Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review : RIP

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

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RIP is Resurgent Indian Patriots ,the latest by author Mukul Deva who has written many books since 2000 .This is published by Westland Ltd. & has 286 pages.The book is neatly divided into thirteen chapters with a short  epilogue at the end.

This is a thriller & makes for a racy reading.I finished it in two days though I could have easily done it in a day.This is a story, where many scam tinted public figures -arms suppliers,civil servants,judges, politicians & their cronies are being killed .Nobody knows who is behind the killings.The home minister is breathing down the neck of Special Director,CBI -Vinod Bedi.Raghav Bhagat,an ex- para commando  is roped in, to probe into the killings by the political establishment. Reena Bhagat is a news anchor & she has her own ghosts to deal with - a bitter divorce & the custody of her child Azaan.

Colonel Krishna Athawale & his team feels, their country is being raped by scamsters. Colonel Athawale is an ex -army man .He has never been able to come to terms with the loss of his wife .Is he being disloyal when he is smitten by another lady ? Will  his son Sachin accept that  someone else as  his mother ? There is a hunger strike by a Gandhian Hazarika. Are his supporters ,involved in the murders ? The killers declare, that they are going in for the kill & aim at the target . Is killing the only way ? Will  the Government, led by Nirmal Khanna, take any action against the corrupt politicians,judges ? When will the killings stop ? Does corruption end when such scamsters get killed ? What is the way out ? Will the killers get caught as they go after the big target ? What if Raghav Bhagat beats Vinod Bedi  in unveiling the killers ? Will India ever come out of this corruption ?

RIP means that Resurgent Indian Patriots make the scamsters rest in peace by murdering them violently .The murders are meticulously planned & brilliantly executed .The killers leave no signs whatsoever -no traces of their involvement - whosoever they are !

The story is a fictional one .Still ,the references are so direct that it leaves nothing to imagination.The names of the characters ,the places & the scams they are involved in points to the real people. This makes it hilarious.Only, that the said persons are still alive & nobody has attempted to kill them.Nothing on record, that is ! The language is easy & simple.

One can easily identify with the characters, as the tale reflects the current scenario in our country & Indians feel totally let down by our political establishment.Many may feel, that the scamsters should end up with the fate of being killed as it happens in this book.

The ending suggests that the author may write a sequel later.I wish ,our nation gets what it deserves as it happened in this story.A better ruling class of people, who are honest . 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The lady at the bus stop

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

It was hot & getting hotter.It was sultry .Though I was standing under the shade of a tree,sweat was trickling from my forehead.I was getting irritated.It was a Saturday afternoon.In the middle of April.I saw a woman standing nearby.She was an unknown person to me -one of the many, who stay in metros just like me who is unknown to her. She was carrying a baby in her arms.The baby was asleep.I looked at her.She smiled.She was there before me.I was waiting for the bus to go home.I had just arrived at the stop.I asked the lady,"How long have you been waiting ? " She replied ," Twenty minutes ." She was not wearing any wrist watch.By her looks,she couldn't afford one.

She was dressed in a polyester saree &  a blouse which matched the flowers in hers saree. She was wearing a mangalsutra & some glass bangles.She carried a rexin bag which hung from her right shoulder.I was wondering how could the baby sleep in such sultry weather & that too clinging to the mother's polyester saree ? But then ,maybe, it was used to all this heat, day in & day out.I started talking to the woman more casually.I asked her if the baby was her first child.She said that the baby was the second child.She had an elder son.I asked her why she was out in this heat, with her baby.She said ,"My elders son's name is wrongly recorded in Muncipal records.I had come to apply for correction."I asked her, if her work got over with her visit.She said, that this was her sixth visit & she guessed she may have to come again & again.In short ,she was unsure of the number of visits she may have to pay  to get the name corrected.I felt an empathy with her.I know how difficult, it is to get work done in any government office.We all feel harassed for no fault of ours.It is like, we have committed heinous crimes.I could easily afford to pay bribes to get my work speeded up  though it is  a crime to do so..She came from a strata of society where daily existence is a struggle.Hence ,it was all the more tedious  for  her .

I looked at my watch.Fifteen minutes had passed, since I had arrived at the bus stop.I needed to go home.My daughter was to arrive in the next fifteen minutes from school.There was no one at home to receive her.I decided to hail an auto rickshaw.I called ,the driver of an  auto rickshaw which was parked nearby.The auto rickshaw came & I stated my destination.I stated to the woman that I am going by the station road & can drop her on the way, if she needed.She nodded.I got into the auto rickshaw.She followed & sat next to me, with her baby.I told the auto wallah to stop on the way, so that the woman could get down.He nodded.

En route,she stopped the auto & got down with her baby in her arms.She had removed a tenner from her bag & was offering to me for the fare.I refused.She was insisting.I told the auto wallah to rush. I saw the woman smiling as she waved me off.I had taken her in, as she was having a baby & this was a green idea.Taking private transport is a bad choice.I was just converting that bad idea by taking another person along as there was space in the vehicle.Of course,I felt better offering a ride to some one who needed it more than me.Helping any  stranger makes us feel nice as we are yet, to have any expectations from them .I feel someone unknown will help me when I need it &  overwhelm me by kindness more than, I deserve !

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Taklu mom

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

The alarm rang.I put it off.Got up & went into the bathroom & looked into the mirror .I screamed ! This was shocking ! How could this happen to me ? Really ,that was somebody else in the mirror.I looked again.It was someone who had my lips,my eyes,nose,ears with the familiar ear rings & yet it was not me.It had no hair.Completely bald.This was horrific.I hesitatingly lifted my hands & touched my hair.There was no hair.I felt my cold fingers on my bald head.This was just too much.What was I supposed to do ? Moreover ,I distinctly remembered having hair last night.Suddenly ,I can't lose hair in one night.

Yet,I went to see if my hair was lying on my pillow.Not that I could weave it back to my head.Just to make sure.I checked my pillow & my bed.No hair.Not even a strand.This was impossible.Then ,i glanced at the stand near my bed.It was full of medicines- Ayurvedic,Homeopathic,Allopathic,Herbal etal.It all came back to me.I had got some scabs on my head- I would scratch & remove them.They kept on spreading.I sought help from my family doctor.She said that this was a mild infection & would go away.She prescribed a medicated shampoo & some pills.She told me to desist from scratching the scabs.I am regular with pills & shampoo & also with scratching. So in effect,nothing improved.My mom suggested homeopathy.I tried that & my problem persisted. Every time ,I scratched,I removed the scab & some hair which was trying to grow .I just couldn't control my hands from scratching the scab & removing it while it was getting healed.The healing remained incomplete .Scabs had now spread to half of my head.I now turned towards Ayurveda.I scratched whenever I was bored,depressed or just like that.Since Ayurveda failed to heal my scabs,I took herbal medicines as I felt that I must try all before I give up.This when I refused to give up scratching my head.No avail.I was continuously losing hair through all treatments.That was not due to any medicines or shampoos.It was due to my addiction to scratching the scabs.My hair had thinned considerably.Now ,it had gone completely.How was I to face the world ? I have short hair-correction , I had short hair.Still ,I had hair & now it was not there.

What if my near & dear ones asked me ? What would be my reply ? There were many, who believed that I had nothing in my head,only hair to cover it up.Now, even that was gone ! What about my daughter ?She will address me as Taklu mom,I was sure.  I was sweating profusely now.I must calm down.I needed a glass of water.I got up & realized  that this was  a dream. Thank God, for small mercies !

Wait ,it was something, which was waiting to happen as I am indeed suffering from  a mild scab infection.I have been scratching day in & out.I decided, that this was enough,.I must stop.This nightmare of a dream was the motivation ,I needed to stop this habit of mine.I have stopped .Believe me,I am getting well soon.

Very soon,the hair of my head will rise & shine -more than ever before !

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Silky smooth care

This post is a part of the Gillette Satin Care contest in association with

Gillette Satin Care Contest

Sanchita was awake .She was tired.All that trekking had worn her down.She was happy that she had been able  to go on that trek.It was a robust performance by her.Moreover no deadlines,phone calls,no net,no chaos.It was so perfect !

She was in a cab.Very soon ,she alighted from cab.Paid the cab driver .Rang the doorbell.Her mom opened the door & hugged her ! Sanchita said,"Amma ,I am famished.Please, give me something to eat." Amma replied,"Just freshen up & I will give you idlis." Sanchita was soon on the dining table gorginf fluffy idlis with piping hot sambar.

Sanchita was heading to the bedroom for a nap when her mom surprised her," You know,your cousin is getting engaged today, in the evening .So ,please be ready as we have to leave after lunch." Sanchita was now standing in front of the mirror.She looked at herself ! She looked tanned -no ,it was not the tan.It was her hair on the arms,hands,legs & ugh ,the armpits as well ! She sighed " I wish ,I had opted for my  hair removal " .

She was shocked.There was no time to sleep.She sat thinking on the bed.There was no time to go for waxing to the parlour.The pumice stone hardly worked.She was allergic to hair removal creams.What the hell, was she going to do ? She was lost.She went & told her mom that she was not attending the engagement ceremony as she looked like a she bear !

Her mom smiled.Mom told her that she knew about a solution.She removed a razor from her purse.It was brand new.She handed it to Sanchita. Sanchita looked at the Gillete Satin Care razor.She was not so sure.Her mom said that she had been using a similar one & had just brought it for Sanchita as it had worked for her.Sanchita knew her mom was not easily convinvced. So ,Sanchita decided to try it out.

Sanchita was surprised at the smooth efficiency with which the Gillete Satin Care worked away her hair.It was painless & so smooth, just like silk ! Sanchita looked at the mirror again.She was elated to see her hairless reflection ! Gillete Satin Care had saved her .In fact ,it had made her day ! That too, in the privacy of her home.Without anyone's help.The razor had made her independent & so effectively.She felt so sexy ! Slipping into her favorite lehenga with short sleeves would be so much like a diva now ! She blushed ! Moreover, it was so easy & convenient ! Now onwards,Sanchita knew ,that Gillette Satin Care would be her constant companion !

Saturday, January 12, 2013


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

I am addicted to the net.I am finding it very hard to break away.I am obsessed, with what I may be missing, if I don't check what is there on  facebook,mailbox ,etc.I must break it -this habit of mine.Yet ,how to do that, is a big question.It is so convenient.In the confines of my flat ,windows have been opened to the world.I can chat  with friends on google talk,facebook & skype.I can forward & send emails .I can read them at will .In fact ,I feel one, with all my near & dear ones.

I don't think I want to ever give up on the world wide web.So ,here I was, checking my mail box after my return home from the market.This is my routine.I saw that the first one, was on humour. There were jokes which made me smile & I promptly shared  the forward with  others.Next in line, was a mail, from a former colleague.I was surprised, as my colleague had not written any personal mails so far.My curiosity aroused,I clicked to open the mail.

As I started reading it ,I froze.I pinched my self & then read & re read again.It was about the death of the only child of a colleague.I had never met the boy.His father had worked with me.Yet ,the son's death was shocking.It was very strange & not expected.The mail informed me that severe rainfall, for nearly a week, had played havoc, in the area where the boy stayed.The boy had gone, as part of a search party, to look for another friend of his.He was carried away by the overflowing waters, as he stepped by mistake , into a ditch.His friends just couldn't do anything.They tried to snatch him but the water was too powerful.It just swept him away.The friends ran along with the water which flowed furiously & failed to catch him.The night was making the search  more difficult.Next day ,his lifeless body was found, floating near the overflowing gutter.

When the parents were informed that their son had been carried away by water ,they just couldn't believe their ears.The sight of  the body, broke them down.The son had been engaged.The girl was informed & she too came in, to grieve.The boy's parents sent her away.They opined that  they will not be able to offer her anything now, that their son, is no more.

I was shocked that heavy monsoons could lead to death & that too, of someone, I know .This was so bizarre.The colleague who worked with me is one of the most gentle persons, I have known.He would never raise his voice or argue.He was very calm.He was never in any  race for promotions or wealth etc.He was happy with his fate.His wife is a home maker.Why did this happen to his son ? The answer perhaps is that the Almighty tests the best people.They will only come out of such testing times, in flying colours !

Later that week, after the monsoons had subsided,I went to their home to offer my condolences.I was unable to speak.I had no words to console them.What should I tell them ? I just sat there with my eyes staring down at the floor.I could not bear to look into the eyes of the grieving parents.Though their tears had dried up ,the agony of their lives was visible in their eyes.I left them to come to terms with their colossal loss.I trust ,time will heal their pain as well.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Overwhelming love - My entry for the Get Published contest’

I had quit my job.I was trying to write & did attempt-some silly ,some factual,some stray thoughts which I had started putting on my laptop in a blog.One of those days,I received a request from an ex-collegaue. This was about his friend & wife.It was a honorary job for me .The friend had narrated the tale of his life with his co worker wife.I had to edit it & make it interesting.I did as I was told.Added some Indian words in place of English words to make it familiar to readers.Then it was put up on a site.My ex-colleague told me that I had done a good job.

This is inspired by their  story-Pranay  & Meera, who meet while working for the same employer.He is a simpleton.She is more well read than him & a double graduate.They fall in love .Though their mother tongues are different & they belong to different communities,they get married with blessings from all -her & his parents & other elders.She prods him to go ahead in job & he succeeds.Both are now officers, though working at different offices.He is more confident than before as she has nurtured him to set higher goals & go for them.He is overwhelmed with her care & love for him & his family.It is ,as if, Pranay  owes everything to her .They have two children now. Meera  is a the ideal bahu ,the doting bhabhi ,the tiger mom & the perfect employee - everything in one ! Pranay  is trying his best, to emulate her.Then, tragedy strikes, on the Deepavali day.

After that ,the roles are reversed.Will the love last ? Will it deliver ? Was that, which existed between them just infatuation ? Did Meera  really care for his family & him ? Will Pranay  repay her back & how  ? Will true love triumph ? And why should anyone look for love when only survival stresses us so much ?

Will their employer continue to employ them ? What about the funds ? How will they survive ?

What will happen to the kids ? Will they be orphaned ? What is all this- fate or misfortune ? Maybe ,all this happiness was too good to last.

This is a true of many stories which begin with love & end  with a whimper as there are many things which take centre stage as life chugs along.The story is very much of our times -which is  full of impatience &  unceratinity. Will it inspire to  show that love is limitless & infinite.It is as if, the pot of love is overflowing - with more love,affection & respect.Such love can bring back people from the dead ! Or will this story end on a hopeless note as there is no use, in hoping against hope & stretching things which will break with the next pull.

Endnote: This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review : The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy was perhaps the most awaited book of the year 2012.It is by J.K Rowling ,the author of the immensely popular Harry Potter series.I have not read any of the Harry Potter books.This latest book by J.K.Rowling for adults was brought by my teenage daughter as she loved the Harry Potter series.I have told my daughter that she must grow up some more, before she can read & understand this latest offering, from her most loved author.

The story is about a small town Pagford in England.Barry Fairweather ,a council member dies suddenly & this leaves an empty seat at the Parish Council.His wife Mary & four children are orphaned & so are others.There are some like Colin ,the school deputy headmaster ,Simon the petty thief & Miles Mollison & his father Howard Mollison who would just like to step into that empty seat on the Parish Council.They have no idea how the teenagers,Andrew,Fats,Sukhvinder,are going to express their angst through the website .by breaching the almost nil security of the Parish Council website.This leads to a lot of anguish & shock  for the people of Pagford.

There are other characters like Krystal Weedon & her brother Robbie & drug addict mom, Terry .The description by J.K.Rowling of the mess in the home of Krystal really makes one feel as if we are visualizing it in front of us.It is also about Gaia & her mom Kay  ,who is a social worker & her boyfriend who is shy to commit that they have a relationship & would like to call it quits as soon as he can.There is an Indian Sikh family of a doctor husband & wife.The husband Vikram is handsome just like a Bollywood hero, whose wife ,Parminder  is a member of the Parish council.

Husbands & wives are  uncomplimentary as  all the masks are off.All  seem to be just biding their time.They are all looking for a venue /s to vent their anger & frustration.The teenagers are a varied lot. Sukhvinder,the last child of Parminder & Vikram is prone to depression as her mom has too many expectations from her.Andrew & Fats are chums & hang out dreaming about sex .Krystal seems to think that a baby will get her a safe home with basic necessities like a bed,a television etc.Gaia is angry, of having shifted to Pagford from London.

In the end,the teenagers emerge as the victors, as they did what they did just to vent their anger & nothing more.The later death of a teenager & her brother is poignantly described.The guilt of all, who allowed the child to just walk through & fall to death ,as they watched, lost in their own world has a lot of lessons for all of us.Were  they all seeking redemption or they really feel ,they could or should have changed the course ?All attend the sad funeral. Perhaps ,the death means a better world as the dead were scorned by the community while they were alive.This is a reflection of society.We hate those overtly dysfunctional families though all families have their faults & fissures.We will try our best  to drive out the organizations who are trying to repair.Neither shall we repair nor allow others to do so, seems to be our motto.

The story build up slowly as a myriad of characters are introduced.It gets interesting & the tempo builds up.We are engrossed  as we await the next surprise & the shock .Her language is simple & yet contemporary.

J.K.Rowling has penned a lovely tale of small town affairs.She is holding a mirror to what happens everywhere -even in our nation.Her detailed observations make one feel that we are indeed, at that place.She has empathy with each & every character & that trickles down to the reader & we become one with them .
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