23 November 2012

Purity Knows more Cruelty

Lately, my sensitivity to the plight of dogs has increased. Possibly because of two main reasons. One, the crazy dog lady near our house who has 4 dogs, 4 puppies aged about 4 months and 5 small puppies, aged about two m onths old. Another reason has to be because last week, when we went to check a few beagles that were up for adoption at CUPA, we found that they had suspended operations till further notice.

We have a few Marati neighbours who are your typical neighbours, the sort that clean the street in front of their house. Also strictly vegetarian, they actually buy milk from a milk man, the sort that has those aluminium cylinders with fresh cow milk. They also have a garden in the waste land between the walls of their house and the street, cook all day (everytime I'm around the window of their kitchen, there's always someone inside, cooking!) Well kept homes are a rarity these days, atleast those that are clean inside and out.

That's why last week, when the crazy dog lady's puppy (the younger batch) went into the Marati house, there was chaos. Cruel chaos saw them trying to get the puppy to leave the compound of their house, with sticks and beating. My room faces our garden and car park, and right there, there was squealing and barking. By the time I rushed out, the commotion had stopped and so had the squeals.

I couldn't find courage in my heart to face the inevitable and look at what had happened. All I can say, is that there was one puppy less.

What's the point? Of being vegetarian, when you don't understand the essence of being kind?

That's not the end of the crazy dog lady's dog stories. They get beaten every other day, by various neighbours. The reasons are not always clear, but one can only hope that there are reasons. I saw one of the older dogs, the mother of the most recently born puppies with a circular flesh wound. No way that came from a fight with another dog, no way.

They don't bite, these dogs. They look for food in the garbage heap near the house, on the empty plot of land. That's what encourages them to live here. The garbage that the same neighbours that live around here, throw onto the empty plot of land. That is where they get their food, I don't see anyone else feeding them. Neither do I see any government organisation coming over to make these dogs infertile.

And I keep asking myself what I can do to help them. There is no CUPA, there is no one else out there that cares. In a country like ours when not everyone has food, the animals around us suffer. Birds don't fly in this city anymore, and if they do, they certainly disappear over Diwali. There are no sparrows in this city anymore.

I suppose it's affluence we have to thank for this great boon, that we live in a city with many rich in wealth. But someone once said that it is irrelevant that you are rich in wealth, if you are not that in kindness. What's the point of sterlizing our homes, when our streets are littered with garbage. Being inhuman to our animals, and then flocking to the forest resorts to see animals in their so called natural habitat.

We can buy sugarcane for our festivals and decorate our doors with the plant. Or we could grow the plant at our doorsteps, and have it as ours. One is a commodity, the other our own. When will we, as a society, ever own our land and our space, and understand that what we own we share, and it is when we share that it ever becomes our own.

12 November 2012

The Bankster- Ravi Subramaniam

I got the book this afternoon at 1:00pm, and I'm writing the review at 10:00 pm. Thank you Blogadda for my free author signed book to review!

 That can only mean 2 things

1. This book was un-put-downable!
2. Was a book that took about 6 hours in total to read, with 350 odd pages to read, so if you have long train journey, this is the book that will give you company!

This is the first Ravi Subramaniam book that I've read, and I must say, I'd certainly back him up as an author that's here to stay. In his latest thriller, Subramaniam writes about the following themes- the banking culture within globalised mega corporate subculture, international affairs, money laundering- the whole deal, placement, layering and integration. All of the themes above are very contemporary and urban and in addition to that, he certainly manages to spice up the other wise potentially boring corporate world.

The book starts off with three seemingly unrelated stories, brought forward by chapters that arrive at rapid sucession. Individually the chapters are constructed with dialogue but also, as the story progresses, massive soliloques that at times, can get monotonous. We have the story of the man with a scar, up to no good. A well natured family caught in tragedy and trouble. And the story of a corporate cunning exposed within dialogue of a seemingly lovely friendship, bursting at the seems with all that is wrong with wolves at work- jealousy, blantant disregard for maritial vows, manipulation etc... Yes, all this within the first 100 pages of the book.

Following that, the author spends some time building story line that largely focuses on three key bank employees, in different departments. Subramaniam also uses recent events in the world (Japanese Earthquake- 20110 to increase audience relatability that places context to the character's situations. The strappingly beautiful Zinaida, fading star Harshita and focused compliance officer Raymond. These characters, with the help of the supporting cast, get you slowly but surely emotionally invested in the story. So that when tragic events come to pass these characters, you're as determined as Times of India reporter Karan Panjabi to solve the mystery of their deaths. 

And this is where the book is slightly flawed. Team Karan is composed of the CEO (Indira), Secretary (Jacks), Girlfriend (Kavya) and IT fella from the fraud team of the bank (Hemant). At their entry into the story, they work undeterred to solving the crime, which they do, surprisingly with no tragedy...except ofcourse the tragedy of the discovery of those responsible behind the two murders.

I found that hard to believe, especially when we're talking CIA, International conspiracy and global co-operation... It would have been good of Subramaniam to subject Team Karan to some aspect of the fate the befell those whose murders were being investigated. In addition to this, there's this clinically clean cut seperation of duty between the characters in Team Karan.. which at times, makes our main hero (Karan) seem larger than life, while the rest of his team seems surprisingly thoughtless in the process of solving the team.

As an example, Jack's role seems to be restricted to fetching Team Karan photocopies and dinnner in a timely manner, while the girlfried provides Karan emotional support and the reader some couple banter to lighten the series of discoveries that are made in the last 10 or so chapters of the book. While it doesn't necessarily fail the book, it does increase the predictability factor in what's meant to be a suspence thriller.

Right at the end of the book, the loose threads of stories are tied together in a one impressively twisted story, and Subramaniam doesn't spare the reader an iota of sympathy, as he drops his last bomb in the last chapter, leaving us with answers to any other characters in the epilogue.

Overall this was a book that I would rate a fine 7 on a scale of 10.
Personally this is the first Indian written thriller that I have read, and boy, Subramani's book, retailing at Rs 250 is worth every rupee you spend on it. I actually can't wait to read his other books as well!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com