Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I Forgive You Mr. Kapoor! -- A Short Story

Sitting in my office, my stare moves from window to ceiling and then to the desk, where lies a huge mess of old and new files, samples, rusted scissors, scattered stationery and amongst all this, a cup of tea, cold as ice by now. However, for me the only thing important is my job that I take damn seriously. I have even told Mr. Kapoor all this minutes back.

Mr. Kapoor, my boss, is short and stout with a hanging lower lip that seems to indicate that it is too tired to keep the beetel and pan masala from coming out of those pursed lips. However, whenever Mr. Kapoor calls me ‘beti’ instead of Sarika, I can’t even describe the feeling.
It was only 20 minutes ago when I was summoned to Kapoor’s office, a cubicle tastefully decorated in maroon and purple, strange as himself. Anyways, as I entered he interrogated -
“Helloji, everything fine?”
“Yes sir”
His calm and composed ‘every thing is fine?’ question is actually the lull before the storm. I could see his hawk -like eyes, his computer like mind was ready to bombard me with some unforeseen issue.
As far as my cool and composed ‘yes sir’ was concerned, what a junior merchandiser can say even if she has to fight for her chair and water jug every morning with other employees. Actually chair means literally that- ‘chair’, the ubiquitous four legged furniture but Kapoor has not replaced those office chairs since Noah built his ark so a fight follows every morning with employees going even to the extremes of making insignias on them.
Kapoor started in his husky voice-
“What do you want to do in life?”
“Sir ?”
“What do you want to do in life?”
“Sir a comfortable life, what else?”
“How will you get a comfortable life beti?”
This beti word is a sign of danger, for it allows 61 year old Kapoor to scold staff like one scolds one’s own children- much more ruthlessly.
“Sir, by good performance. What happened sir?”
“No don’t ask me beti you know better”
“Sir I did send the samples to ‘Anks’
‘Anks’ was one of the clothing brands I was handling.
“I also contacted the sourcing department for the exact color of buttons they want and the thread number required”
“Hmmmm” said Kapoor in a low tone as if gauging his prey before pouncing and tearing it into unrecognizable pieces”
“Sir I have worked really hard”
“Just like a donkey right beti?”
“Sir my foot! You stupid girl… the buttons you ordered were of exact colour but have you checked the shade? Did you make the minutes of the meeting on Anks? You took two days, two full days, to respond to the department about the status of the sample”
“But sir, I have to handle four brands more sir. That’s why the delay”
“No, the delay was because of our incapable staff” he said looking me into eye. “And yes, your disinterest for work. What if you handle five brands? What if? Look at me, I have three kids and a wife and a house and a company and a club and my investments and my health and a thousand other issues to take care of. Getting some inspiration or not?”
Kapoor said adjusting his glasses and grinding his teeth when he stopped to inhale some air as if it were glucose that would give him more energy to shout.
“I know” he continued “I know a normal merchandiser can handle two brands normally, but always remember you only said for yourself at the time of recruitment ‘Sir, I want to prove myself’. Now I have seen the proof” he shouted, making funny hand gestures.
I have been working here ever since I have earned my diploma in merchandising from an institute nearby, affiliated to some obscure university somewhere in South India. I report to Kapoor directly.
“Do not stand here and let your work suffer now, go and complete the entire work now only”
“Yes sir”
“Got it?”
“Yes sir”
“Go now. By the way, do you think you deserve another chance here?”
“Yes sir, Please trust me. I will prove myself for sure and you will definitely see zero mistakes from now” I said wiping my hot tears. He then gestured me again to get back to work.

His is the only room that has all the things in working condition in fact. He sits on a high Godrej chair and has a peculiar habit of scanning every staff member from head to toe from behind his gold rimmed glasses as if he could detect cocaine hidden in someone’s stomach.

I swear on my dead husband, if I were not having all the EMIs to pay along with the home loan he took for our one room flat and for my child’s education and yes, only if I were a little more educated, I would have spat on his devilish face.

But as I sit here under the ancient fan that always seems to be begging for retirement by creaking loudly, I have pardoned Kapoor once more for behaving rudely with me. After all, you see, I am not like him, insolent and rude, so I forgive him for all the rudeness he shows to me after all he has called me ‘beti’!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Certain movies never make it to the super-hit status but certainly to must watch list; ‘Chitralekha’ (1964) is one of them. It is a classic example of soulful cinema. It is based on a Hindi novel by the same name, written by the great author Shree Bhagwati Charan Verma. The lead actors are late Meena Kumari as Chitralekha, Pradeep Kumar as ‘Samant Beejgupta’ and Ashok Kumar as head priest Kumargiri, known as ‘Swamiji’. Mahmood also plays an important role as ‘Brahmachari Shewtank’. The story is set in the ancient Mauryan period when Emperor Chandragupta Maurya ruled the nation.

This story is about the clash of opinions and ideologies of a hermit and a harlot; ‘yog’ and ‘bhog’, the two schools of salvation. While the former takes the path of salvation through celibacy and meditation to reach God, the latter believes enjoying every pleasure to be the right way.

The story is as follows:

Chitralekha is a high profile court dancer, who comes to the city of Patliputra with the troupe she heads. She wins a royal dance competition and hence meets Beejgupta and eventually falls for him. Beejgupta too, starts feeling an uncanny attraction towards her and starts visiting her daily. Incidentally, Beejgupta is engaged to Yashodhara, the beautiful and religious daughter of a prominent courtier of the emperor. Slowly, the friendship between the dancer and Beejgupta takes the form of a deep platonic love. Meanwhile, worried about his daughter’s future, Yashodhara’s father requests the head priest, Swamiji to show Beejgupta the right and pious path of marriage and family. Swamiji visits the place of Chitralekha and gives her a hard hitting lecture on morals and ‘karma’ on which she too retaliates and justifies herself, something quite unimaginable for the swami. Later, lives take curious turns; Chitralekha starts deviating towards religion and decides to take ‘sanyas’ while Swamiji gets enamored with her. I will not disclose the climax here as it will spoil all the fun. The story is beautifully woven with interesting dialogues.

This movie is a far cry from all those frivolous and cheap Hindi flicks that are usually released these days. A complete family movie and very beautifully directed, Chitralekha makes us ponder about life, love, duties and spirituality. Lyrics are written by the great poet, Sahir Ludhiyanvi and music is by Roshan. I loved two songs in particular, ‘sansaar se bhaage firte ho’ in which Chitralekha justifies her point of view and ‘mann re tu kahe na dheer dhare’ that consoles the heart stung by separation.

This movie is definitely a must watch!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review - Neither Night Nor Day

Title:          Neither Night Nor Day
Edited By:  Rakhshanda Jalil
Publisher:   Harper Collins India
ISBN:        978-81-7223-691-5
MRP:         Rs 250/-

‘Unputdownable’, ‘awesome’ and ‘shaking’, these are some of the adjectives I would use to describe my latest read, ‘Neither Night Nor Day’. It is an anthology of 13 short stories by women writers from Pakistan. However, the collection is edited by our very own Rakhshanda Jalil, the Media and Cultural Coordinator of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

These short stories basically deal with the lives of women in Pakistan. This book had been short listed for 'The Commonwealth Writers Prize 2008'. Pakistan’s image for most of us is that of a society very conservative and stifling, suffocating for women in general, but this work dispels that impression. Women now have opportunities to write and to express opinions on a much wider and larger platform .

The first story ‘Plans in Pink’ was not so interesting, but was a good read anyway.
The second, story, ‘The Tongue’ is set in a fictional land where everyone is mute for their tongues are cut as per the orders of the ruler but who fails to sever the will of the people.
The third one ‘She Who Went Looking For Butterflies’ is set within a time frame of a few hours when a lady waits for her execution. Somber and well written, it will definitely touch you somewhere.
The next story, ‘Leaves’ talks about the reunion of childhood buddies in their old age, and is a nice read.
Then comes the story from which the title of the book is taken, ‘Neither Night Nor Day’. This is my favorite as well. Amazingly written, this tells the story of a Paki immigrant in London and her deep set feelings of insecurity and identity crisis. This is a must read.
'The Breast’ talks about the brutality towards women in a Pakistani village. This story will definitely make you feel blessed and you will never curse your family or society again!

The next story is actually an excerpt form a novel by Sorayya Khan. The story ‘Five Queen’s Street’ is set in the time of partition. It is about the abduction of a Hindu woman by Muslim men, witnessed by a Muslim girl and her dilemma and outrage towards her own community.
The next in line is ‘A Brief Acquaintance’, I found personally boring and confusing. It is about Ron, a soldier from USA who dies near Waziristan.
Then comes another favorite of mine, ‘The Job Application’. This story describes the situation we all frequently deal with. It tells the story of a widow who applies for a job vacancy and the great pains she takes to make it up to interview, only to find that the job was not to be given to her, and shows in fine details the how a single unprofessional move by a company creates mess and flutter in her life and upsets her daily routine. You will love this too!
The ghost story, ‘The Sandstone Past’ is the next. This talks about a ghost in the elevator and a girls’ night out party. Basically, the story seeks to describe the cordial Hindu-Muslim relations in old Karachi.

The next story about honor killing can move many readers. In ‘The Wedding of Sundari’, a Sindhi teenage bride gets killed on the very day of her marriage for a very trivial issue, or rather non-issue. This is also one of my favorites.
In ‘The Goonga’, a disabled father dies craving for his son who is too embarrassed to accept him in public. This story literally made me cry and most of the readers will feel the same way.
The story ‘The Heathen Air’ is also immensely readable. This story is about the English ways of a rich lawyer and his wife’s silent suffering when he goes too far in his angreziat!

There is a solid reason behind using the first adjective to describe this book; I finished it within two days of purchase!

PS: I found it much better than the recently published book ‘Urban Shots’ which is also a collection of short stories.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Indian Honour Under Hammer

The valuable gold Rolex watch of our first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, will soon be auctioned at Sothby’s in Geneva. It is pathetic that this has not made more than a passing news item in papers.

We all know that antique items have their own value and charm which attracts a lot of art curators and aficionados across the globe. But in this case, more startling is the fact that this watch was reported stolen in 1963 from Dr. Prasad’s Museum in Patna. The Indian government as usual is too busy to even investigate how a memorabilia item reached up to Sothby’s in the first place, let alone to make efforts to bring it back to India. Although the legal heirs of Dr Prasad are doing all what they can but Indian government is sick as usual. Is this the way we honour the people who sacrificed so much of their lives for us?  

What makes the watch extremely valuable is not that it is of Rolex brand or it has a map of India made on its dial but that it was presented to Dr. Prasad on the first Republic Day.

Some time back, Mahatma Gandhi’s spectacles were also stolen from Sabarmati Ashram. The Indian government must be ashamed on its inability to preserve memorabilia of people who laid their lives for the country.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We will meet

Like a true companion
Your memoirs never leave me alone
However hard I may attempt
I witness circus* with a subtle contempt
I sauté in dark solitude
I burn out like a flame
I smile half-heartedly
I cease to think; everyone is the same
That fire within me is still ablaze
This lights my path in the entire maze
We will meet somewhere in high pastures
Where time does not prevail
Where life is but a passed stage


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review– ‘More Malicious Gossip’ and ‘The Vintage Sardar’

First of all, it is quite audacious on my part to review the work of the veteran writer Khushwant Singh. I have read his various books and he is now amongst my favorite authors. Still, the two books I’ll try to review here are ‘More Malicious Gossip’ and ‘The Vintage Sardar’, both compilations of his best writings of his long spanning and successful career as a columnist, novelist, editor, journalist, traveler and a diplomat. He has achieved much in life and hence these literary pieces are not just plain essays or boring travelogues but, concise and thought provoking pieces that can flood the reader with knowledge and interesting facts.

The first book is More Malicious Gossip, which is published by HarperCollins. This book is divided into three parts, viz, ‘With malice unspared’- personality portraits, ‘Going places’- travelogues and ‘Musings’- essays.

The first part describes the lesser known facets of people admired and hated. Their lives, careers and their real self have been described (read exposed) in a very to-the-point manner. The people included are Lord Mountbatten, urdu poet Faiz ahmed Faiz, dacoit turned MP Phoolan Devi, criminal Charles Shobhraj, actors Nargis Dutt and Ingrid Bergman, and Mughal ruler Aurengzeb, amongst others. Whatever he writes is his unbiased and frank point of view. He bashes politicians openly and cuts them to size. He describes how an innocent village lass Phoolan became a notorious dacoit, how Faiz Ahmed Faiz (who also happened to be his senior in college) was unhappy with the way Pakistani government worked and was looped into the dirty game of politics, how Shobhraj cleverly escaped from prison, and many other things. This part 1 is immensely readable.

The second part is travelogues. Khushwant Singh has traveled around the world and his writings on places are also quite interesting. He describes places like Syria, Germany and various Indian cities like Konark, Hyderabad and Goa.

The third part is Musings, essays and his thoughts and opinions on various things like disturbance in Punjab, family planning, dowry deaths, God and religion. This part is also extremely interesting. Here you’ll find naked truths and unbiased contemplation of matters we come across everyday but rarely stop to ponder upon.

The second book is ‘The Vintage Sardar’, published by Penguin Books. This is a compilation of his articles, especially those from his coloumn ‘With Malice Towards One And All’ in Hindustan Times newspaper in late 80s and early 90s. The range of topics is wider in this book and various new categories have been included as well, like nature, sex, death and faith.

He talks about shrewd Pakistani General Zia Ul Haq and his deceptively innocent looks, Nehru’s affair with Lady Edwina Mountbatten and how paparazzi sneaked inside their hotel at midnight, the infamously nymphomaniac life of painter Amrita Shergill, who was also his neighbor in Lahore and her catfight with Singh’s wife. He also takes us back to Mughal era and tells us what Babar told Humayun about India in his famous letter, and much more, from the secretive functioning of the gay community of Mumbai to Singh’s tactful dealing with a verbally abusive caller.

I loved both the books and undoubtedly I applaud Khushwant Singh for such a clear and informative yet interesting style of writing.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Listen to the tranquil sky
It is the color palette of heavens
Listen that little birdie fly
How she flaps her lovely wings!

Listen what the leaf tells her tree
“Good bye sir, I am now glad and free!
I’ll fly and fly, miles and miles,
I’ll visit far away shores on my solitary journey
And all lost castles once brimming with symphony
Good bye, I am not tied to ye
May ye stand tall forever, at this last goodbye I say”
Ponder why these new leaves crackle
Do they too long to break their shackle?

Listen, what these new born buds say
What plans do they design the whole day?
“Lo! Wait is over and we arrive!
Young and innocent, pure and naïve
But we fear those rough hands
That will pluck us to faraway lands
Ah! World is but a cruel game we see
Unlike leaves we don’t wish to be free”

Listen to the water as it falls over
Can’t wait to meet its beloved river
What does the fall confess?
To that elderly rock at the edge
“I am impatient and young
Dreaming of her all day long
She loves me though but him much more
Alas! She longs to kiss the ocean’s shore
I love her still, knowing all of this
For my love is chaste though one sided
So, deaf to every wit and numb to logic”

Listen till your senses smoothen
Listen till your soul is calm
Listen till you reach eternal shore
Listen till you listen no more…

Friday, September 23, 2011

'The Versatile Blogger' Award

I received 'The Versatile Blogger' award from Tanmoy Porel . Thank you Tanmoy!
Here is that award 

And here are 7 random things about Myself (as per the award rules).
1.     I am a Capricorn
2.     I am a pure vegetarian and I love animals esp dogs and birds
3.     I love reading Urdu poetry, in fact I find Urdu very beautiful
4.     I wish I had light blue eyes :P
5.     My first crush was Leonardo Di Caprio
6.     I HATE people who laugh at personal tragedies of others.
7.     I am quite good at preparing Kadhi –Chawal!!

    As per the rules, I am also supposed to award this to 15 blogs I think are good. Honestly, being a novice writer myself, I am not worth judging someone's writing and label it as good or bad. We (bloggers) write basically to convey our ideas and views. So, every blog is worth reading. I pass it to all my blogger friends :)


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Water Water Everywhere......

There is a famous poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. These two lines of this poem are quoted very often-

Water water everywhere
Not a drop to drink.

It would be interesting to fit these two lines on various people in different situations


1) Amar Singh on phone call drama with Bipasha Basu (who later denied the entire thing)

Water water everywhere
But I prefer a quite sip!

2) Rahul Gandhi on his single status

Water water everywhere
But I don’t simply bother...

3) Ashmit Patel on his new avatar as flirt guru on a reality show

Water water everywhere
I’ll teach you how to drink, yo!

4) The very pious and respected Dalai Lama

Water water everywhere
I am never tempted to drink.

5) Shiv Sena on opposition of non- Marathis residing in Mumbai

Water water everywhere
Only marathi manoos to drink here

6) Writer Khushwant Singh on his famously flirty life

Water water everywhere
I drank and drank and am full to brim  :)

7) Dr Manmohan Singh on everything

Water water everywhere
Let me get the permission letter  :P

8) Mayawati, the Chief Minister, UP on her dictatorial control over her cabinet ministers

Water water everywhere
I’ll order my cabinet to get it here

 9) Cricketer Yusuf Pathan on being ignored by BCCI

Water water everywhere
Alas! No one tells me to drink

10) Actor and IPL team owner Shah Rukh Khan on Saurav Ganguly (The IPL bidding controversy where Ganguly had no takers)

Water water everywhere
But I won’t let him drink

11)  Salman Khan on...You can guess who! hee hee!

Water water everywhere
No thanks, I have got my imported bottle!

12)  Sania Mirza on Marrying a Pakistani national

Water water everywhere
Hey! That of the next pond seems better

 13) Vijay Mallaya, famous for his Kingfisher Beer and elite parties

Water water everywhere
But my premium beer is even better

14) Shri Anna Hazare- Our very own, modern bapu

Water water everywhere
Please take only your own share

15) Dr. Kiran Bedi on her resignation from Indian Police Service

Water water everywhere
Grr! I was shoved before reaching there

16) Shiela Dixit, the mark of Delhi’s amazing development!

Water water everywhere
Ya Ya, that’s, because our roads are broken all over!

17) Rakhi Sawant, the crap queen
 Water water everywhere
Why drink? I take regular dips herzz!!

PS: ‘Water’ here is not to be taken in romantic sense alone and this is just a non serious pun, to be taken with a pinch of salt! warm water can also be added..hee hee ;D

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Broke A Million Strings...

The maze is eternal with roads galore
Deeper I gaze, sink I more
Simply an endless swim without a shore

Keep passion hidden and face stoned
For each one is wolf in angel’s robe
Not a soul can be trusted, nor can be loved

Still a million strings tie me to the web of world
Let me break all ropes and take a road straight
Still keeping safe spaces on both the ways
I sever all strings once I feel Thee
All cravings go numb and
Soul feels like a bird set free!

I soak His light and sleep deep inside
Lo! I am the new sprout in the womb of light
Pains and joys are trivial now

From a raging fire and flaming ember
Here I beam with the joy of surrender
I am but a clay with scent of Thee

Ah! I can be anything I wish to be
For I have broken those million strings and
Soul feels like a bird set free!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Deadly Four

It is often said that world is nothing but an illusion. I don’t know if this is correct but in my limited experiences, I have noticed four perceptions that can be termed as illusions. I mean, we are rational animals and are somewhat emotional also; hence most of us fall to these four notions very easily.

1.   All good looking people are good individuals: This is the most common mistake people make: if someone is handsome or beautiful, he or she will be an ethical and even-tempered individual as well. In a nutshell, almost all of us go for appearances. Beauty is a wonderful thing but it creates a halo effect too; it has caused wars, it has inspired poets and writers, and it has stripped the great kings of their crowns. Even in these times, it is not uncommon to see boys falling for beautiful and tempting but evil or loose character girls and ruin generations to come by marrying such nymphs. Similarly, girls running after handsome boys and assuming them to be a benchmark of perfection and bravery is also common. When the mists of such false notions disappear, depressing truths emerge.

2.   People fluent in English are brilliant: English is just a medium of communication that merely expresses a thought or idea. The value is not of the unique bottle of perfume or the case of diamond ring but of the perfume and ring itself. Similarly, good English in no way indicates intelligence of the speaker. School dropouts, street urchins and even pimps sometimes speak better angrezi than doctors and executives.

3.     Expensive gifts indicate deep feelings: It is simply our greed that makes us think so. People who are devoted to us must not be put to test every now and then. A gift is more of a formality to avoid being the odd-one-out at social events. A flower or a diamond does not anyways indicate the depth of feelings, rather actions and behavior does. I have seen people literally criticizing gifts openly; this is something that not only indicates shallowness but avarice as well.

4.     Those who speak less are highly evolved and mature: There is a saying in hindi ‘band mutthi lakh ki; khul gayi to khak ki’ that means an empty fist is valuable only till it is kept closed. Similarly, dumb asses prefer to keep their mouths shut when some intellectual talk is going on to get a benefit of doubt. Maturity is not reflected in brooding the whole day or scorning at jokes, but in the level of dexterity with which one manages the daily affairs of his/her life without disturbing the relations and social settings.

   Finally, I would love to quote Famous English philosopher Francis Bacon here:
    “Dignity of presence is much better than beauty of aspect”


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Universal Blindfold

Amongst all the human emotions, some offer huge exploitation potential for the people with tainted intentions. Greed is one, vanity is another; as per Hinduism the two along with anger are also considered the gateways to hell. The motherly love or mamta has, however, been exploited most widely, for all kinds of purposes.

A few days back, a scene on television caught my attention instantly, hence this post. A documentary on Mongolian villages on NG Channel showed how wild goats and other beasts can be domesticated without much botheration.

The locals keep lambs tied uncomfortably to a mule, as hostages to be more precise. This way, the lambs keep crying out in pain and mother wild goats come bleating after them upto the village. Hence, the entire task of finding, catching and domesticating a wild goat is reduced to one single action. Mothers can go to any extent for the sake of their off springs. What the locals there do is basically done by people all around the world; only forms vary.

The romantic love knows no bounds; so does love for progeny, but while the former is often dipped in lust, the latter is as pure as a dew drop from heavens. All over the world and from the times immemorial, people have widely cashed in on the parental love for varied ends, from money to thrones. Even the great Mahabharata battle can be attributed to it: king Dhritrashtra ignored all the evil doings of Duryodhan out of paternal love.

Companies, especially health-foods makers clearly show mothers wishing their kids to be the brightest and tallest in the entire group. This love is more of a mint machine for MNCs.

So, I cannot just blame the Mongolians or the goats; every living being is literally blindfolded with this. The few, who are not, stand out like sore thumb. Isn’t it?  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ye Dil mange more!!

When I saw that Vodafone ‘borrow talk time from friends’ ad recently, at that very instant few people having perfected the art of borrowing came to my mind. Now, if we look closely, there are basically two types of people who borrow: first, those who are in genuine need, and second those who are habitual shameless creeps. I have all the sympathy and help ready for the first category. The second category is of people who just ask for anything shamelessly as if they have a legal right on all your things. They can go to any lengths for borrowing and they can knock at your door even at midnight.

One girl in my class who hailed from Meerut was a pro in borrowing anything from anyone. She even asked for a formal shirt and shoes for a presentation. The funny thing was that my presentation was minutes after hers. She could be a perfect model for borrowing, she literally asked me for everything like cell phone, bucket, clothes, bed, blanket, books, shoes, heating rods and many other items. Later I came to know that I was not the only one on her hit list, whole hostel suffered this problem. That obnoxious girl was definitely not in the first category. Life was easy for her as her mantra was ‘main maang loongi yaar!’ (I’ll borrow from someone yaar!)…cheap

Second comes the borrowing of books. An old proverb goes, “The best way to keep a friend-never borrow, never lend”. One of my friends borrowed my book for a week or so but I got it back after 10 months that too after repeated pleas and requests. Later I came to know that he had lent the book further to 10 or 11 more people.

I could not stop laughing at one incident when a relative wanted to borrow my grandfather’s underwear! Grandpa had refused for sure but we still laugh at the audacity of that man!

A neighbor once approached my mother for the recipe of tomato soup (!), and guess what; she even took all the ingredients and spices from us only! ha ha ha ha!!

How many such people have you come across??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zindgi Aisi Na ho Dobara

What a queer coincidence! The hot shots, the tycoons celebrated at the badshah’s palace, Mannat the success of the recently released flick ‘Zindgi Na Milegi Dobara’ at the time when the victims of the bomb blasts were suffering these words literally. The Maximum City was burning under three serial bomb blasts in which about 20 people died and many more were injured. Strangely, in such times celebrities like Shahrukh Khan and actress Katrina Kaif found a reason to celebrate. The party was hosted by Mr Khan at his residence and amongst those who arrived happily to wine and dine were Hritik Roshan, Adi Godrej, Kartina Kaif, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal and a few others. Don’t they owe any concern to the city and the audience that made them what they are so high headed about- superstars. Mr Khan has expressed sadness via Twitter. Fakeness of emotions can be easily seen through: the lament about bomb blasts and a totally converse behavior at the same time do not go in sync. Ms Kaif must be ashamed of herself to celebrate her birthday in such tragic times.

Another epitome of shamelessness was Minister Subodh Kant Sahay who was enjoying the fashion show of his daughter, pleading later that he didn’t know of the blasts till then: even when the entire country knew it!

True, in a country of more than a billon people, everyone can’t share everyone else’s miseries. But the people turned into celebrities by the masses owe in return some concern towards them, at least in such grave times. If they fail to do so and behave like a common man, well then it’s time we turn them back into one. After all masses make one a celebrity and this is nowhere more true than in the entertainment industry. We should stop eulogizing these ‘sell-ebrities’ any more.

As a quote by Napoleon Bonaparte goes “what hurts you in the end is not the words of your enemy but the silence of your friends”. It is not the unscrupulous motives of terrorist organizations that actually exist only for terror activities; it is the insolent attitude of our own ministers, government and the people who represent our society and in case of India, film celebrities included.

For the blast victims too, it is Zindgi Na Milegi Dobara for they will never get a lease of life again. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review - Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Today I finished reading one of the classics, ‘Les Miserables’, written by the great dramatist and writer, Victor Hugo. This book has been a wonderful read. Even though it is some 600 pages long, it is very much able to keep a reader hooked.

The novel is set in France at the time around the French Revolution. The protagonist, Jean Valjean, a poor farm labourer, steals a loaf of bread to feed his hungry family but  instead gets caught and is sent to jail. He undergoes a lot of trauma, social boycott and misery in life and becomes more of an emotionless robot. After he gets out 19 years later (his sentence is increased after three failed escape attempts), he is transformed into a kind man by a noble bishop who gives his brazen soul a new lease of life. Valjean sets out to make something of himself and eventually becomes the mayor of a city. At a point of time, he faces a moral dilemma- whether to save a convict who is mistaken for Jean Valjean by disclosing his reality or to continue with his respectable and good life. Finally he takes the best decision. A parallel track also runs, that of an orphan lady called Fantine and her illegitimate child Cossette who grows up to be an integral part of the story. The plot is very well woven and is not that simple. How the lives of Valjean, Fantine and Cossette cross and what happens afterwards when Cossette falls in love with a handsome lawyer, Marius in the backdrop of the famous French Revolution form the climax of the novel. It has become one of my most favorite books from now.

Another prominent thing that you will notice is the beauty of the language and the descriptions of untold emotions. The ending made me cry and I actually felt a tiny jolt somewhere deep inside.

Les Misreables is a book worth reading!