Google+ Consumer Psyche: October 2012


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Epic of Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Ramayana

Found an interesting article.. leadership lessons from the yore...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Understanding art

We all know Aelita is a child prodigy and has unfathomable talent! Here is a video for you to grasp how children from now will be!

Imagine what no baggage, no fear, no limiting expectations can do! Here is to creativity and passion and improving!

Here I am to worship!

Book Review: Carte Blanche

For someone who grew up on volumes of Ian Flemming and someone who appreciated the slow seeping tension while Bond comes out with impossible situations and emerge a winner; For someone who watched Golden Eye, Tomorrow Never Dies and all the newer Bond movies several times and loved them; For someone who then watched Sean Connery and other battery of bonds relive the legend, I have a fairly good idea of how you would want a Bond should look like, act like, run like, think like and shoot like.

Carte Blanche sets the tone for a new Bond series to get a reboot; a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and former smoker. Everything you would expect in a Bond novel/movie is still here; the cars (a Bentley Continental GT and even a Subaru Impreza WRX) the girls (so many of them), the gadgets (including a custom iphone called a qiphone) and of course the over-the-top action.

Even some of the common friends of Bond make an appearance in this book, including; M, Moneypenny and Felix Leiter. The characters, while slightly updated for the contemporary setting, are almost Fleming'ish gave us, especially Bond himself and M (unfortunately back to the original male version and I am glad that the movie has Judi Dench). This does become something of a cliché though in the first half of the book, where I found myself wondering which classic character would show up next rather than focussing on the plot. I was super impressed by Deaver’s plot which stands realistic to the Bond theme and is not drawn and influenced by the new age publicity. Carte Blanche moves at the perfect pace to hook the reader while remaining true to the attention to detail of Fleming’s prose.

After a hair-raising opening sequence in Serbia featuring car chase, shoot-out and the near-derailment of a train carrying lethal chemicals, Bond's main mission is to prevent a massive terrorist atrocity. The only clue is an intercept promising thousands of deaths on the night of Friday 20th, with British interests adversely affected. Bond has only five days to determine the nature of the threat, identify its main players and stop them, while dodging unknown assailants who want him dead and the usual buffoonery of chinless incompetents within the British security services, sticklers for procedure who oblige him to interpret Carte Blanche in his own way.

Bond finds himself pitted against the murky Severan Hydt, magnate of a global empire of refuse collection and recycling – a nicely topical metaphor. Hydt is a particularly Deaveresque villain, a man whose macabre fascination with death and decay verges on pornographic. With the help of his old friends Felix Leiter and René Mathis, Bond follows Hydt's trail from the Balkans to Dubai to South Africa. How he closes the case and ends up with the women he loves is the plot.

The plot promises intensified fights, chasing sequences, fighting bad guys, having fun and chasing his own devils about his life. Deaver does a long dwindling chase with massive disturbances promising to eat up the land.

I loved the book and my rating might be colored by my love for Flemming's hero but I guess there can be an exception! 

Rating: 4/5.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review: Cut Like Wound

Isn't it textbook for a police officer to solve a case when he is suspended? Isn't it true that children end up doing what you tell them not to do? Isn't it funny that you have all the films of a police officer who is rogue, cares little about the rules, ignores his superiors and has a devoted family or has a problem at home? Isn't it text book to have a villain who is mysterious, powerful and cunning that you cannot find out who he is when he is standing right next to you? Well, take all these regular recipes and try to cook something new or you have an option to create a similar recipe but make it into a pleasing familiar dish that takes you to a nice place.

Anita Nair is a wonderful writer. In fact, hers would be one of my first choices for a weekend with a book, coffee and chips. I love the way she can bring out words and play with emotions easily out of the unknown. Her understanding of the human psyche, especially women psyche, is beautiful. Here in "Cut Like Wound" she comes out with a familiar story without delving in to what she can actually do. "Introducing Borei Gowda" comes as an early warning and sets out the course clear in this story. May be I should have known...

Anita Nair’s Inspector Borei Gowda, “soft in the middle, blurred at the edges” who knocks back shots of Old Monk, lovingly tends to his Bullet, and is blessed with superior deduction skills, that superpower of every hero detective from Poirot to Dalgliesh, is an anomaly in the Bengaluru police force and therefore a perfect protagonist.  Borei Gowda is a middle aged father, husband who fails on both parts, at least on what he feels she should be doing for them and is a old football-you-bought-and-used-for-a week in the police department. Known for his keen ability to excel and propel himself into the strongest and unclear situations and is ruthless Dabang attitude, Borei forms what you look for in a middle aged hero contemplating a divorce while wooing his high school sweetheart who is rich but conveniently divorced.

The plot is simple and tight. First a dead body appears of out no where. And sometime later another. Soon there are bodies every Friday night. All of them seem to be linked but there is no common link. Only Borei seems to have a link established between them and chases the ghosts of his own imagination while fighting with the system , authority, drug dealers, a powerful corporator, and himself. I like the way he personifies his bike and draws immense pleasure from simple situations that usually are the solace of a tired lonely soul. Nair's characterization runs with Borei and captures him in many angles and she has done a wonderful job of keeping the story simply attractive and with in a short span of 38 days. The rest of the story is about how Borei and his team finds out the mysterious murders and brings them to justice.

What Anita has managed to do in the book is to explain the realities of the shady areas in any town and how people are so madly driven by the experiences they have in their childhood and every day. "Cut Like Wound" also tries to look at the changing phenomena of the acceptance of transgenders and the reality. I am thrilled with the way she explains the streets of the city in Shivaji Nagar which can be in your city as well and places where you cannot go or are usually advised to keep out. Cut Like Wound takes you there and beyond while keeping the hair on your neck raised, every moment of the way. There is more to come in the next adventure of Borei...

I have an author-signed-copy thanks to flipkart :)

Rating: 2.5/5

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review: The Shadow Throne

How would you feel if you suddenly got up and find out you are back in time? How would you feel all the movies you have in bollywood are time-themed? That's how I feel when I see the literature available today. How wonderful is tha to a history lover! Aroon Raman brings out a hot thriller that matches Ek Tha Tiger and probably Jab Thak Hai Jaan and a couple of other romantic crime thrillers. Ok minus the romance but then this is a men's movie with a woman cracking the case.

Chandra is a journo who is recovering from the death of his wife to cancer. He is entangled by Hassan, mostly willingly falls for a scoop of a story. He has to know more for himself than the the news article that would come from the plot. What starts with a murder of a flat-skulled giant thrown from the top of Qutub minar ends up in a chase from the caves of Afghanistan to the Pak- India border. What happens in between is like any other old thriller, only here we have a nuclear disaster to avert. But am surprised that I could finish a 300+ page book in two days flat.

Let's analyze the characters a bit without giving away the suspense of the book. Chandra is a unwilling crime seeker with a penchant for mysteries and a freelancer. His wife's friend Meenu plays an excellent teacher or professor who could come up with a choice solution to a riddle Tom Hanks could only dream of solving because she is a history professor! But I love the concept of RAW and ISI working together to solve the sovereignty of two states. Chandra exhibits a rare love for History and travel and is taken on a roller-coaster tide to unveil a nerve wringing thriller and as always he is cool as a cucumber because he is taking notes in his brain all the time.

Hassan, on the other hand, is a double agent trying to figure out what it right to do! Let us put it this way till you read the book. Hassan is trained and is mechanical when he is executing what his bosses want him to be doing and even otherwise. What we come to know is a multifaceted character with a single mean goal. Hassan also plays a good Salman Khan in the book and ends up mashed, tattered and tortured. What else can you get through when you have nothing to lose!

The other characters in the movie are the agents who play smart and cool. What I liked about them is that the book refers to them by names and designations that needn't be remembered as they have helped execute a plot so supreme that they are not significant in the story. What is measured as an outcome is a prophesy that makes the whole attention go on with a could of million lives at stake. Aroon takes it to his best of skills here when he brings the massive villain with a cult following and how he is remarkably versatile with the ways of the world and psychologically plays with everyone.

As I always believe, the greater the villain, the better the plot and the chance for the hero's redemption. I also love the fact that there are no artificial love scenes in the book and is very practically written. Aroon deserves a pat on his shoulder for what he has come up with but there are point which could improve the story. For example how can someone finish off so many things and slip out to Afghanistan so easily from India? A touch of Uncle Sam's troops and an agenda to include them would have helped. A slice of brotherhood in India and Tibet or China would have helped too.

What I would have done to end it in a perfect note would be to have an attempt on Hassan's life and a letter in Chandra's home stating that the Shadow throne still is on and you better watch out! I feel the book ended... how do I put it... too easily.

Rating: 2.5/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!