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The Associate – A Compelling Page Turner

The Associate begins by introducing readers to the dull life of a young law student, Kyle, intent on pursuing community service and coaching a basketball team. The story takes a sudden turn as Kyle’s college misadventure comes to haunt him. An incriminating video involving Kyle and his friends come into the possession of ruffians who manipulate him into accepting a position in an established law firm, Scully & Pershing. What is so difficult in taking up a job in a coveted legal firm that pays an enormous amount of money? Kyle is asked to steal secrets from the firm that could land him in prison, thus tarnishing his reputation forever. He would still be ruined if the video is ousted by his tormentors. Does Kyle’s background and his sense of justice guide him towards the right path? Or does he succumb to the pressure of his blackmailers and take his chances on stealing the documents?

The novel has an exciting plot and one does not want to put it down. One also wonders about the lives of young legal associates in big firms. Are their lives as difficult as it is made to be? The firm’s big shots even take the liberty of advising associates to renounce their personal pleasures for big money and big clients. The language used in describing ruffians is predictable, as they always give a ‘fake smile’. Kyle’s boss is also a ‘bad guy’ as he displays false sympathy.

As in some of John Grisham’s novels, this one also deals with outlaws having no identity, numerous passports and who never get apprehended. ‘The Associate’ makes you thirst for another chapter as the name of Kyle’s mysterious colleague who passes information to the blackmailers is never revealed.

Jeffrey Archer’s Danny Cartwright

Is the present day hero an embodiment of virtues? Not necessarily, as he is more practical, turns to deception and relies on opportunism. It is proved by Danny Cartwright, the protagonist, in ‘A Prisoner of Birth’. Danny acts with opportunism when he takes the place of Sir Nick Moncrieff. Though big Al insists on impersonation, the decision is Danny’s. He also does not make an attempt to ascertain the facts behind Moncrieff’s death despite his being a confidant of the deceased. Danny Cartwright also cheats on his long-term girlfriend with a stage actress. Ultimately, it turns out that Sir Moncrieff has conveniently transferred all his wealth to Cartwright. One wonders if Nick knew of his impending death or has lost all interest in life!

Novels and movies have increasingly turned pragmatic so that the audience relate to the plot. No longer is the hero an epitome of honesty, generosity and good manners. He is but a human who displays traits of both the good and the bad. The sensitive reader has to take solace in the fact that the means justify the end.

Kahi Bekhayal Hokar – A Song for the Night

This amazing song by Mohd. Rafi takes you a strange land of wonder. The soulful music, with its old world charm, draws you to the imaginary streets of Lucknow or Agra. You empathize with the singer as he confesses to his intoxicated longing for women. His voice flows smoothly, softening your thought process. The instruments used here are not far behind as they bring about a feeling of tranquility. Listen to it before sleeping or while traveling alone in the night. You will find yourself replaying it over and over again. If you want to get away from the hardships of the world, this is the song for you!

Kahi Bekhayal Hokar

Twilight Novel – What fascinates women?

Why can’t women get enough of Twilight and its subsequent novels? It is a depiction of a woman’s idealistic fantasy and her dreams of a perfect man, taking the form of Edward. The hero is everything that a girl carves for! He is the strongest, the most handsome and above all, selfless in his love for the error-prone, normal Bella. While many women tend to overlook the first two attributes, they commonly desire the latter trait. Tender, unconditional and exclusive love! That a temptress exists in his house and given his ability to materialize in any room, Edward stubbornly refuses to take advantage. He even shies away from intruding on the thoughts of Bella’s friend who is trying out a new costume. He is jealous of Bella’s admirers and over protective to the extent that he worries about her every second. However, he relents when she insists that she cannot break ties with Jacob.

How many ‘real men’ have traits that match up to Twilight’s famous fantasy hero? While some of them may be reasonably caring and also exclusive, selflessness is an attribute that is rarely found. Normal men are easily prone to irritation and impatient in dealing with their partners. Are these realities pushing more and more women into a world of fantasy where they can realize their dreams through another woman? A world where old world charm and chivalry co-exist with today’s equal rights for women.

What turns off men?

Twilight’s forceful description of Edward’s looks and beauty could put off men. A lot of adjectives have been devoted to this subject where a single sentence would have sufficed. The lack of action and unreality could also turn men away. To be fair, a vampire could easily accomplish things that normal people would struggle to do. The missing element of suspense and thrill in the novel might also lead to boredom. Bella’s vulnerability and charm might have impressed Mike, Tyler and Eric, but the ‘real men’ fail to notice.