Monday, October 29, 2012

Life,Shife Tey Cornetto Khana

As I walk down the street, I see numerous eyes boring towards me, in an almost hate inciting manner. Men, with unkempt matted hair and bloodshot eyes, women with a slight sneer and noses flared in the not cute way. Even little children seemed to hate me, as they looked at me with the looks reserved for the uncle who takes away your ball when you break his window. I quickened my pace and kept walking, with admittedly a creepy little feeling right at the back of my neck, ignoring the sudden cold I felt. Damn! This bad phase was getting to me. Just yesterday I had a mock paper for an entrance exam I will be taking with lakhs of other students sometime next year. I still couldn't remember my result and not suppress the feeling to throw up. Like all those moments, I start seeing flashes. The whirring of the fan as I read “Saransh Sharma, All India Rank 68”. The not-good enough look on my parents’ face, the slightly pale but reminiscent of the original white color tiles of the floor as my professor hurled his sarcastic comments, everything.

As I reached the odd looking shop and smiled at Jagran Chacha, he appeared to be in a bright mood. Here's why it was fishy. Jagran Chacha was infamous for his grouchy expressions as he read the Dainik Jagran editorials perennially. He last smiled during the monsoons of 2010 when apparently his village had been nominated for a development award. I plonked three moldy 10 rupee notes on his table and wordlessly picked up my Ice-cream. That's one thing I loved as a regular customer! Every afternoon at 1.30 my double chocolate Cornetto awaited me at Chacha's shop. The small talk with Chotu and Chacha, was admittedly not the day's highlight, but yes, it did figure into my daily dose of indulgence. Ironically, I decided to forgo today the one thing that I needed the most, an off chit-chat.

As I stood outside the shop and took a bite, I wondered about my precarious decisions and the mess that I know called life. One of my friends had once postulated "If you're sorted right now, it just means God's planning some mischief, Satan-style". Strange isn't it? Life suddenly changes paths without a warning, everything loses order or sense and you descend into chaos. That's what was happening to me. I had potently decided that I needed to take some bold steps to curb my problems. Giving up on the supposed vices of teenage life was a priority. My sister already laid claim to my cell phone, and social networks were to be closed at the click of a button. Sorting and planning were my buzz words for the day as I miserably started off with the waffle of the cone. I don't know why, but ice-cream, especially a Cornetto always brings me to my senses. Once I actually sat down to find the reason behind it. I even tried to interpret some deep meaning behind the melting of the soft chocolate flavored disk and I reached a sensible conclusion which read "If it's hot, it’ll melt you dummy!” So I let it be.

Biting into the bottom half of the cone, I saw an uncanny scene. Right across the road, a small little boy, perhaps the age of three or four, the rags made him look older though, was walking. An insignificant empty can sat right in the middle of his path. The boy stopped in his tracks, and with eyes full of snide yet innocent curiosity, began examining it. He prodded it with small squishy fingers, stared at the nearly gone label and measured its size. Perhaps it was a religious thing or maybe an odd fixation, but he wasn't going on further, as if the can was stopping him. Seemingly seeing no alternative, he did what most of us do to feel good; he started crying. He cried et he wailed, but the can didn't move. How was the young child to know that like most people today, metallic cans too didn't have hearts that melt at the sight of someone else's anguish. Just as I bit into the best yet unfortunately the last bit of the cone, I saw the child wipe his snotty nose of his rag like clothes and angrily stand up. If I had not known better, I would have thought it to be the angry young man look of Bollywood. He raised his leg, and in perfect arc, swung it with force towards the can and kicked it straight across the road where it rolled over to God knows where. With a smile, the kid walked on.

I hastily wiped my spectacles to remove the oily, sweat smudge. As I put them back on, everything seemed to change. The bloodshot eyes stare seemed to be more of a stranger's courteous acknowledgement than hate. The woman's flared nose as she bargained with Jagran Chacha over something seemed cute again and Chacha's grouchy expression was back. The kids were giggling at me and my slightly displaced look. As I exited the shop, the afternoon seemed brighter and so did my mood. I wondered why I was thinking so oddly. Maybe, it was the spectacle's smudge or perhaps the ice-cream. I'll never know, but the best part is, I don't want to know.



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Saturday, October 27, 2012

My River Shall Always Flow

A Poem About A Revolutionary Proclaiming His Change. People Die, But Their Ideas And Premise Don't

Belittle me if you can
Slap on me an unwarranted ban.
You can rain your blows
But, my river shall always flow

Suppress me if you will,
My thoughts, no one can kill.
With my arrow loaded in a bow,
My river shall always flow

Call me Satan if you may,
Roark was one too, in his day.
You shall reap as you shall sow,
As for me, my river shall always flow

Even the universe stands still
For a man whom truth instills
The righteous shall win
And the wrong will cry in woe
Because, come what may,
My river shall always flow


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Friday, October 5, 2012

Love,Peace And Happiness By Rituraj Verma-A Review




 
Life is an oddity. Everyone seeks different things at different times. To a 6th grader, happiness would be a 90+ score in maths but to a 42 year old woman, it could be the smile on her child’s face. Love at the age of 15 means that you are in a relationship for more than a year or two. Strangely, it stands in a different spectra altogether for a 34 year old. This book, ladies and gentlemen is a unique work just because of its different approach.


This 223 paged novel is not for the weak hearted or for fantasy fans. Using interconnected short stories, Verma has created a niche for his writing by exploring something narrowly restricted but yet open to a vast audience. This is how unique the Indian literature readership is. By bringing out lively characters, near life like situations and different walks of an Indian’s life, LPH becomes a inner probe as each story challenges you to find something in yourself which the characters with their elaborate descriptions, complement.

One of the best parts of this book is that the characters are not people unlike us. They are simple personas replicated from real life which everyone can simply relate to. I completely agree with the author when he says that in all probability, we have met people like these in different phases of life. Some are winners, some are extraordinary achievers, some are plain losers, some are damaged, and some are disturbed. But the point remains that the character portrayal in this book is excellent and are more alive than expected. Also the “hatke” factor of the book is that it has URLs at the end of every story to alternate endings (a reader can also submit his or her own alternate ending online) to each short story. Thus, each story, although sticking to a central theme and message, gives you the ability to fiddle around and decide the recipe of the perfect match to the story.


Arriving to a gray area which conflicts with me, I found the philosophical discussions expounded by the characters odd. Not that I’m against it but to me, characters having spiritual conflicts and arguments about petty issues was weird simply because as I mentioned earlier, the characters are more lively than usual books and we can associate them with someone we know. Now, in that context, their conversations, if not in sync, create a paradoxical oddity. Although the idea of proposing deep ideas via character thoughts and conversations is nothing new but Rituraj’s bluntness and the book’s X factor in itself pulls it down.

Overall, the book was a good read. Definitely a must if in need for a inner seeking but won’t recommend it for a fun filled holiday or enjoyment weekend. Such books are special and heavy duty, suitable for reading with a deep heart and an open mind.


The Standing Coin Rating: 6/10

Like:  Brilliant life like characterization, unique concept of alternate endings online, Indian audience focused

Dislike:  Spiritual discussions although profound, seem to be unnatural for the characters. They feel like a hand sewn onto an amputated man. Works, but just not the right grip




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