Book Review: – Fahrenheit 451 : -“Everything Burns!”

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3.5/5 Stars, Knowledge vs Ignorance ‘El Clásico’

“The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, ‘Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.'” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

It is an exercise in futility to ‘judge’ or ‘review’ a piece of classic literature. It is much more satisfying to just discuss it. The idea that forms the corner stone of this novel is a nightmare for any bibliophile, “reading of Books is a capital offence”, your books along with your house, with you possibly still in it, will be soaked in kerosene and burned to ashes if you are caught. Just imagine that! A future where that might be the law.

The dystopian world of  ‘Fahrenheit 451’ is a profound comment on a great many things, on censorship, free thinking, equality, misuse of technology, pressure of conformity, importance of empathy & of creativity, war, peace, corruption of ideologies, FREEDOM!…. and perhaps many many more. Neil Gaiman in the introduction to the book states that :-

“If someone tells you what a story is about, they are probably right, if they tell you that that is all the story is about, they are probably wrong,”

And I concur, each of us would take an extra lesson from this book, based on us, our experience, our environment and our biases, along with the common ones that are explicitly stated in the book. That’s what classics do don’t they? make you think, sort out confusing thoughts in your head, agree, disagree, like, hate, but they provoke your brain cells to churn out those extra moments pondering, precisely the thing Ray Bradbury preaches about reading I imagine.

Precisely the thing that happens to Guy Montag ‘The fireman’ in the book, the very guy who’s job is to destroy books and fight against all they represent, turns to love and adore them & the ideas and ability they stand for, and is plunged into self doubt by reflecting on his actions and the state of the world for the first time in his life, all because of a chance encounter with a Girl ‘Clarisse’ who walks for pleasure in a world where no one does, who smells the flowers in a world where no one does, who stares at the moon, enjoys an actual conversation, delights in ideas, Cares! in a world WHERE NO ONE DOES.

Each character is a lesson in itself, ( Montag, Mildred, Clarrise, Captain Beatty, Faber ) each lesson an important edict to be passed on to the next generation with a warning tag “Beware!”. Will we ever Get them all I wonder?  Even if we do, will that be enough? It would be a start anyhow, a start is important, very important.

The writing is marvelous though not easy, the story though linear not plain, this book despite being only 180 or so pages ( My version has 249, 70 pages worth of commentaries and essays on its genesis, which add extremely interesting tit-bits to the whole book) packs a lot of punch and demands a lot of your attention, you can’t skim through this, can’t miss the subtle hints, perhaps on rereading it you would find something new altogether. So, it is one of those mind boggling books, that in the first read might almost defeat you, you can sense the brilliance yet you can’t shake off the bafflement. As ‘Beatty’ quotes ‘Alexander Pope’ in the book : –

“A little learning is a dangerous thing. Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.”

So drink deep, even if you have to drink again and again from this book, because the sobriety that it promises in the end is worth all the drunken stupor and hangover that you could possibly have to endure.

 

 

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Book Review:- A Prophet Without Honor: A Novel of Alternative History by Joseph Wurtenbaugh

A Prpphet Without Honor

4/5 Stars, Surprisingly Good!

“Heil Schicklgruber!”  ~Joseph Wurtenbaugh, A Prophet Without Honor

Ahh History and the world of ‘Might-have beens’, The ‘What-if’s’ always hold us don’t they, If only a small thing would have changed, if only! ,the butterfly effect on the world as we know it would have been immense.

Goodreads Blurb :- ……The plot focuses on the one great, unrealized opportunity of the Twentieth Century. 
In the first months of 1936, Adolf Hitler risked everything by ordering his untrained military to reoccupy the Rhineland. It was a bluff. The Germans would have been forced to retreat if the French or British had offered the slightest opposition. But the bluff succeeded. History changed decisively. Hitler quieted the opposition at home, and marched the world relentlessly on, to the edge of destruction and beyond.The story examines that lost chance in detail. The result is a compelling story full of intrigue, danger, romance, and action, culminating in the reckoning that Hitler might have faced, had events taken a different course…….

The novel is written as a collection of letters, telegraphs, extracts from journals, memoirs & history books(of the might-have been world). We are exposed to each character through this epistolary form. And despite the limitations that one would think this would pose on the story and it’s narration, it was surprisingly engaging, entertaining, absolutely believable and absolutely fantastically written.

We follow the “Haydenreich” family from Bavaria, through the years, from 1910’s to the 1940’s, through WW1, the rise of National socialism in Germany and ultimately to Hitler, the characters are sketched well enough, as well as they could be given the restrictions of the style but that’s what added to the intrigue of it all, with many real characters whose lives would have taken different turns had the events of the novel could come to pass. The story itself was interesting, though sometimes the book seemed too long, but no detail was redundant I found, every letter had to be read, every interjection adds to the flavor, so despite it being a little too long it is amazingly composed.

To compare it to other Alternate History novels won’t be fair, though it could stand it’s ground if it comes to that, but “The Man in the high Castle“, “Fatherland” and others mostly talk about what if ‘Hitler’ NEVER lost, compared to that this gives a lot more hope, and the perspective of the various characters gives insight about the split in that world that the others could not. Though the gore content (the horrors we generally relate to the Third Reich) in the novel is surprisingly low, the moral conundrums are more highlighted, the politics of it all takes more of the center stage, this could be again due to the way the book is primarily written and due to the fact that the whole premise is that Hitler be stopped before he could unleash the full extent of his mania on the world. So, in the novel, the people who could have done something and didn’t, DO what they could, they realize what they face and despite the consequences to themselves deliver the world from evil, to know How and Why is profoundly satisfying.

A great (albeit a bit long) read, full marks on creativity, research, plausibility and narration. Any history enthusiast would enjoy this extremely, I recommend it wholeheartedly, And thank Netgalley for providing me with an advance copy. To the world of alternative and speculative history this is a welcome addition.

 

Book Review: – The Ministry of Utmost Happiness :- “Its not! trust me it’s really not”

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

1.5/5 Stars, Don’t Judge a Book by its cover, Seriously, don’t.

“Nietzsche believed that if Pity were to become the core of ethics, misery would become contagious and happiness an object of suspicion.” ~Arundhati Roy

And so it has, for Mrs.Roy at-least. She has followed Nietzsche beliefs to the T. This book is so full of pity invoking misery that you would choke on the lines, words, syllables and ..will…find…it…hard…to…turn…the…page, as it is so full of biased political nonsense! It was a mistake picking this up before reading ‘God of Small things’, by what I have gathered (just by reading reviews and such, not read the actual book yet) her first book is much better and more objective, than the pure bias that has oozed out of her and stained every page of this 464 page lengthy tome.

Goodreads Blurb :- The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent – from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.
The tale begins with Anjum – who used to be Aftab – unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her – including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo’s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs’ Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi.

It was a hell of a coincidence that I finished George Orwell’s ‘1984’ just before this. The novel’s name “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” is a reference to George Orwell’s world where ‘Ministry of love’ tortures people and ‘Ministry of Peace’ conducts wars. Similarly Mrs.Roy’s Ministry of Utmost Happiness talks about utmost despair, also this is perhaps what she thinks of the Indian government, an institute that is guilty of extreme cases of ‘Doublethink‘ in her opinion.

The two main characters ‘Anjum’ and ‘Tilo’ , I found were her (‘Mrs.Roy’, the hater of Modi, the champion of insurgents, the comrade of Maoists, the self declared expert on what a hateful and shitty institute the government and society of India is, the very woman who any anti-India clown can use & say ‘HAH! she is one of you so she ‘knows’ things, you guys are really shit‘, herein referred to as ‘her’ now and later in the review) own two sides, or perhaps her one side divided into two people, because how can so much hate, misery, bias and venom be contained in only one person, people would just not believe it! So, two people, Anjum ‘the hizra’ to lay bare the total hypocrisy of the Indian society, of our communal frenzy and caste misuse, the bourgeois pigs all of us. And Tilo ‘the eccentric’ for Kashmir of-course, to showcase Indian atrocities and oh the evil designs and completely unjustified behavior of the army towards terrorists (ahh sorry, ‘Freedom fighters’ in her views, ‘Azaadi ka matlab kya ‘la ilaha illallah’, Seriously? Mrs.Roy? I have many Muslim friends who would be completely disgusted by what you consider ‘a just cause’). The characters main purpose is to show, point by point how unfair everything is in their world, and how they have become used to it, that the cradle of civilization, is anything but civilized.

I really wish I could review this book on purely literary basis, just the story (Which I can’t as there is no story, ..lives, ..two miserable lives, but no story) but I can’t. Her views are what stayed with me, and they are so nihilistic that despite my love for cynics, I was just plainly irritated through out the book. Yes, there is a lot wrong with us, there really is! but this!..this was just over the top plain old nonsense.

To all the people who think that their knowing about India a little better, would perhaps improve their reading experience of this book, It Won’t. It would just make you sigh with exasperation and wish to God that this book was shorter or written with some sense. So, yeah, despite some profound text in the book, I did not like it. And coming from a ‘Booker prize’ awarded author this was a great disappointment (and this was nominated this Year for Booker’s! what were they thinking?) .

In my opinion, you could do without this book, it’s just a lady being bitter about everything she disapproves of in her world, whether right or wrong she doesn’t care, I could have definitely done without it. All that glitters is not gold my friends, spare yourselves.

Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell:- “Holy sh@%snacks Mr. Orwell!”

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5/5 Stars, Hands Down

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” ~George Orwell, 1984

“Big Brother is watching you”, this statement is everywhere. The scholars & political pundits use it, the anarchists use it, the revolutionaries use it, the eccentric paranoid conspiracy theorists use it. You, me every second person on the TV uses it. And here I was having no idea where the reference came from. Every ruling regime which imposes some unpopular restriction on its people by default gets the title of THE BIG BROTHER. Even the bloody realty shows that have sprouted all across the globe have used this all seeing all hearing omnipresent idea that Mr.Orwell introduced in this book. This amount of impact on the world is a testament to what a marvelous piece of literature this book was, gory, depressing and utterly crushing, Yes, but marvelous.

Big Brother

The year is 1984, the great ideological struggle of the early 20th century is over, Socialism won, Capitalism is completely eradicated from the face of the earth. And now the world is divided into 3 great superstates, each with their own brand of socialist or communist ruling regimes, ‘Oceania’ ruled by IngSoc(English Socialism), Eurasia by Neo-Bolshevism & Eastasia by the political ideology of Death-worship,or more correctly ‘Obliteration of the Self’. And all these states are in a state of perpetual war with each other, trying to claim the disputed territories of the world.

The world Mr.Orwell creates is a truly horrifying and haunting place. Not because of Socialist regimes, Mr.Orwell as I understand was a leftist himself, but the corruption and complete mutation of the ideology by the ones in power just to attain absolute subjugation of the masses. I mean wow. When your party slogan is

“WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

You can very well imagine what such a regime would do. Think (Stalin’s USSR + Hitler’s Third Reich + Mao’s PRC) * 100, and you get IngSoc. This book was a profound comment on the sociopolitical nature of the world. Written in 1948, this is as much relevant now as it was back then, maybe more so now, our generation has never really paid anything for the freedoms we enjoy, we have taken all that we have for granted and have always grumbled about wanting more. Then, imagining a world where there is no concept of freedom of any kind, where every which way you turn the passive face of BIG BROTHER greets you with a promise of pain, if you so much as twitch the wrong way, is nothing short of an eye opener.

This book has inspired so much of today’s world. The extremes that the book tried to educate us about, the brain washing that it showed and warned us about, “2+2=5” is something that each of us should appreciate. The whole concept of “Doublethink“, “Thoughtcrime“,’Psychological Conditioning’ through The Two Minutes Hate are truly mind boggling. And whats more, is that, these very concepts ARE being used today, not in the extreme way of the book, but subtly, the masses, it seems, were not the only one to take lessons from this book, the higher ups learned as well.

A true masterpiece indeed, this book forces you to think, there’s no page in the book which doesn’t make you reflect on your current condition, what was and what could have been. And I think that was the true purpose of the book, to make people realize that as long as they hold on to their individuality as long as they don’t let go of their inner consciousness they would somehow make it through. “Sanity isn’t Statistical” after all.

This book needs no recommendation, it is a classic, already embedded in the curriculum of a great many education institutes, and with good reason. One great book, and a welcome addition to my favorites list.

Book Review: Sacred Games : -“With Unholy Stakes”

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4.5/5 Stars

“There is a certain pleasure we take in thinking about how bad it gets, and then in imagining how it will inevitably get worse. And still we survive, the city stumbles on. Maybe one day it’ll all just fall apart, and there was a certain gratification in that thought too. Let the maderchod blow. ” ~Vikram chandra, Sacred Games

‘Cynicism’, I have always had a soft spot for it, not out of compassion mind you, but a certain kind of camaraderie. I am one of those crazy guys who smiles when he hears ‘The Joker’ say “Everything Burns!!” This in no way suggests that I am a true cynic, that! I believe is a difficult thing to achieve, to be truly distrustful and disdainful of this world is not quite possible, Hope, in one way or the other, whether you like it or not worms its way into you, and perhaps, perhaps that’s a good thing.

Goodreads Blurb :- Sacred Games is an epic novel of friendships and betrayals, of violence and love set against the backdrop of a teaming 21st century Mumbai. Sartaj, the only Sikh inspector in the whole of Mumbai, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But ‘the silky Sikh’ is now past forty, his marriage is over and his career prospects are on the slide. When Sartaj gets an anonymous tip off as to the secret hideout of the legendary boss of the G-company, he’s determined that he’ll be the one to collect the prize…

I am surprised at how long it takes for some books to find me, or wait, for me to find some of them. When it’s so clear at how perfectly they conform to what I need or what I like. ‘Sacred Games’ is one of those truly all-rounder books that has everything a bibliophile would appreciate. Notably

1.) Length, 1057 Pages (Kindle Edition) in any other book such heftiness would be discouraging, even in SG it was borderline but ultimately on the right side of the border. With all its pages and all its story-lines SG is one such book where even after 450 pages, you sigh with relief, content with the knowledge that there is still more than 50% of it left. For any 1000+ page book, this is a great achievement. The writing was not extraordinary, rather easy and simple, for your everyday Joe really, but that is exactly what the book needed, that simplicity worked wonders for it in my opinion.

2.)Characters, the one thing I truly admire about Sacred Games, hats off to Vikram Chandra and his penchant for character building, every character in this book would make you fall for it, not because they are all charming or something, but because they are all so well sketched, even the minor ones, with all his little digressions and side line small stories, Mr. Chandra holds you with their struggles, you are right there with ‘Inspector Sartaj’ sitting on his dining table having his 3 pegs after dinner, you are right there with ‘Don’ Ganesh Gaitonde, sitting on his house’s water tank contemplating his next move in the deadly game. With Sartaj’s mother in ‘Lahore’ during partition, with ‘Constable Katekar’ in his ‘kholi’ with his family or with ‘K.D Yadav’ in his hospital bed reminiscing old losses and glories. This delving into the lives of these characters gives them a soul, however conflicted or pure or dark it may be, you Care, and that I think is one of the strongest thing working for the book.

3.) The Story line, A mystery, A thriller, A crime flick and A slow burn all at the same time, all the while giving you that delicious taste of a complicated Mumbai setting. Mafia, Movies. Corruption, the Law, Politics, A national security threat and the day to day troubles of the common man, now how many books can do justice to all these dimensions and not tilt you in favor of one more than the other. Though there was a bit of a drag at the end where the gullibility of someone as shrewd as the character of Ganesh Gaitonde surprised me to no end but well we are all pardoned a few idiosyncrasies, aren’t we?

4.)The real world parallels, the inspiration for some of the story lines was rooted in the Mumbai Mafia history, ‘Ganesh Gaitonde’ is inspired from ‘Arun Gawli’, ‘Sulieman Isa’ from ‘Dawood Ibrahim’, and the genuine Mumbai setting with its dance bars and slums and bitter sweet but all too real police system, its all well founded and researched, despite being kind of an epic fiction its real in its telling. This makes it all too close and personal with is another thumbs up.

5.)Profanity, well, ahmm….this might be subjective and appealing to me (don’t roll your eyes), the constant use of Indian abusive slangs just makes the story that much more personal. There’s no over the top cleaning act, say what you will, rawness has an appeal of its own. The Glossary would take some of your confusion away if you care to consult it.

All in all, its one hell of a ride, with all its twists and turns, slow and fast paces, dips and highs, one must read for all the Indophiles, Mumbai lovers or mystery, crime & thrill seekers, look no further my friends pick this up, you would be set for at-least a month (including its reading and the hangover that will most definitely follow, this is no light weight drink after all!).

Book review: The Forty Rules of Love: – “There…are…rules?”

Forty_Rules

3/5 Stars,

“Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.” ~Elif Shafak

You could quote and quote, endlessly, from this book. I have never highlighted text in a book this much before (…the mania to collect all the 40 rules…and the musings of Sufi philosophy….Irresistible). For example : –

“Is there a way to grasp what love means without becoming a lover first? Love cannot be explained. It can only be experienced. Love cannot be explained, yet it expalins all.” ~Elif Shafak

OR

“It is easy to enjoy the good and dislike the bad. Anybody can do that. The real challenge is to love the good and the bad together, not because you need to take the rough with the smooth but because you need to go beyond such descriptions and accept love in its entirety.” ~Elif Shafak

Now, I generally don’t read romance novels, generally!, but you throw in a ‘Historical fiction’ with insights in ‘Sufism‘ by telling the tale of ‘Rumi’ & ‘Shams of Tabriz’ in 1230’s Konya, and you have my full attention.

Blurb from Goodreads:- Elif Shafak unfolds two tantalizing parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the thirteenth century, when Rumi encountered his spiritual mentor, the whirling dervish known as Shams of Tabriz—that together incarnate the poet’s timeless message of love.

Ella Rubenstein is forty years old and unhappily married when she takes a job as a reader for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to read and report on Sweet Blasphemy, a novel written by a man named Aziz Zahara. Ella is mesmerized by his tale of Shams’s search for Rumi and the dervish’s role in transforming the successful but unhappy cleric into a committed mystic, passionate poet, and advocate of love. She is also taken with Shams’s lessons, or rules, that offer insight into an ancient philosophy based on the unity of all people and religions, and the presence of love in each and every one of us. As she reads on, she realizes that Rumi’s story mir­rors her own and that Zahara—like Shams—has come to set her free.”

‘Sufi’, the word itself has taken an almost synonym status as ‘Poet’, ‘Lover’, ‘Singer’ ‘Enlightened soul’, ‘Peaceful’, ‘Romantic’, ‘Devotional’ ,in almost everything, ‘such a Sufi voice’, ‘such a Sufi weather’, ‘Such a Sufi soul’ so a book delving into it is interesting in the extreme. We Indians love music, and I personally love Sufi music a lot, it has such soul in it, incomparable. So, the best thing about this book among it’s two timelines of parallel stories, one in Konya 1230, the other in Northampton 2008 was undeniably the former, the story of ‘Shams of Tabriz’ and ‘Rumi’, in my opinion the sub text to the title should have been ‘A Novel of Shams‘ rather than ‘A Novel of Rumi‘ but Rumi already did that himself, and this IS kind of an ode to his work, so I will let it go.

The book is well written, with plenty of text to inspire people by (I didn’t agree with all the rules, some just seem too vague or general, But, they are pretty….awesome), but the story of ‘Ella’ was so uninspiring and bland, sometimes outright irritating in comparison, that I had a difficult time drawing the parallels that were intended, if the whole story stayed in the 13th century I would have been a happy man, but you take the good and the bad …and ..all …that, so sure.

The story from Shams perspective and Rumi’s and the other people around them , gives the readers multiple windows to examine the world and views from, this I loved. The tale of Rumi’s transformation and Shams mission created many interesting tit-bits. Like the episode with the ‘Sema’ dance. All in all a good read.

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A Dervish performing the ‘Sema’ dance

This book had a beautiful message, and for the most part a beautiful (if somewhat unsatisfactory) way to tell it. So, I recommend it to everybody interested in Love, or in Rumi, or in Sufism or History or Romance. So, read this and breathe in the wisdom of the Sufis, feel one with the cosmos and do the Sema with the whirling dervishes (I tried…in between….Its strangely liberating) and remember rule no. 40 says: –

“A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western…..Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple” ~Elif shafak

Book Review: Byculla to Bangkok: – “The Saga of the Maharashtrian Mafiosi”

byculla to bangkok

3/5 Stars

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
Frédéric Bastiat

“Ganda hai par Dhanda hai yeh !” (“Its Bad(..filthy..) but it’s Business!”), this song from the movie Company, seemed to be playing all the while in the background while I was reading this book.

The Mumbai Underworld, Mumbai Mafia….. Organized crime in any part of the world, makes up for a fascinating study, (insensitive, is it? well, its true anyhow) be it the glorified Mob in America, The Cosa Nostra in Sicily, Italy ,The Yakuza in Japan, Bratva in Russia or our very own ‘aamchi muley'(‘our boys’, as Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray once put it) from the Mumbai Underworld. So, the subject matter of this book was obviously intriguing in the extreme, add to it my own personal curiosity about anything related to real crime and the writer’s own credible background (S.Hussain Zaidi was a former investigative journalist, who spent much of his career covering the mafia and crimes in Mumbai) all solid reasons to read his books, specially this one. And so I had, this was my third book my Mr. Zaidi, Dongri to Dubai and Mafia queens of Mumbai being the first two.

Byculla to Bangkok, focuses on those individuals in the Mumbai Mafia,(Arun Gawli, Chota Rajan & Ashwin Naik, mainly these three, but many more big & small) which were perceived (in general? Really?) as Hindu Dons or Gangsters, more ‘Maharashtrian’ than the others (Dawood and his ilk). But let’s overlook that distinction for the time being. The stories of these dreaded gangsters and mob bosses are no doubt most interesting. Add to that the sensational way of writing that only a seasoned journalist could have and you hope to get a treat of a read. But, well, I was left a bit underwhelmed by the whole account. Primarily because his first one(D2D) kind of stole the show. Now, Dongri to Dubai was better in my opinion, Why? because firstly it had a more comprehensive coverage of the subject and it gave you the Origins of crime in Mumbai from the very start .i.e after independence, with Don after Dons and gangs and all that. Secondly, though it was also tainted with bias and sensationalism, Mr.Zaidi had not tried to divide the world of Indian Crime along communal lines (I mean its CRIME, for God’s sake….umm…. that is, NOT for God’s SAKE obviously). In Byculla to Bangkok, he has kind of botched up both these points. If one book was not enough for the whole story (which of-course, was not) he could have split the whole thing on a more general lines than portraying them in such a fashion. But oh well, I will take it.

Now, despite the interesting and often chilling stories this book contains, it struggled with being a ‘Non fiction’ Vs ‘Sensational Fiction’, often it read like a chronological account of events leading to the formation of a gang, rise of a Don or a vicious gangster, and then their subsequent downfall (All the while trying to be neutral) and some other times it was a sensational almost fictitious tale straight out of the silver screen. Perhaps, when you are this much involved in your subject matter as Mr.Zaidi no doubt is, some musings are pardonable, but what to make of it as a reader I was hard pressed  to think.

Despite these few problems that I had with the book, It was a good read nonetheless, well researched and quite informative (just….take some cringe worthy..roamctic vibes with a pinch of salt…its the Mafia after all). The stories about Arun Gawli(alias ‘Daddy’) were specially interesting, about the mills, the allure of crime, about the struggles for dominance with other gangs, the role of politics (Yeah I admit it….I saw the trailer of the movie ‘Daddy’…so I was curious, guilty as charged)

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‘Arun Gawli’ The gangster turned politician( on the left); ‘Arjun Rampal’ as Him in the movie ‘Daddy'( on the right)

Ahhhh.. Bollywood and its glorification of Crime and Criminals, what would the youth of this country do without you.

Getting back to the book, It is fast paced and not that big (266 pages, Kindle edition) so, you could comfortably finish it in a few sittings. If you are interested in reading about crime , the mafia, their origin stories then this is a must read for you, along with the other two by Mr.Zaidi, because if someone could write credibly about the darkness of that world it would be him. So, pick up this one and travel the congested alleys of Mumbai in the 1970’s, with a whistle on your lips and a ‘Rampuri’ (Knife) tucked in your back.