Post image for Book Review: Destiny of Shattered Dreams by Nilesh Rathod
Writer: Nilesh Rathod
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year: 2016
ISBN: 9788129139757
Rating: ★★★☆☆
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Destiny of Shattered Dreams, Nilesh Rathod’s maiden venture as an author seems like it has been commissioned by Karan Johar because he is running out of scripts. The story of Mr.Atul Malhotra (eagle eyed, handsome corporate honcho) has a good flow. The politico-corporate nexus he finds himself terribly entrenched in gets quite titillating towards the end. Buy Destiny of Shattered Dreams here

Alas! Things aren’t good throughout. There is an eerie similarity between the protagonist of the book & Leonardo DiCaprio of Wolf of Wall Street. The rise, the unscrupulous operations and the redemption follows the plot of the movie a little too closely for comfort.

The Story

Atul Malhotra will stop at nothing to further his ambition and his company’s name. TTL’s is the brainchild of Atul & three of his colleagues who trustingly support all his ways to expand the business. Atul’s ways include, taking the author’s analogy, “Jumping in the deep sea and shaking hands with the devil”. TTL is subsequently embroiled in multiple fraud allegations, extrication from which requires him to use out-of-the-box ways. The story mainly comprises of Atul’s rise and falls and complications in his personal life, as one tragedy after the other befalls him.

The Characters

The leading lady changes once, when Atul’s feelings swing towards another woman. Apart from Atul, no character is well developed. We know about his decisions, his mysterious philosophical mumblings, his grey personality. What we dont know is the reactions of any of the other characters or the reasons for arbitrary decisions taken by them. His girlfriend, who seems quite sensible towards the beginning, changes as his fortune’s change, which would have worked better if her character had been fleshed out better. Atul’s personality has a deliberate shade of grey, which seems to be inculcated so that the readers can accept his (many) wrongdoings to get to the pinnacle of success. The whole thing seems a bit forced.

The Verdict

All in all, Destiny of Shattered Dreams is a one time read, which may not stand out in the panoply of business/thriller/fiction books that are flooding the market. Buy Destiny of Shattered Dreams at the best price here

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Post image for Book Review: Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett
Writer: Jim Corbett
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Year: 2016
ISBN: 9788129140364
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Man-Eaters of Kumaon is a book about wildlife and the human-animal conflict more than a century ago, when the scales were less heavily tipped in favour of mankind. If you, dear reader, are likely to feel horrified at the thought of the beautiful big cats shot by Corbett – who later became one of the first animal conservationists in India – then refrain from further reading. But if you can keep a sense of time and place while reading about his exploits, Jim Corbett will leave you enthralled. Buy Man-Eaters of Kumaon here.

What’s the book about?

Each account of Corbett’s is about his quest to stalk and then kill a man-eater – a rogue animal that had, for some very good reason (as the author is at pains to explain each time) started hunting and eating the hill folk in Garhwal and Kumaon. A hundred years ago, the Himalayan foothills were an inaccessible place with few hospitals, thatched houses, and no electricity. When a man-eating tiger or leopard began terrorising the countryside, there was little the inhabitants could do except sleep in fear, stop going out (at night if it was a leopard, during day if it was a tiger) and pray that some sportsman would consider it worth his while to risk his life to rid them of the ‘shaitan’ tormenting them.

What did I like?

The accounts are spirited and have more than a touch of ‘British stiff upper lip’ about them. Several times, Corbett candidly admits to being scared while stalking the man-eater all alone, on foot as was invariably his custom. His admiration for the hardiness and courage of hill-folk comes through in several stories (in fact, the dedication in one of his books, Jungle Lore, says, “It is of these people, who are admittedly poor, and who are often described as ‘India’s starving millions’, among whom I have lived and whom I love, that I shall endeavor to tell in the pages of this book, which I humbly dedicate to my friends, the poor of India.”)

Corbett is also in love with the animals he had to kill – a contradiction in terms. The descriptions of the cats, each with a unique personality, habits and reasons for turning to man-eating, are written fondly and with great attention to detail. Only a human being who has lived in close proximity to, and regularly had to match wits against , a tiger or leopard can truly describe what the animal is really like. He describes some of them as having a wicked sense of humour, others of being annoyed with him, another of being being just plain lucky in his repeated escapes, but one and all of being magnificent, dignified and worthy adversaries.

What I didn’t like

The proofreading could have been better; the edition seems to have been got out in a hurry, with multiple careless grammatical errors. Even the introduction of Jim Corbett on the first page seems to have been copied almost word for word from the Wikipedia entry.

The Verdict

Go for this book, definitely, if you enjoy true stories of courage and tenacity, not to mention the feeling of being up close and personal with the most dangerous and beautiful beasts of the wild who are so fast disappearing from our jungles. Buy Man-Eaters of Kumaon here. You might also enjoy the companion volumes, The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag and The Temple Tiger. Or you could get the Jim Corbett Omnibus which has them all.

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Book review: Shashi Kapoor : The Householder, The Star by Aseem Chhabra

June 9, 2016
Thumbnail image for Book review: Shashi Kapoor : The Householder, The Star by Aseem Chhabra

Shashi Kapoor: The Householder, The Star is a biography of the gentleman actor of Indian cinema, the voice of one of the most iconic lines ever spoken:”Mere pass Maa hain.”

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Book Review: I, the Salt Doll by Vandana Mishra, Translated by Jerry Pinto

June 6, 2016
Thumbnail image for Book Review: I, the Salt Doll by Vandana Mishra, Translated by Jerry Pinto

I, the Salt Doll is a memoir by Vandana Mishra, born in 1930s Mumbai, who lived in the city all her life, first as a schoolgirl in Girgaon, then as a theatre actress, then a homemaker and mother, and then once again as a theatre star. Translated by Jerry Pinto.

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Book Review: Exploring India: Kings and Queens by Subhadra Sen Gupta

May 27, 2016
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Four Kings and Queens of India have their lives told in an engaging manner that is sure to appeal to kids who are just starting to appreciate history.

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It’s Ruskin Bond’s birthday today – Happy Birthday, Mr.Bond!

May 19, 2016

Think misty mountains. Think gentle small hillside towns. Think goats with tinkling bells around their necks. Think a delicious hint of danger from the natural world – leopards, for instance, after dark, or a ghostly figure half-glimpsed at dusk. Think Ruskin Bond, the grandfather that every Indian kid adopted as their very own. And guess […]

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Book Review: Are these really “The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told”?

May 13, 2016
Thumbnail image for Book Review: Are these really “The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told”?

The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told contains 21 short stories spanning more than a century of Bengali fiction. Whether these are the ‘greatest Bengali stories ever’, however, is a question with no easy answer.

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Book Excerpt: The Wedding Photographer by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal

May 6, 2016
the wedding photographer sakshama puri dhariwal

In The Wedding Photographer by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal, when wedding photographer Risha Kohli sits next to handsome young tycoon Arjun Khanna on a flight, sparks fly. Buy this smart, sassy, sexy novel here. Hour 3 Risha plugged her memory card into her laptop, grumbling to herself. Nidhi called this her ‘post-partum depression phase’, sifting through […]

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“The Man Who Knew Infinity” book review: Before the movie, read this.

April 25, 2016
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Go watch the movie The Man Who Knew Infinity if you must – it’s sure to be at least as entertaining as The Imitation Game or A Beautiful Mind. But do read the book – you won’t regret it, and it’s likely to stay with you long after the popcorn is over.

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Book Review: Ashwin Sanghi’s The Sialkot Saga is like an Ice Cream Cone in Summer

April 15, 2016
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The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi is very much like the Amul ice-cream cone most of us love. We relish the flavoured ice cream on the top. But what we really want is to get to the solid chocolatey bottom. Does The Sialkot Saga deliver?

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