The Hunt For Kohinoor By Manreet Sodhi Someshwar – A Book Review

Suspense thrillers based on historical theories and conspiracies seem to have become the norm these days. Buoyed by what I call the “Dan Brown” effect, a whole new lot of authors have emerged who practically follow the same plot- There’s a time linked crisis to be solved, the protagonists face either a rogue agency or a legitimate agency running after them, and all this time, the protagonists ( mostly an art expert or historian) are required to solve some ancient mystery or a puzzle based on the same, to save the planet from its inevitable doom. This book is somehow both, a run-of-the-mill abstract of the same concept, but interesting at the same time.
This 425 paged novel is Manreet’s fourth book and second in the Mehrunisa Khosa series. The first part, The Taj Conspiracy, was critically acclaimed. Unfortunately I didn’t review it or read it but yes, they were pretty good (from what I could gather from the opinion of the people whom I know who have read it). The basic story is that Manreet creates an interesting character who is an art and history expert who ends up helping Indian intelligence agencies crack codes which are based on historic puzzles or facts.
The Hunt For Kohinoor revolves around an impending terrorist attack in India within a timeline of 96 hours. Mehrunisa is reconciled with her long lost, assumed dead father Harry Khosa aka The Snow Leopard, a legendary spy in the Indo-Af-Pak region. The plans are hidden away and are addressed as the Kohinoor as Mehr struggles to search for it and find it.
I won’t give away the plot though I’ll tell you the small little things whose presence or lack thereof disappointed me slightly. The narration, although vivid, sounds bland and forced. To put it in other words, for a thriller-suspense based on a deadline of 96 hours, I could not experience the urgency or the building tempo in the book. 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.
To sum it up, yes there are some narration issues with the book, but overall, it’s a decent read. From what I have heard, narration is Manreet’s forte so I would definitely try and check out her other books. I would recommend this book for first time readers or people looking to foray into the world of reading or for someone who wishes for a fusion of Dan Brown, Steve Berry, Mathew Reily and the mysterious, affable subcontinent of India.
Like: Good basic plot, Brilliant mixing of fiction, myth, history and logic
Dislike:  Idealistic, Style of narration
Click here to buy from Amazon or Flipkart

The Vogue Around

This is a guest post by Shalina Abhale.She’s a fashion enthusiast from Mumbai and has written for publications like The Education Times. Also,here’s her Twitter handle @mykaleidescope (

Fashion has always been my one of my ‘Great loves’. Fashion plays the role of that power in my universe which is capacitated to elevate me above all the miseries and troubles of this oh-so ungrateful world. It has this numbing effect on my rational mind, which mind you, is quite the horror for the bank balance, but the equivalent joy for the wardrobe. For instance, say I’m upset over something . So , I try diverting my mind by glancing through the latest vogue . Voila ! There it is ! All those arguments seem so trivial now. There are much larger problems in this world than a mere misunderstanding. Look Look Look !!! Drool Drool Drool ! The much coveted , much adored, much loved – The Lady Dior bag ! How I wish I could come into an inheritance from some 98 year old great-uncle who has been kind enough to leave me with a fortune! How I wish I could get my hands onto some magic lamp with a genie who’d get me that Dior bag in a jify. How I wish I could be the editor in chief of Vogue , the next Amy Vintour! How I wish………. Do you see the magic a a Dior bag or, pair of Luboutins can work ? Yes, this is precisely how fashion comes to the rescue .

‘Coco Avant Chanel’ – One of those movies where English subtitles seem so redundant. Having watched the movie a little more than 6 times, Coco Chanel’s biography reinforces my faith in humanity! How else would a chanteuse go on to become one of the greatest fashion designers, this world has ever seen? Maybe it was her talent; maybe her quick wit; maybe her simplicity; maybe it was everything – I could never figure it out. Coco Chanel’s greatest contribution to the world of fashion happened in an unusual, a rather tantalizing style – Madame Chanel was repulsed by the garish, extravagant gowns, women wore back then. So, she decided to go against the tide. Imagine a high society party with a champagne fountain and ice sculptures, where women are dressed in feathers hats and layered gowns and silk gloves, and then, imagine a bold Coco Chanel taking everyone by storm in a sharply cut, well designed black dress. And thus, came into existence the iconic ‘Little Black Dress’, or as we know it -the ‘LBD’. One of the most potent components of the LBD was it’s color. Yes, Black – the color of mourning, the color of darkness and despair , had now become the color of chic and style.The LBD was a revelation in itself-it was simple, stylish and, stunningly sensuous. It was a wake-up call for all the designers of the 20th Century, whose designs were along along the lines of , ‘the more, the better’. It was a revolt of sorts , a revolt against society’s kitschy idea of beauty.

So, today you have Dolce& Gabanna sprucing up the LBD with a tinge of neon , and there are have Falguni and Shane ‘spiking’ it up in a very goth-meets-punk way , and then, there is Christian Dior’s charming rendition of the same. It is mystical how one woman’s dress has become the world’s sketch board. However, there will be only one Coco Chanel and only one classic ‘ TheLittle Black Dress’. It would be ignorant to say that the LBD was a fashion statement – The LBD was a revolution in the world of fashion; it was one of those heirloom pieces your grandmother presents to you one fine day, one of those pieces which will last an eternity.

Unlike the delightful LBD,which no sane person can go wrong with, there is one concept that very few people seem to get right – The infamous Colour Blocking. Personally, I fear color blocking. I love the concept of color blocking – the fact that a hot pink satchel can break the monotony of an LBD- but when you go wrong with color-blocking it goes beyond the label of a fashion Faux Pas. One becomes a walking , talking fashion disaster! Although, one of the most expressive styles till date , color blocking has been imbibed in a very half-baked manner.A popular notion : Colour blocking is about teaming two contrasting colors together and, watching them work their magic. No! That is just preposterous.Colour blocking is a state of mind – it acts as a facade , provided you play it right. Otherwise, it is just a classic case of colour-gone-mad! Just recently , I was an appalled witness to a rather shocking case of color blocking gone wrong – Zebra print and neon orange. Breathe Breathe breathe…Oh hell, I’d rather not exist at all!

I was terribly disturbed when I looked up ‘fashion’ in the dictionary and, found this – ‘a popular trend, esp. in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior’. Fashion is more than a ‘popular trend’ . Fashion is refuge,confidante, a mirror; it is almost an emotion in itself. It opens one up to the various avenues of this one-dimensional world. It is quite the joy, actually!

‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.Fashion is in the sky in the street,Fashion has to do with ideas,the way we live , what is happening.’

P.S : Congratulations ‘The Standing Coin’ , Siddharth Gupta’s beloved brainchild ! 😀 Javascript Disabled

Karma: Does It Work?

Karma is one of the paradoxes of our society. Although being a flawed concept that is thrust down our throats on religious basis, it is a superb concept which magically works to ensure the balance of humanity. Tracing its origins takes us back to nearly 3000 years back in history( Take a moment to savour this; It’s easy to say 3000 years ago something but something totally all together different to appreciate the actual significance). The Aryans were comfortably settled in the northern plains of India and it was then, when the concept of Karma was born. Who knew a simple idea would mould into a way of life for millions? Actually, I believe it just works on the seeding of fear.
The small but deep fear within us which is embedded into our conscience enables us to direct our lives on the simple basis of “do good, feel good, and reap good”. How many of us live out our entire lifetime thinking, “a good deed now will be a blessing for the future”? Even though it appears as a religious brain washing system (to which all atheists and agnostics will agree), a simplistic explanation and a much more viable one too is to accept the concept as an idea propagated for the betterment of the society.  Think about this: The Aryans conducted a rudimentary form of what we today call “A Social Experiment”. If I correctly remember, The Immortals of Meluha by  Amish Tripathi expounds a similar concept. “If everyone righteously carries out their own duties selflessly, automatically law and order will be maintained in the nation state”. Seeing the effects today, we can accurately say that their notion was successful. With people tattooing the word itself onto their bare skin or drinking the mantra with their morning tea, the delightfully acceptable concept has taken the globe with a rage and is definitely become important in today’s War infested world where a brother hunts a brother, father kills his family and nothing humane remains (I know it sounds clichéd but kya karen it’s an accurate description). Some religious authorities might claim that “Karma is a Hindu concept” or “It was expounded by Buddha, he is not our God”. May I ask all of them; didn’t Jesus preach that performing good deeds reaps good fruits? Didn’t the great Muhammad ibn Abdullah say the same? (One of the fundamental pillars of Islam, Zakāt or donation of alms to the poor is a thinly veiled reincarnation of the same). At the end of the day, whatever you do, whatever you may be or whatever is your religious status on your Facebook, We all have been truly thought about Karma and have been trained into observing it in our lives.

At the cost of being called selfish, I say that Karma brings to our society what we call “peace and harmony”. Thus I end by modifying a popular pop culture track, “Because Karma is a bitch” to “We are humane, because Karma is a bitch!”

Here are some images which will definitely help! Javascript Disabled