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Book: Devotion of Suspect X
Author: Keigo Higashino
Number of pages: 384
Price: 350

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step. When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.

Since the entire plot is set inJapan, it might take a while to get used to the names and places and relate to them. The language is pretty simple and makes it for an easy read.

The most wonderful thing about the book is how it fuses Math, Physics and logic in solving a murder mystery.

The reader is aware of the killer and yet there is this is nagging feeling that something is amiss. There is an altogether new story that is woven in towards the end. Though it gives an all new twist to the book, it’s actually depressing and the climax seems forced.

The title of the book is just plain brilliant and is an easy clue to the entire plot.

Keigo Higashino shrewdly and subtly induces the reader to contemplate the immeasurable complexities of the human psyche by questioning what motivates one human being to judge who is worthy of life, and who is not.

This is not a run of the mill whodunit nor an elaborately staged mystery. When you get to the end, when you race to the end, you’ll slap your head like I did and realize how simple, but brilliant the story is.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

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ImageUrban Shots, a compilation of 29 stories written by 21 writers. The writers are varied, a mix of popular writers such as Paritosh Uttam, R. Chandrashekar, Malathi Jaikumar, Ahmed Faiyaz and a number of popular bloggers and debutante writers.

Please don’t plunge in to the book right away. Read the foreword. It’s important because, in that Naman Saraiya tells us to give breathing space in between stories. It is important because each story makes you think and it is important to grasp in fully before you move on to the next intriguing one. Each story leaves you wondering, some of them ends abruptly. Some of the stories might need another read.

My top five picks out of the 21 stories would be

  1. Father of my son – Roshan Radhakrishnan
  2. Amul – Arvind Chandrasekhar
  3. The Pig in a Poke – Mydhili Varma
  4. Jo Dikhta Hai, Who Bikta Hai – Sneh Thakur
  5. Hot Pants – Arefa Tehsin

Most of the stories make for a breezy and fun read. All the stories has characters that you meet in everyday life, urban settings that you cope up with every day, situations that you might yourself have been in at times.

The book has an easy narrative, but the plot of each story is different with a dose of surprise which makes it a delight to read.

Read it story by story, line by line. Take in the characters, story and the end.

Amul, the first story in the book leaves you misty eyed. Amul is a story about a mathematics loving kid who has lost her mother. She narrates her everyday life and the climax is sure to make you feel depressed.

Silk is a wonderful story of a con man who buys expensive gifts for married women. The story ends by asking the reader ‘Have you ever felt like Silk?’ Now try answering that.

Across the Seas is a lovely story of a loving mother who misses her son working abroad.

Albama to Wyoming, written by Paritosh Uttam makes you feel dejected. The story is about a Indian Kid who can name every American City and in Alphabetical Order.

Double Mixed is a story about extra marital affairs with a rather amusing finish.

Good Morning Nikhil is the story that makes you go awwww.

Maami Menace is a cute story in its way. It’s about a maami who has the cure for every ailment on earth.

The Peacock Cut is about a sportsman with a peacock cut. There is not much you can take away from this one. I read it twice (because I could not make anything of it) and didn’t quite enjoy it.

Father of my Son is easily the best story. The timing of the humor in the story is perfect and leaves you laughing loud.

The Bengal Tigress is a rather dull story and seems like filler.

P.K. Koshy’s Daily Routine is an amazing story about a retiree. This one both makes you laugh and sad.

Mr. Perriera is that story that you would have happened in your neighborhood. The characterization is brilliant and deserves a mention.

The Wall is a story about a banker undergoing mid life crisis. It basically asks you if you ve hit the wall!

Jo Dikhta Hai who Bikta hai has that kind of a setting that could have happened to you. Lovely story with a lot of hope.

Then interview is a Bollywood story and offers very little. Paisley Printed Memories is a beautiful story on someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Heaven and Hell is about a philosophical Mehendiwalla who brings you to reality. Cats and Sponges is an out and out corporate story, one which you will thoroughly enjoy reading.

You Eternal Beauty is set in Kolkata and delves deep in to the richness of the city. The Window Seat is our everyday story, a situation that you may come across when you take a bus, cab, train, flight.

It’s all good is again in a corporate setting and makes you wonder about how unpredictable life really is.

The Pig In a Poke is a cute email exchange between a teenage kid and a conman. Ready, Jet Set Go is a story on a to be publisher and puts a smile on your face. Things that could happen in a park is well about things that could happen in a park.

Hot Masala is surreal. Set in a park and the story really gives you an insight on how people behave in different circumstances. The Rain Coat makes you feel sad but there is hope at the end of it. The weeping girl is about how a girl steals phones! Hot Pants is that thing which could happen when you walk home from the station, late in the night. But this one makes you laugh!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

The Wednesday Soul! Where do I begin? This is as funny as death can get. Before I begun the book, I was wondering how could anyone write funnily on a topic so serious. But as you start turning the pages, you have no time to think about it as you are most probably rolling on the floor laughing! The writing is downright simple and most importantly makes you imagine. Yes, that’s the major plus point of this book. You imagine souls, souls with sunglasses, souls with lightning rods, giant eagles, Jesus Christ in an all new avatar and many other characters you can’t even imagine. I was expecting Steve Jobs to have been mentioned somewhere, but what the hell his innovation did find a place and in the most unexpected fashion.

Nyra Dubey is a urban delhite who knows how to deal with the Delhi men. Just when action starts picking, the protagonist dies and she lives the most adventurous afterlife. She loses the love of her life only to meet him in other world. He is none other than Mr. Chitrgupta himself who is one of the greatest mathemagician. His second name was slyly mentioned only in the later part of the book but you do guess it.

Characterization was pure gold, especially Bari, Sachi, Radha Reclwis, Agatha, Inspector Sharma and etc etc, oh and Khangard and Pythagoras as well.

The best part of the story is when Nyra is subjected to third degree of torture by Sachi, which is nothing but the worst of worst puns you might have ever heard on earth err at the Department of Neutrality actually. We thankfully have many Sorabh Pants on earth (No, I dint mean Pants in the actual sense of Pants).

The author has created a whole new world in the book with new characters and the way they function. It makes you imagine and wonder so much. Frankly this is one of the best Humor books I have read in a long time (Please to note that I have not read PGW in a long long time. PGW is god okay? Ok). And while I just write this review, I realize that unlike other authors, Sorabh has not touched upon communities (madrasis, malyalis, gujjus, delhites) to evoke humor. It’s something that you might have never read before. It is an experiment and has worked upon brilliantly.
A sequel is in the offering and I am looking forward to it.

My only thoughtcast to you if you would pick this book, don’t give it a light reading or just skim through it. And if possible read the book in one go. If you lose 2-3 days in between every sitting you are most likely to read through all over again. Otherwise it’s just no fun. For Sachi’s sake, concentrate!

Go read this one! I wont rate this book unless i know Sorabh’s Eye-score. Yes it boils down to that. But for earthlings sake 4.75/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Book: Resident Dormitus
Author: Vikas Rathi
Number of pages: 196
Price: 195


Let me first put this straight across before I go in to the review: Resident Dormitus is that kind of a book that makes you think and deep. The focus is intense and it really makes you wonder what you want from life.

Resident Dormitus is a book that delves on previously unchartered territory – lives of young professionals and the changing psyches. The book explores in to the theme of existentialism, a theme which not many Indian authors have written about.

The protagonist of the book is Achet, who hails from a small town and ends up with a job in Mumbai. Achet, (peculiar sounding name (you’ve got to really read the book to know its different meaning) then travels around to Singapore and other places on work and meets interesting people. The book revolves around four other characters; Dev, Arjuna, Alex and Bala. The author does give in short yet interesting snippets in to their life. The lives of five colleagues are interwoven so well that it doesn’t even run in to five different stories.

His corporate life takes him to different places and at every stage; every instance Achet wonders how it influences his life and thinking. Some of the paragraphs in the book might require you to read it twice or thrice to completely grasp the message from it. Overall it makes you think.

Resident Dormitus is also the kind of book which is light hearted as well as intense. It totally depends on the reader. And of course, you wont put it down till you are done with it.

The most important twist in the story comes when Dev commits suicide. The scene has been depicted so well that it makes you think on an entirely new parallel. Young professionals ought to read this book as it depicts how youngsters go through a crisis as they step in to the corporate world.

The book made me think deep and these are the words I put down once I read it:
I asked myself ‘Who am I?’ and when I really thought on it I realized how all of us face a identity crisis. The answer to this question may differ at various stages in life depending on what you are going through. Who you are is basically a culmination of your feelings, ambitions, hopes, fears and characteristics.

Vikas Rathi is definitely a refreshing change with authors popping up in every city and every day! The fact that he writes on a new theme and the fact that the characters in the book are not stereotypes score brownie points.

The writing is brilliant and extraordinary in parts. Give this book a read.
Rating: 3.5/5
To know more about this book and the author:
http://www.vikasrathi.com/about-the-book/

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Book: Ineligible bachelors
Author: Ruchita Mishra
Page Numbers: 250 odd
Price: 195

Ineligible bachelors is that kind of book to which you may not even give a second glance, if you happen to see it at a bookstore
When this book came up in the Blogadda’s review program, I gave it a second thought and applied to review. I was surprised when I received the book. 250 pages, which means 4 hours, which means one sitting
‘Ineligible bachelors’ makes for a breezy read. In fact even a 5th grade kid could read it at ease. This must be the only book where I dint have to pick a dictionary to find the meaning of a particular word. The content could have easily done with more quality. Frankly the quality was just plain depressing. The major plus point of the book is its pace. The story never slows down. The fact that the author cut down most of the unnecessary description may suggest that she wanted to keep the book short.

Another major put off was the Diary mode used in the book. The book definitely doesn’t read like a diary with the gazillion conversations it holds. It could have just been a story? Why the clichéd diary-like short story book?

As far as the story is concerned, it’s a predictable and most-oft used formula used in Bollywood. At one point, I started wondering if the book was a remake of a bollywood movie.

The sotry goes like this: Kasturi, a 24 year old management professional lands a job in a big telecom company. She moves to Delhi for work. Meanwhile her mother keeps fixing dates for her daughter with ‘(in)eligible bachelors’. She keeps meeting one by one, mainly because she cant fight her mom’s drama and theatrics. She falls in love with her boss, Rajeev Sir who is also in love with her. Her friend, Ananya is hit by an auto one day. Dr. Purva Dixit (who is one of the guys Kasturi’s mom sees for Kasturi) brings Ananya back to feet. Apparently the auto guy belongs to some mafia group. So when kasturi gave a sketch to the police to track him down, they corner her one day and beat her up. Dr. Purva Dixit saves Kasturi in totally bollywood style. Meanwhile Ananya is in love with Pita Ji (Amay) who is one of the guys Kasturi’s mom sees for Kasturi. Kastrui is only glad that Pita Ji is out of her way. Ananya, Pita Ji and Varun discover that Rajeev is cheating on Kasturi. They somehow let her know of that. Katuri breaks up with Rajeev.Kasturi realizes she is in love with Dr. Purva Dixit. And they live happily ever after.

This is a book you can afford to miss! I would have liked this story if I had read it in 8th grade! I would not say this is a great ‘debut’ book!

Rating: 2/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Book: Bombay duck is a fish
Author: Kanika Dhillon
Price: 195
Number of pages: 315

First of all, my apologies to Blogadda and Kanika Dhillon in the delay in putting this review up@! My mom was admitted for a surgery and I had little time to sit down and peacefully write a review
I read the book twice to write this review. No not because it is that interesting or it is complicated. Due to personal reasons, I could not put up my blog in a weeks time as it is required from the Blogadda’s book reviews program. I didn’t remember much part of the book after a break of ten days and hence had to read through quickly once again.
Bombay duck is a fish by Kanika Dhillon makes for a very interesting and gripping read, infact you can finish reading the book in one sitting. The book is like a 3 hour bollywood movie.
Neki Brar, a small town girl makes her way to Mumbai to make a career in film making. The major plot of the story is on the film sets, where Neki happens to be admist all disasters. The story starts with the protagonist holding a bottle of wine and sitting on a terrace, contemplating suicide. She then takes us through her journey from Amritsar to Mumbai and also her day to day life on the film sets.
The author gives us a fair sketch of the behind the scene happenings in Bollywood. It all makes up for an interesting read but it isn’t something unknown to the common man.
What troubles me about the story is that there is no time to connect and feel with the main character. Halfway through the book, I was tempted to turn to the last page and check if Neki dies or lives. Apparently that’s all I wanted to know, whether Neki lives her dream or not. But I decided to read through the pages and the ending shocked me. The ending seemed so typically bollywood.
Another typically bollywood aspect of the book was the god level treatment to SRK. Of course only in the acknowledgement pages did I realize that SRK is the boss. He must be a damned good boss!
The life she lives with her three equally hopeless roommates is the side track to the main story. The story with her roommates is interesting and some of the situations depicted are so realistic which makes for a good break from the bollywood setup of the plot.
There is love and betrayal all through out the movie. Neki falls in love with the second lead and there are scenes where you just feel like giving Neki a tight slap.
Bombay duck makes for a good one time read. Not the kind of book that you would remember next morning.
P.S: I would have been happy if Neki lived her dream. I don’t really want to read a sequel with Neki being reborn as SRK’s daughter or something. Well, you never know 😉
Rating 3/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Book: Chanakya’s chant

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Price: Rs. 195

Number of pages: 443

Life has been hectic ever since I moved to Mumbai. I have not read a book for the past three months. That’s so not me. Marriage, shifting cities, finding a new job, interviews etc etc were priorities and the books I carried all the way from Madras were safely locked in a suitcase. It is certainly difficult for a person who is addicted to reading and manages to read over five books a month. Hence you can imagine the delight when I was selected to be a part of the book review contest by Blogadda. I was even more delighted to receive Chanakya’s Chant because I was looking forward to read this book for long.

Chanakya’s chant has two plots that are interwoven. One set in 340 BC and another one 2300 years later. The book gives an in-depth insight in to how Chanakya dethrones Dhananada, saves Bharat from Alexander and installs Chandragupta on the throne of the Mauryan Empire.

Another fictional story that runs in parallel is that of Pandit Gangasagar Mishra, who leaves no stones unturned in installing Chandni Gupta, a slum child as the prime minister ofIndia. Not only that but this Chandni Gupta also manages to serveIndiain the capacity of Prime Minister for three terms.

What made me cringe though was how Chandragupta was simply reduced to a Puppet. It may be acceptable in the case with Chandini Gupta but not so much with Chandragupta. Of course all of us have learnt that Chanakya was Chandragupta’s teacher, but it is ridiculous to suggest that Chandragupta had no role to play in it.

Another major cringe worthy aspect in the book was the generous usage of famous quotes from ‘Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, quotes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Napolean Bonaparte, Oscar Wilde etc. Imagine Chanakya conversing in these quotes. We say Chankaya penned down Arthashastra, so how does the use of such quotes justify the legend that Chanakya was. This was a major major put off.

The liberal use of words like Bastard, cuntface, arsewipe, fucking puts a frown to your face! More so for a story set in the BC. You certainly don’t want to read ‘fucking’ four times in a fucking sentence.

I was glad that Pandit Gangasagar’s story made a more interesting read than that of Chanakya’s. This reflects the story telling ability of the author.

It was interesting how the author has interwoven the two stories. It certainly makes for a page turning and riveting read. I particularly liked the pen ultimate chapter where the author brings in the Shakti triumphs Shiva factor.

The characterization though brilliant was too one dimensional in both the plots. Chanakya and Gangasagar have been portrayed as the ultimate intellect to have been born on earth and everyone surrounding these characters is a bunch of fools who never seem to understand what’s going on in their master’s mind. Consider this, if Chandni Gupta could have served as Prime Minister for three full terms, how she could be as dumb as it has been depicted, barring her stage skills.

Gangasagar Mishra’s plot gets 1.5 points and the interweaving of the plot gets one

This one is worth a read!

Rating 2.5/5

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

I shifted to Bombay recently. (For those who don’t know yet, I got married on the 5th of May.) I came to this crowded city on June 4th. People who know me well know how much I love Madras. Though I am a Maharashtrian by birth, I grew up in Madras. 23 years. Madras gave me everything.

I liked the slow pace of the city. Contrary to the popular thought and belief, Madras isn’t slow anymore (lets reserve this topic for another day. May be when I decide to put up a blogpost next year. May be I would ve forgotten Madras by then. Never mind.) So Madras gave me everything. I used to live in Mylapore, an area known for its Brahmin population. It was the environment I grew up in. Maamis were strange people. They were also lovely people. At any point in my life, except for the past 3 months, there was a maami who tried to fatten me up with the delicious food she cooked. They were conservative. They used to keep asking my mom why she sends her daughter for cricket coaching. There was this maami next door who used to oil my short hair and who used to coax me in to growing my hair long ‘setha thala mudi a valathuko di’. idhu yena nanna va iruku, payan mari. The neighbours didn’t like me going out with boys, playing cricket with boys, cycling around with boys. Madras was restricting in nature but at the same time gave me equal opportunities that boys would enjoy. I loved Madras because streets are empty in the early morning hours and after 10 PM in the night. I liked to cycle or walk around alone. I have even had the opportunity to see a dead body hanging from a tree at Nageshwar Rao Park. That was scary alright but to me Madras is the safest place in the World.

Of all things, food was a major issue when I moved toBombay. I lived on a dosa and vetha kolambu diet inMadras. And all I get to eat in Bombay is Poha and Rotis and Rotis and more Rotis. Don’t get me started onBombay’s Street Food. I am allergic to potatoes and 80% of the vegetarian food items here are potato based.

And then the crowd factor. There is a face staring in to me wherever I go. I hate crowds and I can’t stand crowds. I hate noise. I can’t stand noise. And Bombay is both crowded and noisy. I must have been the only person to have complained of rains in Chennai. I hate rains. And it is always raining inBombay. I hate taking a train to travel around the city. And that is the only feasible option here. Crowded trains.

So you get the picture. There was nothing really I could like about this city. Every single thing was against my likeness.

But things were to change on July 13th. As it happens, I was stranded at Dadar. Only when I logged in to twitter, I realised that I was close to a place where a bomb had gone off. I was alone. I felt so lonely for the first time. Not to mention, scared. Scared and helpless in a totally different manner. I tried calling my husband but it wont go through. I left him a msg saying I was safe at a friend’s place. There I was standing with people running around helter sketler. I dint know what I should do. Take a taxi home? Walk back home? (of course, home was 10-15 kms away). I knew I could not take a bus or train. So then I finally go to people I know only on twitter. It didn’t even take a minute for help to come through. There was instant support. People were willing to help. People were worried about my safety. Special mention to @preciousness who got in touch with @delhidreams to get my contact number. She then passes my number to @mrssonal who breathes a sigh of relief only after I text her saying “I AM SAFE”. I must mention the police constable who asked me to relax and helped me get to my uncle’s house. I dint even go to him for help. He offered to help. So after I relaxed a bit at my uncle’s place, I wanted to leave home. I wanted to go back home so I could tell my husband what I felt about living in this city. I really wondered if I would be able to get a taxi back home. To my amazement, my uncle came to the roads and stopped cars to find if any of them were going to Worli or close by. I don’t know if people would do that inMadras. And to even more surprise, a lady readily offered to drop me home, though she was going elsewhere. I was astounded. I could not understand the city.

I came back home.

Husband: Did u get scared?

Me: Yes. I have never been this scared in life. This helpless. Heck, I ve never felt this way before

Husband: I am sure you miss Chennai’s peace and calm

Me: You bet I Do

Husband: Silence. This is how it is here

Me: Will my office be closed tomorrow?

Husband: *laughs* No way. Do you want to go back toMadras?

Me: Silence

After an hour, my dad calls up to ask if things have settled down. He asked if I want to shift back to Chennai. I told him I loved this city for the first time since I came down. Not a good day to fall in love with the city. But I think the people are what make this city a beautiful place to live in. The willingness to help (People back in Madras are also helpful. Okay? #OK). I felt a sense of belonging. Bombay suddenly dint seem so new. I felt like I have been in this city forever.  Sure I still love Madras more than any other place, but I thought hating a city because it is a target for terror was inhuman.

Next day –

A dear friend tells me on chat that I should so come back toMadras. I said ‘No, Bombay is home’.

P.S: This post comes straight from my diary

Below are some questions from surekhapillai (An independent PR consultant).  The discussion is on paid news. I have written a short note on my own experience in the Industry

Questions from @surekhapillai on twitter

Q1: suggestions to help distinguish between advertorials and news reports.

Q2: suggestions on practical disclosure norms that could be adopted by media companies.

Q3: suggestions on separating management from the editorial. how to safeguard independence of the editor?

Q4: declaring #paidnews as a corrupt practice or electoral malpractice; making it a punishable offence. what punishment?

Q5: qualifications for selection of media professionals by PCI to form a body to investigate complaints of instances of paid news.

Q6: the report suggests PCI should initially focus only on #paidnews during the last lok sabha elections. do you agree? why/why not?

Q7: how do we educate the voters (and readers in general) to differentiate between #paidnews and balanced reporting?

My experience in the PR industry:

There is a clear line of distinction between paid news and advertorial. Someone who has been in the media/ PR industry can say it apart with just a look.

Advertorial might not be a punishable offence. However, advertorials do bring in a lot of bucks to the media house and this is quiet rampant both in electronic and paid medium. In case of an advertorial, the editor never comes in to the picture. It’s usually the advertisement dept of a media house that looks over such things. An advertorial must clearly state that “It’s a marketing feature’. For example, Times of India has space slotted for ‘HEALTH AND WELLNESS MARKETING’. It’s been a while since I have read Times of India and not sure if it still exists. But let me tell you to get an article of 500 words published in that feature, it costs no less than 2-3 lakhs. When I was new to PR, I always used to mark those articles as ‘Industry news’ for a healthcare client of mine. And my boss would tell me that it does not qualify as NEWS and I don’t have to add it on the report. I saw a recent advertorial (2 page) in tehelka and was curious to know how much it would have cost. I later learnt that it was around ten lak!

Paid news is an offence. This is bound to happen when an organization/CEO/PR agency/PR consultant knows the journalist/editor too well. As a PR person myself I have seen cases where journalists have done stories just for the sake of good will. The client usually calls in for a media dinner, sponsors a foreign trip and gets some coverages done. This was what happened in the classic case of Pyramid Saimira, though it involved other parties as well (SEBI, in this case). The PR agency worked hard to get coverages and show that the organization booming in prosperity because the agency was paid a ransom for PR services. (The PR agencies contacts did help in getting ‘good’ coverage. I am not certain whether they were or not aware of the behind the scene happenings)

In this case however the readers were NOT AWARE that the news is not balanced/true/distorted. The readers certainly trusted the PINK paper. It’s only surprising that the editor never took notice or even suspected as to what went it to the paper.

PAID NEWS is deceit.

A publication should not give away EDITORIAL space for SALE in a way that would look just like a NEWS STORY carried out by special correspondent/principal correspondent.

It’s heartening to see that the PCI has taken steps to keep paid news in check during the elections. That itself is not enough. There are corporates who take advantage of their contacts with the journalist. This has been happening for eons. Only that it has come to light only now. PR people have evolved from propagandists and spin doctors. Depending on the size of corporate, they do have an influence onthe media houses

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?

  • PR needs to be cleaned up first. In an ideal set up there should be a regulating body that should see to it that the most BASIC ETHICS are maintained. A PR agency should only help in being a bridge between the Client and the media representative. All a PR person should do is if a client has anything newsworthy to share, should help set up a meeting with the media body. And then the journalist or reporter or editor should decide whether it is worthy enough to be carried. This is what usually happens. But in case of Nira Radia, she did have a degree of influence and was in touch with the top people and could get her work done. The editor in this case is murkier than the lobbyist/PRO. What goes in to the paper should be decided only by the Editor.
  • PCI should lay down more rules in such a way that the license would be threatened if any case of paid news is reported. They could also rate media houses based on how a media house works. This would certainly restore some quality. There should be separate teams to monitor political and corporate news.The ratings of course should be made public and a detailed report submitted
  • Media houses should realize that they form an important medium and should not lose the TRUST of the people. The roles of advertising and the editorial department should not be confused
  • As per the READER is concerned, it is easy to find out an article that is paid news. The article will surely be imbalanced. If you are wasting your time reading an advertorial/Space marketing feature then its money well spent by the organization. The B & C grade newspapers  indulge in paid news to a great extent. Who gives them the license to function? If they do not have a license, they should be arrested!
  • Large media house have private equities in firms. Has the PCI ever investigated this? They should disclose the percentage they hold in large firms on their website

But hey we have this New Media now and I only hope everyone gets their share of news from this Medium!

Every year during the Navaratri season, so many friendly maamis come home to invite us to see the golu and eat sundal. I was invited by my friendly neighbor, Raji, to take a look at the golu she had set up. She managed to drag me to her place on the last day of navaratiri. I had had enough beer for that day and hoped I do not speak anything that I should not.

Raji’s mom (whom we all fondly call as maami) got me a plate of sundal and a cup of filter kappi. I finished it off in less than five minutes and then thought it won’t look good if I just sit around there tweeting random stuff about sundal. So I decided to have a look at the decorations. Nine-step golu and a play ground and a school and a park and even a cricket field were neatly set. And yes lighting too. The cricket field deserves a special mention with all that plastic grass and all.

However the nine-steps were a delight to look at. And then came a kid from another house and quizzed me on the gods laid on the steps. I managed to get at least 6 right. To prevent further image damage, I decided to make a move.

I gave raji some flowers and decided to leave. By then, Maami and Raji’s grandma came down dressed in a Madisar. I have always wondered how madisar mami’s pee. I was about to ask the patti and by then maama (Raji’s dad) was home. Maami went to the kitchen to perform the most important duty of her life since marriage – to make a heavenly cup of filter kappi.

Coming back to the important point, how do madisar maami’s pee? I had been to a marriage once and saw a madisar patti visit the loo. But how on earth did she pee?

I gathered all the courage and went up to raji’s patti to get an answer for the ever elusive question.

Me: Patti

Patti: Sollu ma.

Me: Indha madisar la neenga yepadi… pee.. adhavdhu.. indha madisar yepadi katikuringa

Patti: adhu rumba easy

Me: Illa yepadi

Patti: Yena yepadi

(by this time, another question came to my mind)

Me: Illa pavada illama yepadi?

Patti: Rajjiiiiii, un frienduku vela irukan de, ava aathuku kelambralam, vethala pakku kudu

Me: Patti, sorry

Patti: Pavada illama dhan madisar kattipa. Indha kalathu ponnungaluku vyavasthaya illa.

Me: Patti, idhu 6 yard madisaara illa 9 yardsa

Patti: 9 yard

Me: *gulp*

By then raji came and nudged me out. I told her what happened. She had a hearty laugh and also thanked me that I did not ask her mom

And I walked out with a Plastic plate, vethala pakku and bananas. But my question remained unanswered. And then i asked several maami ponnus and they confirmed that the madisaar is neatly tucked out and tucked in during micturation. A part of the saree runs between the legs and can only be handled by expert maamis

P.S: This post is in no way an offense to Madisar Maamis. Maamis are the sweetest women.