Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My brush with nature's fury!

From yesterday evening to half of last night, I spent most of my time in front of the television, trying to fathom how badly the east-coast of the US is getting affected by Hurricane Sandy. Locating friends and family scattered over NJ, NYC and DC, confirming they are fine and then calling it a day; it was hectic on the mind.

Today, Chennai and neighbouring areas are about to face Cyclone Nilim. On twitter, people living in affected/to-be-affected areas are recounting horror stories of now, and of the Tsunami. 

Somewhere it reminded me of the 2005 Mumbai deluge. It was the closest I have been to a natural disaster and it's still left me scared to the bones. Even imagining the psyche of the people affected by Sandy and Nilim, is unnerving for me.

I have moved to Bombay (yes please) a year before the deluge and was pretty comfortable with the city. My office was in Malad (Mindspace), I think that day I was in Prism Towers, on a 9-5 shift with Manish's team. Home was in Goregaon, but those days I would go to my cousin's place at Andheri.

Work kept me busy all day, and I remember, I hardly spoke to anyone, I was so swamped! Around 5, I saw some people come in to the floor with their mackintosh. I looked up to the glass walls of the window, and saw the view was hazed by water droplets. Oh ok, it's raining. I'll borrow an umbrella from someone.

Once I was done with work, I wrapped up, shut down the system and got up to go. All this while, I was monitoring calls, so had my head phones on. I had absolutely no clue about the conversations going on around me. As I was about to leave, J said, "Where do you think you are going?" with concern written all over his face. "Why, home!" I said. "You can't, there is water everywhere," he said and took me to stand by the nearest glass wall.

I looked down and I couldn't see any roads. There was water everywhere. A million thoughts went through my impulsive, impatient mind, which he read. 

"Networks are jamming up, call everyone you need to and tell them you will be in office until it's safe to go home," he said sternly, and walked off before I could revolt.

I looked around and tried to decipher the situation. There were more people on the floor than there should be. The call-taking sections were overcrowded, as they work in 24-hour shifts and people from the previous shifts were stuck while those from the next shift had reached work early, anticipating water-logging.

Yes, we were still talking about water-logging, no one could even dream there would be a deluge. I called Maa in Nagpur, told her, gave her a few other numbers she can reach in case she couldn't reach me. Called cousin. His office was 5 minutes by walk from his home, in Andheri (E), but he was stuck in traffic and couldn't yet abandon his car to walk home. He asked me to stay put and if things get better, he'l come pick me up from work.

I went back to my desk, my entire team had gathered around. They were all locals, and many of them couldn't trace their family members. The fear in their faces was scary, I remember saying a silent prayer that my family was safe and dry in another city, far away.

That night, I saw life face-to-face. And learnt a lot about humanity. And it's because of that night, I will have very high regards for Bombay and it's people.

Time went by real quick after that. The call taking teams were trying to cope. People from the day shifts were tired and hungry. Food and drink reserves from canteens in every floor were fast dwindling, water tanks were getting empty. All the towers were packed beyond normal capacity of work force. People who were on work-offs, but lived nearby, came over anticipating less workforce. And to make things worse, there was an outage in the UK, and more support staff was required. Managers started doubling as chai walas, people were fed and we, the non-call taking staffs gave up our systems. Pillows, cushions and blankets were brought in from the numerous relax-rooms, and given to whoever looked slightly tired. No one behaved selfishly, these articles were continuously passed over to everyone, to derive some comfort from. 

Food supply was dwindling, chai was shared, as was the food. Conference rooms were emptied. Those like us, the support staff, who had nothing to do, went to while away times there. Soon it was midnight. No one was sleepy. Many had not been able to contact family members, even then. One girl's mother was stuck at Andheri station, alone. 

By midnight, the rain had lessened and then stopped. But, there was no electricity. The towers were running on backup, and to ensure the backup ran well till the next morning, lights were dimmed. In an office where electricity was wasted in abundance, we were conserving. One meeting room which had 12 lights, would have only one light on. Central ACs would be switched off from time to time, to ensure we didn't run out of power back up. Look anywhere, there was a feeling of oneness. Not a single person was cribbing at the inconvenience. 

By 5 am, we could see the havoc outside. Animals, furniture, and things unimaginable were floating around. Water cleared by 7 am and we tried to venture out. It was decided that we'l go to the nearest house possible and freshen up and bit, assess the situation and then go home. We walked out of Mindspace and landed straight in ankle deep water. No warning, suddenly. Two Sumo(s) were passing by, we noticed they were our organisation's vehicles. We asked the drivers to drop us which they agreed to. 500 meters down, and about a kilometre from my colleague's house, we got stuck in tyre-height water with traffic everywhere. In front of us were cars that were abandoned at night. Behind us, were people trying to get home. We got down, and decided to walk home, it's just a kilometre away.

There was muddy water everywhere and we had no clue what our next step would be on. From ankle deep water, we had reached waist deep water. There were cars everywhere, most empty. A few had people inside - dead. Suffocated to death. We were holding hands and walking, lest one slips, the other can hold. Phones and wallets were also held in hands, high above our heads. We were in water till out busts by now, frustrated to the core. Dead cows, rodents, furniture, food --- floated by us. We kept hoping this is a dream. Only things positive were that it had stopped raining and it was day time.

This is exactly how we had to wade through water. Pic courtesy: Google

We reached the friend's house to see there was no electricity (of course) and we had to climb 13 floors. Starved, we sent the watchman to buy us bread, milk and eggs which he could get after roaming around for an hour. There was limited water, we somehow bathed and changed into her clothes. We put all our clothes, and our lingeries in a big packet, to be thrown away, and sat down to rest.

Just then we got a call from work, saying there was another outage in the UK, and they needed more support staff here, we needed to go. They sent us a car via another route and 30 minutes later, we were back to justifying out salaries. People who were stuck in trains and buses all night, had started coming in to office. No, they didn't go back home. Looking around I realised, why Bombay is the place for anyone who takes their career seriously. You simple cannot slack down, the vibe is so positive all the time. It's always, all for one and one for all. Seeing those earnest faces and their logic behind, "I am safe, and I am capable ... then when I am needed at work, why won't I help ...?" I was sure, even the laziest would have learnt to be sincere and dedicated. People who were coming from home, were bringing along water, hot drinks and food, some even brought pillows and towels!

We could go home that evening, and thankfully it was a long weekend after that. We all slept through the weekend, and reported to work on Monday, still with sore bodies and scarred minds. Some had lost family members, some still  weren't able to trace their friends. It took ages to recover and emotionally I guess people are still a little stunted since then. I, for one, start worrying every time it rains heavily for more than 3-4 hours.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book review: Happy Birthday by Danielle Steel

On the jacket:

In this beguiling new novel, Danielle Steel tells the story of three very different people, each of whom, on the same day, reaches a crucial turning point in life—a rite both bittersweet and full of hope, a time to blow out the candles, say goodbye to the past, and make a wish for the future.

Valerie Wyatt is the queen of gracious living and the arbiter of taste. Since her long-ago divorce, she’s worked hard to reach the pinnacle of her profession and to create a camera-ready life in her Fifth Avenue penthouse. So why is she so depressed? All the hours with her personal trainer, the careful work of New York’s best hairdressers, cosmetic surgeons, and her own God-given bone structure and great looks can’t fudge the truth or her lies about it: Valerie is turning sixty. 

Valerie’s daughter, April, has no love life, no rest, and no prospect of that changing in the foreseeable future. Her popular one-of-a-kind restaurant in downtown New York, where she is chef and owner, consumes every ounce of her attention and energy. Ready or not, though, April’s life is about to change, in a tumultuous transformation that begins the morning it hits her: She’s thirty. And what does she have to show for it? A restaurant, no man, no kids.

Jack Adams once threw a football like a guided missile. Twelve years after retiring from the NFL, he is the most charismatic sports analyst on TV, a man who has his pick of the most desirable twenty-something women. But after a particularly memorable Halloween party, Jack wakes up on his fiftieth birthday, his back thrown out of whack, feeling every year his age. 

A terrifying act of violence, an out-of-the-blue blessing, and two extremely unlikely love affairs soon turn lives inside out and upside down. In a novel brimming with warmth and insight, beginning on one birthday and ending on another, Valerie, April, and Jack discover that life itself can be a celebration—and that its greatest gifts are always a surprise.


If you've read my previous reviews, you'd know, I absolutely love Steel and am reading her since I was a pre-teen. So, when I got my hands on a bunch of her new publications, how could I resist!

Unfortunately, I wasn't as happy with Happy Birthday, as I normally am with Steel's books. She touched various facets of the human mind with absolute ease; the three main characters' fears, achievements, and disappointments. Every instance has been explained at length. Personally, I prefer my mind exercising while I am reading. But, in Happy Birthday, my mind was yawning. Steel's writing skills are beyond comparison, and the story is interesting too, but the way it has been spun, disappointed me a bit. 

Everything is perfect is April's life. Normally, a girl whose parents have divorced, and her father has remarried & has two kids, doesn't have a lovey-dovey relation with everyone. But April does. She loved both her parents, her parents love each other though are divorced, she loves her father's wife as well as her kids. That's a little sickly.

Overall, a good story. I am a tad disappointed being a fan, you might like it! 

My rating: ***/5

[This review is for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Book Review: Powder Room by Shefalee Vasudev

On the jacket:

Riveting, behind the scenes account of the Indian fashion world,

Ever been intrigued by the Indian Fashion Industry—its stereotypes of drugged models, gay designers, and fascinating but unaffordable clothes?

Join Shefalee Vasudev, former editor of Marie Claire and an acclaimed fashion journalist, on a deep‑sea dive into the gagging depths of Indian fashion. In Powder Room, she offers an insider’s view of people who make the industry what it is—from a lower middle class girl who sells global luxury for a living to a designer who fights the inner demons of child sexual abuse yet manages to survive and thrive in the business of fashion, or a Ludhiana housewife on a perpetual fashion high.

Besides candid interviews of known names in Indian fashion, Shefalee provides a commentary on new social behaviour, urban culture, generational differences, and the compulsions behind conspicuous consumption in a country splitting at the seams with inequalities of opportunity and wealth. From Nagaland to Patan, Mumbai, Delhi, and Punjab, Powder Room mirrors how and why India ‘does’ fashion.


To be frank about it, fashion doesn't interest me much. Trying to look beautiful forever is not my idea of being happy. I read this book on strong recommendations from a friend. 

I read Powder Room while on a road trip. Yes, one shouldn't read in a moving car, but I was too intrigued to wait for 6 hours until I reached my destination.

You've seen Bhandarkar's Fashion and loved it? Well, there is a lot more to the thriving industry then just the dark side. Being an insider, Shefalee has revealed a lot more than any random book/documentary might. 

Shefalee's style of writing is impeccable. Of course, wasn't expecting any less from her! What I loved about Powder Room was that it's not a 'story' per se, but it is. There are a series of incidents and interviews mentioned, with anecdotes from her own experiences, but all put together, they progress to creating a tight knit script. 

I am really tempted to mention some spoilers here, but I will hold back. Divided in 10 chapters over 332 pages, in hard cover, I must mention, I totally loved the cover. The introduction in the beginning of the book allows a smooth progress for readers like me, who have no link whatsoever with the industry, into the chapters that follow it. 

We all know, somewhere at the back of our heads, quite a lot about international brands. But, Powder Room talks about how did they come to India, who do they survive upon (their main clientèle) and how do they compete amongst themselves. From talking about how well known designers have risen, some fallen and some further risen, to talking about middle class girls dreaming to be the next supermodel, Powder Room is exhaustive. Shefalee hasn't concentrated on the big designers and their rich clients only, she has also spoken to and written about tailors, sales people at luxury brand stores and regular people. 

At places, specially in the second chapter where she talks about the rich clientèle from Ludhiana and their obsession with everything branded, we can also note a hint of her brilliant sense of humour. Though I find non-fiction a bit boring, Powder Room kept me glued! I suggest you have a read, I am sure you won't be disappointed!

My rating ****/5

[This review is for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: Love, Peace & Happiness - What more can you want? By Rituraj Verma

On the jacket

Stories surround us. Stories about people like us who make difficult and often complex choices that sometimes astound us. You must have come across some people in your own life who closely resemble the characters in these stories. Maybe you have gone through trying moments in your life too. For instance, have you ever been bugged enough with your partner to want to leave? Have you ever had to choose between love and money? Have you ever had to compete with your partner? Have you ever felt that your family weighs you down when it comes to choosing your partner? At times like these, havent you wished that things happened differently and that you could change how they ended? Now you will control how the stories in this book end.

Each story centres on the life of an urban middle class character caught in a set of circumstances beyond his or her control. A Hindu girl living in with a Muslim boy is suddenly in the glare of global media in a reality TV show, a divorced cynical man faces the prospect of committing himself to a prostitute, a highly talented small town girl must choose between life and death. All must resolve the conflicts within their beliefs. Read the way the stories end in the book, but if you dont agree with the ending, visit the website for alternate endings. If you dont like the way the stories end there either, write your own, and if your ending is selected, see it in print in the next print run with your name in the acknowledgements. Hoping to change the world, one story at a time


To tell you the truth, when I first saw this book, I wasn't expecting much out of it. I was sceptical for a simple reason, that the book looked like another run-of-the-mill love story written by random authors these days. Moreover, the author's IIT background had me wondering if it would be another book on IIT students?

But. I was pleasantly surprised. The book begins with an introduction from the author and a foreword from his wife, Smriti Verma. The foreword is what intrigued me to read the book further - it spoke about her relationship with the author and how it has developed.

Love, Peace & Happiness - What more can you want? has nine short stories. I will not give spoilers on any of them, except reveal that they are all about human relationships. Each story and it's plot is different, so is the treatment given to it. A wide range of situations have been spun into the stories and if you are reading attentively, you might sit back and think a bit. 

The author's style of writing is simple. Simple, correct and easy-flowing. There are a few editing/proof-reading mistakes, but you will not notice them in the flow of the stories. I did, because that's what my profession is.

I was amazed by a new author's choice of subjects and how easily he spun the web for each individual story. Before I began reading, I noticed the author has mentioned that some of the characters in the stories can be seen present in other stories as well. And they were. Surprisingly, the characters were same, but they didn't bring a baggage of the previous story to the current one. However, if one attempts to, they can spin the individual stories together and create a single, new story.

At the end of each story in Love, Peace & Happiness - What more can you want? there are multiple online links given, which you can visit for alternative ends to the story.

My rating: 4/5

[This review was requested by the author, and is not a paid review. It is an honest opinion after reading the book] 

Book Review: Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella

On the jacket

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is pregnant! She couldn’t be more overjoyed–especially since discovering that shopping cures morning sickness. Everything has got to be perfect for her baby: from the designer nursery . . . to the latest, coolest pram . . . to the celebrity, must-have obstetrician.

But when the celebrity obstetrician turns out to be her husband Luke’s glamorous, intellectual ex-girlfriend, Becky's perfect world starts to crumble. She’s shopping for two . . . but are there three in her marriage?

Call me whatever, but I love Kinsella's books and characters. Shopaholic & Baby  is the fifth book in Kinsella's Shopaholic series. While the plot and story telling is awesome, Becky has started getting on my nerves. I mean, when will she learn? Never? She gets into a tricky financial situation in every book, and towards the end, manages to cover up the disasters. 

One can actually read from Becky and learn. While her husband tells her clearly, his company is "haemorrhaging money", instead mending her ways, she chooses to hide her expenditure from him! In this book, there will be times you will hate her, but her relationship with Luke, her husband is absolutely adorable! In fact, Luke is adorable!

If you have read the previous books in the series, you are bound to feel Becky has not grown up one bit. She has moved continents, got married, found a lost sister and is now having a baby, but her mind is as restless and indecisive as it ever was! 

A good bedtime/travel read, I suggest you give it a try!

[This review is for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review: The Obscure Logic of Heart by Priya Basil

On the jacket

In a bustling London café, Anil, now a famous architect, sits waiting for Lina. It is years since he last laid eyes on her, the love of his life. 

Lina is running for the train – punctuality has never been her strength. After all this time she cannot be late to meet Anil. 
Together, they think back to tragedies both personal and political, betrayals large and small. A past played out across three continents that house their rival worlds: Sikh and Muslim, wealthy and modest, liberal and orthodox, corrupt and moral.... 
Lina has one more revelation that must be shared with Anil. Might it unite them once and for all, or has it come too late?

My review
I had heard a lot about Priya Basil's books, but this was the first I read. I cannot say I was disappointed. In fact, I was spellbound.

The plot of The Obscure Logic Of The Heart is simple, but Basil has spun the story wonderfully. A love story between Lina Merali, a Muslim and Anil Mayur, a Hindu, Basil talks about their journey together, of how they fight the odds. 
The description of the days when Anil first saw Lina, noticed the smallest thing about her, and fell in love with the girl he saw, is beautiful. 

Anil's family is supportive, but Lina's family isn't. So, she deceives them and continues her relationship with Anil. The point where Lina begs her father to accept her relationship with Anil, he confesses his reasons of not being able to. That's a very touching description and totally stands apart.

The story, as I said, is simple - boy meets girl, falls in love, families don't agree. A lot of us have lived this life! But like all our stories is special, so is this one - what makes it special is the way it's been weaved. At the end of the day, it's all about choices we make. Anil and Lina were on the same crossroads.

I don't want this to be a spoiler, but it's not just love story that you'l read in here - there is more to it!

My rating: 4/5

[This book was reviewed for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review: Betrayal by Danielle Steel

On the jacket

At thirty-nine, Tallie Jones is a Hollywood legend. Her work as a film director is her passion and the center of her life; one after another, her award-winning productions achieve the rare combination of critical and commercial success. With no interest in the perks of her profession or the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, Tallie maintains close and loving relationships with her college-age daughter and her aging father, and has a happy collaboration with Hunter Lloyd, her respected producing partner, confidant, and live-in lover. Rounding out the circle and making it all work is Brigitte Parker, Tallie’s devoted personal assistant. Friends since film school, they are a study in contrasts, with Brigitte’s polished glamour balancing Tallie’s artless natural beauty, and her hard-driving, highly organized style a protective shield for Tallie’s casual, down-to-earth approach.
As Tallie is in the midst of directing the most ambitious film she has yet undertaken, small disturbances begin to ripple through her well-ordered world. An outside audit reveals troubling discrepancies in the financial records maintained by Victor Carson, Tallie’s longtime, trusted accountant. Mysterious receipts hint at activities of which she has no knowledge. Soon it becomes clear that someone close to Tallie has been steadily funneling away enormous amounts of her money. In the wake of an escalating series of shattering revelations, Tallie will find herself playing the most dangerous game of all—to trap a predator stalking her in plain sight.
In this riveting novel, Danielle Steel reveals the dark side of fame and fortune. At the same time, she brilliantly captures a woman’s will to navigate a minefield of hurt and loss—toward a new beginning.

My review
I have been reading Steel since I was about 13, in school. Accident was the first I had read, I was hooked for life. I haven't read much of her in the last 5-6 years, but with Big Girl, I am back to devouring her books. Like always before, I was not disappointed.

Tallie Jones's life is perfect, and how she would want it. She is happy with what it seemingly lacks, but an over achiever in her own line of work, Tallie is happy and content with how things have balanced themselves around her. 

But, perfect life is a myth, as Tallie realises. Her world falls apart as she realises, of the people who thinks she can trust her life with, someone is not as trustworthy as she considered them to be! To find out someone really close to you, is swindling you and causing you financial damage is not easy to digest and cope with. 

Does Tallie manage to, or does she succumb? How does her family deal with it. Yes, Tallie has been gullible, but how big a price does she pay for trusting her own? I suggest you read on to know more, I might sound biased here, but Steel doesn't disappoint her readers!

Rating: 4/5

[This book was reviewed for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Book Review: Night Dancer by Chika Unigwe

One the jacket

Mma has just buried her mother, and now she is alone.

She has been left everything.

But she's also inherited her mother's bad name.

A bold, brash woman, the only thing her mother refused to discuss was her past. Why did she flee her family and bring her daughter to a new town when she was a baby? What was she escaping from?

Abandoned now, Mma has no knowledge of her father or her family - but she is desperate to find out.

Night Dancer is a powerful and moving novel about the relationship between mothers and daughters, about the bonds of family, about knowing when to fulfil your duty, and when you must be brave enough not to. Presenting a vista of Nigeria over the past half-century, it is a vibrant and heartfelt exploration of one woman's search for belonging.

My review
Night Dancer begins with Mma who has just lost her mother Ezi. Ezi has left some letters, which Mma finds in her room, and begins to read involuntarily. The book opens to show that Mma harboured some hostile feelings towards her mother, and blamed her giving her a life in which she was deprived of her father's love. Ezi had left her husband when Mma was a little baby, and had refused to tell Mma anything about her father.

The book is written in three parts - it begins in 2001, goes to the past and talk about the 1960s and then comes back to 2002. Through the chapters, the what, why and how of what happened are revealed. Slowly, there is clarity about why a particular character acted in a certain manner. Along with Mma, the mystery unfolds for the reader too. In Mma's words, we also get to know how difficult it was for her, to be brought up by a single mother, whom the society scorned.

Ezi's letters to Mma not only tell her a lot about her mother, they also lead her to the lost family she never knew existed. She meets her father and finally gets to know why her mother had to leave him. Slowly, her misconceptions towards her mother start to fade away.

The book is set in Nigeria. As an Indian, looking around, I know being a single mother is difficult. My own mother has been one. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be in Nigeria. I remember, my mother's divorced friend once telling her, "It's easier to be a single parent for you, you have lost your husband. I am a divorcee, life is hell for me. The society questions every action that I take, even if it's innocent." These were the words I remembered when reading about Ezi's life.

Night Dancer was an easy and smooth read, in fact an exceptional read. 

Rating: 4.5/5

[This review was for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Review: Death In Mumbai by Meenal Baghel

I'd been waiting to read  Death in Mumbai by Meenal Baghel since a few months, and finally could. I mainly wanted to read it because of the author. When it comes to Indian authors, I give a blind thumbs up to journalists - books they write are precise, plots crisp and language impeccable.

Death in Mumbai is about Neeraj Grover's murder case, dating back to May 2008. This is the second reason I wanted to read the book. As a journalist, I had actively followed the murder case, attentively listened to discussions the crime reporters would have at the bureau, pored over the tabloids and waited with a lot of expectations to see the case unfold. As soon as Rakesh Maria took over the case, every one in the bureau, even us deskies, would remain glued to the tv and any information that we could lay our hands, eyes and ears on.

On the jacket
A gripping account of the infamous Neeraj Grover killing that sent shock waves through the nation.

Three years ago, the brutal killing of a young TV producer called Neeraj Grover sent shockwaves through Mumbai. An alluring aspiring actress, Maria Susairaj, and her dashing naval officer boyfriend, Emile Jerome, were accused of killing him and hacking his body into pieces, before setting it on fire. The cast of characters was young, attractive, and upwardly mobile, the press hungry for a headline. As details of the case unravelled, the questions flew around—what had gone wrong? What made these young professionals turn to violent crime? Was it the savage pressure of the city, or was the motive even darker? 

This book will shock and inspire a much needed change in perception of celebrity culture and Bollywood. It’s about so much more than a contested killing case and will be a talking point for years to come. 

My review
First let me talk about the technicalities. The plot, the style of writing, the flow of events, the language - everything was almost perfect. 

But, almost all of us have followed the case and know all that the media has informed us. Then why read this book?

I would say, to read a well written book, firstly. Secondly, to know more about the case than met the eye. Baghel seems to have researched well. I was a tad doubtful while starting this book - I sort of imagined gory explanations of Neeraj's body being cut to pieces in the book. But, I was pleasantly surprised. The book doesn't talk as much as what happened that night as what led to it happening, and what happened after it.

Baghel has not only spoken about Neeraj and the main accused in his murder Emile Joseph and Maria Susairaj, but the plot includes various characters including their families and friends, Ekta Kapoor, Ram Gopal Verma, Moon Das (remember the struggling actor whose jilted love interest shot her mother and uncle before shooting himself?), Rakesh Maria and other police officers involved in the investigation.

Baghel had put special attention to character development of all three main characters of the story - Neeraj, Emile and Maria. We all knew what had happened, but did we know who they actually were? I didn't. I had known of Neeraj when he was with Balaji and that he was known to be a womaniser, but how much, I never knew. How Neeraj had always wished for things beyond his reach and how his parents had always fulfilled their only sons wishes, in a way spoiling him. He didn't care whom he hurt. Maria came from a rich family. She had big dreams, but not enough drive. Emile was the perfect son, student and officer. He was the best in everything he did. Did that strain him too much? Was the way he was, the prime reason he lost control, stabbed Neeraj, forced Maria to have sex with him just inches away from the dead body, and then cut Neeraj's body to pieces, cleaned the house and dumped his body?

Have I intrigued your curiosity enough? To tell you the truth, the last chapter dragged a bit - for the simple reason that most of it's contents were already known, but overall, the book is a must read!

Publisher: Random House India 

ISBN: 978-8184000658
Genre: Non-Fiction 
Pages: 248
Source: Publisher 
Rating: 4/5

[This book was reviewed for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

#BookReview : The Shrine of Death by Divya Kumar

On the jacket:  Prabha Sinha, an IT professional in Chennai, is plunged into a murky world of idol theft, murder, and betrayal aft...