Book Review Treat: 37+ Grace Marks by Vishal Anand

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It appears that Vishal Anand was inspired by Chetan Bhagat’s 5.0 Someone since the setting of both the stories are prestigious engineering institutes where the students get admission after much slogging in achieving academic excellence in schools and preparation for entrance examination in there institutions.  The students are motivated to get admission in these institutes primarily to fulfil the heightened ambitions of the parents or their own ambitions caused due to peer pressure.  However, soon after getting in, they lose academic interest and find pleasure in wine and women.

In this story, the protagonist while lost in the pleasures in the company of friends, gets enamored by the beautiful classmate Nimisha brooding over whom, loses opportunity to excel in studies and barely manages to scrap to next semesters with the help of grace marks.

Spurned by the girl, he tries to focus onto other girls, but by then he clearly understands that he is actually in love with the girl Nimisha but there is no way to win the heart of the girl.

His association with Muthu meanwhile helps him to realize his goal for achieving excellence even  though it  is too late.  He makes an attempt on his life but is saved by the timely call of his father who expresses his love and faith in him.

Heroic qualities is heightened thereafter and he makes up for the loss for the lost opportunities and regains the trust and faith of his lost love interest, Nimisha.

Even though the plot is clichéd, yet the characterization is good.  The story ends with a positive vibe without being preachy.  The language is simple but sustained interest to the last.

 Overall a good read.

 

Book Review Treat: “Demons in My Mind: When Mind Becomes Your Biggest Enemy” by Ashish Gupta

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Demons in My Mind: When Mind Becomes Your Biggest Enemy” by Ashish Gupta is a novel which can easily cut through the clutter of contemporary authors flooding the market with light-fluffy stuff. It’s a good, intellectual as well as an interesting read which challenges the reader and brings forth some very pertinent questions in a quite entertaining way. The book deals with heavy questions of criminal psychology and how a criminal should be viewed and treated in a society.

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This book is very well written. It is divided into various sub plots, all woven very intricately and flowing in a sequence so it can provide enough suspense and build up to the reader.

The main protagonist, Dakshesh is shown to be at the last stage of cancer nearing a painful death. To be relieved of this malady, this pain, he asks his comrades to take him to three powerful mystics who seem to be the only ray of hope for an escape from this dreary end. The story seems to be going on a spiritual turn just when the twists are brought in, rather very cleverly, and these three are shown to be in real hardened criminals. They narrate their stories to Dakshesh and how they came to a fork in the road in their lives  on meeting Alia, a homeless girl, when they made the decision to leave their dark pasts behind and move to a better path.

These three monks bring with them a lot of variety as all three belong to three different religions- Rizwaan, a Muslim; Murli, a Hindu and Joseph, a Christian. The issues they dealt with are also different and each equally dark in their own ways. One was a murderer, the other a rapist and the third, a lover turned torturer. The differences brought out with so much dexterity point to the fact that crime in fact has no religion, and religion rarely does determine the path a person takes. It is more often the circumstances, the struggles and state of mind of the person embarking on the dark and dangerous path of crime.

The author manages to highlight very important factors that bring a person to such a path: the control of mind over a person or a person over their mind? Once you enter the dark path is there ever really an escape? Hallucinations and misjudgements or clarity and cutting through illusions: which does a person choose and where does the choice lead him to?

Though no one could relieve Dakshesh of his physical pain, yet, listening to their stories relieves him of hid mental and emotional agony as the nature of their minds makes him come face to face with nature of his own mind and the issues plaguing a society at large.

Overall, this is a very well written, fast paced novel. Though the plot seems simple, in reality it is not as there are so many sub plots interwoven beautifully, adding a very unique touch to the story. The plot is very unique and interesting to read, and the author must be commended for developing it so well.