Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010

The opening lines of ,"Faithful Place" by Tana French reads,"My father once told me that the most important thing every man should know is what he should die for.If you don't know that,he said,what are you worth?Nothing you're not a man at all."

2010 a year where I had it my way and did all the things I really wanted to do. Not that I was not doing them before but sticking to them even in job was something commendable.Cycling , Trekking , running, Football , Rock shows , partying , biking , traveling(Ladakh happened ),reading happened all throughout the year. 

But these things aside the year was an year of introspection and solitude.I am happy about a few things :

  • Opening of the library at home.
  • Its been 5 months since I lighted the death fire.
  • Quitting the job.
  • Deleting my Facebook account.
  • Meditation
  • Bhagavad Gita


One of the good years I must say and pray for the same goodness in the coming year.

To all the reader friends : Wish you all a very happy new year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

THE LORD OF THE RINGS BY J.R.R.TOLKIEN


"It is an army bred for a single purpose , to destroy the world of men."

Sauron the dark Lord has risen again and has gathered the rings of power. With the help of Saruman he has formed a big army. All he needs now is the Ruling Ring which will ensure his victory over the world of men , elves and dwarves. Young Frodo Baggins is faced with an immense task,as the ring is entrusted to his care. Thus he sets out on a risky journey to the territories of the Dark Lord. Though he has to take the burden of the ring all alone but in his mission he is supported by great wizards, warriors , kings and 3 friends.

The book is simply awesome and highly detailed. It may seem to be a bulky one but none the less it is the huge volume which makes it special. Frodo's quest at times seems to be your quest and it feels as if you are climbing the mountains and walking the roads. The description of the wars is perfected to the minutest detail. To quote few lines from the book,"Shadow had fallen to the valley below, but there was still a light on the faces of the mountain far above. The air was warm. The sound of running and falling water was loud, and the evening was filled with a faint scent of trees and flowers,as if summer still lingered in Elrond's gardens." The description of each day , details of the lands visited is really beautiful.Another fascinating aspect of the book is the hobbit songs through which they speak about the grandeur of events in the past.

This book falls in the fantasy genre and stands tall on its plot . Divided into 3 parts there are many stories which run in parallel and has umpteen characters.The book smartly interconnects these stories and every character has an important part to play. It has all the ingredients of making a great book.The book is about great friendship, treachery , valor , greed ,wisdom, sacrifice , grace , cruelty , humor , emotions and last but not the least power.After reading the book you will feel elated and the favorite character may vary from person to person. It was hard for me to choose mine and finally after I narrowed it down to Sam and Gandalf. If you have not seen the movies based on the book then I would advice you to read and watch the movie.
I quote here my favorite lines from the book which happens to be a conversation between Sam and Frodo. 
Sam," It's like in the great stories,Mr.Frodo. The ones that really mattered,full of darkness and danger they were.And sometimes you didn't want to know the end ....because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing ..this shadow. Even darkness must pass.A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out clearer.Those were the stories that stayed with you that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think. Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now, Folk in those stories .. had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't.They kept going because they were holding on to something."
Frodo,"What are we holding it to Sam?"
Sam,"That there's some good in this world,Mr. Frodo and its worth fighting for."  

On a different note :  Had resisted long from watching the movies based on the book in spite of people telling that movie is better that the book. Finally December happened to be a traveling month comprising of  long train journeys. This book had been lying since second year of college and perhaps this was the right time to read it.Finally saw the movies and would say that it was more fun after reading the book.

Rating : 4.6/5 
Category: Movies based on Books.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gyaan

विहाय कमान यः सर्वान पुमांश्वरती निह्स्प्रीहः
निर्ममो निरहंकारः स शान्तिमधीगचछती ! 

The Man who, giving up all objects of desires, moves about seeking nothing, and rid of all sense of "mine" and "I" wins peace.

Bhagavad Gita : Chapter 2.  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A spiritual reunion


The book had been resting on the shelf for sometime.The book is in its sixth year and few chapters have been added since its inception. It is more of a fun read and the characters are a set of great people.

On a cold and foggy December night many had flown in from different parts of India to catch a train to Jammu. By 9:30 p.m almost everyone was there and it was a moment of hugs , laughs ,short discussions and emotions . But most important point was that everything was in continuation to the previous chapter. There was not a single moment of disparity owing to different lives which everyone was leading. A very strong indication of  bondage and oneness.
Thus  began a fun filled trip to Vaishno devi. Some memorable quotes and happenings:

1) 11 p.m. cold water bath before darshan.
2) Exploring of all the food joints by Doodh.
3) Institute football captain found the climbing too hard.
4) Antenna in spite of being told umpteen times brings his leather purse to the temple and rightly was sent back.
5)Galib , the King of PJ's - Dasna.
6)A changed Bhondu who lead the group and did not eat anything before darshan.
7)Someone to Dhamki , " Tera plan B kya hai ?" Dhamki bulbing and replying back,"Mera koi B-plan nahi hai."
8) 4 a.m.bhale happily sitting and sleeping on being woken up,"Yaar main abhi sapna dekh raha tha ki hum neeche phunch gaye hain aur soye huein hain."

Time was less and spent some time with everyone.I know that all the future reunions will be short lived but somehow meeting everyone rejuvenates the mind and raises the spirit.

On Train Journeys: Cold nights in sleeping bags, Rampyari tea , the astrolger, the woman who learnt English in her dreams, hum.. , woman married at 9 now has a grandchild at 37,family with 4 kids and 4650 monthly income , card games ,slipper story, oranges , fog and train delays ..... each of these is a different story on different trains over the last week. I have always loved traveling mostly not in comfort because life's lessons come at a cost.

Another happy chapter added to the book and if there be God's will soon the book will be reopened.

Jai Mata Di.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Header - December


The idea of coffee at the same places was never appealing to me so there was an aversion towards the college CCD. But I have loved having coffee at different places and and with many different set of people.Somehow I remember most of those talks and can recall the topic of discussion. Sadly I don't have many memories of coffee at college.
This was at rock beach in Pondicehery last Diwali on a random bike trip with a dear friend. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Books to Buy this winter

If you are planning to buy some books , here is a good list which is currently my TBL (To Buy List.]


1)Chasing Daylight by Eugene O'Kelly [KPMG CEO's tryst with brain cancer .. ]


2)The very thought of you by Rosy Allison [ Romantic]


3)Arrack In The Afternoon by Mathew Vincent Menacherry[Arrack is a drink]


4)Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna


5)Three cups of Tea : Inspirational 


6)Zeitoun by David Eggers : Adventure novel [A person stays in a Hurricane with his family where others flee, winner of 2010 American book awards.]


7)The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver : Travel story


8)The history of love by Nicole krauss


9)Eat pray love by Elizabeth Gilbert


10)Girls by Lori Lansens


11)The outsider by Albert Camus 


12)Don't ask any old bloke for directions 


13)Snow - Orhan Pramanuk.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Published in 1847 , this book is the only work of Emily Bronte. The book is regarded as one of the classics and stands tall on class. 

This book is rather a violent love story between Heathcliff and Catherine. Heathcliff is an orphan and spends his childhood with Catherine. Though they would hate other externally but there was intense love behind the veil of hate. But sometimes love has to suffer the wrath of society. Catherine though in love could not marry him because he is poor and uneducated and not that worthy a husband. I have picked few beautiful lines from the book where she talks about her love , "It would degrade me to to marry Heathcliff ,now;so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome,Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning , or frost from fire."   

The story is also of vengeance and many of Heathcliff's action can be categorized as diabolical. He takes a violent path to return back his vengeance.This makes him a mirthless man who becomes the cause of the death of Catherine , the woman he loved. But this strange tale of love does not end here. The tormentor gets tormented all through his life . 

" May you not rest , as long as I am living.You said I killed you - haunt me then."

A treat for people who love Literature, one book which I may confess to be a must read.

Rating: 4.2/5 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We Can pull it Off by Suresh Taneja

There is a lot of literature on corruption , declining moral values and  injustice prevailing in the Indian society. This book being the same in context is written quite differently and also suggests a solution to the problem.

The book starts with an optimistic view of India in the year 2030. A time when India is a superpower , wealthy , prosperous and corruption free. This portrayal though may seem preposterous but would be a dream of every Indian. The story then goes back to contemporary India.The author speaks of the Satyam scam(though many bigger scams have sent down jitters lately), the rotten law and order and  the corrupt politics. A question which seems very legitimate is that it is we who elect such people who do not have any moral values and so we are in many ways responsible for the mess. The illiterates are lured by the politicians for votes and these people irrationally vote for the wrong people.

In such situation 4 people popularly known as the G4 stand up to raise the moral values in the society. They start a youth movement with a strong conviction and a winning strategy. The story speaks about the G4 and their role to make India cleaner and a better place to live.It brings out a very important point that it is the youth who needs to stand up, think differently and take a different cleaner approach to things. They need not only to be leaders but also must prevent their elders from committing immoral acts.

Read the book to know how they managed to change India and let it be an inspiration for us to eradicate corruption from our country.

Rating : 3/5 

Suresh Taneja is a C.A. by profession and is employed in a large listed company as its chief financial officer. This is his first completed work as an author.  

Here is an interview of the author.

  • 1)  We know that it is your debut work.  What made you write the book?

This book is a culmination of several months of introspection. With wide-spread deep rooted corruption all around, I sometimes wondered whether the things would ever improve and what will trigger its eradication. The answer was not easily forthcoming. The discussions with colleagues and acquaintances were rather uninspiring. In one such discussion, a friend even remarked that the corruption is a boon for the businessmen and who wouldn’t like the situation to continue. It made me so depressed that I started giving this topic a serious thinking and then, I stumbled across some ideas.  The next thought was what to do now? I realized that for maximum readership, I need to package the ideas well so that it makes an interesting read. This is when I thought of expressing this idea through a gripping, inspiring and enjoyable story.


2.       

    How easy or difficult was it to write the book since you are in an unrelated profession?

Surprisingly, the story telling came naturally to me; in any case, I was fond of writing. The biggest impediment was the paucity of time as my profession is rather demanding and that leaves you with little time.  However, so passionate was I about the project that these problems were easily overcome.  During writing, I realized that due to deep involvement in the project, the judgment of the author at times gets clouded and it becomes difficult for the author to comment on the quality of work and whether it will appeal to the readers.  This is where you need the support of others to give honest and unbiased feedback. 

3.       Having published your work, what are your expectations from the book?



It is clearly neither a commercial venture for me as writing is not my livelihood, nor do I aspire for literary recognition. It is not just a book to me…….it is a medium for me to express my thoughts and ideas and urge others to do so. I would like this book to be widely read, particularly by the youngsters. If the book helps people to introspect their ways, helps generate more ideas and changes their way of life and thinking even by 1%, my set-out objectives would be accomplished.

4.      
    What is the most generous compliment you have received for the book?



It came from a reader through email. It said that my dream of India being in a position to help US in 2030 is already beginning to get realized when Obama in his recent visit asked for India’s help in creating jobs in US.

5.     
           Can we expect more work from you in future and would your next work also be issue based? 



It has been an amazing experience as an author, right from conceptualization stage to post-publishing. Like a child, you feel elated if your efforts are lauded and you feel downright dejected when criticized.  The entire experience is so addictive that I am already in contemplation of several ideas for the next book.  I plan to come out with at least one book every year. I would write about any topic which excites and motivates me; it could even be pure fiction.




6.       How do you propose to pursue your hobby along with your demanding profession?



It is a tight rope to balance but it possible to pursue with two ‘loves’ of life; third, of course, being my wife!

7.       
      What kind of books you like?



I like all kinds of inspiration stories and the stories of achievers who could make it big in life despite all odds.





What is your message to the readers?


Let me share some of my experiences. When I was talking to publishers, a reputed publisher remarked that there are takers only for a book replete with vices and people like shocking and sensational topics. I don’t blame him because he is a businessman.  A few youngsters, after reading the back page cover, wanted to know whether there is a humour in the book.  All I can say is that I have tried to make the book a light read without compromising on the core topic.


The tag line of the book is ‘It is a story of courage, determination, ingenuity and love for the country”. My appeal to the readers is ‘please don the hat of a nationalist while reading the book’ and feel free to point out deficiencies in the book but ……if you find it relevant, please do something, howsoever small it may be, within your control to correct the situation and spread the message. The things are getting out of control, as is evident from the various recent incidents. It is our problem and we will have to solve it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Kolkata, football and life

Kolkata:


I have been to Kolkata so many times but have never written about it, so I thought would pen down some thoughts.Every city has its own flavor and that's what makes it difference. So if you are new to a city you must try and appreciate it rather than cursing about the facilities and roads and stuff. 
If you are landing in kolkata in the daytime you will be viewing the beautiful Gangasagar and if u approach by train you will see infinite number of small and green football fields.Football is in the culture here and is one of the many reasons of loving Kolkata. You must have seen the Howrah bridge in pictures  but it is fun to walk on the bridge something which I did this time. If you happen to be early in the morning waiting for a train in Howrah , just step out and come to this historical bridge and get treated by mesmerizing beauty.But you will get the idea about a city only if you walk by the streets. Famous for its almost 200 years old buildings and narrow streets it seems a trip down in the past. It was great to see the trams , rickshaw pullers , chandelier shops and many things which reminds you of a life that was .On different occasions I have been to various streets but this time it was College Street where I went book hunting. In fact  I must confess that it was book hunting and I was lost amongst thousands of books shops.I have never seen book sellers calling you out to come and see a few books. It was complete fun and a lifetime experience.

Food and Fun: If you happen to be here all you need to do is just go to any road side shop and have rasogollas , sweet just like the people here. I have been following this tradition of going to the Tea Junction (at both the City centers) and having the kullarh tea and samosa since many years and this time it was no different.On a different note this place is full of beautiful woman and simply a visual treat in a purer sense.

Football: It's been a few months since I played my last game and the first thing I did today was to wash the dirty studs for evening football today. However the mood for return to game came as a surprise when I got a passage on football in the exam i was writing yesterday.

Life 
Sort of screwed up my exam but still life is great and luckily has always been fun.Looking forward to many reunions with friends this month and next. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maze

It's surprising to see so many people lost in their own maze.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shubh Dipawali

प : क्या अ कब से मैंने बोला रखा है लड़ी लगाने को , सबके घर जगमगा रहे हैं कल से. चलो जल्दी से लगा दो . देखो जो भी पैसा लगे ले लो पर कुछ अलग दिखाना  चैये मेरा घर दिवाली में .
अ  : ठीक है मेम साहब २०० रूपया लगेगा .
प: छिड़ते हुए , पर बगल में ही तो तुमने १५० में किया है.
अ: पर आपको ही अलग चाहिए था न ?
फिर प ने सोचा की २०० दे ही रही हूँ तो जितना काम हो सके करवा लेती हूँ . फिर प ने अ को दिन भर बहुत तंग किया जब तक की उसे विश्वाश न हुआ की उसके यहाँ का सजावट सबसे अच्छा है.

आज दिवाली है और प फूले न समां रही है . उसका घर सबसे अच्छा लग रहा है और चमचमा रहा है.
अ के लिए यह एक आम दिन है .वोह दिवाली में थोडा ज्यादा कमा लेता है और उसमे से बड़ा हिस्सा वोह आगे के लिए बचा कर रखता है. कल शाम को लौटते वक़्त वोह बस्ती के बच्चों के लिए कुछ मिठाई और पठाके ले आया है. पर सब के घर को सजाने वाले ने खुद के घर के लिए कुछ नहीं किया है. वास्तव में वहाँ बिजली ही नहीं है .

पर शायाद अ को जरूरत नहीं है रोशिनी की . उसके अन्दर का दीपक जल चूका है .

इस दिवाली विज्ञापनों के चकाचोंध से बहार निकल , बाहरी चमक धमक को भुला कर कुछ समय अपने लिए निकालो , मनन में थोडा प्यार जगाओ , घर में दिया तो जलाओ पर अपने अन्दर को अँधेरे में न रखो. कुछ ऐसा करो जो आजतक किसी दिवाली में न किया , चलो बहार निकलो , थोडा प्यार बांटो.


May Your awareness of the inner light be at work now and throughout the coming year.

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

This book is about Sabine, who is an assistant to her husband who is a magician. However their marriage is a strange one because her husband is a gay. The very first lines of the book are,"Parsifal is dead. That is the end of the story."
Parsifal all through his life had not spoken to Sabine about his family but somehow in his will he leaves a lot of money for his family.Certain situations lead to Sabine meeting Parsifal's family who live in Nebarska. The book is more about Sabine's discovery of Parsifal's childhood and his parents. She even takes a trip to Nebarska and stays with the family for few days. 
The description about Nebarska is beautiful and most of the time you feel that you are there.  The story is slow paced but still beautiful. However the last 30 pages  came as a shock and the ending seemed inconclusive. Nonetheless the emotional aspect and the strangeness of love makes it quite a good read.
To quote some lines from the book,"He does not say this to Sabine.He mouths the words.He takes her hand and pulls her down the back hall to the edge of the stage.They are standing there together in the dark,side by side, as they have been on any one of a thousand nights before."

Rating: 3.2/5

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Header - November

Go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will see farther. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Awards and Nominations: Italy’s Chianciano Award, France’s Prix de Meilleur Livre Etranger, Venezuela’s Rómulo Gallegos Prize, and the Books Abroad/Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Probably this book set the stage for the Nobel Prize in Literature in the year 1982.


Rating : 3.9/5

This was my second book by the author, the first one being, “Love at the time of Cholera.”I would suggest you to read this book only if you have read a considerable amount of Literature otherwise you may quit reading the book halfway.

The story revolves around the lives of seven generations of Buendia family who live in an imaginary town called Mocando which is cut out from the rest of the world. Solitude is the most common thing through out the book. Every generation of the Buendia family has solitude in common apart from sharing the same titles of Aureliano’s and Jose Arcadio’s. The town suffers the perils of a war , deluge and other tenacious acts of destruction.Inspite of such a gloomy topic the book is lively because each generation has its own story which being the same in essence is very much different in content and thinking.Apart from the Buendias there is one interesting character named  Melquiades. He is a gypsy and spends the fag end of his life in the Buendia family. In his last years he writes a manuscript . To know more about the manuscript and the fate of the family do read this book.
Last but not the least I would like to quote one interesting paragraph from the book which will give you a glimpse of the Author’s style of writing.

"He dreamed that he was going into an empty house with white walls and that he was upset by the burden of being the first human being to enter it. In the dream he remembered that he had dreamed the same thing the night before and on many nights over the past few years and he knew that the image would be erased from his memory when he awakened because that recurrent dream had the quality of not being remembered except within the dream itself."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Music to ears

Like everything in the world, there is no good or bad music. Anything which makes you feel good is music for you. The good thing is that there is music for all moods and  it makes lives of people much peaceful. Thanks to mobile phones, today your choice of music is just a download away and added to that almost all the mobile phones come with good speakers.

So this is what is lately happening to me, there is narrow road just close to the window of my room and I have been a silent listener to the music of the people passing by. It’s amazing to see such a varied variety of music in such road which is scarcely used, probably another thing which makes India unique. I will be writing about few people who represent the users of this road. I know all of them personally and may be because of this I know about their choice of music and stuff.

Dhandhan , the cow boy cum entrepreneur :

Well, the name may make you laugh but believe me this is the name given to him by his parents, a irony because they had decided his fate right from his birth. But they may have never predicted that their son will be an entrepreneur some day. Dhandhan is an ordinary boy from the big cattle ground close to my house. Life for these boys is simple , they take care of the cows in the daytime and deliver milk to houses in the mornings and evenings. But this guy does is somewhat intelligently. On his way to the customer’s houses he has made many customers of his own and sells milk to them and compensates by adding water. One evening he finds me at ease and asks me the cost of a mobile phone. I show him my handset which is the cheapest Nokia set available in the market. However   he wanted the one with the music apps and I promise him to tell the rates the next day.
You can hear these boys with their cows in the daytime. The music is bits and pieces of some latest Hindi number which they happen to hear in someone’s mobile or in their customer’s houses. Their music may not make any sense but only this is something which keeps them going.

The Grass cutter:

“Munni ke maye” (Mother of Munni) , this is the name I have known of her since childhood and everyone calls her by this name. She categorizes the class which is the most desolate. Most of the times she used to come to our house to cut grass and later sell it as fodder for cows while her daughter worked at our place. But the love for alcohol has ruined their lives. So on many evenings you can hear ladies drunk and singing [A community still oblivious to the invention of mobile phones] their local numbers. Somewhere in their music you can feel the despair and just pray.

Satender the Mason:

Met him for the first time when he came to repair a leaking portion of our house. He turned out to be from a village closer to mine and so ended up having a cup of tea. However when all of a sudden when he turned up some days ago , I was totally amazed at the strong bond one cup of tea makes. He said,”Bhaiya idhar paas mein hi kaam par aya tha socha mil loon.”I remember that rainy evening when he was working and enjoying the 90’s music by Kumar Sanu. In the evenings when the laborers pass on the road playing the music from 90’s it always reminds me of him.[On this type of music : I have heard people play this type of  music in Chennai on Vishwakarma puja’s , in local trains , in buses and many places where it was the least expected.]

Rai jee , the prosperous milkman:

 I have known him since childhood. I have seen him work hard and set up a large flock of cattles.He has built a house and keeps his cattle at a place far from his house. He likes to get drunk on Bhojpuri music and on the nights he stays in the cattle farm is just an excuse to live life. Late in the night, you can here many gwalas returning back from their evening indulgence , with Bhojpuri music breaking the silence of the quite nights.
 “ On a summer evening in Delhi , you borad a crowded bus from Safdargunj to Munirka. The road is busy and you are stuck in a traffic jam. Someone just pushes you to get out of the bus and you have had a bad day. You are about to lose your cool when you hear a song(Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas ) being played in the local radio channel. You forget everything and just move on.”
I have many other stories to share on music and my life but may be some other time.
Some lines from one of my favorite songs called Age of Innocence by Iron Maiden.

So we only get one chance can we take it
And we only get one life can't exchange it
Can we hold on to what we have don't replace it
The age of innocence is fading..... Like an old dream



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September Gyaan




I hope you must have been on a slide. For those who have not been on one ,


1)You climb up to the slide 
2) You slide 
3)You climb out of the slide.


So which is the best part ? Ya it is the second one when you slide. When you slide, you only enjoy the present and let every other thing go. That is what makes the ride so enjoying. 


The slide signifies our present which is very short lived and must be enjoyed. However we spend most of the time climbing up the slide ( Our Past ) and Climbing out of the slide (Our Future).


To Quote a paragraph from 100 Years of Solitude, " In the shattered schoolhouse where for the first time he had felt the security of power, a few feet from the room where he had come to know the uncertainty of love , Arcadio found the formality of death ridiculous.Death did not matter to him but life did, and therefore the sensation he felt when they gave their decision was not a feeling of fear but of nostalgia. He did not speak until they asked him for the last request." 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On long rides in rain



“The moments we enjoy most as they unfold, and that we treasure long afterward, are the ones we experience most deeply. Depth roots us in the world, gives life substance and wholeness. It enriches our work, our relationships, everything we do. It’s the essential ingredient of a good life and one of the qualities we admire most in others.” William Powers.


The title of the post may seem a bit weird after reading the post because this post is more about rains and my love for it than for the long ride from which I have just returned. Solitary bike rides and drives have become a habit now. It was never the same, I always loved to have someone as a pillion but somehow things have changed and I have started enjoying being on my own.

Rains have always a special place in my life; it has always been an event of liberation for liberation is something which happens to you without knowing it. To talk of liberation, it is something which happens to you when you forget the convention and just let it happen. So this is probably the reason why I can just sit and watch rainfall for hours oblivious to world around me.

The love for it goes right back to when I was a kid. Now talking about kids we call them ignorant and then make them more ignorant throughout their lives under the banner of education. So I was talking about being a kid and as a kid I had my superstitions, though I don’t have any now, owing to the education. The deal was that rains were a good omen for me and I never skipped classes on a rainy day. Somehow the same holds true even today because a rainy day is a happy day but I refrain for calling this as superstition.

Best thing of rains was that the drains are full and the flow is optimum for racing the paper boats. I had attained certain perfection in the same and most of the times I used to win the race with my brother( You may interpret this as the luck connection with rains.) Ironically when later in life I got the opportunity to design real boats and ships I never liked it. (Probably I designed good boats in childhood was an illusion and all those sailed because of the luck factor.)

If you have never   drenched yourself in rain, you will never appreciate the bondage I have with samosa and chai. Samosa and tea is happiness, [Happiness again a big word, though it has a definition in the dictionary it is something which is the least understood. I may give you an example here, you may have samosa and chai in a restaurant which has an ambience which makes you feel of rains and you may be stuffing yourself feeling all happy  about the place ,the service  etc. but that is not happiness. Happiness is drinking the same chai in somewhat dirty cup ( I don’t want to write much about dirt because again it is a big topic) ,having the oily samosas and shivering due to the rain.]

Rains remind me of the happy evenings with friends on the railway track near my school. [To talk about the railway track: It was walking distance from school. There was an elevated patch of land which we had to climb and there were three shops in the bottom. [Shop 1 : Samosa and chai again (devoured so many cups of tea here sitting on the wet  railway tracks feeling detached from the world in a world of my  own.) Shop 2: The foreign brand smoke shop : Our indulgence into group smoking mostly to check out different foreign brands and to keep the metal butts as souvenirs. Shop 3 : Don’t remember because it was not a part of our dream lives.] The hang out places have changed since then , the people also have changed but  the railway track has always been a place which was our own and no other place can take that place.

So the rains have been times of dance , for football ,  for jumping in water pools while returning from school,  of games of ludo with family , bunking tuitions and chatting , bike rides and so much more …………Probably the rains have been a time to take break from life for life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Review : The curious incident of the dog in the night -time - Mark Haddon


Awards and nominations: Winner of the 2003 Whitbread Award and the 2004 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for best first book.

As all things in the world including  reading  depends on your mood. I also pick up books depending on my state of mind. There are books which I love to read in Solitude (Into the wild , One life to ride etc.) , some books when I am down ( Its not abt the bike ) , when in an introspecting state of mind ( Tuesdays with Morrie, The art of motorcycle maintenance) and while traveling I generally prefer a light book which could be read in 4-5 hours. I would rate this book as one of those travel books. Next time you are picking up a book for some trip do pick this one up.

The book is a murder mystery involving the killing of a neighbor’s dog . Christopher the protagonist tries to solve the mystery and in the process learns a lot of other things. He decides to solve the case and side by side write down it in a form of novel. The author has done a great job by writing it in a form which resembles a child narrating the story. Christopher is a guy who loves maths and has a good memory. Not only the chapters are numbered as prime numbers but also from time to time he discusses certain concepts in maths. However he still is a kid and has certain superstitions of his own. His superstitions , eating habits , likes and dislikes , behavior are very amusing adds flavor to the story.

In many of the reviews people have talked about Christopher being an autistic person but there is no such mention in the book and the author also has mentioned so in his webpage.

To quote one of my favorite lines from the book, “Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. Prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you can never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

Rating : 3/5

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review : The Moor's last sigh - Salman Rushdie

Awards and Nominations : Winner of the 1995 Whitbread Novel of the year award and shortlisted for the 1995 booker prize.

This is my first Salman Rushdie novel and this work was very impressive. There are certain lines and some citing which may be criticized(for e.g the dog named Jawaharlal) but again he has been associated with controversies all through out his career. The story centers around the life of the Zogobiy family with the Moor being the last of the tree. It is centered around the cities of Cochin , Bombay and finally ends in Spain.
The rise and fall of the family has been presented in a very humorous way . However the main attraction of the novel is the paintings made by Aurora which depicts the various phases of the moor's life. 
Overall a wonderful book to read .(Rating : 4.5/5)

To quote 2 wonderful passages from the book:

" We look at the galaxy and fall in love, but the universe cares less about us than we about it ,and the stars stay in their courses however much we may wish upon them to do otherwise. It's true that if you  watch the sky wheel turn for a while you'll see a meteor fall , flame and die .That's not a star worth following ; it is just and unlucky rock . Our fates are here on the earth. There are no guiding stars." 

" By embracing the inescapable , I lost my fear of it. I'll tell you a secret about fear : it is an absolutist. With fear , it's all or nothing . Either, like any bullying tyrant , it rules your life with a stupid blinding omnipotence , or else you overthrow it , and its power vanishes in a puff of smoke."


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

End of an Era

5 years of wonderful time spent in Chennai ends today , though a shocking news(heavenly abode of a college friend) has diminished all the pleasure of wriitng this post however at the same point it is one of those lessons of life which life over the last 5 years has kept on preaching. 

The first time I went to the Besant Nagar beach I just jumped into the sea and for many of the next time it was the same. Slowly the relationship with the beach changed and it became more of a place to find peace, to spend good time with friends.Finally in the last year it became the place of solitude for me. Office being close to the beach and working late hours always resulted in me being at the beach when almost no one was there. Though there are a lots of things to write about Chennai but i chose this for a reason. The beach has seen my transition from a school kid to a gradutae,  adolescence to maturity, ignorant to reflective , no convictions to some strong ones and many more. 

Twenties is the age of transition and it happens in different ways to different people but i feel that for me there was a multitude of them and it was probably the crowd , the college, FRIENDS and the place which changed all for the good.

A small list of those plenty of places which i loved in Chennai

IITM(Especially the run around the insti , good that i was regular this month) ,Besant Nagar, ECR ( so many bike and car rides), Star Rock ( The music ) , SNS (king of all good times) , Water tank top in my PG , Local train rides in the evening with ipod and no one around , Theatres , Job ( met some great people there), OMR flat ( nostalgic) , Chennai Trekking club and so on ....
" All my bags are packed , i am ready to go ... I hate to say you good bye."

 


 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

F.R.I.E.N.D.S

This is in continuation to the friends header i have for this month.
Just completed the last episode of the series and it reminds me of the fact that among the FIKARNOT group i was the one who had to watch most of my friends leaving one by one.
This is one of the Sundays , to be more precise a very rainy sunday in Chennai when i am all alone . I had an awesome farewell yesterday from my first job , i must admit that i was happy while resigning but it was again a hard, parting.I made a completely different set of friends in my first job and i got the taste of corporate too.I am sitting here writing this post thinking  of what is next. May be a new job but it is hard to decide , should it be finance , or may be a NGO , or CAT ,I really don't know. I would have loved if someone was around but its fine i have one week to decide , probably u may help.
Everything aside goos to tell u that i am a completely different person today , the last 5 years made all the difference. Probably  I may be not as good as you all , i may have not deserves a life that i lived but i tried my best.
Will miss you all.



Terry Fox Run Chennai -2010

Participated today morning in the Terry Fox Run held in the beautiful IIT Madras Campus.The 6.2 Km run had around 2000 participants in the morning and as the run is to go on till 11 a.m so for sure the grand total will surely high.
The run was very special for me due to several reasons. Firstly, today is the 21 st day since i quit smoking, the main cause of cancer. I will be leaving Chennai soon and today was a union with a set of friends from the Chennai Trekking Club.and last but not the least it is always fun to run with your hostel mates.


Just a message to all the smokers : You are always told that winners don't quit , friends but if you quit this you are a winner.