Sunday, October 26, 2014

God is a Gamer - Blogadda Book Review

Ravi Subramanian’s recent book ‘God is a Gamer’ is what I would call a mediocre novel. The cover page, for a change and perhaps is the only thing that, makes sense and is in sync with the sadly conceptualised plot. However, the title, is just not in the vicinity of what the story is all about. It was, for me, as ill-suited a title as was John Carter for the movie.

The plot revolves around the sensational digital currency called ‘bitcoins’, intertwining the lives of some key people across two continents (North America and India). It starts with the mysterious assassination of a US Senator, Gillian Tan. The next set of events involve an ATM heist in New York which drained out the funds from the Mumbai branch of New York International Bank (NYIB). Hence, starts the journey of two parallel stories, one the investigation of the murder of Gillian Tan and the ATM heist, and the other – the death of the NYIB CEO (India), Malvika Sehgal in Mumbai. While the stories are different, they are bound by the common thread of ‘bitcoins’ and come together in the conclusive end with a twist, which renders the original antagonist scot-free.

While the backdrop for this novel is a tad interesting, everything else is just a dismal show. There are no highlights, no gripping plot lines, and no engrossing factor whatsoever. The plot is stirringly weak, the dialogues between the characters of the novel are ridiculous and unnatural, the reactions of the characters are bizarre and immature, and one fails to connect with them. It feels like the whole book was written on the basis of a good concept but within the confines of a structurally weak silhouette and hence the end result is a ‘collapse’. The original antagonist was strongly predictable ever since the character was given some limelight – and that is the worst thing to happen – when the surprise factor fuses right in the beginning in a thriller novel. Some of the other facts where the book failed was in its weak portrayal of the American culture and people. Since the book juggles between US and Mumbai, one would expect that the American scenario (including the dialogues and certain facts like kg be called as pounds, that there are no $200 bill denominations in US as far as I know, etc) be presented in its authentic manner, but it just ends up feeling very Indianised and that just ruptures the belief factor of the novel. The game names used in the book, Mafia Dons and Townsville, appeared really sad. It could be that the author wanted to draw a quick recognition and relation with the original Facebook games, Mafia Wars and Farmville, but I feel he missed the mark. Ravi should’ve given some more thought to the alternate version names. The only marginally saving grace is the decent language and a seemingly bland twist in the end where someone else (partly deserving) was framed and convicted for all the so-called high action episodes and the actual perpetrator is roaming freely.

As much as I was impressed by ‘The Bankster’, ‘God is a Gamer’ has disappointed me even more. It’s important for a spark to be converted skilfully into a great plot and be married with equally matching portrayal. This book was certainly not a striking example of the same.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

To be or not to be...

There is an easy path to happiness, yes it exists,
A path with no thorns, no hurdles, ever so soft,
There are flowers that never wilt, that never lose their scent,
A world with the weather so pleasant, so pleasant as a blanket of cloud,
Where the air is so pure, and fresh and alive,
There is a beauty so refreshing that never ages,
Where the sound of water is perennial, ceasing to mute,
Where the traveller is on a constant path of exploration,
Where the smiles never fade, nor on trees, or birds, or grass,
There exists a utopia, a utopia there exists,
Where the freckles and frowns have never bloomed,
A body with no heartbreaks, no sorrows, no tears,
A face with sparkling eyes and smiles of joy,
There exists souls, with rainbow aura,
Music that continues to touch the invisible, and continues to grow,
There are the mountains, that always stand strong,
There are the valleys, the valleys of abundant bliss,
There exists a state where you never get tired, no matter how much you walk,
Or run, or chase, or glide, or dance, or sway, or tip-toe,
Where the words weave magic that only impart joy,
There exists a rainbow that never disappears, never disappears,
With rains so romantic that the heavens shy away,
And snow so pure, so protective and exciting,
There exists a warmth that never fades away, it never fades away,
An embrace that stays with you always, and forever,
A place where you don't age, or lose your charm,
Where cages are unheard of, only open spaces galore,
Where beating hearts unite, and ties are tied,
There exists euphoria, that never goes out of fashion,
Where the sea shells play the ocean's sound in a loop so enchanting,
Where the cold sand beneath you is always mesmerising,
As is the moonlight along the promenade, or the beach,
Or the sunset to put you to sleep, or the sunrise for the early birds...

There exist these nuances of life... yes they do exist...
But only in our dreams... they never meet the reality...
Just like the sky can never meet the water, the horizon is an illusion,
Just like the mirage that appears in a desert, teasing the thirsty traveller,
Just like hallucinations conjure up our lost wishes,
Just like the uncertain, unproven truth in myths,
Just like an atheist's 'faith' in Him...
Just like things that never exist... can these not exist too?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Somewhere in between... What is real and just a dream?

These drops of water, are not for me,
Neither is the cool shade of the lushful trees,
Nor the solitary bench for me to sit,
The sun's warmth in chilly cold,
The food when starving,
The music when dancing,
The shoes when walking,
The thirst from exhausting,
The light, the darkness, the fresh air, the blessing... Nothing belongs to me,
I don't belong to none,
Can't walk, can't stop,
Can't talk, can't see,
Can't hear, can't breathe,
Can't run, can't bleed.

The magic has left the wand,
The sky is void of life,
The ground below shakes,
The water is hostile.

Somewhere in between, is where this life is,
No road ahead, no turning back,
Like the sun it stands, no revolutions, nowhere to go,
No day is day, no day is night,
Every day is the same, every night is day.

What is the meaning of such life?
The answer runs away...
The soul keeps searching, and searching always,
One day it shall have its answers,
One day it will have what it needs,
One day the clock will start ticking,
For better or for worse, it will change,
It won't be a sun any more, it will be a star,
Revolving around the sun, it's life will be different,
Whose life will it transform? I do not know...
What does the future hold? I do not know...
I do not know and I've not been told,
What I've not been told, I do not know,
I do not know...
I do not know.....

Monday, March 24, 2014

The reviled...

Like the air invisible,
Like an animal in hibernation,
Like the fragrance of a paper flower,
Like the non-existing silver lining of a cloud,
Like the elusive mirage in a desert,
Like the beautiful end of a rainbow,
Like the leprechaun's hidden pot of gold,
Like the nightmares that dreamcatchers attract,
Like the luck bestowed by a rabbit's foot,
Like the evil eye warding off demons,
Like the cat with '9 lives',
Like the ominous doppelganger,
Like the mermaids as innocent as life,
Like the Loch Ness monster evading your sight,
Like the mystery of The Devil's Triangle,
Like the belief in other planetary lives,
Like the logic behind voodoo,
Like the lack of colour in water,
Like the mystery of our origin...
I stand here, amidst the lush green estates,
Amidst the purest of air that I cannot breathe,
With not a soul, nor a heart,
A plastic smile sketched on my face,
Eyes not my own, nor are these limbs,
Ears that don't recognise a sound,
And no fragrance I can inhale,
I can't touch and I can't walk,
Stoically I look ahead, repetitive scene everyday,
I have no friend, coz I excel at scares,
No one knows me, none can get close,
I wait here, all day and all night,
Protecting that which I can't have,
No ties with anyone, I stand here freely,
Living in an open field, but caged inside,
None can own me, I can't be sold,
Smiling all the way, through pain and jokes,
But I was born to lead this life,
My creator tells me so,
He fondly calls me a Scarecrow, I am his for life!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A nagging thought...

The air is pure,
The sun is gone,
The sky is invisible,
The moon is out,
And so are the clouds,
And so are stars,
And so is the wind,
And so are the people,
And so is the life,
And so is the joy,
And so is the music,
And so are the words,
And the happy faces of yesterday,
And the happy faces of today,
And the happy faces of tomorrow,
And the carefree world,
And the silence of happiness,
And the happiness of silence,
And the flowers bloom,
And the fragrance spreads,
And the beauty increases,
But in this heart... the sadness never decreases...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tricks that mind can play...

A day most unusual, it has been,
Breezy, windy, pleasant, it may seem,
A respite from an average weather, one would mention,
Then why does it feel eerie, cold and beyond comprehension?

Goosepimples are a prominent phenomenon,
The wind chimes sing, only to make it more troublesome,
I feel like I'm not alone, there's something I'm missing,
The cat meows, the wind whistles, the silence is killing.

The waves of wind touch me, i feel spooky weird,
A mix of overwhelm and scare is what I fear,
Someone's looking, but that can't be real,
It's all in my head, I need to disappear.

I only sense something, but I don't know what,
It's the mind playing tricks, or is this an intuition of sorts?
If I wasn't going away, for a few days, perhaps,
Maybe this unrest of my mind would've collapsed.

I looked out of the window, into the black night sky,
I stared at the huge trees, the distant stars and the nothingness so high,
And then I shuddered, for I could'nt find rest,
I waited for a while, but I left for my best.

And now I hear more sounds so clear,
The horse's hooves, the train's sirens near,
And there's another sound that's prominent, but it's not that,
But it resembles the sound of waves, rising and breaking slightly bad.

And I hope this so-called intuition, is just the head's trick,
And everything stays the same, when I come back, quick,
For every day now, the mind will race in worry,
Coz of the thought planted by the intuition, or the trick, or the illusional slurry!!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Ethereal Essence...

A tale of strength, a tale of will,
A tale that decides the future of a devil,
Walking on a laborious, gruesome path,
Walking ever since he could remember the 'heart'...

In a constant setting of darkness and chills,
The hostile environment has come to a standstill,
Where neither the seasons change nor does the sun rise,
Where the eyes often lie... and the heart fails to surmise.

A dark fedora adorning an unkempt head,
A trench coat for namesake... for what it protects inside is dead,
The hands are charred, the lines can't be discerned,
When they touch the brittle face... the burning is least of his concerns.

He looks around for traces of life, scared of the past,
Scared to find the succubi, that turned him so dark so fast,
For they are all hunting him, for what he possessed,
A machine, invaluable, a breathing heart so red...

Powers and potions and spells were amassed,
Spiles and cauldrons and goblets all charmed,
An army of wile creatures, with enchanted effeminacy,
All in the quest of finding the throbbing organ that swore to secrecy.

Bruised, shattered, throttled, ripped, torn... inch by inch,
His soul had lost the strength, fighting the demons that wouldn't flinch,
Running from the familiar land that once was his home,
Running to a place forward, a brutal black hole.

With the last piece of his might, he reached the pious grounds,
Which the witches and the succubi and the necromancers couldn't shroud,
His hands were disintegrating, in the pale moonlight,
He had to touch the ground now with a forceful might.

The blood that ran through his veins, was drying up fast,
It wouldn't be long before his ashes would finally meet his past,
But the creatures of his life, could not fail this time,
They wanted his heart, and this time he shall oblige.

The sanctity of the land had to be finally destroyed,
No matter the collateral damage, the destruction was deployed,
So the cruel villains began their magical rampage,
Attacks, spells, potions and weapons were powered with rage.

He knew the inevitable was just a few moments away,
He knew he was all alone and at the doom's gate he sways,
Little did the creatures know, what they seek is no longer alive,
A dead machine is all he has, with just a few seconds of heartbeat to survive.

So everyone continued their madness and their suicide missions,
Both sides knew who would win, who would give into submission,
His flesh was charring, black mass with luminescent ambers were flying,
It was now or never, he had to be with 'her', he couldn't stop trying.

Ashes falling off his body, onto the mystical, cold 'blue' heart,
The struggle to unite the red heart with hers, now needed more than a mere start,
But unable to move, combusting rapidly as he was,
He surrendered himself to the pit, where the beating was as blue as her heart was.

Weakness was staring everyone in the scarred face,
A fear of sorts, had slowed down their persistent pace,
But the desolated mass showed signs of destruction,
The land was being swallowed, as if a result of forceful suction.

But it wasn't until the moment, when everything came to a stop,
When everyone witnessed the unthinkable, when the efforts went flop,
The wind grew cold, the freezing point was near,
But nothing felt more cold, than the newly acquired fear.

The pit was filled with ashes, a dull smog erupted,
An electrical beam shot up, blue and red corrupted,
His heart was untouched, his heart was strong,
And when it met its beau, the unison shocked the throng.

The beating organs blended, one into the other,
An unstoppable process commenced, now without the smother,
The hearts were now one, the heart was now sparkling black,
It raised from the pit, and throbbed with a smack.

The moonlight turned iridescent, the darkness gradually vanished,
The lightning struck upwards, from the heart that was since long famished,
And it encased itself, in a bright force field, a bubble of love,
And it engulfed the land included, and raised in the air enough.

The lightning marked thunder, the thunder brought rain,
And it filled the circle, just enough to not drain,
And then the wiles gasped, for there was the miracle,
The precious heart set itself on fire, and provided a spectacle.

The heart now sucked in, all the four elements,
Earth, Water, Air and Fire, the natural foundational cement,
And everything in the circle, was sucked into the heart,
Until there was nothing left, only a silhouette for the end to start.

And then the black miracle, burst massively with an impact,
Emanating all the pain, all the elements, all the wonders sealed with a pact,
The bright light blinded the creatures, the deafening sound rendered them deaf and dumb,
The shock from it dismembered them, and their end... it was prophesied to come.

All that was lost from the black heart, now turned into dust of seductive gold,
And from the sky it fell, making passionate love to the land of the cold,
The fragrant water slowly kissed the land filled with gold, an elixir for life,
The ever-hidden sun, rose to cover the lovers in the warm blanket of its light.

And the pious land resurrected again from the paramours' ashes,
In a new avatar now, one with breath-taking beauty and unimaginable flashes,
There grew tender saplings, fresh and soothing to the eyes,
Rows of colourful flowers; blue, gold, orange, purple, red, black and turquoise.

For fate had the entities separated, their mortal self indeed,
But once what is touched, forever remains with each,
And the creatures of the dark, can try all their insidious tricks forever,
But it's the essence called 'love', that none can erase from each other...

Image courtesy: deviantart

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sometimes you just know...

Intuitions... inklings... not everyone's gifted with these precious elements of the mind. But those who are awarded with this, treat this 6th sense as an extension of their soul. It's amazing how we can sense trouble, how that nagging voice in our head, a diabolical permanent resident, forewarns us of the imminent threats, the escape routes to those threats, the right and wrong versions of everything... And sometimes, sometimes you just know things. Not like a psychic, but that same voice tells you things that you believe, only to find out a while later that all that the voice foretold came true.

When you wonder about a thing working too well since a long time, or a friend out of sight for too long, or how you wanted to see a movie for so long but the cable service operators just won't air it... Be calm. Coz you are about to witness it all in the coming days. That's intuition. That's the spidey sense. That's one of the most important senses that tells you that things are going to happen even before they happen. You can be prepared for what's to come or you can shove the nasty feeling aside. But the truth does not change. Closing your eyes to the world around you isn't going to stop things from happening, people from leaving, success from reaching the top, the Earth from revolving. You might hate what you know is going to happen if you don't like what's going to happen. You might cast yourself in an invisible cocoon, your go-to place... But you can't run away. Coz no matter where you go, your thoughts will always stay with you. You can shun what's outside of you, but youc an't shun what's inside you head, your heart, your body, your soul. 

For once, you might want to stop running from it and face it. Let things work out on their own. Don't try to alter the course. As Master Oogway says in Kung Fu Panda, 'one often meets his destiny on the road it chooses to avoid it'. Yeah just another movie dialogue, you might say, but focus on the truth of the words; on the sense that they are trying to convey. There are a zillion things around us that are made for entertainment purposes. But the one thing common in everything is Words. And at times, our intuition translates these words into emotions and warnings, and other times it's the other way around!

But, intuition should not be confused with wishful intuition, just like wishful thinking. Sometimes we want to believe what our eyes perceive, without acknowledging what your heart believes. Two plus two doesn't always make four. What you might think your voice is trying to tell you is nothing but what you want to believe in, that doesn't mean that it's an intuition, that doesn't mean what you are thinking is the truth, that doesn't mean what your voice is saying will happen in the future. Differentiate between your intuition and wishful intuition.

Disrespecting the gift is easy, embracing it is the challenge... Sometimes you just know...