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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bits & Pieces 7

What’s Your Dope?

A dashing cousin once confessed that his love for bikes and racing had surpassed his love for any other thing in the world. He got a peculiar kick by speeding his motorcycle on dimly lit Delhi roads late at nights with his biker gang. More than three fourths of his salary went into maintenance and accessories for this passion. I said that this was his dope. Another friend of mine enjoys watching movies and all of her time goes in browsing through IMDB and watching them like a sincere student, sometimes up to three in a row. This is her dope. We all have our own dopes. The word ‘dope’ that immediately reminds us someone high on drugs lying upturned in the middle of the road, actually is derived from the word ‘dopamine’ a chemical secreted by human brain that induces the feeling of happiness and bliss. My neighbor’s dope is gardening. Even when she is sick herself, I can spot her tending to her plants like they were infants, crying for her. To be happy, we just need to spot something that can give us innate happiness, an inextinguishable source of bliss. So, what’s your dope?
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Myopic on Biopic

The recent spurt in the graph of biopics in Indian cinema points towards a few things. Firstly, it is evident that fame and popularity scores over content and work. That is why notorious Charles Shobhraj can boast of a biopic made upon his wayward life and not Kailash Sathyarthi or such people who have put delinquent and painful lives back to track, who have gathered pieces together to make many a life worth living again. The recent biopic made in Hollywood upon the great Indian mathematician Ramanujan indicates how short sighted we have become when it comes to choosing subjects for this genre. Secondly, it is as if we have run out of new ideas, and people’s lives, no matter how banal they have been, are being turned into money grosser movies. I do not think some celebs whose lives have been captured on the wide screen deserve that much. No one has yet bothered to make a biopic on Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand who impressed even Hitler first with his game and then with his loyalty towards his country. The next biopic, I read somewhere, is going to be on Late Kamala Das, the great Indian writer, and Vidya Balan is going to portray her feminist and enigmatic life. This is fine; she can motivate many women but still, there have been celebs who clearly did not deserve even a short docu-drama. We need to think and be more creative with story lines and plots and yes, music as well.
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Miss Attitude

I have noticed that for most people, esp girls, being rude and sarcastic means being modern. They have this deep rooted perception that not asking or replying politely, throwing weight around, snubbing acquaintances and loudly conversing in English with modern slangs thrown liberally is a clear recipe to become attractive, desirable and ‘hot’. It is a stupidity, a sheer one I dare say. No one can look lovely with an acerbic tongue and useless attitude that has roots nowhere in concrete. Attitude means having a spine and confidence to stand up for one self, the maturity to draw the line between friendliness and harassment, the courtesy and gravity to accept one’s mistakes. However, every other girl (even school going ones) is throwing dollops of attitude without even realizing how idiotic and insolent it makes her appear to others. 
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Some Stories...


There was once a boy in love with a lass
Whose smile was pretty, words were verse
One day she left without a hint or goodbye
His world pale and dismal turned the sky
His days darker and restless became nights
He left a part of himself and moved ahead
Incomplete and wrecked, a breathing gash


Some stories are not cute, no kisses no rain
They are made up of soreness, hurt and pain
And some questions that always come along
Why did it all happen? What went so wrong?

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book Review: Night

Title:         Night
Author:    Elie Wiesel
Publ.:       Grapevine
ISBN:       978-9381841891
MRP:        Rs 125
Pages:      173


This book starts with describing the spread of anti-semitic feelings and the subsequent seize of that small town where Elie Wiesel, the author lived with his family, by the Nazi troops. The Jews of his town are taken overnight to a concentration camp, leaving everything behind. He and his father are separated from rest of the family and endure torture, beatings, violence and constant fear of being thrown alive in a furnace. The author describes how the old, sick, infants and little children were thrown alive by truckloads in a furnace (with a tall chimney) that exuded a stinking black smoke all the time. 

The author and his father are made to shift between various camps in stifling rail carriages and on long foot marching and he watches his father die a very slow and painful death. This book does not describe other macabre conditions (like gas chambers) of the Auschwitz camp but focuses on an emotional relationship between a father and a son in adverse times. Wiesel was rescued by Americans with other inmates of the camp. 

It is difficult to believe how cruel man can become. One will surely start hating Nazis for their atrocities on Jews. Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. This book has been translated from French (originally written in Kiddish) by author's wife, Marion Wiesel.

Rating 4/5


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Review: Lajja


Title:         Lajja (Shame)
Author:    Taslima Nasrin
Publ.:        Penguin India
ISBN:        978-0-140-24051-1
MRP:         Rs 250
Pages:       216

The Sanskrit word ‘Lajja’ literally means ‘Shame’. This book makes one think about the basic tenets upon which a nation must be built. The firebrand writer Taslima Nasrin shot to fame with this novel that first came out in Bengali language in 1993 and was banned by the Bangladesh government after a few months of release. Since then Ms. Nasrin has come in the hate-radar of Islamic clergy and fundamentalists. This novel is more of a mirror that shows the society and the government of Bangladesh their real faces that are indescribably ugly. However, despite getting numerous death threats and after years of exile, the author still refuses to apologize or to be silenced. I think Ms. Nasrin can be called a writer in the truest sense because her work is powerful and deep enough to bring a change in thinking, to show a whole nation its ugliness and to make a dent in the rotten perceptions, changing their track to some extent. That is why Lajja is considered an important book.
Through a fictional story, the disastrous effects of the ‘Babri Masjid’ demolition upon Bangladeshi Hindus are shown. Many true-life incidents and census analyses have been provided so that each point made has a factual backing.

The story revolves around one Dutta family that resides in a place called ‘Tikatuli’ in Bangladesh. Dr. Sudhamoy Dutta, the head, I think, represents the ideal fundamentals upon which the country was conceived. A true patriot and honest to the core, Dr. Sudhamoy fervently takes part in all the national movements but is left alone, ill and paralyzed in his later years; his idealism fails him and he gets reduced to a mute spectator to the crumbling principles, increasing hate-crimes and death of secularism in his beloved country after its liberation. This is what Bangladesh has been shown to become after gaining independence- weakened by injustice, stripped of idealism and paralyzed by genocide.  

His son Suranjan Dutta represents the educated and optimistic Hindu youth. At 33, he remains unemployed because of hatred and unfriendly laws against Hindus and thus unmarried as well. He is somewhat of an idealist too and loves his country ardently. However, just like most Hindu youths, he gets nothing but discrimination and antipathy. Finally, his spirit of secularism dies out leading to depression. The way he takes his revenge on a street-worker Shamima, is heart rendering.

Kironmoyee Dutta, Suranjan’s mother is a silent, religious, sacrificing, but unhappy woman who broods in the background throughout the novel, though she puts up in any and every situation stoically with her family, esp. her husband. She represents the under-privileged Bangladeshi Hindu masses that love their country but desire to leave for a ‘safe’ place like Calcutta. After a point, her tears dry out and she submits to her husband and her fate.

Twenty-one years old Maya, the youngest child of Duttas’, is a beautiful and educated young woman and represents the dignity of Hindu women that gets brutalized and lost in the sacrilege and torture inflicted upon the Hindus by their own Muslim brethren.

The family keeps holding on to its idealism, loyalty, and patriotism even when they face poverty and destruction by Muslims enraged over the Babri demotion. However, when the old bonds get strained by bias and intolerance, their hopes hit a hard ground and start cracking up. Apprehensively, Duttas arrive upon a decision they could not even think of earlier.

It is surprising that the book has been written by a Muslim as the author rips apart the hypocrisy of the Bangladeshi government, hell-bent upon Islamizing the entire country and their apathetic and barbaric behavior towards the very same Hindus who once stood by their side in various movements against the oppressors. She openly accuses the religious fundamentalists and even the common Muslim citizens of a prejudiced behavior. There are no purple passages because the purpose of the book is altogether different. Interestingly, Ms. Nasrin completed this book in seven days.

Lajja is not only revealing because of the facts and figures given but it makes one think about the disastrous effects of power going in the hands of fundamentalists. It shows how intolerance, fanaticism and bigotry eat-up secularism and peace in such a nation. 


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review: Far From The Madding Crowd

Title:         Far From The Madding Crowd
Author:     Thomas Hardy

I have my late grandpa’s 1952 unabridged, printed in Great Britain HB copy of this novel published by Macmillan & Co, that I really cherish. The story is set in late 1800s in a fictional place named Whetherbury and revolves around a beautiful, strong-willed and independent girl named Bathsheba Everdene who has three men in love with and chasing her. An orphan Bathsheba’s life gets transformed when she inherits her heirless uncle’s farm and becomes a rich farm-owner. 

The three men –simple and diligent Gabriel Oak, rich and passionate Boldwood and smart and temperamental Francis Troy, fancy Bathsheba and she chooses one of them as her husband. However, things take a turn for the worst when a juvenile valentine-card prank goes wrong and after her marriage, old skeletons along with a horrible secret, tumble out and create an emotional mayhem leading to a fitful murder. 

The story is well woven and keeps the reader glued. The metaphors are lovely but long descriptions of how farms, sheep-rearing and farm-markets operate seem to be over-stretched. Overall, the book is wonderful! 


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Catch-Up Kid!


It is no secret that children who are healthy are often the brightest, for a healthy body is the foundation of a healthy mind. A tired body can never make a child participate in activities that develop physical fitness and alertness, like games and other sports. It is now a norm to make a kid a complete bookworm. I agree that studying is indeed a good thing and every parent wants his/her child to be well versed in some foreign language like French, to know beautiful verses by heart and to top in all subjects in school but no one bothers to check what is put up on stake for all this. A stunted physical growth is caused by many factors; it may be a heavy school bag. According to a study done, an average schoolbag weighs around six kilos and we cannot even imagine how a child with a poor health carries it every day. Another thing is too much time spent in studying and that too becomes inevitable sometimes as the exams approach or the child approaches higher classes. However, the good news is that it is not too late, especially when we have something that can revive the growth as well as make up for the lost growth for a child. It is Horlicks Growth +. This product has been designed by specialist doctors for children aged 3-9, a time where most of the growth takes place.


A child with low weigh and height factor will always feel inferior and this complex will definitely spill to other compartments and thus in the long run he will be alone, down with a deep complex. Such children often develop suicidal tendencies; self-torture becomes one of their many behavioral issues. In our efforts to prevent all that the phrase ‘long run’ is rather not appropriate because children grow up really fast and the time we have in their growing up years is short. Here, we can rely upon one thing very easily and that is Horlicks Growth + that has a high protein quality essential to maintain an appropriate height-weight ratio and which gives visible and measurable results in mere six months. Parents who keep very busy can give Horlicks Growth + to their children and ensure that their growth and development takes place according to the standards of a healthy body.

It is however a problem that children are often moody and choosy in matters of food, especially health drinks and supplements. But there is nothing to worry as this drink comes in two delicious flavors of chocolate and vanilla that are commonly liked by all children. Those who have no time or no good shops in their vicinity, can order this online too with a click! There are few things that should not be compromised and the growth of your child is one of them. After all, what can be a greater gift parents can give than a good health & fitness? It is the best gift indeed sans an iota of doubt!

Please visit the website for much more info and height-weight calculator @ https://growthplus.horlicks.in/

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Waves- A Haiku


Waves wash names on sand
Mortal fingers proudly carve
Sea chuckles on our inanity

 


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Friday, June 3, 2016

Let’s Go with Redi-GO!


There are certain things that mark one’s arrival in life. Especially talking in Indian context, car is one of them. A friend of mine once told me that learning to swim, to drive and to travel alone are three signs of an independent person in these days. He was right. I have seen many people whose first big purchase after they start earning is a car of their own. It is true that driving on Indian roads is often an ordeal, but when I found about Datsun Redi-GO, I was amazed by its wonderful features and I think it is well suited for Indian roads and tastes. This car has many attractive features like great design, amazing seats and cooling system but the ones I loved the most are its protection shell, superior air conditioning and small turning radius.

Sadly, according to recent reports, all Indian cars have failed the safety tests but I have high hopes from Datsun Redi-GO, for it has Reinforced Protection Shell for higher passenger safety. It is UN94 crash performance compliant also. The frontal offset crash performance system has been taken care of. After all, life is everything. I think, first and the foremost, a vehicle must be safe and crash proof; if not entirely crashproof then it should at least be designed to bear a good amount of impact which may save the lives of passengers.
As I live in the northern India, the summers are hot enough to drive one mad. The temperature sets new records each day and goes as high as 47 degree Celsius sometimes, making one feel the need for a good air conditioning system. Datsun Redi-GO has a superb air conditioning system with 89 CC compressor that can bear the load of extreme summers. The Aluminum AC system in this car makes sure that the air condition is most efficient. After all, be it any weather, work has to go on so driving becomes inevitable but we can use a good cooling system to keep safe from heat strokes. Also, passengers on the back seat can get up to 50% of the cooling and this will keep everyone cool!

In congested Indian roads that are getting tighter with each passing day, a small turning radius is a boon. It often happens that someone has parked his/her vehicle wrongly leaving me no space to turn. In such a case, a small turning radius of 4.7 meter that allows a full turn, will come as a blessing and will help me in turning and handling the car in minimum space.

So, I think Nissan’s Datsun Redi-GO is not only a fuel efficient car but has many features that make it far better than the ones available in the market. Moreover, it can be booked online too! I personally like these three features the most, apart from its sporty design. Gone are the days of long cars; they look rather ancient now. With Redi-Go, I am ready to go, to explore places I feel like, most probably to a hill station, for I love hills & amp; nature and this car will surely make my trip memorable.



Fun. Freedom. Confidence. The ultimate Urban Cross - Datsun redi-GO - the capability of a crossover with the convenience of a hatchback.





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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bits & Pieces 6


Chitthi Aayi Hai!

One of the few things that can make me happily nostalgic is written letters. I still have preserved all the paper correspondence I used to have with a same age cousin when I was in school. In early 2000s, the fashion of writing letters started fading but with the advent of cell-phones and social media it has definitely become a long lost memory. We wrote each other letters out of sheer fun of writing and of course, for the excitement of receiving the next one.  Now, I am back on this track and with a few like-minded friends of mine, have joined the letter loving group!
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Biblio-mania

I cannot have enough of books and it seems I am slowly turning into a compulsive book hoarder, for I have a huge heap of unread titles in my room. Recently, on my trip to my ancestral house, I brought many of my late Grandpa’s books, most of them being classics printed around 1920s and 30s. Last week too, while browsing for something else, I impulsively bought two titles - one by Ruskin Bond and the other by Agatha Christie. Reading may be a good habit but book hoarding is definitely not, so now I will try my best to avoid buying books impulsively, at least this year.


 Rest in Peace...

My heart is deeply saddened by the demise of the brave horse Shaktimaan who died of shock after being given a dose of anesthesia. His case is an eye opener about the pathetic condition of animal-care in India. In western nations, even a local animal hospital is far better than any govt. hospital of India. In fact, after every hurricane and natural calamity, their special squads actively rescue pets and other animals. Such a thing is sadly unimaginable, rather laughable in our country where food grain remains scattered on roads due to lack of storage facility and thousands of liters of water is wasted in the construction of helipads for the ministers who go, ironically, to visit the drought hit areas. We have a mismanaged system working on wrong priorities. In such a scenario, animals remain the most tortured category.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Poetry Title Now in Paperback

I am happy to announce that my third book 'You Must Be Around- 80 Poems on Love, Life and Longing' is now available in paperback format. I have tried my best to keep this collection of 80 poems free of glitches as well as heavy and redundant words. I hope you will like this work. It is available on Amazon India and Flipkart.