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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mumbai City – Made of Great


When it comes to my favorite city, it cannot be anything else other than Mumbai.
There is no thinking required nor are there any two thoughts about it. Mumbai wins hands-on in my mind when it comes to being my favorite city.
Yeah yeah … you have all heard about the horrors of Mumbai Locals, the rains and the incessant flooding and of course the Blasts have made the city famous time and again.
Yes, it is a notorious city that way but the reason these things happen is because Mumbai is unequivocally THE most important city in the country.
Thankfully, I have lived my entire life here and have grown to love it.
For anyone from outside, it is difficult to fall in love with the city. It is a difficult city for people who are not use to it. In case you are the one amongst many who actually enjoy the Mumbai brand of life and living, there is no looking back.
 

The Drive

One of the things I have always loved about the city is the sheer driving ease as compared to other Indian cities. Mumbai is one of the more disciplined cities in the country and most people tend to follow the rules (and not break them as one deems fit). Few people jump the red light and a handful will break traffic rules for the heck of it. The drive around the city is not bad … from the point of view of other cars and vehicles around. The traffic situation is definitely bad and there are traffic jams every now and then and there are many who would break the traffic rules but the overall situation is pretty disciplined and BETTER than other major cities. In fact, while the average Mumbaikar will crib about the bad traffic situation, someone who has driven around in different cities of the country will truly appreciate Mumbai's traffic sense and the 'relative ease' of driving around.

The Design

Mumbai, as a city has not only evolved and modernized but for those who haven't forgotten, it is an island city made out of 7 islands joined together (followed by additional reclamation from the sea). It's a city that stretches almost around 60 km from Churchgate to Virar and THAT is essentially the path taken by the infamous Mumbai Local trains. The north-south connectivity provided by the local trains is unparalleled. Trains are fast and they are not impacted by traffic conditions so they are more or less on time and you can reach places within defined time interval. The east-west connectivity is pretty much provided by the slow buses plying on the roads … and hence subjected to traffic snarls and uncertainty. Metro and Mono-rail projects along with some freeway projects are all set to solve this age-old east-west connectivity problem and we are definitely making progress. The new Mumbai emerging from these connectivity projects will be a city designed for better travel across the different parts.

The Connect   

It's the average Mumbaikar who is the Hero here. People connect with each other in various ways .. some of them very peculiar to the city. People connect most in local trains and then they also connect at the ubiquitous tea and vada-pav stalls. People also connect during the rains taking shelter under any shade available. People connect in Mumbai is definitely strong and it makes it a city with a warm heart.

Mumbai is simply the best city and my personal favorite and it is definitely #MadeOfGreat


Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review: Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali #1) by Falguni Kothari



 

Book: Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali #1)

Author: Falguni Kothari

No. of Pages: 404

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Falguni Kothari (seems like self-published)


The book blurb reads thus …

Twisted myths. Discretion advised. Fight fate, or succumb to destiny? 

In the dark Age of Kali, the Soul Warrior alone stands guard over the Human Realm, protecting its denizens from evil-willed asuras or demons. When a trick of fate appoints him guru to a motley crew of godlings, he agrees to train them as demon hunters against his better judgment. Suddenly, Lord Karna is not only battling the usual asuras with sinister agendas, but also rebellious students and a fault-ridden past.Spanning the cosmic realms of mythic India, here is a tale of a band of supernatural warriors who come together over a singular purpose: the salvation of Karna’s secret child.
 

It was definitely an interesting blurb but I was already suffering from a Mahabharata overload, having read Sharat Komarraju’s Hastinapur series (2 books) and some related short story collections. So, I actually skipped this one but luckily I did decide to read/review this one … why u ask ??

Because it was fugging awesome !!  (and if you are wondering what the hell is ‘fugging’ and why would I use it here in this particular review, you got to read the book)

I enjoyed reading every bit of this novel and would probably be the first time that I actually connected to the author on twitter and told her how much I was enjoying her work. Even asked her when the subsequent books in the series were coming up. 

Coming back to the book, the author has taken up a very refreshing writing style for the book. 

From the plot point of view, there are surprises in the book, Several of them, spread across the book ... and the way the author reveals the suspense in an off-hand matter-of-fact manner, it almost shocks you into stopping to read and say to yourself ... "Damn .. didn't see that coming" In short ... superbly written.  

The book is NOT mythological. It is set in modern day ... in the present times. What the author has done is take some characters from our Indian mythology and bring them to the present times (along with some 'new' characters'). 

The protagonist, Karna, is modernized. His portrayal as the cool-dude badass warrior is what I liked most and the introduction of the 'new' characters enhances the modernism and makes the whole take extremely enjoyable. 

The interaction between the various characters in the story is enjoyable and you look forward to their interactions more than the action inherent in the story. The other protagonist of the story is Draupadi. While Karna is still in his element, although modernized, you discover a completely different Draupadi here.


The supporting cast of Lavya and Ash along with the teens has done their job well of bolstering up the story-telling. And yeah, how can I forget the cool-dude Yama (God of Death) and the legendary Baitaal (from the Vikram-Baital stories, although nothing to do with Mahabharata). These and a couple of other character add to the colorful landscape of the story-telling. Kudos to the author.

I could probably go on and on about how wonderful the book is and one proof is also that I recommended the book as a 'must read' and 'immediate read' to my best friend who shares the passion of reading with me. 

It was a delightful read indeed and I will eagerly look forward to the next part in the series, to the extent that I tweeted to the author encouraging her to make that quick J

 

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:
Cover Design:  4.0 / 5
Writing Style:  4.5 / 5 
Characters:     4.5 / 5
Story / Plot:     4.0 / 5
Climax:             3.5 / 5
Overall:           4.0 / 5

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Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sugar Free Delight


With so much coffee in office that keeps the body machine running through the day (and week); the sugar levels tend to go up for any working professional and so the advice these days from docs is to get the diabetes check done every quarter once you cross 30 (I remember the number being 40 just about 10 year ago).

Additional suggestions are to keep the sugar intake limited. Can't really control the sugar intake in office coffee since it is either machine made (too much sugar or no sugar unfortunately) or made by our 'office boy' who is unfortunately 100 years old (at least it seems so) so any suggestion to alter the composition of the tea or coffee falls on deaf ears (literally). So either u get sweet (cross that, make that very sweet) coffee or you get 'no sugar' coffee. So as bad as machine made coffee

So I am left with controlling sugar intake in terms of 'sweets' intake.

As an indian, I am sure you will appreciate how difficult it is to avoid 'sweets' in the second half of the year which is full of festivals and good mahurat for marriages. Festivals also result in a lot of sweets being made at home and how can one NOT consume home-made mommy-made sweets in copious amounts. That's as necessary for survival as the coffee in office

So the alternative is to go sugar-free for home-made sweets and thankfully even the sweet-shops have sugar-free ones on offer now.

Its not easy to convince Mom's to use sugar-free instead of sugar or jaggery so I decided to make something myself … just as an example for mom to try and get confidence.

Since I had to make it, I looked for a fairly simple recipe that would use no or very little sugar and I could readily replace the sugar with sugar-free. To be on safer side and avoid comparison, I even avoided the usual indian desserts/sweets so that the taste would not be compared with the ones mom would make and be given a low rating … so heres the recipe I tried using Sugar Free Natura and I must say, the results were good and Mom was impressed.

I decided to make some Banana Cookies

Ingredients needed were few and simple:

                3 ripe bananas – mashed in a large bowl

                2 cups rolled oats

                1 cup juicy dates – chop them nice

                1/3rd cup vegetable oil or melted butter

                1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                Sugar Free Natura !!

Note: You can replace the dates with 1 cup raisins and dried apricots and voila … a different flavored banana cookies. You can experiment with different dry fruits to get an assortment.  

 

The making … its damn simple actually. As simple as A B C or 1 2 3

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Take the large bowl and mash the bananas in it.

  3. Gradually, stir in oats, dates, oil, and vanilla. Mix well, and allow it to sit for around 15 minutes.

  4. Add some Sugar Free Natura. Go light on it as the banana will act as natural sweetener and you need sugar-free just a little bit.

  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls (depending on the cookie size you want) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

  6. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown.

(well, that's actually twice the number of steps I thought)

Let it cool and its ready to be enjoyed. Its healthy and pretty tasty.

As simple as that

Some helpful tips:

  1. Go for small sizes. The banana cookies are chewy so small bites are better.

  2. Keep some in the jar in your cabinet and keep some in the refrigerator. Both of them offer different experiences and you never know which one will you enjoy more.

  3. You can also experiment with adding greater quantity of Oats (take 3 instead of 2 cups). A couple of times and you will get the proportion as per your taste and texture preference.

  4. You don't like dates. Go for raisins or dry apricot or other chewy dry fruit or you might even drop them out completely.

  5. It is a very flexible recipe so feel free to experiment with ingredients.  

     

     

 ENJOY ...

Here is the link to the Sugar Free Natura website for more information http://sugarfree-india.com/

 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Review: Seeking Redemption by Madhu Vajpayee


 

 

Book: Seeking Redemption

Author: Madhu Vajpayee

No. of Pages: 194

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Half Baked Beans

 

Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It's her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay's sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It's also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.

 

There are some books that have a very captivating writing style.

My first impression was that ‘Seeking Redemption’ had a pretty ordinary but yet captivating writing style. Unfortunately, I can’t express in words what exactly I liked about the writing style, but in the very first few pages of the book, I knew I wouldn’t be regretting giving my time to this book.

Well, the quality which attracted me in the beginning of the book was kind of missing after the first 15-20% of the book. I don’t know what changed but I felt the writing style change and there were a lot of things which looked like first draft writing rather than refined and edited final manuscript version which has been polished.

Add to that the numerous grammatical errors and forced use of words and phrases that did not fit in the context or did not even convey the right meaning; and the end result was that it was not an easy-to-read book at all.

A couple of other things compounded the problem …

One was the constant use of ‘full names’ through the story. It interrupted my reading flow.

The other one was the abrupt break in the flow of the story. Some jump-cuts did not even make sense. The girl gets her parents to agree to met her boyfriend and then there is no mention of the same. The reader turns the page to read about the meeting and it is missing. Woah.

The central theme of the book is indeed caste based reservation BUT referring to it as the main source of problems too many times in the story was an overkill. There are times in the story where the reference does not seem logical. Often it seemed like over-simplifying a problem by blaming it on reservations and the conclusion seemed over-reaching. 

Inconsistency of character is another problem. The characters in the story behave abnormally … that is, they do not behave/react as per their established character. The characters showed signs of slipping (out of character) while the book were, at times, unnecessarily bringing in logic which seemed weird and irrelevant.

So … reading the book was not easy. I was tempted to give-up and abandon on several occasions but continued in the hope of a good story (having given up on ‘good writing’).

I do not blame a first-time author to publish such a flawed work. It is the responsibility of the publisher to help the author refine their product. I am not sure if the Publishers are not doing their job or whether the authors are declining the help given to them by the authors OR are authors not ready to spend on the refinement process?

In spite of all the criticism above, I would say that the author continue to write and learn to refine the writing to make a tighter script with minimal discrepancies and inconsistency. You write a lot and filter a lot … the residue being the finest of what you wrote that weaves together perfectly.

While there are so many problems, there is a little bit of silver lining too. The story has a strong message to convey (although not conveyed properly, unfortunately) and it would great if the book was polished and released again. The perspectives that are presented in the book are indeed worth a read and the author has indeed presented the many perspectives around the issue. The overall argument is well rounded and not one-sided. The overall book is that way good.

The cover design of the book was something that I liked. If I were reading the physical book (rather than a soft copy) I would have surely looked at the cover several times during the reading of the book. The cover echoes the essence of the story in some ways and its good work.

 

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:
Cover Design: 3.0 / 5
Writing Style: 1.5 / 5
Characters:     1.5 / 5
Story / Plot:     2.0 / 5
Climax:            1.5 / 5
Overall:           2.0 / 5   

 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book Review: Shanti and the Magic Mandala by F T Camargo




Book: Shanti and the Magic Mandala

Author: F. T. Camargo

No. of Pages: 366

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Lodestone Books

 

Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups - one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician's final plan.

The plot may not be new but the treatment and the story telling is pretty colorful

The characters, with different religions and cultural origins, come from different parts of the world and the author takes full advantage of this. He introduces the reader to the diverse cultural and regional things – places, culture, foods, lifestyle etc. The characters travel so there is more to be learnt about places for the reader. It is in a way ... a general knowledge enhancing book for kids/teenagers.

As a story, it is well-told. The author has a nice plot and makes use of parallel story telling across two eras effectively. The characters come together and they keep having flashes of their past lives and ultimately, it is like a reunion.

Each of the 6 characters develops and grows through the book and you enjoy their innocence while shouldering their responsibility. They face danger with courage and they have their guardian angels to help them out of their troubles with the dark elements.

Some may call this book childish or for the teenage crowd and they won’t be wrong either but I enjoyed the book nevertheless because I am still a teenager at heart :)

The book that way was a pretty light read and I think it could have been made far more exciting. All 6 kids had some magic to them and guardians who helped them. There could have been some more challenges which would have made the story more captivating. In the current form, the journey of the 6 kids, although eventful and danger-ridde; was NOT challenging enough. The ‘hero’ rises to the level of the challenges posed by the ‘villain’ and in this book, the level is not too high. May be this was intentional keeping a particular audience in mind, but I suppose the audience (feeding on Eragon, LOTR, HP, Percy Jackson, Hunger games etc) is maturing and can take on more.

In continuation of the same point, even the climax could have been more ‘climactic’ and stunning. Not to say that it was not. It was pretty colorful and interesting – picturising the events in my head was interesting enough.

The story surely has potential and can have sequel added to it and I would look forward to it.

The cover design was ordinary and it would have been great if it was more catchy and realistic. I liked the background image with the 5 backpacking individuals … only thing is there are 6 characters in the story (although at some point one is kidnapped and the other 5 become rescuers) and that they weren’t really backpacking in the story. Yes, they did have bags that they carried around. Maybe I am being too critical but an image with 6 teenagers in the mountains with some ‘dark’ elements to convey their adversary would have been nice. The mandala in the backdrop was a nice touch and they could retain that.

 

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design: 3.0 / 5

Writing Style: 3.5 / 5

Characters:     3.0 / 5

Story / Plot:     3.0 / 5

Climax:            3.0 / 5

Overall:           3.0 / 5   

 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Book Intro - First Brush on the Canvas - An anthology







Graham, Daniel, their friendship, life and death.
Vampires, guardians' adventures at night. 
Coffee, love and a new couple. 
Imli and her mother in a complex web of darkness. 
A small town girl confused about virginity. 
Michael Jaikishen and his writing endeavours. 
Child adoption by a gay couple. 
Mahabharat - a modern tale in an epic form. 
The spine-chilling tale of Tina and Uncle Joe. 
A juicy love story by our guest author Sujata Parashar. 

These and many other unputdownable stories in this book.

First Brush on the Canvas is an anthology comprising selected stories from Melonade (2014), a nationwide writing marathon organized by Writersmelon.com.


Goodreads * Amazon




Melonade Authors’ Intro:

Uttiya Roy – Nourished with Bangla literature, he aspires to change the world someday writing in English. His days pass blending Life Science textbooks with poetry. 
Upasana Bhattacharjee – We catch ‘em as young as they get! Our youngest writer is still a student, but that doesn’t reflect in the matured story she’s written dealing with inconclusive logics and paradoxes. 
Stuti Chandra – She writes because she’s alive. This lovely lady is from Patna and has dipped her nose in English Literature at Delhi. 
Shaily Bhargava – A photographer, a logophile and an Equity Technical Analyst – all in one. She reads and writes in Noida, accompanied by beautiful clicks through her lens and lots of Coffee. 
Arunav Chowdhury – Have you met this Proletariat Axomiya before? He’s a movie buff and a news junkie rolled into one, who writes wonderful modern takes on the age old Mahabharat. 
Rafaa Dalvi – A Mumbaikar, an engineer, a blogger and a prolific writer. He’s already made his presence in three anthologies and likes to experiment with different genre. 
Diptee Raut – A quilter, a blogger, a quirky mom, an amazing writer and our co-winner of Melonade’4. She’s one bundle of positive energy who can spin stories and weave quilts simultaneously. 
Abhishek Mukherjee – Have you read his blog posts yet? Though he likes to believe he’s only a Cricket Historian, you have to read his humorous takes on Mythology to believe he’s the best. 
Anwesha Ray – An amazingly sensitive writer, she lives and works in Bangalore with her family. 
Avishek Basu Mallick – He’s the winner of Melonade’4. If you wish to laud him for more, he’s an engineer and an MBA, working in Bangalore and a featured writer on Sportskeeda.
Arijit Ghose – Blend Carnatic music with exceptional satire and the result is Arijit Ghose. Cheeky, expressive and vocal – we hope he becomes a great writer someday. 
Amit Nangia – For those working in MNCs for years, he’s your inspiration. Amit’s first novel has just released after facing many rejections but that didn’t deter him from writing. Climbing the rocks, gliding in a parachute, bungee jumping or making cocktails; nothing could elevate his spirits as much as writing did.
Tnahsin Garg - Tnahsin often exercises his freedom by convincing other folks that ‘free will’ does not exist. His first novel ‘The Prophecy of Trivine’ is a science-fiction based in India.
Sujata Parashar – Author of the immensely popular ‘In Pursuit Of’ trilogy, and a wonderful poet. She contributes articles to various websites and magazines, and is a social activist. She’s a guest author in the book. 


Friday, August 21, 2015

The promise of lightning fast internet via 4G

 

A long time ago (actually 10 years ago), I had made a post on this blog about the changing priorities of life from 'Roti, kapda and makaan' (Food, Clothing and Shelter) to what people look forward to every morning … "Bread, Butter and Broadband". I often use to joke with my friends that I 'google before gargle'

Well, its not humor any longer. It's a fact of life. Our day begins, not by us staring at our sleepy selves brushing in the mirror … it now begins with picking up the phone and checking WhatsApp, FB and Youtube – and that is even before getting off the bed.

Who wants to rummage thro the song list on the phone when u can stream music (albeit, latest) from online sites and apps. Who wants to see videos that are on the phone, when youtube is available with the latest trending videos.

Biggest change I see (something Nikhil and I used to discuss often) is that you no longer connect to the internet. Your phone is always online. The wifi modem at home is hardly switched off and you turn down data connectivity on phone only when wifi is available or your phone has 5% battery left and u are still away from a charging point. All other times, you are connected, you are online …. Strangely reminding me of Matrix. You are indeed jacked up.

With this kind of life style, internet speed is an important consideration. You don't have the patience of watching the buffering circle for youtube movies nor do u have time for the google maps to show u the appropriate location and driving directions etc. You want it and you want it NOW.

We rejoiced when we moved from 2G to 3G as we experienced better speed and the wait reduced. But we have gotten used to 3G now and find it 'slow' now. We want more speed.

And that's where the wait for 4G began. The promise of lightning fast speeds on the mobile device was enticing to say the least.

Airtel now brings 4G speeds to India and the initial ads / promotions are pretty interesting. Airtel will be first telecom operator to roll out 4G services in India and they are rolling it out in almost 300 cities/towns at the same time. Their offer of 4G at 3G rates/prices is extremely attractive (hopefully it is an honest offer and does not come with bandwidtch caveats).

Another thing which people may not realise is that with increased speed, bandwidtch requirements will definitely increase. You will now consume bandwidth faster which means if your existing usage was 2GB a month … be ready to be surprised by your own increased usage to 5GB (if not 10). You will download more since you can download faster and you will see more youtube videos since they don't buffer and waste your time.

So expect a rise in your monthly bills and expenses even when the prices are the same.

Airtel has made it easy for people to jump onto the 4G bandwagon. You can tweet for a new 4G compatible sim (use #GetAirtel4G) and it will be delivered to your doorstep – free of charge. More details at http://www.airtel.in/4g/  

So are you ready to jump on the high speed 4G bandwagon !!

(Do note: You will need a 4G mobile handset to take advantage of 4G speeds. So factor in that cost also in case ur current handset is not 4G enabled)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Taking a break


Over the last 2 months, i have not only tried to be more active on the blog but also managed to cover a significant part of my book-reviews back log.


I still have a lot of book reviews to post but I have another patch of life where the blog needs to take a back seat. 


Along with my usual role of a Change Management Consultant, with the resignation of the Project Manager; i have been given the additional role of 'acting/interim' Project Manger and it is seriously taking up all my time (and more). 


Also, my younger brother is getting married in a little over a week so I will be busy in that too. 


All in all, I dont see myself posting anything on the blog for almost a month from now. Hopefully, life in office would have stabilized a bit by then and I would have time for my blog and pending book reviews once again. 

 

See you later ... 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: The Great Indian Democracy by Manivannan K



 

Book: The Great Indian Democracy

Author: Manivannan K

No. of Pages: 208

Genre: Fiction, Humor

Publisher: Pirates 

 

How do I review this book? It reminded me too much of the DORK series. I could draw some invisible parallels between the two books in terms of core concept.

The GID is a light read with a heavy dose of satire on the Indian Political system, the stand-up comedy trend and even on the way guys look at and think of girls (and categorize them in weird categories). All with a help of a dork like character who encounters other dorky characters to fulfill their mission of making his life hell … in a humorous kind of way.

The climax unexpectedly turned out to be quite predictable ... what an irony !

The author actually had some good context and situations to weave a better story ... it could have been better. Maybe the author needed a push to be more creative with the storyline and sequence of events and their treatment. 


What could have been hilariously brilliant turned out to be ordinary and mediocre. Maybe my expectations were set higher and that's why the disappointment 

The 3 central characters of the book ... they were good. Lots of possibilities but ultimately under-utilized.

So for me … actually the rating is between 'it was Ok' and 'I like it' .... since I enjoyed reading the book but can't say it was hilarious and I loved it. 

The cover design was interesting and catchy. I liked it. It was different and something that would make people pick up the book and read the blurb on the backside which is equally well-written ... making people buy the book. 

 

The book blurb from the back of the book says

Twenty-something Vikram rebels against his father and the mediocre life his engineering background has ordained for him by travelling to Delhi to become a stand-up comedian.

Only, he is forced to see the serious side of his jokes when circumstances compel him to accept the position of a journalist at The Great Indian Democracy, an upcoming political magazine.

Life drifts along through plagiarized articles and pub-hopping until one day he finds out why he was hired in the first place. And meets Advaita, the annoyingly beautiful intern with whom he falls in love.

Disarmingly funny, The GID is a satirical and thought-provoking take on everything that makes our nation's democracy the biggest stand-up show.


Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design: 3.5 / 5

Writing Style: 2.5 / 5

Characters:     3.0 / 5

Story / Plot:     2.0 / 5

Climax:            2.0 / 5

Overall:           2.5 / 5   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review: Metro Diaries by Namrata



Book: Potluck: Metro Diaries

Author: Namrata

No. of Pages: 162

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories 

Publisher: Amazon

 
A collection of very mushy love stories with an occasional spark of bold and scandalous variety sprinkled in between for some change and spice.

I am not really a reader of the love story genre but an occasional foray into the mushy / emotional stuff is not bad for the reading appetite. And the risk with short stories is definitely less. 

In the Metro Diaries, the author takes you on a near poetic ride of the emotional world of hearts in love … and that too, love which is not simple but complicated as usual. The author spends most of the words on exploring the inner thoughts and feelings of the people in love or those who are grappling with the concept of love and are unable to make up their mind about it. The stories hardly have too many things happening or sequence of events forming a storyline – there are a running commentary on the varied thoughts inside the head and hearts of people involved.

For a person like me who enjoyed the action packed and mystery genres, such stories are almost 'boring' … but I must say, I was very much touched. I could feel the written words and identify with the feeling of the characters. I could place myself in their shoes and go nostalgic thinking about a time in my life where I had similar feelings / thoughts / fears / anxiety.

I liked the stories which were heavy on mushy feelings while I appreciated the ones which had their own 'shock value' associated with the modern times and greater level of openness in things previously considered taboo. 

Some of the stories made my eyes moist and I think I might have as well shed a few tear here and there. (That alone should result in a near 5-star rating for the book and the author alike). But being the person I am, too much of mush is also boring to me and I started to tire out after half the book (about 10 stories) as things began to become repetitive. No, the stories were not following the common thread or common storyline. It is just that the expression of love became repetitive.

I wish I did not have to read this book in a short period for the review. Wish I had the liberty to read the book over the span of several months, reading just 3-4 stories every month. I would have not suffered from over-dose of love and would have been able to appreciate every story independently; unaffected by love-fatigue.

Last but not the least, even after completing the book, I am not really sure why the collection is called 'Metro Diaries' – I did not feel that the stories or setting or the emotion was 'metro specific' nor did it seem that all stories were set in the metro cities. So I connected with the author on twitter and asked her. She told me the stories are based on real life people and their stories and most of these she came across when she was riding the metro train … and hence the name. Well, now the name made more sense to me (and reminded me of the movie 'Life in a Metro' which was essentially a collection of love stories as well as life struggles of several people living in a metro city)

The cover was equally simple and not really appealing (to me). The book inside was deep … the title and cover design did not do justice to it. I am not creative enough to suggest a better cover or title but I feel the book deserved better of both.  

 

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design: 2.0 / 5

Writing Style: 3.5 / 5

Characters:     3.5 / 5

Story / Plot:     3.5 / 5

Climax:            x.x / 5  Not applicable. The stories don't really end.

Overall:           3.5 / 5   

 
Guess a comment about the 'climax' is needed.
Barring 2-3 out of the 20, the stories don't really end. As I have said before, the stories in the book are not your typical love stories which have a sequence of events and a definite end. They are thoughts and feelings of people in love … at some point in time in their love life. Their life and their love continues to evolve even after the story ends in the book.