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Saturday, 29 November 2014


 “You are going to be the show-stopper for this show.” The choreographer broke the news to me and my joy knew no bounds. I had walked the ramp on a few occasions but I never had got an opportunity to be a show-stopper. In the fashion business though the show-stopper is the costume and not the model, it has been a protocol to make the most successful model the show-stopper.

So in a way this was an acknowledgement of the fact that I had arrived on the Indian fashion scene. Since my teenage days my sartorial tastes were admired by many. Little had anyone thought I would take my passion to a professional level that too so successfully.

I decided to keep my excitement in control and concentrate on the steps I practised with all my colleagues. Fortunately for me we shared a good cameradie. There was no bitching or rivarly as is shown in movies and serials. We were a bunch of young men and women who were having fun and being paid for it!

The stage was set. This was going to be the happiest day in my life. The female models had already walked to the ramp and within a few minutes we men were going to join them.

As the assistants were busy helping us with our clothes, the designer took me into a corner.
I really wished that you should have been the show-stopper.”
I am going to me the show-stopper” I said disdainfully.

You were going to be my dear, had it not been for your unkept beard rather stubble. Some how I feel that it does not go with the texture of the costume. Had you been clean shaven I was petty sure that you would have carried it with an elan. But not today with that stubble. You look good cleanshaven.”
As I was unshaven I had to wait for yet another opportunity to make it big.

Dear friends you too can participate in this contest and win prizes. Don't forget to acknowledge this post while submitting your entry.
This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'

Ab Montu Bolega

For the past few days on my way to my office I have been seeing piles of garbage. What was saddening is that the piles have been increasing in its length and its width. We all have been hearing about the Bharat Swatch Abhiyan for all these days. I wonder why the authorities are not doing anything with regard to it. Why a strip of land adjoining the tar road, which is actually being used by pedestrians is being used as a dumping ground. Mind you this is not happening in the outskirts of the city, but in its heart.
This squalor and the emptiness of the cleanliness drive had been pinching me for a very long time. But I did not really know where should I raise my voice. But now I have found a platform to raise my voice that too vociferously.

RB (formerly called Reckitt Benckiser) is the global leader in consumer health and hygiene. In tune with its corporate social responsibility it has launched a new campaign on Strepsils "Ab Montu Bolega". Strepsils is the world's leading sore throat medicine. It is encouraging people to speak their mind without any inhibitions Keep calm and speak up. Speak up and be heard is the tag-line of the campaign.

Film actor Saqib Saleem of Mere Dad Ki Maruti and Hawaa Hawaai fame is the face of the campaign ab montu bolega.
Through "Ab Montu Bolega", Strepsils aims to give a clear voice to all the citizens so that they can raise the voice at the right time and right place without any hesitations. The campaign is digital at heart and resides on an exclusive online platform The protagonist of the campaign - Montu, played by Saqib Saleem, is a boy next door who has inhibitions to express himself on various occasions in front of his family, friends and colleagues. The campaign captures his journey through various interesting situations in his life where Strepsils provides him with a clear voice and courage to speak up on issues which must be spoken for the welfare of every individual and humanity at large. You can follow Strepsils on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Through ab montu bolega I am sure every youth of this nation will speak up. Clean up drive is a good idea. However the worst part of it is that it is staged only for photo-shoots and the filth, the squalor lies at the place where it was. I am sure this was not the intention of the Hon'ble Prime Minister when he launched the Bharat Swatch Abhiyan. His noble object is definitely laudable. Now it is our turn to make our participation in the programme. The least that we can do is to raise our voice. We should point out the dirty places in our city and our neighbouring area. Today everybody is armed with a smart phone. I am sure the least all of us can do is to raise our voice through ab montu bolega campaign.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Feed a poor child

Hunger is the most primordial instinct. It is the birth right of every citizen of our country to have at least two square meals in a day. It is indeed unfortunate there are many unfortunate souls who have to got to bed with empty stomach. My heart goes out to all of them.

If children do not get the necessary nutrition their entire youth will be adversely affected. They will fall prey to the evil called malnutrition which in turn gives birth to many other fatal diseases. It has been more than 60 years of independence. Regimes have changed, but still hunger remains the same.

We spend a few hundred rupees notes to buy a pizza, sip a coffee or watch a movie in the multiplex. If we sacrifice the money reserved for one weekend of every month to feed our poor countrymen we would go a long way in quenching their hunger.

Children of poor families have to work so that all the family members can be fed. Children are to be seen in schools and not at workplaces. School will shape up their lives and protect their children from being drawn into the vicious circle of poverty.

They say anna is purnabrahma i.e. food is entire universe, God included. I pray to the Almighty that He may see to it that no creation of His sleeps hungry. That there are smiles on the faces of children as they are relieved of their hunger and fed without being forced to do hard labour. They God resides in children. So isn't feeding these tiny tots on various festivals and days of religious importance ensure that every morsel reaches to the God. So will all of us resolve today that on their birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and other days of special importance, they will feed the poor and see to it that at least one child goes to school. If all of us decide to take care of only one poor child, then too we will protect their innocence from being crushed by harsh realities of life.

Thank you blog adda and akshaya patra for giving me this opportunity of joining your noble initiative. 
I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

A missed chance which still pricks me

That night I was unable to sleep. The following day was going to be one of the most important days in my life. It was my dream to work for a multi-national company. I had got a call for interview from the number one player in the industry.

The job profile involved travelling abroad. I was happy that my would be job was going to satisfy the itch in me to travel all the wonderful places on the earth. I had always hankered to visit the leaning tower of Pisa, the Eiffel tower, the pyramids of Egypt and many more wonders of the world. I kept mentally visiting those places again and again.

I don't know when I skidded into deep slumber. By the time I woke up it was already 9 am. Oh Gosh! I said to myself. My interview was scheduled at 10 am and at 9 am I was still in my bed. I could see my dreams being shattered into pieces. Some how I gathered my composure and rushed to the bathroom. With the little time that I had to get ready I decided to give a go by to all personal grooming including shaving. I stood into the shower and drenched myself in the splashes of water. I wiped myself and shifted into clean pressed clothes. The stubble was visible when I looked into the mirror. But I had no time to shave. I got out of my house and drove as fast as I could.

This is how I looked
But something was wrong with me. I kept on rubbing my stubble. I kept on feeling unclean as I was not shaved. I was going to face my interview with that stubble on my face.

I entered the room where the revered panel was sitting. I entered the room running my fingers through my face. Hand to face gestures imply lack of confidence, I remembered reading in the book of body language. The panel asked me the questions whose answers I knew. However given that all my attention was fixed on my stubble I was unable to articulate my answers. My stubble was bothering me too much. Needless to mention I lost the position owing to my unkept beard. I swore that day I would not step out of my house ever without being shaved. 

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'

Missed by a whisker

 I had met this beautiful girl online. She had flawless skin and beautiful black hair. Her kohl eyes added a mystery to her persona. We became friends and chatted for hours online.

She had become an integral part of my life. Days and night I thought of her. I hankered to meet her. Even she was eager to meet me. Our work schedules delayed our meeting.

From her tweets I came to know that she liked manly guys. I decided to bring my manliness to the fore.  I began to sport my stubble. I wanted to be the stud. I was so fascinated by her. I did not want to lose her on any ground.

Finally our busy schedules allowed us to steal some time for the meeting. A sense of excitement was coursing through my nerves. The beauty whom I had seen only online was going to be with me in flesh and blood. Would her skin appear as radiant as it did in those photographs? Would her jawline be as perfect as in those office party pics? How attractive would she find me? A number of questions made a beeline in my head.

I looked into the mirror. I wanted to look my best. I moved my hand across the week long stubble which I had grown to appear manly and sexy. “Killer.” I said to myself.

I went to the hotel where we were supposed to meet. She came with an elegance and ensconced on the chair. She was absolutely charming. Yes, she indeed had that radiant skin and perfect jaw line.

We chatted over a cup of coffee. We spoke about our growing up years, family, likes and dislikes. I thought she had liked me too.

I returned happily from my date. I was in a gay mood. Humming the line huwa chokra jawaan re I again looked into the mirror and rubbed my stubble.

I thought I looked like this
Later in the evening I was shocked to see her tweet. She had written “ Why do men grow their beards? They look so suave when they are clean shaved.”

She thought I looked like this
I was taken aback by her response. I tried calling her and asking to meet again. But she avoided it for one reason or the other. I had lost her. I had learnt the lesson of my life. Women like clean shaven men. They find them good-looking, caring, suave and sexy.  

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette'

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Mahabharata Quest the Alexander Secret - Book Review

Christopher C. Doyle's The Mahabharata Quest the Alexander Secret is an attempt on the part of the author to explore the science behind the tales in Mahabharata.

In Greece the tomb of Alexander's mother is discovered. Alice is one of the archaeologist who has worked on its discovery. Her colleague is murdered and his murderers are after her life as well. She slips through the attempt on her life along with a prized possession – a cube with inscriptions, which she had picked from the tomb. Instead of going back to her home in US, she lands up at Junagarh fort where her erstwhile beau Vijay is staying. Vijay's parents were archaeologists as well. They died in a road accident but have left behind plethora of papers. The plot is known to the author. So he believes all the characters know what is going to happen next. So all the hunches are acted upon very confidently. From the papers left by his parents, Vijay, his ex and present girlfriend, father of the present girlfriend and his friend make a trip to the museum. Alice's predators have traced her up to the museum. Plus there is a cop who discovers corpses which are hidden in a lab. The lab is run by a company whose director had funded Alice's excavation in Greece. So Vijay's present girlfriend Radha goes to get some first hand news from the lab and is in turn kidnapped. So Vijay offers to solve the mystery of the cube as a barter for Radha's life. The killers belong to an Order, whose details are not revealed. Even Alexander's mother was a member of the said order. She had shared the secret of being immortal with her son.

As stated earlier the problem with the Mahabharata Quest the Alexander Secret is that all the characters like the author know what is the secret. They act upon their whims. They are very much convinced rather are confident of their guesses. The result is – the manner in which the protagonist and his team find out Alexander was on a look out of bio-terrorism turns utterly ridiculous. Plus the bio-terrorism angle is abandoned mid-way to give way for immortality. None of the characters have a life of their own. Their character sketches should have come out better.

Lines like “Riley had reported in a while back” tell volumes about the writing style of the author. The author chooses jargons in an attempt to make the novel classy. But it only makes the comprehension difficult. The verbose descriptions are not interesting. The garrulous tone of the novel should have been reduced.

The way the narrative shifts between Alexander's era and today's times is definitely interesting. However, the way in which the team infers that it had all to do with Alexander is not at all convincing. Hence, the shift is wasted. It loses all its effectiveness owing to the lack of conviction.

When Radha had emailed from a laptop, how does the cop trace her location through her cell phone? The protagonist and the team members rely too much on the internet for the research and interestingly they do find answers to most of their riddles that too relating to the ancient science of immortality on the internet.

As regards Mahabharata and its secrets are concerned, the novel revolves around Samudramanthan. Now in no way Samudramanthan has been a high point in the story of Mahabharata. Whenever you think of Mahabharata, what comes to your mind? Isn't it the conflict between two sets of brothers? Isn't it Lord Krishna and Draupadi's disrobing? No where Samudramantan comes to anyone's mind when we talk of Mahabharata. So the whole Mahabharata thing is misleading.

The frequent references to the author's previous novel also mar the narrative. This novel is not a sequel to the author's first novel. At least the blurb or acknowledgments do not say so. Moreover the end says to be continued. At the fag end there is a note by the author saying that the open ends, the discrepancies in the novel are intentional as the same will be answered in the upcoming books of the writer. This is nothing but cheating. If the author desired to come up with a series, he should have mentioned it in unequivocal words in the preface, blurb and even on the cover. The note at the end gives the reader a feeling of being cheated.

I feel it is high time that Indian thriller writers should come out of the clout of Dan Brown and let their creative juices flow.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Joys of singing it aloud

Even before I went to school my mother had taught me rhymes at my home. When I started going to school I do remember having a book of rhymes. The most fascinating part of the book was its pictures. Those were the days when pictures were uni-coloured and not multi-coloured like today. I remember the pictures in my book were in red colour.

There are two rhymes which are and will be always special. The first one is twinkle twinkle little star. We lived in a rented house then. The house had a small terrace. Those were the days when satellite television was yet to come. Doordarshan was the only TV channel and it did not telecast programmes for all twenty-four hours.

So after having dinner me and my parents would sleep in the terrace gazing the stars. Watching a star twinkle I would jump in ecstasy and start singing twinkle twinkle little star. There was some connection with those stars or was it a connection with the rhymes?

My grandmother died when I was still a toddler. My mother had told me that she had become a star. Thereafter whenever I saw the star twinkle I would shout twinkle twinkle little star my grandmother how you are?

Now I have lost my father as well. Whenever I happen to accidentally (yes, when you are innocent you stare at the sky intently and when you grow up you happen to see them only accidentally) gaze at the sky and stare at a twinkling star I do ask twinkle twinkle little star, oh my daddy how you are!

Sweets and childhood are inseparable. Well there may not be chocolates in the home all the time, but sugar is available all the time. On lazy afternoons when my mother was sleeping I would surreptitiously sneak into the kitchen take out the sugar container and put a spoonful sugar into my mouth.

Contrary to my belief my mother would not be asleep. She would say aloud “Johnny Johnny” and we would continue to recite the entire rhyme. Well my mother too loved having spoonfuls of sugar. Whenever I caught her red handed I would sing Johnny Johnny for her.

Such is childhood and its little joys. Thank you for giving me this opportunity of revisiting my childhood.  I wish I had an opportunity to learn the rhymes in the colourful, interesting multimedia format which Kids Hut offers.

This post is a part of Kids Hutactivity at

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Zoutons the loot is on

Online shopping is the future. Purchasing online is the best way to get the product at the most economical price. You get the deals which are indeed steal deals when compared with the deals you get in offline markets. But the flipside is that the prices on online platforms are dynamic. They change everyday. So you might pay more for a product. Is there any way in which one can find the best deal on any given day that too across all the online selling platforms? The answer is yes.

The answer has come in the form of "Zoutons: The Loot is On," a deal-site, is a benediction for shopaholics as it provides them crucial information on discount coupons, closing sales, promo code from all the online sellers. It is one of the best coupons, discounts and offers portal. It brings in all your products browsing so easy with numerous brands and stores. It makes the browsing and selection process easy. It also gives you immense pleasure on heavy savings on your purchases.

The question how it works is very easy to answer. Visit You can sign in with your facebook account. You can also create a free member log in id. It is a very user friendly website. You can get numerous website sections with all the information you need. The sections are categories, top stores and banks. Plus there are subsections as well. Go to the section which you are looking for. Then select the website and the product which you wish to buy. In other words you can browse through a specific brand or store like Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra. Copy the discount coupons code and paste it into your discount cart and get massive discounts. There are endless coupons and promo codes for you. The Zoutons team covers all the online coupons, discounts and offers so that you can make your decision well informed and save considerable amount of money. Indeed with websites zoutons consumer is the king. The coupons can be found under various categories as well. So we have popular coupons, latest coupons and even featured coupons. So you name it and zoutons has it.

Salient features of the website
The website is divided in 4 sections. The first one is Menu: this tab will give you information as per the categories. Get latest offers of the web stores. This has sections like top stores, categories, and banks.
The second is Popular Coupons: this section will give you all the latest coupons info such as coupons for Jabong, Flipkart, Homeshop18 and Snapdeal. You can apply this to avail discounts for the selected products.

The third one is Latest Coupons: This will give you all the details of latest coupons as per the website. The fourth is all about the Most Popular Stores: this section has the most popular stores like Myntra, Jabong, Flipkart, Homeshop18, Snapdeal with all their coupons. It is heartening that looks very impressive. The tabs are clear, friendly and easy to navigate. Few phrases like flat 80% off, flat rupees 150 off and super saver combos will catch the consumer's eye and offer him the best deal, thereby giving him the best value for his or her money. Isn't it the smartest way to save your money?

Short mein bole to zoutons is bound to change the whole online shopping experience for good. As stated earlier shopping on is very easy. You can simply search for the brand or store you would like to shop from and find awesome coupons and offers to choose from the various listing of tremendous discounts and coupons. Use them to shop and make the best savings online. To ease the shopping experience the team has catered to list various coupons under popular coupons, latest coupons and also featured coupons. Do not miss to check them out and enjoy the best online shopping experience ever.

So zoutons is highly recommended for various reasons. This is the site to visit when you plan to make any purchases online. It will give you the best deal, discount coupons, best offers on all the leading stores. Plus it can give you free recharge as well.

Once you use zoutons you will be definitely hooked to it. It is the best friend which will guide you through the world of online shopping and help you at every point. This site will surely help you get the best deal with many Discount coupons and deals. This gives you best shop and save experience. I have used zoutons and it has helped me make my well informed decisions. There are no second thoughts if I will visit it again. It will be always with me whenever I will make any online purchases. So when are you visiting zoutons? I am sure this will be one decision you will never regret. 


The very word college has something enchanting about it. College is all about youth and youth is all about dreams, isn't it? But if you don't make it to the right institution your dreams would be scattered into pieces.

Thanks to, now we can get all the information one needs to get before taking a call on which college should one go for. The very purpose of creation of is to empower the students with knowledge which will help them make wiser career choices and more importantly choices of the institutes they decide to enroll in. It is a blessing for every one - the students, parents and the educational industry as well. It is an extensive search engine for all of them who are desirous of knowing more about the courses and institutions offering them not only in India but also abroad. has the repository of more than 20,000 colleges and 6000 courses! The courses are categorized in different streams like Engineering, Medical, Management, Arts etc. This list is only elaborative and not exhaustive. More its interactive tools help you to classify the institutions based on location, fees, ranking, ratings, cut offs for different competitive exams and even fees, which is one of the most important factors which guides a student's decision to make the choices.

While students are excited about choosing their colleges, parents are definitely concerned if not worried about their wards. They want their wards to get into the best of the institutes so that their future is secured. is helpful to them as well. A highly skilled team of data miners are working hard at to provide the users with the most interactive data to make their decisions in an informed manner. As stated earlier, offers multichannel filters which can be used to sort the data on the basis of ranking, cutoff and fees. is of great help to the educational institutes as well. It focuses on delivering quality. So the educational institutes will look out for the cream which will bring laurels to their institutes. The algorithm for data sifting in allows data segregation up to multiple levels. Thus, providing an edge to the clients look for highly specific and active database. also displays the latest news relating to the admissions. So it has sort of its own virtual notice board. Thus if you want to know about how to apply for CAT you can get all the information by clicking on the link relating to it in the news section.

Suppose you want to know more about CAT then you can type CAT in the search box. So in the overview section you will get to know the basic details like the website of CAT. Important dates like the date of examinations, the date of the advertisements and most importantly the dates of registration.

You can also know what are the fees for various categories of students. You can download its brochure by clicking the download brochure link. You can also watch videos relating to CAT. Plus you will get to see all the colleges which accept this exam. You get all this information on a single page, isn't that great?

By clicking upon the about button you will know all about the said examination. You will be informed right from the basics like CAT stands for Common Admission Test conducted by Indian Institutes of Management. It will tell you about all the IIM's in the country and courses they offer. You will be told the eligibility criteria and the reservation policy. You will be informed about the registration process.

One of the most tiring part of applying for any exams is knowing which documents are required to be annexed along with the application form. comes to your rescue here as well. Not only will it inform you about the documents required to be submitted, it will also tell you about the pattern of examination, its syllabus and also the number of candidates who have appeared in previous years of the said examination. 

It will give you information in a condensced form regarding dates of registration, dowloading of admit card, exams and the results. will also help you with locating the test centre of your choice. It will also tell you about the pattern of the examination. Similarly you can even find website of IIT Ahmedabad simply by searching it on

Thanks to, now you get all the information you need about your would be college on a single click that too for free. Collegedunia will definitely go a long way in shaping the choices of the students thereby increasing the overall quality of education. So admission is no longer a tedious, time consuming task which will leave you physically, emotionally and financially drained. is indeed a boon to the student fraternity and their parents. 

Bringing Back the Touch

Ravi and Ruma were college friends. It had been ten years since they got married. Unfortunately today they were neither friends nor lovers. Something was lost in all these years. What was lost, where it was lost and when it was lost? They had no answers to any of these questions. They never ever realised it that the spark of their relationship was losing gradually. Such is life dear.

Ravi was a banker. His multi-national bank job ensured that he had all the money to buy a house, an exotic foreign trip and the most expensive school for his children. But little did he realize that he was turning away from his family life.

Ruma too had a Masters degree in Management. But she had decided that her family would be her first priority. So instead of taking up any high paying job which demanded long working hours, she was working for an NGO which worked for the upliftment of the children from the slums. The work was very satisfying. But once she returned from her work, she would be all alone in her home. The children would be busy with their studies or play and she would be left to herself. This was definitely not the kind of life she had imagined.

What was it? Was it because Ravi found her no longer attractive? Was Ravi having an extramarital affair? Ruma was having all the bad thoughts that she could. Her head became heavy and she slipped into deep sleep.

Ravi came to her bedroom and kissed on her forehead. “How are you my darling?” He asked. Gently he grabbed her hand and placed in it a gift. It was long back that Ravi had gifted her anything. It was a pearl necklace. He helped her to wear it. “You are looking beautiful.” He said.

Ruma considered herself to be fortunate for having such a beautiful dream. She wished that the dream should never end and kept her eyes closed. She prayed God that  her eyes should never open from the deep sleep and this dream should never end.

Ruma. I am sorry I was unable to give you the time you deserved.” Ruma could feel her back being stroked. “You are so soft” Said Ravi. “You are so unromantic Ruma. You are not even opening your eyes even after wearing such a lovely necklace.”

That is when Ruma realized that she was not dreaming. She hugged Ravi tightly and thanked him for bringing back the touch in their relationship. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My dream home

Home is the place where you want to spend your time to relax. If the home is done tastefully then I am sure that one would rejuvenate for another day to work. Beautiful tiles, soothing interiors and flashy cabinets will definitely lift your spirits which are dampened by neck deep work responsibilities.

So let me tell you about my dream home. Let me begin with the floor tiles. For floor I will go with TOWN COSMOS NATURE 60x60 cm and TOWN MOSAIC ICON COSMOS-EXTREME WHITE POLISHED 30x30 cm . A combination of both these tiles will create an elegant look with an attractive design. Both these tiles come from Porcelanosa. Not only these tiles but every flooring offered by Porcelanosa is inspired by natural materials. This is done while always retainig the intrinsic properties and features of ceramic. Porcelanosa group is a leading manufacturer of ceramic floor tiles. It is well known for its advanced production techniques. Its quality is unmatched. It offers variety like no other brand would. It leads the market with new trends.

The collections offered by Porcelanosa are versatile. They are easy to install than continuous flooring. They include series that reproduce the texture of cement. They are also extremely ecological due to the extensive use of recycled material. Granite, limestone, quartzite and basalt, with a special emphasis on ceramic slates that closely reproduce the tonal richness and variety of the metamorphic rock. So it is evident that the wide range of ceramic stones reflects the great diversity found in the natural environment. If you wish to have a refined use of select marbles that will imbue any setting with elegant distinction then too Porcelanosa will come to your help with its wide collection.

Now I move to the wardrobe of my dream home. I chose Wardrobe NATURA ROBLE MARENGO again from Porcelanosa. Why? Because in today's age where house are confined to limited carpet area, every inch is valuable. What makes the task challenging is that the available space is distributed in countless different ways. Pocelanosa takes full advantage of the available space to obtain optimum results. It has customised designs of wardrobes and dressing room. As a result they can be fully integrated into every available space and in any setting. If offers a variety of styles with different finishes. So you have natural or stained wood, matt or polished lacquers and laminates. The cherry on the cake is that these finishes can be used in combination. Moreover Porcelanosa produces its wardrobes with numerous drawers, that too of different types. So that we can store our accessories. Porcelanosa was born in spain. However, thanks to Kolte Patil Developers Ltd. for they have brought this brand in Asia for the first time for their luxury brand #24KLiving

Toilet for Babli

India has emerged as the greatest user of smartphones. We are at number two when it comes to facebook usage. So this implies that we are one of the greatest users of the internet. A proud thing indeed, isn't it?

But when it comes to cleanliness we are certainly lacking. Particularly, defecating in the open. For a very long time government has been providing with subsidy for building toilet. The subsidy even reached the hands of the needy. But they used it for building another room or renovating their house. Toilet was on their last priority list.

Needless to say defecating in open, creates lot of health problems. The excreta is flown by rains and mixed into the drinking water resources. However, there is another aspect of the problem. It is the embarrassment faced by women. So in many villages women can not answer the calls of nature during day time. They will have to wait until the sun sets so that they can go out in the open and relieve themselves. When a woman steps out with a tumbler containing water in her hands everyone knows that she is going to defecate. Men who flaunt their motor cycles, show their manliness by causing the gleam of the lights of the motorcycle fall upon the exposed bottoms of helpless women. Smart phones are used to capture the event and eventually black mail the women. This is certainly not a proud achievement for any country. Moreover, the issue is so sensitive and causes embarrassment for majority of women folk. As a result thought such incidents are rampant, they are hardly reported to the police. It is indeed unfortunate that even many schools in our country do not have toilets for girls.

Recently one brave women sold her mangalsutra and built a toilet in her home from its proceeds. There was another woman who refused to cohabit with her husband until he built a toilet in his house. Such incidents get ample coverage in media. However such incidents are stray. Every woman can not be so courageous. If her husband and in-laws are stubborn, such acts of bravery may cost her matrimonial life.

I feel it is the fundamental right of every person, whether man or a woman, to have a toilet. It is a fundamental right to answer the calls of nature in an utmost decent and private manner.

However, it is heartening to see that the corporates have realised these problems and are doing their contributions to eradicated the problems faced by women in defecating in the public. Domex is a HUL’s flagship sanitation brand,. Interestingly it runs a programme called the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme. Domex Toilet Academy was launched on 19th November 2013. It aims to become a sustainable and long-term solution to provide sanitation that benefits the local community and helps stimulate the local economy. The Toilet Academy makes toilets accessible and affordable, while promoting the benefits of clean toilets & good hygiene. Their effort has resulted in bringing the change in the villages of Maharashtra and Orissa and the Academy aims to build 24000 toilets by 2015 in rural areas faced with the problem of open defecation. I congratulate Domex for its laudable object.

What more? Domex Toilet Academy is offering you an opportunity to be a part of the intiative. How? Just when you click your mouse, Domex will contribute towards building the toilet.

You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life. I have contributed by clicking on the tab. Have you?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Ekkos Clan - Book Review

The Ekkos Clan is undoubtedly one of the most promising debuts on the Indian literary scene. There are good books, bad books, average books and there are books which make you dance in ecstasy. The first part of the ekkos clan definitely made me jump from my seat and dance in joy. I was very happy to read something which was so effective. It was a poignant tale of partition. Yes, India-Pakistan partition. But not the one which we have seen umpteen times in novels and movies. It was the tale of India-Bangladesh partition. Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan then. The tale of suffering strikes an immediate chord with the reader. It translates the pain of partition. Though the gory details that follow make you realize that this was the trick used by the writer to shake you, well up your emotions, you can not deny that the writer has succeeded in having an impact of his story on you.

Kubha loses her husband to the communal riots which erupt at the time of partition. However, with the help of a kind hearted Muslim she manages to arrange to send her three children to India. The novel then takes a quantum leap to make Krotu its protagonist. Krotu is grandson of Kubha. He is the son of one of her sons who succeeded to make it to Kolkota. He has never seen Kubha. However, Kubha has always been with him through her stories. The stories of Kubha are documented by his sister Kirti. Kirti and Bhirgu, Kubha's other (elder) son, have died in two separate but similar car accidents.

Krotu is studying at Stanford. A linguistic palaeontologist by name Afsar first becomes his friend and then more than a friend. She finds that Kubha's stories are too familiar with the hymns in Rigveda. She believes that the stories are older than the hymns in Rigveda. The stories lead them on a trail to find the true homeland of the Aryans. Afsar is sure Kubha carried a secret in her insides. Perhaps it was the secret that took life of all her family members. Destiny had saved Kubha from being killed, perhaps for a reason.

Kubha's stories are a legacy which she has carried. One wanderlust by name PK or Pradip Kumar had tried to document the stories from her ancestors. He lost his life but left behind some diaries. Did he lose his life because he had unearthed the secret?

Krotu too narrowly escapes the attempt on his life. An organization wants to wipe off Kubha's future generations as well. The religious Hindu fanatics are afraid that revelations from Kubha' stories would eventually destroy all their tall claims of India being the homeland of the Aryans. Ekkos clan is the story of how Krotu meets his own people in his own land inspite of all the odds.

The first chapter hooks you to the story and you keep on turning the pages up to the last page inspite of knowing that Kubha is Nanima and where is her homeland. There is lot of technical language used regarding music, astronomy and of course linguistic. Hence, the novel requires attentive reading. Otherwise it will be difficult to comprehend. The drawings in the book could have been done away with. The concept of pur and the Arkaim excavation could have been used more effectively. Lines like “I threw an appreciative glance at her. Her reception unit amplified the signals and repeated to the world through the huge amplitudes of a smile” and “A mixture of tumultuous emotions and effervescent memories compressed into the cylinder of a V6 engine by a powerful piston of time got ignited suddenly by a spark plug and the rapidly expanding gas wanted to come out of the lone exhaust valve with full force,” may exhibit jugglery of words but they do mar the comprehension. 

There is ample usage of Bengali terms. Their meanings are given in the notes at the end of each chapter. It would have been easier to read the book if they formed footnotes on each page. I even located a spelling mistake on page 230 in the following line. “Day after tomorrow, when the suri rises in the morning from a particular notch in the mountain, we, the old people will announce the beginning of the noa sal, the New Year.” I guess the writer meant sun. 

Shingraye is a remote village lapped in the mountains inaccessible by motor vehicle. It has no electricity and hence no internet or TV. Then too the village head man, who has not stepped outside of his village, refers to trains. This sounds a bit out of place. Kubha's stories form epilogue of the book. It would have been better if they were incorporated in the main narrative itself.

Still the ekkos clan is an interesting read. The debutant has passed his first test with flying colours. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Exit Point - Book Review

Anil Goel's Exit Point could have been a blockbuster. Anil had all the key elements of a thriller set in the cyberspace that too of 2016. So the protagonist Alok has to uncover the murder of a young girl called Megan. Apparently she was chatting with another girl by name Ishshah on a social networking site called Xnet (sort of facebook) founded by one Mark Eisenberg. Plus there is an online suicide pact between two strangers. There is Adam, Eve and even the eastern Mahasamadhi. In an attempt to make the novel success, Anil has stuffed the book with all that he could. So we have foreign accounts like that of Swiss, Quantum computers, a cop with a past, two computer prodigies, noosphere, gunfire in an American School. The plot travels across the globe – Australia, India, China, Hong Kong, London and America.

There is nothing wrong incorporating all these elements. However, they should have been incorporated in the right amount and at the right places. In other words the book required better editing job. Anil has spent considerable ink in thanking his editor for making the novel readable. However, it is only because of poor editing that the book with brilliant ideas drags most of the times, takes time to built characters, wastes pages in unnecessary descriptions, looses the murder and suicide plot behind Mark and gives unnecessary importance to characters like Dharamsingh, Pratigya and Yunusbhai, who have very little to do with the story. The concept of deadswitch whereby a person can record his last moments and send it to the person with whom he wished to share it is definitely interesting. I wish it would have been used a little more instead of just touch and go.

The story sounds very contemporary. I wondered why it was set in the year 2016. The setting in the year 2016 is not too distant a future. So it does not make a very big difference.

The use of incorrect Hindi and Marathi sentences is another drawback of the book. So What Happened is written in Hindi as Kya ho gaga. Don't trouble sir too much, okay becomes Sahib la traas nako diyu ka. It would have been better if the dialogues were kept in English instead of wrong usage of Hindi and Marathi languages. Similarly there are mistakes with regard to English as well. In my opinion the sentence “He fell down as an urchin in a tattered yellow flock flew past him,” is incorrect. I think what the writer meant was a frock and not flock. Similarly lines like I'll take your leave for a bit too don't sound good. At many places a single sentence is abruptly broken to form another paragraph. The length of the novel (more than 500 pages) works against it. The novel could have certainly been a racy thriller if it would have been trimmed down by some pages.

Some chapters carry locations like London St. Paul Cathedral and also month and year, while some chapters don't carry any. The places don't have a role in the story. So even if St. Paul Cathedral had become a Jama Masjid, it would not have any impact on the story. There is no flipflop of years. The story proceeds in a chronological manner. So mentioning of year and location is certainly misguiding.

I will definitely give full marks to Anil for his conceptualization. It is simply brilliant. He should be congratulated for attempting a Herculean task. That he just scrapes through it is another story. I wish the novel could have been better edited. It definitely offers something new. Bad editing makes the novel drag. I mourn the death of a fantastic novel in its womb, for it did not find a trained midwife to make its delivery in the world of literature smooth. But Anil you have the potential and we look forward for your next novel.