……………………………voiceovers from life.

Monthly Archives: February 2012


Gee, I feel very sheepish to have put the project on hold like this. Anyway, this is a floating composition based on ZNMD’s awesome poem, Zinda Ho Tum by Javed Akhtar. I can’t fill in his shoes or have the refinement his words have, but these came randomly to me while commenting as an Alpha user on the site we are developing. Here they are –

jaan kar bhi anjaan ho,
to zinda ho tum.

toot kar bhi pure ho
to zinda ho tum.

registan ki me ret ke zarre sa tapna seekho,
bawandar si taqat rakhkar thandi hawa sa baho tum.

dilo me bechainiyan leke chal rahe ho,
to zinda ho tum.
bechainiyon ko jeene ka sabab bana sako,
to zinda ho tum!

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I have an on-off association with Astronomy. I can’t claim I’ve got even amateurish skills, but I make it a point to take a sneak peak at the mighty sky when I am informed of some once in a lifetime celestial events. In 2010, I enjoyed the Geminid showers with a very bugged and sleepy DeeDeeTweets. Last year, I enjoyed the Lunar Eclipse with a spiritual tilt along with the regular astronomical hoopla over explaining friends that Eclipse is not a Twilight series movie but a scientific phenomenon, and then diving into 4th standard Geography/Science. Lunar eclipse and moon have found reference in popular culture too. I loved this song from Bandini which incidentally played on the radio then. Such simplicity. She gently reprimands the moon saying ‘tohe rahu lage bairi’ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


Normally in conversations with friends, there have been a lot of goofups where I pointed at Venus and said it is Jupiter and vice-versa. Thankfully, they don’t notice ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was at my wits end once. When I came from office and saw the bright Venus shining near the moon; and when I stepped out to get some grocery, there it was again, in an entirely different direction. I was flummoxed and looked to check on the original, thinking this was anย imposter ๐Ÿ˜› ย There it was! It was a case of “Mai Teja hu, mark idhar hai” (Read “Mai Venus hu, moon idhar hai”). Then saneness set in as I realised that the mighty Jupiter and Venus, both were making apppearance at the same time. And this week, there are gonna be 5 members of our solar system attending the customary taaron ki mehfil in the night sky. Technically, they can be labelled as guests, considering they are planets ๐Ÿ˜›

Here are the astronomical details and timings. Heavenly bodies….. they are very particular you see ๐Ÿ˜‰

Excitement is building with respect to planets in Earthโ€™s sky. Jupiter and Venus are edging toward a spectacular conjunction in March 2012. Mars is getting bright and will join up with Jupiter and Venus as soon as darkness falls in late February! This month, three planets โ€“ Venus, Jupiter and mars โ€“ conspicuously stage themselves in the February 2012 evening sky, while Saturn more modestly displays itself in the predawn hours. Mercury, the shyest of the five visible planets, will put on a good showing after sunset during the last week of February.

SourceEarthsky.org



Note : This is a rant.

Writers are dreamers. They keep talking big things. They see the world in a different way. They unnecessarily romanticise things. They do not pay attention to real life and take shelter in imagination. Writing is an escape from the reality. Writing can only be a part time hobby. Nobody can be a serious writer and manage other stuff like job, business, household life. Writing is the passion of the extreme rich or the extreme poor.

How many times have I heard these sentences? Writers are dreamers. That is correct. They do see potential in everything. In a way, writers are innovators, conceptualisers, pioneers.ย  A quality necessary for every entrepreneur and businessman. They don’t talk big. They want to enjoy each and every creation of nature, every emotion a human being can feel. They do not romanticise things – they just see simple things in life with a child-like awe. They just want to live life to the fullest. This enables them to be happy always.

It also leads to a certain nonchalance. Like the song says, “Gham aur khushi me farq na mehsus ho jaha….” This nonchalance, also called equanimity by the more spiritual, makes them efficient in their daily work. Writers react the same to any situation they face. They say ‘Wow, so this is how it feels!’ and go make a note of it. They observe themselves and their life as the unbiased observer mentioned in our physics textbooks. This doesn’t mean they escape reality. They face it with the detachment of a monk.(I have come to love this word ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Writing is then, meditation.

Writing is the dessert, the goodie one enjoys after having a dinner filled with daily routine, awesome work day and family time. It is not really an escape from life, but discovering the realities of life. I have heard people exclaim, ‘Oh writing? It requires a bohemian lifestyle no?’ It doesn’t! Look around and one does find a part writer in every person – be it writing funny sticky notes for roomies, students forgetting mugged essays and composing one runtime, techies writing interesting mails as their status, people on Facebook/Twitter, a housemaid forgetting lines of the song she is humming and then making it up.Have you ever noticed babies? They have a funny habit of making limericks about anything they see.

Writing is a way of life. An essential skill for everyone wishing to make a mark in their field. Writing is a stress-buster. Writing is a negotiator. Writing is a rescuer. You name anything and writing is it. (That is the skill of an engineering student eh? To justify anything :P) So yeah, to sum up

WRITING IS NOT AN ESCAPE!



A poet from a country which has freedom of artistic expression may not choose to publish his work (for whatever reasons, say personal); while there would be an artist struggling to get his work published in the less free regions of the world. I sat pondering on this for a while and then the idea of this post came from the word Paabandiyan, which means restrictions. Every word has a relative meaning from person to person.ย  So does Paabandiyan.

A picture of two friends from an old era came to my mind. Say from Chanakya’s period. They both studied at Nalanda. One wants to finish his studies and head to Himalayas to explore the deeper questions of life. While the other, wants to finish his studies and head home – and get married to his fiancรฉe. The first friend finds it very amusing of his friend to walk into worldly ties willingly. His own family has been appealing to him to stay back. These ties are suffocating him.ย  He wants to be free, while his friend wants to embrace them happily. To the world, he would be forbidden to be a part of society as a monk. But to him, he is willingly giving it all up.ย  At this moment, ‘restrictions’ ceases to be true to its negative connotation and is just a hollow word. And hence, the poem says – There are many forms of restrictions, some voluntary, some enforced. To the world, the Paabandi is for the monk, who won’t be allowed to live in the society. While to the monk, the Paabandi is his family’s insistence on staying back and getting married.

Paabandiyan to kai hain, kuch chahi, kuch unchahi

paabandiyan to kai hain,
kuch chahi, kuch anchahi.

ek hain,chahte hain azaad hona,
aur ek, bandhano me bandhna

kahi ek kadam bandhe jeevan ki dor,
aur kahi door ek jogi chala himalay ki or,

paabandiyan to kai hain,
kuch chahi, kuch anchahi.

Image credit : www[dot]myopera[dot]com, www[dot]fineartamerica[dot]com



Quite an eventful week. Watched Agneepath. Apart from that, no respite from worldly tasks. I am trying to take out 15 minutes every morning for this section. This is an attempt to gauge the feasibility.

Nadaan dil sabb kuch paana chahta hai,
waqt ke panno se akele bhidna chahta hai,
kitabi keeda almaaria ulatna chahta hai,
shayar ye deewana kalam ka saath chahta hai,
kya kahen janaab, bas khwabon ka sahara hai,
rozmarra ki zindagi me uljha dil bechaara hai.

5 mins to type, 5 mins for the pic. Works, I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do not know what this conveys, but rhymes well ๐Ÿ˜›

Image courtesy : http://www.artgalleryimage.net





This book review is being written through me at the evil behest of a rogue Martian.
Otherwise Martians be good people, they be. You may understand that these words have been censored out by him, these too and these too……. Focus, you earthling!

Warning : This whole review is a spoiler. Go buy the book and read it first to get the head or tail of this review written by this very incapable earthling. Regards, Martians.

Why I read the book

One fateful day, when I was doubling over in pain due to a kidney stone….I noticed Sorabh Pant’s tweet about Westland Books bestsellers. The agony on my face made way for worry as I realised that the Mayan Apocalypse may not be a rumour afterall; since @hankypanty had tweeted without a tinge of humour, sarcasm or pun! I had realised that it might be a PR kinda thing, ‘cos people do so when they write a book. Had he written a book too? *Lord save us!* I asked him about it, as I saw Martians landing….and in turn, managed the feat of getting @amisht,ย  @ashwinsanghi and him form a very adorable mutual admiration society. I love that kinda thing! *sniff* Little did I know that I was the target of this sharp marketing strategy devised by the Martians who are outsourced by Ms. Recliws, who has ghost written(no pun intended) The Wednesday Soul. They tactfully bombarded me with pictures and media bits about the book and at a sleepy moment, under the influence of a 400mg Spasmoproxyvon, took over my brain too and made me sign-up at Blogadda for the copy. *I was wearing normal zero glasses then, should’ve worn sunglasses to escape* Over the days, they made me read the book, not once but twice (once with Wren and Martin’s souls) ; bribing and coercing me at times.

* here’s the real reason *
Most of the books I am picking up these days are when I am skeptical about their overnight success or the way the author might have handled the plot. I have been following Sorabh’s tweets for quite some time. He can be very witty at times and sometimes, I do not like his tweets at all. I found myself shaking my head all through the description of the book and thought, it seems whacky,…..but still it might have a Comedy Circus kinda humour maybe. I can’t stand sick jokes in the show. I have high regard for stand-up comedy, but I like them when they are not nasty in an insulting way, each line has an underlying wit to it and most importantly, it is not cheap. This book, written by a stand-up artist, seemed to have some elements which made me skeptical about the praise it was garnering; but at the same time it was not cheap. I could say that without reading by seeing it’s price tag – Rs.250!

Why you should read the book

Okay it’s not cheap. So you can drop that reason. It doesn’t have an emotional touch. The prerequisites are an IQ above 130 and to keep the logical side of that genius brain (yes, I have one of that kind too :P) aside to appreciate the beauty of the writing. So, don’t buy the book. *tap on the head by Martian wielding an electric taser* Err….you should buy the book for it’s humour quotient. You’ll find yourself sucked into the world created by Ms. Recliws…err…Sorabh and not find it out of the blue at all! You’ll fall in love with the lunacy out-folding itself right from the author’s intro, preface to the last page! If you like Govinda movies and Steve Martin movies alike, this one is for you! You’ll meet lotsa celebrities from the geek world, your college idols (Pythagoras, Gauss…. Che Guevara), Attila the Hun(who tries to pass off as Hagar the horrible but fails when he tries to joke using hun err… pun). I read it for Guru Dutt, yes I was one of the disappointed Guru Dutt fans when… *tap on the head again… “No spoilers, earthling”. “Alright, I got a little carried away. Keep the taser away please, I have a review to write”*

The story

*conspiracy theory*

Recliws wanted it to be a philosophical title, but Sorabh titled it The Wednesday Soul, to cash in on the hit A Wednesday and the Chicken Soup series which always ends in soul. The cover has been designed by a secret symbologist, so that it has Greek letters hiding in the font of the title. It gives it a Dan Brownish feel. The word Sunglasses is written in different colors to combine sun and glasses which play a major role in the story. There is liberal use of Feng Shui eye symbols to keep it from the evil eyes of self proclaimed critics and book reviewers, but they don’t work on me ๐Ÿ˜› I even got this through the Martian standing on my head!

*conspiracy theory*


There’s not much of a story…… *looks around with frightened eyes trying to spot any approaching antennae with tasers* The story is a classic romance panning not across years, eras but incarnations after incarnations – the standard Bollywood masala. Nyra dies in a freak accident to discover that there is a world of the dead, where they term us the real ghosts! When she dies, she is denied the right of living happily ever after with the love of her life – the burly hero of the story, who is a classic mysterious lead. What angers her more is that she was a victim of an evil conspiracy by the classic Bollywood villain (who I guess had possessed Ajit, Pran and Prem Chopra during their shoots that led to many masterpieces in the Hindi Cinema). Now this villain, who goes by the name of Kutsa is actually…. *”Alright! Keep that away. Sigh….”*

Anyway, the story is awesome. It has references to history, politics, science, astronomy, and what not! You will read every chapter with delight at finding new laws of the world of death. Two stories run parallel, the live world and the dead world. Some characters move effortlessly from one to another and lead to an awesome finish of the murder mystery. *Keep it consistent Earthling, you said it’s a comedy, then changed to romance and now to murder mystery? Ms. Recliws said it’s about finding your innerself and that Coelho soul searching stuff….I haven’t dared read the book you know…..after seeing your state….*

Characters

Nyra, is a no-nonsense urbane vigilante, who roams around like a Ninja avenging the gory crimes against women. She has her flaws too. Like she drinks, and goes out on Delhi roads….alone! She thinks from the heart. She is spunky and does not even heed Gods when it comes to following her instincts. She is err…how shall I put it delicately, a little on the wrong side of normal weight(read fat), but totally in love with herself………that is what I liked.

The hero of the story, Chitr, has a mythological parallel and is very cute as the amnesiac Head of some important department in the world of dead. He is just perfect, if he just didn’t have that paunch. He really needs to lose some weight. Hence, he is a perfect match for Nyra. See the deep thinking?

Kutsa – Now this name really got to me you know! He is a very nasty villain inspiring awe from even the people he tortures. He is the epitome of vileness. One good thing came off it. I was haunted by the name, thinking I had heard it somewhere and then realised that it is very similar to my gotra…..maybe the rishi influenced the ideology of my ancestors and read a lot about my descent and Kutsa rishi, to realise with relief that this is just a work of fiction by the author. He was not like that at all! And I got to know much about my origins too ๐Ÿ™‚ Win win ๐Ÿ˜€

There are so many supporting characters like I said. You’ll recognise some of them instantly from your textbooks, iPod lists, fiction books and if you know some Nobel Prize Winners. I haven’t mentioned any from the parallel story but they are totally ROFL material. A hyper Northeast Indian doctor and a Delhi cop with no sense of grammar or tense priding himself on speaking chaste English, make the parallel leads.

Writing style

Being a stand-up artist, Sorabh writes like one. Witty, ladden with puns and contextual jokes. I read along swiftly till the first 2-3 chapters appreciating the quirky style, but was immediately held up by typos which keep appearing to the eye which is gifted with spotting “typo- score” like the “eye-score” mentioned in the book. Westland should really have had better editors and diligent proof reading before giving the book to print. This I say because the book is surely on its way to the bestseller list. Urban India has an appetite for books which tickle their grey cells and I give full credit to Sorabh for respecting his readers’ intelligence to digest such a whacky story! All this in a debut novel – which is not his forte – considering he is temporarily retired from scripting TV shows (psst…not getting any writing work or so the grapevine says…. *the Martian was on a tea-break ๐Ÿ˜‰ *)

me likey……..me dislikey ๐Ÿ™‚

Thumbs up for the innovative plot, flow of writing and respect for readers. I really felt the editing was lax….I think a book published by Westland should have been a little carefully proofread.

In a nutshell!!!!!!!!!!

Picking this one up is compulsory! Not to flaunt your IQ score, but to enjoy a thought provoking journey to the Universe of the Dead and Alive. You’ll surely come out wiser and happier from it. Also I can use some peers to discuss the amazing conspiracy theories discovered and allusion spotting done by me. In order to convince you that this is not sarcasm and I really liked the book, I give it aย  rating of 3/5. ๐Ÿ™‚
Go read it and come back to the review ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll like it all the more.

Disclaimer : Typos in this post, if any, are purely unintentional. I haven’t got my payment from the Martians yet ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Please feel free to point them out, though I won’t correct them….it takes me eons to write a post and will take another era to correct them. Just wear your sunglasses, the typos disappear then ๐Ÿ˜‰

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!



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