Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Review: Chaddi Buddies – A Novel by Oswald Pereira

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by admin 1 Comment

CHADDI BUDDIES: A Breath Of Fresh Air

By IRFAN IQBAL GHETA

Oswald Pereira – the bestselling author of The Newsroom Mafia and Revenge of Naked Princess – is back with a bang with his third, coming-of-age novel, Chaddi Buddies. As the title suggests, Chaddi Buddies is a tale of four friends who grow up together and whose bond undergoes a huge change with coming of age.

Oswald Pereira is a master story teller who seamlessly weaves stories within stories as was demonstrated by him in his edge-of-the-seat thriller The Newsroom Mafia. On the contrary his Revenge of Naked Princess was full of super natural aura to scare the readers to their wit’s end. Whereas in Chaddi Buddies the readers get to see a completely new side of Oswald as a story teller whose childhood holds an extremely special place in his heart.
Chaddi Buddies is set in a village called Golvada near Thane. It is about the special friendship that gets developed on Hill Mansion over a period of time between Robert Pereira and the three sons of domestic help of the Pereira household. These three sons namely Dattya, Anand and Baloo grow up with Robert doing all the naughty things together that children back in sixties did.

There were no video games back then and kids had no luxury of iPhones and iPads on which they could play clash of clans. Those were heady days when after the school hours children would toss aside their school bags and venture out into the fields to enjoy in the lap of nature without a care in the world.

Those were innocent days when only two things were expected out of children. Study and play. Childhood meant unlimited fun filled activities sans the burden of peer pressure or a trap called ranking system. What Oswald Pereira has captured in Chaddi Buddies is the message that childhood is invaluable but every child is special. We should refrain from judging the kids harshly and thereby allow their natural talent to surface on its own.

Chaddi Buddies is laced with humorous tone. The beginning of the book is engaging as it starts off with two things – religion and cricket – that define every Indian. Oswald Pereira’s lyrical prose makes the live commentary of a cricket match between two village games in which our protagonist Robert is making his debut as a batsman so real with his knowledge of field placements and batting techniques that the readers can see Robert scoring the winning run with the entire stadium erupting in joy right before their eyes.

His portrayal of Dattya who is the Godfather to Robert and leaves no stones unturned to teach him the ropes of life is an icing on the cake. Only Oswald Pereira can create such selfless characters and present them before readers in a convincing manner.

Apart from childhood game and usual tantrums between jealous siblings, there is a lot of Christianity in Chaddi Buddies. But the depiction of religious beliefs and dogmas is in a lighter vein and doesn’t sound preachy. Our obsession with the sainthood and how rebellious believers are axed from the church or communities also finds its mention in Chaddi Buddies with the intention of conveying how nothing is perfect in the world.

While reading Chaddi Buddies, be prepared to have an emotional trip down the lane of your memories of childhood. This book will serve as a trigger to look back and ponder over what you’ve achieved as an adult and at what cost. At the same time, certain incidents narrated in the book will turn out to be cathartic giving vent to your tears.

In a nutshell, Oswald Pereira’s honest as baby’s heart novel Chaddi Buddies will give you something to smile at and something to cry over. But this the author provides in equal measure to strike a balance between joy and sorrow, happiness and suffering. Undoubtedly, Oswald Pereira can manipulate your emotions at his will. Do pick up Chaddi Buddies to rekindle your childhood memories. It reads like a breath of fresh air.

Review: The White Shadow – A Novel By Mona Verma

Posted on: March 4th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Reality Or Fiction?

By Oswald Pereira

In these days when highly commercial mass-market paperbacks promise readers quick gratification, Mona Verma’s literary novel, The White Shadow, published by a new publishing house The Book Co. comes like a breath of fresh air.

Though the story ― the plight of the hapless child widows in Banaras ― is rather serious and The White Shadow is not one of the easy-to-read, fast-paced novels that abound these days, I was glued to the book because of the powerful and dramatic narrative and the complex, well-etched characters. Mona weaves magic with words, whether it is describing a ravaging flood that devastates an entire village, a rapacious landlord who lusts after a young widow in Nirmala Ashram, or the sanctimony, squalor and shame of Banaras. “Where death is feared in other parts of the world, it is currency in Banaras. The dead are evaporated in vast swirls of smoke and life’s stories are forever sedimented in the river’s womb.”

The White Shadow

But one of the most fascinating aspects of the narrative is how the Law of Karma is like a concentric circle that brings together people who have parted, because they are part of a divine plan. “Karma is far too strong for a mere mortal to humour …. Like a seed will sprout and subsequently flower at a destined moment, hence our Karma’s results manifest themselves at the preordained moment ….”

The White Shadow is set in Banaras, but the story begins when five-year-old Brinda is widowed after being married for a few hours, following the ‘death’ of her child-husband Bisbaas’ in a flood in the village, Ghurni. Her family refuses to take her back in, as she is considered an abhaga, one who brings bad luck. Her father-in-law Bibuthi hands her over to the home for widows, Nirmala Ashram to be taken care of by Vasanti Bua, who runs the ashram.

The story describes the stark life of the child widows of Banaras and the adversities they face, begging for their living and ostracised by an obsolete culture in the holiest of lands, where everyone considers them bad omen.

The title of the novel, The White Shadow is an apt but sad reference to the child widows’ pallid garb and their seemingly meaningless existence … but more significantly, the title is meant to demonstrate how the Law of Karma follows us like a white shadow, unseen but present, all the while.

Brinda lives her hapless life silently, but her older companion, the widow Debi, fights powerful forces that try to prey on her helplessness and lure her to the ways of the flesh.

Crossing the path of the ashram are two important characters in the story, Sia and Uday, who visit Banaras for different reasons … Sia to gather up the pieces of her life by visiting her parental home that she long left. And, Uday visits Banaras to relive his atavistic fears though ostensibly on an assignment as a photo journalist. Unbeknownst to them, they both have a past, waiting to be unfolded. Will they find their Nirvana in Banaras? What significance does the Law of Karma hold for them?

verdictWhite Shadow

But it is through the character of the ashram’s keeper Vasanti Bua that the author delivers the most powerful lines on Karma, seamlessly weaving the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita into the narrative, thereby adding depth and meaning to The White Shadow, in which the line between reality and fiction seem to blur.

- Oswald Pereira is the author of the best-selling novels The Newsroom Mafia and Revenge of the Naked Princess

Review: Error Code Love – A Novel By Suman Bhattacharya

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by admin No Comments

A Different Love Story

By Oswald Pereira

Error Code Love seems like an oh-so-familiar story of obsessive, compulsive love, but debutante novelist Suman Bhattacharya’s dexterous handling of the theme gives a refreshing touch to the tale. What I particularly loved was Suman’s asides — self-deprecating, funny, sarcastic, double-entendres — while narrating the story. The prose is non-pretentious with no claims to literary merit, but it is the simple, fast-paced and bubbly language that works well for the story and jells superbly for the target audience of young readers.

The protagonist Dev is not the archetypal hero … in fact, he is a ‘non-hero’, as the novel’s subtitle so aptly reveals, ‘Not Every Story Has A Hero.’ Dev’s love for Neera is more like an obsessive compulsive disorder that seems to destroy and consume rather than nurture those good feelings that bring two people together.

Error Code Love

Well, one doesn’t expect altruistic, unconditional love from a modern novel’s hero, but apart from being clinging and clawing, Dev’s love appears desperate and self-centred. Dev doesn’t hesitate to play around with the emotions of his friend Isha and make her a pawn in his game of love with Neera.

As Dev says in an introspective moment, “I would give anything right now to reverse the clock by 24 hours. But my Karma won’t let me. I have to compensate for what I’ve done.”

It is in 2008 when Dev’s crazy, compulsive love for Neera drives him to commit the biggest mistake of his life. In 72 dramatic hours, the promising software engineer loses his career, love and life by a single act of madness. In Bengaluru four years later, Dev seeks redemption and a better life.

However, destiny brings him face-to-face with Neera once again. He chases the same impossible dream again. His obsession for her returns with a vengeance and Dev finds the madness of love striking back with double force, threatening to shatter his life beyond repair.

Will our anti-hero ever get his life back into shape again? Revealing more will spoil the fun of this highly readable novel.

verdict-error code love

The story with some delightful twists and turns has a climax that seems straight out of a Bollywood pot-boiler. But don’t let this disappoint you, for this novel really has great entertainment value.
 
- Oswald Pereira is the author of the best-selling novels The Newsroom Mafia and Revenge of the Naked Princess

Review: The Exiled Prince (Book I) – A Novel by Ravi

Posted on: April 23rd, 2014 by admin 1 Comment

Refreshing Mythological Fiction

By OSWALD PEREIRA

Here comes a mythological novel that is different, refreshing and keeps you hooked from the word go.The divinity of Rama has been orchestrated by several writers, but what I found most refreshing, endearing and engrossing in Ravi Venugopal’s The Exiled Prince was the humanity of the God, who has been revered since eons.Exiled Prince Cover - Copy

Ravi enthralls readers with breathtaking descriptions of how Rama, using celestial weapons, annihilates the demon queen Tataka, Ravana’s grandmother — and the way he neutralizes the invincible sage Parasurama by absorbing the universal energy of the very ‘shimmering metallic bow’ that the valiant sage throws at Rama, challenging him to ‘wield it and fight me if you can.’ But what I found most fascinating and moving was Ravi’s description of a sorrowful Rama’s parting with his father Dasaratha, the King of Ayodhya, when as a young prince he is sent on a 14-year exile by his stepmother Kaikeyi, whom Ravi has portrayed as strikingly different from the stereotypes that we have read about, so far.

The other human aspects of Rama, like his love for his gentle yet powerful wife Sita and his devoted brother Lakshman, has been depicted with master strokes by Ravi. The author has scored a literary coup of sorts by making Rama the narrator of the story. And along with Rama’s Godliness, we are also treated to his endearing sense of humour. In one scene, Rama even describes how Sita’s snoring keeps him tossing with sleeplessness the whole night in the forest.

Another highlight of the novel is Ravi’s beautiful description of the education and rigorous training of Rama and Lakshman in the art of warfare by the prince’s Guru Brahmarishi Vishwamitra; it is an exercise befitting the son of King Dasaratha, for Rama was none other than the manifestation of the Universal Lord Himself. While Brahmarishi Vishwamitra’s ostensible purpose for training Rama is to help him to terminate gruesome demons like Tataka and her sons, the real reason for arming the heir to Ayodhya with supernatural and divine powers is to find and protect the Crystal of Creation, with part of the souls of Lord Shiva and Narayana suspended within it.

The Crystal, the single most powerful weapon with the power to construct, annihilate and recreate the universe, which had remained hidden somewhere deep within the Himalayan ranges for millennia has gone missing!

The focus of the plot is Rama’s perilous journey to find the Crystal before it falls into demonic hands. But none of the sages or gurus, as well as Rama seems to have a clue where the Crystal is and how it looks may be mere conjecture.Verdict Exiled Prince

In his tale, Ravi seeks to answer a question that has never been asked: Who was Rama really? What was his real purpose? Is he the real immortal?

This is Book I, of what I understand is a trilogy. I keenly await the sequels and feel confident that Ravi will retain his simple, lucid and fascinating style of writing.

But I do hope that in the sequels, Ravi and the book editors ensure that the occasional clichés and redundant words that have crept into the book are eliminated. This is a minor issue, and I otherwise recommend the book as a must read!

- Oswald Pereira is the author of the best-selling novels The Newsroom Mafia and Revenge of the Naked Princess

Review: Opening Night – A Novel by Diksha Basu

Posted on: April 7th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Basu’s book has some gems of good writing and insights into Bollywood’s murky world of auditions, casting couches and debauchery. Basu does make a valiant effort to write a serious, first-hand account of the perils of navigating the ‘labyrinthine lanes of Mumbai and Bollywood’. She succeeds in some parts of the book; in other parts, she fails.