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?