Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The last three books I read were by three charming ladies, two of whom I have the privilege of knowing. (I have exchanged tweets with the third but cannot pretend to be too chummy.) 

The Taj Conspiracy is India's answer to Dan Brown's mytho-religious thrillers. Manreet Sodhi Someshwar has created a very intriguing detective - Mehrunnisa Khosa. A beautiful woman of Sikh-Persian descent, she throws up when confronted with a horrendously dirty police station but manages to escape a murderer and solve a historical linguistic puzzle. I tried to imagine who would play the detective in a movie version and came up with Gul Panag. Though, there is a twist in the end that makes the book - to my mind - unfilmable.  
Oh - and did I tell you Manreet has written Earning the Laundry Stripes? Which is to FMCG salesmen what towels are to galactic hitchhikers. My review (or rather, ecstatic outpouring) here

Monsoon Wedding Fever is by classmate from b-school, Shoma Narayanan. She used to be Mukherji then but married a tall, not-dark, handsome Tam Brahm to become Narayanan. 
Let me admit this is my first Mills & Boon and I did not know what to expect. For starters, I expected a little more - ahem - sex. (This Fifty Shades of Grey will be the end of the world as we know it.) I also feared there might be a bit too much of the exotic since this book is getting a worldwide release. But I was pleasantly surprised to find romance in a normal, modern, Indian setting. Admittedly, I chuckled a bit at the heroine's 'limpid eyes' and the hero's 'gravelly voice' but a good read nevertheless.

Just Married, Please Excuse is by a colleague, Yashodhara Lal who is Yashodhara Lal Sharma in real life. Before she went on sabbatical, she used to be in the adjacent cubicle and chided me on my jokes. Now, she cracks worse ones.
Not really a novel, JMPE is a thinly (or not at all) veiled account of Yash's life with a total rockstar - Vijay Sharma. He handles rural sales, he forgets luggage at airports, he confuses Kevin Kline with Calvin Klein and he calls Yash Mithun-da (not always, sometimes). Yash has a deadpan sense of humour (which I like) but I liked Vijay even more. He totally rocked the book though my wife had a couple of 'yeh kya bakwaas hai' moments with him. 
End result: for the "price of a Subway salad" (as Yash puts it), you get a book that keeps you chuckling all the way through.  

* * * * * * 

While I am it, I might as well tom-tom my own book a little with the help of three ladies. Three more ladies? Well yes, three of India's leading critics have only had kind things to say about KAT. 
Anupama Chopra, Indian Express' Shubhra Gupta and Rediff.com's Sukanya Verma all seem to have read the book and - hallelujah - even gifting and recommending it. 
Ab aap log issi mein convince ho gaye hain ya main aur boloon?

* * * * * * 
By the way, you know the full form of KAT, right? Repeat after me.
Kharido. (Buy)
Achchha bolo. (Praise)
Tohfe mein do. (Gift)
And yes, do move on from one stage to the next. (Three stages, again. Cool, no?)


Plaban Mohanty said...

Hey Dipta I got ur book today and have gone thru like half of it.. There is one technical problem the first 26 pages of your book gets repeated. Dont know if thts only for my book or is it an issue with the lot... But must say it was pleasure. Hv a presentation bt ur book is keeping me busy. Well done!

Btw, havent completed the book. But do u hae a section on Sequels in Hindi Cinema, and correct if I am wrong, is Wardaat and Surkhsha the first sequesls in Hindi Cinema???

Diptakirti Chaudhuri said...

@Plaban - It is a defective piece. You will have to return it and get a fresh copy. Where did you buy it from?

No chapter on sequels, tragically.
Johar-Mehmood, Tarzan, Hunterwali Nadia could be called sequels or a series with the same characters, I suppose.

Anonymous said...


I’ve been reading your blog and absolutely love it. I was wondering if you’d be interested in reviewing books from Random House India?

Looking fwd to hearing from you, please mail me at rukunk@randomhouse.co.in


Sia said...

My 3 cents
1)Have been hearing a lot about The Taj Conspiracy by Manreet Sodhi. Maybe its time I got one and started reading!
2)With so many Tam Brams settling in North India you'll hardly find a dark Tam Bram ;)
3)Ordering the Bollywood Book right
away :)

Ravi Kumar said...


I stumbled across your blog and really enjoyed your reviews. I am an author (2 novels published) in search of identity and would feel privileged to get reviewed by you.

I will be happy to send a copy (soft copy or hard copy..Whichever you feel convenient enough) to you. Let me know if you are interested.

I'd love to hear back from you. You may contact me at ravirenus@gmail.com.

Best Regards,

Rahul said...

This is typical mills and boon stuff that you would adore. It is a great read and the added advantage is the perfect weather that compliments the monsoon setting. With every page you would be transported into a magical world. And I am sure that with each description given, you would want to experience it live with your beloved.
So go on and grab a copy of this lovey-dovey happy novel....