Dec 24, 2012

Blind and Deaf Sea Captain

“You made a big deal about saying things aren’t exactly what they seem, but who’s to say that concentrating on your goals doesn’t change probability?”

“Go on,” he said.
“Okay, imagine you’re a sea captain but you’re blind and deaf. You shout orders to your crew, but you don’t know for sure if they heard the orders or obeyed them. All you know is that when you give an order to sail to a particular warm port, within a few days you are someplace warm. You can never be sure if the crew obeyed you, or took you to some other warm place, or if you went nowhere and the weather improved. If, as you say, our minds are delusion generators, then we’re all like blind and deaf sea captains shouting orders into the universe and hoping it makes a difference. We have no way of knowing what really works and what merely seems to work. So doesn’t it make sense to try all the things that appear to work even if we can’t be sure?”

Oct 16, 2012

Thundergod... a tale of intrigue...

Hindu mythology is full of deities. Some larger than life, some as close to life as any, some full of mischief and some so grand that they seem unattainable. Some are well adored and some so miss-forgotten that they not even exist in daily worship. No matter what standing a deity has, I am pretty sure if someone was to write a novel/book; there won't be a dearth of choice. So, I was a bit intrigued when I saw the title "Thunder god`"...coz in my mind, Lord Indra (or Devraj Indra), though interesting was not really a hero material. At least not the type of hero that the summary at the back page was referring to.

Rajiv G Menon, is a name that was not known or heard before I picked up the novel, which was not surprising coz this is his first book, but “now” I am looking forward to the next installment. Which is not going to be an easy feat, as the copy that was sent to me was pre-release bound proof only. L

Coming to the actual review… my congratulations to author who manages to create a tale that is interesting, fast paced and with enough elements of action, thriller, suspense and romance that it keeps the reader hooked. The characters are sound and come across clearly which is an astounding feat to achieve for a first novel. The story weaves enough spaces for future references and jumps back in time which creates a huge canvass for the author to play. There are elements that you know will come back in the play when time comes and they surely do. The central character, Indra, has every trait that a man would have or a leader should have. He’s strong willed, and loyal while he has his own flaws, he has enough sense to know and acknowledge them. He goes through highs and lows that any hero would. Making mistakes and learning through them, loving and losing what he loves, trusting wrong people and gaining arrogance at the hands of untimely and unstoppable victories etc etc. Thunder god is a novel filled with wonderful magic and beautiful action sequences. The characters that more believable and even recognizable and a plot that truly interesting. But as with any good thing, there comes a hoard of not so good things; Thunder god is also not above them. There are some really grating things about Thunder god.

For starters, why Indra had to be born of Gaia and Daeyus? The names, places and events that Rajiv uses, leaves you with an impression that he is talking about a world of Greek or Roman Mythology. Even the way of life of Deva Tribe is described you would be reminded of the starting of the movie 300 and Spartan way of life. Rajiv G Menon borrows heavily from the Greek and Roman and European Myths and Legends. Which is not an issue in itself coz the story that he tells is free of those myths and legends. He also relies on a middle-earth type surroundings and borrows from the history and Aryan migration myths etc. Though the names and places sound known the way they are used in the story line is extremely clever. He’s so liberal in his borrowing from myths and legends, he doesn't even leave Dragons behind… J

Of course there are times when you are not comfortable with him borrowing from those myths and twisting the names and descriptions of deities that we worship in a not so flattering manner. At times you feel outraged at his liberal imagination and you might end up asking yourself…”Dragons? Really?”. You will have a lot of names and events to keep a track of, and if you are anything like me…you will say to yourself “oh, I had forgotten about this character absolutely” at least a couple of times. They story that Rajeev is telling is not a simple tale, so it is GOING to be full of people and full of events and one might need to be advised at the very start of the novel to sit with a paper and pen so as to keep a check on characters and events… it might just help. At the end of those 400 odd pages you do come out feeling as exhausted as you might feel after finishing Lord of the Rings or something. And of course, there is this small little issue of Devraj Indra not really fitting into the image of “Fearless Brave Hero and Leader of a Tribe”; which makes it a really hard to get into the element of reading.

But with all its flaws, Thunder god makes an excellent reading experience. If you can get over feeling a little out of elements of the sort, you WILL enjoy the read. So, as an advice I would say, keep your preconceptions about Devraj aside, if possible… keep aside everything you might know or heard or read about Hindu Mythologies all together… and you WILL have a fantastic reading experience, with Thunder god. My congratulations to Rajiv G Menon and eagerly waiting for the next installment. J

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Oct 4, 2012

Now I am become death, the destroyer of the worlds

Dan Brown and Chris Kuzneski have been my favorite authors for a long while. The wor they produce usually prompts me to google for more information. And that's one of the reasons why I like reading them. They make you want to learn more. I have always wondered when I read works by Dan Brown or Chris Kuzneski, how would the followers of Christianity felt when they read authors talk about their divine leaders. (I choose to call them divine rulers for a reason...) What were their reactions to being told that their godly leaders were mere mortals and there exists proofs (for those who believe in them) to prove it.

I got my answers when I picked up Krishna Key.

The book was up for review from blogadda, and the excerpt said "Five thousand years ago, there came to earth a magical being called Krishna, who brought about innumerable miracles for the good of mankind. Humanity despaired of its fate if the Blue God were to die but was reassured that he would return in a fresh avatar when needed in the eventual Dark Age—theKaliyug.

In modern times, a poor little rich boy grows up believing that he is that final avatar. Only, he is a serial killer.

In this heart-stopping tale, the arrival of a murderer who executes his gruesome and brilliantly thought-out schemes in the name of God is the first clue to a sinister conspiracy to expose an ancient secret—Krishna’s priceless legacy to mankind. Historian Ravi Mohan Saini must breathlessly dash from the submerged remains of Dwarka and the mysterious lingam of Somnath to the icy heights of Mount Kailash, in a quest to discover the cryptic location of Krishna’s most prized possession. From the sand-washed ruins of Kalibangan to a Vrindavan temple destroyed by Aurangzeb, Saini must also delve into antiquity to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice."

Who wouldn't be intrigued by an excerpt like that?

I like countless others in India and the rest of the world, have found the Blue Skinned God fascinating. Even if you don't believe him to be a God, but a mere historical figure; you can't reduce the allure that word Krishna has. (that's why earlier I said I tend to call them rulers). Raised in a Hindu household, Krishna and his Leela has never been stranger to me. And accepting that this blue skinned guy killed a 6 hooded serpent before he was even 10, doesn't really seem strange. But its never been his godly chamatkar that have held my interest. This protagonist of Mahabharat intrigues me because of his diplomatic and political skills. If you want to learn people skills, this should be your GURU. :)

Coming back to Ashwin Sanghi's Krishna Key... In a single word...its INTRIGUING. It has a interesting premise on which its built. Mr. Sanghi had done a lot of research and he possesses all the markers of a great story teller. His narration is fast and clear. The plot evolves soundly and with a great speed, that intrigues but doesn't really makes you breathless. (Blame my Matthew Reilly trained mind for this). The twists and cliches emerge and resolve. The questions arise and find answers and then more questions are born. The images in the book are apt and provide the much needed visual appeal that offers more understanding. All in all, Krishna Key is a ride that I will suggest to one and all.

Though, I will share the wonderful book with friends and families, there are things that if avoided would have made it even MORE exciting and gripping... For one, there are too many theories floating and at some point mid-way in the find it hard to handle all the bombardment of facts, figures and scientific research. Second, I am a proud Hindu, though not religious I have a healthy respect for all things scriptures say, as well as the history of the continent that I call home. But seriously, sometimes in the book, you find all the assumptions and claims about how great civilization we HAD, a little too much. I mean, alright, we are probably the oldest and possibly wisest of them all, but claiming no one was / is smarter and older than us, or even all who were older and smarter were born out of us, is a little too much from my point of view. (I haven't had time to Google for  accuracy of all claims in the book, and frankly there are so many that I am not even feeling like searching). Third and the most important...I wish the shlok were printed in Devanagari instead of Roman script. It would have eased the trouble of trying to make sense of the words written in Roman. And Lastly, I seriously think the last few pages with Saini's romance was a tad too much. Could have done without it.

But all in all, the book has found a place on my bookshelf, and will be on the list of books I will recommend to others for reading. I was reluctant to buy Ashwin Sanghi's Chankya's Chant for its "bestseller" status...but I believe I will give that a chance too...who knows, I might find my next Google project there. :)

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Sep 17, 2012

Respite from BIF... :)

You know about m y BIF days, don't you? (Nope? Read Here.) Despite my bad running in the past with Bad Indian Fiction; I couldn't say "No" when the newbie author Smita Shetty approached me for a book review. She contacted me with a reference from my best friend, Hemant, for a review of her debut "chic-lit"  novel "Untruly Yours". More than anything else, I accepted her request coz HK said the book sounds interesting. (That coming from someone who was introduced to Chic-Lit by me, meant it was time to check how my training had paid off :P hee hee hee...)

I was also waiting for receiving a book from Blogadda during the time. As luck would have it, Kranthi Askani's Fractured Legend and Smita's Untruly Yours both arrived on the same day, and I faced the dilemma of choosing between both. I'm really not sure why I picked up Fractured Legend first, but I'm really glad that I did it. Coz if I was subjected to the trauma of reading the mind-numbing Fractured Legend after reading Smita's novel...I surely would have done some bodily damage to myself, and anyone who dared to enter the war zone. You can read my review for Fractured Legend, here.

Frankly speaking, after Parinda Joshi's disastrous Live from London; I was a bit skeptical about reading another 'so called' Chic-Lit from another NRI author, AGAIN revolving around someone settled abroad returning to India and finding life here in contrast with their rosy memories. And it was with Live from London at the back of my mind, I picked up Untruly Yours to read. This was a HUGE mistake... I shouldn't have assumed anything. And to correct those assumptions, Let me start with commending the creative team who has put together an excellent cover design for the novel. It's refreshing to see the pink lettering on a kulfi colored background; while the lady in lavender dress with Coffee cup in her hand, offers the visual appeal that would make sure the novel is picked up by even a casual browser in a bookstore. For that matter, when I picked up the novel for the first time, for a  brief moment, I thought it was a "Little Black Dress" publication. (Those who know LBD will know why its the hallmark of a good chic-lit...for those who do not know... well, "it's a girl thing")

Coming back to Untruly one word, the novel is "SASSY". It reminded me of "Almost Single" by Advaita Kala. It is times the novel made me giggle hysterically in public transport. It has a great mix of a lot of elements that makes it a fun chic-lit and a very engaging read. Its light, springy and interesting enough that you start to identify with the protagonist. You laugh at her neurotic obsession with cleanliness and her passionate dislike for her mother-in-law. You laugh at her furtive tries to teach discipline to her son and the universal struggle to enlist her husband's help in household chores. You feel her yearning for that misplaced passion in her decades old marriage and you identify with her wishes to help out her friend in need and even understand (if not agree) with her emotionally unbalanced moral swaying. Even when you identify with her moods and emotional turbulence; you secretly wish that she will not really take "that" step. And while you are in middle of all that wishing, you realise that you have crossed the line between fiction and fact. That even before you realise; you've already started thinking of her as your friend. Someone whom you wish to talk to; share a laugh with...Someone to whom you would like to advice and possibly see happy in the end.

And THAT, I believe is the sign of a good author. I hope to see a lot more fun, bouncy and happy tales from Smita. I would definitely recommend Untruly Yours to anyone who is in mood for some belly shaking laughs and silent smiles. (Rather, I've already handed over my copy to a colleague of mine for reading). So, to answer Smita's question (the one that she had asked in one of her mails)... YES, you should continue writing. People will DEFINITELY take you serious as an author... and I will always be ready on this side of the sea to read and review... :) Great start Smita...Keep it up.

Sep 12, 2012

Fractured... well everything

Warning: This is continuation of my earlier rant about having a dry spell with Indian Authors.

Why do you read books? For me, I read them coz I believe they are the perfect stress busters. They take you from the mundane everyday life and show you worlds and worlds of wonder. Places, people, situations and countries that you personally could not meet, books take you to them. Your world expands to encompass everything and everyone when you read.

What do you read? A lot of people read fiction, some prefer autobiographies, some prefer financial while others rely on self-help books. What do I read? I read EVERYTHING...though my fav genre will always be fantasy, I don't confine myself to it. So, when I saw blogadda offering a fantasy fiction sort of novel, I jumped at the opportunity. I read through the introduction for the novel and loved what I read there. It was intriguing. I mean won't you be intrigued if you read "His fictional style integrates magical realism with Gothic elements."? What's not to like in that combination?

Well, let me tell you what's not to like...false promise.

The back cover creates a picture in your mind about this new world of magic and mysticism that would haunt you with its preciousness and sharpness. Into the world where sadness,and mystic is at war for peace and hope...where you will be offered a gripping tale that would take your breath away, and heart pounding... Sadly, it is not so. The only thing that novel delivers is overload of arcane words and lengthy, unending confusion that some might mistake as a story.

It is not my intention to stir trouble with those who might have liked the novel...neither am I looking to start a war like the one here. I'm simply sharing my views. And I did not like this novel.

Why? You ask...well, here you go.
1. The back cover: It creates a false expectation in your head. It leads you to believe that you are getting into something that the novel is clearly NOT. Now, whether this was done intentionally by the publisher and Author (I believe he does get a say in whats printed on back cover)... I will never know.

2. Vocab: I couldn't really get past the overload of vocabulary in the book. For some time, I actually felt like I'm reading those Word Power books people read for appearing for exams like GRE and TOEFL. The words that author uses are too cumbersome, for no apparent reason. It reminded me of the episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. where Joey writes a recommendation letter for Monica and Chandler to help them with adoption. And to sound smart, he uses a thesaurus for EVERY word in the letter. Of course while on F.R.I.E.N.D.S. it was funny... while reading the novel, it simply put me to sleep. I should possibly thank the Author for the amount of sleep I manged catch though.

3. Story: Was there one? I mean, nothing happens in the book...and even if it had happened, I didn't really understood. Possibly coz my head started swimming if I continued reading more than 5 pages in one sitting.

4. Language: Descriptive is such a tiny word to express the writing style of author. I have to give it to him that he is very observant and was very engrossed in his own novel that he thought the reader should know absolutely every minute detail of the scene he was writing. At times, I moved from top of the page to the bottom without anything happening, but knowing all the surrounding the characters.

5. Characters: There are a lot of them in the novel, But none of them clear, none defined properly... in short the characterization is non-existent. Which is a sore, coz why would you wanna read 200 pages if you don't know, don't identify with those who you are reading about?

I could go on and on about what I did not like and how utterly bored I was while reading this novel. But I think that would simply be too much time to spend on a novel that I did not like. So, I'm gonna cut this review short....for ratings... I don't wanna write down a number, coz the number might feel bad about being rated. ... Moral of the story: Don't read unless you want an alternative to Word Power books while studying for your GRE and TOEFL.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at
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Sep 10, 2012

The thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls...

Afghanistan... my first memory of the country is associated with the movei "Kabul Express". I'm not sure what your views about the movie are, but for my it was a numbing experience. Even today, the one scene that defines the movie for me is the one where John Abraham offers to play football with  kid on low wall and then the kid turning around to reveal a beautiful smile on his face and have only one leg... What you see on his face is a simple joy at being called to play, like any other child would feel....and you realise that he's OK with having only one leg...that is the chill factor of the movie...this tragic acceptance for a life that's less than perfect...

I was angry for a long time after watcing the movie. I could not find any rhyme or reason behind all the violence. I could not justify the destruction of a BEAUTIFUL country. Could not fathom the "why's" behind all the "what's". It broke my heart. It devestated my to know that all my anger and anguish was impotent. That I will not be able to change or alter anything. That I could not do anything to make it better. That options like joining peace corps or UN missions required a certain type of mindset and decision making powers that I do not posses.

Its been long since I saw the movie. almost half a decade now. The feeling has gone blunt. The coutry now at a far corner of mind as mind became occupied with other things to feel outraged about...and that's when Khalid Hosseini happened...

A Thousand Splendid Suns (hereon referred as ATSS) has been on my "to read" list for quite a while. I've been postponing it for a myriad of reasons...inavailability of paperback, time and lack of occassions to read it in softcopy versions were just a few of them...(somewhere deep down, I guess I was just scared of what might unfold) I finally picked it up last week on my Kindle, for I had no better option. And I'm glad that I got around to read this one...

If you want a one word review of the should most definitely be "turbulent". Reading ATSS is a turbulent experience, on ALL levels. For a female, for a home-maker, for a mother, sister and a daughter. For a female with her opinions and freedom to express them. For a person who had been given all changes and oppportunities to learn, excell and earn her keep. For a human being who was born and raised in a FREE country. Whose biggest concern in a day revolves around "catching a bus such that she reaches on office on time" or "what new to cook for dinner tonight". Reading ATSS makes you feel previledged to be born in a country where it is safe to sleep in your bed at night; where if you fee like you could keep your lights on and windows open all through the nght; where you know your husband / wife/ sister/ brother / mother / father will be back home for dinner post their day in office EVERYDAY; Where if need be you can walk up the market to buy whatever you want; Go out and dine if you feel like it; Where going to a doctor is as simple as switching on an electric bulb....

But thats not all... ATSS is also turbulent because it makes you see, feel and experience a range of emotions that you could rather live without easily... Mariam's rebelliousness, her affections for her father, resentment towards her mother, her dreams, her wishes ad her respectful love for Mullah Faizullah... Laila and her predicaments, her wishes and wishful longing for her mothers attention, her respect, love and protectiveness towards her baabi, her joys and smiles with friends and in Tariq, their games and dreams, pland for a future none of them is sure about.... Two lives, two dreams, two females from two very different times and so very different families with different values and mindset...thrown together by fate, uncertainty of life in a war riddled Afghanistan and one man... Rasheed.

Where Mariam and Laila are the white end of the color spectrum, Rasheed is the stark opposite white of it. He is the embodiment of corrupted Islamic ideals. Who believes the rightful place of a female is at his feet. Who believes and enforces the tradition of burqua on both Mariam and Laila. He has no quelms about raising his hand on his wife, or rather who believes that it is his right to do so. There are times where you want to object, do something to affect or change what is happening in the narrative, and THAT should tell you everything about the narrative style and power of words of Mr. Hosseini.

Somewhere between pages 1 and 5; you simply forget that you are reading a novel. You are dragged into a life and time that is effortlessly built around you and consumes you soon after. ATSS has all that makes it a memorable and impactful (if thats even a word) novel. The language is simple and flow is effortless. Events straightforward and entirely plausible. Characters believable and narration simple and smooth. It takes you through the times and life of not only of the Protagonists Mariam and Laila; but also of Afghanistan. For the country, its history, politics and sociology plays as vital a role as either Mariam or Laila. You not only bear witness to the ups and downs of Mariam, Laila, Rasheed and Tariq's life but also of Afghanistan. You see it fighting USSR, Rebel factions, emergence of Taliban and aftermath of Twin Towers and US insurgence. Step by another step, you witness the changes, the rise and fall of hopes and dreams, properties and cities, of values and cultures. You witness and feel for the country and the countless, heartless violence that country has suffered. It makes you thingk and it makes you restless... Isn't that EXACTLY what a great novel should do?

To end this review I'm using the verse which inspired the title of the novel... The title comes from the Josephine Davis translation of the poem "Kabul", by the 17th-century Iranian poet Saib Tabrizi:

Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls

Jun 12, 2012

Insensitive.!.!. Are We?

A joyous evening... the playground is ablaze with lights and live with anticipation... children running around, parents scattered around ground, some sitting talking amongst themselves, some wondering around looking for a seat, some running around looking for the frolicking children... all eagerly waiting for the curtain to raise...all of a sudden there is a loud bang, followed by another. Spectacular firework brightens the midnight sky, loud chorus of voices start shouting "Happy New Year" to each other...children running, grown-ups rejoicing.

I sit amidst all the happy chaos, looking at and worried about the strays around the playground. They look utterly perplexed, scared and extremely stressed. We all are sitting in the common playground, which is temporarily converted into a concert hall with a stage and some chairs for seating, along with speakers to facilitate broadcasting of music and anchoring. The atmosphere is one of joy and frivolity...festive. But while all of us are gearing up to welcome the new year with colors, lights and one seems to have taken into consideration the gang of adoptive stray dogs of the housing complex. There are some 6-7 strays that have taken up residence in the communal areas and are fed by the collective dog lovers of the colony. There are two dogs which are adopted by the security guards of the society. Though of Indian origin, these are better in terms of lodging and food...since they share both with the security guards. One amongst these all, is a new mother with a litter of 4 cute fur-balls.

While the members of housing society are rejoicing at clock ticking 12 and bringing in a new year...these mute spectators are confused, and scared of happenings. They don't understand why their usual living space is all of a sudden ablaze with flood lights, why are all people gathered there and are making so much noise...and worst of all, why are there fireworks going on?

May 26, 2012

2 million people can't be wrong...

When you see a back-cover like this, won't you be tempted to pick up the book? 

But that wasn't the reason why I picked up the novel. I received this as a part of Blogadda's book review scheme. And am I glad, I applied for this one. Because even though the back cover of the book vaguely talks about a murder and police work, it completely fails to highlight what a brilliant read the novel is...

The novel has everything a good murder mystery should have. It has a certain speed, not breakneck or mind numbing but easy going enough that you are hardly bored by it. It has interesting characters and their interpersonal relationships. After a long while I read a novel where story develops via intelligent dialogues between characters. As I said earlier, this is a murder mystery, but unlike any other, the story is not about "Who killed the guy?" or even about "How the police hunted the killer?"

By the time you reach page no 28, the murder is already committed and that too "front of your eyes", so to speak. You know who the killer is, and who the victim is. While you are thinking, "now lets see how they dispose of the body..." you unexpectedly witness the "real" protagonist of the story entering. And while there are things happening as a normal police procedure would happen, you are introduced to "other" protagonist of the story. And before your eyes the murder mystery turns into "who will win and how" match. Both protagonist are experts, almost geniuses in their respective fields. Both capable of excellence and true ingenuity. And both on two different sides of the law.

May 15, 2012

Reading now...

 Reading the hyped "The Devotion of Suspect X" for
Going good as far. 98 pages done and some 200 more to go.

Apr 24, 2012

Men &Trees

There is a great affinity between trees and men. We grow at much the same pace, if we are not hurt or starved or cut down. In our youth we are respledent creatures, and in our declining years we stoop a little, we remember, we stretch our brittle limbs inthe sun, and then, with a sigh, we shed our last leaves...

- taken from The Kitemaker
(Friends in Small places by Ruskin Bond)

Apr 22, 2012

Inspiration Part III

For most of the people he's King Khan, some call him the Badshah of Bollywood...Some view him as the epitome of over-acting, while others see him as a tyrant and arrogant SoB... No matter what your opinion of him will have an opinion about him. Whether you call him an opportunist or copycat of Dilip Kumar... you can't deny that Shah Rukh Khan is a success, hands down.

This Delhi born and raised Pathan, who holds degree in Economics; has shown to world that someone with absolutely no links to film industry CAN make it big. His life has been in spotlight ever since he started. First for his said resemblance to Dilip Kumar; (this was while he was doing Fauji on television)... then his choice of controversial negative roles in Darr and Baazigar... People have always been on rampage about him and his choices.... be it his unorthodox explicit love scenes in Maya Memsaab; or the fact that he danced at weddings; or even the fact that he consistently is nominated and has bagged more Filmfare awards than any of his comrades and/or seniors. Even his marriage to a Hindu girl was once shadowed by doubt and criticism. He simply goes ahead and proves that "tongues wag when you do good work".

Its more than 2 decades now that he's been acting...and he shows no signs of slowing down. People might criticise him for his botox-ed face and weaved hairs... the man "still" has got enough charisma that his films hardly ever FLOPS. But its not his films or commercial success that brings him to my inspirational list... its the "other" side of the star that dazzles me.

He's not only a star, he's a successful producer, philanthropist, entrepreneur and most of all visionary. His choices in roles, be it in the films or outside...has always showed that the fellow is looking into future. Let it be his choice of negative roles or co-ownering the IPL cricket team or even in producing India's first truly Sci-Fi movie Ra.One...(commercial success of the movie is a different topic altogether, here I refer to only vision and effort behind the movie). And on top of that... he's a family man. If you ever had a chance to catch the show "Living with Superstar" on TLC; you'll see how involved in his family and children this King of Bollywood is. His son used to attend the same school as my cousin sis, a couple of years back... I still remember the teachers of his son going all sweaty and nervous on the PTA meetings, coz he used to attend each and every one of them. I mean, who wouldn't be nervous if SRK walks upto you and asks "Is there anything I can do to help you?"

There are tons of things I can go on listing about him, and I'm sure I will find a lot of people who will either object or criticise my admiration of the man... so, to conclude, I'll simply ask you this... Will YOU not respect and find inspiration in a man who describes his ambition in following words???

He explained that is ideology in life was:"I want to make movies so damn bloody big...that my parents somewhere sit down on a star and from there also can look at their son and say 'I can see his movies from here better than I can see the Wall of China or anything. We see his movies covering the face of this earth'.

Ohh...and it also helps that he is a BOOKWORM...just like me... :)

Apr 21, 2012

Inspiration Part II

"That's the perennial appeal of Magic. In religion, you have to depend on someone else.
In magic, you have only yourself to rely on"

She was a broke single parent, trying to get ends meet. Single, lonely, with a child to support...holding on to a dream. A dream of being a "published writer"...that was when she gave birth to one of the legends of the 20th century. She proved the complaining captains of "Children -Don't-Read-Anymore" league wrong. She not only is a live example of "rags to riches" but an ultimate inspiration to all those who have a dream. The female who single handed changed the perception of the world "magic" and brought meaning to utterly non-sensical words like Quidditch and Aloha a live testament of following dreams into reality.

J K Rowling was living on social security, supporting a single child when she thought of Harry Potter. The novels were written through times of personal turmoils...but instead of wallowing in the pit, JKR used these personal troubles in her stories. Her mothers death found its way into Philosopher's stone as Harry's agony of being an orphan, while her personal clinical depression manifested itself as the dementors in Prisoner of Azkaban. And her trials and pains were rewarded in the most magnificent of ways. The lady saw herself, progressing from living on social security to multi-millionaire status within five years.

What I find truly inspirational about her is the simplicity with which she agrees that she still finds the success staggering. And humanity with which she says that Harry delivered her from a life of misery. To quote her...

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. – J. K. Rowling, Harvard commencement address, 2008.

Apr 12, 2012

Why indeed?

"Do you know why I became a pilot?"
"No... No, why?"
"For the fun of it... Why else would anyone do anything,really..."

The Amelia Earhart to Larry Daely in the movie, The Night At The Museum-II
(pardon my spellings, am far too sleepy for a spellcheck)

Mar 26, 2012

Simply Inspirational... Part I

Who is your biggest inspiration? Whom do you turn to when you are sad or dejected? Is there anyone who gives you strength in times of need? When going gets tough, who is the one that inspires you to charge ahead and face the challenges head on?

I bet everyone has a unique answer for these questions. There are people who get inspiration from world leaders, some gain it from friends or family or co-workers...some will even get inspired by true life heroes...or even on screen heroes. Some find the strength in movies or some might find it in songs. For me... inspiration comes from all over the place. And I've been meaning to write about my inspirations for a while now... FINALLY, here I go.

She is a woman, born in a modest, lower middle class family, with 6 other sisters to share a small government quarters. Struggle was a second nature and "studying" was the only way to go. And she did EXACTLY that. She studied her way out of her social background, helped complete education and marriages of ALL her six sisters while raising a happy and healthy family. A family that is not only held together with love and respect but also an immense belief in her way of life. Her six sisters and two daughters along with rest of the kids in her "family" even today follow her wishes and advice without a doubt. At 54 years of age, she still is an image of ever youthful energy and immense inspiration to all those who come in her contact. She is the one, who made me who I am today. and she will always be the driving force in my life. She is none other than....... my MOTHER.

Feb 24, 2012

Love, Life and all that Jazz

Hmmm... another Indian Fiction to review. (If you sense a hint of disdain, read my earlier posts about BFR) so, let's get on with it... shall we?

Did you have a habit of writing a diary? I remember from my earlier years, there was this huge craze in school kids around writing diaries. Jotting down what happened on a daily basis, no matter how mundane. Those years were filled with chronicle-ing daily routine, in the hopes that some day this writing will be of a great reading material. These were also the years when a lot of diary related literature was being published. No matter who the author was or what the quality of the written material is, a lot of diaries were being published. Some of these were a really fantastic read, like Anne Frank's...even Cecelia Ahern's Love Rosie falls in the category. While others were simply really, well...lets be polite and say...not so great.

Reading Ahmed Faiyaz's "Love, Life and all the Jazz" is kind of like reading through a diary.

The novel is aimed at young crowd. Aimed at a crowd that is still dreaming about life outside the carefree world of college, who are still unsure of what to expect from "real" world. A crowd that is still trying to figure out "what’s next". The novel is a glimpse of what all is possible. and an epiphany of "Plans are futile" & re-iterating the age old "Life is full of unexpected".

The novel revolves around lives of four friends; Tanveer, Tania, Vicky and Sameer. The narrative starts a couple of days after their graduation and within a couple of pages, introduces and establishes each character. You meet the naive and responsible Tanveer, for whom the life is about reason and responsibilities to the family; the spoilt rich kid, Vicky, for whom life is about enjoying finer things in life; Sameer, with his plans and grand dreams. And Tania, the glue that holds the group together. You walk with these four through 6 years of their lives. The storyline is rather unimpressive and has all the elements of a stereotypical post college life novel. College life, love affairs, career choices, struggle to justify the need to be abroad, clashes with family due to inter-religion love, office politics, falling out of love, pinning after a break-up, marriage and post marriage chaos... the events are everyday events and they even happen in a very predictable rate and manner. So, if you are looking for an engaging read that captures your imagination and gives you something to chew on post reading...this is NOT a novel you should pick up. BUT...

Feb 22, 2012

Shiva plays Dumb Charades

I'm so still that even snakes can climb on my body and coil around my neck and we both invite everyone around to sit still, not run around restless all the time.

The children suddenly realised that all the gods n goddesses whose pictures they had seen were constantly playing dumb charades with their hands and feet, communicating different ideas. They have been playing dumb charades in temples for a very long time, expecting devotees to guess what they were saying. But while the gods continued to play, the devotees had stopped playi g and so the gods were left alone with their mudras that no one bothered to understand.

Excerpt from Devdutt Pattnaik's Fun in Devlok series for children. Sometimes BIG ideas come in small, illustrated, big font-ed packages... :)

Feb 18, 2012

From the Secrets of Shiva by Devdutt Pattnaik

Fear of death leads to two kinds of fears as it transforms all living creatures either into predator or prey. The fear of scarcity haunts the predator as it hunts for food; the fear of predation haunts the prey as it avoids being hunted.

Nature has no favorites. Both the lion and the deer have to run in order to survive.

The lion runs to catch its prey and the deer runs to escape its predator. The deer may be a prey to the lion, but it is predator to the grass. Thus no one in nature is a mere victim.

Without realizing it every victim is a victimiser, and there is no escape from this cycle of life.

Feb 4, 2012

Born in shame... Born trilogy by Nora Roberts

'There'll be a next time,' he says, 'because a man doesn't stop going down such a lovely path once he's begun it. And a woman is a glorious thing to hold and to have. The right woman, when you find her, is more than sunlight. You watch for her, Murphy, and whike you're sniffing those sweet flowers along the way, treat them with care and affection, and don't bruise their petals. If you love with kindness, even when you can't love with permanence, you'll deserve the one who's waiting along the path for you.'

Jan 9, 2012

Jaanta experience...

There are certain things in life that become a part of your personality and thinking pattern, unintentionally; just because you are born and brought up in a certain part of the country. I'm a maharastrian, born n brought up in the financial capital of country, Mumbai. I studied in vernacular medium school, which followed Pune Board Syllabus. And so did my parents... learning and knowing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a part of my life, rather than just school syllabus. Even before I was introduced to written word, I knew about who he was, and what he did. As far as I can recall, "Raja Shivchhatrapati" by Babasaheb Purandare, was the FIRST ever book, I read.

So, what's the reason for this walk through personal history?.... Well, I got back from watching the live event "Jaanta Raja" this weekend.

For those who have no idea what it is, here's a little intro...

JANATA RAJA is a Marathi mega-play based on the life of Shivaji Maharaj The play recreates 17th century scenes, including Shivaji's coronation. The play is enacted against a massive replica of the Shaniwarwada- the seat of the Maratha empire in Pune.

Shivaji Bhosle also known as Chattrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle (1627-1680) was the founder of the Maratha Empire in Western India in 1674. The play is a tribute to his life and times. 

Ofcourse, none of the descripations on web, comes close to the exact nature and feel of the event. It does not fall into a typical "theatre" event, it ain't drama. Its performed on a stage...yes. But the stage is open air, and part of the ground around the stage is as much a part of the narrative as the stage itself. Its a larger than life dramatisation of events from the life of one of Maharashtra's most loved and respected ruler, Shivaji Maharaj.