Books This Weekend: Ads, friends, Gurugram and pollution

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Gurgaon Diaries

New Delhi–Know of interesting stories from the advertising sector and things you didn’t want to know about the hits, the misses, and the banned; read about gossip-driven friendship of four women and see what happens when it is tested; get a humorous peek at the workings of a modern-day village — Gurugram; and flick through the tale of two teens who are at war against pollution.

IANS bookshelf offers a bunch of interesting reads this weekend.

1. Book: Stark Raving Ad; Author: Ritu Singh; Publisher: Hachette; Price: Rs 350; Pages: 274
For centuries, Indians have been asking all kinds of questions — about the meaning of life, our place in the cosmos, why we have so many gods and other such vital things. In the last hundred-odd years, marketing and advertising has given us none of those answers. What it has given us, nonetheless, is life-altering stuff.

It has attempted to make men “fair and handsome”. It has battled to make women “18 again”. And to both men and women, it has given tinder loving care.

It has made us realise that we like pizza — as long as Dominos puts keema dopyaaza on it and tempts us with — “Hungry kya?” It has made us re-evaluate our life choices and ask thought-provoking questions like “Kitna deti hai?” of our cars and “Kya aap Close-Up karte hain?” of our toothpaste.

In short, it has enriched our lives with quirky quips and clever (and, at times, outrageous) turns of phrase, unforgettable mascots, all-out Battles of the Brands, eye-popping insights and lump-in-the-throat moments, while feeding our addiction to controversies and virtual worlds.

2. Book: Foursome; Author: Natasha Diddee; Publisher: Notion Press; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 241
Tara Narang is freshly divorced. Arpita Bhatia is a cliched South-Delhi daughter-in-law. Upasana Qazi is in a live-in relationship. Sana Chopra is a serial dater.

The gossip-driven friendship of these four women is truly tested when, over the course of a fateful evening, catastrophic secrets are revealed that makes them question how well they really know each other.

Their lives are now twisted and intertwined in ways that they never imagined. Can these women piece their lives back together and become a true Foursome?

Gurgaon Diaries

3. Book: Gurgaon Diaries; Author: Debeshi Gooptu; Publisher: Rupa; Price: Rs 295; Pages: 225
Modern-day Gurgaon was Guru Dronacharya’s village — a gift from the Pandavas and Kauravas for training them in military arts. While the legends of the mythical village are woven around the warrior mystic, the Millennium City, as it stands today, owes its rapid growth to globalisation, outsourcing and the BPO boom.

From swanky malls and skyscrapers to pothole-ridden roads where gleaming Mercedes vie for space with rickety rickshaws, from voluptuous North Indian ladies and brawny local men to rotund Bengali mashimas, from designer stores and Starbucks coffee to roadside vans peddling chole bhature — Drona’s village is riddled with contradictions, both hilarious and poignant, irreverent and bittersweet.

4. Book: Nature’s Confession; Author: J.L. Morin; Publisher: Harvard Square; Price: Rs 805; Pages: 284
When a smart-mouthed, mixed-race teen wonders why the work that needs to be done pays nothing compared to the busy work glorified on “Holovision News”, the search for answers takes him on the wildest journey. Their planet is choked with pollution. They can’t do anything about it — or can they?

With the girl of his dreams, he inadvertently invents living computers. Just as the human race allows corporations to pollute Earth into total desolation, institute martial law and enslave humanity, the two teens set out to save civilisation.

Can they thwart “polluters” of Earth and other fertile planets? The heroes come into their own in different kinds of relationships in this diverse, multi-cultural romance. Along the way, they enlist the help of female droid — Any Gynoid — who uncovers cutting-edge scientific mysteries.

Their quest takes them through the Big Bang and back. Will “Starliament” tear them from the project and unleash intelligent life’s habitual pollution, or will youth lead the way to a new way of coexisting with nature?

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