Sunday, 23 November 2014

Unchanged

From dawn to dusk, I think about you.
At night, I dream about you.
I look around and I see you.
I close my eyes and I feel you.
My heartbeats chant your name;
And my thoughts always reach you.
No matter what you feel
Regardless of what others say,
My love remains unchanged
And it will remain so
Forever and ever!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Mahabharata Quest - The Alexander Secret

From the book blurb
In 334 B.C., the young Alexander has already conquered most of the known world. He turns his gaze towards Hindustan, the land of the Indus. There, he seeks a secret buried in the Mahabharata, one that will grant him the powers of a god. In the present day, a tomb is uncovered in Greece, one that has been buried in secrets for over 2000 years. It hides the body of a queen. In New Delhi, the discovery of strange and unexplained corpses in a hidden lab leads Vijay Singh and his team, members of an elite task force, in a hunt for a deadly adversary. Their only clues lie hidden in the Mahabharata, and when they decipher them, they will discover the truth many people have sought for eons. In this journey, they face an ancient enemy who will yet hold the world for ransom with his diabolical plan for total domination.


Author
Cristopher C. Doyle is an author who transports the reader into a fascinating world where ancient secrets buried in legends blend with science and history to create a gripping story.

Along the way to publishing his debut novel, The Mahabharata Secret, Christopher pursued a career in the corporate world after graduating from St. Stephens College, Delhi with a degree in Economics and studying business management at IIM Calcutta. Over the course of his corporate career, he has worked with leading multinational organizations as a senior executive and CEO before setting up a strategic consultancy in India in partnership with a US based consulting firm.

Over the course of his corporate career, Christopher has written articles on management and business for Indian and international publications and is also a regular invited speaker for international conventions and conferences. He is a certified Executive Coach and now works with senior executives to help them achieve success and better results in their organisations. Work aside, Christopher is a musician and lives his passion for music through his band called Mid Life Crisis, which plays classic rock. Christopher lives in Gurgaon with his wife Sharmila, daughter Shaynaya, and two dogs, Zach and Cody.


What I think
The cover page comes with a crown dropped in a ground, presumably a battlefield. Then, we see the book’s title - The Mahabharata Quest - The Alexander Secret. Soon, we make the connection. The book blurb is crisp and at the same time arouses reader’s interest. The font and paragraph spacing are soothing to the eyes.

As I started reading the book I was worried that I have not read the author’s earlier book: The Mahabharata – Secret. Although I had the book which was lent by my cousin, I didn’t have enough time to finish it first. However, as I started reading, the story flowed with ease.

The narrative is simple although it discusses several complicated aspects like Mahabharatha, bio-technology and so on. The story takes us back to the era of Alexander - The Great. It talks about Alexander’s belief that he is God himself and his journey towards India with the hope of finding a secret. Then, it brings us back to the present which is filled with scientific experiments and technological advancements. The author skillfully lets us travel across Greece and India through his descriptive words. An element of what-next is maintained throughout. Several references to Mahabharatha and use of Sanskrit sloka challenges our knowledge of the same. It lets us look at the epic with a different perspective.

There are plenty of characters – some good and some bad. They are so much like you and me that they strike a chord with us.

As always, I appreciate any author who goes that extra mile and do ample research to produce a book which is believable. So, hats off to you!


These days several books are published around Indian mythology. All of them carry a different perspective or angle for the story that we are familiar with. So what makes this book a different one?

I would say that the effective synchronization of science, history and mythology makes this different. Find it out yourself by grabbing the book for a weekend read. I can assure you that it will take to back to a bygone era!


Rating
3/5


Thank you

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

Friday, 21 November 2014

TV and We!

I
 still don’t know if television is a boon or bane? If I should curse television for making us all homebound and less social or the internet for making us the laziest (dumbest) ever generation.

Today being World Television Day, I shall focus on television than internet I guess.

So, here I ask…

Can you imagine a life free from TV serials, innumerous advertisements, redundant and mostly meaningless news? Can you wonder what you would do if there was no TV at all? Or should I rephrase and say, if there were lesser channels?

Have you ever wished that DD remained and other channels never flourished and conquered our lives? That our parents didn’t watch serials and we didn’t watch the same trailers and songs?

To give a background, TV came into India on 15th September 1959 ONLY. This means we still lived without it and that we were saner!

Initially, portable and black & white TV came into existed. It demanded lesser space and drew lesser attention from the onlookers. Today, it has grown considerably that TV is available in 40” with HD clarity (in 3D also) demanding an entire wall. If you have speakers and want to make a home theater, then you may need one entire room! Implicitly, this also shows that like the camel in age-old fable which slowly occupies poor Sheik’s tent, the TV has conquered our personal space too.

Children wants to watch Chota Bheem, grandparents wants Mahabharata, Parents need to watch (never-ending) serials and younger ones want songs no matter what. If you have ever shared your room and lived in a PG, you would be knowing that every girl wants to watch romantic English movies. And, the boys I say, wants sports only. They can even watch the re-telecasts with the same interest and anxiety as the live performance. Newly married housewives watch Cookery shows as if they are going to cook all those complicated dishes when they don’t even know how to use a rice cooker. Finally, everyone regardless of age,are addicted to Reality Shows. Is Kim K really going to be in Big Boss?

No matter what, TV is intelligent and knowledgeable. It knows the Evolution Theory and understands what “Survival of the Fittest” means. Today we have personal computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and what not? If we have intermittent internet connection (Which is not a luxury anymore) we can watch almost any TV program at any given time. However, the importance of TV has not diminished. On the other hand, modern day TV is so advanced that you can connect to Wi-Fi and connect to Skype (to chat with family and friends who are away), Facebook (to instantly share what you are watching) and YouTube (to stream almost anything anytime). There are options to pause and record as well.

And the outcome?

We prefer to watch TV to socializing. Gone are the days of befriending neighbors. In fact, many of us have the habit of watching TV while taking food; yet another family time sacrificed. Nobody can miss their serials or reality shows!!!

Walking down the memory lane, I remember that we have always had a color TV at home. I should have been 6 or 7 years old when my parents declared their decision to get cable connection. I can never forget how much I cried. I pleaded them against the decision. I told them that I was happy with Chithrahaar and Rangoli. But, then cable connection came home. Life changed. I miss those antennas and the struggle to get the signal. Do you recall? When antennas were not used anymore, several itinerary traders evolved with the promise to mold Gods, flowers, birds, animals and such alike out of it. I bet that you would be having something alike in your attic.

In short, I wish that life was simple. Easier.

I wish that I was born 50 years before.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Hope - Basis for Life

“I like the night.
Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.”
― Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

I am young and inexperienced. Brushing that thought aside, I would like to say that HOPE is the second basic necessity to life – after breathing of course! But, then there are two other over-hyped emotions (after life) – Love and Loneliness. It is sad to see that people don’t care much about hope.

We set our alarm, plan our meetings and almost everything on the HOPE that we would still be alive. Death is inevitable and uncontrollable. It is pre-determined and will happen when it is scheduled. We all know this. Yet, we continue to move on because of HOPE.

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier’...”
― Alfred Tennyson

During tough times and failures, we cry. But, we also wipe our tears. When we fall, we get hurt. But, we also get up and walk again. It is nothing but out of HOPE. We hope that clouds shall pass and time heal.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

We hope that the entire world will conspire to get us what we want. We trust in destiny and hope that everything happens for a reason.

And, I think the below mentioned quotes says it all:

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
― Epicurus

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Take a Break... Have a Cake

A fellow was taking a break
To kill time, he tried to bake a cake
He bought all the required ingredients
Then, indulged into the cake-baking experience
And, he nibbled it sitting near a lake


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Health and Happiness

“Happy birth (cough) day to you… (cough) Happy birthday to (cough) you… Happy birthday (cough) dear Chinku… Happy (cough) birthday (cough) to (cough) you”, sang Monu along with other friends.

Chinku and Monu were the best friends; almost twins like. They were neighbors and went to the same Pre-Nursery school. They always dressed in identical clothes or similar colors. They were so close to each other that many people thought that they were brothers! Their chubby cheeks, fair skin, round face and jet black hair further made them look related.

The only difference between them was their health. Chinku was a naughty and healthy kid whereas Monu was silent and sober. Monu was easily prone to cold and cough.

Unlike other parents who scared to let their little ones play with Monu for the fear of infection, Chinku’s parents were different. “Come on, we don’t isolate family members if they are unwell”, they used to say.

Monu went into a coughing fit when Chinku tried to feed him a piece of cake. Monu looked terrible with running nose and teary eyes.

Monu’s parents were worried than ever. They had taken Chinku to several pediatricians. They had asked to feed Monu with eggs and cod-liver pills. In spite of being pure vegetarians, they agreed.

Monu’s parents bought eggs and struggled to make something edible out of it. Most of the times, the eggs would break and its pungent smell would make them puke. Yet, they tried.

Poor Monu on the other hand, hated it. He would never eat. They tried different varieties but little Monu refused to eat.

“Mama, what is this?” Monu asked when he was given with cod-liver pills for the first time.

“Gems beta”, she lied.

“Then, why there is a fish there” asked Monu pointing at the fish’s image in the bottle. “I can’t eat fish. I love Bunty and Bublee”, he started crying. Bunty and Bublee was a pair of golden fish they had at home. Monu used to spend hours in front of the glass pot and talk to the fishes.

“No beta. This is not Bunty and Bublee. They are in the pot. See…” his mother tried to make Monu understand.

“No… This is not Bunty and Bublee. This is their friends. Their friends are my friends”, cried Monu until his mother threw the bottle in the dustbin and did “mother promise(d)” not to buy fish gems again.

“I am so sorry Pinky. I should not have let Monu participate in the birthday party. I don’t know why he is always unwell”, apologized Monu’s mother to Chinku’s mother.

Arey Meetha, no need to apologise and all. Monu is also our son only. Do you give him Dabur Chyawanprash?” asked Pinky.

“No”

“I think that is the solution to Monu’s problems. I was telling my mother about Monu’s health condition. She only suggested Chyawanprash. You won’t believe if I say that my mother takes that even today”

“I have also had that as a kid. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it”, Meetha said.

Lo, stop worrying about Monu and have this cake. We can go and buy a bottle each for Chinku and Monu tomorrow”, Pinky said as she handed over a piece of cake to Meetha.

“Sure. You know what Pinky. A happy home is made by healthy children. I realized it today”, said Meetha and nibbled the cake.


Written as a part of IndiBlogger Happy Hours

Truly Alive

He was trying his best to calm their two years old daughter. She was wailing and a pandemonium was in effect.

“My angel... My iris... My love... darling...” He continues to pamper her little daughter while trying to distract her with some toys. Yet she continued to cry.

“Ma... Ma...” She continued to repeat.

Did the time freeze, he wondered. Their daughter was sleeping peacefully and therefore his wife went alone to their neighbor’ house-warming. She should be here soon, he consoled himself.  He knew that he could walk to their neighbor’s home and ask his wife to handle her.

Yet his heart pricked. Am I not her father? Am I unworthy enough to take care of her?

He wiped her tears and said, “Appa is here... Baby don’t cry... Baby don’t cry...”

He sensed that she became suddenly calm and he saw her eyes finally becoming truly alive.
A smile also adorned her face.


Pleased with himself he turned towards the direction where their daughter was glancing...His wife was standing silently observing the spectacle...

Monday, 17 November 2014

A November Morning

Hot coffee beside
On a November morning
I think about you

I think about you
Many memories unfold
And, coffee turns cold
PS: Thanks to Haiku Horizons for the prompt – ColdJ


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Whenever you near me

Whenever you near me
I feel as if…
Flowers are blooming within
Summer rain is drizzling in heart
Rainbows are coloring my life
And gentle waves are kissing my feet.

Whenever you near me
I feel as if…
Mellow rays of sun is caressing me
Cool December breeze is embracing me
Several moons are smiling at me
And sweet diamond stars are showering on me.

Whenever you near me
I feel as if…
I am feeling week on my feet
My heart is racing faster and faster
My mouth is becoming drier and drier
And my stomach churns out of both anxiety and excitement!

Whenever you near me
I feel as if…
I am the queen
My happiness sees no bounds
Time flutters faster and faster
And I become the happiest alive!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Perfume The Story of a Murderer

From the book blurb
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift: an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs.

But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"—the scent of a beautiful young virgin.

Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity


Author
From 1968-1974 he studied medieval and modern history in Munich and Aix-en-Provence. In the '80s he worked as a screenwriter, for Kir Royal and Monaco Franze among others.

After spending the 1970s writing what he has characterized as “short unpublished prose pieces and longer un-produced screenplays”, Patrick Süskind was catapulted to fame in the 1980s by the monodrama Der Kontrabass [The Double Bass, 1981], which became an instant success and a favorite of the German stage. In 1985 his status as literary wunderkind was confirmed with the publication of the novel Das Parfüm. Die Geschichte eines Mörders [Perfume: The Story of a Murderer], which quickly topped the European best-seller list and eventually sold millions of copies worldwide.



What I think
A story of passion and how passion can drive people crazy.

Grenouille, an orphan who has the best nose in Paris… who can smell anything and everything. But, the tragedy is he doesn’t have an odor. The story is all about his quest to make the best smelling perfume for himself that could drive people crazy for him.

The plot is dark, grave rather. It lets shrills pass through our body and at the same time leaves us in awe. The book fairly describes passion, identity crisis, loneliness, moral and family values.

There are a few instances which are over-explained. Some that are redundant. They hinder the flow. But, the unconventional storyline and a psycho as protagonist is different. The treatment of the story is unique. It takes us back to 18th century France.

The feather in the hat is the unexpected end. It will leave you speechless.

In short
The scent that this perfume leave lingers in the air for a long time.

Try out this perfume!


Rating
3.5/5


Friday, 14 November 2014

Three Guys

A woman was dating three guys
No, she was not wise! So full of vice
She was in search of her soul mate
Who would make her feel blessed and great!
Let’s hope she finds true love before she dies!


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Kalpathy Theru Kolam Competition - 2014

Over the years, Kalpathy Theru Kolam Competitions has been looked forward by young and old equally. It is every pride Palakkad nivasi’s. It is also a moment to feel the culture that we are not following holistically anymore.

Having spent most of my growing-up years in Agraharam, I have been exposed to the art of drawing maa kolam (kolam drawn using rice paste) at a very young age. Those were the days when our courtyards were mostly muddy or had a platform made of cement to draw kolam. We used to draw kolam every morning. In fact, my only motivation to wake up early was kolam. But then, as a part of making our Agraharam into heritage villages – a Government initiative – roads were widened and the mud/platforms were covered by tar roads. This happened about 10-12 years before. With that the maa kolam also died. I remember trying to draw on the tar road. My fingers used to bleed and eventually, I gave up. Very few people can draw impeccable maa kolam. I appreciate this program and thank them heartily for taking this forward year after year!

Owing to my professional obligations (I am losing touch with the art I learnt in hard way), I could not participate in the competition this year. But when my ammaji sent the pictures, I was elated!

So, here I am sharing the same with you J

























Click below to go through last three year’s competition
Kalpathy Theru Kolam Competition - 2013

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What is Loneliness

I
 see that life is presenting itself in a slow motion devoid of background music. The only sound I hear is my heartbeat. There are so many people around. But, here I am alone.

There is so much to do – work, studies, reading, writing and so on – But I feel alone. I am very busy, yet I am alone.

This makes me wonder what loneliness is.

Is it really being alone or the feeling of being alone? Is it caused by lack of people around or the absence of people whom you expect to be with you? Is it caused by monotony or will it come across as an epiphany.

Is loneliness a physical state or mental? Or is it triggered by memories or the absence of such memories?

I ask this because I fail to understand. The state of loneliness seems like a deep and vast ocean – never ending.

People come and go…
Years pass…
Seasons change…
But, loneliness remain!

Can it be because I am not comfortable with myself? Or because I am too comfortable with myself that I want someone else to bother me? Or maybe I am loving myself too much that I don’t mind sharing the same with someone else?

Or am I just making up such a state for the sake of a blog post?

Is loneliness as complicated as love and life?

I am not atheist…
But after thinking about loneliness for so long all I can say is the creator has a strange sense of humor! 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Beyond Myself

It has been ten years since marriage. Her family ridiculed her due to her inability to procreate. Half a decade ago, she was told that the problem lies in her. That little piece of information didn’t deter her husband. He continued to care and feed her.

“I married to part from you by death and not by choice”, he always used to say.

Her husband was ready to adopt a child. But, his mother had said, “I will not let that happen till my death”.

At 36, he looked athletic and healthy. His family persuaded him to marry him. She agreed to give divorce by mutual consent. They belonged to a rich business family and he was their only heir. But, he denied.

Beta, you come back to our home. We shall take care of you”, said her mother that afternoon. It was her birthday and her parents had come with home-made sweets. She was their only daughter too. Her older brother had died as a child by snake bite. They belonged to a wealthy business family as well and on her wedding, their businesses were merged into one. She noticed tears in her father’s eyes; tears of helplessness.

That night, she mixed sleeping pills in the Kheer made by her mother.

“Can I sleep on your chest”, she asked her husband. He agreed, though surprised.

He felt her hot tears in his chest when she uttered, “I love you beyond myself”. He kissed on her head.
“I love you too”, he said and smiled when he saw that his wife had fallen asleep.

In the middle of the night, he woke up with a shudder. Her body was cold against his. He observed that she has died in sleep.

The rituals followed.

Nights elongated and days haunted his. He looked like he had grown older in a wink. His eyes sagged and had dark circles. Her laughter echoed in his ears and vacuum filled within.

Bhaiya, I found this letter under your bed sheet”, the maid announced one afternoon.

He opened. When he found that it is written by his wife, fresh tears rolled down from his weary eyes.

It read:

My jaan,
Sorries are not enough, I know. But, sometimes, we are forced to make harsh choices. You are my life, soul and beyond. I wish only happiness for you. I don’t want to be onerous and suck all your happiness.
You always used to say that you married to part only by death and not by choice. Today, I am choosing death. I pray for your happiness.
Please marry a suitable girl. My only wish is to be reborn as your child.

Love you forever.
Your wife.

He cried like a madman clutching the letter in his hand. The pain was excruciating. The golden days lived with his wife came alive in his mind like a phantasmagoria. Although their meeting were arranged by their parents, he fell in love with her at first sight. My soul mate, he had concluded that day.

But now, with his soul mate gone; his soul gone, he felt like a zombie. He lied on their bed and closed his eyes.

Then, he took his final breath.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Jouney of the Soul

Well, from birth to death,
The soul goes a full circle;
Before the rebirth!

PS: Thanks to Haiku Horizons for the prompt – Full 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

She Searched

Where did his memories go?
Those memories that gave her tears
Those which hurt her
May be her heart was too hurt to think about him more
May be the time to move on had come
That little voice that gave hope remained silent
Astonishingly, that silence didn’t scare her
Instead it amazed her
And she felt happy!
She felt free…
Free from the shackles of past!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Perceptions

Some people astound us. They make us wonder how wrongly we judge people. Perception is a very misleading factor. We perceive people in certain ways based on their looks, the way they speak, dress, qualification, upbringing, place and all that. And most of the time, our perception goes wrong.

What is the reason for it? May be we are taught and trained to think in certain ways.

à    A village belle will be shy and innocent.
àA single child will be possessive and cannot adapt to changing  circumstances.
à    Children of rich will be spoilt and they do not know the value for money.
à    Girls do not drink or smoke. If she drinks she will enjoy only Vodka.

And the list just goes and on...

I believe that perceptions are to be shattered. It is an assumption about people. We always see what others let us see. There can be more to them. Sometimes they might be exaggerating. In either case, we can’t judge instantly.

Talking to them and understanding their thought flow is a pre-requisite.

And beware! Perceptions defers!


Friday, 7 November 2014

Here and There

My wife disappeared – Don’t know where
May be to shop for clothes that she would never wear
I hate to admit that she is shopaholic
Because of which I am forced to be a workaholic
Now I should go and search for her – Here and there L

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Tu Tu Mein Mein - 17

Heart : I have decided.
Mind   : What is it now? (Sighs)
Heart : That I will not make decisions.
Mind   : WHAT? (!@#$%)
Heart : I have decided that I will not take any decisions anymore
Mind   : Why? (Confused)
Heart : Because you are a maverick. An autocrat. It’s always your way or no way.
Mind   : Good! (Irritated)
Heart : Look at your answers. Always single words or one liners.
Mind   : I am not like you.
Heart : I know you that hate me. (Sad)
Mind   : When did I say that?
Heart  : You don’t have to say anything. I can still understand everything. I am not a fool although you think so!!!
Mind   : Can you please spare the drama?
Heart : Yes. When I die
Mind   : OKAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Happy New Year (Movie)

Cast
:
Deepika Padukone, Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sonu Sood, Boman Irani, Vivaan Shah
Director
:
Farah Khan
Music
:
Songs: Vishal Shekhar
Background Score: John Stewart Eduri
Producer
:
Gauri Khan
Release Date
:
24 October 2014
Length
:
3 hours & 4 minutes

My Thoughts
Farah Khan’s forth directorial film is all about underdogs who finally win. The storyline is nothing but revenge, love and laughter which might sound clichéd and redundant. But, what makes this standout is the screenplay. It is funny.

Shahrukh Khan as Charlie is sober most of the times. His ten pack abs is exploited to the maximum possible extenfd. But, I missed good old SRK who sways the audience off their feet. He is not at his best; or maybe he doesn’t have much to do as an individual but as a team. He didn’t really connect to me. I think the last time when he really wooed me was in Kal Ho Na (2003) Hoan or connected to my hear was Chak De! India (2007).  All his recent movies are stereo-types and I miss my SRK.

Deepika Padukone is stunning as always. She wears fluorescent colors and dances like a dream. After seeing Sonu Sood as villain in South Indian movies, it was a relief to see him doing comedy. Boma Irani as an umarried Parsi is hilarious. Although Vivaan’s character is the backbone for the story, he gets dwarfed in front of the veterans. Anupam Kher and Jackie Shroff have nothing much to do, but have done justice to their roles.

However, the show-stealer is Abhishek Bachchan. His comic timing is so impeccable that you will be rolling on floor laughing.

As always, there are several guest actors – Sajid Khan, Malaika Arora Khan, Dino Morea, Prabhu Deva, Sarah-Jane Dias, Anurag Kashyap , Vishal Dadlani among others.

I liked the way in which the dialogs of SRK’s old movies is used. It made me wonder, don’t we all use them too in our everyday life?

Melodious “Manwa Laage”… Vivacious “Lovely” and the eclectic “World Dance Medley” are the songs I loved the most in the movie’s musical album. The background music is thoughtfully done and fits perfectly to the scenes.

Finally, “credits” in Farah Khan’s movies are always unique incorporating each and every technician. This time also it was different. It is nice to see how many people come together and work to make a movie.

I don’t deny that it bores you a little. It is mostly because of its length. But, then, such moments are very less compared to the movie as a whole.

In short, the movie makes you laugh and also makes you feel patriotic.

A nice excuse to take a break with your family and celebrate!
Don’t miss it J


Rating
3/5