Having grown up in Punjab of 80s. This story is bound to be important for me. These times stay somewhere as the setting of my childhood. Not that I diHaving grown up in Punjab of 80s. This story is bound to be important for me. These times stay somewhere as the setting of my childhood. Not that I did not have a happy childhood, but the politics of those times impacts a child through its parents whose economy is dependent on it. Why terrorism is Bad? For killing people yes, but also killing livelihood, making people homeless and breaking millions of homes. It kills people and loosing one life after another becomes a norm. It's not peace. Life is survival. And all for the politics and economies of the world mixed with human emotions and evils. To kill for just the sake of killing. How can killing be a punishment for anything, especial not for killing another. So he killed someone but that doesn't mean you kill someone too under the preview of society or law. This eye for an eye business is a vicious cycle, and it's only saints who can break them. But when saints pick this issue then religion becomes ugly.
Anyways this story has unfolded in front of my eyes from the whispers and words of elders, who talk about it, thinking the child is not listening and if listening not understanding, and if understanding then good for it to know.
The stories were more of narration by some of the famous political and media figures of the times. Two famous ex editors of Illustrated Weekly. first the intellectual Sardar himself Khushwant Singh bringing an insiders side of the story. The victim side but not ready to accept being a victim but a rational critic. He adds his historical background on Sikhism and its derivation from Hinduism and the proclamation 'na main Hindu na musalman'. If Jesus was born a Jew that doesn't make all Christians are Jewish. Well that's kind of debatable. If you really question the perversion of conversion.
Anyways not my area of expertise but instead a belief. So Mr Khushwant accepts and rejects ideas and notions but gives his honest and wise opinion nonetheless. he is a well respected man but wait till you read his jokes, which probably are the reason for so many Sardar jokes in the culture.
The second editor, his success Mr Kamath brings a special third party opinion discussing the issues of regionalisation and multilingual nation like india. It's a very intelligent written article which is well researched. He talks about his only visits to Punjab durung the incident basing his opinions on Punjabis and their quom on basis of a book gifted to him at the Golden Temple Gurudwara. Seriously how can you ever judge a religion by a book. instead it's the people who are writing and rewriting religion. In each time period it changes shapes and sounds and styles. Fear in the war, joy in the celebration, peace in the prayer and warmth in its share. There are so many faces. It's so difficult to explain your feelings, especially the faith becomes the basis of your nurture, your principles and tenets of life. So easily it's divided into facets and rules of dressing, eating, language, living, thoughts, choices, behaviour, conversations, and everything else.
I also liked Tavleen Singh, another Punjabi media personality. Refreshing writing with nice interpretations and keeping an unbiased view being a Sikh herself. Probably that's the reason they are respected. Emotions are there but not emotional. If only we could separate religion from rational, life would be Easy.
Next I read the political leader Amarjit Kaur, wife of Mr Fauja who was one of the first casualty of the Khalsa vs Nirankari sect war. You see there are so many factions within a religion that we have wars at each level. Digambars and Shvetambars, Sunny and Shia, Brahmins and Sudras, and many more. she definitely stays true to her profession putting all the blame on terrorist Bhindrawala who allegedly did nothing to avenge her husband when he could have. I was utterly confused as her unconvincing and childish writing was more of an attempt to politicise the issue and malign all parties and justify oneself as the most righteous and fair. Felt like a lot of stories were twisted and turned and fitted and fixed to create a Punjab story.
Then Mr KPS Gill who starts clearly by saying that how there would never be extremist emergence in Punjab again. A pat on his own back or an estimated intelligence. An insider again.
I would say it was overall an interesting collection of good writers. They were a mix of balanced and biased writers so you get a bit of truth and a bit of fiction, which is perfect. Read it! ...more
Book: The Last Poem Author: Rabindranath Tagore translated by Dilip Basu Rating: 3/5
Poetry is 'life's commentary in verse'.
This book stands testimonial Book: The Last Poem Author: Rabindranath Tagore translated by Dilip Basu Rating: 3/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Poetry is 'life's commentary in verse'.
This book stands testimonial to these words. Life and love are best explained in poetry. Mathew Arnold has called poetry the "criticism of life". I feel poetry is appreciation of life, even sadness, ugly and tragedies in poetry become beautiful.
Rabindranath Tagore is known for his various feats as an artist and philosopher - but it was poetry that reflected in all his fields of creativity and thinking. He has given us many gems of poetry along with national anthem which defibes our soul! His works have been critiqued and appreciated for so many decades that it's impossible to challenge his wisdom. He might have been a favourite with the west to get so much recognition for his works, but his brilliance and diversity is unquestionable.
Like all writers who draw from their personal life we find Tagore's life in his novels, poems and art. Other than the characters, stories his thoughts are quiet evident and glaring. He infact critiques his own work through the words of his own protagonist. The poetic war ensues and as a reader only you know he is only competing with himself wether as Tagore or Nivaran Chakravarti. The book also touches upon Tagore's political ideology where he presents his opinions on those times Democracy, Home Rule and British Raj through brilliant analogies.
"When Vishnu cut Sati's lifeless body with his discus, a hundred or more sacred spots sprung up wherever her dismembered limbs had fallen. Democracy today is like the scattered aristocracy. Petty aristocrats have popped up all over the world: we have political aristocrats, literary aristocrats and social aristocrats."
The protagonist Amit Ray, is a clever fellow who uses his intelligence and knowledge beautifully to present arguments probably the way Rabindrabath Tagore did too, winning over his admirers and opponents both. Like Amit's sister comments aptly, "You really don't have your own opinions. You always say what sounds clever at that particular moment." Yati quotes Amit in one of the discussions - "The inclination to do what one shouldn't is a great human virtue." and the most profound of all, the words to live by "Happiness should be simple." The frivolity and complexity of Amit meets its match in seriousness and simplicity of Lavanya. Even the matriarch Yogamaya enhances the verses and word playing with her wisdom. This book is for anyone who enjoys a good conversation, as they say in Hindi, tark-vitark!
The book is primarily about love. A well read and traveled man with his big words and ideals falls in love like an ordinary and how that love transforms him and brings him to the reality which had no space is his previous idealistic world. What is love, one wonders. Quoting from the book -
"Love that freely floats in the sky is our soul; love that informs our daily life illumines our homes. I want both of them. There is a day when I can spread my wings and reach the heavens;then, I find my little home, where I lie in my little neat with my wings folded. But I still have my heaven."
This story is a love story, fulfilled or unfulfilled is not important, ending is not important, what's important is the poetry of romance. Anything I say would be considers judgemental, but some books are like that. They are not about stories or characters or plot - they are about words, stringed together like poetry. As a reader you take away that experience and it stays with you forget.
This book will be special even more so being a gift from a friend. Thanks Hope! ...more
India and Pakistan World Cup Butterfly reads a book
Finally I Broke my book fast with what a lThe return of the butterfly
Author: Moni Mohsin Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
India and Pakistan World Cup Butterfly reads a book
Finally I Broke my book fast with what a lovely book. You Toh know how much I love books. For past 6 months I had been struggling to finish even one. Each book I started ending up being half read taunting me from the shelf. So in these tough times I returned to my old friend, dear butterfly. Hai! Don't you know butterfly? Apni shweetu si Moni!
She has written two books earlier on butterfly escapades - 'the diary of a social butterfly' and 'tender hooks'. You must be wondering why I am talking like this. Well this is called "Punglish" a mix of Punjabi and English, most widely spoken in and around Punjab on both sides of the border, from Delhi to Lahore. This type of Punglish is spoken and understood amongst the Punjabis across the world from London to Canada, India to Pakistan. And I just love Moni's style - intelligent writing from the eyes of an innocent unaware BTM protagonist.
The book is a satire, a touch of ignorance and arrogance, looking at the world from the rose tinted glasses of butterfly. Her world starts from ghairat ness and khandani ness, and ends at show offers and rich ness. From the world of flashy weddings, to GTs (get togethers), to London and Dubai summer trips, to page 3 parties, to beauty parlours and soothsayers.
She depicts the dilemma of upper class housewife in a country in political and religious turmoil. It wants everything but gives nothing. It lives in a glass palace with inside tints. Doing nothing about it means it's not happening. Underlying the humour of upper class society, family drama, and kitty parties there is a strong current of geopolitics and conflicting ideologies.
Somewhere we all have a butterfly in us who pushes the negative thoughts and opinions on politics and strifes across the world to live a comfy colourful life flickering from one day to another. ...more
This applies to Aatish Taseer's 'Noon' completely. In this book, he beautifully traces his journey frYou write what you see, yet tell what you don't!
This applies to Aatish Taseer's 'Noon' completely. In this book, he beautifully traces his journey from India to America to Pakistan as an audience as well as a participant. His journey from confused and insecure childhood to an adult searching identity and roots, from the corridors of ever changing power house Delhi to a volatile and extremist Port Bin Qasim, from a Hindu/ Sikh upbringing to the Muslim roots. There are gaps but they don't matter as he beautifully explains...
"The gaps in my life were too many, the threads too few. And though I knew this, knew there was little to string life together, the tendency was still to appear as a whole before the world, to let the imagination fill in the spaces that experience had left blank."
I had previously read Aatish's, Manto's short story translation, which was well done, but this novel gives a brilliant picturisation of him as an author. His observations are sensational yet true, oblivious yet deep, close yet far, secret yet public and fiction yet truth. Each character is real, strong and grey - from the servants in his Delhi farmhouse, or royalty in his step father's power struggle, or feudal lords of his real father's extended family and business. I loved the way Aatish went into the backstory of each character rather than staying at the surface or in the moment.
Take it as a compliment when I say Aatish has the renditions of Manto - a bitter man who looks at the world in a bitter way, because there is no other way he knows!
And clearly NOON is the ideal title... the book does what Noon does to you... makes you wonder about the past...
Some grey lines from the book...
Going blindly to college in America from India was an extension of other forms of entitlement, like summer holidays in the west or buying a nice car.
He was the most bendable unbending man I ever knew!
What royalty? An occupying power comes to your country and appoints some local chieftain the king, and two hundred years later once the power has left, we're still saying "Hukum this, Hukum that."
When someone puts forward the cup of friendship, it's not right to spit in it, no matter how bogus the wine might be.
He is present in my life as an absence, and that if u were only able to fix him in my mind physically, that sense of absence would diminish.
That which is not to be found is what I desire. - Rumy ...more
In Iran your father's good friends are referred to as uncles.
Crank Calls Harassing people on the phone is a fashionable thing to do among young IraWIP
In Iran your father's good friends are referred to as uncles.
Crank Calls Harassing people on the phone is a fashionable thing to do among young Iranians. Ahmed changes tone of his voice and asks if this is Mr Rezai's residence. Faheemeh's brother says no and hangs up. He calls again asking for Mr Rezai, and Faheemeh's brother abuses and hangs up the phone again. Ahmed calls the third time and says. "Hi. This is Mr Rezai. Has anyone called for me today? This time Fahemeeh's brother explodes into a rage.
Life was a random series of beautifully composed vignettes, loosely tied together by a string of characters and time.
Whether the darkness is black or so deeply blue that it just appears inky in comparison.
There was a common superstitious belief that if you accidentally point a knife at someone, stab the earth three times, or that person's blood may drip from the tip of that knife someday.
Nothing makes you a better person than the love of a woman!
Love is more faithful than an old dog.
Don't take life too seriously; you will never get out of it alive!
School and love are two diametrically opposed phenomena.
Isn't an accusation of wrongdoing as compelling as an admission of guilt to you?
That's the way of the Persians - we are masters in the art of implication, sometimes at the cost of the point getting lost on an unsophisticated listener. Facts seldom matter. The meaning and message are always woven into the fabric of our discourse. Deep in each knot of a Persian rug is a statement of the hands that patiently drove the needle and the thread.
I miss the old days, when doctors made house calls. You got to know your patients, their family, their kids, where they lived and how. It's all about business now.
I know you are one of those kids who enjoys sitting by the fire and reading philosophical bullshit instead of learning proven formulas that might save this nation from the grip of backwardness. During my honourable years of teaching, I have seen herds of pretenders like you who deem their burp to be a revolutionary manifesto. ...more
Kafka, this is my first read and very clearly its not as simple as it feels. Reading it would make you think its a children's story of one incident onKafka, this is my first read and very clearly its not as simple as it feels. Reading it would make you think its a children's story of one incident on a particular day. But the heavy title and the underlying theme is so strong that you can not help but wonder how Kafka does it. He pushes you to think and feel like the vermin in the story - confusion, sadness, drudgery, misery of a life wasted. I say very little because I have more to discover...
Thanks to Brain Pain for introducing me to Kafka. He is one of those writers who are not storytellers but reflect the politico-socio-economic history of a country. They are revolutionaries not writers who bring about the change with their writings. They influence the minds of people and entire generations to bring about the change!! To Kafka!!...more
All tragedies are finished by a death, all comedies are ended by a marriage.
The tragedy best summarises these short stories. Tragedies are sad but theAll tragedies are finished by a death, all comedies are ended by a marriage.
The tragedy best summarises these short stories. Tragedies are sad but the charm of reading or watching one is beautiful. The loss, the impending doom, the wait, the life goes on feeling, they underline each story subtly and strongly.
Basu clearly adds soul to his stories, characters, and words. His stories are about gushing rivers, raining monsoons, strange meetings, subtle emotions, music and sounds, love and loss.
The highlight of course is the title story of The Japanese wife - soulful, serene and beautiful love story between two cultures which are more similar than different. The author does full justice and leaves you with a warm feeling that love is a feeling which no one can explain but only feel. It's beyond society, traditions, marriage, physical needs and proximity.
Kunal Basu has travelled widely and he uses his experiences to create this marvellous collection with stories based in Russia, Beijing, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Philippines, Chad and our very own India from Kolkata-Sunderbans, to Delhi- Agra, to Pondicherry and Kerela. He clearly presents himself as a traveller-narrator who meets new people and characters on his journeys and shares their stories and lives. He beautifully presents the lifestyle, traditions and cultures of these places through these stories and you get to feel the historical, political, social and economic state in these far off places. The link between Communist revolution of Russia and Kolkata, Ramayana thru the eyes of Dalang the puppeteer in Indonesian wayang performances, Indian roots in French occupied Chad, Russian dancer in Bengali theatre .. the versatility of Mr Basu's creativity and ability to find and weave pearls of stories and anecdotes is brilliant.
I am always searching for good Indian authors and good Indian fiction. Kunal Basu's 'The Japanese wife' meets all my requirements plus it is a short story collection - my favourite form of fiction!!
My next step is of course to catch the Film adaptation of The Japanese wife by Aparna Sen and Rahul Bose playing Snehamoy. I am sure they both would have taken the story a notch higher. It would be interesting to know who R is to whom Mr Basu has dedicated this book to... someone special of course....more
Why are all Chick Lits a rehash of Pride and Prejudice??
I have read all three books of Anuja Chauhan and all are rewriting of PnP although in a differWhy are all Chick Lits a rehash of Pride and Prejudice??
I have read all three books of Anuja Chauhan and all are rewriting of PnP although in a different setting each time -
Battle of Bitora - Politics and politicians Pricey Thakore Girls - News and journalists Zoya Factor - Cricket and Advertising
The protagonists as in Mr Darcy and Ms Bennett are the same as Khoda, the Indian cricket captain (which seems very similar to Mr Dhoni) and Zoya the budding advertising exec (sort of like Ms Anuja's younger self). Everyone knows the happy ending any ways - the arrogant but handsome Mr Darcy, who could get any girl, eventually declares his head over heels love for the clumsy and confused Ms Bennett who has very low self esteem.
The plot centres around the lucky mascot for India's biggest obsession Cricket, tagged to winning THE World Cup further combined with religion and Bollywood (the other two obsessions). Anuja further adds in a few jingles and rhymes from her advertising days, plus more masala with Delhi (Karol bagh) style humour and lifestyle, and there you have a full funny chick lit which will make you laugh as well feel romantic and all. What more can a girl ask for!
For me it was a paisa vasool book the way a Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan film is for the Bollywood audience. It's a no brainer but then none of the chiclits or masala films are. No wonder this is being made into a film. Anyways enjoy the read and have a good laugh!! That's it!!...more