Friday, 31 October 2014

Fraudster


From the book blurb
There are people who will do anything to silence the ones who come in their way, those who will stop at nothing, including murder.

A young banker is found dead a day after she deposes before a commission investigating large-scale financial fraud...

A doyen of corporate India falls to his death from his south Bombay flat...

A high-security server room of a multinational accounting firm is hacked and the hackers aren't looking for just company secrets...

Illicit finance, high-stakes crime and vicious manipulation come together in this story of corruption, greed and treachery among corporate India's black sheep. Arresting, fast-paced and written by an insider from the corporate world, Fraudster will keep you on your toes till the very end.


Author
Over a career spanning three decades and four continents, RV Raman advised several banks, financial institutions and corporates on various matters. He has now turned to writing fiction set in corporate India, based on his insights and observations.

Having moved away from full-time roles, he now teaches business strategy at an IIM, mentors young entrepreneurs, advises select clients and writes.

Tired of extensive physical travel around the world, he now prefers less punishing mental excursions into fictional worlds of his own creation. He lives in Chennai. His complete profile is available here.

Fraudster is his first corporate thriller.


What I think
I am spellbound and the book is beyond awesome. The story is set under the backdrop of corporate frauds and it is brilliantly described. It is jet packed and several unexpected incidents will keep you hooked to the book like never before.

The cover page portrays the silhouette of a man and it fits perfectly with the plot. So does the simple title. The book blurb is crisp and draws potential readers to it. The font, size and paragraph spacing are pleasant.

The narrative is lucid and the language is simple. The suspense is brilliantly built. The end is unexpected and awes you. I have to specially mention the last line in book – in the epilogue. I don’t want to give away though. It made me nod and smile at the same time.

All the main characters are nicely established. I have to mention Varsha’s character here. It is free from clichés.

What I loved about the book is that it is devoid of masala and lusty elements. It is only about frauds and how crookedly people can think. It is also about how the greed for money can drive people crazy and make them morally blind.

In short
The plot is very realistic and highly probable. Such practicality makes this book a perfect thriller.

Don’t miss it.
You will not regret the few hours spent!



Rating
5/5


Thank you
This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

PS:

Being a Chartered Accountant myself, I was able to relate to the problems they faced and their work culture. It felt good. Looking forward to read more such books, author!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

My Favorite Mehandhi

This is one of those days when I a dead tired after a really-really long day at office…
Yet, traditionally forced to draw Mehandhi in my hand…

And, this is one of those really-really rare times when the Mehandhi turns out to be brilliant…
Exceeding my expectations… And surpassing my past performances!!!

So, presenting to you…

My favorite Mehandhi (till date).

My Best Ever!



Also, presenting to you a not-so-perfect-one!!!
(Shamelessly)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Short Stories from Andhra Pradesh


From the book blurb
These short stories translated from the Telugu language tell of experiences of ordinary middle class people caught in the crevice between traditional and modern ways of life. Against a backdrop of feverish modernization and fast-paced globalization, these stories depict the crumbling social structure (rural and urban) and redefine the family and social values of the people of Andhra Pradesh, the middle class, farmers, street-walkers and the lower strata of society. The thematic threads in these stories include changing values in the face of strenuous economic conditions, traditional courting and marriage mores, relationships within families under the pressure of increasing westernization, the woman's role as mother, wife and worker, the man's traditional role as provider and the fear of death. The stories invite readers unfamiliar with the culture of Andhra Pradesh to appreciate its centuries-old traditions in the face of change.


Author
Malati Nidadavolu,born in Andhra Pradesh moved to USA in 1973.She teaches Telugu at the South Asia Summer Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin,Madison.


What I think
The cover page is brown – do they depict the fertile soil, I wonder. It has nicely lit busy streets in the background – do they portray the richness and wealthy people I think. And, the rickshaw walla in the foreground – representing the poverty and discrimination by money, I rationalize. Nevertheless, the cover page is perfect and so is the simple title. The book blurb gives away a gist of what can be expected. The lengthy prologue explains each short story in detail and its prominence.

There are eighteen stories in the book, each written by different authors. Each story begins with an introduction about the author and their achievements. The last story is penned by the Malathi herself.

And, I enjoyed each one of them. Most of the stories has a moral attached to it.

As I write about the book now, the story named “Bug” continues to bug me. It carries a profound meaning and holds true with most of us. “Akkayya” stole my heart. Her pride and simplicity made me love her and respect her at the same time. “The Man Who Never Died” reflects our fear of death. It makes us understand that death is only to the body and not to their goodness.

In short, the stories are well-translated and nicely narrated. Each story carries the essence of Andhra Pradesh’s culture.

Indulge yourself.
Know more about ourselves and our values.


Rating
4/5


Thank you
I heartily thank Jaico Publishing House for giving away the book for review


PS:
Short stories written in Indian regional languages carry deep meaning and reflects people’s culture as well. They also speak about ethical values and echoes the changing times.

As a teenager, I have read several short stories in Tamil. The words they use and they manner in which they express always used to remain in my heart. I like the use of metaphors. Most of the times, they talk about something one simple incident which may look so routine in one glance, yet carry profound meaning.

For some strange reason, I can understand Telugu and also read it. I call it strange because I have never really been in Andhra though. Could be because I know Kannada. So, when I found a book which carries short stories from Andhra Pradesh translated into English, I was overjoyed.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A Strange Emotion



“Stephen kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Stephen’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day.”

-          Sara Teasdale

Love is a strange emotion. It can give us the unbound happiness and belongingness. It can also hurt us beyond tolerable limits and lead us towards estrangement.

As they say, time and tide waits for none. Life moves on. But, the ache that unrequited love gives is humongous. More so when the same was reciprocated once.

Sometimes, I fail to understand why we fall in love at all. And, how time drinks away that love drop by drop is still a mystery.

Those love that survives the test of time are rare.

If we are meant to part, why do we meet?
If we are supposed to forget, why do we remember?


Love, my boy, is a strange emotion.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Let Loneliness Evaporate

I hope that someday;
Loneliness evaporates.
And, friendship happen


“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
-       Mother Teresa

PS: Thanks to Haiku Horizons for the prompt – HopeJ


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Three Years as Locomente!

Locomente turns 3 today!!!

Is it really three years since that Diwali afternoon, I wonder with disbelief. Hasn’t these three years passed in a wink, I ask myself admiringly.

I look back and I am realize that it had been awesome three years of learning, experimenting and evolving. It started with random rants and progressed with stories and haiku. Book review added a new dimension to my life. It let me taste a wide variety of books from fiction to non-fictions, short-stories to classics to erotica.

Today, as I stand, it looks unbelievable. About 1100 posts in about 1100 days. Over last two years, there has never been a day when I haven’t posted something. I don’t know if that is tactical enough. I don’t live to add strategies to my passion, I correct myself.

Blogging came as a welcome distraction from my routine lives. Soon, reading books or quotes and watching movies became more interesting. I looked around and more crazy thoughts emerged. It made me think and it made me express.

Some friends say that I am good when I write about love. They say that I am good with words. That’s how my tagline emerged - ROMANCING WORDS.

There are also several instances when people who don’t know me intimately mistaking that my blog is a space where I write about my life. GUYS, LOCOMENTE IS NOT AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. It is just a compilation of random thoughts, some crazy, some thought-provoking and many dream-like. I wish and hope that they see this as a creative space and not as my personal journal. I say this very constantly, I know. More so because it bothers me.

On this awesome day, I thank Locomente for being the Sunshine in my otherwise dark life. Thanks for adding shades to my life and making it worthy enough. Thanks for letting me make mistakes and learn in the hardest possible way; yet for standing by me.

I thank my many-many readers who always shower the Locomente with several motivating and encouraging comments. They mean a lot to me and keeps me going. I also apologize for not reciprocating appropriately. I pledge to become better!

I thank MS Word, my lovely laptops, Book-review Programs, movies, almost everything and everyone around me.

I also thank my amazingly crazy mind for inspiring me every day to write something or the other.
Locomente - my best friend; my soul.

And I would like to begin the 4th year with my favorite line by Robert Frost”
“Miles to go before I sleep”

With lots of love and mother’s pride,
Locomente J

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Thinking...

Together;
Hugging and cuddling.
Ignoring the changing seasons;
Nestled in the warmth of your arms.
Kissing and loving…
Incomparable joy I feel. Ouch!
Newfangled romantic ideas take wings
Giving ideas for passionate love, when I think about you J

Friday, 24 October 2014

Aiswarya Kolam


This is a very auspicious kolam
Generally, this is drawn in the place of worships than in the courtyard.
It is always said that we should not step on kolam.
But, if we step onto it accidentally, we are often pardoned.
However, such accidental stepping is also not appreciated if it is this particular kolam.
This is called AISWARYA KOLAM.

It is believed that this kolam brings wealth and prosperity.

As a practive, it is drawn on Fridays – The day devoted to Goddess Maha Lakshmi J

Thursday, 23 October 2014

God Is A Gamer


From the book blurb
Imagine a scenario where you cross this powerful virtual currency with a Gamer, Banker, Politician and a Terrorist. The result is GOD IS A GAMER – the world’s first Bitcoin Thriller.

A thriller which moves from Washington’s Congress to Delhi’s finance ministry, the beaches of Goa to the corporate boardrooms of Mumbai. A thriller set in a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

God is a Gamer is author’s personal favourite. A lot of effort has gone into researching the minor details to make sure that you enjoy every page of this thriller. As they say, a good thriller is one where the page turns by itself. Hope the pages of God is a Gamer turn by themselves and the book stays in your hand imploring you to finish it before you put it down.


Author
Ravi Subramanian is India’s numero uno thriller writer, having written six bestselling books. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore), he is currently head of a leading financial institution. A career banker and financial services professional, Ravi has worked with various multinational banks (Citibank, ANZ Grindlays Bank and HSBC) for over eighteen years. As a result of his extensive background in foreign banks, writing about banking comes quite naturally to Ravi. Each one of his books thus far have been set in the backdrop of a foreign bank.

To read the reviews on his earlier book:
·         Bankster
·         Bankerupt


What I think
As we all know, God is a Gamer is the first book that revolves around virtual currency – bitcoins. The golden coin engraving the O in “God” emphasizes this further. The book blurb introduces us to the story, awakens our interest and ushers us into the world of love, lust, politics, betrayal and power.

The book is neatly divided into several tiny chapters. The first few pages, randomly introduces several characters and when we close the book, we would realize that they were all nicely entwined to one another.

The author is famous for his banking thrillers. But, this one is not a similar one. The concentration is more on virtual world and currencies. The narrative is lucid and flows with the determination of not boring us. There are several characters and all of them are well-developed.

The author has used several real life instances and also used many real names. The way he has injected fiction into reality is commendable. As I always say, I respect authors who take that extra effort to do extensive research and present an authentic fiction.


But...
There are too many characters and so many sub-stories are established. This could make the reader impatient and urge him to skip a few pages or do a high level reading.


Should you read it?
Give it a shot if you enjoy thrillers…
Or if you love to see how fictions and reality is nicely mixed and transformed into a believable one!



Rating
3/5


Thank you
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

PS: Author sighed copies are always a pricey possession. Yay!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

When I went Crazy!


Kolam can drive me mad.
I enjoy the exercise of deciding the basic pattern…
And the process of developing into a unique one…

This particular kolam turned out to be bigger than planned…
But, no regrets…
Just too proud of it!!!


Happy Diwali folks.
Try not to burst crackers. They scare the animals and pollute the environment.
But, do eat lots of sweets and wear new clothes.

In short, have a responsible and safe Diwali!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mad Money Journey


From the book blurb
A  Financial Adventure.

Mehrabs latest book is a sweeping tale of mystery and adventure, with deep revelations on the nature of man and money.

Tired of his energy-and money-draining middle-class life, Dr. John Pinto decides to end it all by walking into oncoming traffic. But Life has other plans from him! Through a quirky twist of fate, John finds himself saved and launched into a financial pilgrimage across the world. Through a whirligig of exotic, shocking and sometimes dangerous encounters, he learns what it means to be financially independent.

The school of Life introduces him to people who have learned the 10 commandments of financial freedom the hard way. From Afghani terrorists to Kenyan marathon runners, from Bangkok prostitutes to Chinese mystics and many more. Each soul on this incredible journey holds a key insight into the relationship between man and money. To achieve true freedom, he will have to face it all-a turbulent odyssey of hair-raising adventure, unexpected teachers, monetary rewards and an overarching mission.

A dazzling novel, written with wit, compassion, intelligence and deep humanity, travel with John Pinto to unearth the secrets of a rich life.


Author
Mehrab Irani is General Manager, Investments, at Tata Investment Corporation, Mumbai. He has diverse experience in both equity and fixed income markets, including research, dealing and portfolio management. Mehrab is fired by an almost missionary zeal for spreading financial knowledge among investors. His ability to connect abstract concepts to real life situations using his powerful imagination and plethora of skills reverberates through all his work. He is a prolific writer for newspapers, websites and his blog - www.intelligentmoney.blogspot.com. He is also to be seen on CNBC, ET Now, NDTV Profit and Bloomerg.


Characters
Dr. John Pinto
An accomplished doctor. But a failure in money management.

Vijay
A school drop-out. But, a successful business man who knows to multiply his money.

What I think
The cover page is very simple. It pictorially represents the countries that John visits. The book is elaborate and describes what can be expected from the book. The title is perfect.

The narrative is an easy flow. Several financial and investment jargons are used. But, they are also explained through examples. Therefore, they become interesting and sinks within.

The book teaches you the importance of savings, budgeting and almost everything related to money. What I appreciate is that it is taught through stories, fable-like. This makes the reading an interesting one.

Further, the author has taken the pain to also explain the country-specific cuisines and other specialties. At the end of it, we would feel like we were a part of John’s travel. Who doesn’t like couch travel?

In short, a well-researched and well-narrated book.
Further, it’s a tiny book and doesn’t bore you.


But...
Although the letters at the end of each chapter summarizes the lessons learnt, it also becomes redundant. In fact, those one to two page long summary is so elaborate that it tempts you to skip the chapters and read only that. Such a treatment further makes you wonder if you are reading a non-fiction. This could be avoided.


Should you read it?
This book makes you a couch traveler.
At the same time, it enlightens you financially.
A different one!


Rating
3/5


Thank you
I heartily thank Jaico Puiblishing House for giving away the book for review


PS: Needless to say, author signed copy is a delight. And, I am smiling ear to ear J

Monday, 20 October 2014

Tension Released

I was very scared
Yet shyly said, “I love you”
Ah! Feeling relieved.

He held my hands; and
Tenderly said, “Love you too”
Adrenaline rushed.

PS: Thanks to Haiku Horizons for the prompt – ReleaseJ


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Understand...

I wish that you understood me
That you never changed;
That we never grew up…

I wish that you were the same
That little teddy-bearish joy;
That sweet-shy lovely monster

I wish that times never changed
That it never snatched you from me;
That this cruel joke was never played

I wish that you understood me
That you stand by me;
That you love me

I wish that you never leave me
That you remain my sweet little love;

That darling of my heart!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Faults In Our Stars

From the book blurb
The Fault In Our Stars is inspired by the author’s experiences while working with children suffering from life threatening diseases in a hospital. It is a witty, thrilling and heartbreaking story of a sixteen year old girl, Hazel, who is a cancer patient, and is forced by her parents to attend the Cancer Kid Support Group. Through her friend Isaac, she encounters Augustus Waters, an amputee and ex-basketball player. After the support group ends, Augustus suggests that they watch a movie at his house. There, they talk a lot and he gets to know of her favorite novel, An Imperial Affliction.

After reading it, he too gets as obsessed with it as Hazel is. They begin to spend a lot of time together and soon fall in love. Augustus decides to use his wish from ‘The Genies’, a fictionalized version of the Make a Wish Foundation, to fly Hazel and himself to Amsterdam to meet the author of the book, Peter van Houten. What happens next is a funny yet touching tale of two young lovers, fighting a life threatening disease against all odds. It promises to touch the heart of the readers and show them the true meaning of being alive and in love.

The Fault In Our Stars was a number one bestseller as per The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It has been translated into numerous languages such as German, French, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese. A film based on the book is slated for release in 2014 by Fox 2000, a division of 20th Century Fox. It is going to be directed by Josh Boone and will star Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.


Author
John Green is an American author and educator.
A few other books authored by him are Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines and Looking For Alaska.

Green was born on August 24, 1977, in Indianapolis. He spent his growing years in Orlando, Florida, and completed his schooling from Indian Springs School, after which he graduated with a double major in English and Religious Studies from Kenyon College in 2000. He and his brother host VidCon, a yearly conference dedicated to the online video community. In addition, they also founded the Project for Awesome, a project aimed at creating videos that promote charities or non-profit organizations. Green also hosts a video blog, VlogBrothers. He currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife and children.


Characters
Hazel Grace, likes watching reality shows and prefers to stay at home. She is a bookworm.
Augustus Waters, likes playing video games and loves to socialize. He longs to leave a mark in this world.


What I think
To begin with, the vibrant cover page will attract anyone. It is really cute with nothing but the title. The title, on the other hand, gives away the plot – Misfortune! It clearly states that no matter how we receive life or how we choose to live, there is little that we can do to change the stars aka destiny. The book blurb elaborates on why the title is what it is and leads the reader to read the story!

The narrative is very lucid with some interesting dialogs, both smart and philosophical. There are several lines that remain in our hearts. The premise is sweetly developed and so is the budding love between Hazel and Augustus.

What I really loved about this book is the positivity. The book might be about a deadly disease like cancer. Each page might take you closer to the death of protagonist with whom you have fallen in love. Yet, their acceptance of the fact and the surrender to the destiny makes us rethink. It makes us realize that life is indeed too short for everything – EVERYTHING! The book also puts the cancer inflicted patients as warriors who battles with themselves. It requires a higher level of courage – to fight with oneself.

In short, this book is about living and making as many good memories as possible. It is also about accepting your stars regardless of whether it is faulted or praised!


Should you read it?
Indulge yourself in the world of Hazel and Augustus.
They will help you improve and helps you see the world differently.


Rating
3.5/5


Some words that stole my heart
©       “My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” 
©       “It seemed like forever ago, like we've had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” 
©       “What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” 
©       “The marks humans leave are too often scars.” 
©       “You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.” 
©       “You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice.”
©       “You say you're not special because the world doesn't know about you, but that's an insult to me. I know about you.” 
©       “Nostalgia is a side effect of dying”