Saturday, 2 June 2018

Book Review: Mango People in Banana Republic by Vishak Shakti

Book: Mango people in Banana republic

Author: Vishak Shakti


Ravi Bhalerao is a top of the rung business strategy consultant struggling with two disquiets in life – a festering career disillusionment and a festering wound in his posterior. Stung by an unfair performance appraisal, he pulls off an outrageous stunt at his workplace, drops off the urban map and reaches his ancestral land, a village in drought-prone Vidarbha. There he encounters India in its elemental form. Convinced that his destiny is somehow entwined with that of his country, he sets off on a truth-seeking mission. On that mission, he finds love, revolution and most importantly, a redemption for the disquiet in his rear.

Anand is a former physicist on a spiritual quest through esoteric India. He realizes that the path to realization is beset on all sides by gurus, their cults and their boundless quirks. As he hops from one ashram to the other, he grows convinced that liberation does not come with a user manual in a neat little box.

Wrapped in light-hearted, almost tongue-in-cheek prose, 'Mango People In Banana Republic' is a tale of an Indian’s search for personal identity, against the backdrop of a country divided along fault lines of countless social identities. Teeming with a cast of characters and ideas that encapsulate modern India, the tale ascends from the gross to the sublime, much like the Kundalini powers some aspire to acquire. With a steady pace, and gentle mocking humour, this book is an absorbing read and a laugh.


There are not a lot of books which force you to think and think about what you just finished reading. This book was different. At first I thought this is going to be another suspense corporate book but it was much more and much beyond that.

I loved how different kind of genres came together in this book. There was madness, self-help, spiritualism and every other kind of transition a book can get in itself.

The main character was very nicely crafted, he can make many people see themselves in him. The frustration, the want to find the bigger meaning and the never ending fight from yourself. His viewpoint is really commendable. This made the book funny and sarcastic at various turns.

The rediscovering part in the book is my favourite. I got lost in it from time to time. The book is not an easy read. It needs your patience and time and that really pays off.

The writing was mediocre but the narration and execution of the book was good. The pace was easy going and flowy. It made the whole reading venture great.

I can recommend this book to anyone who love books which are genre-less.

About the author:

Vishak Shakti is a writer by compulsion. He writes to vent, to purge, to indulge, and sometimes just for the heck of it. He has written for publications such as MSN India, The Hindu, and Clean Bowled. He thinks that a good book has three essential ingredients – entertainment, artistry and relevance, in that order. 

Buy the book here

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Book Review: The Bitter Pill Social Club by Rohan Dahiya

Book: The Bitter Pill Social Club

Author: Rohan Dahiya

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 314

Price: 399

Witness the private life of the world’s most beautiful animals.

You know exactly who they are. The ones who walk right past club lines, who get what they want before they ask for it. It’s a familiar cast: the centre of attention, the shameless flirt, the loudmouth, the narcissistic writer. You’ve seen them all. You’ve felt their Gucci-anointed aura. Laughing and dancing. Kissing the wrong people at the wrong time. Swaying to their own beat. Going out every night they’re sad. Finding solace in the crowd in a city paved with mildly good intentions and cocaine lines. A city of smooth talkers, armchair activists, and the rich brats of Instagram. A place to talk pop spirituality and purple prose in connoisseur-only jazz clubs.

The Bitter Pill Social Club takes a look at the lives of the Kochhar family, who find themselves drifting apart in the city of djinns, gins, and fake friends wrapped up in cigarette smoke. As one of their own gears up to tie the knot, three siblings come home to the neurotic parents who raised them. Meanwhile the parents face the family patriarch’s constant judgment. Divorce, disappointment, and disasters ensue as the entitled Kochhar brood dodges old lovers and marriage proposals.


This book can take you on a ride to a rich household where every life is tangled in the net so badly that it would need a lot of time and patience to solve the riddle. The book is centered around the life of Sana who goes through different phases of her life in the need to explore and find herself; while going through her life we enter the passageway to take a sneak peek into other people lives too, which are in no way less interesting.

I had a love-hate relationship with the book. I loved the transparency of the book but I didn’t like a lot of other things.

Talking about the transparency I think the author did a good job with it. I could taste every flavor of a rich lifestyle. Without taking the help of lot of brand names and expensive stuff, the author made it possible for the reader to dive in the right corners to experience the shimmery life of the characters. This was mainly a family saga where every life is on fire and every heart is in pain.

If I talk about other things then I found major drawbacks. As a reader I don’t want the book to put me in slump, this book did just that; why, well I think it was because of the execution of the story. There was no timeframe maintained or the sceneries differentiated. We shoot one basket in London and one in Tokyo. It was a mess at one point and it was crystal clear the other moment and in between these phases I lost the interest.

The story line was itself not very strong. I loved the idea of the book but the story was weak, it was bits and pieces of a puzzle but it never came together to achieve the grand result of completion.

Characters were good but not extraordinary. I couldn’t fall for anyone; maybe that was the motive of the author; maybe he needed to form such a chaos where you can’t focus on one person and their life. If that was his prime agenda then I think he was successful. I couldn’t love anyone but I liked everyone. Hassan, Asim, Kama, Geetu, Gayatri, I liked them the most. They had a lot to show us. I didn’t like Sana or Lakshman or Ankit or Surya or Dhiraj; they were annoying.

All in all, I enjoyed the book and I am sure I lay somewhere in the middle of liking and not liking this book. But I would recommend this book to those who needs some inside story of all the happens in the big mansions. It fits perfectly with the background of Delhi; something I could relate to.

·        “Do you want some uncle chips?” He beamed at her, “That’s the best thing anyone’s ever said to me in my life.”

·         “…memories echoing with the faded glamour of old photographs – some nights he’d open the heaviest photo albums.”

·         “She turned back to face the now cavernous foyer that in its silence had become the staying place of all her fears.”

You can buy the book here

Popular Posts