Showing posts from January, 2015

Wishes To Be Fulfilled

Travelling places has been one of my greatest wishes since forever. I want to live in different places for short planned periods of time experiencing and imbibing the culture there, and then come back when I miss home. I want to taste every regional dish, buy spices and curios, and street shop from every locality. I want to gain enough experience to be a travel blogger, or write my own travelogue. In my ‘to-be-travelled’ list there are old monuments of India with inscriptions and intricate architecture, temples and other places of worship and faith, palaces with a long history and many legends, lagoons and backwaters rich in natural treasures and scenic beauties, shopping havens, museums, bridges, towers, hill stations and many more. I want to visit a winery, the coral reefs, the Japanese temples, Korean Buddhist monasteries, and go literally on a world tour. And I’ve planned to save a small part of my earnings every month for a long vacation once a year. I want to

A Note To Self

Dear Me, I am so proud of you. I’m glad to have you as company in my solitude. You are precious; you are special, because you are you. Spending time with you is such a delight. I am always in awe and wonder by your level of imagination and the path your thoughts take when your mind’s wandering. You are the director of your own movie. I love that fact. You do everything with passion. You read novels now-a-days getting completely involved in the story and allowing your thoughts to go astray. I wish you had done that last year too, and not indulged yourself is light superficial reading. I’m happy you are now the way you were, before chasing after illusions. The creator in you is my favorite. She paints sceneries and abstruse musings on a whim. She loves to just hold the brush and play with colors. She creates childlike crafts with complete dedication. She writes her best masterpieces, when overtly emotional or hurt. She still jots down her feelings in her diary as

The Contract

The Contract is yet another bestselling Indireads novella by Pakistani author Zeenat Mahal. Her works- Haveli and The Accidental Fiancée are my favorite. Like always, she has created another impressive story here with just the right ratio and proportion of tradition and contemporary that every South Asian can well connect to. Shahira is a divorced single mother who teaches Urdu to school children to earn a living and cater to her eight year old son, Shahaan’s needs. Though she’s independent and can make ends meet, the patriarchal Pakistani society won’t let her live alone without having second thoughts. The society where only the women under the ‘protection of a man’ are respected, a secure marriage is the only safe haven. But Shahira’s traumatic marriage experience with her abusive ex-husband and ill treating in-laws make her apprehensive every time she considers giving marriage a second chance. In an unexpected turn of events she agrees to a marriage of convenie

Thoughts in Bits & Pieces III

Source: In this world, being different pays. The uncommon and unique is sellable. By that I don’t mean it needs to be beautiful or good. It just has to be able to attract attention. The ugly duckling can be a beautiful swan. The task in this scenario is to find that right, promotable, attention grabbing, one of its kind ‘uniqueness’. People will take note of the winner and the loser, but the average intermediates shall go unnoticed, until and unless they have an attribute that’s different from the rest of the crowd. Let’s go a few years back in time. Do you remember who stood first in your class? Do you remember who failed and had to repeat a year? Of course you do. Now, do you remember who came fourth that year? No, you don’t recall this one. Now again, do you remember a boy who cried a lot or had long or dyed hair; or a girl who was a tomboy or had spikes or had green eyes; or someone who had the gift of oration, or singing, or playing violin or karate? An

The Proposal

Source: Boy’s POV: Last week when I had the golden opportunity of reading her journal in her absence, I discovered it was me whom she adored. She had written that I was ‘The One You Cannot Have’ for her. Yes, she was a big Preeti Shenoy fan. I came across many flattering descriptions about myself like ‘blessed with the handsomest face’, ‘sapphire blue eyes’, ‘chiseled nose’, ‘jet black hair’. Was it really so? I wonder. I was thanking my stars that she didn’t notice my extra big ears and my sometimes awkward gait. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, they say.  There was more about my smartness; ‘quick and classy’ wit; high taste for art, antique seals, curios, statues, coins and documents; and my aim to be an art historian in future. And another three pages about my fashion sense; my black tailored suits, my fetish for hats, how I twirl it around my finger before mounting it on and how I believed that fashion is the luxury one should allow ones

Behadd- A Pakistani Telefilm

With the soulful song ‘Nindiya Re’ crooning in the background this is a simple touching story about the relationship of a single working mother, Masooma with her only teenage daughter, Maha. Directed by Asim Raza, his award winning Pakistani telefilm is bound to touch hearts especially for its unexaggerated freshness and the subtlety with which it depicts ‘selfish’ and ‘selfless’ love. After the death of her husband in an accident, Masooma is left alone to fend for herself and take care of her introverted daughter. With time the mother and daughter grow very close, given Maha’s unwillingness to open up and make friends. She’s almost possessive of her mother, and Masooma’s over protective of her daughter. Then one day Jamal, the younger brother of Masooma’s best friend, enters their lives. Five years younger to her and divorced, Jamal is a pleasant soft spoken guy, fun to talk to and a great company in lonely times. Surprisingly Maha too likes to be around him. The trio spe

Love's Labour

Torn between her unrelenting father and the man she loves, Piali Roy can take it no more. She’s sad that her loving father upholds his principles more than he cherishes her, his beloved daughter. She’s disappointed that her mother never takes her side and no one understands her. Neither can she marry Sathya against her father’s wishes, nor can she forget him. Eloping is out of question. She therefore decides to go away from everything she holds dear- away from her parents, away from the memories of love, away from the quaint township of Jamshedpur. She joins the Christ Church School in Mussoorie, willing to live a simple life, with minimal contact with everyone she knew and wishing Sathya would never find her. And then one day after several months of frantic search, Sathya finds her. Piali Roy is a headstrong woman in her early twenties, belonging to a traditional Bengali family. She’s a very talented English teacher in a reputed school in Jamshedpur. She easily gets the

Haveli by Zeenat Mahal

Set in the 1970’s in the town of Jalalabad, Pakistan, ‘Haveli’ is a witty humorous contemporary novella by Zeenat Mahal. It narrates Chandini’s story from her point of view- her childhood and upbringing at her strict influential maternal grandmother Zaitoon Begum, the widow of the last Nawab of Jalalabad; her romantic fantasies for Kunwar Rohail who is almost twice her age; her war of words with Taimur, the guy she’s attracted to; the return of her estranged father after 20 long years and the change of all her beliefs, values and events. It’s a roller coaster journey as Chandini eventually realizes who’s her own, who actually cares for her and where she belongs. Chandini’s mother had secretly married and fled with her lover who abandoned her when she was pregnant with Chandini. She died after Chandini was born, leaving her under the care of the grandmother, Bi Amma. Being from the upper class society she received home schooling, learned a couple of languages, read every p


It is in the tragic stories that the characters have the depth, and complexities of a human. May be that’s why I find tragedies are great stories. Inspired from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Haider is a heart wrenching tale of a son in search of his missing father, set against the backdrop of the Kashmir- a paradise stained by blood and suffering.  It is Vishal Bhardwaj’s third adaptation of Shakespearean dramas. Kashmir then(1995) was riddled with violence, bloodshed and curfews. A constant never ending war raged between the militants and the Indian security forces. A permanent state of emergency existed. Civilians were paraded from every home, every family, for the witnesses to identify the suspects. The lucky ones were dismissed, but those detained went through torture and interrogation in MAMA2. And then they disappeared. The officers and authorities claimed to have no knowledge about their whereabouts. A few days later some of the bodies would be found in the river Jhelum. T

The Maze Runner

There’s a maze that changes its patterns every night. There’s green fertile land and forest at the center of the maze. It is called The Glade. More than 36 people are trapped in the glade over 3 years- one person is sent up every month, with his memory erased. The only thing that these people remember is their name. The maze is home to The Grievers- the monstrous creatures who come out at night. Their screech is bone chilling. No one has ever returned alive after spending a night in the maze. The only safe place is the Glade. But the only way out of this elaborate prison is through the maze. So there are The Runners who are the fastest of them all. They run through the maze mapping and memorizing it’s patterns every morning when the path opens, making sure to return before evening, before the path closes, or else they’d be trapped in the maze for the night. But all trials over 3 years are in vain. They have found no way out. Yet. And then arrives Thomas. And things start going

'Fade Into Red' by Reshma K Barshikar

About the Book: Ayra always wanted to be an Art Historian. She saw herself flitting between galleries, talking Michelangelo and Dali with glamorous ease. At twenty–nine, life has decided to make her an underpaid investment banker juggling an eccentric family, a fading career and a long–distance relationship that is becoming a light-year one. On a monsoon day in June, she is suddenly sent packing from Mumbai to Tuscany to buy a vineyard for a star client. What should have been a four day trip turns into a two week treasure hunt that finds her in the middle of midnight wine deals, dodgy vintners, rolling Tuscan hills, a soap opera family and one playboy millionaire who is looking to taste more than just the wine. Towards the end she finds that the road to true happiness is almost as elusive as that perfect glass of Chianti. Book Links: Amazon Flipkart Crossword The cover art of the book is awesome. It is beautiful. The Van Gogh kind of painting of Tuscan viney

Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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