Monday, August 4, 2014

Lost in Pattaya Review: A saga of irony of life

Image source: Google

Book: Lost in Pattaya
Author: Kishore Modak
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Grapevine
Number of pages: 215
Cover Price: Rs 150

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review: “Lost in Pattaya” is a book which can grab the attention of a puritan because of its simple yet arresting cover design. In the age of bubble gum cover designs, it is heartening to see a cover design that is poignant and subtle instead of being in-your-throat.

The book, penned by Kishore Modak, is a painful tale told mostly in flashback mode as a father recounts the loss of his daughter in the city called Pattaya. The man loses years and the prime of his youth in chasing the darkened doors and defamed corners of the ill-famed city to look for his little girl. In the end, it is perhaps the man himself which is swallowed by Pattaya rather than the little child.

The title, therefore, though is directed at the girl who gets ‘lost in Pattaya’ can be taken metaphorically to hint at the father who, in desperate and failed search of his loving child, loses himself. It is his body, soul and mind which get ‘lost in Pattaya’.

The writing is leisurely but the use of language is heavy. Structuring of sentence is good at places, and excellent on occasions. The story somewhat loses its thread in the second half which appears weaker than the first half. However, there is the irony of life and of relationships which are the true heroes of this saga.

I will quote myself and say, “This book is good without being great.”

Should you read it? Yes.

[The review has been written on request by Grapevine Publishers but the opinions are mine]

Ritesh Agarwal

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Goa honeymoon: Will Skyscanner make my dream come true?

I always craved for a Goa trip and those who have read my bucket list are already cognizant of my honeymoon plans. Given that I am at the twilight of my 20s, perhaps the day is not far when I shall allow my nagging parents to get me hitched. Though I may be as recalcitrant as my pet rabbits if I want to (stubbornness is my forte, some say), if I give in to my parent’s wishes, it would be purely because it would be a precursor to a honeymoon I have always held a strong fascination for.
Assuming I will be taking a trip to Goa on 15th May 2015, I just made a rough calculation of my cost via Skyscanner

Kolkata-Goa (return trip): Rs 11,967 per adult. It will be Rs 23,934 for the two of us.

Hotel stay at The Hawaii Comforts; Rs 15,345 for 7 nights

Car booking: Rs 25,336 (Intermediate class)

Total: Rs 52,648

I am in love with nature and it would be a sin to miss out on Goa’s lakes, wildlife sanctuaries and those age-old churches. I am sure my future wife too will cherish sightseeing with me. Since, I will be choosing an economy class for the two-way flight, I felt it only right to book an intermediate car for the sightseeing purpose. After all, my wife should not feel uncomfortable during May’s heat.

Yes, May may not be a great time to go for a honeymoon. But it is a crowd-free month and one which can help save a lot of money.

As shown above, Skyscanner has planned out a 7-day itinerary for me such that my travel, hotel stay and sightseeing plans will boil down to Rs 52,648.

Given that my budget will be only Rs 1 lakh, this rough estimate enables me to plan better and keep aside a substantial sum for shopping, binging, partying and boozing *winks*

Had it not been for Skyscanner, it would have been difficult for me to predict an estimate and I may have holed out more money than I would wish for. 

This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at

Mardaani sisters: The unsung Heroes

This is no piece of fiction. So if you came looking for a spicy story, you arrived at the wrong place. However, the story I am about to narrate is no less inspiring, even interesting and perhaps even as enthralling as a bestselling novel.

I have my mother who at one point of time stayed submerged in chronic depression. With a child on one hand and no means to support on the other, she found herself at a crossroad where all roads led to death. But she fought back every strand of depression, she battled the financial crisis simply by seeking pleasure out of her baby’s smiling face, she weathered the black storm which an unhappy marital life brought, she stayed hungry to feed her child and stayed awake to see him sleep.

At a time when her most convenient option was to surrender to a rope or a bottle of poison, she withstood the vagaries of time and fate hanging on to life with the mere hope that her child would one day grow up and lead a happy life.

She is not a hero because she chose to live; she is a hero because she chose not to die.

And there is her sister (my Masi) who raised her two daughters at a house where she was deprived of running water and electric connection after being deserted by her husband. Her heart must have broken into thousand pieces for all I know but she never let the smile fade out of her face. She raised her daughters and made them proud CAs. She treated me like her son and bought me my first bicycle and my first video game. She perhaps led the most miserable life a wife could lead but it is astonishing how that radiant smile on her face never dissipated.

She is not a hero because she chose to smile; she is a hero because she chose not to cry.

And these two sisters (now pushing towards the twilight of their lives) are the unsung heroes (Mardaanis) of my family, of my life, of my saga. I owe my everything to them.

This is written as a part of I am Mardaani activity exclusively at for Indian Bloggers.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Harry Potter and the secret of online shopping

“Harry, have you checked the cool jackets they are offering at Flipkart,” asked Ron with a wistful look.

“Ha, you seriously need one Ron, scoffed Hermione.

Harry interjected, “Hey wait, look at this what’s written in today’s The Daily Prophet.”

All three heads peered into the newspaper-


“That sounds interesting,” said Hermione and peeked closer to read, “ is the latest shopping portal to hit the town. It won’t be unfair to call it a shopaholic’s treat as it exhibits top deals from all the top online stores.

Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong and more
You can exhaust your wallet and still explore

“Wow, that’s a cool jingle,” Ron looked up with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Wait there is more,” said Harry. “See, what it says.”

·        Browse products from all stores
·        Discover great products
·        Get cashback and coupons
·        See what your friends love
·        Buy products or save them for later

“Ooh, we can check what our friends are buying. I am dying to see what Fred is buying. All the hot girls at Hogwarts fancy him,” sighed Ron.

“Huh, I can smell smoke somewhere,” sneered Hermione.

“Oh as if you are not excited about the cashback offer,’ Ron shot back.
“Ummm ya I am, but I would first like to explore the whole site before deciding on my haul.”

“And Harry what are you planning to buy?”

“I dunno,’ said Harry with a confused look. “I wanted a new wand but I don’t think they will have that. So, I would buy himself some jeans and a pair of shoes. And Dobby was hoping for ten sets of differently colored socks. So ya that’s it.”

“If I were you, I would rather invest my father’s gold in a new bedding,” came a cold drawling voice from behind. “By the looks of your tattered four-poster bed, I can bet all my potions that would be a fantastic place for you to upgrade your room.”

“And Miss Granger,” Snape continued, “I think you better buy a table clock. Your OWL exams are just a few months away. I am hoping that you will not let your grades suffer from the atrocities of Mr. Weasley’s company,” he tossed a lazy derisive look at Ron before walking away.

“That son of a-

“RON, sssshhh,” Hermione pressed his lips.

The soft touch of her finger felt good. To his own surprise, Ron cooled down.

“Ah, do we have a problem here,” strode in Dumbledore with his ever-smiling face.

“Good evening Professor. We are just trying to figure out what to buy from, replied Harry.

“Ah, Baggout. Yes yes, that website has been all over the papers today. Professor Snape himself just ordered a bottle of shampoo and I think Mrs. Gonagall is eyeing a beautiful new gown for the Yule Ball,” he winked.

“Can you suggest anything for me Sir,” asked Harry hopefully.

“Harry dear, why don’t you explore what’s Trending NOW. The section is for newbie like you. It will help you to choose from an eclectic variety of merchandize. Go have fun. Meanwhile, I will go see if they have a good set of razors. My beard is becoming rather unmanageable these days.”

“Eclectic- now what does that mean,” asked a puzzled Ron.

“RON, it is high time that you open a dictionary,” yelled Hermione and tossed one at his head.

Meanwhile, chuckling loudly, Harry switched on his laptop and began exploring the goodies and deals at

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The lady who loves classics too much

This post is dedicated to Asha Roy, the woman who reads (and loves) classics too much.

Last day she shared a pic with me. The pic described a classic as something which everybody respects but nobody reads. Till a few months back, I used to feel quite devastated at the preferences of the current generation of readers. But I upset myself no more. I have come to realize (call it an epiphany if you want) that classics are too beautiful to be understood by everyone. 

A classic is that rarely beautiful thing which can be appreciated only by those rarely beautiful people. You tell me, can an internet-bred 21st century romance ever be better than Victorian romance? Can Nikita Singh or Ravinder Singh or Chetan Bhagat or Durjoy Dutta (all bestselling authors in their own right) ever be purer than a Jane Austen or a DH Lawrence or an Emily Bronte?

But here comes the chimera. A classic requires a certain level of intellect and patience which not everybody has. Some readers find these voluminous books to be having quite a toil on their grey cells. Some frankly lust after books which move at breakneck speed. For them, the task of sitting through a Tolstoy is going to  be a laborious ask too intimidating to be ever encouraged.

But those who love literature and love it truly will neither find classics daunting nor laborious. Rather they will tremble before its beauty, stunned and elated at having a piece of old treasure on their lap.

This brings to mind a quote by Alfred Gardener I remember from my class 11 days, "If diamonds were as plentiful as pebbles, no one would have stooped to pick them up."

It is the rarity of a diamond that makes it so treasurable. In the same vein, it is the rarity of a true classic lover that makes him/her so delightful a person.

I am, hence, glad to have a friend in this girl. Even though there have been cracks in the friendship and a huge question mark looms over the tenure of the relationship, I am glad that our paths crossed. Over the years, we have had some fascinating conversations which only two true classic lovers could have actually had.

I am not sure of the future of this friendship. Now, it all seems like all those talks happened in a different planet on a different time zone. But come what may, as long as my memory serves me and perhaps till my last breath, I shall cherish these conversations as the most beautiful memories of my life.


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