All posts by #TSBC

Mumbaistan: 3 Explosive Crime Thrillers

mumbaistanWhen I realized that Mumbaistan was written by the same Piyush Jha who had made the film Chalo America, the DVD of which I had bought and watched last week, I took it as a good sign. There is no denying that Piyush Jha presents three cinematically explosive crime thrillers in this tiny anthology of stories all of which have the city of Mumbai in common. His writing style is simple and detailed and although he does, like many Indians writing in English, use Hindi curse words to bring certain genuineness to the story, something I personally detest, he doesn’t overdo their usage, keeping it to the bare minimum.

An easy and quick read, Mumbaistan unfortunately gets too predictable after the very first story. The author deserves credit for presenting stories that are without a doubt Bollywood-ish and do have a number of filmy clichés, but simultaneously also have hints of originality, colourful characters, and a certain entertainment factor that keeps the reader engrossed in the story.

The strongest point of all the three stories in the book is the twists and turns that the situations and characters are put through. Every time the story seems to be heading towards an expected culmination, Piyush, just at the last moment, adds in a new character and a new situation that lengthens the anticipation of the reader. While this tactic works brilliantly in the first of the three stories, titled Bomb Day, the remainder of the two become extremely predictable as the reader, by now, is aware of how the author thinks and the guessing game becomes relatively easier.

The same can also be said about the final twist in each of the three stories. They all have the exact same element (which I shall not disclose here), laced with betrayal, that takes away the fun from the entirety of the story.

The author gives his best presenting Mumbai with a unique character of its own. The stories dive deep into the shady by-lanes of the city emerging occasionally to mention the more prominent parts that even a non-resident would know of. While it does give an insight into the city, to someone who is clueless about the nitty-gritty of the life in Mumbai, like me, the names of the places do not evoke any emotion or response. They are nothing but names that don’t add much to the stories either.

Nevertheless, keeping in tune with the general atmosphere of the stories, the description of the places does add a feeling of dread which in turns does make them slightly more realistic and exciting at the same time.

Mumbaistan is perfect if you want to get a dose of Bollywood type action in the form of a book. The stories are full of vibrant characters and the fast-paced events would be perfect to showcase on screen, but the predictability factor is the only major letdown of the book. Furthermore, counting close to 5-6 obvious printing mistakes in the first two stories was quite disappointing.

I will however state that even after its minor faults and major predictability, the stories and consequently the book remains un-putdown-able.

10 Tips to Scoring a Great Book Bargain

Everyone loves a bargain.

While at one time bookstores were slowly closing down and online retail stores were taking over the market with huge discounts and front-door service, it seems there is a slight revival in the old form of book selling.

I don’t favour online bookstores over physical ones because there is a certain charm to actually wandering through piles of books and then discovering something new. But, the truth remains that online bookstores are popular for two reasons with me; first, at present they tend to have a much greater selection of books and secondly, they at times offer really good discounts.

With the economy at a toss, bargains matter, and even though I try to go as much as possible to bookstores, eventually and ultimately I have to order online for something or the other.

Ordering online is an art when you look at it. While you have no face-to-face contact with the seller, they are still eager to sell their goods to you and discounts are the new way of bargaining, even though it is one-sided.

How does one make the most of these discounts?

How do you know make sure that you’re not paying a paisa more than your friend for the very same book?

Read on and find out;

Compare: This is the most basic form of getting the best discount. With the number of online bookstores increasing on a monthly basis, you can always compare and try and get a better price at one bookstore or another. I personally don’t bother with this. It’s too much of a hassle and I actually prefer the comfort of dealing with one portal, and having my wishlist at one place, until that is, they goof up.

Wishlist: How many of you have a wishlist at your favourite online bookstore? It’s an important aspect of getting the best discounts because what it allows you to do it check, on a daily basis if you like, what the price of that book you want is.

Most of the portals have ongoing discounts on books, some of which are not advertised, and by checking the wishlist regularly you can have an upper hand on what you want to buy and at what price. I have often found great bargains on books by regularly checking my wishlist and you can imagine the joy of unexpectedly realizing that the book you wanted for a long time is available at a 40% discount or more sometimes.

National Holidays: There is a war brewing in the online world. With more retailers, there is more competition, and thus more discounts being offered on a daily basis, literally. National holidays are big days and I have noticed that the top online retail bookstores all have big discounts on these days. True, that these discounts are specific to certain books, but it is still worth it when you are getting up to 60-70% off on discount.

Special Discount Days: Not to be confused with national holidays, a Special Discount Day is another trend that has just taken off amongst fierce completion between the online bookstores. This includes one specific day of the week when the portal will give discounts on a number of its products and checking your wishlist on these days is bound to bring happiness in your life. These days are also perfect for doing some online window-shopping (read: browsing).

Free Shipping: I know this one is the most obvious way to get a bargain. Online retailers charge you for shipping unless you are over and above a certain amount. So it pays to hold on to your buys until you can manage that amount. It might seem like a small amount to pay for postage, but add it up over many purchases and you realize that you could have easily bought a couple or more books for that amount. So, be patient.

Ebay: Although book buying has primarily shifted to the online retailers, do not disregard eBay or similar user generated selling sites. I know for a fact that you can still get amazing bargains on eBay. You can find great deals on such sites and can even get unbelievable prices on slightly used books.

Affiliate Programs: If you are a blogger then you are aware that most online retail bookstores have affiliate programs. I’ve had a bad experience with one of them, but others are good. One of the advantages of being an Affiliate is that you get advance notice, by email in my case, of discount days and especially national holiday discounts. That’s got to be good right? If you aren’t a blogger, then make sure you know people who are affiliates and follow them on twitter or let them know that you want to be informed about discounts. I personally tweet whenever I get advance notice of discounts, others might post on Facebook or just DM you, if you ask them nicely.

Bloggers and Chats: What can possibly be better than a bargain? Free books, but of course. Where do you get these free books? Many bloggers, especially those who primarily review books have competitions throughout the year. Others like me will have them once in a while. There are also Twitter competitions and chats like #TSBC (stop with the self promotion I tell ya!) that give out free books every now and then. So take part in them and who knows you’ll be looking at a nice little bundle of books being delivered to your doorstep one day.

Publishers : Publishers love bloggers and bloggers love publishers. You can always start a blog for free and once you do, get in touch with publishers, again through social media, and presto, you will be getting books for reviews or as gifts from publishers before you can even say Abracadabra! Okay, you need to have some credibility, a few odd reviews on your blog, but if you don’t mind writing a review, you won’t mind getting lots of free books either.

Friends Forever: If none of the above works, I suggest befriending someone who gets lots of books for free and has no place to keep them, again not too hard to do on social media, and hope and pray and beg if you want to, that they pass on part of their bounty to you.

That is all…

 

This little list was compiled by @Raghavmodi who can be found at all hours on his social media channels or editing and re-editing his travel and food posts on Ticker Eats The World

Bookworm in Bollywood – A Love Story of a Different Kind

They say that an empty mind is the devil’s playground. The devil might have had a field day in my mind, but if you read through this post, you will wish why was it that the devil didn’t come and take you before you decided to click that link. In other words… you have been warned.

Bookworm Goes To Bollywood is my mind wandering and wondering what would a love story be like between a Bibiliophile and a book he/she loves.

What if there was drama and tragedy in this relationship?

What if music formed the central core of this story?

What if…

There once was a Book that lived in the farthest corners of a bookshop. It was blue. Not that it wasn’t sad, but that was also the colour of its cover. Its neighbours would change time and again and many a friendships were formed, but while the book sat there, year after year, it would some times at night sing, in a whisper, “Aayega Ayega, Ayega Aaane Wala, Ayega”. (If, this legendary story every gets made in Hollywood, we can always replace the songs to attract the western audience, and might I suggest that “I’m Blue Da Da De Da Da, I’m Blue” would be a great and peppy way to start the story. But that’s for another time).

Just like most stories, the winds had to eventually change. There is a small possibility that someone chose this isolated area in the bookshop to fart, and those were the actual winds of change. But, foul smells aside, one day, a pair of hands grabbed the book, in a delicate way mind you.

Bookworm, the one who was the owner of the two hands, was smitten by the colour of the cover and couldn’t help hum that latest song he had heard at New Years, “Blue Eyes something something blah blah Bomb Lagti Tenu, Bomb Lagti Tenu”. Obviously, when the bookworm continued to repeat the last line of the song, everyone at the bookstore panicked. The police was called and so was a bomb disposal unit. It took a while and our Book was finally given a thorough run down, but in the end Bookworm and Book were together.

Book wasn’t happy about the entire hullabaloo that had just happened over nothing and would keep falling down, trying hard to show its disinterest in Bookworm. Finally it was when Bookworm sang “Aaja Meri Gaadi Main Baith Ja” was the Book happy at the prospect of travelling the world, and jumped into the Bookworm’s arms and stayed there.

Bookworm, on the other hand was ecstatic. He had wanted this very book for years and now he had it. He had found himself a book that he loved, and he could totally relate with the song that played on the radio, “Tu rang sharbaton ka, main meethe ghaat ka paani”.

Thus began a friendship like no other. Bookworm would go nowhere without Book. It was said that often people would look and smile as Bookworm and Book would walk down a busy market singing, “Yeh dosti hum nahi choodenge, choodegen dum magar humsafar na choodenge”.

So much was their love for each other that children made jokes about them. One would ask “What did the Bookworm say to its all time favourite book, one that he likes to read again and again?”, and the other would promptly sing, “Rath lag gai, mujhe to teri rath lag gayi, lag gayi”.

Not only that, but many versions of this joke were being played out now. A child would ask “what if Book is a graphic novel, then what would you sing?” and the others would all shout, “Espiderman espiderman tune churaya mere dil ka chain”, the now popular cult Bhojpuri song.

All good things must come to an end. This was bound to happen between Bookworm and Book (puns are always intended). One day when Dhokuworm came to visit Bookworm he laid his eyes on the Book and wanted to take it, albeit temporarily. Bookworm being the good friend that he was, agreed. Dhokuworm crossed his heart and promised that he would return Book in good condition and on time.

But, the damage had been done. Book was heartbroken at how easily Bookworm gave up on it. As it went away into foreign hands, it flipped its pages and sang “Dost Dost na raha, pyaar pyaar na raha”. (The English version of the story can have Book singing, “Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name”.)

Dhoku toh Doku nikla. The book was not returned in time. Bookworm had no idea what had happened and if Book was even with Dhoku. His calls went unanswered and slowly and surely he lost faith in friendship and whenever someone would ask why he was so gloomy he would sing, “Kyuki har ek friend kameena hota hai, haan hare ek friend kameena hota hai”.

As the news spread, society couldn’t help but make the most of someone else’s misery and once again jokes began to emerge. People would ask, “What did Bookworm say to the Book that he lent, but was never returned?”, and everyone else would respond by singing, “Hum tere bin ab rehe nahi sakte, tum hi toh ho wajood mera”.

Finally a miracle happened. After months of praying a message came from Dhoku and Book was being returned via post. Bookworm couldn’t help rejoice and ran to the nearest place where a Bollywood song was being picturized and joined in to sing, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, It’s time to party”.

The Book finally arrived. Bookworm opened the package but was aghast at the condition Book was in. He immediately began caring for it. Every night he would sit next to Book and gently caress it while whispering “Dekh lo ek baar edhar toh, Main hoon na” to it. Book was also happy to be back home and slowly but surely started to get better.

It took months, but finally Book was as good as new. He sat Bookworm down and asked him, “What did the Book say to Bookworm after he took care of him?” Bookworm didn’t know. Book, in a rather shy manner sang, “Saans me teri saan mili to mujhe saans aaye, mujhe saan aye” (That’s CPR for those of you who didn’t understand).

Finally, they had a reason to go out and both stood up together and shouted “Where’s the party tonight?”

They went around the town, but eventually realized that in their quest for each other, over months and years, they had left behind everyone else. They were social outcasts. Now it was only them, Book and Bookworm.

This is where the camera pans away and we see both Book and Bookworm together, hand-on-page, sitting on the corner of a not so busy street, under the streetlight on a moonless night, engrossed in each other.

FIN.

Now, if you are still with me, I want you to do one of the following;

If you liked the story, then leave a comment.

If you hated it, then make sure you do leave a comment as this may persuade me to never attempt such a fiasco ever again.

If you even remotely hummed one of the songs mentioned in the post, you HAVE to leave a comment.

But, if you absolutely loved the story and think this is the greatest story ever told, then don’t leave a comment. Don’t say a word, because as they say, “silence is golden”.

 

The above was concocted in the mind of one of our founders @raghavmodi. We often worry about the future of our club after reading what goes on in his brain. However, to keep things civilized, we normally don’t say anything to him. Do keep this a secret. In the meantime you may follow his blog Ticker Eats The World, where he apparently writes about food and travel, from places he has actually, in person, visited. Never knew people still did that.

Book | Journalism

Ticker Eats the World

Joe Sacco JournalismComics have long been considered books for children. With the rise of the “nerd generation” over the last decade, it has become acceptable for adults to proudly state that they too read comics; in-fact they have gone as far as claiming their fandom towards them. As a result, comics have taken on a new life helped greatly by the successful TV and Film adaptations of some of the best selling graphic novels.

Just like most art forms, comics too have many sub-genres. From the funnies that we see in newspapers everyday to the Manga comic craze in Japan (and now pretty much across the globe) to graphic novels that cater specifically to adults because of their content, comics now can entertain pretty much all age groups across both the sexes.

My knowledge in the art of comics has been fairly limited, picking up graphic novels mostly based on films. I…

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“A prosetry on home” by Anamika Purohit

Metaphysical conceits have always intrigued me. Imagine the complexity of love being explained through something as commonplace as a pair of geometric compasses. Or, the nuances of sexual attraction being explored though a flea! What other literary technique offers the fascination derived from incongruous comparisons, reversal of scales, and shock-provoking arguments?

If metaphysical poets had taken it upon themselves to explain abstract, esoteric phenomenon such as death, love, loss, spirituality etc. by the use of logical arguments, then conceit was their most reliable tool. For example, John Donne in A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning (published in the early 17th Century) lucidly compares love, and companionship to a pair of compasses where the beloved is taken to be the fixed end and he, the lover/speaker, is the movable end. The speaker attempts to convince the beloved of his fidelity by explaining how both their souls emanate from the same source, almost like a pair of geometric compasses, which are joined at the top. Moreover, if one end is able to move, it is only because the other end keeps it stable. Hence, even though the speaker has to go away from his beloved, she will always be his starting point, his vantage point, which he shall eventually come back to.

Modern-day use of metaphysical conceits can be far more quirky, and interesting. If love and geometric compass were incongruous, then imagine love being compared to an onion in Carol Ann Duffy’s Valentine, a poem published in the second half of the 20th century.

When the idea of this post for the TSBC Blog came to my mind, I was in a process of shortlisting abstract concepts that one grapples with on a day-to-day basis. Love topped the list, but loss came a close second. And, it is the latter that I decided to explore through this post by using a technique that I have always admired as a reader.

Form: prose, or prosetry, as a friend rightly remarked about my creative vents

Conceit: a house, or home, if you will…

The End

I unlock the door to my home, and enter a house that’s not my own.

Ivory warmth, oh, my walls smelled of a glass of warm honey-milk. These walls reek of dull hospital bed-sheets, and gape blankly at me. I enter the kitchen to taste your loud, unselfconscious laughter even as you’d laugh over a silly joke shared by an aunt on the phone, and my tongue tastes the bittersweet tears rolling down my cheeks instead.

The untouched, yet dirty dishes in the sink remind me of hunger, of digestion, assimilation, life, and the world that must go on without the horribly milky, and utterly sweet tea that you’d clumsily make every evening. I will finally go back to my black tea with a dash of lemon, and the tea stained copper-bottom bowls won’t haunt me anymore. I enter the kitchen to look for all the tea-stained copper-bottom bowls, for I have to dispose of all of them. Funnily enough, I don’t find a single one, and the kitchen ceases to be.

The bedroom door is locked. I don’t look for a key. I knock at the door repeatedly. I know you’re in there, at the workstation, as always, and your lack of response fills me with hope. I push the door hard, and it opens into a void. A cloudy, moist void of floating ties, trousers, stoles, bags, and shoes, as if our bedroom is shedding its skin to renew itself. As if it will forget your smile, my nudge, the tip of your fingers on the laptop, the tip of my wet toes on the rug, the traces of your footsteps even as you walked out, the traces of my fingers buried deep into my pillow… Perhaps, it has forgotten, forgotten to lock itself firmly, as you’d have liked.

There is a workstation inside, but a neater one. I find the book on Management Marketing that you’d been telling me about only a week ago. You seem to have left it in the traces of my memory, for I can see the book floating. The rug is still here; partly wet, and I rush to pick it up only in order to smell in it your loud, irritated, shrill voice that you used each time I stepped on it with wet feet. The rug is perpetually wet here, in this house, in my memory.

I step outside the bedroom to look for our coffee table, where we’d enjoy endless rounds of horribly milky tea. I sit on one of the chairs with a mug of strong black tea, and the lemony tang reminds me of the last time we had fought, and the first time I realized that you could abuse too. Was it the last week? I had been pleasantly surprised, for you seemed all the more human all of a sudden. I loved them literary abuses that you used, but I can’t seem to remember any. This must have been a year ago, then. Or, a decade, perhaps? I gape at the sharp corners of the coffee table, but wasn’t our table a round one? And, the chairs? Why don’t they assume a colour? Why are they transparent? Why can’t I remember the colour precisely? Brown, timber, mahogany, or rosewood?  Why can’t I remember? Did we have a coffee table at all? I get up from the chair with a start, and feel the need to get out of this house, which is perhaps not even mine.

I lock the door, and surprisingly the key fits in once again. I close my eyes and walk away from the house into a void, afraid that the next time I might not even find my way back to my house. I am forgetting, and will forget. I will forget you, and move on to another house, another kitchen, another bedroom, and perhaps a square shaped coffee table. I wish I could hold on to you in the deep recesses of my memory, to our house, to us, forever, but I suppose this is what loss is all about. Unlocking a door in your mind, and entering a house that’s no longer home.


Anamika Purohit tweets from @OnlyAnamika has this to say:

It started with reading, and a certain fascination with words. The power of words to soil, to heal. This was my home, then, and my refuge, now. Other than such random musings, I find myself pursuing research, watching films, teaching undergrad students, listening to music, and simply wallowing in engaging thoughts & conversations…


 

The Joy of Storytelling

“Pictures speak a thousand words” might be true, but during our visit to Sapera Basti there were many words spoken and elaborate scenarios conceived as little eyes, wide with amazement, and ears full of promise, entered into the world of magic, ghosts, talking animals, and wonderment in the form of stories. Let’s go back in time. […]

via The Joy of Storytelling — Ticker Eats the World

The Pen Room: A family museum in the heart of Birmingham, UK

Situated in the heart of Birmingham’s City Center, in the Jewelry Quarter district, the Pen Room is a museum and activity center for pen enthusiasts of all ages. Seeped in history and artifacts from the 19th and 20th century, The Pen Room celebrates the importance of Birmingham as the one-time center of the world when […]

via The Pen Room: A family museum in the heart of Birmingham, UK — Ticker Eats the World

The Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme 2016

Let’s welcome 2016 with a bang, shall we? Please welcome the Great TSBC Book Exchange Programme 2016. 😀

TSBC Exchange

#TSBC is a labour of love for us and we haven’t let limited resources or our personal lives deter us from our goal of sharing the love for books and the joy of reading with all of you. May we say, with pride and happiness, that we have succeeded to a large extent in this and #TSBC has become like a little family now ?

One of the primary goals of #TSBC, besides talking about books, is to be a medium for people to find others who share similar interests in books. Towards this, we are constantly on the lookout for activities that can be enjoyed by all and also spread the love of reading among people of all ages. Towards this, we introduced the Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme in September 2013 to some amazing response.

And that enthused us enough to offer it again in 2014, and now again with the onset of the new year in 2016. This third edition is pretty much similar to the previous editions with some minor changes. So without much ado let’s get down to the brass tacks.

How does the Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme 2016 Work?

It’s quite simple.

The Book Exchange programme is similar to the idea of Secret Santa. Admittedly, the idea is neither new nor original, but since something like this is being done exclusive for books, we hope it will bring some surprise and joy into the lives of the people who love reading.

So what happens is this: If you sign up for the Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme, you will be the anonymous Secret Book Giver for one person randomly assigned to you. In turn, you will receive a book or books from your Secret Book Giver, who will remain anonymous to you.

Some Important Points to Keep in Mind

Continue reading The Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme 2016

There’s change in the air !

Things are a-changing at #TSBC.

Over time we’ve felt that by not collaborating with publishers, at least occasionally, you were losing out. Because we don’t run #TSBC as a business, we can’t have as many giveaways as we’d like to. Also, we think that since publishers are an important aspect of reading, they should also be celebrated. As a result we have decided to contact a few publishers who we think are exceptional their field and try and have events catered around books and reading.

Yes, things are changing now and we hope for the best. We thought you should know about how these changes will come into play.

  1. We plan on not promoting any single book or author at this time, even when collaborating with publishers.
  2. As much as possible all the events that are part of the promotion, will focus on the books and reading. But obviously, the interest of the publisher will be kept in mind since they are the ones generous enough to give us books for giveaways.
  3. These events and collaborations will not become a regular feature and our operations will remain the same. We promise that our recommendations and choices will not be influenced in any way just because a publisher is collaborating with us. However, the reason why we are collaborating with a publisher is because we already love their work.
  4. While we will try our level best not to have the “RT and Follow” procedures, I hope you will appreciate that you will have to follow the Twitter handles of the publisher and #TSBC to be eligible for the giveaways.

What’s in this for us? First up, we are not starting a PR company. We are still the same with our own separate businesses to take care of. However, we will request the publishers to give us (the three founders) some books for our personal use.

We also promise that in the end we are doing this for you, for more giveaways, for spreading the love of books a little more and let’s be honest here, everyone loves a free book. However, for the time being, we are staying away from working with a particular author or promote a particular book. Working with publishers will hopefully give all of us the benefit of dealing with multiple books by various authors.

Starting next week, we will have the first of our collaborations. We will also keep a log below of these collaborations just so you are aware.

We encourage you to participate in the events as and when they happen. We hope that this activity will help us put a spotlight on people who work inside the industry and many times behind the scenes.

Collaborations:

March 23 to 29, 2015:  Blaft Publications  @blaftness

#TSBC Postcards

We’re bringing sexy (read Snail Mail) back in fashion. In case you are wondering, you read that right the first time. 🙂

As most of you are aware, along with our love for books, it has been our endeavour to bring together book lovers and form a community where book discussions of all sorts can take place. One of the “complaints” we often get is that a number of our followers who live abroad are unable to participate in everything we do; they especially miss out on giveaways. So, we decided to come up with an idea that would break through all sorts of boundaries, and that idea is #TSBCPostcards.

#TSBC, Postcards

Continue reading #TSBC Postcards