Thursday, 30 October 2014

God is a Gamer - Book Review

When Blogadda sent me this book for review, I had very high expectations. I have already read and reviewed Ravi Subramanian's Bankster and it was a very thrilling and 'hard to put down' read.I expected nothing less from his current novel.As I started reading this book, I was convinced that the book would live up to my expectations.

The story line starts with a prologue -the the meeting between the President of Master Card International and the CEO of Visa International.And this happens in  2009 in New York, where some important decisions are charted out.

The actual story starts with the murder of Gillian Tan in Washington DC while on his way to meet the President who also happens to be his pal. From there the story travels to New Delhi,Mumbai, Goa,New York,Rio and back and forth between these places and more.

The story revolves around the world of bitcoins, a relatively new term for many of us.It is a sort of digital currency that was founded in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto. And more importantly it can be transferred from one person to another at the click of a button without the intervention of any financial institution.

The book has quite a few characters all playing a powerful part in sculpting the story.

Gillian Tan- A person who is very close to the President of the USA and also plays an very important role in the mystery till the end even though he is murdered in the first chapter.
Nikki and Gloria - Gillian Tan's wife and daughter
Aditya Rao - A legend in Indian Banking industry and after 20 years in New York International Bank[NYIB] quit the job and started his own BPO called eTIOS and a gaming company called Indiscape.
Varun - Aditya's long lost son who saves his dads gaming company and pitches it to great heights.
Swami - Trained by Adiya in the early years is a man of good consciousness.
Sundeep - Adiya's protege and his right hand

Malavika - The CEO of NYIB and someone who aspires to be the governor of the RBI by hook or by crook.
Adrian, Dan, Tony and  Kabir Khan play part in investigating the mystery and deaths that surrounds the bitcoins.
Tanya - Malavika's daughter who is not the person she seems to portray.
Josh - [A] Rudra Pratap Ghosh, the person involved in carrying out the ATM heist.

In between these characters you come across a Cotton Trail, an online store that sells everything illegal and takes bitcoins as payment, TOR - The Onion Router ,a free network that maintains online anonymity, an ATM heist ,laptops around the world being hacked for bitcoins even when the device is in sleep mode, the erotic posts of a hooker who confesses a lot on her blog post , murders...

The death or rather murder of Gillian Tan, Swami,Josh[he is shot actually ,not murdered] and Malavika take place at different places yet they are all tied together.

The story is a roller coaster ride from the beginning taking you through so many places and with every chapter you are led to an assumption and later as you read on it turns out that the assumption is false!!

I really did not expect such a twist and turn in the climax and the ending is something I had never anticipated.With each clue / situation turning up I was rooting for the wrong person!!

Who is the real Satoshi Nakamoto and how is he related to some of the characters? Are Varun and Tanya really in love? Why are the people murdered and what is their role in the scams? Or are they really involved in any of the scams?How does Aridan Scott and Kabir Khan find the clues and close in on the person behind the murders and the scams?The truth about Gloria,Varun,Tanya and much more is for you to be find out .

It all seems that many things happened coincidentally but as you read on you will realize what has been going on! I really don't want to spoil the fun here.So grab a copy and read on ...

The best part of the reading this novel is that you cannot put it down till you reach the last page. I finished it in one sitting , late in the night and sleep just seemed to be far off when there was so much happening in the story.

The plot is so good and the story has everything from politics, money laundering, aspiration for power, love, lust,online banking scams, bitcoins,murder,an online store selling illegal stuffs,a bunch of secrets carefully kept away from the other characters and all this makes it a thrilling read.

On the other hand, there are a few things that I keep wondering.Like the whole bunch of money that was recovered when Josh's apartment was raided and what became of it. The malware that attacks the laptop even in sleep mode/switched off, is it possible!?

Setting these small differences apart, this is a really good read and I recommend this to anyone who loves thriller. I am sure you will enjoy every bit of this book.I would gladly give it a 4/5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Happy browsing....

Friday, 24 October 2014

Peanut Chaat | Healthy Snack Recipe

The festivity has not yet died down in my neighborhood. I can still hear the crackers outside. The house is filled with sweets and savories from the Diwali celebrations and suddenly no one is in a mood to tuck in those delicacies!

Even though there a few sweets and savories that I have in my drafts that I made for Diwali,I am here to post a healthy recipe for Blogging Marathon #45, Week4 with the theme Healthy tea time snacks.

 Peanut is one of Lil Angel recent craze and she loves the piping hot roasted ones that are sold in the carts near the markets.Then I thought I should introduce her to my childhood favorite - steamed peanuts.So I got a bag of raw peanuts and made this chaat for her and she went crazy over it!

Chaats usually don't follow a recipe / quantity/ procedure, so I am giving you the list of ingredients that can be added to suit your taste.

I used:

Raw peanuts
Salt to taste

Add ons...

Finely chopped onion
Finely chopped tomato
Chaat masala
Black pepper powder
Black salt / Kala Namak
Lemon juice

Coriander leaves to garnish

Pressure cook the peanuts in plenty of water adding salt. I cooked in for 3 hisses / 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Remove the peanuts from the shell and keep aside.

In a bowl, take the boiled peanuts and put in the add ons. Toss gently to mix and serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Craving for some more Chaats? Click here to indulge....

Bon Appetit...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Thulasi Kashayam | Holy Basil Tea for Cough and Cold

This was the post that was supposed to to have been featured first in this the theme -Home remedies for BM #45, Week 3 mainly because this recipe was the one that gave me a sort of confidence to stick on to home remedies even after tons of medicines failed to do their jobs.

I was suffering from a haggling cough for almost a fortnight and the antibiotics did not seem to work. I was so fed up that I gave up on those meds and made this concoction. And the result was definitely something that I was happy with!

Since then I have been making this and giving my kids when ever I see the first signs of cold and cough.And surprisingly the kids don't mind taking this instead of the meds.

If you have a Holy Basil plant in your garden , then that's all you need along with a few kitchen staples.

I used:

Holy Basil leaves /Thulasi - a handful
Ginger- a 2" piece
Pepper- 1 teaspoon
Ajwain / Carom seeds-1 teaspoon
Palm sugar / palm candy to sweeten the concoction

Wash the thulasi leaves and discard the twigs.Use only the leaves.
Using a motor and pestle make  a coarse paste of all the ingredients except the sweeter .
Bring to boil 2-3 cups of water and add the ground paste and simmer till it reduces to 3/4 its original quantity.Remove from heat. Strain and add the sweetener.

Sip this while it is still hot so that it is more effective. This can be had in small quantities throughout the day.

  • Sometimes I add honey instead of palm candy and the kids love it this way.
  • Do not add sugar as it is really not a good substitute. Use honey / palm sugar / palm candy

Disclaimer : This is not a medical advice. This remedy has worked for me. If symptoms persist consult your physician.

Bon Appetit...