The Great Mogul

  • Title  – The Great Mogul002
  • Author – Rajeev Jacob
  • Publisher – Lancers Books
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 222
  • ISBN – 817095131-3
  • Price – 450 INR

Blurb on the Book –  Two young scholars delving into the role of mercenaries in eighteenth century Indian wars discover more than just pages out of history. Through the world of musty old archival records and clues hidden in a minor British poetess’ love lines, Irene and Jason find themselves chasing the elusive trail of The Great Mogul – one of the world’s largest and India’s greatest diamonds, the brilliance of which is matched only by the depths of mystery surrounding its current whereabouts. 

Along the way, they find out more about a dissolute English mercenary’s perilous and exciting quest to seek a great fortune. A journey that takes him across the length and breadth of  India and nearly leaves him dead. The great Mogul is a 900 carat diamond which was last seen by jeweler Travenier in the hands of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the seventeenth century. 

Review –  The book has a hard cover and a very impressive quality of paper has been used to print the book with a very reader friendly font. Giving a deeper look to the cover illustration I feel the overall look can be improved with a deeper thought and better blending of the images used.

The book has been divided into fifty-seven short chapters that take the reader for travel over centuries. The chapters have been dated with location specified to let the reader get a grasp of the story as it progresses at a rather irregular pace.

There are frequent jumps in the narration that help in changing gears on one hand and also serve to distract from some wonderful and vivid historical descriptions.

I wish to congratulate the author in having done a commendable job in keeping the various characters connected through out, stirring up a plot that’s layered and derives beauty in spanning over different eras.

The book opens on an intriguing prologue that failed to maintain my interest in the book as the following pages do not support the developing plot. The profane sexual references in the first chapter were a major put off. I had to muster courage to push myself to finish the book after having been seriously disappointed right in the start of the book.

The chapters could have been made longer with better care taken to maintain uniformity in the tense of the narrative. The language is lucid but loses its impact owing to repetition of words and phrases on more occasions than can be overlooked.

I see a sincere effort made in creating a historical fiction plot but the abruptness of the climax stole the ‘all’s well that ends well’ cornerstone rescue opportunity of the book.

The book needs a thorough proof reading to eliminate the grammatical errors and to tighten the loose strings in narration. The ‘raw feel’ if eliminated would surely make this book a better read and bring to fore the merits of the plot which were easily forgotten in the present case.

I feel the book is overpriced at Rs 450 with the hardcover only adding to the weight of the book and not serving to impress the reader.

About the Author - Educated at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where he was a Junior Research Fellow in International Relations, Rajeev Jacob is a senior Sub-editor with The Hindu newspaper. 

His first novel was ‘The lunatic from Multan’ and this is his second book.

Rating - 2.5/5

Dawn

Today was a very special day in my family’s life. One for which we have toiled night and day for a very long time. A day that came after all I had was put at stake, many times.

I humbly wish to thank the Almighty for blessing my family with this important milestone.

All details are coming up in a password protected post(s). Everyone of you who had shared their emails to receive passwords (long back) should expect an email from me. If you don’t receive the password within 6 hours of my publishing the post, please drop me an email. I’ll be glad to share if you have been a reader of my blog.

P.S. – This post is in no way related to Fools day.

School Diary -II

End of first week in school brought along the mandatory flue, every child suffers from on stepping out of the cocoon of home. Luckily, in case of Pari it started on a Friday so she got rest over the weekend and didn’t have to miss school.

At the onset of Pari’s tantrums and absolute reluctance to go to school came a phase when my maternal instinct doubted something serious but the school totally denied existence of anything to worry about. I had a word with the principal and her class teacher but they all sang the same song “All’s well” in a well-practiced tune.

One fine afternoon around the third week, I was a few minutes late in reaching school to pick Pari after school. That was when I met one of her school nannies. Let’s name her M. It was a rare occasion when Pari had been escorted from class to where I’d been standing by a nanny and not one of the teachers.

That fateful afternoon I asked a question I have been in habit of asking her school staff. “How has Pari been doing at school?” and the reply was a shocking revelation. M replied “Pari hadn’t vomited that particular morning”. I was dumbstruck, panicked and confused all at once. On slight probing M revealed that Pari had been vomiting every morning after I dropped her to school cause she used to cry so hard and the same would happen around her lunch time.

I was very annoyed at the fact that this was not told to me despite its regular repetition.  With the school teachers conveniently denying existence of anything worrisome, constantly, I decided to keep my calm and work around the available information. M has been particularly caring and loving towards Pari. She helped me tide through that tough phase taking extra care of my child and slowly our boat sailed to calmer waters.

Being a mother, I have learnt to always pay heed to my gut instincts & not be dissuaded by what the school staff says. Well, almost.

In the days that followed Pari was introduced to crayons & use of pencil in its initial stages. That changed the dynamics of Pari’s liking for school. She seems to have been smitten by the crayons enough to start loving school because of them.

This was the first time in life when the thought, “Like misfortune, sometimes good luck too doesn’t arrive alone” struck me.Soon started the preparations for Annual Day at school. Given to her immense love for dancing, on day one she was selected for the dance and couple of days later in the fashion show.

The next two months have flown past in a breeze with Pari looking forward to go to school everyday only to get to dance with her friends and have lots of fun.

Though these two months have sailed past smoothly in terms of her growing fondness for school, but on a personal front she has faced sickness, very severe to make me get real worried every single time. (Details on that are coming up in a different post as it has its roots in other problems we have been facing).

Among the many challenges parents and pre-schoolers face, prime is the parent learning to let go off his/her child free. Free to learn the ways of the world, letting go off their hand and making friends with teachers. I had initially been under the misconception that I was going to be a cool mum who won’t panic over seemingly trifle issues.

But, like all parents of the world I have been no different. I too panicked and worried beyond limits on many occasions, but I think we (i.e. Pari & I) have managed through the start-up trouble phase.

Two major issues that made Pari’s initial days at school difficult were her strong disinterest in food that kept her hungry and sparked her tantrums. Second, being her limited verbal skills. Pari has a very limited vocabulary at her age when kids in her class talk as fluently as adults do.

Not speaking much has been one of the major roadblocks why I had taken longer than other parents in getting Pari admitted in a pre-school. I wanted her to be able to talk (atleast the basic) to convey to her peers and teachers if she was in distress, needed help or simply learn and recite with her classmates. (again, further details on Pari’s milestones is coming in a separate post).

Today, Pari has completed three months of her school life and looking back I can see her having morphed into someone very different from what she was in December when she started her school journey. I am aware that at this age kids grow and change by the minute, but still I’d like to give full credit to her school staff in bringing about many positive changes in my child.

The song on my mind: Tera Saath hai to mujhe kya kami hai ~ Pyasa Sawan 

What’s been keeping me busy?

I have made many attempts to get back to regular blogging, failing every single time. Today I am at a place in life when many days pass without me logging in my blog and many months have elapsed since I have visited any of my favorite blogs.

Time seems to have slipped past my grip like sand and today I have no clue what is gong on the blog world, who are the new faces, what have my favorites been upto and most importantly what have I been upto if I need to have a closer look in hindsight.

But, the truth stands, most of this absence has been deliberate. It started with me going crazy busy, then depression added up to the chaos and together they both stirred up a cocktail that now when i do get time, I try my best to cook up an excuse in my head to put off writing until tomorrow. And tomorrow never comes.

My mind is so cluttered with insecurities, depressive thoughts, anger, frustration, fatigue, angst and every other negative emotion that can fit in my little head that I never feel I am ready to write like I did when I started this blog.

It has more to do with the walls I have built around myself in an attempt to feel secure, but the reality stands they’ve merely crippled me and done no good what so ever.

Let me share snippets of all that’s going on at my end because I have no idea when will I share the elaborate details on these.

Mum is better than before. After 4 surgeries post the complications I had written about, finally after many grafts and re-infections she is finally off her daily visits to the hospital since last week.

I humbly thank everyone who sent me emails, messages and prayers for my mother’s speedy recovery. It’s all cause of your good wishes and support that we have reached this side of the tunnel.

Pari is at her mischievous, stubborn best setting the bar higher everyday. We’ve come a long way in these two months of her school life, details of those are surely coming up soon because everyday is precious and eventful.

Dad is tired, broken and exhausted emotionally as well as physically.

But we are still going on and are determined to break free of this dull phase soon.

I have been working at making my dreams come true, they were never too many and the handful of those that I had, I am trying my best to transform them to reality because last 3 years of life have shown me life is too short to waste it wishing for things we love without working to achieve them.

P.S. – This post has not been proof read.

The Hunt For Kohinoor

  • Title  – The Hunt For KohinoorOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Author – Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
  • Publisher – Westland Books Ltd.
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 425
  • ISBN – 978-93-83260-60-7
  • Price – 295 INR

Blurb on the Book - A spine-chilling ninety-six hour hunt through the world’s most dangerous terrain where history collides with gunfire – will Mehrunisa get out of this one alive?

One morning on her way to work, Mehrunisa gets a call that will change her life forever. The truth about her missing father is at her fingertips – but it will take her on the most desperate chase of her lifetime.

A chase that will pit her against hardened Jihadis plotting the deadliest terror attack on India, that will test her mettle against history’s deep secrets, that will teach her that the price of love can mean bloodied hands.

Review -  The book has a beautiful cover that does full justice to its plot conveying the setting to be the disputed Kashmir Valley , a man racing against time with the terrorists plotting the next terror attack on Indian soil. The silhouette on the spine of the book of a man with a luxuriant mustache further adds to the feel of the gripping plot while relating to a key character.

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The Hunt For Kohinoor (THFK) is the second book of the thriller series featuring Mehrunisa Khosa. The first book being ‘The Taj Conspiracy’. Since I haven’t read the first book, I was a little apprehensive about going ahead to read THFK. The intriguing blurb of the book put my qualms to rest and I am glad I did go ahead to read THFK.

The book starts with an interesting prologue that hints the goriness and terror that lay ahead. In the initial chapters I did feel a bit lost not having read the first book but slowly and steadily the elaborate characterization brought to fore the clarity I’d been eyeing to understand the background, relevance and role of each character.

The book is fast paced with great research done to bring to life every scene as if we were watching it happen live. The plot has been woven on the political grounds of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia with great care taken to keep it close to the reality yet gifting it the leeway of fiction writing.

The narration is vivid, language is lucid and rich that’s a bounty of new words used like the painting strokes of a painter bringing to life pictures in words. The book has a treasure of inspiring quotes that enhance the impact of the narration while making sense as life-lessons too.

“Destiny, as you know, is a saddled donkey. He goes wherever you lead him. The time has come to kick the donkey from our door.”

The book clearly shows the hard-work, intensive research and pain taken to gift the reader intricate details of the landscapes, characters, their background, cultural and also the political histories that makes this political thriller an enlightening read.

I must confess the numerous characters do make way for confusion on certain points but that is soon cleared of as you read on. The book is unputdownable and a gripping page turner that justifies the maxim that it isn’t all about the climax but the journey to reach it is equally important, that’s what makes for the beauty of this book.

The book makes for a fast paced read that leaves the reader spellbound.

“What the mullahs forget is that when a woman wears a burqa, it hides her looks not her brain”

I highly recommend THFK for everyone who enjoys thrillers taking roots in the real world yet leaping a step further to prove that indeed, sky is the limit.

I am looking forward to read more from this gifted author’s pen. The Taj Conspiracy is going to be read soon and so will other works by Manreet.

About the Author - Manreet Sodhi Someshwar trained as an engineer, graduated from the IIM Calcutta, and worked in marketing, advertising and consulting. An award-winning writer (Commonwealth Broadcasting Association), and copywriter (Creative Abbey), she is a popular blogger as well.

Her debut novel was Earning the Laundry Stripes, released in 2006. It was followed by The Long Walk Home, The Taj Conspiracy and The Hunt for Kohinoor.

Rating - 4.25/5

Babloo ki Condition Serious Hai

This is a true story of a boy named Babloo who was born in the far west of India where water is worshiped and filling a pot of water is the sole aim of survival of the human race.

Babloo was a 21-year-old nerd who was known for his slick look and disciplined life. His heavily oiled hair that sent out the aromatic fumes of ‘Jasmine Oil’, were oiled and combed to perfection by his loving mother every morning before he left for college after an hour spent praying for good results and polishing the eight precious rings that he wore on advise by the astrologer.

Babloo -11

Babloo’s innocence hadn’t yet been touched by technology as he kept himself drenched in the sea of wisdom, books. Girls, Internet, Facebook and Whatsapp existed in other planets for Babloo because he had no time to waste, not even on recharging his mobile so he lived on giving missed calls to everyone he wished to talk to.

Babloo -12

He was the brightest student to have walked the earth in his town who worshiped Einstein every morning, aimed at nothing but 100 percent marks and wept for hours in a dark corner if he scored a 99. Though a nerd, Babloo was all set to face life’s every exam.

Babloo-13

He’d take along at least 8 pens to every exam, used his fingers to calculate even when he carried his calculator just to be double sure. He’d write like an answering machine using up multiple supplementary copies when his batch-mates struggled to fill the main answer sheet.

Babloo-14

He was always the first person to hit the pillow and also to brush his teeth every morning. Life looked perfect to him but the day he cleared his final exams his parents pronounced him eligible to get married.

One, he was now a graduate, so fit to join his father in the family business of selling Sarees, secondly he’d reached the legal age of getting married, 21. Babloo had led a celibate life till date so happily agreed on marrying the girl their parents found perfect for him.

On the day of marriage, all the family and friends were beaming with joy swaying to the tunes of ‘Nagin dance’ just when someone in the ‘baraat’ procession uttered ‘ Paani aa gaya’ (water supply has come) minutes before they were to reach the bride’s home. Not only the friends but also Babloo’s mum fled in a flurry to fill water pots as their life depended on the existence of water filled pots at home.

800px-India_-_Colours_of_India_-_014_-_Water_pots_lined_up_for_filling_(1396028598)

The ‘Mahurat’ was missed due to the chaos to fill water, leaving the bride hurt, heart-broken and seriously contemplating her fate on getting married in a water maniac family. The marriage finally happened with the bride and groom happily stepping into their new life.

On the first night Babloo kissed the bride expressing desire to have a daughter just like his beautiful bride. The coy bride blushed and waited for more but her anticipation met loud snores from Babloo every night from then on. Flustered, worrying about Babloo having an extra-marital affair, one fine evening Babloo’s wife confronted him about her concerns.

Every day you say to me you wish for a daughter like me, then why haven’t you taken any step to make that wish come true in the two months since our marriage?” complained Babloo’s wife.

Who said I am not working for it?” replied Babloo in a surprised tone.

What work are you talking about?” asked his wife, who looked more shocked and taken by surprise than Babloo.

Don’t I kiss you every night before going to sleep? That’s how we are going to make a beautiful daughter” uttered Babloo before smiling and going off to sleep.

Not sure how to tackle this face-palm moment of her life, Babloo’s wife slapped her forehead before breaking into an uncontrollable sob. An hour later she decided to speak to her elder sister about it, who advised her to take Babloo to Dr.Chatur.

Babloo’s wife was a little apprehensive in the start but finally decided to visit him with Babloo after spending a lot of time convincing Babloo to visit the doctor. The doctor had already been briefed about their case on the phone.

After a brief introduction and checking on Babloo’s vital parameters Dr. Chatur gave Babloo a dose of the new Cadbury 5 Star and within moments he saw Babloo ease out. His shoulders dropped, he looked relaxed and smiled wide.

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That marked the beginning of a happy married life for Babloo and his wife who have been munching on 5 star non-stop and are now proud parents of two daughters.

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The Song on my mind: Main ladki po po po ~ Hera Pheri

Do check out the Facebook page of Cadbury 5 Star.

P.S.- All cartoons have been drawn by me, please do not copy.

The pot picture has been adapted from here.