Reviews


I’m not that well into reading novels. But that doesnt mean that i havent read any novels. Thanks to the (in)famous Hosur Road for igniting the reading talent in me. Though i have read only a handful of novels, this novel is worth commenting and appreciating.

Its simply – WOW !!!

Christopher Paolini’s Eragon(ISBN 0-375-82668-8) and Saphira are the new heros of the block. Scintillating and magical, i have never been glued to a book for so long that i finished it in record time. Its 4 weeks and that is a personal best for me ;) . Even my friends were amazed that i finished the novel so fast, not to mention i’m still stuck up at the 200th page of Bourne Identity for the past say 5 months. That novel is going no where.

Paolini has already come out with the 2nd book of the ‘Inheritance Trilogy‘(as it is called) Eldest(ISBN 0-375-82670-X) and its already a runaway success.

Its a must have book in your shelf if u loved Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein.

I happened to see the movie Eragon(The Movie), but i would suggest not to go for it. Its no way near even the tail piece of the novel. Though Saphira has been elegantly portrayed in the movie. That gave me a better picture of her.

So just read the novel, enjoy and Let your Swords Stay Sharp.

Atra esterní ono thelduin (May good fortune rule over you)

Fone MineFone Mine offers free calls to everyone in the world. All you got to do is register with this website, add a friend, let your friend know that you will be calling him using this service and he and you have to wait for the first 1 minute or so (after you dial) to hear some advertisements and then talk for 15 minutes. Hang up and call again and talk again for 15 minutes and it can go on like this.

FoneMine is a pure data service so will not use your voice minutes. FoneMine has quick links within the service allowing you to explicitly trigger voice calls and FoneTalk from within the FoneMine service itself as a convenience. If you use the voice call services to make any voice calls, then you would naturally use your voice minutes.

FoneMine does not charge you for the FoneTalk service. However, you will be using your local incoming voice minutes and incur any roaming charges if applicable on your mobile phone with FoneTalk.

Here’s the list of countries you can call. Keep in mind the country restriction only applies to FoneTalk.

Asia:

Australia
China
Hong Kong
India
Malaysia
Singapore
Taiwan

Europe:
Austria
Belgium
Denmark
Hungary
France
Germany
Greece
Ireland
Italy
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Russia
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom

Americas:
Argentina
Canada
Puerto Rico
USA

Ain’t that good?!!

Catch: May not be good for 911 calls. 🙂

Cross-posted here

India, cricket, World Cup, New Species, Mutiny, Defense, Treaty

Hindumommy started off the week with an aptly modified Gita , tailored to the lifestyle of the modern working individual.
She also commented on Master Blaster, a comic book series about a superhero swinging into the Indian scene and loosely based on Indian cricketeer Sachin Tendulkar.

Nita noticed that Bihar, more aware of its unusually high illiteracy rate, began using police to enforce education for the multitude of children that do not attend school in this state. Later, she wrote about the relative stability of mutual funds and their value as an investment – but warned that returns are not as high as other arenas of the stock market. She brought to our attention the sad plight of buildings neglecting to properly maintain their elevators, and discussed India’s role in a crucial security arrangement in the Asia-Pacific region.

Jo alerted us to a novel “Ahimsa” method for creating silk textiles, then turned the spotlight to Saudabi, a Kerlatile who is now an employee at global investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Angelspace showed us the heartwrenching cases of Tsunami victims selling their kidneys for daily subsistence.

PoliteIndian wrote an interesting article on the government’s insufficient compensation to residents for purchasing their land, then researched violence in Nandigram.

Cakerfare reflected on some popular Indian festivals, and reviewed books A House on the Edge of Tears and The Space between Us.
Guru examined tensions in the pharmaceutical industry and the patent sphere, then discussed the phenomenon of Brain Drain. He also mentioned the lack of bipartisanship in the Indian government.

Swetha demonstrated that beggars sometimes make a decent salary and questioned the true potential and value of an IIT/IIM graduate.

Chacko wished the Indian cricket team luck in their match up against Bangladesh.

Vishal compiled a list of favorite blogger pastimes, and noted that a new species of leopard has been discovered in Sumatra and Borneo .

Ujj wrote an insightful piece on the prevalence of fallacious resumes, and later reviewed the book Hitchhiker by Vinod George Joseph.

Jerry introduced us to future space tourist George Kulangara.

Maltesh gave us a glimpse into the Geneva Auto Show, then presented us with an environmentally friendly liquor.

Thanks for stopping by, and catch us again next week for more from the Mutiny team!

Ebenezer is a converted, slightly above average student in a missionary school, belongs to a lower middle class family with dreams of making it to an IIT, in short, he is a nobody with fairly reasonable dreams. His life is shaped by the fact that his father has converted to a member of a church which makes him ineligible to benefit from caste reservations. When the rest of the world around him receives special coaching and training for entrance exams of whatever kinds, Ebenezer self tutors himself. A typical story would gift his hard work and make him successful, in this story he ends up getting a diploma from a make shift training center. He is not the hero of the book but merely a protagonist and this is what makes Hitchhiker special. His future is blurred, not just to the readers but to Ebenezer himself. An obvious question would be then what is so great about his life that makes one want to write a book about it, the answer is, exactly that. It is a humanist story of a character who can actually exist, like I said he is no hero, he does not make difficult choices, he is not overtly loyal in fact given a chance he will get the heck out of the politics of the church. He is in love but his mixed identity becomes a problem there as well. He is a sum total of people around him and situation posed in front of him. The crises that he faces in life are hardly a result of his choices. The fact that he bears them without complaining is what makes Ebenezer interesting.

Hitchhiker is a brilliant title for the book, in fact it is ironic as Ebenezer never gets a real free ride anytime in his life! His right of hitchhiking was taken away by his father even before he was born. The story goes on with the of religious conversions, religious disharmony, cultural hegemony and language superiority as the undertones. The main story is however very simple, something that a high school kid would relate to.Vinod Joseph, the author of the book, is very observant, he notes simple expressions of children and has produced them very effectively. How a child wants to view his/her result if he/she has done well in the exams, the ability of kids to make and break plans in the matter of minutes and the broken consciousness of human beings, at one second Ebenezer is depressed and hopeless about his job and the other he is enjoying an expensive meal as a treat by his girl friend are some of the things that immediately come to my mind.

Hitchhiker is sheer enjoyment. It is not a reading exercise, it is more about exploring how simple things are note worthy and lovely to remember. Some may think it is a sad story, I for one think it is simply a typical Indian story. You do not get everything you want and that is not too bad a thing, is something I realize while reading it. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys learning more about conversions, delicate issue of reservations or just wants to read something good. Its a great read for Italian neo-realism fans too.

Vinod Joseph is a solicitor based in London. Hitchhiker is his debut novel. We at mutiny have contacted Mr Joseph and he has agreed for an interview. We will be back with him on Monday, so stay tuned. 🙂

Hitchhiker
Rs350/-; US$22.00; 406pp
ISBN: 81-8291-023-6
Authored by Vinod George Joseph

The story is told from the point of an old woman, Bhima, who works in a wealthy household as a maid. She has a granddaughter for whom she wants nothing less than extraordinary things. But, her granddaughter ends up pregnant and, in Bhima’s eyes, smashes any hopes for a bright future. Bhima has worked for Serabai for decades and is essentially part of the family – but she isn’t allowed to sit on the chairs or sip tea from the same cups as the rest of the family. The reason: She’s of a different class, and cannot taint the belongings of Serabai’s house. Serabai still treats her with respect, but it’s simply understood that Bhima cannot take liberties in the house as though it is her own. I can see how this would annoy some readers, because discrimination based on class seems and is completely absurd; however, this is often the case in India, where even though the maid eats at the house, cleans it, and sometimes even sleeps in it, there are utensils, clothes, etc reserved for her that noone else uses. Is it wrong? Yes, but it still happens. I remember when we lived in India, our maid refused to eat at the table with us even when we asked her to because she wasn’t used to doing it at other houses that she had worked at. She looked at us like we were crazy, and one time got so angry that we were asking her that she stormed out.

In any case, the story is also told in Bhima’s boss, Serabai’s voice. Serabai’s daughter, who is expecting a baby in a few months, and Viraf, a successful, “dashing” young man, both live in Serabai’s house. Serabai has been through her share of shitty times (to put it eloquently lol), and now is looking forward to her only daughter’s first child. Her past is told in alternating chapters with Bhima’s story, and it’s fascinating to see how these two women, one of them with her fancy dinner plates and another with her shabby, leaky straw hut, have been through more tears than laughs, and even though they are nothing alike, they coexist in the same household and share their worries, yielding a surprisingly therapeutic effect on each other. This novel dives into the silent struggle between classes and heart-wrenching marital predicaments. Not necessarily a thrilling read, and I wouldn’t call it a page-turner, but I really liked it. The story is not action packed, but there’s a way that Umrigar slowly unravels the details of each character’s life that makes the novel compelling.

Cross posted here 

This is a bizarre little book. It revolves around a family of four daughters and one son. The father catches the son masturbating and drags him out of the house and beats him. The neighbors all stare, their eyes glued to the dusty glass of their windows. They stare and stare and are so dumbfounded by the extreme form of punishment the boy is subjected to that they start making up stories about what the boy must have really done to deserve such a lashing. They speculate that he must have tried to rape one of his sisters, and that’s what really sparked this outrage. The mother is helpless, and is forced to restrain herself from coming to her son’s aid for fear of getting beaten herself. The story is told from the perspective of one of the sisters, who chronicles how the life of the family changes with and without her brother in the picture. I was touched at the plight of the boy as his childhood experiences haunted him into his adult life. As harrowing as the tale was, it would have been a much more satisfying read if the writing style was better. Even though the story was told in first person narrative, i was drawn in more because of the events that occurred, not because of the author’s syntax which could have used some variation.

Cross posted here

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Let’s not have any doubts about the fact that Nishabd is a bold move for Ram Gopal Verma. That’s because in Indian society, we still don’t want to talk about certain things in spite of being aware of their presence.

Nishabd tells the story of a photographer (Mr. Bachchan), his wife (Revathy), his daughter (Shraddha Arya) and her friend (Jiah Khan). During holidays Jiah visits her friend and comes to stay with her family at their quaint house in a beautiful hill station. In the process, Mr.Bachchan (Vijay in the film), falls in love with Jiah or we may say gets attracted to her, who throughout the film roams in skimpy short pants and exhibits her nice pair of legs to the audience. As we know that love can happen anytime anywhere and between any two people. In this case it happens between 60 yr old Vijay and 18 yr old Jiah. Jiah is a carefree, effervescent teenage girl who finds this 60 yr old very sexy and hard to resist.

There is obviously a sexual connotation attached to this attraction (though Mr. Bachchan claims otherwise in his numerous interviews on different News channels). But RGV the director comfortably stays away from showing anything overtly sexual; (Jiah gives a kiss on Mr. Bachchan’s cheeks only). I am disappointed here. But may be Ramu didn’t want to hurt the celebrated & much talked about Indian sensibilities! Though I must say that in spite of this self-control (on part of Ramu), there is a sexual undertone in the script and it gets manifested in the manner of ‘shot taking’ & ‘camera angles’. By the way, cinematographer Amit Roy’s craft is wonderful in the movie.

I am not going to give out the full story here, because that’s going to spoil the charm for readers who haven’t yet watched the film. The story is good, with Ramu’s directorial brilliance present in glimpses but as a whole Nishabd fails to deliver. Moreover the 2nd half of the film is bland and surely lacks the pace, which was prevalent in the 1st half. To some, even the ending may seem a little abrupt.

Performances:
Mr. Bachchan is brilliant and is surely the saving grace of the film. Only he could have depicted this role with such sobriety. Kudos to Mr.Bachchan, for being a part of this bold (by Indian standards) venture. And he delivers his job with unmatched composure and aplomb. If only he had the chance or opportunity of doing such varied roles in his younger days!

Jiah Khan is beautiful, sexy, and attractive.She does a fine job in her debut. She gives quite a mature performance, being just 18/19 years of age.
Revathy as usual is excellent and naturally beautiful, while Shraddha Arya is a talent to watch.

In conclusion, I would say that Nishabd is good in bits n parts but as a whole the movie fails to deliver. A niche audience will appreciate it, only (in multiplexes).
But RGV should be complemented for showing the courage to break away from the inconsequential candy floss style of film making, yet again. In the same breath I would say that he could have done a better job, we all know that he has the talent required. I give Nishabd 3 Stars out of 5.

[Cross posted here]

[Image sourced through Google image]

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