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. 

Book Review | Gurgaon Diaries (Life Work and Play in Drona's Village)

Debeshi Gooptu's novel, "Gurgaon Diaries". Illustration by Kavita Singh Kale and graphic design by Mugdha Sadhwani 

Title: Gurgaon Diaries 
Format: Paperback 
Genre: Humor 

I have had the good fortune of interacting with the author on Twitter on many occasions and have been following her blog, The Gurgaon Diaries, for quite some time now, which lured me to her book. Being a fan of her writing, and trusting her to lighten up my mood, I picked up the book on an otherwise dull summer afternoon in Kolkata. Much to my expectations, the book did not disappoint.

For a Bengali, growing up in Kolkata, and then moving to a new place is never easy. The person must come to term with the language, culture, food, and people of the new place. Something similar happened to the author, Debeshi Gooptu, when she moved to Gurgaon, from Kolkata, almost two decades ago, in 1999. The move from Kolkata to Gurgaon can be quite a culture-shock; but not if you are the author. She takes it in her stride and spins a chain of free-flowing, hilarious essays in her book which is divided into three main topics — Life, Work and Play— in which each chapter talk about plethora of events with women, kids, food, festivals, etc. are some of the striking themes in the book.  

Book Review | Based on Lies: Crimes of Love by Debarshi Kanjilal

Front Cover | Based on Lies: It Begins
Front Cover | Based on Lies: It Begins

Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Format:  Kindle, 
Language: English

Based on Lies: Crimes of Love, a first of the 2-part novella, by Debarshi Kanjilal, is a psychological thriller in which the story unfolds through a series of journal entries by Anurag Sanyal. 

It’s through his journal entries—replete with love, sex, betrayal, lust and crime—that the story moves forward, unveiling the dark and twisted world around him. The narrative revolves around Anurag Sanyal, his wife, Aditi, his ex-girlfriend, Niharika and a local café owner, Sindhu Burah, and the author introduces them in the most matter-of-fact manner: 

"They all have lives of their own, and they all have a life equation with one another. And they each hide secrets darker than the other. They have all been involved in several violent crimes where they are sometimes the victim, sometimes the criminal, and sometimes an accomplice. There are no innocent people."