Jan 26, 2021

One Arranged Murder- Book review

I picked up Mr Bhagat’s book to check what is it that makes him sell so many books. The conclusion was not unexpected though; the name sells not the book or the story, and it would be difficult to understand with just one book as what goes behind is often invisible. 

But before I dig into other aspects, let us take a quick look into One Arranged Murder. 

This whodunit story opened up with Prerna’s death. She fell from her terrace on the night of Karvachauth. With that starts the investigation of her murder, Saurabh, her lover, and Keshav along with police investigates this Karvachauth Murder case. All throughout the mystery, Bhagat has tried to indict social messages. For example, Saurabh’s character was used to let the reader know the ill effects of obesity and how foodporn was an addiction in an obese's life. In several instances, other current topics like farmer’s issue of India and the usage of google map and Uber were discussed. The reason I believe might be to help reader relate with their day-to-day life. This mystery book was written under these backdrops along with the family secrets and drama that ran in the Malhotra family. 

Writing is simple, anybody should be able to understand the language. Narration didn’t impress me much, for it never gripped me with its descriptions of other aspects apart from the central plot. Willing to leave the story in between, I continued and finished with an urge to know how the book was written. 

There were several characters- Sourabh, Keshav, Anjali, Prerna, Ramesh, Bindu, Neelam, Singh, ACP, Aditya, Maajee, and each character addresses one another with their relation like Bhai, Maajee, Virjee, etc. The mention of Virji was overused and frustrated me, rest was ok.

Sourabh, Prerna’s lover was not sad on her fiancee’s death, and moved on pretty quickly, maybe to let the reader think of him as one of the suspect, but that emotion of sadness I felt needed more space in the plot.

 Body-shaming reference was overused, so much so that it irritated me.  I could understand that the author attempted to inspire people to remain healthy, but it became redundant. I can now relate why Mr Bhagat is regularly posting his running pics on Instagram handle. His social interaction is doing the job of inspiring the people but not the book.

Multiple reference of eleven minutes also didn’t go well with me. I can only guess if this is an intentional reference to Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes, and if that is true then it is not good. The targeted readers of this book will not even realize this disguising analogy. Other references include that to a brief description of google map utility and uber which was ok. Even a brief description of farmer’s issue is also ok as the author did not stretch it much like the foodporn issue.

I liked the unfolding of the mystery, but the reason for killing is not big enough or I should say cliched and overused in many Bollywood movies. In between, the story tries to confuse you about the suspect. It went well as I could not guess the killer till the end. 

What interests me is the research behind unravelling of the mystery in such stories. This one had a good reference, but the plot escaped the research that could have been described well. The research that could have gone down to funnel down to killer was entirely missing. It was pretty much straightforward, no explanation of experiment, reference to a laboratory, to a doctor , nothing was there.

I liked the ending, and sometimes the lasting impression shadows the overall image of the book. Review could have been nicer, but since I read it a while ago and therefore I had enough time to reflect about the theme.

However, a couple of lines I liked in the book is 

Buddha said, "What's better? The mosquito doesn't bite you at all, or that it does and you get to scratch it?"    

Bhagat has realized that mystery as a genre can keep his fortunes for a long time. Probably one reason he started writing in this genre. Before anyone reads his books, one thought should be kept in mind- the book is written purely for Indian readers, but not all Indian readers, only for those who don’t read many novels or books. For the people who would end up reading one or probably two books in a year, and who are not aware of what all is available in the bookish diaspora.. Before I say something, let us look into how many such people exist in India. 25% of youth population (15 to 24 years) exist in India (source google) which is a great number and off that , may be 5-8% will be regular readers, and rest are his targeted audience. A big number. This one and his fantastic marketing strategy paid off well and will continue to pay off for some more time.

I became pretty sure that I am not his targeted reader, so can not say if it is a wonderful book or not. If any of the Bhagat’s targeted reader doesn’t like the book, then book might have not served its purpose. I have a feeling that his targeted people would like the book. I have some friends who liked it. 

I think I am the targeted audience for his Instagram handle, but not the book. 

At last, I recommend this book to all the people who don’t read enough books, have a fear whether they could read a book without a dictionary, want to read but don’t know how to start? All Bhagat’s books will be great to start with.

Will I pick up his books again? Maybe yes, after some time, just to check the buzz and the strategy of his books.

Grab it, Bhagat's targeted readers, I am sure you will like it.


Jan 15, 2021

A New Hope- Fiction 500


The sun blazed Amay’s eyes as he rode to office. Shadowing his eyes with left hand, he was moving cautiously at 30 km/hr on a seemingly vacant but damaged road. The image of white diamond Swift sedan popped in front of him. He decided that the car was worth to have in such weather and rough roads.

But, one hand could not stop the sun glare as his fingers became a slit. Cursing the hard sun while imagining himself in that white car, he got a sudden jerk on his back. The bike swerved, his one hand grip loosened, eyes lost track, and the bike plunged. Before even he could grasp anything and regain control, a mini truck coming from behind ran over his right leg. The next moment was as if he was a metal sheet between the jaws of a press machine, he felt the sudden pain till his yield strength and then everything went black, to nothingness, his leg like the metal sheet was cut into two pieces. The raging fire like that of a hot boiler was killing his right leg, and he became unconscious.

“ How are you feeling” enquired the doctor. The truck driver who ran over his leg brought him to the nearby hospital, but it was not before 24 hours that he got to senses. Although doctors performed an immediate treatment on his leg.

His fate is going to play with his wish.

“I am feeling good about the car, and now I will also have a comfortable ride to the office.” The doctor was dumbfounded, his eyes were still closed, and he spoke about the car. There was nothing doctor could do, but wait for him to gain conscious.

After a few hours, the attendant sitting outside his room hears loud noises, as if Amay has seen a ghost. He went inside only to find that Amay was awake and realized his right leg was no more like before.

Earlier, the infection had spread in his leg, and it was imperative to amputate his right foot.

Later, the doctor explained him the situation. Amay heard everything with a stern face. It was a shock for him and sucked his entire energy. He only has two options now, either to buy a car or to get a prosthetic leg. The money saved can only have 1 of these two. Having lost from his fate, he had no other option but to choose prosthetic leg.

Submerged in these lowly thoughts, he impulsively picked up a paperback kept besides his hospital bed: “Lifeline-Will they ever succeed?” It was a story that could give anybody a new hope, and Amay became its proof. Rejuvenated, Amay gladly agreed for the prosthetic leg, and vowed to work hard again to buy that white diamond sedan.