Tuesday 29 December 2015

Landybridal for all your Wedding Attire

Hello friends,
Today I am going to introduce this awesome website Landybridal on my blog. If you are searching for your wedding dress then this post might prove helpful to you as you can find all types wedding dresses here. They have an awesome collection of VINTAGE LACE WEDDING DRESSES . These dresses are of excellent quality fabric and stylish. Best part is we can get some cool discounts on these dresses. So stylish wedding dresses are affordable too at Landybridal.

Do check their collection of WEDDING DRESSES 2016.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Make your Wedding Dream Come True with Cocomelody

Hello friends,

We can see latest trends in wedding dresses from dusty blue hues to utterly romantic sheer sleeves with hints of lace and so much more!

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Petrol Vs Diesel- Informative Post

In the wake of the ruling by the NGT (National Green Tribunal) where diesel-run vehicles have been banned from getting registered in Delhi, it is imperative to understand the difference between the emissions from petrol-run and diesel-run vehicles.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Short Story- Labels

Mr. Baatwaani was rather quiet that day. The newspaper had just arrived and it carried the news of a gruesome murder of a landlord by a begrudging tenant.

‘The tenant Charandas, 21 was sick of landlord Dayanand’s antics’, the story in the newspaper read. ‘Repeated taunts about the tenant’s personal life led to the final screw in the coffin.’

‘Shouldn’t it be nail?’ Baatwaani thought to himself.

‘Who edits these stories?’ Baatwaani now spoke out loud to be audible to nobody and everyone.

‘Who in their right mind would drive a screw in a coffin? What, Are you scared that the dead body will escape?’ Baatwaani was now seriously miffed.

His tenant, David, came down the stairs sheepishly. Holding his phone to his ears, he appeared to be whispering tentative sweet nothings for someone. His girlfriend smiled on the other side as he fumbled into blurting out ‘I love you’ for the first time.

‘What an improper phrase to use!!’ Baatwaani suddenly shouted as a startled David stood frozen.

‘Let’s forget the nails versus screws debate for a moment. Who in their right mind would use the coffin phrase to describe the case of a gruesome murder?’ Baatwaani stared blankly at David and continued his rant.

Realizing that this is nothing related to his business, David returned to his call. If only he were paying attention, he wouldn’t have missed the nervous gulp from the other side.

‘Ok, I have to go now! Thank you for everything.’ His would-be ex-girlfriend said.

‘So, she bailed.’ David smiled to himself. He knew it was over so he offered himself to Mr. Baatwaani by initiating small talk the same way a matador invites a bull.

‘Is it again some annoying news in the paper, uncle?’ David said.

‘Yes, an insensitive piece. It infuriates me.’ Baatwaani said with a fixed gaze on David.

‘I will pay the last three months’ rent as soon as I get a job, uncle’ David blurted.

‘Oh, money is no problem, son.’ Baatwaani replied, ‘I am rich enough to support you. When I found out that you were an orphan, I had to give my room to you. World has been unkind enough to you.’

David began, ‘Thank you unc…’

‘Problem is that you’re a Christian!’ Baatwaani interrupted. ‘I am just glad that you’re not amorous and unhinged like other Christians. I really appreciate you bringing no girlfriends over and I hope you never disappoint me.’

David nodded with clenched teeth.

Baatwaani then went on to unlock his phone with a swiping motion. A bunch of porn videos appeared in the phone’s Gallery. He signaled with his eyes for David to leave. David wasted no time in obliging.

As he made his way out of the filthiest residential area in Gwalior- Gowardhan Colony, David thought back on the happier times when he never felt labelled as a Christian or as an orphan. These words were suddenly his identity after his parents passed away in a plane crash. Relatives divided the property among themselves and sent David off to a boarding school. As the fees stopped coming after tenth standard, David had to drop out and was sent to an orphanage. Due to his good schooling thus far, he could complete the rest of his education with the help of NGOs and government aid.

He was laid off after a brief stint as marketing executive in a private firm. Unemployed, David made Gwalior his home and applied in various companies but to no avail thus far.

‘You’re next!’ The receptionist said as David readied his papers.

The interviewers were sympathetic but, someone else had already been given the job. They didn’t tell David that. David read the guilt in their eyes along with the massive sympathy his life story evoked.

After the interview, one of the interviewers even leaned in to give a hug after the handshake and they ended up doing an awkward shoulder bump.

‘You’re handsome’, the receptionist Angie’s eyes twinkled as David arranged his papers in the waiting area. Life had been kind to David in the looks department.

Next thing, they were sipping coffee in a nearby café.

‘So, what do your parents do?’ The question finally raised its head.

There was an awkward pause.

‘Enough about me, tell me three good things about being a receptionist.’ David said with a courageous smile.

‘In my free time, I work with an NGO for orphans.’ Angie’s hand was on David’s fingers. Slowly caressing it.

He felt a label appear on his forehead.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Book Review- Landline- Rainbow Rowell


I picked this one up at an airport. I am mentioning this just to sound cool- like I am one of those people who pick up books at airports. No discounts. It was Rs 399 to me and at amazon, I am pretty sure it would have costed Rs 250 or less. Anyway, why am I discussing this? Let's come to the book-

About the cover
I got myself the pretty pink cover version and reading it sort of sent me to my happy place just by the vivacity of the colours and everything. The design was beautiful and it had the right amount of happiness to make me want to pick it up.

About the author
The author Rainbow Rowell (What a name!) I hear writes for young adults. Well, it shows in her writing which is very energetic and fresh. After reading Joshua Ferris' To Rise Again At A Decent Hour, I was looking for a writer with a similar sense of humour and I think she is one.

About the book
The book had won the Best Book in the Fiction category in 2014 and it was one of the reasons I had my eyes set on it. The books held true to its promise and took me to the bittersweet world of Georgie McCool, Neal (Neal, Neal, Neal) and various others. The book is gripping and the magic phone is a great way to keep the readers guessing what's going to happen. But the strong point of the book is not the plot. The plot is predictable. It almost felt too sugary at a point. The strong point is the humour in everyday situations.

The author has successfully induced many smiles throughout the course of the book with the help of witty dialogues using everyday ironies and situations.

The plot consists of a TV show writer Georgie and her marriage with an ex-cartoonist-now-fulltime-father Neal. Georgie has a best friend and Neal has a perfect ex. Both are making things work. Things aren't perfect and people are are even more imperfect.

The story is about those imperfections. Georgie goes to stay with her mother and sister when Neal goes away and the humour between Georgie and Heather (her sister) is the highlight of the novel.

Read it for the laughs.

The end is slightly disappointing only because there were so many epic endings possible. Magical realism is so full of possibilities that any ending seems like a compromise.

4 stars ****

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Short Story- Middle Class

There is a thin line between politeness and stupidity. Mr. Gupta never saw it. He wore his pants the old-fashioned way and rode an old Vespa scooter. He made way for perfect strangers and always used the indicator on turns. If he were to get a Modi-style suit stitched, his would read 'middle class' in fine print all over.

He was a regular government office clerk. At 11 am sharp, he would reach office to do absolutely nothing. His life was divided in naps. The nap right before lunch was the main event of the day. The snores would reach across the hall and the agents walking in the gallery would smile to each other taking pride in Guptaji's deep slumber for no reason.

Mrs. Gupta hated Mr. Gupta. Not because of his potbelly or his stupid moustache or his safari suit or his hawai chappals or his holed vest or his... well, you get the drift. Mrs. Gupta hated him because it was the thing to do. Whenever someone smiles too much, or is too docile, it is his near and dear ones' duty to bully him, hate him and pick on him. The law is universal. You can get away with a stupid moustache if you are a jackass. Look at Hitler. You cannot, however, if you wake up early to answer the doorbell for the milkman everyday. Look at Guptaji and his stupid moustache.

So, one day Guptaji was just using the service lane on a busy road in his city. He was looking for a place to park his scooter and go buy the vegetables because that's what Guptajis do after office. No Guptaji wants to return home empty handed to a wife who has been asking for Lauki for two weeks. So, like a good Guptaji, he was on his way to perform his duty after being pestered several times.

He saw a parking spot to his left and took a sharp turn. For the first time in his life, he forgot to use the indicator mostly because it was a one way and he was not expecting a pedestrian to come from the opposite side. A started female of 20 something was looking at him with angry eyes. A 40 something Guptaji had scared a 20 something female and her iPhone had slipped from her hands. She picked up, the screen hadn't cracked because of the revolutionary gorilla glass cover and metallic case about which Guptaji had read in today's Dainik Jaagran while munching Sev-bhujiya and sipping tea. Guptaji had knocked over his Nokia 1100 while reaching for some bhujia and it had fallen from the balcony onto his scooter. The scooter still had a dent.

Anyway, the girl shouted at him.

'Can't you see, idiot?' Dekh ke nahi chala sakte uncle?
Only in India can we call a person uncle and an idiot in the same breath.

Guptaji was relaxed. He was used to shouting. Years of practice from Mrs. Gupta had prepared him for this moment. Suddenly a man stepped out of a SUV and held Guptaji by the collar. A 20 something man was about to beat a 40 something Guptaji, Guptaji simpered and apologised profusely. In his mind, he imagined the man to be a Gujjar owning farms in Haryana and owning real estate business in Noida. Guptaji took pride in being service class and docile and had already planned on calling this guy some filthy names over a cup of tea and samosas with Shrivastavaji.

But for now, the tragedy had to be averted, so Guptaji apologised like one apologises to a criminal. Not out of respect but out of fear. The man took his wife/ girlfriend/ Guptaji-thinks-she-was-a-whore-anyway and sped away after slightly roughing up Guptaji.

Guptaji angrily picked up his glasses from the road and looked at the speeding SUV. The rear windshield of the SUV read in large bold letters- 'GUPTA'S'

Written by - Abhyudaya Shrivastava
All rights reserved.

Friday 9 October 2015

Hindus, Muslims and their Stuff

The purpose of this article is not to offend anyone. The main message is to respect all religions and not let minor differences divide us. I have cautiously kept the humour subtle and tried not to offend the sensibilities. Still, I request you to kindly not take it wrongly. In case you have specific grievances, do let me know.


A lamb hopped across the farm and posed a serious question to his mother, 'Mother, why are we sacrificed on Bakrid?' The wise goat smiled and said, 'Because son, we are offered to Allah.'

'But why not the cow', the lamb shrugged.

A calf ruminating in the yard, tied to a nail, raised her lazy head to give the lamb a look of annoyance. Embarrassed, the goat explained to her son, 'Cows are Hindus, my dear.'

'This is unfair. When did this happen? Who decided which religion takes which animal? What if I want to be a pious animal in Hinduism? Where is my choice?' The lamb threw a tirade of questions along his mother's way.

The wise goat smiled. She sighed, 'I wish your father was alive to answer your innocent questions.'

'So what happened to him?' The lamb was curious.

'Well, he was sacrificed along with 2 lakh other animals in Gadhimai festival in Nepal.' The goat lamented.

'Wait, isn't that a Hindu festival?' The lamb was perplexed.

The goat was silent.

The lamb was angry. 'I want to be a cow!' He stomped his feet.

'India: The Largest Exporter of Beef', the newspaper headline read. A cow munched on the newspaper near a garbage bin as the lamb raised a ruckus in the farm.


A kid looked through the glass window of a moving car and asked his Dad, 'Daddy, aren't these coconut trees?'

'Yes', The father was not ready for the barrage of question that he knew were to follow.

'We offer coconuts in temples, right?' The six year old was just warming up.

'Yup', The father silently lamented bringing the chatty kid to the long road trip.

'Why don't be offer dates? The date palm looks so similar to the coconut tree?' The kid was on a roll.

'Ahmed uncle had brought dates when he returned from his Dubai trip. Are dates Muslim and Coconuts Hindu?' The kid went on.

The father smiled.


'They won't eat us, so they are our friends, right?' A piglet squealed as he posed philosophical questions to his father.

'Technically yes, but they think we are impure or something.' shrugged the Papa Pig rolling in mud.

'But Hindus are the opposites of Muslims, right?' The piglet wasn't done.

Papa pig wanted to disagree but being the sloth that he was, he just nodded like a politician allowing the partition of India-Pakistan.

'So, they must love our meat, those Hindus, right?' Now the piglet was just getting illogical.

Papa pig sighed, 'No, it doesn't work that way. Most strict Hindus are supposed to be vegetarians.'

'But we still get eaten, alcohol gets consumed, cigarettes get smoked and cows also get eaten.' If the religious laws are so sacrosanct, how are so many people breaking them so easily?' The piglet squealed harder.

'Because there can be good Hindus and bad Hindus, good Muslims and bad Muslims.' Papa pig went on, 'The bad ones in the religion go against the tenets of their faith.'

'But if humans can be bad or good, why aren't there any bad cows or good pigs?' The piglet mumbled.

Papa pig smiled.



Wednesday 7 October 2015

Murphy's Law of Apps

You take out your phone and fire up the taxi service app because you need to get somewhere real quick. The app shows the notification: ‘Kindly update the app to continue using Uber.’ Bam! You have been struck by the Murphy’s law of apps. The probability of this notification appearing is directly proportional to the urgency of the situation.

Please notice that this situation can’t be avoided with 3G or 4G internet. If you manage to update your app in two minutes, your login will not work. The OTP will never arrive so, don’t even try.
There are many other such examples of the law in the app world: You are on Tinder and have decided to swipe right only and only when you really feel like it. You find no matches so, you let yourself go. You swipe every moving thing right. You rightswipe so much that your phone feels molested. Then you find your dream girl, sitting right at your screen: smiling, reading your favourite book, listing your favourite movie as her favourite movie. You try to swipe her right and Bam! You are out of likes. Murphy’s law!

You order food by Foodpanda at 10:45 pm. You wear your dinner pajamas and dinner t-shirt. You fire up your appetite by eating some Kurkure and at 10:55, you get the message: ‘Your transaction has failed. LOL’ and you try to place the order again. Kitchen closed! Bam! Murphy’s law!

You have a Whatsapp group that is insanely active. You just reply to the group messages out of sheer boredom. Suddenly you see a notification ‘Your crush has sent a message’ and you press ‘Back’ to read the message. The wheel of death begins rotating in the middle of your phone screen and below it reads the ominous warning: ‘Backing up messages, please wait’. Until the wheel completes its 45649 turns, your crush has gone to sleep. With someone else. She is probably married by now. Bam!

You want to show this amazing video to a friend. YouTube says, ‘An error just occurred, please try again.’ But it really means, ‘Haha.. Good luck with that, mate!’ BAM!

You open Twitter in hope of finding some good humour and all you get is some ads but you scroll further down and there they are! Good jokes. Twitter is cool.


Short Story- Gratitude

The first day he alighted from the Suvidha Train, his long term ‘asuvidha‘ began. His pocket was obviously picked as a hospitality gesture by the pickpockets at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal. He found that out when he reached in his pocket to pay the roadside drinking water vendor. As he had already drank the water, the vendor was gracious enough to slap him on his temple in lieu of the money.

He thought it was just a bad start and things would get better. He first thought that it was just a coincident that the water-seller was a MarathiManoos. But then slowly things started getting clearer. His sudden realization came about when he tapped one gentleman on the shoulder to ask what the time was. ‘Bhaiya, time kya hua hai?’ he innocently asked. ‘Bhaiya hoga tu!’ pat came the reply. This was when the ambiguity was cleared. It wasn’t just his luck. He was genuinely hated.

He tried to rub away the ‘Bihari‘ tag on his forehead but, it kept creeping up. He had come to the city to make a name for himself. He had read and heard stories. After his father’s death in the village, he had no one to go to. He was almost thankful to his father for never getting him married. ‘One baggage less’, he thought.

Eventually, he soaked in the hatred and locked it inside. With all the money he had, he bought a small stall and started selling tea. Business started picking up. Most of his clients were Bihari day wagers. One morning, he found his stall ransacked and saffron flags all over the street. He felt a small saffron flag-shaped lump in his throat. He sold off whatever was left of his stall. He now had less than half the money he had come with.

Sitting in the unreserved bogie of Suvidha Train, he counted the only four 500-rupee notes he had. A few coins fell from his pocket and rolled to unreachable corners. He stood up, knelt down and found those one-rupee coins and chained them back to his destiny. He even fought with one passenger over the custody of a two-rupee coin. He had to suppress a strange urge to pick up a sharp object and slit the throat of this person. He felt weird about the violence growing in his heart.

A few years later, he was running a successful vada pao shop in a busy market in Patna. His signboard read- ‘MUMBAI VADA PAO’

Saturday 3 October 2015

Awkward moments in the life of a dentist- Part 4

The art of being a loser

Did you know that after the Mahabharata war concluded and it was all said and done, Pandavas went to hell and Kauravas went to the heaven? India has always been kind to its losers. We, as a group, have a deep sense of sympathy for the vanquished, the famished and the incapable. It is not kindness, it is something more. We just do not like winners.

You might think that in a country of more than a billion people, there ought to be more losers than winners and that's why the majority has glorified losing as a propaganda move. But, it is not that. It certainly is not. The 'propaganda' has been in our collective psyche even before we were exploding as a population. We have revered Karna and despised Yudhishthir ever since the beginning of time.

Our love stories end up in both or one lover dying, our success stories end after one becomes rich as if that is a tragic end.

It is something so fundamental and yet so subtle. 'Krishna never married Radha', we smile as this thought passes our minds. It makes us misty-eyed. We love the irony in these situations. We are a nation of ironies. Ironies are everywhere- a hairdresser has the worst hairstyle, a doctor works for a salary lower than a government school peon, a cow-worshiping nation exports the most beef in the World.

But, it is not the love of ironies that makes us love our losers. Not all losers are loved here. Losing is an art. It is not easy and it certainly comes with a price. Let me just take you through the things that go into the making of a great loser-

First and foremost, you have to be proud of it. There are different ways to approach life in India. If you are a young person, there are a multitude of things that will be expected of you. One way is to keep working at those things until you achieve them and then realize the futility of it. Your neighbour wants you to get a PhD? Get a PhD. Your family wants you to marry someone you barely know? Marry the shit out of them! Your friend is preparing for UPSC exams? Start preparing!!

The second way is to fail at all those things and then proclaim that they are beneath you. Medicine? No one respects doctors these days. PhD? It is more like becoming a professor's personal assistant for seven years. UPSC? The bureaucracy is corrupt anyway!

Of course the third way of failing and sulking is not mentioned here because, we are talking about how to be a 'good' loser.

The next thing you have to keep in mind is- assimilate the opposite traits of the job at hand in your personality and then declare that you cannot change yourself for one stupid examination or challenge. If you are preparing for Chartered Accountancy, become a lazy person and renounce hard work- grow your hair, call yourself creative; if you are to sit for National Institute of Design entrance, forget how to hold a pen and tell people that you are more of a science guy. People will respect you for your ways and how you are set in them.

The third point is- start working on your looks. People hate losers who look miserable. A loser who looks like Enrique Iglesias finds many shoulders.

Another tip that I can share is- start working on a book. Now, you don't have to actually write a book. This is just to trick people into believing that you are an intelligent, sentient being instead of the dummy that you really are. Whenever you face a failure, say things like- 'at least it was an experience' and 'this is so going in my book'.

Also, pretend to have a calm sense of detachment and a sense of humour about losing. Smile and say, 'Maybe I am always meant to be in the journey and never at the destination' even when you actually are screaming curse words from inside. Make jokes about your own shortcomings and when someone else makes a joke about it, become very grim. Always lower your chin and make a face that is half-smiling when someone cracks a funny joke about you. The amount of guilt you make them feel is going to be directly proportional to the respect you get later.

With all the glamour associated with losers these days, one day will come when people will be vying to come last in marathons. Until that day, keep losing and don't be a sore loser.

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Sitting in a hospital

Sitting in a waiting area of a big, commercial private hospital is one activity that can give you some major insights related to love, life and family. Forget the banks of river Ganga, true moksha awaits right here.

Behind the cleverly designed billing desk sits a clerk. The walls of the desk are such that body parts that are used for smiling i.e. lips remain hidden and only those stern, fierce eyes are visible. Eyes that are used to sternly ward off any medical insurance claims that you are about to make. Eyes that are shaped like a giant 'nope'.

In the gallery you will see some wandering souls. Some walk fast because they have to leave for work and are here to just 'drop off' some flowers or sweets. Fast-walking feelings are more lifeless than the slow ones. But you can't blame people for detesting hospitals. Nobody wants to stay back. All the young ones leave quickly while the zombies with their walking sticks and loose skin are left behind. They wait in their wheelchairs for the attendant to come and help them with bathroom stuff. People turn away their faces because no one wants to hear about a senior lady with bladder problems. Jesus, the canteen is right there and it is lunch time. You got to maintain the appetite for the overpriced cafeteria.

I see old people- confused and waiting for something or the other and I shudder with fear. This could have been a handsome man in his day. Now he sits with that loose wrinkly skin, trying to get up with support. He may be coming out of the operation theater or going in. Who knows? He just wants his life prolonged and we all approve of that but we still make faces and shrug when asked about his health. I, for one, do not want to live after I am past my prime. I may have a prolonged prime like one Mr Clooney but not a moment after that. It doesn't matter what I want though.Old people- they all look the same on one level. Yes, you can tell one from the other but, they all are one community- like babies. You can be Hispanic or an Asian man but once you are an old man, you are more of an old man than anything else. I don't want to be more of something than anything else.

Then I look at the walls and architecture. It is designed to be soothing to the soul. There is a painting of a flower and then there is a giant vase with giant artificial red flowers. I don't understand how fiery red flowers representing passion can be soothing. A painting of the same is soothing because it assures the observer that the passion of the flower is contained and chained within the frame and won't jump out to bite you. The flower in the vase, on the other hand, looks angry to me. I also don't understand these plain walls without paintings. The government hospitals have crafted a much more intelligent way to get their walls decorated with modern art which gives a much more friendly atmosphere to patients of glaucoma who can't see a thing. They sell paan and gutka etc outside the hospital and the people who work in the hospital use their mouths to mix all the shades of red colour and then spit them on the walls to create great, soothing modern art. This private hospital should learn this technique from those hospitals.

The nurses wear floral patterns and are Malayalis for some strange reason. All good nurses are Malayalis they say. But, why? Well, because they are well-trained. I don't understand this reasoning but I nod. I think people from Kerala have a nice, friendly vibe about them. I ask a Malayali nurse if Mr Verma is admitted in the ICU. She rammed the door on my face in the most friendly manner.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Book Review- The Inheritance of Loss- Kiran Desai

Inheritance of loss cover.jpg

Yes, eventually, I managed to finish this heavy read. This Booker winner, this book of so many feelings. This amazing book. Yes, I am talking about The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai- daughter of another genius Anita Desai.

Now, do not get me wrong. It was not an uphill task to finish this book. It was a breezy read but it reads such that you do not want it to end. You know that no matter what happens, the end will disappoint because it won't be as beautiful as the premise. The book is set in two backgrounds- one in America where Biju- an illegal immigrant from India struggles to fight his fate and the other in Kalimpong where Sai lives with her grandfather Jemubhai, a retired Judge. Kalimpong is going through the Gorkha insurgency and there are riots and anarchy everywhere.

There are many stories in it. Uncle Potty in Kalimpong- a Swiss national struggling in India, trying to make it its own. Sai- falling in love with her mathematics teacher and then realizing how different are their worlds. Jemubhai- living in part remorse and part pride, he is the most detestable character of the book. Biju- the poor cook's poor son who inherits his father's poverty.

Desai has written all the stories with a feminine poise. You can feel the heartbeats and raging emotions with every page. There is touch of humour that makes one sad. The author doesn't take sides. Everyone is right. Even the wife-beater Jemubhai is shown to be a human being which he is. The human touch makes the novel a complex read. You have no one to hate or love in the book. So, there is no reason to read on except for the impeccable language and wit.

The ending disappoints where the author just leaves things as they are. She goes too neutral for my taste and the end is not even emphatic. In her defence, there was no good way to end such a book anyway. It is written in third person but it ends like a diary. There is no grand ending, or a buildup for the same.

The novel is not meant for a quick read. It requires to be read in solitude, taking in every line like a sip of wine. The book also is good for second and third readings. The scenes are very real and there is no enigma quotient. Just real people. A lot of Hindi words have made their way in the book including the curse words.

As far as the mood of the book goes, it is quite sad and leaves one hopeless and yet, you do not feel like crying or venting. It is the more biting kind of sadness that arises out of helplessness. Humour arises in the irony of those sad situations.

A fantastic job, a fantastic book. Read it a textbook for 'Irony'.

5 stars! *****

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Some people, right?

Human beings were not born to be polite to each other. If you don't believe me, look at children. Who would think, in their right mind, that a child can be courteous and respectful from birth? These are taught values- constraining and restraining. We are evolved primates. Our close cousins- Chimps and Orangutans; do you see them nod to each other, making way for the disabled and weak as they go around the jungle? Well maybe, they do. I don't know, I am not a zoologist or an animal behaviour specialist, alright?

Anyway, the point is- we are designed to be selfish and rude. Nature has selected those qualities and that's why they exist. At least in Delhi- Gurgaon area, you can see this natural selection at its magnificent best.

You may bump into a polite stranger every once a while but, the beauty of just elbowing past a crowd to get to the HUDA metro station gates first is a sight to behold. There are those bad apples who hold doors for strangers and park their cars the right way but, thankfully, we have more people honking at traffic signals and overtaking you at sharp turns to keep the faith alive.

Being rude is not disrespect to the community, mind you. It is pro-society. It tells the individual that the world is a bad, bad place and every single person needs to watch out for themselves. Rudeness is the best teacher. In schools, the textbooks need to make the necessary alterations. In moral science, they should tell the young buds that when a stranger asks you for directions, you should just point skywards. Because, God knows everything. They should also teach them that when a stranger hands you their camera to take a picture of them, you should just run with it. Not the idea, damnit! Run with the camera. And then drop it in a nearby dustbin because you are not a thief. You are their teacher. Their life coach!

Also, abuse all privileges! That should be our national motto. Not Satyamev Jayate. Amir Khan should be weeping over those who do not abuse their privileges enough. We are doing it all wrong and this is the time to wake up! When you meet someone new, do not ask them how they are. Tell them what you want from them! And then demand it. Say no to politeness, say no niceties. Also, to throw in a bit of hypocrisy in there, call your rudeness- your genuineness.

Always be genuine.

Issued in public interest by Abhyused. Not really. All rights reserved. Really.

Monday 7 September 2015

Book Review: Laal Tin Ki Chhat (The Red Tin Roof) by Nirmal Verma

This is a novel by one of the most foremost novelist in Hindi literature- Nirmal Verma. Now, there are two travesties with this review- one- it is being written in English while the novel was in Hindi and two- the novel is not available on any of the e-commerce websites at the time when the review is being written.

Anyway, great literature transcends all barriers and much will be lost in translation but, it is worth writing about. You can always read the English translation of the classic which is available by the name - 'The Red Tin Roof'.

The story is about a girl Kaya and how she treads hesitatingly and awkwardly on her path from childhood toward adolescence. She watches as her mother suffers during stillbirths and depression. She watches as her uncle shares carnal relations with a maid from Nepal. She watches the crankiness of Ms Joshua- the British lady who lives with her family. The multitude of layered characters create an enticing field.

Then there is her paternal aunt's daughter Lama. She is the most curious character and seems to be battling with crippling depression. Depression which comes as a pathology and unlike any other disease causes severe repercussions on her whole personality. It is unclear whether Lama was schizophrenic but the author has treated the whole episode with amazing finesse. The story is from the viewpoint of a kid so, there is a unique sense of wonderment in the worldview she shares with the reader. Everything is hazy and dreamy. The smallest noises, events and characters are painted in most curious colours. The novel slowly moves toward Kaya's adolescence and the narrative never really intends to hurry or make a point for that matter. It is all in the beauty of words which you have to feel to believe.

A brilliant novel from a master wordsmith.

5 stars.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Book Review- Rise of Kali- Anand Neelakantan

ISBN- 978-93-81576-04-5
Title- Rise of Kali
Series- Ajaya- Epic of the Kaurava Clan
Volume- II
Author- Anand Neelkantan
Publisher- Platinum Press (www.leadstartcorp.com)
Price- Rs 399
Pages- 529
Genre- Fiction/ Epic

The second installment in the series of Ajaya (The opposite of Jaya) is Rise of Kali. Volume I of the series was a nationwide bestseller and opened the readers to the possibility of Suyodhana (knows as Duryodhana) being a misunderstood figure.

The first volume of the series: Roll of the Dice

Expectations were huge from this book too as it is the continuation of the epic Mahabharata from another perspective and of course, the readers are curious to know more about the other side, or so to speak, of the fence. Well, the book begins with an author's note where he explains how he has learned the art of viewing things critically from Gita itself. He also has included Gita in his book but here the dialogue is between Krishna who is with Arjuna and is inclined toward war and Balrama who sympathizes with Suyodhana. Balaram is questioning Krishna and Krishna is justifying his acts in the name of Dharma. Author has also addressed the issue of showing Krishna in an unflattering light in his books.

About the author
This is Anand Neelkantan's third book after Asura and Ajaya (Part I). In his own words, he was born in a village with more than necessary number of temples. His tryst with mythology and religion started early on in his life and he has been fascinated ever since.

About the book
The cover has an ominous picture of a vulture flying in the face of solar eclipse. Just like the earlier book, this one also has been beautifully designed. The pages have a crisp feel to them. The typeset is of international standards. The blurb at the back reveals nothing but the basic premise of the book which is essentially- 'Mahabharata retold'. Praise from reputed newspapers and magazines like The Week and DNA are enough for one to be sold to the idea of the book.

The language is simple with short sentences and fast narrative. The book is divided into 85 chapter for easy readability. A preview to the happenings in the previous book make the book a good purchase as a stand-alone product too.

About the plot
The book picks up the story from the scene of Game of Dice where Draupadi is mercifully pawned. Of course in this book, there is no magical Krishna to extend the saree of Draupadi as 'Dushasana' pulls on it. It is a less dramatic, but more believable version of the situation. The dialogues in the book are not low on drama though. Every line compels you to put yourself in the character's situation and feel his dilemma.

The writing is divided in shorter paragraphs which are easy on the eye and the plot moves very smoothly. The book is a brilliant example of how to engage the reader through merely the use of dialogues and interesting situations. The author has used his imagination in most situations and although they might not be the real history of those times, they are definitely more realistic than the actual texts.

I would rate the book with 4 out of 5 stars.


Saturday 15 August 2015

Book review- The Curse of Surya- Dev Prasad

ISBN- 978-81-8400-622-3
Title- The Curse of Surya
Author- Dev Prasad
Publisher- Ebury Press/ Random House India
Genre- Fiction/ Thriller
Pages- 304
Price- 299
eBook- Available

About the author
The author Dev Prasad is a senior IT professional in Bangalore and his previous books- Krishna- A Journey Through Lands and Legends of Krishna and Pitch It! were well received by the readers. His interests lie in philanthropy and sports.

About the cover
The cover photograph has been done by Getty images and it captures what seems to be Mathura's Krishna temple under solar eclipse which fits quite well with the narrative of the book. The mysterious images of Sun or Surya adorn the front and back cover providing a stark contrast to the dull blue background. The effect is pleasing to the eye and is definitely a classy piece of art.

About the book
The blurb at the back cover introduces the protagonists Sangeeta Rao- a beautiful, feisty reporter from Singapore, Alan Davies- a charming Welshman. Misunderstandings turning them into fugitives, cryptographs to unearth Shyamantaka - a jewel lost 5000 years ago and Anton Blanchard- an elderly Frenchman joining them in their quest (because, everything is better with a little French in it). On the other side of the spectrum are SP Nisha Sharma and terrorist organizations who are in pursuit of our fugitives.The book claims to be a fast paced thriller laced with twists and deceits.

The size of the book is that of an average metro read which can easily be placed inside small bags. It is well printed and there are hardly any printing mistakes. The pages are off-white and are thick enough for recycled offset paper. The font is Adobe Garamond which is my favourite.

About the plot
The book is written in an action movie format with every new section starting with location and date. The book falls in the trap of the oh-so-familiar Robert Langdon loop of cracking codes and travelling across the country. The author hasn't innovated enough in the plot department but, he has delved deep enough in Indian mythology to keep the book interesting. One can easily see hints of Dan Brown in the way the book is written. The geographical coverage in the book is remarkable and says something about the rich heritage of India. Pick this one up if you are looking to brush up your knowledge of Indian mythology and ancient history.

About the language
The book is an easy read. The words are simple and sentences are short and the whole book is divided in smaller, easy to read chunks. It helps maintain the flow of the reading and doesn't let fatigue set it. The language is of course, not the highest point of the book. The author doesn't paint pictures of places described in the book. He does take you to the place with his words though. One gets the idea that the book is written with a single mind and that is to thrill and engage. Fair enough. The book succeeds in that department. There are cheesy lines like 'He may have keys to the temple but, I have the key to his heart' which make you cringe but then there are moments when you uncover great mysteries or set sail on great adventures so, let the tiny grudges go.

Here is hoping that I didn't give any spoilers. Do let me know if you have any specific points to discuss about the book though.

All in all, a good one time read.

2.8 out of 5 stars

Thursday 30 July 2015

My answer to "At what stage in a relationship doesn an Indian girl decides to go physical with her boyfriend?"

This is my answer to the question-

At what stage in a relationship doesn an Indian girl decides to go physical with her boyfriend? 

on Quora.

(Satire Alert)

An Indian girl unlike any other creature is a unique specimen. Scientists have waited long nights on tree tops in jungles to observe this creature's behaviour and mating habits. This of course, has been a risky foray into one of the most mysterious tales of nature. A few scientists who dozed and fell from those tree tops were devoured by this so called creature called Indian girl known in the scientific community as Girlus Indicus.

To answer your question, an Indian Girl has certain mating rituals that do hinder an early consummation of relationship (if you know what I mean *wink*). The Indian Boy, the male of the species, scientifically known as Indus Desperatus has to earn the right with routine courtship rituals.

In the internationally acclaimed journal Scribble Pad, an article was published just today which lists out the steps that if carried out successfully, lead to coitus uninterruptus *wink*

Here are excerpts-

Step 1- Creepy Behaviour

Indicus Desperatus, driven by hormones and goaded by horny companions, approaches the female via Facebook, whatsapp or any other indirect method. This stage is marked by the blatant misuse of the word 'love'.

Step 2- Perseverance

Now, Indicus Desperatus is known for its perseverance. It's evident from the religious 'Good morning' messages sent to the female every day for a month. The fact that not even a single one of them is replied to shows the mule-like traits found in the males of the species.

Step 3- Denial

The male then assumes the female to be his girlfriend. It is a defence mechanism and depicts the tendency of the male to reward himself for his persistence.

Sometimes the step 3 consists of Acceptance by the girl. This is only possible when the girl is of the sub-species Girlus Indicus Stupidus. Since we are here to discuss the consummation of relationship, we will assume that girl in our case belongs to that sub-species.

Step 4- The Date

Finally in case of Acceptance, the girl chooses to go out with the guy on a date. Usually such dates constitute of moments like these-

a) The girl catches the guy leering at her cleavage. She asks him what he is doing. The guy says something that sounds like a compliment. The girl forgives the guy for being a lustful, bloodthirsty sociopath.

b) The guy tries to kiss the girl. The girl tries to resist. It becomes awkward. At one moment, the guy's lips touch the girl's eyeball.

Anyway, the date is soon wrapped up.

Step 5- The Quora

The guy posts questions like "At what stage in a relationship doesn an Indian girl decides to go physical with her boyfriend?" on Quora. He even wonders the same when he is with the girl. This leads to awkward conversations with no real progress being made on the relationship front.

Step 6- The Leap

Desperatus decides one day that enough is enough and takes the leap. He finally gets his way with the girl but after the act, the girl feels slightly violated. They part soon after the act.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Restaurant Review: Wendy's, Sector 29, Gurgaon

Rocky and Mayur have ventured out to explore food from all parts of India and curate videos on Askme.com I'm contributing my part by relishing my favorite dishes at Wendy's, Sector 29, Gurgaon and sharing my views with you all!You can also upload your video review on AskMe  and stand a chance to meet Rocky and Mayur.

Restaurant- Wendy's
Cuisine- Fast food/ American

Shop- 19, Leisure Valley road, Sector 29


With hoardings all over Gurgaon, it was difficult to not visit Wendy's at least once. Sector 29 market is a nice locality with loads of options for all kinds of foodies. The market lights up in the evenings and parking is almost full always. It is a good option to park your vehicle in the facility outside the market, near the park. The walk from there to the restaurant might even help with the appetite. 

I had heard enough about Wendy's through popular media and American shows and had always wondered what was so special about it. One evening, I decided to give it a try and the following is an account of my experience-

As you enter the restaurant, you are directed toward the counter with a giant menu. It is a good arrangement as it streamlines the whole experience. You enter, you order, pick a token, pick a table and then you are served. The staff is friendly and unobtrusive.

The decor would get a complete 10/10 from my side. The pickle jars are arranged tastefully to give  very friendly picture. The lighting is also dim and suits the dinner mood. Cleanliness is top notch and the service system is efficient.

Coming to the food, there are equal options for non vegetarians and vegetarians; and Baconator is seemingly their trademark burger- the double bacon, cheeseburger. 

I decided to order a Jr Chicken burger meal. 
The burger came with yellow buns and a large amount of fries. The cola drink was also served in a pretty tall glass. The main dish- the burger was nice and juicy. The pickles inside created an interesting mix of flavours and texture. The patty was thick enough and the bun was soft and crumbled easily. The fries were more than sufficient, thick and took the spotlight away from the burger. It was difficult to finish the cola drink as it was too much and I felt like I was snacking unhealthy. I would rate the food experience 8/10.

Would recommend.

Monday 20 July 2015

Book Review- Shatru Kronikles Book -1- Vadhan

ISBN- 978-93-84027-50-6
Title- Shatru Kronikles Book- 1
Author- Vadhan
Publisher- Frog Books (Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd) www.leadstartcorp.com
Genre- Fantasy fiction
Price- Rs 225
Pages- 262
Facebook Page- http://www.facebook.com/BSCVadhan/
Flipkart linkTo purchase

About the book

With the markets flooding with historical fiction these days, one is almost cautious not to pick up another 'retelling' of an epic. With Shatru, you can lay those fears to rest. The book is pure fantasy fiction with roots in Indian mythology. The thing with this genre is that the author has to strike a balance between imagination and structure. Author Vadhan has traversed that path almost perfectly. The plot follows a tangent that very few in Indian fantasy world have been able to achieve. Vadhan has created a world of his own and it has definite rules. The protagonist Shatru is half Asura. He also is a 'Hunter'. The novel creates a world of its own and it has its own laws. This is not Ashwin Sanghi or Amish. This is Tolkien meeting Agatha Christie.

When I started reading the book, it started with a gruesome crime and I thought- detective fiction. As I read on, I got introduced to the character of Shatru (Ajaatshatru), and I thought 'hey! Hellboy!' The world woven around the characters is complex and consists of conspiracies and background stories. It makes the whole experience more enriching. The language is intelligent and witty. The author has not forgotten the importance of humour and that's why the plot seems even more real and believable.

One of the most delightful things about the book is its language. It is colourful and layered. There is an other-worldy feel created with just minor tweaks in the narrative. The author has, on multiple occasions, referred to the mobile phone or cellphone as 'the instrument'. It subtly drives home the point that the characters do not belong to 'our' world. There are more such examples of intelligent writing in there. Modern day Indian English authors have fallen in the trap of oversimplification. You assume that you have to keep a linear plot to keep the audience engaged, you assume that your hero should have certain traits- all those assumptions lead you to cardboard characters and flat plots. Fantasy in the west is much more nuanced. It is as if we have taken no cues from our forefathers who were the creators of Mahabharat and Upnishads. Heck, even the Panchtantra which is supposed to be a children's book has more layers than most of modern Indian English fiction. This book evades that trap of oversimplification and considers the readers to be intelligent, sentient beings. By all accounts, this is a 'true' fantasy book from an Indian author that I have read in a long time and that is saying a lot.

About the cover

The front cover is an eerie green eye with immaculate detailing with green smoke coming out of it. It marks the beginning of the series with the symbolic opening of an eye. Once you read the book, it will be clear to you that it is an Asura's green eye. The black background completes the picture. The back cover has the book blurb which thankfully reveals little about the plot and has the backdrop of a city with impending doom. The pages are crisp and there are almost zero printing mistakes. Full credits to Leadstart who seem to be learning from their mistakes and getting better with each book.

About the author

Bommadevara Sai Chandravadhan is a valuable member at my Talking Books in Delhi NCR meetup group. As you can see in the picture above, he has an imposing, towering persona. When one gets to talk and interact with him, you realize how friendly and humourous he is. You can fit him into one of those friendly giants in those Disney movies. He is a lawyer by profession and owns a legal firm in Gurgaon. Writing has been his first love and at age 12, when he first attempting writing a book (wow), his genre of choice was incidentally fantasy. He has an active imagination and it shows clearly in the book and also in the way he writes.

About the plot

Well, there is a hero, a sidekick, a mysterious murder. There are also secret organizations. Moreover, there is conspiracy and impending doom. Also, you have Indian mythology and elements of science fiction. This is not just a Fantasy novel. It is many things. It is also a fitting story for a comic book. The thing that most people miss while creating a superhero character is that they do not define its powers and their source. Vadhan has not only created a well-defined superhero-like character in Shatru, he has gone a step ahead and created an alternate universe with its own laws and norms.

I recommend that you read it with a free mind so that you can picture the hard work that has gone into creating this book and its characters. Also, it isn't a four-hour read. It is a story you can take home and make your own. Recommended to everyone with a child's heart.

****/5 (four stars out of five)

Thursday 16 July 2015

An emotional post about Samosa

As a kid, I was introduced to samosas by my Grandpa. Samosas were the companions to the squiggly jalebis and were eaten on Sunday mornings for breakfast. Samosa slowly became my wake up call for Sunday mornings as in- "Wake up! Samosas are here!"

Now what did I love so much about this triangular Indian snack? (I will slap anyone who says samosas are not Indian but an import. We have internalized samosas like no other country). In my early days, my tongue was not ready for the chilly that the potatoes inside the samosa hid between their crevices. Those round potato bits not mashed perfectly just to give you a wholesome feel. Those chunks would roll off along with the peas as you would break open the crispy corner of a piping hot samosa- they did have a story to tell. It was the story of how food makes us adventurous.

No one in their right mind would binge-eat samosas. They are dangerous, they go into your stomach and heat it up like a furnace. It is like shoving chilies down your throat, only more exciting and tastier.

A samosa can be eaten in multiple ways. The way you treat a samosa shows a lot about your character. If you are an aggressive, passionate person, you would just dunk the samosa in chutney and shove it down your mouth. Someone who is more discreet would just peel off the cover and eat it while leaving the inner masala. Personally, I think it is safe but also horrible. No samosa deserves to be stripped naked and abandoned. Not even the South Indian Samosa which cheats with its Dosa infested flavour.

Some people savour the crispy exterior and offer the masala to their companions. I think it is the most humane way you can reject a samosa and I really appreciate the gesture- nevermind the mouth ulcers that you give the other person in the process.

Some people break off a chunk of the samosa and eat it tastefully- showing how it is done. The crumbs falling on the plate can be picked up by the masala that your chunk holds- not wasting any bit. This is the classiest way to eat a samosa. Well, one of the classiest ways actually. Samosa being the fire-in-the-mouth that it is, needs a companion and although the green and red chutneys do a handsome job, nothing accompanies a hot samosa better than some ice-cold curd. The curd somehow mixes with the spicy masala and creates a whole new sweet-tangy flavour. It is an assault on the the taste buds which brings nothing but delight.

Samosa is not just about the chilly or the potatoes though. It also has a hint of sour coming from aamchur powder which most people neglect. That sourness is actually the mysterious factor that makes the whole thing so addictive. The lack of ability to bring out the sourness is the reason why chefs and halwais in some parts of India just cannot whip up a good samosa. The South Indian samosa for example is an abomination. It is filled with masala from masala dosa and isn't event that crispy. The samosas sold at Cafe Coffee Day restaurants also fails to grasp the philosophy behind this delectable dish. You cannot just fill it with chunks of potato and let the microwave oven cook it for you. You have to deep fry it and make it like an arsonist makes fire. The cover of the samosa is not just to wrap it or pack it. It is the first act. It sets the stage. The CCD samosas have a thick, chewy cover. You cannot make it chewy. It has to be the right thickness and consistency.

If a person bites into a samosa and the deepest he can dig brings him no potatoes, it is no samosa, sir. A real samosa doesn't feel likes pizza. The only way you know you are eating a samosa is when you know that you will wake up with pimples the next morning. The Rajasthani counterpart comes quite close to it. It has the potatoes, it is larger than usual and its cover is crispy too. The only problem is, it just isn't sour enough. It is a close cousin to the tastiest samosa but, not quite there.

Some halwais do the mistake of adding too many raisins and dry fruits in there. It is like adding balloons and confetti in your bomb. But yes, a raisin or two inside it surely are needed. They work as good exclamation points.

In cases of samosa, you actually don't want to go too big. Mathura and the region around it has a good hold over the proper samosa size. They are not too large to kill your appetite and neither too small to just serve as disappointments. They serve it with an aloo sabzi (gravy) though and it sort of takes away the focus from the samosa. Also the locus of the sourness is situated out of the samosa which is cool with me but, I'd rather have my favourite samosa with no side dishes.

The mark of a good samosa is that it tastes good even when eaten cold. Sometimes a cold samosa out of the fridge with some curd is pure bliss.

On a side note, I would like to mention that the Southern part of India has been murdering one more dish which is the golgappas. They put hot peas and chholas inside the puris! One- that makes no sense, two- stop doing that!

Until next time!

Saturday 11 July 2015

Modern Panchtantra- Book 1- The Loss of Facebook Friends- Chapter 1

Chapter 1- The Loss of Facebook Friends

It is the story of a district in twenty-first century India. It had a town of pure beauty but no one had time to notice it. The town had great food which helped keep its denizens' instagram accounts active. #Instalassi #InstaKachori #InstaHouseflyInMyTea were some of the common hashtags originating from the town. The villages in the district had InstaGram Panchayats. The town also had historical monuments but they were mostly used by the denizens as backgrounds for duckface selfies for profile pictures on Facebook accounts. Life ran smoothly everywhere and there was no dearth of social media usernames. It was a happy town.

In that town, lived a merchant by the name of Merch. He had a friend called Goodies. Yes, the town had its own cool Merch and Goodies! I am not making this up! Actually, I am making this up but, whatever. One day, Goodies and Merch were scrolling through Merch's Candy Crush score and they realized that although it was impressive, there were still levels to be unlocked and candies to be crushed.

Goodies said to Merch, 'Hey friend, although you may play Candy Crush and Candy Crush Saga all day and send invitations to all your friends, if you do not use your credit card to buy more points via in-app purchases, you are not doing enough. In life there are many moments when we think we are doing the right thing or the appropriate thing but, the truth is- doing the right thing is not enough. You have to reach out and grab opportunities, bribe your way to the elite rooms, spend more money on things that matter... to others and only then will you be respected... by others.'

This motivational speech opened Merch's eyes. Merch was not someone who was easily convinced. But, today his friend had been able to win cool Merch. Ok, now I am just overdoing this joke. Anyway, so, Merch decided that he had to do something more with his Candy Crush account. He was overcome by a will to reach out inside the guts of his laptop and pull new levels of Candy Crush before they were even launched. He wanted to buy so many lives that he became virtually immortal.

He set out with a few friends to a journey. A journey to reach the city of Facebook and find Candy Crush creators. He knew that he had to become the best before everyone stopped caring about the game. A flashback hit him- he had purchased so many fields and owned so much land that he could produce grain and vegetables for the whole country yet, everyone had stopped giving a hoot. He had cried the day he stopped playing Farm Ville because Candy Crush saga was the new thing. All his land, all his sheep, all his cows- all lost to obscurity. He shuddered! He couldn't let any of that happen to him again.

A servant in his caravan came panting. Merch ordered for the cart to be stopped.

'What is it?' He asked.

'It is bad news, sir! Very bad' The servant said, panting.

'Oh just spit it out!' Merch ordered.

'Sir, your friend, Goodies! He posted something against Modi on twitter and now everyone on social media is slinging mud on him.

'Oh, you mean like insults?' Merch asked.

'No sir, actual mud. Some people wearing the colours of Facebook- ie blue and white came and threw mud on his cart', The sentri said,

'Oh, that's bad!'

'Yes sir, and moreover, the bull which was pulling his cart has refused to move. Apparently, the bull being a descendant of Lord Nandi was a staunch BJP supporter' The servant blurted out.

'Hmm... that's serious. I guess we will have to leave the bull in the jungle then.' Merch said.

'It seems so sir. Goodies sir has lost many Facebook friends too. He is in shambles.' Servant said.

'Well, what did he tweet?' Merch asked.

Servant revealed, 'He had just tweeted - "Modi shouldn't be given Visa" and everyone attacked him'

'Isn't it possible that he was talking about Lalit Modi?' Merch frowned.

'Yes sir, but it is too late for explanations. Salman Khan's latest flick is about to hit theaters. The nation's IQ is at an all time low.' Servant said meekly.

'Oh, I see. Let's leave the bull behind. Let Goodies sit in my cart.' Merch ordered and his orders were carried out.

The bull which was left was not really a bhakt though. He had refused to move because his internet was slow and it was taking forever for him to check-in on Foursquare. As the bull's update- 'Just reached Jungle, hope I don't eaten by a Lion... lol' finally got saved, the whole caravan had gone pretty far leaving him.

The jungle incidentally had free WiFi. Only animals who served the Lion named Sunny had the password. Two jackals- subjects of Sunny Lion were sitting near a pond from which the Bull - Brahma was about to drink water. The news that Sunny was about to come to the same pond reached Jack and Kal- the two jackals.

Jack said, 'I am pretty sure Sunny hasn't yet made the WiFi available for Brahma- the Bull.'
Kal said, 'His deeds remind me this story.'
Jack went, 'I am pretty sure we are characters of someone else's story and this story within a story is going to give me a headache but, go ahead.'

And Kal began...

                                                                                                  (To be continued)

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Modern Panchtantra Series- Introduction

The following is the introduction chapter of a series of blogposts in which I would be putting a contemporary twist to the immortal stories of Panchtantra. The tone would be mostly parody or satire or both. Enjoy!


Once upon a time there prospered a big kingdom by the name that roughly translated from Sanskrit meant 'Somewhat Delightful'. Its king, whose name incidentally was King used to bask in its glory. The subjects were happy because they had enough means of entertainment. Corruption flourished in government offices and educational institutes making life easy for everyone. Men with lesser means knew their place in the society and never raised their voices. It was a Utopian society. The only worry, the king, King had was that his three sons Arvind, Kerji and Wal were too honest for their own good.

They would sometimes rebel against their own father and though it was painful for King to watch, he used to beat them with a a cane and use tear gas on them. One day, the king decided that enough was enough and hired a private tutor for the kids. The tutor Vishnu Indra Pratap or VIP was a stickler for norms and ancient culture. People had started calling their culture- VIP culture to pay respect to Vishnu.

Vishnu took it upon himself to set the princes straight in three months. He told King that if he is unable to fulfill his promise, there should be massive punishment for him. The severest punishment in the kingdom was that one was declared honest and no government office was allowed to accept bribe or gifts from one. Vishnu's soul shuddered thinking about the punishment but, he was positive that he could set the princes straight in the stipulated time.

He knew that if he tried to reason with Arvind, Kejri and Wal, they would drag him to their level and defeat him. So, he chose a simpler option. The option of giving sermons by inserting them in boring stories. The best part about it was that he would take no questions. Also, he knew that the kids were about to hit puberty so, he sprinkled some sex and violence in them to retain their attention.

In the posts to follow, we will look at the stories and also learn with the princes.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Book Review- Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish Tripathi

Scion of Ikshvaku (Ram Chandra Series, #1)Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish Tripathi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ramayana has been written and re-written a lot of times and by now, most people know the names of all characters and the sequence of events. Sometimes the biggest risk is not taking any risks and it seemed to me that the author Amish has taken that risk.

As I read the book, I realized that my perception was a bit wrong as the author has almost completely succeeded in creating the same sort of intrigue in the story for those who haven't read Ramayana and also for those who live by it. The mysterious background of Chandravanshi-Suryavanshi clans, their conflicts, the politics of those days are all presented in a fresh way. So much so that you can almost find hints of modern day events related to terrorism, religious extremism and conspiracy theories in it.

The book reads smoothly. If you sit down with it, you will surely finish at least half of it in one go. The language is easy to grasp and the words are crisp and well-selected.

Ram's character has been glorified within practical limits and it is so realistic that one gets goosebumps while reading about Him. Other characters are also very believable. Some new characters and twists have been introduced to keep the story interesting. One character by name of Roshni irked me a little. Not the character per se but the name. Roshni is clearly a Persian name and in a drama where everyone has Sanskrit rooted names, this name stands out like an eyesore and displays author's carelessness. Why not give Raavan a step brother by the name of Geoffrey?

Other than that, and a few loose paras here and there, the book is pretty good and keeps the reader beholden to itself. You cannot leave it halfway and that's the beauty of the book. It has carefully surgically removed all the the unbelievable parts from the epic and made it a realistic sci-fi drama.

Highlight of the book is when Ram explains how if there were a 'One True God', He wouldn't have taken sides. Strong message.

View all my reviews

4 stars ****

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Book Review- Mistress of Honour- Bhaavna Arora

Title- Mistress of Honour
Author- Bhaavna Arora
Publisher- Penguin Books India
ISBN- 978-0-143-42528-1
Genre- Fiction (Inspired from real-life stories)
E-book- Available
Pages- 191
Price- Rs 199
Amazon (Rs 139)http://www.amazon.in/Mistress-Honour-Bhaavna-Arora/dp/0143425285

The Design

The first thing that I wish to tell you about this book is that it is a product of labour. The connect that the author has with the storyline is purely visible. I picked up the book and the first thing that delighted me was the wonderfully done cover art. The bokeh at the back cover had a mesmerizing feel to it. The blurb had a hauntingly painful tone. Talks of coming 'a close second' sort of ring in old memories in the mind. The right kind of wistfulness is evoked by the overall feel of the book cover.

The Setting

The drama has major historical events that shook the Indian subcontinent running in the background. In that way, the book draws inspiration from many other such pieces of literature already on the shelves. The Operation Bluestar, the IPKF operation on LTTE in Sri Lanka, they all make appearances in the storyline. The story begins with Pansy and Potnis- to star-crossed lovers meeting amidst flying bullets and dying people. A certain Hindi film vibe cannot be denied here.

The author is a Shobha De fan and that may be the reason why the book hits you right in the feels. Still, the nitty-gritties of the army operations covered in the book, for example the one in Assam against the ULFA terrorists are pretty close to reality. The research behind the book is self-evident.

The book should appeal to those who look for simple stories with an emotional value. The author has not tried to create a literary masterpiece. The book is high on drama, sex, action and other basic components of a racy thriller. Unlike thrillers though, this book has a purpose. The well deserved glorification of the Indian armed forces runs like a ribbon across the pages of this book, tying it all together.

The Plot

The story can easily be divided into two parts. The first part is about Potnis and Pansy and their struggles while in the second half, their daughter Rihana's journey on the path of attaining her destiny takes centre stage. There are army operations, love affairs, selfless sacrifices interspersed throughout the novel. Heroism is displayed in the pages with the depiction of defence personnel's personal sacrifices and acts of courage.

The Characters

Potnis is an army officer with a sense of duty. His love for Pansy comes a close second to his love for the country. Their daughter Rihana has seen a lot in her growing years and is wise beyond her years. These make for cardboard 'good' characters with less scope to improvise. Advik is the yang to all this yin. He is carefree, promiscuous and untamed. He is also Rihana's love interest much to the dismay of her sworn brother Kabir. All the characters are likable and there are no obvious villains except circumstances.

The Language
The language is kept simple and minimal army jargon is used. The novel is well researched and makes for a believable read.

I would give the book 3 stars out of 5. An additional 0.5 stars for the ease of reading. I could finish the book well within four hours.

Final verdict- 3.5/5

Wednesday 24 June 2015

In this weather

In this weather,
I wish we were strangers.
I wish the falling drops,
Erased everything we've ever done.
All the fights,
Even delights,
All the pain,
The little first memories.
I want them all erased clean.
I want to stand under a mango tree,
On a rainy night.
I want you to be sitting,
At a nearby dhaba,
Taking shelter, looking at me.
I want myself to smile,
As you smile at me.
I want the power to go off,
The winds to blow hard.
I want fate to stir the pots once again,
I want the churning to be harder.
I want us to melt together.
In this weather.