Friday, March 22, 2013

Book review - "Talespin" by Sanjay Chopra

"Talespin" is a wonderful book of short stories by author Sanjay Chopra. 

Most stories aren't of the twist-in-the-tale variety but they rather engage well with the reader on the basis of narration. This in no way takes away from the fact that the stories are a compelling read. Take "Turache?", the first story in the book, for instance. Describing a fictional account of the meeting between a young Alexander and King Darius III in 331 B.C., the story nicely sets up the kind of good narration one can expect from the rest of the book. It's the story of a powerful personality and the words are able to convey the force of the mighty Greek emperor.

The war-stories are never too far away, case in point being "Men of the Horse" and "Awake", but the one which impressed me the most was "Bata shoes" (as unlikely a title as any for a war story). I loved how the author was able to capture the emotions of pride and nostalgia a son felt to a place which he was only connected to by memories of his father. More than a 'war' story, I'd like to label this one a 'father-son' story, although the theme of patriotism too does come in.

Right towards the end come three relatively dark, but extremely interesting stories. I loved the compactness of "The Contractor" and "Betrayal" was eerie. But my most favourite of this trio has to be "A Sound Idea". It kept me guessing as to what the outcome of the story would be. I loved the macabre ending. Spine-chilling, is the word.

The most heart-tugging story, however, has been kept for the last. For an extremely short story, "The Day Tina Was Born" will at least bring a lump to your throat, if not a tear to your eye. This story is pure emotion.

It was great fun reading "Talespin" and I must thank 'The Sunday Book Club' (#TSBC) and the author for the book give-away. I wish Sanjay all the best for his future endeavours and look forward to reading his next book.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The mother of all nightmares

I woke up today morning to the mother of all nightmares. 

I was back in school attending the economics class! I have always had this love-hate relationship with economics as a subject: I loved to read and understand the concepts but for some odd reason, I could never express these ideas on paper in the exams. Still trying to guess where the hate part came from?

But was this the end of the nightmare? Oh no, sir. Not yet. We are just one-third down the road.

Next, while the class was in session, who do I see standing outside the classroom requesting the teacher that M/s. Shekhar be allowed out for a chat? My boss from the previous organization under whom I learnt the ropes of sales in a market as awesome ("Sheldon, here is where I hold up the sarcasm card") as Calcutta.  Sales was one of the things I dreaded most when I stepped out of B-school and it made me change myself to someone who I wasn't then (an experience which, by the way, I eventually am thankful for.)

However, moving on with the dream. Now, since we had no place to sit and discuss the monthly sales numbers, my boss and I went to another class room which was being used by guess who? Well, horror of horrors, no less than a finance professor from my MBA college, who was at that very moment checking exam papers! Finance was one thing which I till date don't know why I opted for as my minors in MBA. Let's be honest: I sucked at it. Although I enjoyed logical stuff, and remember preparing balance sheets and profit and loss statements with proficiency, some of the stuff on markets just seemed to whizz right past my ears. No surprise then at the fear of the subject.

Thankfully, I managed to realise somewhere around here that I was dreaming and that I should wake up.

Even after all this, I don’t know how I managed to wake up with a grin and go, “Well, how’s that for a start to the new year?”

Since then, Motee and Mishtha have both tried to assure me that this dream basically means my worst fears are behind me now. (Love you, ladies!)

Here's wishing a Happy New Year to myself and to you, dear reader. Have a smashing 2013. Cheers!