Book Review: Golden Eyes by Charles Gale

Book: Golden Eyes by Charles Gale Street Hawk Golden Eyes

Rating: 4

As a kid, I’d seen the Street Hawk series on TV and I use to eagerly wait for it every week. It was one of my favorite shows! So when I came by this book, I was eager to read it. My personal experience is that books give a much fulfilling experience than the movie adaptation or a TV show made out of it. So I hungrily delved into the treat. However, I was a bit disappointed. It felt as if the book didn’t come first, which was made into a TV show, it must have been the other way round. I felt as if I was watching one episode of that show.

This particular book dealt with 2 cases, not one, and the ongoing tests on the super bike were as usual. Though both cases are intriguing, the first case is solved by half time. It made me wonder, ‘what now?’
The second case started in the middle of the book and street hawk solves that case too, not to mention, with style. I liked the characters (all of them) and the premise (the job of the hero, work that other characters do for a living, everything felt quite realistic).

I sure would have given this book a rating of 5 if the author had dealt with only one case in this book, or conjoined cases, or intertwined cases, anything. But here, there are two totally different cases and by the middle of the book, I’m pulled out of one intriguing case and plopped into another one, where I have to start using my brain again to solve the mystery before the author reveals it. Not that any of the cases in this book are who-done-it cases, but I like to use my brain nevertheless. By the end of any book I read, I like to savor its taste in my mouth and ponder over it some more. However, with this book, since there were two cases, as soon as I finished reading it, I stopped thinking about the book altogether. I don’t know why it happened, but I guess it may be because it gave me a feeling as if I was watching one episode of the TV show, not reading a book.

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Book Review: The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1)

The Shadow Rises by K.S. MarsdenThe Shadow Rises book cover

Rating: 3

I liked this book. Horror is a genre where a lot of atmosphere building is needed to pull the reader in. Though the first few chapters weren’t a puller, the overall story is brilliant. The author must be commended for that. The story is as intriguing as it is entertaining. I liked the characters a lot and the events that happen were mesmerizing. Interest is built up starting, I think, chapter 4. And half way through the book, I just couldn’t stop reading and read all through the night. The suspense, the tension, the thrill was captured pretty well.

<spoiler> When Sophie comes to Hunter’s place claiming she wanted to be a witch hunter herself, I thought there was something fishy. But, I could never guess what she would turn out to be. I just was suspicious of her motives. So that was a good and surprising twist. </spoiler> Also, the conflicts and motivations of the characters are presented very well.

However, the book could have done with a good editor. There are quite a few grammatical mistakes in the beginning and the end of the book, but a good part (the meat of the story, you can say) has better grammar. I’m specifically mentioning this, because when I started reading, the very first sentence had grammatical mistake and I was kind of put off by it. But, don’t keep the book down, because if you continue reading, it gets better and when you finally finish the book, you’ll be happy you kept reading. 🙂

I also thought the end was a bit abrupt. Even though the threat is neutralized, everybody’s happy, a lot of things still needed a ‘closure’ of sorts. <spoiler> I wanted to see what the council does about Hunter’s ‘special powers’; whether Hunter succeeds in keeping his job or whether he is ‘bound’. If the author thinks it could be tackled in the next book, I think that would work only if this is a short series of books. If it were a long series, it wouldn’t work. The events leading to this conflict have arisen in THIS book, so the outcome of the conflict would look good in THIS book, not the next.

Also, I wanted a closure to Hunter and Sophie’s relationship. What will happen now. Though the writer has put in one sentence what’s in store for them in the future, a bit more explanation would have been better.

And, poor James. We, the readers, never get to know about HIS thoughts when Sophie acts the way she acts with him and later when the big revelation happens. Hunter doesn’t want to kill her, but what are James’ thoughts on it? I like James and I sympathize with him. He’s smart and courageous and always has his feet firmly on the ground. It seems he doesn’t get influenced by power or superiority of others, or even friendship sometimes.

Overall, a good book. Worth a read.

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Ramblings of a turbulent mind

Sometimes you want something so bad in life… well, I don’t know about you, so lemme talk about me. Sometimes, I want something so bad in life that I can’t think about anything else. I don’t know why I become so focused and stuck on that one thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve learned, the hard way, that unless you go crazily after something, you don’t achieve it. But life doesn’t tell you the side-effects of what you learn. Grrr…

They say ‘All good things to those who wait’. Well I want to scream out, “Bullshit!” Sorry about the bad word, but such intense feelings cannot be expressed in sober words.

Why? I say why can’t I have what I want when I want it? I want it so bad, I can barely breathe! My head feels like it’s about to burst.Turbulent Mind

You know when you feel alone the most? Not when there’s nobody beside you. It’s when there is somebody beside you and you can’t share what you’re feeling… your dilemma, your trials, your tribulations, your pain. And I’m not saying that the other person isn’t ready to lend you an ear. Maybe, sometimes, you don’t want to burden them with the load on your shoulders. Even when you are crumbling under the pressure, even when it’s getting too much for you to handle it alone. Should I let the cat out of the box? Or should I keep my lips zipped? To be or not to be… the everlasting dilemma of life… Well, why life has to be so difficult all the time? Can’t it take a break or something? Can’t it stop torturing me for once? Give me a breather?

I sometimes think I know why people love watching movies and go gaga over the heroes. That’s because their life is so shitty, they want to take a breather and take a look at someone else’s life for a change. See how the heroes get in trouble, how they land the girl, how they come out of their tribulations with flying colours, how they make a punching bag out of the villains. Huh! Only if we (sorry, I) could do that! Punch the hell out of my problems… my adversaries… my villains.

Some people say, ‘When life gives you lemons, make yourself a taquila shot’ or something like that. Well, that’s intoxicating! And addictive! So drop that thought, it’ll only kill you, but won’t get you what you desire. But, sometimes I get why people start drinking. Sometimes you feel like numbing your senses enough so you won’t feel the pain. Well, acceptable… but not a solution after all. So what the bloody hell is the solution, then? Why can’t Math find its X?

I know, I know, I’m sounding so immature and impatient right now, not to mention incoherent. But trust the opinion of so many of those who know me to be very mature and very patient that I am. Really. Not bragging, but the first time I wanted something real bad, I waited for it for four long years(!) Then I dropped the idea altogether, lost the hope and even the desire of it, before I was finally rewarded. But you know what? I wasn’t happy… or even satisfied… it was as if someone dangled a bone in front of a dog till he died of hunger, and then threw the bone at the dead dog as a reward for his patience.

For now, the thing that I want, I’ve waited for six years. I feel as if I’ve spent half my life waiting to get what I want… I’m not living my life in its true sense at all, I’m just pushing the minutes by, so my waiting time gets over soon and I finally get rewarded with what I want… whenever that time is set by God to reward me… or if at all… Just wait, wait, and wait… till my will breaks, till my desire dies a painful, gory death. Believe me, it’s not a quick process either. Its like dying of starvation… slow, painful, and lonely.

I can already see some more dark clouds on the horizon… another desire taking shape, another long wait in the offing. Why can’t things move quickly and the time crawl? I don’t want get old with just the waiting. I want to enjoy the things that I desire. I won’t be able to enjoy those things when I get old! Duh! Why can’t life understand such a simple thing?

Now I know, a few people, after reading this post, would question or laugh at my sensibility, my maturity, my (im)patience, my objective or motive, and whatnot. Well, suck it up! Even the strongest of people need to just blow off steam sometimes. They just want to erupt like a volcano, let go, not care for a while about anything in the world but themselves. I know you want to scream out sometimes too… I know your life isn’t as easy and you are also waiting and waiting and waiting to get what you desire. We’re sailing in the same boat here, so don’t mock me, or I’ll push you overboard. Empathize with me, have your own little word-vomit in the comments section if you want, but don’t judge me or judge those who give it a go in the comments section, don’t consider yourself superior to those who lose it sometimes. Because YOU are one of us. Nobody in this world has a smooth sailing, peachy life with no troubles at all. So join hands and allow someone to vent out for once and listen patiently. Just listen…

Ah, that felt so good! Letting off steam like that. Having a word-vomit. I know this isn’t a solution either, like drinking, and I still have to wait to realize my dreams and not just wait, but also work my ass off to bring my dreams to life. But at least now I get the strength to hold on just a bit longer… a few more days perhaps. Maybe I should stop dreaming altogether… that will erase the problem, right? Stop hoping and just live my life one day at a time… Right? Without expectations? Without demands? Maybe that would work, right? I should try that I guess. I would try that, I guess. Right…

Tell me if you go through similar situations in life and want to scream your heart out till a glass breaks somewhere… or is it just me? Also tell me if you found a way out of such a dilemma or such a turmoil, and how you implemented the solution, if at all.

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Bearing a Child in the Cold Corporate World

English: Aishwarya Rai at film festival

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Corporate world has recognized the importance of hobbies and extra-curricular activities as being very beneficial to productivity. This is the reason why they provide stress-relieving facilities like Tennis/Badminton courts, swimming pools, sauna, common rooms, billiards/pool tables, libraries and whatnot. Companies in some countries even allow a nap, because they’ve found it boosts productivity. Companies strive to bring down the stress level of their employees, so their quality of work & productivity is not hampered. Employees are encouraged to have hobbies as they help in stress-relieving.

This said, everyone who has kids, know for a fact that kids are the best stress-busters, especially when they are young. Pregnancy is the best thing that can happen to a couple, as it progresses life, it progresses one’s name even after he/she is gone, not to mention, it brings a joy to life that cannot be filled or replaced by any other thing. I would like to point out that it brings joy to two people at a time – the Mother as well as the Father. Thus, stress-relieving is achieved for both of the working couple and their parents if they’re still working. When the kids grow up, they add to the workforce, hence contributing to the next generation of workers and managers.

Now, I would like to quote this real life experience of this hard working lady who became pregnant and would come to work daily for the first 7 months. At 7 months, her doctor advised her not to travel anymore. So, she got permission from office to work from home. She worked regularly from home and put in the stipulated man-hours till the 9th month, post which, it was impossible for her to work. When she rejoined office, she was given the lowest performance rating, NO increment, NO bonus, and to top it all, her lower rating also affected her chances of promotion.

Do you think the way she was treated was fair? Before you answer this question, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that giving birth is a very painful process. It has been widely accepted and proved that it is a pain that breaches the human capacity of endurance. Though I understand that unless one goes through the grind himself, one cannot understand the pain the other is experiencing, but pain itself is universal. Everyone knows pain and how it can incapacitate us, both at the time of pain and during the recovery period. So, why shouldn’t consideration be given to ladies in this case? After all, she is bearing the pain (undesired pain, because nobody ‘desires’ pain), so the whole family could have a stress-buster where they can relieve their whole day’s tension & stress. So, she’s not only helping the current generation & the companies indirectly improve productivities, but also generating the next line of ready workforce.

When Aishwarya Rai Bachchan became pregnant, a renowned film director gave a very derogatory statement. He said, “Women shouldn’t go ahead and make themselves look ugly. Women look good only when they maintain their figure.” Does this mean that women are only for the purpose of men’s entertainment and “use”? Is this chauvinist mentality not evident in the rapes that are happening every day? In the atrocities against women that happen on a daily basis?

Being a working and ambitious lady, if I decide that since giving birth is affecting my career, I shouldn’t give birth to a child, would these same companies survive the next generation? New generation is not only becoming your workforce, but they also are going to be your products’ consumers. Corporate world also recognizes the importance of encouragement to employees. That’s why they have incentives, certifications & competitions in place, is it not? If you give inferior treatment to ladies and ‘discourage’ them from being pregnant by inversely affecting their careers, then there would come a day when very few or rarely any lady would opt for having children. A trend has already started that since married women are expected to earn while taking care of the family and house, women are refraining from getting married. If the same tendency continues, not only would they not marry, but also won’t opt for children. And children cannot be manufactured in factories like commodities. Then let’s  see how these same companies, the markets, the world economy and the human race itself survives the next 100 or so years.

For life to continue and flourish, women need encouragement and consideration. If it is not given, the free woman of today may decide to take matters to the next level and the companies will be left with old and very old workforce to cater to old and very old customers.

Posted in Bullying, Childbirth, Corporate Life, Discrimination, Help, Hope, Inspiration, Pregnancy, Sex Discrimination, Society | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Learnings from a Bank Robbery


bank robbery

Once upon a time a robbery took place in a small town. The robber shouted to everyone: “All of you don’t move, because the money belongs to the state, but your life belongs to you”.

Everyone in the bank laid down quietly.

This is called “Mind Changing Concept –> Changing the conventional way of thinking”.
One lady lay on the table provocatively, the robber shouted at her, “Please be civilized! This is a robbery and not a rape!”

This is called “Being Professional –> Focus only on what you are trained to do!”
When the robbers got back, the younger robber (MBA trained) told the older robber (who is only primary school educated), “Big bro, let’s count how much we got”. The older robber rebutted and said, “You’re very stupid. There’s so much money; why to count? Tonight the TV will tell us how much we robbed from the bank.”

This is called “Experience –> nowadays experience is more important than paper qualifications!”

After the robbers left, the bank manager told the bank supervisor to call the police quickly. The supervisor says, “Wait, wait, wait, let’s put the 5 million we embezzled into the amount the robbers robbed”.

This is called “Swim with the tide –> converting an unfavorable situation to your advantage!”

The supervisor says, “It will be good if there is a robbery every month”.

This is called “Killing Boredom –> Happiness is most important.”

The next day, TV news reported that 100 million was taken from the bank. The robbers counted and counted and counted, but they could only count 20 million. The robbers were very angry and complained, “We risked our lives and only took 20 million, while the bank manager took 80 million with a snap of his fingers. It looks like it is better to be educated than to be a thief!”

This is called “Knowledge is worth as much as gold!”

The bank manager was smiling and happy because his loss in the CINOPEC shares were now covered by this robbery.

This is called “Seizing the opportunity –> daring to take risks!”




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Writing Practice or “Free Writing”

English: Portrait - Charles Dickens Polski: Po...

English: Portrait – Charles Dickens Polski: Portret Karola Dickensa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being an avid reader, I know the importance of fine and powerful writing skills that touch the readers’ hearts and penetrate it. However, after releasing my first book – an amateur detectives’ adventure fiction – I realized that I had a looong way to go before I even matched my own reading standards! 😀 So, I have been trying to learn the ‘art’ and the ‘science’ of writing, improve my writing skills.

Well, here’s something that I wrote to practice ‘pacing’ and ‘symbolism’:

Dheeraj woke up in a dimly lit room and looked around hazily. A king-sized bed, on which he lay now, felt comfortable. A single door, no windows, no cupboards, but only a side-table on which perched a glass showpiece – a bird that dipped its beak into some pink liquid and came up, dipped it again, then came up again. As Dheeraj tried to remember where he was -gathered his bearings, a wall clock indicated ten past four but there was no way to tell whether it was daytime or night. It felt peaceful and Dheeraj listened carefully to the silence around – nothing seemed threatening, but then why was there a gnawing feeling in the pit of his stomach? Why did his heartbeat quicken so? Confused, curious, yet hazy, he pulled himself to his feet and steadied himself – why his head swayed he had no idea – and then made his way gingerly towards the door. The molded glass bird dipped its head, then rose up again. Dheeraj extended a hand to the doorknob, half expecting the door to be locked. After a tentative pause, he turned it. Click! It wasn’t locked after all. With the tick-tick of the clock slowing dramatically, he opened the door a crack and peered out. Suddenly, his brain reverberated with a shrill, white noise. Jumbled pictures of the recent past rushed back to his mind. Like a tsunami. Engulfing. Overpowering. Terrifying. He had banged the door shut. Or did he? Oh God! Did the giant covering the door hear the noise? Run! Hide! Dheeraj dashed to the king-sized bed. Ducked below it. Pulled the bed-sheet to cover the side view. Did the door open? Dheeraj’s ears had suddenly become very sharp. As if his life depended on it! But the darn heartbeat had grown so loud.

Tell me how you liked it, whether it created any suspense, any interest in reader’s mind to go on reading further, or if you have any feedback about this piece. And do share any points of improvement (negative feedback), because it’ll only help me improve.

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The Photographs in my Book

As committed earlier, I’m posting the photographs used in my book, The Valentine’s Day Clue, along with the description I’ve added for each. (*Please note that all these pictures n’ photographs, as well as the description provided herein are copyrighted):

Road in Chapter 6, Book 1

Priya grew nervous. “W-Why are we stopping here?” she asked cautiously. Even though it was daytime, this patch of the road was still a bit deserted. ________________________________________________________________

The Dilapidated Mansion

As Tushar’s manner changed and he started looking both sides furtively, Sandy’s attention was arrested. A few minutes of walking had brought the duo to a deserted area. A ramshackle building now loomed up ahead, and Sandy made an abrupt halt. But just then, something hit his head hard from behind, and he collapsed into darkness! ________________________________________________________________

Katraj Zoo and Lake - book version

“What are you d-?”

“Shush! See those men driving ahead of us?” Sandy whispered. “The one sitting behind is Tushar.”

“Don’t tell me!” Raj was immediately hooked…

But it all happened so quickly, that for a moment the boys simply stood rooted to the spot, baffled. Then suddenly the frenzy started. The bike-rider was coming back in their direction!

“Run! Hide!” Raj whispered urgently. ________________________________________________________________

Stone Steps

Here, the water level had depleted drastically and Sandy could walk easily. Groping his way about, his fingers touched a slit, and he tugged at it. At first it didn’t budge. But then suddenly, with a huge rattle, a door swung inward, he was blinded with a very bright white light, and his stomach lurched with fear. Scrambling frantically through the opening, he ran up a short flight of stairs, and came out in the open before starting to breathe again. ________________________________________________________________

Open Water Storage Unit in Stone

Then came a second realization followed by another adrenalin rush — Tushar must’ve heard the clatter, and he might come to investigate! As a rabbit, Sandy hopped over the rock structure and bounded into the street. Once there, he hid himself behind a parked car, his trousers dripping wet, and stood watching the recently opened rock door. ________________________________________________________________

Open Water Storage Tank 2

Even though he felt weak and wanted to go home and rest, Sandy really wanted to find out what that scraping noise was. ‘I will revive eventually…’ he told himself.
Determined as ever, he cautiously approached the source of the sound. Before long, he saw a flicker of a light in the distance and hurriedly switched off his own flashlight. ________________________________________________________________

Open Water Storage Unit in Stone 2

Instead of getting the answers to the known puzzles, new questions were popping up like bubbles. Sandy waited there, watching and thinking, when suddenly he realized that a lot of time had passed and that he should get going and warn Raj before it’s too late. ________________________________________________________________

Dagadu Sheth Halwai Ganapati

The next time the ball came to him, he kicked it to the other side of the house. Here, the kids couldn’t see him, and he got a chance to go nearer to the house. He noticed that the window, which was open the other night, had been screened with newspapers now. He neared it and saw that the screening newspaper had a crease in one corner. He peeked through the small gap and found that the TV-like shapes he’d seen the other night were actually computers. He could clearly see the screen of one of them. It showed the panoramic frontal view of the Dagadu Sheth Halwai Ganapati Mandir! ________________________________________________________________

Alandi Palkhi

“Alandi’s palkhi?!” Sandy broke in. “Isn’t that too big to steal? I mean, how can someone steal something that big… and still be successful in hiding it for more than a month?!” ________________________________________________________________


Now, the sounds had become very complicated and confusing. There was a lot of shouting mingled with the wind howling and whistling loudly. Even though it was night time, the full moon’s light was falling directly on the face of the cliff and before long, the boys spotted two figures engaged in a hot scuffle somewhere in the middle of it. ‘Oh, gosh!’ a stab of fear pierced Sandy’s heart. ‘Is one of them Raj? Is he being pushed off a ledge?’
The boys rushed to the base of the cliff, and soon enough, one of the figures tumbled, and flailing his hands in the air, came down like a rock with a loud, sickening shriek!

Posted in Crime, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Photography, Pune, Research, Society, Writer, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Adventures in Researching for Writing

What can a writer do to confirm a theory he/she has written about? Here’s what I did:

For the first book in the detective adventure series that I’m writing, I had a situation where the protagonist, Sandy, is tied with his hands behind his back. For that scene, I needed him to free himself. But as many of you would agree, and I realized, it’s a difficult situation to get out of…

So, in order to find a way, for the sake of my protagonist, I decided to try it myself. I put myself in a similar situation and tried to get out of the bonds. But no matter how much I tried, this way or the other, I couldn’t do it! 😦 I was disheartened. Pensive. I needed Sandy to free himself without anybody’s help, and my ‘practical’ hadn’t worked… Sadly enough, I was left with no other option but to change the scene (you see, though I’m writing detective fiction, my characters are not super-humans or humans with superpowers… they have to come across as the regular Joe’s we see and meet everyday).

But then I remembered that Sandy is a trained gymnast! This was a ray of hope, and I set out in search of a person who is a gymnast-in-making. I wanted to see if such a person could achieve this difficult feat.

And one day, there comes my cousin sister’s daughter bounding up the stairs like a butterfly. She is training to be a gymnast and has recently been selected for Nationals! So, I put my predicament in front of my cousin sister. And God, was that an awkward moment! Luckily, my sister readily agreed to try it on her daughter, and bingo! She did it!! She actually could do what I’d written Sandy would do to free himself! I couldn’t believe that the theory I’d written about, the theory I was desperately trying to confirm for the past many weeks, was right after all. Whew! (mopping my brow)

I must say that just like reading, writing has its thrills! 😀

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Your Story 2

Here’s another picture from my 1st book, The Valentine’s Day Clue, without description. As said earlier, a picture, without explanation, can mean different things to different people. So, write your story for the picture below and post it in the comments section, OR, you could reblog (Press This) this post with your story.  Either way, have fun and share with us what story this picture conveys to you:

* Please note, these pictures are copyrighted.

P.S.: After I’m done with all the pictures, seeking your stories on them, I’ll share what ‘I’ have written about these pictures in my book. :-p

Do check out my first post in the series: Your Story/Thoughts Inspired by a Photograph


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Your Story/Thoughts Inspired by a Photograph

This post is inspired from another blogger: sethsnap

He is a photographer and posts his thoughts on photography. He says that one image, without explanation, can mean different things to different people. That a simple picture can tell a complete story. Inspire an entire book!

I think it’ll be fun to read the different thoughts/short stories that are inspired by a single image without description. So, I’m starting a series where I’ll be posting the pictures from my 1st book, The Valentine’s Day Clue, without description. Let’s see what you all think about them… whether those pictures inspire you to write a story or a book. 😉

You could write your story for the picture below and post it in the comments section, OR, you could reblog (Press This) this post with your story.  Either way, have fun and share with us what story this picture conveys to you:


P.S.: After I’m done with all the pictures, seeking your stories on them, I’ll share what ‘I’ have written about these pictures in my book. :-p

Posted in Inspiration, Photography, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments