Sunday, September 23, 2018

Animal Farm


A classic masterpiece written between 1943 & 1944 by English novelist George Orwell as a satire to strongly oppose against Stalinism. What hooked me most in this book is that it still has an uncanny resemblance to present day rise of a totalitarian regime in a nation. The book was not published until 1945 since most publishers refused, fearing rejection and unpopularity as Britain was an ally for Soviet Union back then.
The original title - "Animal Farm: A Fairy Story" is based on a fictional tale of how animals overtake a farm from their supreme enemy - the humans. They get rid of the farm owner Mr. Jones and his men and rename the Manor Farm to Animal Farm. The Animal Farm which was to be governed by principles of Animalism was based on seven commandments. The story beautifully unfolds as to how the pigs take charge in the daily administration of the farm on the pretense of being well-read and start delegating work to farm animals while taking all privileges and reaping benefits off other's hard work. A victorious war after the humans attack them causing deaths and bloodshed instills further confidence in the animals to operate their own farm with pride and independence.
But driving out humans did not mean their virtues were gone too and jealousy creeps inside one of the leader pigs- Napoleon against Snowball and he purges Snowball out declaring himself as the leader. The lies, malice and false claims escalate Napoleon to an indispensable stature and he uses Snowball's tarnished image to instill fear, manipulate and provoke the hard-working naïve farm animals against a non-existent enemy; while abusing power in every form. The commandment rules keep bending for the pigs while the clueless animals mutely spectate without opposing fearing the ruthless dogs kept by the pigs.

The satirical intention is so tastefully put out that you can only smile and exclaim while connecting dots with the present. I'm pretty sure Orwell did not have future dictators in mind when writing this novel but as they say, history repeats itself!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Half Girlfriend

Rating - 3/5

I have to admit it. No matter how much I dismissed the plot calling it bogus and ridiculous just like some of his other books, Half Girlfriend  managed to surprise me in the end. It is a good 'romantic' novel and now that he knows all of his books will be turned into bollywood flicks you have a perfect Yash Raj script ready here. All that boy meets girl, falls in love, loses her, finds her, loses her, finds her, loses her and finds her again will keep you hooked to it (unless you are a quitter). The desi version of The Notebook maybe. If you aren't much of a reader, don't bother. Just wait for the movie to be released.

The Kite Runner

Rating 4.5/5
The book starts from a journey of a man as a young boy who grew up in the 70's decade of Afghanistan when lives were peaceful in a way with no bullets, killings and mass murders. It'll take you through the turmoil and insecurities of his mind for being the lucky one among the two of the kids in the house. A story about integrity, loyalty and friendship. Friendship that transcends beyond groups, Shias and Sunnis, Hazaras and Aghas, poor and rich. When a Taliban dominated violence struck nation forces a guilty man to return for redemption and find peace within by doing things right.     
Captivating, heart breaking and soul warming all at the same time. It is one of those books that helps you recollect the innocence of your childhood. There is no point in the book when you would not sympathize for Hassan and later his son. It leaves you filled with true emotions that is fading with times. An amazing read and highly recommended book for readers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Catcher in the Rye

Rating- 3.5/5
Set in New York, the protagonist Holden Caulfield gives you a detailed account of his mental state after his expulsion from the reputed 'good' school called Pencey. It is disturbing, heart wrenching and makes you sympathize terribly with that lying, lunatic teenager blessed with a good soul. It is a good read for psychoanalysis and studying teenage behavior.
Holden's relationships with both his siblings Phoebe and Allie impact his personality. The book offers a smooth read till the very end where I kept anticipating for some positivity.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Motorcycle Diaries

-Che Guevara

Rating -5/5

The ubiquitous face printed on black tees of every young 'Che' fan wasn’t just another revolutionary who fought for the rights of deprived people and died as a martyr. He had fire and passion that burnt from within; with a style & poignancy that could make any girl fall in love with this dynamic and charismatic young Guevara any day.
Presenting 23 year old, medical student in his final year, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara- the young adult decked up for a heroic journey with his 29 year old friend Alberto Granado on Granado's The Mighty One (La Poderosa- A Norton 500 cc motorbike in its shackles) to ride across the extent of South America (then a sadder , negative image of North America) in 1951 and complete a marathon of more than 10240 km all the way from Cordoba, Argentina to Caracas,Venezuela. Their journey filled with rich experiences, harsh confrontations with reality, friendships, thirsts, and bouts of anger, love and above all the transition phase of Ernesto from an idealist yet crazy youngster to a staunch revolutionary who shook the world with his course of actions.
The letters written by Che to his mother throughout the journey lend a voice to the turmoil of emotions he faces in the journey. His empathy towards the communist couple they meet on the cold night at the mines of Chiquicamata, the exploited indigenous farmers of Cuzco in Peru, the pang of pain he feels for the ruins of the Incas civilization when they visit Machu Picchu and the humane affection they (Alberto & Che) display towards the leprosy patients of the San Pablo leper colony by treating them as more than patients by playing football and refusing to wear gloves are all extracts of the making of the budding Cuban revolutionary.
Che lives my dream and the dream of a million other travellers around the world that set out with a thirst of adventure to travel, meet new people, experience and learn about cultures. I read his book with such curiosity and amazement like a child staring the moon on a night sky without blinking.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The White Tiger

-Aravind Adiga

Rating - 4/5

Its brilliant with thought provocation in every page The narration is in a simple language but has intensity. Aravind Adiga has successfully been able to represent the common Indian man who might be under-privileged but dreams. Although the title itself indicates the rarity of this type..hence "The White Tiger".
Yes...thats what makes Balram Halwai aka "Munna" the so called White Tiger. Born to a rickshaw-puller father and ill mother in a poverty-stricken joint family, Munna rises from the Darkness to become an entrepreneur in the competitive metropolitan of Bangalore. His simplicity hits you on the face like a wet towel because we often tend to fail in understanding the strife & struggles the impoverished withstand each day.
What made it a more interesting read was that I couldn't relate myself to even one characteristic of the protagonist, hence the book broadens your outlook. Adiga's observational skills to point out intricate details of everyday life are commendable and the description's are well-written. There are vivid descriptions of the stark contrast between the lives of the people living in the current two-Indias. An interesting insight about a prevailing thought process - "the Rooster coop" and how it has caged most of us in it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Keep off the Grass

-Karan Bajaj

Rating - 3/5

Indian literature has transformed into this new urban style where writing is not just restricted to writers.  As the phrase goes “Everyone has a story to tell”, and they are indeed doing the same.
The book is funny and interesting enough that you can go out dating with it...but love maybe not. Captivating definitely because the writer has successfully been able to relate a Yale graduate-Wall street investment banker to any other average student from IIM or from any institute for that matter.  The title of the book “Keep off the Grass” is sprinkled like icing-sugar all over the story once the protagonist (Samrat Ratan) lands in India. There are various bites from the inside world of IIM (B) which overtly discloses the dirty picture of a cut-throat competition existing in a nation of over 1-billion population, the rat-race for the best GPAs, internships, placements (read packages), the mean corporate world where `happiness’ is defined as the upward projection of sales in the market even if you have to kill to be there. Then come the extracts of spiritualism and religious fervour prevalent here which has attracted many foreign visitors even before Zeenat Aman’s pot-smoking hippie friends in Dum Maro Dum to till date. The ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) Samrat gets fancied and as usual more grass is smoked. Samrat with his two friends Vinod, Veer-Chakra winning ex-Army officer who fought in Kargil (headstrong with his convictions like not working for MNCs to deceive his mother-land) and Sarkar, a smartass IIT graduate (laid-back on a bed of sarcasm wrapped in his illusive world blurred with smoke) struggles through his 2 years journey in IIM(B) in a quest to find what he really wants from life.  A million-dollar question that has befuddled many of us someday.