 'One Indian Girl', CB breaks new ground. He writes in the voice of a woman, he talks about the challenges the Indian society, the Great Indian Family, the workplace keep throwing at modern urban Indian women, and how the protagonist battles against all of this and also, "her own inner voice at times". The last is a very clever and in this context, very successful writing ploy. CB maintains an almost parallel thread where the inner voice of the girl, brought up in a conservative, archaic environment seeped in ridiculous traditions, is often in conflict with the decisions her learned, logical and rational mind takes. In some sections of the book, I see CB taking a VERY mature and evolved tone of writing - in sharp contrast to some of his earlier books. The couple of sequences (one in her US apartment and another in her Hong Kong apartment) where the girl stands for her dignity and her values, even at the prospect of her dreams and her love being shattered, were V…

Book Review - The Fault in Our Stars

'The Fault in Our Stars' is the first John Green book I read. And I am now going to read ALL his books. This book was a revelation. Because, when I picked up the book, I had braced myself for yet another global phenomenon, immensely popular romance now-made-into-a-Hollywood-blockbuster (soon to be re-made in India, I hear), but essentially 'Sympathy Lit' (which I am told is now almost a guaranteed recipe for success in that genre). And I was SO WRONG! Yes, there are diseases, there is misery, there are moments when I choked up, but Green takes this completely irreverent tone,his characters crack genuinely funny jokes about themselves and their physical challenges, and in general, they have fun! More than a love story with, well an inevitable tragic ending, this is a story of hope, and this is about how life should be lived to the fullest. As I read through the funny vivacious escapades of the couple, one with cancer affecting her lungs, and the other having lost a leg…

Kolkata: The anatomy of a city in Agni Mitra thrillers

The first Agni Mitra thriller ‘In the Shadows of Death’ (https://goo.gl/ajgKLn) starts with a portrayal of Park Street on a rainy evening, which goes as below: 

“Those who had run for cover under the shades included men and women who had been working late in the many offices in the neighbourhood, street children who would otherwise flock around foreigners staying in one of the plush hotels in the area, pimps who carried albums loaded with pictures of call-girls and would get in the way of men roaming around alone in Park Street, and hookers who roamed the streets or waited patiently for hours on end in desolate corners of the roads or in the bus stops in their loud make-up and hopeful eyes, waiting to be picked up and driven to cheap hotels around the place. The incongruous mix of people who stood next to each other, skin to skin, in the bus stops or under the ledges of the showrooms of global brands that lined the road, made Agni smile to himself every time he crossed them. That one s…

Chinese food, Romance and a Murder: What’s cooking?

‘The Colours of Passion’ brings to light the fate of a number of our favourite stand-alone restaurants in the face of competition from global restaurant chains.
China Valley, one of the oldest restaurants in South Kolkata, started off back in the seventies and soon became one of the most popular eateries in town. Taking a girl to China Valley for dinner could win her suitor brownie points and give him a head start in the field!
China Valley kept growing through the eighties and nineties, launching new properties and takeaway counters in different parts of Kolkata. In the early years of the millennium, the owners even planned expansion beyond Kolkata.
And then, a few years back, the slump kicked in.
“The city suddenly had several new options. Global chains started making inroads. People started experimenting with different kinds of cuisines. Kolkata became more cosmopolitan, which had an influence on the city’s culinary habits. Shopping malls started flourishing. Dining got linked with a…

Decoding Cat-fights!

‘The Colours of Passion’ (Amazon link: https://goo.gl/cnY38Z) puts the spotlight on two leading ladies of Tollywood, their careers presently at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Hiya Sen lost her parents in a train accident when she was seven and was brought up by an uncle who worked in the local post office in a small town in Burdwan. When she was in the third year of her Arts course in college, she filled out the application form for a beauty pageant in Kolkata, much against the wishes of her uncle. She gave up her studies and headed for Kolkata. She won the crown. Modelling assignments, photoshoots for popular magazines, roles in television serials and then movies—everything happened in quick succession and Hiya never looked back. Opportunities kept knocking on her door, and her talent propelled her to dizzying heights of fame in an incredibly short time. She went on to marry Manav Chauhan, the scion of the Chauhan family, who carved out a distinct identity for himself as one of th…

'The Colours of Passion' - The motivation behind my second novel

I have often asked myself this question.
Was it a desire to step out of the ‘shadows’ into a vibrant, ‘colourful’ milieu? To break free from the despondency of ‘death’ and savour the frenzy of ‘passion’? Maybe. Or, maybe not.
Because, when you are hurtling down the murky path of crime, it probably does not matter whether it is broad daylight or there are shadows looming large. It is the greed, the insecurity, and the hurt of a tormented soul that is at the root of all evils since time immemorial. That does not change even as stories change.
I, of course, wanted to talk about ‘passion’. In my story, I talk about our passion for our work, our craft. I talk about the almost oppressive desire to excel in what we do, which keeps us awake through nights. And how that passion often makes us blind to our sense of propriety. And then, there is the passion one feels for another human being. It can have a variety of shades – some we are ‘comfortable’ with, some which do not conform to societal def…