Toke by Jugal Mody -A Book Review

Imagine the weirdest conversation you’ve had with your friends. Now imagine the funniest conversation you’ve had with them. Mix them up. Multiply it by 100.Divide it by zero. That’s how weirdly funny this book is!

Toke is Jugal Mody’s first book and I have no clue what to make of it. The book is unlike any other book you’ll have read and I would like to take this opportunity to give a small ovation to Harper Collins India for having the balls to publish this work. I do not say that it is bad. On the contrary, the outlined plot is pretty simple and has nothing absurd about it. It’s the details that derail it from reality. But the writing is fresh and brash; a refreshing change from the monotonous attempts by newbie’s to be Salman Rushdie or Shakespeare by diving into literary metaphors which make no sense.

To give you a sample, just read Toke’s blurb:


So Lord Vishnu showed up one morning when I was really stoned and asked me to save the world from turning undead. How did I save the world? I didn’t. We did. And while saving the world, I got to forcefully kiss the girl of my dreams. Many times. My best friends got to smoke a lot of good stuff. A lot more than they would have otherwise smoked in that much time. They also got to crash an airplane into a slum outside Santacruz airport. But don’t worry, there were only zombies around when that happened. We were joined in our quest by two Japanese girls who can kill people with their pinkies, one of whom forcefully kissed Danny. Yes, there was a lot of non-consensual kissing in this adventure. With tongue. Hi. I’m Nikhil. This is my story. And I swear I have a T-shirt to prove it.

The plot is pretty simple and is actually what I liked about the book, because it’s unique. X along with two of his college friends is empowered by Vishnu to fight the evil taking over of the world. Along the way they get help from magical buttons, giant eagles, crows, crashing planes and Billy Joe. Also, they smoke pot throughout, so well… All I need to say is that “Toke” is aptly named.(To those who didn’t get the joke, two words: URBAN DICTIONARY)

The “thumbs-down” for the book goes to the absurdities. I felt that Jugal stretched the weird stuff a bit too far which simply wrecked the whole thing. I can’t mention much because of spoilers but after a while, the ploys of marijuana high characters get boring.

In all, the book is a fine weekend read. Nothing enriching or invigorating. But definitely funny. Read and laugh fellas!

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Truly,Madly,Deeply by Faraaz Kazi -A Book Review

Truly,Madly,Deeply by Faraaz KaziTeenage romances are a very dicey topic in India. The parental pressure of upholding the supposed “family ki naak” and the combined guilt of parental as well as self-inflicted misery over petty issues makes them difficult to handle. But somehow, in an almost clichéd manner, love triumphs all as two people fall for each other. Mostly, they are silly infatuations or crushes which time erodes. But rarely do we come across a story where love blooms truly, madly and deeply.
TMD is Faraaz Kazi’s first novel and is 310 pages long. It deals with the story of Rahul, a quintessential high school boy, who is one of the best students at school and loved by all. He falls for Seema, his perfect match in all aspects albeit a year younger to him. The book deals with the young love of two kids as they pass through teenage. It highlights their troubles, their good times, their perils and their path.
In an extremely poetic manner, we see the entire story from the eyes of the super romantic Rahul who simply loves and loves more everyday. The high point of the book is ironically its fallacy as well. I’ll start with the pro. The book depicts teenagers in a near perfect way, covering abstract relationships like best friends, friends etc in a delicate and precise manner which is something beyond the scope of most adults.
On the other hand, the book, in an almost jovial manner, exaggerates the feelings of a teenager. Being one of them, I can safely vouch for the fact that unlike the protagonist, no teenaged guy can spout verses of poetry like a puppet for every situation while drawing deep metaphors from almost everything ranging from a hug to a fart.
Faraaz Kazi
Overall, the book is a good read and is a bit on the philosophical line which I found to be unnatural for a teen. Otherwise, it’s an easy to read, read on a cheesy little afternoon kind of book. So all you romantics, try this out, you’ll love it


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The Homing Pigeons By Sid Bahri-A Book Review

The Homing Pigeons By Sid Bahri
Love has always been a quintessential theme in the world of fiction. By all means it is a direct inspiration from real life and somehow wins all hearts. It may be a simple straight forward story or a complicated over the top Bollywood style tale full of songs, perils, tragedy but finally a happy ending. THP is a book of the latter kind.
This 318 paged novel is Sid Bahri’s first novel. It’s a simple book about two people reeling from the broken institutions of marriage in India where everything, including your future partner’s religion, caste, background, state, family details etc matter. But ironically, love is often ignored by parents. Even worse, they somehow convince their off-springs to forgo love and embrace an ultra conservative social idea. This is where it gets murky.
In this book, we step into the world of Aditya and Radhika,who were “best friends and secretly in love” since high school. Something I really liked in this book was the unique plot. Most books follow usual patterns or clichéd stories which unless complemented with exquisite writing, leaves the reader desiring for more from the entire experience. The Homing Pigeons on the other hand, has a unique plot although set in a clichéd timeline i.e. the recession of 2008. Maybe the whole “in-love-since-high-school” is clichéd too, but it suits the plot here.
Moving on to the book’s Achilles’ heel, I found the book to be little too over-the-top as well dramatic in nature, bordering nearly on unrealistic. The way the characters separate, meet again and carry out the entire cycle again is something that I really didn’t buy into. Also, the story line is dragged down in parts by the sub-plots themselves.
Sid BahriAs a whole, this book is a lovely read for a new mature reader who is trying to get into reading and at the same time, is a nice little read for bookworms looking for something easy on their eyes over the weekend.
Like: Easy to read, Simple characters, Earthly, Fluffy
Dislike:  A wee bit unrealistic, Bollywood like over-the-top plot may be a turn down for most people
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The Secrets of the Dark by Arka Chakrabarti -A Book Review

Fantasy series have always enamoured people. The good ones attain cult status, earning huge fan followings and become a part of popular culture. Come to think of it. Hasn’t everyone once shouted Crucio at the professor who gave them too much homework? Or haven’t you walked into a stranger’s wardrobe looking for the secret entrance to Narnia?(Well okay, not everyone’s as weird as me but you do get the point I’m trying to make)But the lesson we learn from all of this is that  if a fantasy series is bad, it gets buried among the tons of books out there. So, it becomes important for the first novel of a new fantasy series to be hard-hitting in its impact. The Secrets of the Dark just manages to pass the muster but just barely
This 352 paged novel is Arka’s first novel and is a part of a series named “The Saga of Agni”. Set in the mystical land of Gaya, the series is aptly named after the protagonist Agni. The plot is simplistic at its core, with the usual sprinkling of revenge, vengeance and betrayal. I won’t dwell over the details of the plot, but in a gist, it’s the tale of Agni following the trail of a criminal who murdered his betrothed. The journey leads him to discover a whole new truth that was hidden away from him.
The nucleus of this book is its Indian-ised style of narration. As a globalising Indian, I generally don’t have trouble adapting to the nature of characters penned in different environments. But many people do not like this need to adopt. This book doesn’t lead to such issues. Arka skilfully narrates a tale without any glitches which brings me to the next positive note of the book, no loopholes. Often suspense or thrillers leave loopholes which in their glaringly small size ruin the entire book. Fortunately, The Secrets of the Dark is thoroughly edited and survives the loophole test.
Moving on to the book’s Achilles’ heel, we arrive at something which is debatable  Although the book slowly lays out the detailed plot and the mystery breaks free perfectly with logical arguments, the book does fall at certain points. For starters, the book gets dull with its plot at key junctures which although may not be a huge problem for a book reader, it sure is a slight disappointment. Everything ranging from the playful humour, fighting scenes, suspense revealing chapters, all of them sound wooden and clunky, as if the characters are mechanised robots spouting the dialogues. As I mentioned in my previous reviews, unrealistic characters or unreal character traits are something which I absolutely disapprove of.
Arka Chakrabarti
Overall, this book is a good read with a slightly over-flowery pattern dealing with an interesting topic and daring to take on a broad horizon. A definite recommendation to readers who long for a mix of an Indian touch to their fantasy genre punch
Like:  No loopholes, Indian-ised fantasy book
Dislike:  Wooden conversations make the characters seem unreal

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The Oath Of Vayuputras By Amish Tripathi -A Book Review

The Oath Of Vayuputras By Amish TripathiToday India stands at the precipice of a cultural and religious breakdown. Yes, we do have religious fanatics who wish to polarise the nation on communal basis. But let’s focus on the other half. People do not know about the rich history of India or even its deep mythological history. Amish has single handily changed this paradigm. Using an unique factor of narrating the tale of Shiva by bringing him to life in the ancient Indus civilisation, Amish’s Shiva Trilogy has brought an entire reading generation into a brilliant world.


This 565 paged novel is Amish’s third and final part of the Shiva Trilogy. The first two parts, The Immortals of Meluha and The Secrets of Naga where blockbusters and were amazing reads. Unfortunately I didn’t review them but yes, they were pretty good. The basic story(for those who are uninitiated) is that Amish has taken the concept of Shiva as a God in the context that he was an unbelievable human being thousands of years ago, and today, his superhuman deeds are regarded as godly in nature.
Oath of Vayuputras starts off from the cliff hanger Amish left us with at the end of book 2.The book doesn’t disappoint, as the pace continues. All characters seemingly have their own hidden little agendas as they fight what they deem to be evil. Add in a strict adherence to morals, principles and analogous rules, the book shows a world that punishes yet rewards, and keeps you gripped.
I won’t give away the plot though I’ll tell you the small little things whose presence or lack thereof disappointed me slightly. Firstly, modification of certain established mythical stories. Although the statement itself sounds very redundant, the truth is that after so many years, people are used to a general version of the story in question. Any departure from it, even in a work of fiction, makes me slightly uncomfortable. Another factor that ticked me off was that the book had an idealistic tone for a major part of the narration, which just doesn’t add up to plot which is near reality.
Amish TripathiTo sum it up, yes there are very tiny, almost microscopic issues with the book, but overall, it’s a must-read. In fact, I would recommend the entire trilogy to you. Read it, discover Lord Shiva and through him, a new generation of Indian fiction.
Har Har Mahadev
Like: Style of narration, Brilliant mixing of fiction, myth, history and logic

Dislike:  Idealistic, Modification from general myths

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Tantra By Adi -A Book Review

Tantra By Adi- Book Review

Vampires are IN.this fact is undeniable. It may the unprecedented idiotic popularity of Stephanie Mayer’s Twillight series or the even banal television show by Ekta Kapoor, vampires are becoming a part of mainstream entertainment. Those fanged mysterious beings with a certain suave nature, have taken over our imagination and strongly created a new genre, which I explicitly refer to as “The Vampire Stuff”

This 335 paged novel is Adi’s first novel. It’s a story dealing with the life of Anu, a vampire hunter from New York who has just shifted to New Delhi, capital of India and its crimes. The reason behind the shift is clear and personal. Her goal is vengeance. The vendetta of avenging her now-dead lover Brian is what she wanted but this leads her to stumble upon a sinister plot, which may wreck the entire city or the entire country, and maybe the entire world. Armed with new friends and new enemies who are her allies, this novel is a small little tale of a strange world which defies all of Anu’s pre-assumed conventions as she discovers a new strategic and tactic method of fighting her foes: Be and let be.
Highlighting the key points of the book that delighted me, Tantra deals with some fine unexplored nuances of Indian fiction like tantric magic, vampires and secret hunting’s. Not that other books haven’t attempted this, but they always failed, unlike Tantra. It wins because it defeats other books in certain aspects which enchant a reader. Tantra has characters which resemble people you may bump into everyday i.e. the characters are believable rather than fantastical imaginary perfect human beings. Also, the setting of the book is as I like it, subtle and subdued rather than over-detailed and explicit. Also another nugget i loved was the entire “shaadi karo beta” underlining in the book which almost every person in India is used to and tolerates in a grudging attitude.
Adi and Soha Ali Khan at Book Launch of Tantra
The place where the book fails me is the narration. I found the book to be too much of “Chetan Bhagat” style of narration. Yes, the characters were lively and relatable but the plot as well as the storyline was not. I found it hard to believe the instances mentioned in the book as many fine points were just glossed over, rather than being detailed. I re-iterate myself when I say that a book is not damaged by its details but rather by its lack of details.
Overall, this book is a decent read with a non-flowery pattern dealing with an interesting topic. A definite recommendation to light readers or newbie readers who want to sink their teeth on something easy before moving on to something more intimidating or the big guns.
Like: Easy to read, Relate-able, Interesting topic, Light, Simplistic
Dislike:  Pedestrian or “Chetan Bhagat”ish narration, Lack of character history, Glossing over required details
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F?@K Knows! By Shailendra Singh -A Book Review

F?@K Knows! By Shailendra Singh -A Book Review
All of us are basically screwed in life. We’ve lost touch with the little joys that should make us happy and instead have moulded into a blob with sadness and despair. Think back to the time when you were really happy. 99% of you would just have thought of a moment which was not the last one. Why is it that we find more sadness than exhilaration in all aspects of our life. F?@K Knows!
F?@K Knows! By Shailendra Singh -A Book ReviewThis 234 paged novel is Shailendra Singh’s first novel.  Before we dwell onto why this book is as awesome as its title, a word about the author and why he is certified to chipkao you with the gyaan that he does. SS is the co-founder and joint managing director of Percept Limited, India’s largest and only entertainment, media and communications conglomerate. Now before you dismiss him as another corporate douche, here’s the cool part. He’s the inceptor of Sunburn. So the amazing festival which you all enjoy is founded by this guy. So all in all, yeh jo bole sonihal ! He wrote this book after a bunch of unfortunate incidents which changed him and his life!
F?@K Knows is an amazing book which does what all of us really need in our lives. It makes you stop, tells you how messed up you are, tells you how you can fix it and helps you mend yourself. Mind you it’s not one of those thousands of self-help books you find lying around at the book store with fancy titles like “Unleash your hidden talents with the power of your min!” NO. Au contraire, to my delight, this book is a nice little slap to what I call the Deepak Chopra wagon for whom self help is nothing but the mumbo-jumbo of spirituality and philosophy.
Shailendra SinghI liked this book because of its fresh approach. Never while reading the book you feel as if you’re trying to decipher the Da Vinci Code. In fact it seems as smooth and easy as talking to a friend! That is what forms the book’s forte. SS recognises the potent power of direct cut-the-bull-shit narration and has given a mantra to each reader to inspire every individual. The best example I found, “Don’t say Just Do It. Just Done It is the new cool mantra!”
Another great part about the book is the multiple real life examples and the well-regaled stories of the lore. Home spun stories, personal heart to heart narration and completely fair as well as logically detailed theories such Chi F?@K and the F?@K It List makes the book the biggest inspiration for anyone who wishes to take a break, pause their lives, think it over and give it a new turn.
To sum it up, I quote the book itself
You will read, but not understand.
You will understand, but not do.
You will do, but not understand what you did.
Does it make a difference?
F?@K Knows!”
Like: Easy to read, No Bull Shit, Logical, Well thought out
Dislike:  Nothing
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This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!