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!
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. 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 🙂 ) 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 Republic Day Special this –
Wo kehte hain mera watan,
ab nahi raha Iqbal ka chaman,
mere zehen me jhank ke dekho zara,
aaj bhi hai wo jazba, wo nazaara,
jab har dil me ek hi baat hoti thi,
mohabbat sirf ek tarah ki hoti thi,
jasbat wahi naye andaaz me jhalakte hain,
jab kadam Dhvajvandan ki or badhte hain.
kehta hai Tiranga dekhkar apni azaad avaam,
bas jung-e-azaadi me nahi the muhib-e-watan,
uss anjaan shaheed ki ilamat hai har wo insaan,
asar-o-rasokh na kare jisko apna rutba-e-hum-watan,
mahej insaan se salook kare jaise insaan………..
zinda hain, kuch galiyon me aise chand bashinde,
jo lautayenge is gulistaan ko uske nayaab parindey,
aur wo kehte hain mera watan,
ab nahi raha Iqbal ka chaman!
zehen – conscious, jazba- emotion, jung-e-azaadi – freedom struggle, muhib-e-watan – patriots, mahej – only, bashinde – inhabitants (here – citizens), gulistaan – garden, parindey – birds (here, the peace pigeons signifying good citizens), nayaab – rare, asar-o-rasokh – influence
The general idea of the poem is –
Some claim that India is no longer the land the great poet Iqbal described as Saare Jahaan Se Achha. I would urge them to look inside my conscious and they will see the same inspired emotion reflecting in my thoughts, which was in the minds of people fighting for India’s struggle; as I walk towards the flag hoisting ground. The emotion is love, there was only one kind of love which existed then and it was for their country. The Tricolour looks proudly at the assembled Avaam, it’s free citizens and addresses them saying,”It is not only in the freedom struggle that patriotism manifested itself. They were not the only patriots, the people who laid down their lives in the freedom struggle. The season of patriotism is not over. Each one of my citizens, who treats his fellow citizens with equality – without being influenced by his status, symbolizes the unknown freedom fighters of that era.” There are exist (even though few) citizens like this, who live in the bylanes of this country. They have vowed to bring back the rare species of such patriots. And they still say, my country is not Iqbal’s Hindustan anymore?!
Imaan Police Chowki, Ravanpur is celebrating World Heart Day today on the insistence of Commissioner Sahab. Inspector Bajrang Pandey wants to sieze this opportunity to impress the inscrutable Miss Chautala. Hence, he has roses delivered at her desk.
Chandramukhi Chautala(spotting the roses) : “Ye sab kya ho riya hai yaha?”
Gulgule : “Madam wo aaj World Heart Day hain na, to Sir ne aapke liye ye rose bhijwayen hain. Mujhe to lagta hai madam, ki Sir aap pe lattu……..*thadak* ……mera matlab hai Sir aapko like karte hain”
Chandramukhi has a faint smile on her face. Gopi who was reading the paper intently till now, looks up and realizes that Chandramukhi had asked a question some time back. He considers it his duty to explain what he doesn’t know Gulgule said earlier.
Gopi : Why is the flowers is the? Today is the Heart Day is the!
Gopi : *heek* ya……..this one!
Gulgule : Madam tel nahi khayenge to kaise chalega – madam aap bhi na ek number ki……….
Chandramukhi : *thadak* ryapte hain na – *gesturing in her trademarkstyle* ‘diet food’ ……ye kha. na kya keh riya tha beta tu?
Gulgule : *rubbing his cheek*……..bholi hain *thadak*
This scene has characters from the cast of FIR which airs on SAB. Special thanks to my friend Devika who initiated the conversation on Facebook Gopi style in reply to which I wrote this. And a humble request from a big fan to FIR producers – please bring back Shiv Pandit! Nobody can play Hanuman Prasaad like him!Wishing all of you a very Happy World Heart Day! Take care of your heart, it is not only yours! 😉
Hey guys, I am back after a long hiatus. Was caught up in office work.
All credit to Blogadda’s Book Review program which ensured that I post within a week of getting the book.
Why I read the book
I had first heard of Ashwin Sanghi in an article which quoted that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were eerily similar to the description in Rozabal Line. Also, comparisons to Dan Brown drew my attention to Mr. Sanghi’s work, as I am a sucker for rational interpretation of religious symbolism and rituals. After Rozabal Line, Minissha Lamba’s tweet mentioning Chanakya’s Chant as a good read came along. I am always on the lookout for fast paced political thrillers and here was the one that fitted the bill to a perfect T. I picked it up at the first opportunity I got and battled through my jam packed office routine to finish it within time. (Chanakya niti did help me there 😉 )
Why you should read the book
The story catches the reader’s attention right from the prologue where old Pandit Gangasagar refuses to die before seeing his protegee ascend the ultimate throne in the democratic hierarchy of India.(Yep President as a head of the state is a misnomer) The narration oscillates between 2 eras drawing parallels with the tale of Chanakya in ancient Magadh and Pandit Gangasagar. The resemblance between both is uncanny and keeps the reader turning the pages till the end.
The plot is mainly character driven, with the storyline highlighting events in their lives. A Brahmin called Gangasagar stumbles on an ancient scripture holding the secret to Chanakya’s power while learning wily business tricks from his mentor Agrawalji. Soon the mentee becomes the mentor as Gangasagar shifts his focus from business to politics. He ingeniously creates a party with the help of a local don and a slum-child – and manipulates them both like a master puppeteer,eventually changing the canvass of Indian politics as Chanakya did for independent and cohesive Bharat.
The character etching is so efficient that it almost seems as if Chanakya is reincarnated in the form of Gangasagar in the 20th century.He believes that even to do good through politics, one has to employ dirty methods. His strategy consists of bribing, intimidating, assassinating his opponents without letting on a whiff as to who the perpetrator is. Chandini does justice to a rags to riches heroine, the core of Chanakya’s mystical chant.She is a smug confident lady fully aware of her greater role in Indian politics when she is sent to study in a foreign university. The supporting characters also have parallels in both the tracks and are believably grey in their mindsets.
The author’s writing style is short and crisp. Amazingly that does not compromise with the fluidity of the story – almost as if you are reading a film script. The anecdotal narration style (although some are common knowledge in Indian masses) makes the reader feel as if he is a disciple attending Chanakya’s classes at Takshila.Dialogues dominate the feel of the book. I am thinking of making a compilation of the awesome one-liners by Chanakya and Gangasagar 🙂
me likey……..me dislikey 🙂
What I liked is the seamless merging of the two eras, I still don’t know which one I found more riveting. The landscapes of Kanpur and Magadh are sketched so life-like replete with the aromas dominating the paan shops, halwai dukaans and zhopadpattis! What I did not like is the romaticisation of Chandini’s life – somehow we always expect famous politicos to have an explosive background story – and yes, she is true to that stereotype. I guess it was essential to the plot 🙂
In a nutshell!!!!!!!!!!
Overall verdict, please pick it up anytime – if you are looking for a fast paced thriller, an out of the box Indian fiction,better perspective on Chanakya. You can even pick it up as a study in better business strategy, what people call ‘kootneeti’ while the genius called it ‘Chanakyaneeti’….doesn’t have to be bad always! 😀 Happy reading folks!