Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'The 3 Mistakes of My Life'

I heard and vaguely read a lot about Chetan Bhagat some time back when he was emerging as a writer on Indian horizon but simultaneously I kept ignoring those tv clips and news articles as I feel that our media always overreact and get horribly obsessed with any such issues where any Indian effort gets even a little foreigner attention. I am not saying proudly that I admire this habit of mine but I honestly feel that way. And cause of such nasty habit of being prejudice, many times I do miss enjoying some good things. Only cause of this habit till now I haven't seen 'Slumdog Millionaire' (that's another point that right now I am reading another novel 'Six Suspects' by Vikas Swarup, the same author of original novel 'Q & A' of Slumdog Millionaire) even after approvals of some friends. Anyway, we were talking of Chetan Bhagat, and few days ago I saw his novel 'The 3 Mistakes of My Life' in a shelf of the 'latest books' rack of my beloved 'Municipal Library' and got it issued.

I must admit here, though I got a fair idea from prologue that 'Gujarat' is going to be discussed in the novel, the prologue of book was so interesting that I could not help myself finishing the book ASAP even against the periodically repeated stern stares of sleepy eyes of my wife which used to start exactly one hour after each midnight. (If looks could kill - I better get a reading lamp now). Whenever the word 'Gujarat' came in front of my eyes or hits my ears, my both eyebrows shake hands together, my lip line dips downward and a sound of 'chuch chuch' comes out of my mouth automatically. In these seven years, I have gone really sick of these riots. Thanks to our secular media who is not letting this terrible happenings fade off as easily as countless other riots in the history of independent India have died and buried without much fuss.

Now thankfully, this story is not only about riots but also of friendship, passion, business, love and Cricket. And all these five (or six if to add riot) elements are essential ingredients of any average Indian life. Govind, Omi and Ish are best friends who dream like common Indian youths and try to convert those dreams into reality when different events keep changing their lives in different aspects. The main character is Govind who is narrating the story and about the mistakes he made in his life. The momentum of story never halts throughout the novel. As in the last pages riots took over, I am thankful to Chetan that he has not tried to be a preacher about riots even then just like every writer I felt him being storyteller of single side of the coin. The mixture of reality and fiction has made this novel worth reading. The end of the novel reminds me of the end of 'Dil Chahta Hai'.

The result of this novel? I am gonna try the other two (or three may be) books by Chetan Bhagat.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

'The Faithful Spy'

'The Faithful Spy' is the debut novel by Alex Berenson, a correspondent by profession. The plot is beautiful, story is holding and contents are touching.

A CIA agent John Wells has penetrated Al-Qaeda network and trying to win trust of Laden and his deputies. In efforts to win trust of higher level of Qaeda, he spend so many years with jihadis in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. During these years he genuinely converts to Islam and adopts Islamic rituals, though his mission remains intact. Being a foreigner and of a shady background Taliban didn't trust him completely and being unable to warn of 9/11 and LA bombings, his own agency got wary of him. In the last Taliban sent him to America for a huge terror plan where he is the alone person standing against the mission with both sides not trusting him. "What happens next " question never let a reader put off the book.

As terror has become a part of our life, the incidents in the novel sound so real and not fiction at all, even then Jihadi's die hard attempts to attain chemical, biological and nuclear weapons shock reader with horror waves. The plight of John Wells being a 'Non jihadi Muslim', somewhere reflects the same much debated issue within our society. The self suiting interpretation of Koran by jihadis and fueling the fire by Maulvis didn't let a madrass educated brain & heart sail away from so called Jihad. "We have plenty of fighters, what we need are scientists" a phrase by Laden's deputy in the novel reveals the map of their mentality and a clear and present danger too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Look-alike Can Kill !

If I had another person in the car, he would have heard my heartbeat without any effort. My heartbeat had taken a vertical flight all of sudden. "Was that her?" I asked none other but myself while staring the reflection in the rear view mirror of the car ahead me.

Image of the driver in mirror of the car ahead my car was very resembling to her. We were driving in the hills and there was not much traffic on the road. The very thought of the possibility of her driving front of me had risen my pulse rate. "Damn it Praney, let her be if she is her. Why you are so bothered?" I tried to agree to my inner voice and tried to calm down. But was that so easy? I was still watching her in the mirror, trying to confirm whether it was her or someone else. But constant curves and her fast driving didn't let me be sure. She was really driving bit fast. I am a cool driver and do not drive rashly but in attempt to stay close of her so I could watch her in the mirror, I accelerated a bit.

"When did she learn driving?" I was calculating all the options of her being her or someone else. "Why not ? Can't she learn driving? It's been so many years and without learning to drive a car one is burden these days." I was arguing within myself. "But what the hell you think are you doing you fool" the inner of myself jerked me strongly. "She dumped you years back and you foolish still fighting for her little glimpse? What difference would that make if that is her or someone else. Let her go to hell damn it" I totally stand by what half of my heart was shouting. I thought of slowing down to my normal speed. But the other half was doing his job silently "Just a look and we shall leave to our directions. What's the harm?"

The lady driving front car was quite like her. She was wearing spectacles like her. Her hair were short like her (as she had in those good times). And the town ahead was her parental town. An elderly lady was sitting besides her on the front passenger seat who could be her mother or mother in law may be. There were strong possibilities of her being her. "Did she see me too?" I was thinking cause I saw her watching me back in mirror. "She did not see you when she should have and when you needed her most, what are you expecting from her now. Don't be a sentimental ass---- and be a man. Let her layoff. Why can't you erase her from your mind even after so many years?" "Fourteen years" I tried to be exact to my self. My half heart was right. In these long fourteen years for countless times I had cursed her in those sleepless nights for what she did to me and then the same time regretted my own words for her. Since then I have managed to put a brave face in front of all. I haven't seen her for over fourteen years. She was enjoying her life (I hope) and I have grown above it too (I hope). I thought I had erased her off my mind and soul. Then why her thoughts still got the power to thrill me or to haunt me if to be specific ? What made me so vulnerable and herself so permanent ? I do not know how many kilometers I drove sailing in these thoughts. That car had sped away since long. I sighed and felt pathetic simultaneously. "Come on buddy, she is gone for good and you should get over it, live your life and throw her thoughts in the waste bin once for all." My mind told me like always. I agreed like always and turned the volume high of car radio.

My breath leaped at the next turn. That car was stopped at a gas station and the driver was stepping out. My all the vows vanished in the air and I was watching her with my jaw dropped. And all sudden everything changed dramatically. She was not her. I drove past them smoothly and my mind was laughing at me. "What the hell man. what a drama it was." Both halves of my heart were silent now. No one knew what to say. I wish car FM was playing "I'll get over you" from Pretty Woman.