Book Review | Democracy's XI: The Great Indian Cricket Story by Rajdeep Sardesai

Front Cover : Democracy's XI
Genre: Biography 
Hardcover: 371 pages
Language: English 

I was one of the people who was present at the Calcutta Club on November 2017 for the Kolkata-launch of the Democracy’s XI, The Great Indian Cricketing History, written by Rajdeep Sardesai. Besides the author, who is also a renowned journalist based out of Delhi, the other two people present at the event were former India captain, Sourav Ganguly and the famous cricket historian, Boria Majumder, who was also the moderator for the evening. It was a memorable 2-hour in which a lot of cricket stories related to various players including Sourav and his teammates were shared.

One of the things you can look to do at a book launch event is to get your personal copy signed by the author. I, being no exception, got my copy signed by Rajdeep Sardesai at the end of the event. However, I didn’t read the book straightaway. It was there, lying around on the shelf for some time before I could get to it finally after a few months.

The book, as the cover pretty much gives away what it is all about, is a collection of short biographies about eleven Indian cricketers who, according to the writer, made a mark during their tenure as a player and changed the course of cricketing history in India.

Short Story Review | The Red Thread by Debeshi Gooptu

Short Story Review | The Red Thread by Debeshi Gooptu
Cover | Short Story | The Red Thread by Debeshi Gooptu
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Title: The Red Thread
Type: Short Story 
Genre: Romance
Format: Kindle 

I came across this book, The Red Thread, on Twitter when the author shared it on her timeline. I am fond of the writer a lot and having read her previous work, The Gurgaon Diaries, few months back, I didn’t waste much time before going ahead and buying the Kindle version that is available on Amazon.   

This is a typical short story about a poor boy named, Adnan, falling in love with a wealthy girl next-door named Rai. The romance was just beginning to blossom when the one of them dies. And the story ends there. Often in stories like these we know there can be two possible endings: either a happy ending or a sad one. This story trends down the second path in a rather matter-of-fact manner.

For a short story, characters are often set in a predefined milieu and they exist there (well, mostly!) for the entire length of the story. There is not much scope for the characters to flourish or change their behavior patterns. Moreover, they have must hit the ground running right from the start to keep the readers engaged.

The Red Thread manages to create the milieu. It manages to grab your attention. However, it gets over before the emotional bond develops with the characters.

I found climax of the story a little rushed. Maybe, I was looking for the romance to blossom and take a certain shape before the catastrophe could hit them? 

I would not like to give away anything further and urge you to buy the book online. 

Book Review | 281 And Beyond by VVS Laxman

Front Cover : 281 And Beyond | Publisher: Westland Sport
Front Cover : 281 And Beyond | Publisher: Westland Sport
Genre: Autobiography
Hardcover: 336 pages 
Language: English 

Most followers of Indian cricket, if not all, would remember the day Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman decided to retire from all formats for cricket. 

It was August 2012. He was picked for the home series against New Zealand, which included a match in Hyderabad, his home town, where he could have had a grand farewell had he decided to continue playing. But for a man who always played to contribute to his team’s win, his goodbye from the game would be no different. He quit on his own term, when he thought was the right time to move on and allow younger players to take over.

In his book, 281 AND BEYOND, co-authored by senior cricket writer R. Kaushik, VVS Laxman opens up about his journey from a boy with middle-class values growing up in Hyderabad, to becoming one of the pillars of Indian middle-order batting and carrying the responsibility until his last day as an international player. The book is filled with amazing personal stories and inspiring anecdotes: they are sincere, philosophical and insightful. The narrator, by virtue of his humble and modest upbringing, uses the book to appreciate and thank every soul who had contributed in making him a successful sportsman.

Though VVS Laxman made his debut for India in 1996, his claim-to-fame moment came post the memorable 281 runs knock against Australia at Eden Gardens. For a knock that made him a regular member of the team and redefined Indian cricket in a manner which yielded great benefits in the years that followed, it’s only fitting that the book opens with some words about that great innings in the iconic venue. The writer didn’t disappoint.

Book Review | Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
Front Cover - Sea Prayer | Bloomsbury Publication 

Genre: Fiction 
Hardcover: 48 pages 
Language: English 

The first time I came across this book was on an eCommerce site when it appeared on my search for pre-order. I ordered the book without a second thought. Usually before ordering a new book I read the blurb or the summary; however, I didn't do that either for this book because it was a Khaled Hosseini book I was buying, and his books have never disappointed me before. So when I got my copy of the book, Sea Prayer, I was little surprised. The book is not like his previous books in terms of length and volume. However, it has all the emotions of a Khaled Hosseini-school-of-storytelling. 

Book Review | Imperfect by Sanjay Manjrekar

Front Cover - Imperfect by Sanjay Manjrekar

Genre: Autobiography 
Format:  Kindle 
Language: English

I started following Indian cricket since World Cup, 1996, and as a result I don’t have many memories of Sanjay Manjrekar playing in India colors. I have followed him more as a cricket commentator and writer than as a player. However, one vivid memory I have of him as a player is from the 1996 World Cup semi-final match between India and Sri Lanka: I recall the catch Sanjay took, fielding at third man boundary, to get rid of Romesh Kaluwitharana from the bowling of Javagal Srinath. The Srinath has pitched the ball outside the off-stump and the dangerous Kaluwitharana, sensing a scoring opportunity, wacked the ball over the point region only to be caught by the fielder waiting at the third-man region. A vibrant and enthusiastic celebration followed.

Imperfect, a recently released memoir by Sanjay Manjrekar, digs deep into both his personal and professional life like no other biography of a public figure ever has in the past. Sanjay’s straight talk about his father, his colleagues and his life in cricket though might come across as brutal at times, but that’s the charm of honestly.