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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My Experience with Quikr

When buying at quikr takes so less time, I wondered what am I going to write in a post which is going to be of at least 850 words. Then too I will try to narrate my experience of purchasing goods at quikr.

To start with quikr is an online market place where sellers meet buyers and vice-versa. In a lighter vein, it is the matchmaking site of buyers and sellers. What can you buy and sell on quikr? Anything and everything – bikes, mobiles, gazettes and even dance classes, educational institutes, courier and matrimonial services. Isn't it amazing? Moreover you have buyers and sellers for used as well as brand new products.

To buy a product on quikr you have to first enter your city and then type the product you are searching for in the search box. I entered name of my city and typed the name of the product which I wished to buy – induction cook top. However, to my utter disappointment there were no ads for my search. 

So I changed the city to Mumbai and searched again. This time I was lucky and found many induction cook tops put up for sale.

 One more thing which I liked about quikr was that it offered filters. So even when I had selected the city as Mumbai it offered filters with regard to various localities in Mumbai. So you can find a seller in your locality or one whom you can meet on your way to office. So you know where your seller is exactly located. 

Then there is filter with regard to the price. As this filter is in fixed slabs, quikr has also the unique feature of setting custom price. So you can fix your budget and set the custom budget and search for the product you wish to buy. Moreover, there are also filters with regard to the brands of the product. So if you wish to buy a product of a particular brand only, you can tick the box of that brand and quikr will show you the search results for that particular brand only. Similarly, you can select whether you want to buy a used product or a new product. Also you can select whether you want to buy from a dealer or an individual. You can also filter your search results on the basis of the time period for which the ad has been posted. So you can select to see the latest ads and be the first to grab the deal. Also you can select to see the ads with photos and dismiss the ads without photographs. Ads with photos gave me an idea of the kind of products on offer. Also the ads of sale can be set apart from the ads of purchase.

As my budget for the induction cook top was rupees five thousand and as there was no box for upto rupees five thousand, I set my custom price of rupees five thousand. However, selecting the custom amount of Rs 5000 was not an easy task. I was unable to fix the needle at exact Rs.5000.

As it was not possible for me to go to Mumbai and inspect the cook tops manually, I decided to go for brand new products which were sold by reputed dealers. I clicked on the product which interested me. The telephone number of the dealer was displayed on the right hand side at the top. 

However, I dropped a message by clicking on the button reply to this ad and asked the seller if he could deliver the product to me at my address. 

I did not receive any answer for three days. I guess it was due to Diwali holidays and the adjoining Sunday. However, on Monday evening I received a call from the seller telling that they will deliver the product to my address. I asked them whether I will get the delivery before 31st of October as I had to write a review for blogadda. The lady over the phone by name Priya Patil told me that I will definitely get the delivery within a day or two. She asked me to deposit the amount in the bank account provided by her. The very next day I deposited the amount in the account told by her. This is the induction cook top I found on quikr. I bought it for Rs.2500.

Having purchased induction cook top, I proceeded to purchase kadai, needless to say I was befikar only because of quikr. I surreptiously stumbled upon electric kadai. 

The very thought of having an electric kadai in my house excited me. Every house will have a kadai, but very few houses will have an electric kadai. The search results for kadai showed in three categories – electronics & appliances, kitchen appliances, home & lifestyle and household. I clicked on electronics & appliances. I simply loved the product and contacted the seller over the phone. Even the kadai was priced at Rs.2500.

This is the electric kadai I bought

Quikr also helps you in delivering the product to your place, of course for a price. 

However, I was lucky as both my sellers offered free home delivery to me. So my induction cook top and kadai were shipped through a courier. I received it in two days.  It was neatly packed. I was very happy to open the products which I had purchased. Here is I, me and my induction cook top and kadai. 

My morning tea being made on my induction cook top which I had purchased from quikr

I loved shopping on quikr. But I feel that it has to take steps to enhance its reach. Moreover, it should also take steps to ensure the credibility of the sellers. 

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The Reverse Tree - Book Review

The foreword to The Reverse Tree says, “So what is The Reverse Tree really about? Did I ever figure it out? I'm afraid I'm going to have to leave that up to you, the reader.”

Unfortunately, even the reader will not be able to figure out what it is all about. Whether a tiny booklet running into only 36 pages, can be called a book only because it is hard bound? The epilogue (another 11 pages) constitutes about the author, review of this book and critical acclaim for the author. 

The tag-line “trespassers won't be prosecuted .. this is all about you and me!” is totally misguiding. The Reverse Tree is only about him and that him is the author. Reverse tree is neither a collection of poems nor of short stories. It is neither a collection of write ups on contemporary issues nor is it poignant description of the author's experiences.

If you just analyze for the next few minutes what are you thinking about, you will be surprised that you think about many things at a time. You think of your childhood, you remember your deceased parent, your estranged partner, your bank account, your barber, so on and so forth. The list is endless. These thoughts are the result of your past experiences and may not be related to each other in any way. Now if you write all your thoughts which you had you will have some thing like the Reverse Tree. It may cathartic for you, but it will make little sense to the readers.

So even if one of the reviews published in the book itself says that “From his discussion of the third sex- comprised of transsexuals, bisexuals and transgender individuals – to an academic yet spiritual look into a selection of his favourite verses from The Geeta, the author once again offers an interesting view of his life and his Indian culture.”, there is little written about these topics which would strike the chord with the readers. Idiosyncrasy of author too can be at times interesting, I believe but The Reverse Tree is insipid and banal. The author has wasted the opportunity which he had got. His poems show promise. So he could have definitely utilized the opportunity which this book had presented to him.

As regards transgenders this is what the author has to say, “I often wondered why one would marry a transgender! What pleasure can a man derive from making love with another man who is feminine? How can a person marry someone who can never satisfy his needs the way a female can?” So according to the author only men are transgenders. Rather transgenders are only men or men only. Ours is country which is still coping to accept the LGBT community and making bold and incorrect statements like these will only add to the confusion in the minds of our countrymen.

The cover of the book is attractive. But don't judge a book by its cover, they say.  

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Yes Ma, I have realized it

The best part of having a child is you revisit your childhood. Whenever, I look at my son, I get a glimpse of how I would have been as a child. The same eyes, the same jawline. Whenever I buy toys from him I remember the toys which I had as a child. The same railway engine, the same bat and ball and the same teddy bear. Not much has changed, I say to myself. Yes, but when it comes to nursery rhymes everything has changed. I wish I had such colourful books and lovely poems.

Given the amount of words my child babbles, I wonder where from my mother had got all that patience. “You will realize when you become a parent,” the favourite one liner of my mother echoes in my ears.

But still parenthood has it own set of joys. The first time you realize you are going to be a father, the first time you hold your tiny one in your hands, his first look, first smile and first baby foot step are definitely moments to be treasured.

There is a happiness in listening to a child's meaningless babbles. There is joy in placing sweet meat in his greedy palms. There is happiness in singing out songs to make him dance. When reciting alphabets after him, study becomes a pleasurable activity. Indeed with every little activity that the child does, the whole house bathes in the light of pleasure. All the tensions of adulthood are lost in its smile. Where does he draw so much of energy from? Childhood has its own set of pleasures.

With the birth of my son, I suddenly lost all my interest in dressing up. Earlier I was a dapper. Now my world revolves around him. Whenever I pass across a ready made garment shop, my eyes search for the clothes which will make my little one look like an angel. “Baluuuu..Leddd. Gleeen” I say to myself as I look at those colourful clothes for children. “Yes Sir, what can I do for you?” asks the salesman and my reverie is broken.

When my son was born, little did I realize that he would occupy so much of place in my heart. But he is the integral part of my life. Whenever I think about my future, I am thinking about his future. Children are incarnations of God, for they have not yet imbibed the vices of worldly living. They are delivered to you, directly from the Almighty. I thank Him, for he gave me an opportunity of being a father. Being a parent is the most selfless activity. It is all about giving everything and receiving abundant joy in return. 

When my son, falls ill my world turns upside down. So I make it a point that he never falls ill by giving him Dabur Chyawanprash daily. The health of the apple of my eye is most important. Yes Ma, now that I am a parent, I have realized it. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Indians at heart

"I didn’t discover Odissi, rather it was always hidden within me. Only when I encountered it, it fit me like a perfect piece of dress," says Italian citizen Elena Catalano. She holds a doctorate in philosophy. But she found her answers in Odissi dance at the feet of Kelucharan Mohapatra.

Justin McCarthy is the head of the Bharatnatyam Department at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi. He says about Bharatnatyam that "I loved the fact that here was a dance to be performed bare feet. The rhythmic nature of the footwork and the stylised gestures added to the allure I felt for the dance."

These are the not the only two. There are numerous foreigners who are so smitten by the gracious Indian classical dancing that they have devoted their lives to master the art.

Collena Shakti is orginally from California. She is trained in Odissi dance form and also the sapera dance - folk dance in Rajasthan. She has founded Shakti School of Dance and adopted the lifestyle of an Indian woman. She adorned the cover page of an Indian Embassy's publication in Arabic. The cover story in the magazine says,Art knows no boundaries. These foreign dancers are no longer just curious spectators, but they have mastered the art to such precision, that their perfect body movement, finesse and facial expressions have left the audience spellbound.”

"Indian classical dance gives you that sense of ultimate reality through which one is able to create a sacred space on stage." Says another foreigner Odissi dancer Sharon Lowen. She was born and brought up in Detroit, USA. She has performed at concerts throughout India, North America, Asia, Africa, the United Kingdom and the Middle East.

Devayani is a French dancer and guess what? She learnt Bharatnatyam in France itself. Incredible, isn't it? "When Indians see foreigners performing Indian classical arts, their pride in their own culture is doubly reinforced." She says.

Helena Magisson too learnt Bharata Natyam in France itself

There are so many of them, who are more Indian than we think. The above list is only illustrative and not exhaustive. Foreigners are interested not only in Indian dance, but in Indian music, Indian movies, Indian food, yoga and Indian languages too. I have utmost respect for all these great souls who are Indians at heart, no matter in which part of the globe they stay. Not only are they learning all that is Indian, they are leaving no stone unturned, to spread all the Indianness that they have learnt. Watch this video and you will agree.

Being Indian is after all not just a geographical identity, but a cultural identity. It is a moment of great pride that India and Indianess is being celebrated all over the world.

As beautiful as her

I am a civil engineer by profession. So most of the times, my place of work is a construction site. My job requires me to stand long hours in scorching sun amidst the specs of dust arising from the cement mixer and other construction activity. One day when I looked into the mirror, I found pigmentation on my face. 

        This is how the expressions on my face changed on seeing the pigmentation.

                        I felt my face was reflecting from the mirror like this

But all that is a part of history. These days I wake up early morning, have a bath and change into fresh clothes. I have lot of work and very little time. I gulp down a glass of milk and munch on some nuts. In a jiffy I am behind the wheel. I drive myself to the construction site.  I have arrived at my destination – my work place.

 I gaze from the construction site from the window of the car. The brick and mortar lying there will be transformed into a beautiful mansion soon. Just like the way Garnier BB Cream transformed my pigmented, sun-burnt skin into an even toned, beautiful, soft skin that too in an instant. BB Cream is indeed a miracle skin perfector. Given the nature of my work, at times I do not even get time to have my lunch. But when it comes to my skin, BB Cream has made my work easy. Before stepping out of my car, I take it out of the stowage and  apply a little from the middle of my face outwards with light circular strokes.

I look into the car mirror. I thank BB Cream for making me beautiful that too instantly. When I have applied the miracle cream, I look as beautiful as her

My skin care for the day is done. That is because the light weight and comfortable texture of the BB Cream blends instantly into my skin making it beautiful for the entire day. It is indeed a miracle which I can feel not only instantly but also constantly.

My colleagues see me drenched in my work (read drenched in brick, mortar, dust and the blazing sun-light) throughout the day. They have never seen me applying any make up. They have even searched my purse for cosmetics, but have found none. They wonder how come my skin is even toned, glowing, moisturised, smooth and fair all the time.

One day I shared my secret with them. I told them that the BB cream contains Vitamin C derivative which has antioxidant properties. It has almond extract. Its SPF4 filter protects the skin from ultra-violet rays. It is enriched with mineral pigments.

Now let me share with you a secret, which I haven't shared with my peers. I have crossed my thirties (don't ask when) and BB cream reduces my lines and imperfections so that people keep guessing about my age. So when are you shifting to BB Cream?

God is a Gamer - Book Review

God is the Gamer is one of the most promising Indian thrillers. To everyone who aspires to be a crime thriller writer I keep telling that they should read Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. The reason for the splendid success of the said novel was not only that it had all the ingredients of a crime thriller in the right amount but also that it offered something new, untried, unattempted but definitely not undisputed - the different and hence controversial version of holy grail. With God is a Gamer our very own Ravi Subramanian has come up with a master thriller involving something new - bitcoins, the virtual currency.

The cover of the book is attractive. With a silhouette of a man facing toward the white house and a gold embossed bitcoin in the title. 
The story has everything - illegitimate relations, love child, long lost relations, betrayal,  revenge, office politics, money laundering and a daring theft. There are too many characters and too many locations. But Ravi has etched the characters so adroitly that you never get confused.

A senator is brutally assassinated. He is very close to the President. Even his wife is shot at. She is in coma. A CEO of a multinational bank dies after falling off from the terrace. Though it appears to be a suicide, her daughter claims it to be a murder and according to her the murderer is the finance minister who was seeing her mother. Online games also play an important part in the story. Use of social networking sites to generate sales has also been enumerated in an interesting manner. 

The writing style of Ravi is simple, lucid and yet racy. He has avoided unnecessary descriptions and thereby maintained the pace necessary for a thriller like this. There are many technical glitches involved in the story. However, Ravi has taken care to explain it thereby ensuring that those who are unaware of the technical details do not miss out on the story. The explanation meshes up with the story very well. It does not come up in patches and forms a part of the narrative.

The novel for the innovative elements in the story is an interesting read. There are many parallel tracks. However, none of them drift us away from the story and meet at some junction. The initial few pages build the plot and leave the reader thrilled and intrigued. As the reader is expecting to read a saucy thriller, the book takes a few twists and turns, which by now the reader had anticipated. Hence, the book drags a little in the middle. But picks up in the end. Wished the writer had written the middle part exactly opposite of what readers had expected.

In my opinion the following line at page 236 in the novel  is grammatically incorrect.
"Three of his neighbours, who has seen the ghastly attack, went along with him and signed off as witnesses."

The blurb claims that assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks. But the whole Socrates theory is not interesting, moreover unrelated. The blurb also says that God is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing. If so was the case, what was the need to have the largest ATM heist which occupies the most part of the book? There is no answer to this question. However, God is a Gamer will definitely not disappoint you. It will entertain you and also introduce you to bitcoins, which definitely is the future currency. 
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Maa and ....

It was just like any other ordinary morning. I was having sips of my coffee as I skimmed through the newspapers. My mobile blinked. It was an sms.
Call me its urgent.” said my aunt Sindhu.

My aunt was a widow and lived all alone in her coffee estate in Coorg. I was worried. I immediately called her. She asked me if I could visit her as early as possible. I said yes.
I packed my bags and started for Coorg.

Many serpentine bends welcomed me wearing a veil of white mist. The roads in the mountains wee serenaded by the songs of nature. Indeed Coorg is the heaven on the earth I thought. Sindhu aunt was lucky to have such a lovely place as her abode. A diversion from the main road took me to my aunt's estate. Coffee bushes with red berries adorned the way.

My aunt was very happy to see me.
Come on in,” she said in a cheerful voice. Some of my worries had withered away on seeing her hale and hearty. I ensconced on the sofa in the drawing room. My aunt got some coffee and crackers for me.

This is the world's best coffee. I often ask my friends how many of them can boast of drinking coffee from their own plantations?” I said. A wry smile broke on my aunt's face. I washed myself and went to the bedroom where my aunt was sitting. She was staring aimlessly towards her estate through the window.

What is the matter? What is bothering you?” I asked her. Her eyes welled up.
You know I stay alone her. After your uncle's death...” She wiped her eyes with the pallu of her saree. I held her hand tightly. She continued “ I have been managing every thing on my own. I was looking after the estate and living alone like a ghost in it. But now I am getting old. I can not manage the things the way I did in my youth. I can't stand in the hot sun throughout the day keeping an eye on the workers. That is when I heard about home-stays. Plantation-stays are such a big thing these days. I decided to put up the guest house in the plantation for home-stays. So I too posted my add on a website. I have my first visitor. His name is George. He is from Germany. He booked the room for entire month. I was too happy.” Aunt Sindhu took a long pause adding to the suspense.

Sensing my confusion which was apparent on my face, she continued, “He arrived last week. He is a young man in his early thirties. You know how friendly Germans are. I was too happy to host him. However for the past few days I have been sensing something unusual about him. The other day I had been for a walk in the estate. Each time my foot came down on the track, I could hear the echo of a thud. I felt my advancing age had started to show its ugly face. However, I could hear the thuds on the next few days as well. I heard the shuffling of the feet. I knew someone was following me. I began to turn and look back. I did not find anyone. The stalker had begun to carefully side step the piles of dry leaves and twigs that lay on the way to avoid unnecessary notice. Even I changed my design and one day swirled when the stranger least expected it. He squeezed himself into a bush. But the damage was done. I had seen him. He was George.”

I have been living here all my life. I am not accustomed to closing the door like you city people all the time. Many times I cook in the open on the earthen stove. You know the preparations taste a lot better when cooked in the traditional way.”

My mouth was watering. I told myself this was not the time to ask aunt to cook my favourite dishes. I continued listening to her. “When I am cooking out in the open he watches me surreptitiously. I feel it very odd. I am of his mother's age. How can he do this?”

You should have handed him over to the police. These days police are very prompt when it comes to offences against women.”

I know. But I can't refer it to the police. This is a small place. It will become talk of the town. Moreover, my home-stay will doom for a failure given the negative publicity that will hover around my estate. There are many takers for my estate. They are just looking for an opportunity to drive me out of my ancestral home. I wonder if...”
You should have confronted him” I said.
I thought of confronting him. But you know I stay alone. So I gave up that idea.”
Don't worry. Now that your favourite nephew is here, no evil can harm you.” I said hugging her tightly.

I will make some idlis for you,” she said and went to the kitchen.
I went to the drawing room and switched on the TV. I kept the main door only slightly ajar to allow the fresh air. Living in a city I could never have the luxury of filling my lungs with the unpolluted air. At the same time I wanted to have some privacy even when no one was around. After some time I got up to fetch myself a glass of water. I could see some one staring inside from the ajar door.

Yes?” I asked him.
Grabbing that opportunity the stranger tried to barge inside. But I obstructed the entrance with my hand and looked at him from the little gap.
Namaste,” he said with his folded hands, “ I am George from Germany.” He said.
Yes, George. Your room is in the guest house in the estate. My aunt told me. I will surely come to meet you there in sometime. I hope you don't mind.” I was deliberately rude. I wanted him to know that his unsolicited advances were unwelcome.

After having scrumptious breakfast of idli, chutney and sambhar I went to the guest house, obviously to confront George. “Take care. He may be carrying a weapon.” My aunt warned me. Mothers and aunts are the people who think that giving you advice is their solemn duty, no matter even if you turn into an adult.

George was too happy to see me. He again greeted me with a namaste. He was wearing a saffron tika on his forehead. A rudraksha mala dangled around his neck. He was six feet tall, muscular and sported a facial fuzz which covered major portion of his face.

Without wasting time, I came straight to the point.
See George, this is India.”
Nodding his head in appreciation, George again joined his hands in his favourite namaste style.
India and Indian sentiments are quite different from the western world.” I continued.
Yes I do understand,” said George.
There in the west a young man can love, live with a woman double of his age. But in our culture it is totally unacceptable. Modesty of a woman is utmost respected in our country. Moreover, my aunt has no intentions to sell this property. She stays alone, but she is not alone.”
Why are you telling all these things to me?”
There was utter silence. I could hear the rustle of the coffee leaves emerging even from the trees which stood at the end of the estate.
I took a deep breath and said, “Because you are following my aunt. Rather stalking her. Mind you that it is an offence.”

George broke down. He fell on his knees. “For heaven's sake. She is like my mother too. My mother passed away a year ago. She died of cancer.” There were tears in his eyes and a genuineness in his voice.
Yes, I have been following your aunt, I agree. But there were no evil intentions.”

Then why were you following her?”
I told you my mother died a year ago.”
I was unable to establish the connection between his mother's death and his stalking my aunt.

Elaborate it.” I said choosing my words carefully as it involved his mother's death. Mother is a sensitive issue, isn't it?
My mother had never visited India. But she was very fond of Indian food, especially Indian curries. We would visit an Indian restaurant in Berlin Germany. However, it was far off from our house. We stayed at Rugen which is an island in the countryside. My mother always wondered if we could cook Indian curry in our home. We searched for its recipe on the internet and cooked it too. But some how it did not taste like the one in the restaurant. I even asked couple of Indians staying in Germany. They too dished out a recipe which did not work out.”

My mother died without having the pleasure of preparing tasty Indian curry in our kitchen. My mother's death broke me down completely. I was too attached to her. I took a break from my work and travelled to India. Not only to see its beautiful places, but to uncover the recipe of curry. Coming here I realised that Indian women are secretive about their signature dishes. When asked for the recipe, they will tell the ingredients barring one or two to keep their recipe secret. If I do not find the recipe, I am sure my mother's soul will not rest in peace. So I decided to turn into a spy.”

I was all intrigued. “Go ahead.” I told him.
There are many spices in the coffee plantations. There is pepper vine, there is cardamom and many others whose names I don't know. Whenever your aunt stepped out in the estate I knew the purpose was not of mere walk, but to pluck fresh spices for cooking. That is the reason I followed her. Whenever she cooked, I looked from a distance to know the right quantity of spices to be added.”

Did you succeed in your mission?” I asked him in a lighter vein.
No. I didn't. Because your aunt adds some secret masala from the big ceramic jar.”
Don't worry. I will get you the authentic recipe of the curry as well as that of the secret masala.” I told him.

I returned to my aunt's place and narrated her the whole incident. She was in splits. She was too happy to share her recipes. She was childless and was unhappy that she was not having her own children who would carry the legacy of her legendary cooking. But now she was too happy that her recipe was going to travel across the seas.

We invited George for the lunch. He sat on the floor with folded legs in the Indian style and enjoyed a simple meal of rice, curry, papad, pickle and curd served on a banana leaf. After the meals my aunt handed him over secret recipes not only of the curry but many other Indian dishes as well. She also gave him all the masala from the ceramic jar.

George was very much touched by this act of hers. He touched her feet and said that his mother must be very happy wherever she was. George went to his room and returned in an hour with all his bag and baggage.
George, you can stay here for as many days as you wish,” said my aunt.
My mission is accomplished. Now I must return to the land where my mother is buried.”

George left. After a few months my aunt received a mail asking her permission to cook her recipes in his restaurant in Germany which he had started in his mother's memory. My aunt readily granted him the permission. She was touched with his act. Indians are very sentimental about Maa and Cinema. The same stands true for everyone around the world as well. Blessings of Geroge's mother and my aunt enter the system of every person who dines at George's Indian restaurant abroad. 

Like George Lufthansa too is more Indian than you think. Read more


Published in the Hindustan Times Mumbai Edition 

My train was scheduled at 9.30 p,m. I was at the station by quarter to nine. “On which platform does Mahalaxmi Express arrive?” I enquired with a group of coolies too busy chitchatting and sharing a smoke. “Platform number four”, came a reply in a hoarse voice without giving me even a single look. Juggling between my suit case and sack I reached platform number four. All the benches on the platform were occupied by passengers, who were surrounded by heaps of luggage. I was bit unhappy with the thought of standing for about half an hour.

As the saying goes, where there is a will there is a way, I spotted a bench which was in a dilapidated condition. An old lady with a walking stick was sitting at one end, keeping one old plastic bag and a vanity bag at the center portion of the bench. I quietly occupied the other end of the bench.

“Kahaan jana he?” asked the frail old woman. “Mumbai”, I replied. “Where does the train go in Mumbai? Dadar or some where else?” asked the lady with tobacco stained teeth. “V.T” was my reply.  “From where the train starts?” was the next question. “Kolhapur” I replied obediently.  “Where are you going?” now it was my turn to interrogate. “Madgaon” she replied. “Traveling alone?” was my next question. “No two people, who are accompanying me, are having snacks at the nearby hotel. We are two hours before the arrival of our train. So I decided to slowly march towards the platform.”

The ring of my cell phone interrupted our conversation. I chatted with my friend in Marathi. “Which college in Mumbai are you studying?” followed a question in Marathi from the old lady. I was extremely happy with the thought that I was considered a college student. “I am a lawyer.”  I replied with traces of happiness amply evident on my face. “Even my daughter in law is a lawyer”, replied the lady. “So you stay in Madgaon…” “No, at Aurangabad.” The old lady promptly replied interrupting me.. “Both my daughter in laws are qualified lawyers. However one of them works as a court clerk” was the further explanatory note of the old lady.

Although, I was not interested in the conversation, by now I had started to enjoy it. The lady summoned a tea vendor and ordered a cup of tea. She offered me tea, but I politely refused. The lady took out three one rupee coins from her purse and handed it over to the tea vendor. She kept the plastic cup on the space created by moving her bulky body with great efforts. She took out a sachet of some tablets from her purse.

“Why did you move to Mumbai?” she asked popping up two yellow coloured tablets with tea.
“I had been to pursue my Master of Laws course in Mumbai University. On completion of my course, I started practicing at Mumbai”
“Life in Mumbai is very hectic. I am freedom fighter. I do visit Mantralya for some or other work. But I make it a point to leave by evening for Aurangabad. I can not stay for more than a day in Mumbai” I nodded my head in appreciation.

 “Not only in Mumbai, but also in Aurangabad life is hectic. I asked my daughter in law to resign from her job for the same reason. She has been working for the past 30 years. I am an active member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. At times I am at Ayodhya, Banaras, Pune, Kolkota. So I firmly told her quit your job and look after your family. I have a life of my own.” I smiled appreciating her confidence.

“So you had been to some relative in Miraj?” I asked equally engrossed in the conversation. “No. I had been to Pune to hand over some books to my grand daughter, who is pursuing M.D. in Pune. I had been to Sajjangad from Pune. I came to Miraj in the noon and booked my ticket.”

Sajjangad is a holy shrine located atop a hill with thousand steps leading to the shrine. “Did you climb up the shrine?” I asked surprisingly while staring at her walking stick.
“No. I went by Doli, for Rs. 100.”
“What is your age?” I asked bit hesitantly.

“I am eighty four years old” came a confident reply. “I get up early in the morning and do yoga and pranayam. I have my meals only once in a day. At young age like yours, one has the capacity to digest anything. At my age, I have to be very particular about my diet.”
“Train number 1012 Mahalaxmi express will arrive soon on Platform number four”, announced the railway loudspeaker in a surprisingly clear and audible sound.

“I will take your leave”, I said.
“Beta take care! Wish you all the best. Take care of yourself. You live away from your parents”

I started to walk towards the place where my boggie- S 3 was supposed to come. I was happy with the fact that I had earned the blessings of an old lady. The words of children and old people are genuine, because the former are ignorant and the latter have little selfish interest after finishing their youth. Hope all of us earn such blessings.

I was indeed impressed with the confidence of his old lady called Sharadabai Deshpande. I wish I am bestowed by her blessings forever. In the haste to catch the train, I forgot to ask her contact number. If any one of you have it, kindly let me know. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

He Said she Said - Book Review

With new novelists and publishers sprawling, the Indian literary scene looks quite promising. However, unfortunately the same can not be said about poetry. Poetry has some how remained esoteric form of literature. Hence “He said She said” a collection of poems by Angad Singh Saluja and Priyanka Bharadwaj should be welcomed.
 The cover of the book is very attractive and will compel even a person not interested in poetry to pickup the book.

The collection has 25 poems by Angad and 25 poems by Priyanka. The poems cover variety of subjects. So apart from hackneyed topics like love, longing, death and betrayal, we have poems on fresh topics like human trafficking, old age and even being orphan.

When two poets are publishing their work together, comparison is inevitable. Priyanka's poems are incisive and poignant, whereas most of Angad's poems appear abstract. His voice is muffled by Her hard hitting words drenched in emotions. May be that is a difference between Him and Her.

As I told the beautiful cover will make you open the book. However, I was disappointed with the incorrect usage of language in the first poem itself. In my opinion the line in the poem Why I Write - “Leaving trail on other's live” is grammatically wrong. It can not be covered up by any poetic license. This was Angad's poem. In his another poem Drowned also the line “Your colored changed” also exhibits grammatical mistake. Fortunately there are no such faults in Priyanka's poetry.

The introduction by the poets say that the collection is published to give long due respect to poetry. The poets and publishers must be congratulated for their efforts to achieve this noble objective. Hope this collection throws open the gates for many new poems with fresh voices.