Book Review: A Flawed God

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Title: A Flawed God
Author: Arjun Shekhar
PP: 284 pages
Price: Rs. 250 (get it for Rs. 200 here)
My Rating: 2/5 … Read if you like corporate thrillers, but don’t expect much real action ;)

Before I say anything else, here is a quote on back cover of book that made me get it:

An ordinary corporate executive turns assassin to save his firm from ruin with the help of the master of a secret guild out to revolutionize the corporation…

Wow, I thought. Another thriller in making. And that too with a different story. We know all dark corporate evil people who hire assassins for their deeds. But this was first time (as far as I know) that someone was actually dirtying their own hands, or so I thought.

The back cover of book, including line quoted above, had this:

Sanchit Mishra a.k.a. Sancho is staring bleakly at his performance appraisal form when an invitation from the mysterious Progress in Work Collective lands on his desk. His colleague and confidante, Pause Daniels, urges him to dig deeper. Soon he finds himself sucked into a secret world of anonymous superheroes out to revolutionize the business world by attacking that flawed god it worships – the share market. This parallel life pumps some self-esteem into Sancho, preparing him to do what’s needed when the firm is taken over by a multinational and an ugly industrial relations situation ensues.

The case for the transfer of ownership from shareholders to employees is made through Sancho and Pause’s story in this witty, fast-paced corporate allegory.

Now this got me confused (and a bit exited) about the book and I just dug in.

First two-three chapters actually got me interested in the plot. Sanchit aka Sancho gets the invite form Progress in Work Collective or as they call it, The Collective.
He flies to Turkey (at his own cost of course :roll: ) and  somehow, after a terrifying journey (for him) reaches the destination.

The Collective is supposedly an underground society or something which fights for reorganization of all typical corporate organizations and make them more Employee focused than they are now. Good concept really. Someone really needs to do that, I agree. But I did not get why it had to be underground and so secret.

Then it the story revealed that there was a nemesis for The Collective, none other than ‘Shareholder’s Conscience’. Now that is a cool name. These shareholders are supposedly dangerous people and they always assassinate the ‘Master Craftsman’, the leader of The Collective. Well, things got little skeptical here for me. But I held on.

Then suddenly, after a good start of selection process of The Collective, story jumped 15 days to Sancho’s office. Author says he did not want to bore us with details of selection procedure, but it was awesome nonetheless. Hmmm. I was dissatisfied. I wanted things to go into more secrets but apparently there were more pressing matters at hand like villain of Sancho’s career, the General Manager of his company being sacked, Sancho’s boss getting abducted by a local goon (claiming it being on behalf of worker’s Union), Management changing hands, Acquisition of company by some American company etc.

So Sancho suddenly finds himself facing a lot of opportunities  to lead and he does that. He is (from start of the book) being helped by his genius colleague Pause. Now Sancho and Pause have to save company, their boss, their employees from a fiasco. Somewhere down the line I remember exactly how the story had started. And I found the most interesting part (for me) nearly forgotten. :O

The book ends with the protagonist(s) getting their love, victory and well deserved whatever. But it leaves you confused. :D

The good:

Good points about how Employee’s turn into mindless ‘appraisal thinkers’. Author’s HR experience surely shines here. The language of the book is really good (I recently read Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of Nagas). Concept of The Collective, however far-fetched, was interesting. But..

The Bad:

Author blames current share market for world’s current condition. Though he would sound perfect to people who don’t understand Share market properly, I found it little far fetched. I know some points he makes are true, but they cannot be held solely responsible for everything. And even if we ignore the share market thing, I did not understand why he had to build so much mystery about The Collective and let it go just like that.  I wish he had written Sancho becoming a real sharp shooter or something and saving his company. :D

The Final Word:

Though I sound skeptical all through this review, I must give credit to the author for picking up a bold subject. People who go through all work tensions and know what evil thing ‘the appraisal’ is will agree with him. I would say read this book if you like corporate thrillers. The action thriller fans can skip it. :lol: If Arjun Shekhar writes another book, I will surely give it a try. :)

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a life..

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a life...Early morning. Around 7.30 AM. Somewhere on Nagar Road, Pune.

The old man picks up his lunch box and shoulders his hammer. He quickly bows to the God’s idol in the corner, says a quick prayer and hits the road. A day just like any other day.

This is the story of any of the men in the photo. Only hammer gets replaced by something else like a handbag, a broomstick, a bag of goods, a vehicle or just an id card. But the story remains the same. No matter h0w glossy, glassy and classy your work environment is, your story is same as this old man.

He goes to work, works hard, gets his pay and thanks god at the end of the day for giving him power enough to earn his bread. Does he have regrets? Wishes? a bucket list? May be. He wishes he could do a lot of things other than his daily work. He does not get the chance. But does that make him regret his life? Most probably not. Because he knows that there is no use of regrets or negative feelings, they will just spoil the taste of your life. Live it as it comes to you, strive to be better, strive to be worthy of a better life.

Life is not as simple as it seems, or may be, it is.

(see original post here)

The Three Musketeers : Movie Review

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Its been really long time since I went to a movie theater. Nothing after Harry Potter and DH. As there were no noticeable movies in last few months, when I decided not to expect much from The Three Musketeers. And I wasThe Three Musketeers surprised. First reaction when after coming  out of theater was “Well, that was cool”.

The Three Musketeers (IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1509767/)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Logan LermanMatthew MacfadyenRay Stevenson,Luke EvansMilla Jovovich and Orlando Bloom.

(Briefest) Summary: (No Spoilers)

The three musketeers, after having their time of glory, are now living like other common people. But the new kid, who wants to be a Musketeer himself, bring action back in their lives. Some villains (guess who) cook a plot to turn over the kingdom and get rid of teenage amateur King. And it comes down to the Three (four, actually) musketeers to stop this from happening.

The movie is in 3D. Except for few scenes, 3D was (literally) a headache. There is not a single boring moment, and things keep happening. Movie keeps its constant pace and neither slows down nor speeds up suddenly. Use of bright vivid colors is awesome. I was getting bored with dark dull colors so far. But you will be amazed by colors Orlando Bloom wears and manages to look regal all the time. ;) Director and writers have done a good job of creating a simple but interesting story (plus leaving a loose end for possibility of a sequel). Some of the scenes were extraordinary.

I would suggest watching this movie in theater but preferably NOT in 3D. I don’t know if it was just me, but 3D does not show the colors as good as normal. I am sure you will not regret watching the four musketeers in action ;)

Cheers.

Harry Potter!! It all ends!!

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Harry Potter! The boy who lived. The Chosen One. Seven books of magic. Books that enchanted the world. And then movies. Not all of them are as good as books, but nonetheless, they have their effect.

For so many years, this little kid named Harry and his friends have been my friends. I did not read HP as a kid, I read them a lot late. I saw a friend of mine reading a book without leaving his room for 2 days straight until he finished it, I got curious. Until then, I had only heard about people being crazy about HP. So I decided to rent the movies. And there it was. I fell for the magical world immediately. Then I had to get the books somehow and read them. I became die-hard fan of HP. And been the same for years now.

For me, Harry Potter books are not just entertainment. They are much more. There were times when I was alone, sad and blah blah (read my posts in sad category LoL).. HP world was my solace. Whenever loneliness or any other unwelcome feeling overwhelmed me, I used to dive in the world of wizards.. I still do. Reading these books again and again, sometimes fully, sometimes just my favorite parts was my way of keeping every other feeling at the bay. Some may think this is crazy but you have to be there to understand it. :)

I don’t really understand why exactly HP is something that puts me at peace. I am not a blind follower of things. There are HP books I do not like much. But I still like reading them because they take me in the world not seen by other people. Its been same feeling for all Narnia books, but they are more like kids stories than HP.

There are people who reject HP as kids stories before even giving it a look. Well, to each his own. But I disagree to the claim that these are only kid’s stories. No, they are not just kid’s stories. Certainly J K Rowling wrote these books keeping kids in mind mostly but they are deeper than people think. These books deal with things like friendship, love, loyalty, bravery etc. It’s not the plot that makes you like the books, it is the things that are unraveled as the story progresses.

A lot has been written about HP in so many years and a lot will be written. This is my bit. The reason to bring all this up is because they are releasing the last movie in the series. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part II.
Its tagline is “It All Ends”. And it really does for us, fans. There will be nothing to look forward to anymore. It kinda ended when last book was launched, but last movie sorta seals the deal.

Anyway, I hope the movie is good. And I will always have HP with me if I need him.

Cheers.

A Happy Birthday post :-)

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Today I turned 25. Twenty five!! I have a tradition of writing happy birthday posts every year. This time I am writing this post from my android mobile.. something I planned on my last birthday.

Right now I am sitting at my home in Karad, writing this post. It’s cloudy out there with occasional rain. Mom is planning about cooking somethingi like but I am going to tell her to make something simple.

As usual I have made some resolutions. They hance been on my mind for long time so they are not really birthday resolutions. But today is good day to get started.

Life has been good so far. There were some ups and downs and setbacks. But it really doesn’t matter. Because everything works out fine in the end. I don’t really have a solid goal for my life yet. I know a lot of idealistic people do insist on having a goal set and all that. But I am gonna play it my own way and not the way books tell us.

Anyway, got a surprise gift from my best friend y’day… Also had a great lunch with friends at famous hotel Jagat Bhari Kolhapuri (again). Came home early, spent time with dad, just me and him…it’s been nice birthday weekend so far.

Happy birthday to me. :)

save the children….

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One fine day, I was taking my usual after-lunch-stroll-around-the-building with my daily colleague lunch group. It was around 1.45 PM. This is the most probable time when people get calls offering Pre-approved personal loans, credit cards, investment schemes and a lot of other things. I have devised my own tactics for turning down such calls without actually using bad words. After all, the people calling you with these ads n promotions are just doing their job, trying to earn their share of bread-butter for the day. So I talk politely and give all kinds of stupid reasons for not taking whatever they are offering. Some of the reasons I come up with sound almost genuine to most of the people. Continue reading

The Hangover Part II : A must watch comedy

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The Wolfpack is back!! And funnier!! Do you think you laughed your a** off at The Hangover(2009) last time? Wait till you see the Part II. I had not laughed this hard for a movie in long time. After a long time, I heard everyone in a movie theater making ‘Whoa’, ‘Ooh’, ‘Eww’, ‘What the..’ , ‘sh**’ etc sounds in unison!!!

Summary of story (NO Spoilers): The self tooth plucker(see The Hangover Part I for details) i.e. Mr. Dentist is getting married in Thailand. As usual the wolfpack(with a new addition to group) decides to do a simple bachelor party one the beach (simple= just sitting around fire drinking beer and Alan roasting marshmallows :lol: ). They wake up in Bangkok to find a lot of surprises. Rest of the plot is exactly same as part one but funnier with little less twists.

Whenever there is a sequel, there comes comparison. In my opinion, The Hangover Part II has more comedy than the Part I. You can’t help but laugh. Excellent timing of punch delivery combined with excellent acting by everyone. Only thumbs down thing about this movie is that in Part I, characters had a lot of things to do, a lot of twists as compared to Part II. But believe me, you will not regret watching this movie. There are some really nasty :O surprises for the audience (not everyone) ;) . And make sure you sit through credits, you will know why if you have seen Part I :P .

P.S. If you have not seen the first The Hangover (released in 2009) yet :O , WATCH IT BEFORE WATCHING PART II. There is really no connection between two movies, but it will help you get hang of things faster.