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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Miles to run before I sleep - Book Review

In Miles to Run before I Sleep Sumedha Mahajan documents her 1500 kilometres run from Delhi to Mumbai which she undertook in April 2012. This was no ordinary feat for any person whether man or a woman. Moreover Sumedha was born with asthma. She was required to be hospitalized countless times when the ailment attacked her.

She was never an athlete. She took up running at the age of twenty eight just for the sake of it. She had no plans to win gold or silver at any tournament. The best happens to you when you least expect them. This is how the opportunity came to her way to be a part of the greenathon run. The team comprised of ordinary people except one – supermodel Milind Soman. Sumedha was the sole woman in this team.

Sumedha has mentioned  in the book not only her physical run but also her emotional run. Such a long run is not as glamorous as it appears to the outside world. So we have even Milind Soman tending to his bruised body. Sumedha too has had her share of misfortunes during the run. The crew members of the channel which was covering her run were leaving no opportunity unturned to dissuade Sumedha from giving up the run. The doctor accompanying them was not equipped with even the basic stuff. The pollution was causing her bouts of asthama. She was emotionally drained too. But still this brave woman completed the run. Even after completion of the run there were no words of appreciation for her. Rather she was criticized for her speed or rather lack of it. But she had gained her inner steel out of the run and went out to start her own business against all the opposition. Needless to say she succeed in her business.

The writing is simple. What makes Miles to Run before I Sleep special is its sincerity. Every word is dipped in honesty which easily makes its way to the reader's heart. You enjoy the run with Sumedha. You can feel her ups and downs. When she emerges as a winner even you feel victorious. All her emotions including the genuineness in her tone are easily palpable.

The book encourages you. After completing the book I sat idle with the closed book in my hands. The book was throbbing with energy. This book exhibits that to reach your reader's heart you do not need flowery words or jargons. All that you require is honesty and sincerity. It also tells us that all is not rosy when it comes to such great events which are etched on the reel of time forever. But winners neither complain nor do they quit. The book is highly recommended for every one. It has the potential to change your life for good. 

If given a second chance

Purchase a house
I want to purchase a house. I grew up in a rented house. So owing a house that too a big one remains my dream. The fancy advertisements in the newspapers catch my attention. For a moment they transport me into the house of my dreams. Then come the finances and I come back to my senses. Some houses that fit in my budget are far away from the city. Some which are within the city limits will burden me with EMI for the next thirty years. I am not ready to live outside the city or under the burden of a home loan. So I keep on postponing my plans to buy a house. 

Learn to sing
I have always wanted to sing it aloud. As a child I had sung a song at a family gathering. One of my aunt had passed a nasty remark that my voice was squeaky and I should not ever sing in my life. I had taken that remark too seriously. No wonders I never attempted to hum in public thereafter. But now when I record my own voice in the voice recorder and play it I realize that I am not that bad as a singer. All that I require is some training. I decide to enroll in a music class. Being a busy professional I can buy everythin except time. I blame it on lack of time and postpone the thought of learning music.

Remain silent
I have been planning for a long time to observe complete silence for an entire day. I will not talk and observe my vow of silence seriously. But then if I will not speak how will I manage at my work or at my home? This thought comes up and my plans of taking up a vow of silence get washed away. But still that the desire to remain silent keeps on coming back. Silence is golden. You know yourself better when you have shut yourself from the incessant din that raises its voice from all sides. May be some day I will be able to observe a day in silence, in contemplation and in company of only I, me and myself.

“This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance”

if given another chance

Visit a literature fair
I am a lover of literature. Whenever I hear that a literature festival is coming up the first thought that crops up in my mind is that I should visit it. Then I am reminded of my work commitments, dearth of leave and I postpone the idea. I want to visit a literature festival. I wish to visit each and every stall, take each and every book on display in my hands, skim through its pages, feel its fragrance and buy those books which interest me. I want to see and hear those writers whom I have known for a long time through their writings but whom I have never met. I wish to get my favourite books signed by its authors. Further this fair would also give an opportunity to connect with like minded people

Cycle in the Himalayas
If you check the history of internet browsing you will find that I have been visiting the websites of companies which arrange cycling expeditions in Himalayas. I have had made plans to join one of them. But I kept on postponing them out of fear. Yes I am afraid that I may not able to ride the geared bicycle. I am afraid that I may not be able to cover the requisite distance on a given day. I keep on feeling that I lack the endurance to cycle that long. But still it remains a dream. May be one day I will equip myself fully with all the gears and practice and head towards the Himalayas on my cycle.

Switch off my mobile phone for a day
Yes mobile phone is of great help. It has become the fourth need the other being food, clothing and shelter. There are moments when I am having an extremely emotional talk with my friend. There are moments when I am sitting on a hill watching the ball of fire set. I am mesmerized by the beauty of the nature and its riot of colours. Sometimes I am enjoying a play which I wanted to watch for a very long time. At this wrong time the mobile phone rings and brings me back to the mundane world where all the work raises its din. This is when I feel that I should intentionally forget my mobile at my home when I go for trip, to meet a friend or to watch a play. However then my mind says you may get an important call and I again postpone my plans of switching off my mobile plan for a day.

“This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance” 

Friday, 30 January 2015

Who is fairest of them all?

Mirror mirror on the wall tell who is fairest of them all I asked the mirror as usual. For the past many days the mirror had been telling that I was the fairest of them all. Even today I expected the mirror to take my name and indeed it took my name. I was too happy. However the mirror had something more to say. “But these days your pimples are taking all your beauty away. Indeed your pimples have become sore in the eye.” Said the mirror.

I was disheartened. It all started with a small boil called pimple. I must say it had started giving me sleepless nights since the day it appeared. I tried everything this cream and that cream. I applied turmeric and other ayurvedic medicine and prayed that blemish will disappear at the earliest. But unfortunately all my prayers remained unanswered.

The small pimple bloated and was filled with yellow pus. It had increased in its size. The worst was yet to come. There were tiny dots filling up my face. These were baby pimples who would grow to be as fat as the mother pimple. My face was full of red spots. I did not even dare to ask the mirror who was the fairest amongst them all.

I felt I was looking dirty. I must confess that I spent considerable time in gazing my appearance in the mirror. I was also proud that I had the most beautiful skin. But as luck or badluck had it my beautiful radiant skin had caught someone's evil eye. My face was so smothered with pimples that I dreaded to look at my reflection in mirror.

That was when my cousin introduced me to Pure Active Neem Face Wash. Having tried almost all products I must admit that I was apprehensive about using it. But my cousin persuaded me to use saying that it had the goodness of neem and tea oil which was known to our forefathers for ages. She said me that the wisdom of our forefathers will never fail us. Hence I decided to give it a try.

Wonder of wonders I began to feel the change from the first wash itself. The irritation had reduced considerably. In days to come the pimples reduced in size. New pimples forgot the address to my skin. Pure Active Neem Face Wash fights with germs, pollution and also removes excess of oil which is the major factor to attract dirt and germs. Soon I was back to my beautiful self.

My skin was beautiful, soft, radiant and spotless. Pure Active Neem Wash had even taken away all those blemishes and marks left by pimples. I would not be wrong if I say that Pure Active Neem Wash gave my skin a new lease of life. Thank your Garnier. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Games girls play - book review

Games girls play has an outrageous start. It is the story of two girls. The good one – Siya thinks that sex is the least important factor in a relationship. The bad girl – Natasha is lover of sex. She doesn't make any discrimination when it comes to making it out on bed. Rather she is ready to do it with anyone at any place. Our good girl is a blogger. She gets an offer to author a book based on sex life in Mumbai. Needless to say that our good girl is a virgin at thirty. As a part of her project the object of her study turns out to be our sex goddess Natasha. The book opens up promising to deliver an exciting, saucy, bitchy, sexy tale which will leave its readers in literary orgasms.

But it proceeds on the same banal track. The bad girl improves and the good girl has some fun. It follows the Mills & Boons track. So there is romance, a little misunderstanding and happy ending. The only difference being that we have here two love stories and two sex lives as well. Yes there is lot of sex in the book in varied positions. Sex is the very foundation on which the relationship between the two leading ladies is forged. Full marks to the book for bringing woman's sexuality to the fore. It celebrates female sexuality.

The writing is simple. One can easily relate to the situations in the lives of our leading ladies. The author has done a nice job by narrating the story in three voices. One is of Siya, another obviously of Natasha and the last one in third person. I wish the characters of friends, especially Siya's were better used. There are many typographical errors in the book. So on page 180 her is typed as het. On page 200 think is typed as thik. At another place after is typed as afer. The book required a better proof reading job. The cover of the book too looks tacky.

In today's times when freedom of expression is at peril, author's are killed during their lifetimes and film shows are stopped, I am happy that those elements do not read English books. For otherwise a book with such heavy sexual connotations, both of opposite and same sex, would have never made it to the stands. 

Mills & Boons in the Indian setting has been a huge disappointment. If you like books of those genre Games Girls Play will not disappoint you. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Will you?

I wish to love you even when you are not in good mood. I wish to cook for you when you are too tired to tread to the kitchen. I wish to make you smile with my antics when you are in no mood to laugh.

I want to take you out not for a drive. But on a walk holding your hand tightly. Would you walk with me? We will purchase ice-cream from the stall at the far end of the corner. I wish to share my cone with you.

Life is beautiful. But with you on my side it will become more beautiful. It will give even life a reason to smile. Whether it is your tan or your even skin tone, I love you not for your skin tone but for your warm heart. In fact I love for no reason. It is wonderful feeling to love some one for no reason, isn't it? That is because the person who loves you will be always there with you. If he loved your skin, there are chances that he may leave you when it has wrinkles. If he loved your eyes he may leave when the eyes can no longer see.

But if some one loves you without any reason he will be always there for you. I promise I will be always there for you. No matter what is the season out or in our lives, I will be always there with you to make the moment magical and romantic. So will you give this magician an opportunity to show his tricks ?

The most romantic thing on earth is growing old together. I want to grow old with you. I want to gain wisdom with you. I want to see our children grow with you. I want to live every moment with you. How would you look after thirty years I don't know. I don't know either how would I look. But I know for sure that I will still love you. Isn't it a wonderful feeling. They say marriage is the insurance for life after fifty. But I strongly disagree. Love is only when your heart does all the thinking and brain goes brainless, isn't it? Since the day I met you my heart is skipping the beats and my head has stopped functioning. When I went to the doctor, he examined me and wrote the prescription. He wrote get married to the girl whom you love. That is the only medicine for your aching heart. I knew this medicine even before the doctor told me. Poor guy, wasted his years and his father's money to learn something he would have learnt had he loved someone. Thank God my heart knew it's way. So dear pharmacist of my heart, will you heal it by reciprocating my love for you?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

In search of a pesticide

The day Ayub was born, his parents had thrown one big ball of waste weighing 8 pounds on this planet. That ball grew up to become a six footer and seventy five kilograms young man. The ball of waste continued to regenerate waste which was much more than that generated by him during his visits to the toilets.

Ayub doesn't believe in using the dustbins. The other day when he discarded a chocolate wrapper in his office, one of his colleagues asked him to pick it up and throw it in the bin. But Ayub proudly claimed that he was an Indian and his behaviour was nothing but Indian. Ayub gave his colleague a piece of mind and asked him not to expect firangi behaviour (which was actually sophisticated behaviour) from his countrymen.

It is not that Ayub is an uneducated man. Ayub is a highly qualified professional who draws a fat pay cheque every month and warms up his equally expensive chair as well. As a student Ayub was good in studies. However when the teacher taught good habits and asked the students not to litter, Ayub had ignored the advice. He was too intelligent to follow it. Even when the prime minister of the country appealed to the countrymen to keep our motherland clean, Ayub knew that call was not for him. Ayub felt it served as a plank for those who were hungry for publicity. It was only for those socialites who held broom only for posing in front of the shutterbugs. It was another story that Ayub had never held a broom in his hand even for the purpose of posing for a photo.

Cats and dogs can urinate anywhere. Can you stop them? Can you fine them? Is the question Ayub asks when he stands and relieves himself as and when his bladder is full. It is  the call of nature says Ayub and doesn't mind relieving himself in the garden or in the protected monument. Thanks to people like Ayub the protected monuments carry rancid smell. I wonder if the protected monuments have been protected only for people who don't mind leaving their mark on the reel of time.

Ayub is a waste generator. He owns the most swanky car. He throws waste like tissues, wrappers of burgers, plastic bottles on the roads when he is driving. He has a reason to do so. According to him he is a tax payer. Indirectly he is paying for those sweepers of the municipal corporations. Ayub is well aware that these days the sweepers are paid well. So as Ayub is paying their salaries, he has right to litter. This litterbug has infected a large section of the Indian population. I stop now as I am working on a pesticide to kill this litterbug.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Why the Vada seller refused a sale - Book Review

Why the Vada seller refused a sale has an attractive cover with a catchy tag-line and other simple stories for achieving the best in life, work and relationships. Every chapter of the book opens with quotations. Unfortunately these are the only positive points about the book.

Though the book claims to be a collection of stories, there are no stories here. The title and the tag-line is totally misleading. Each chapter of the book is nothing but a small write up running,  on an average, into a page and half. The chapters include self admitted forwarded e-mails and sms. Yes, the entire e-mail and sms form a separate chapter each. The author quotes incidents from his life in some chapters. The problem is the incident is of ten lines and the author occupies rest of the place to deliver the sermon on moral values. The incidents narrated are banal. The commentary of the author accompanying the incidents is preachy. If the incidents were narrated in an interesting manner and the conclusions were left open to the readers, the book could have been effective. The incidents are wrapped up as soon as possible because the author is in a hurry to give us a piece of advice. The author is so determined to give us moral lessons that he seems to have forgotten to make the book interesting. The result is half -hearted attempt to write a book. Moral lessons must be imparted but in the form of a capsule with a sweet cover or no one will be willing to swallow it. Plus there is brand endorsement of various professionals with fancy adjectives to describe their expertise.  This mars the narrative for in a chapter comprising page and a half, considerable ink is spent to praise the professionals. 

Self-help books work for two reasons. One they promise magical results. Two they establish strong emotional connect with the readers. Unfortunately, the Vada Seller lacks both of them.

The author describes a clerk in government service as a not well to do person. He seems to be unaware of the salary drawn by a government clerk post sixth pay commission and when seventh pay commission is on its way. Even the opening quotes of the chapters are contradictory. Take for example, “A long dispute means that both the parties are wrong” and “Men are not against you, they're merely for themselves.” 

The tone of the book is I know everything from fitness to mind-power, from human relations to financial management. That surely turns off the reader. This is a book which you will not repent missing. My best wishes for the author's next venture. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Joy of writing

Who am I? A woman? A daughter? A wife? A mother? I am a woman. I play all these roles. But I am a woman with my own identity. I am neither a movie star nor a rich business woman. I am a humble maid servant. But I am proud of it. I don't beg. I don't steal. I work hard and eat the fruit of my labour. If I feel like eating paani puri I don't have to live on the mercy of my husband. He is loving no doubt. But the fact that I can pay for my own expenses gives me immense happiness.

I am a maid servant. Washing dishes and clothes is part of my duty, just like working on computers is yours. But I have a life apart from that. I am passionate about writing. You will not believe it, will you? A maid servant and a writer would be your obvious reaction.

But if you ask me writing is therapeutic. It is cathartic. I don't know English. I write in Marathi. We should be proud of our roots, that's what you say, right? So we should be proud of our language and foster its growth. I do it in my own little way. Like every one I have my own share of struggles of life. I weave stories around it. That gives it the weight of authenticity. After penning down my experiences, I feel relieved.

I am very happy to share with you that one of my stories has been published in a Marathi newspaper. They even sent me a cheque of Rs.500/- as remuneration. I felt happy. But I have promised to myself that I will not write for money or fame. I will write only for the joy of writing. I am woman and a successful one.  

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

Woman of steel

Savitri was just another girl. When she became of marriageable age, her parents searched a suitable groom for her and married her off. She became a wife and soon mother of two. She was dutifully doing her household chores. But there was some emptiness within.

She wanted to do much more in life. The first decision she took was to continue her education. When she was married off she had studied only up to seventh. She sought help of her friend and started preparing for the SSC examinations. She failed. But reappeared and cleared the examinations.

She had realized that she had a passion for music. She decided to learn Indian classical music, vocal. The problem was of fees for the music class. She started tutoring primary school students and raised money to fund her own education in music.

That was one thing she was most passionate about. She decided to continue her conventional education in music itself. She passed HSC examinations and enrolled for BA in music. Yes, it was tasking. She would cook for the family, looking after her children, take care of her aging in-laws, take tutions and continued her education.

The day she graduated was one of the most happiest day of her lives. She enrolled for post-graduate course. She was now singing professionally for classical concerts as well. It was not that she was drawing a fat pay cheque. But her self-esteem had exalted for sure. She continued her doctoral studies. She became Dr. Savitri. For the first time, her husband was proud of her. Her children too would tell every one that their mother was a doctor in music.

She became a respected member in the music fraternity. Yes, she was a wife, a mother, an obedient daughter and daughter-in-law. But she was a woman of steel too.  

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Man from the Womb

I am born as a man
A presumed rapist, lecher and molester
But as the hazy skies
of Rohtak become clearer
O woman, will you realize that
you too have a son, father and a brother?
I have daughters, granddaughters,
who are women too
They will carry my DNA up to their tomb.
And me, my father and grandfather too,
arrived from a woman's womb