Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Salvation of a Saint – Whodunit and Why – A Gripping Thriller!

Here comes a thriller with a mind blowing theme originally written by Keigo Higashino and wonderfully translated by Alexander O.Smith with Elye J. Alexander. ‘Salvation of a Saint’ is a suspenseful murder mystery with an intricately woven story involving crime and intelligent investigation. One just cannot keep the book down once he/she starts reading it. 
The story is about unraveling the crime of death of Mr. Yoshitaka Mashiba by Kusinaga the famous Tokyo Police Detective with the help of his able assistants Kaoru Utsumi and Kishitani. Yoshitaka Mashiba  is poisoned to death using arsenous acid .The first informant is Hiromi Wakayama the student of Ayana Mashiba , the beautiful wife of Yoshitaka . Ayana is away at her parents’ place at the time of murder but all clues lead to her being the prime suspect. 
Yoshitaka Mashiba is rich and wealthy and wants to marry and have kids and marries with a precondition that if the wife is unable to bear him a kid within the one year of marriage he would seek divorce. Ayana has a birth defect that has rendered her infertile. But still she marries him. However he is killed. There is Yoshitaka’s legal advisor and close friend Tatsuhiko Ikai, who is a lawyer and his wife Yukiko, mother of a two month old kid. Another crucial character is Junko Tsukui, who is the friend of Ayane and who also commits suicide by consuming arsenous acid. When the mystery deepens and cannot be unscrambled, Utsumi seeks the help of her physicist friend Yukawa, whose acumen and reasoning clears the mystery. 
The meaningful and logical research done by Keigo in the technicalities of the crime in the administration of the arsenic acid is commendable and praiseworthy. The investigative process and the imaginative prowess of the detective and his team show the ingenuity of the author. The string of events right from the first chapter to the last have coherence and are consistently placed.
Though the author reveals the intention of the killer in the first chapter , the wife’s being miles away from the location of her husband’s murder , her patchwork skills, her interest for gardening and watering flowers’ plants, her dedication to her husband , thoroughly attending on him when he was at home, his habit of drinking mineral water even for making coffee, the student Hiromi’s attachment to the family, Detective Kusinaga’s  soft corner and attraction for Ayane  and Junko’s tragic episode all make the readers ever alert and curious to know the killer Hence a prolonged applause to Keigo for the meticulous approach, for making this book an enthusiastic reading. 
This is a gripping thriller. I did not attend to any social calls during the reading of this book. We must also thank the Alexanders for translating and making available such a detective book with the unpredictable suspense to all English readers. This is a must buy book for all fans who have a penchant for exceptional crime fiction. Looking forward for many more creations from Keigo and many more translated works from the Alexanders.
This review is a part of the Indian Bloggers Book Reviews Program. Participate now to get free books!
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Is India Really Growing?

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“Have you visited Chennai recently and drank water from some local shops there?” This was the first question the doctor asked to my wife when she was taken to the hospital in Vellore when she had persistent fever last year. He was telling that if she did she has a good chance of getting typhoid fever.
Another one – my wife and I had to visit one of my friend who owns a house somewhere close to a place called Thoraipakkam in Chennai. We were not sure of the way and so we stopped somewhere close by and asked one of the by-stander the way. This was his reply – “go straight; you will see a mountain of trash. From there travel another 500 meters and you will see another mountain of trash that is much bigger in size than the first one. Immediately after crossing that mountain of trash there will be a small road to your left. Turn to that road and go straight and you will reach the venue.”
We followed the instructions and we reached the flat where my friend was living. It was something like an eight storey building where my friend was living in the sixth floor. This flat was encircled by two other flats on the north and west side and marshy area full of trash on south and east. The interior of the house was very beautiful. Just as we sat my friend told us “be careful of mosquitoes. We have mosquito repellents in all rooms but still there will are many. Looks like mosquitoes have become immune to these repellents.” My friend was correct. Every one minute I was bitten by at least one mosquito.
Anyone who is living in India can identify easily with what I have written above. It must have happen to all of us multiple times.
In India we talk about development all the time. We proudly claims that number of tall buildings, real estate boom, huge increase exports in IT sector, arrival of multinational companies, malls etc as the symbol of development. But is it really development? Is it the real growth?
Isn’t the basic facilities like pure drinking water and clean environment that need to be fully developed first before all these so called “symbols of development” are built or created?
I am not comparing but I must say this – during my 10 years stay in US, I only drank tap water supplied by City and never fell sick. I never remember a day when I was bitten by a mosquito. From 2006 to 2010 I was working as Design Engineer where my job was to design water and wastewater treatment plants. That city already had water treatment and wastewater treatment plants that can serve population of 2025. What I was designing was for the population that is expected beyond that.
Do any of our state governments have such a plan? Do we as citizen is forcefully demanding such a plan from government? Why are the governments allowing “pseudo development” to take place ignoring the basic development of infrastructure that provides good and sustainable living conditions to their citizens? Why is government allowing new constructions to come-up in cities when they know that they don’t have enough clean water to serve the existing population of the city?
It is high time that we prioritize our infrastructure development and focus on improving the basic infrastructure like adequate water treatment plants, well connected drainage and sewer systems, efficiently working wastewater treatment plants. Unless this happens, the so called development happening around as is never going to be sustainable. Do you agree with me?
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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

TANTRA by ADI - Tantra for Human Good

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Introducing a novel line of fiction on mission of Vampire management, Adi’s first creation, TANTRA, one can say as ‘Adi Kriti’ is awe inspiring. It is the height of imagination made practical, fictionally of course. It is unconventional and a thrilling experience on an unusual theme of life, religion and vampires intricately woven into a story where goodness and righteousness prevails over evil.
The story is about Anu Aggarwal a professional guardian and protector of human race from the Vampires, who comes to India from New York on transfer to avenge her friend Brian’s murder. She is an ace in her profession, as she has tackled and killed the most dangerous vampires in New York.  How her professional and spiritual acquaintances and her familial involvements make her the strongest person to acquire the Mantra, Yantra and Tantra to destroy the evil forces is the main story line.  One can surely discern the author’s esteem for Stree shakti in making this a heroine oriented tale.
The characters of the bold and valiant female guardian Anu , her Indian Counterpart Amit , the Vampires Karta and Chandra , the spiritual gurus Dr.Sharma and Pandit Grover , the evildoer Baba Senaka , the good gossipy chirpy Aunt Nina , Anu’s friends Smiti and Gaurav  and all make “Tantra” a gripping story.
The Sattvic gurus and their suggestions and advises pave the path for victory over the hideous and dreadful practices of the Rakshasa gurus. It is really awesome and appreciable that one’s imagination can visualize and depict such professions and events. The various aspects of the vampire management like shifts, chanting and recital of Mantras, drinking special tea to see the threads of Astras  of mantras ,the Agni Astra and Brahma Astra , the Choti Holi Krura Ratri rituals by Baba Senaka to kill children and store their energies   and others are chilling and petrifying.  The author Adi has surely done lot of research on these aspects. However, this is one novel without a disclaimer by the author that the story and characters are purely fictional.
The Indian scene of old beliefs and taboos , the gullible population taken to stride by religion and Godmen , the highly learned pandits and gurus remaining withdrawn and patiently waiting for sharing and imparting their treasure trove of knowledge to the right person , the highly esteemed Guru - Shishya relationship ,the loving and caring relations and friends ,the courageous and brave womanhood personified by Anu and last but not the least the wicked and unscrupulous machinations of the evil doers are portrayed well.
The foregoing description of the characters and events offers a marked distinction from other routine and mundane themes. Thus here is a novel experience for those readers searching for adventure and insight into Indian doctrines.  On the whole this story requires special readers who should have a fancy for the surreal and supernatural existence. This will take the readers to a different world. The book can be owned  and classified as an extraordinary collection. 
This review is a part of the Indian Bloggers Book Reviews Program. Participate now to get free books!
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