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Thursday, 25 February 2016

It's not right but it's okay - book review

I believe this was one of the easiest reviews to write. The title of the book says it all It’s not right but it’s okay. The book opens with Arjun’s mother asking him to get married. It then shifts to the friendship between Arjun and Anushka. This gives you an impression that Arjun and Anushka are the lead pair of this novel. But they aren’t. After a few chapters the focus shifts to Angira and Ved. Angira is Anushka’s sister. Ved, Arjun and Anushka have studied at the same college.

Angira has just emerged from a breakup. She is depressed. She decides to move to Mumbai for education in fashion designing. That’s when she meets Ved through what’s app. Ved is a star footballer. They fall in love with each other.

Ved too has a past. He was in a relationship with Iona, who accused him of rape. One day Angira finds Ved kissing Iona in the car. Later Ved tells her that he was drunk and he loves her very much. The love story and the novel comes to an end.

The story, if there is any, did not impress me. In a country obsessed with skin colour, Ved and his family being ostracized for their Anglo-Indian roots is hard to believe. There are mistakes of punctuation. There are errors of grammar. Consider the following line on page 121 - “Ved gives her his cellphone and take her into the room.” On page 154 “Yes, he was Iona.” It should have been “Yes, he was with Iona.” Mistakes like these ruin the reading experience coupled with a plot, which is actually no plot. There are novels which without any plot strike a chord with the reader. But this book does not fall in that category. So to conclude It’s not right, but it’s okay.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Bijapur Impact

Bijapur has always fascinated me. The main attraction of course being the gol ghumat. The fist sight of Bijapur is grubby and ramshackle. It amy let you down. But wait do not jump ot any conclusions. Your opinions will change once you see the monuments of Bijapur. There is the powerful gol Gumbaz, the majestic fortifications, the graceful Ibrahim Roza. The variety of mosques and mausoleums and the ingenuity of the waterworks. . Going through Bijapur I relieved the history. I become aware of its prosperity, learning, intrigue and architectural greatness.

Bijapur derives its identity and character from the Adil Shahi dynasty which ruled it fro close to 200 years. The initiator of Adil Shai rule was Yusuf Adil Shahi Son of a Constantinople sultan. He establishe his rule in the late fifteenth century. The Aadil shahi rule lasted until the Mughal Emperor Aunragzeb’s conquest of Bijapur in the year 1686. Thereafter it kept dangling between the Marathas and the Moghuls. Then the British established their hold over it . The monuments of Bijapur evoke greatness of its past

My mind boggled at the number of the domed structures in Bijapur. There are more than 50 mosques and more than 300domes.

The fort of Bijapur was constructed in the year 1561, on the cite of an earlier citadel called the Ark Killa. Up a small flight of steep steps is the famous Malik -i – Maindan, the most famous gun hereabouts. The gun stands on a low platform, ringed by the rion hoops atop the Sherj burj. The burj is called Sherj Burj because of the lions carved on its entrance. There is Upari Buruaj nearby. Once a Hall of Justice in the seventeenth century, the Adalat Mahal is situated on the outer edge of th Citadel. Behind the Adalat mahal is the magnificent arch, the Pasari Kaman that connects with the citadel. Built by Ibrahim II in 1589 Anand Mahal was meant to be a pleasure place.

However the chief attraction of Bijapur is the Gol Gumuz. Here you can hear the echo seven times. This indeed is the masterpiece of the Indian Architecture. “I love you.” I shouted and I could hear my own voice seven times. Perhaps the king who built this mausoleum in memory of his wife must have done the same way. It was his way of expressing love for his beloved.

I was totally impressed by the Gol gumuz . I mentally bowed its architect as also the craftsmen who brought the imagination of the architect into reality.

I felt that these masterpieces of Indian architecture should be properly promoted. Such was the impact of visiting Bijapur that I started a small group on facebook to promote the architecture of Bijapur. I wish soon Bijapur assumes an important place on the tourist map of India.
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.      

Baroda Impact

The Gaikwads ruled over Baroda from 1721 to 1947. Sayajirao was one of the social reformers. He made primary education compulsory for boys and girls . He abolished untouchability and banned child marriage. He also created effective rail and road system. He started the Bank of Baroda to encourage commerce. He also encouraged musicians. He had Ustad Inayat Khan and Faiyza Khan at his darbar. He encouraged painters too. In fact he was the one who commissioned the famous painter Raja Ravi Varma to paint Indian deities for him. Dadabhai Naoroji was his diwan. He had employed Shri Aurobindo in the Baroda college. He had sponsored the education of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at the New York’s Columbia University.
I had read all this. It had a great impact upon me. I was too eager to visit Baroda and see all the legacies of the great ruler first hand. I went to Sayaji Bag first. It is a manifestation of the monarch’s vision. It was opened in the year 1879 on the banks of the Vishwamitra river to offer the people of Baroda both employment and education. I saw sections of the 113 acre park. It included Grecian statures around the Victorain style bandstand, the deer in the large zoo, the botanical garden, the aquarium, the planetarium and the History of Health museum. Such was the impact of visit to these places that I was totally in awe of the great ruler.

The Baroda Museum and picture gallery is the jewel of the Sayaji Bag. I was able to see a Egyptian Mummy, the skeleton of a 71 feet blue whale that floundered up the Gulf of Khambat in the year 1944. The paintings of the European masters impressed me.

Then I went to the Laxmi vilas Palace. The startling eclecticism of Saryajirao’s influences was seen in the dramatic facade of the Laxmi Vilas palace which he built in the year 1890 and named it after his wife. The palace is a marvel of the East-West synthesis. In the morning the darbar room is brightened by sunlight streaming in through the large stained glass windows illustrating stories from the Hindu epics. The throne room is decorated with the fourteen paintings by Raja Ravi Verma.

I was impressed with the thorough audio tour at the Laxmi Vilas palace. It gave me all the information about the palace very aptly. Also the Maharaj Fateh Singh museum on the grounds has a large collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma.

The visit to Baroda had a great impact upon me. I was impressed with the vision of a King so many years back. He was indeed much ahead of his times. Such was the impact of visiting Baroda that I wrote to all the ministers to follow the example of Gaikawad of Baroda. 
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.      

Lonavala Khandala impact

I always love the hills. Even when I am busy with my life in Mumbai I make it a point to visit to the nearby hills which are at lonavala and Khandala. I love going to the Duke’s nose. It named after one of the British governors of erstwhile Mumbai. The pinnacle of the Duke’s nose is locally called Nagphani which means cobra hood. I walked up to the summit from the Khandala station.
When I went to Khandala it was drizzling. Everything was green. I loved the greenery around. The air was fresh. I filled my lungs with the fresh unpolluted air of Khandala. The air from the hills had a great impact upon me. It rejuvenated me.

Just behind the main market area of Lonavala is Ryewood Park. It is one of the popular picnic spots. This is supposed to be a botanical garden. But it is a large park. There are lawns, trees and plenty of open spaces. No wonders it is one of the most popular picnic spots. Many Hindi films have been shot here. Outside the park is an old Christian cemetery. There are more than five hundred years old grave stones here.

Bhushi dam is nestled in the forests of Lonavala. The water running over the steps of the dam creates an interesting waterfall. I sat on this waterfall with my friends. The touch of cold water made me alive again. Such was its impact.

Karla caves abut the Lonavala town. I went there with my friend on his bike. The Karla caves undoubtedly represent the best example of the rock cut caves. They are the best example of the rock cut architecture of this region. They are famous for the two rows of decorated pillars that line the main hall. Their construction was started by the Hinayana Buddhists in the first century. However they were taken over by another sect known as Mahayana. Outside the main hall of these caves stands the temple of Ekvira aai. I went to the temple and prostrated before the Mother Divine.

Then I went to the Bhaja Caves. Bhaja caves date back to the second century. These caves too are very close to Lonavala. Believe me these caves emanate very powerful vibrations. The first cave has lost its outer facade. What remains is the hall with its carved pillars and the stupa in the middle. I sat there and meditated. I found an instant connection with this place. Perhaps I had meditated in this place in some other life time. Such was the impact of the peace which I found in the Bhaja caves.

Till date whenever I think of Bhaja caves I am filled with an unknown peace and serenity. Such has been the impact of visit to Lonavala, Khandala – their green valleys, hills, climates and shrines too. 
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.      

Impact of positive thinking

The human mind affects the human body. Now it is scientifically proved that the thoughts affect our body. So what is the remedy. The remedy is to think positively. Positive thinking has a great impact upon the human beings, their thoughts and their lives.

The child is late from the school. The first thought that comes to the mother is that is my child well. Is anything wrong with her? Has she met an accident? Has someone kidnapped her? The chain of negative thoughts continues. What if she affirms that the child is well. May be she has stopped in her school for some extra classes or gone to a friends place. The panic is not created by the child returning late. Panic is created by the negative thoughts. So my dear friends inculcate positive thoughts. They have a very deep impact upon you.

Let me share an incident from my life. I was in college then. I was doing very well in the co-curricular and extra- curricular activities. I was representing my university at the inter-university competitions. I was not only participating in them. But I was also winning them. Everybody was praising me. I was creating history by winning so many awards. I too was very happy with my performance. I was young. I was getting all the adulation. Which young man will not like this adulation?

But my studies took a back seat. I had scored distinction in the previous year. I had topped the university. The pressure was building. This time I was not even sure of passing. What could I do? I had hardly studied. I had spent all my time in the co-curricular and extra- curricular activities.

Finally I decided not to appear for the examinations. I shared this with my mother. She was damn against my decision. She asked me to go and write my exams.
But I have not studied.” I told her.
It does not matter. Go and write whatever you know.” She said.
But I will fail. You will not like your son failing, will you?”
I will not like my son running away from the Warfield like a coward.” Her voice was sharp. My mother thought illiterate possessed so many good qualities. She coaxed me into writing my exams. Reluctantly I wrote my exams. I cursed my mother for forcing me to write the exams.

Now that I had written the exams, I was damn scared of the results. I thought I would fail. The topper of the previous year was going to be the failure of this year. I shared my anxieties with my mother. “Don’t worry you will pass.” She said.

Soon the results were out I had indeed passed. When I asked my mother how did she know that I will pass she said that it was the impact of positive thinking.
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.     

Impact of blogging marathon

Now this is going to be the most interesting post which I have written for this Tata Zica Blogging Marathon. Let me start by making a confession. Initially I thought that the first ten bloggers who will write ten blog posts each will be winning the vouchers worth rupees twenty thousand. I submitted six posts in a haste. I wanted to submit four more but Indivine rules prevented me from doing so. I raised a ticket and the rules were changed. Now I could submit sixty posts in a day. I immediately submitted four more posts.

But hey now I realized what Tata Zica Blogging Marathon actually was. I had to write continuously for the next few days and I would get the vouchers only and only if I made it to the top ten at the end of the contest. I cursed my luck. Why had I raised the issue and lifted the limit of posting only six blog posts per day.

I wrote a few more posts. My enthusiasm dwindled. But I did not give up. I was going to run until the finish line of the Tata Zica Blogging Marathon. This was the impact of the Tata Zica Blogging Marathon. It inculcated in me the attitude fight until finish.

Also there were many other positive impacts of Tata Zica Blogging Marathon. Firstly it increased my typing speed. Secondly it taught me that if I decided to take it seriously I can write a novel in a month. The Tata Zica Blogging Marathon brought regularity in my writing. I am sure regardless of the fact if I win or not, this habit is going to help me in the long run. I never knew my capacities until I participated in the Tata Zica Blogging Marathon. Such has been the impact of Tata Zica Blogging Marathon upon me. It pushed my limits. It made me work hard.

Another impact of the Tata Zica Blogging Marathon was that it raised my confidence. I came to know that I can write on any given topic. Tata Zica Blogging Marathon also helped me to know myself. Now when you are writing so many posts, your personality is reflected in your writings. I came to know so many things about me through this Tata Zica Blogging Marathon. Indeed writing has been therapeutic. It makes you feel writer.

Most importantly Tata Zica Blogging Marathon taught me that the carrot and stick approach indeed works. The carrot of vouchers made me work hard. Also Tata Zica Blogging Marathon taught me that there are many friends who admire my work. I take this opportunity to thank all of them. Every time I received a vote or a comment, I mentally thanked my admirers. Though I may not have personally thanked them, I was always grateful to them.

Most importantly Tata Zica Blogging Marathon taught me that I loved to write. Such has been the impact of Tata Zica Blogging Marathon.
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.     

Badrinath Impact

Last May I visited Badrinath with my family. This Badrinath trip has had a very deep impact upon me. We reached Haridwar and we hired a vehicle to take us to Badrinath. Let me tell you that Badrinath is not your usual tourist spot. It is located in the Himalayas.

The vehicle stopped in the ghats as a truck had broke down. The roads in the hills are too narrow. Everybody was patient. There was no chaos. All the drivers waited calmly for the truck to be repaired. They helped in fixing the truck. But they were patient. There was no road rage which is seen in the cities. On my way to Badrinath I had learnt my first lesson that was to be patient.

After more than an hour the truck restarted. The traffic started moving ahead at a snail’s peace. I was getting irritated. But I reminded myself that Badrinath wanted to teach me the lesson of patience.

I was always choosy about the food which I ate. I always yearned for variety. Honestly speaking I even got angry if I disliked the food cooked by my wife. But Badrinath changed me in this regard too. Here in the hills all you get is roti and a vegetable made of potatoes. The journey up and down the Badrinath shrine takes three days. I thanked God that I at least got food in this hilly terrain. This was the impact of the Badrinath trip.

Let me tell you that the roads here are all kuccha roads. The snow and the landslides wash away the roads. The military and the road department is equipped all the time to create new roads. Obviously when the roads are washed away frequently they are not the tar roads which you find in the cities.

Moreover these roads are treacherous. They skirt by the side of the deep valleys. Yes the river ganges flowing in the valley looks damn beautiful. But you are scared of your life. Anything can happen in any given moment. Life is uncertain and life is rule by Him. That lesson was another impact of Badrinath trip.

We reached Badrinath. I was seeing snowcapped mountains for the first time in my life I was very happy. Though it was summer, it was very cold up there. I was covered in layers of woolen clothing. I went to the temple and prostrated before the deity. I was very proud that I had reached such a treacherous terrain.

I came out of the temple that was when I met a group of old women. They were speaking in Marathi, so I enquired with them where had they come from. They hailed form the district abutting to my native place. They had come to Badrinath by walk. They walked from Maharashtra to Badrinath that too bare foot. It had taken them more than six months to reach here. Now all my pride and ego was washed away. This too was the impact of Badrinath.
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.    

Impact of the Fair

Miraj had a small Ambabai temple. There was a Durgah as well. Annually there would be a fair held near the temple at the time of Navaratra. Even Durgah would annually host a Urs. As a child I would always look forward towards the Navaratra and the Urs. Shops selling colourful toys, household items were of great attraction to me. There would be joy rides as well. But I was not interested in them. I would buy a toy and would also pester my mother to buy some household article like lemon squeezer, pair of tongs, which my mother would say was no use to us. But still I would persuade her to buy it. Sometimes she would give in. Most of the times she wouldn't.

Navratra would arrive just a few days prior to Diwali. Children would build small replicas of forts for Diwali and place statues of Shivaji and his mavlas, meaning members of his troop on it. These statues would be actually painted mud toys. But buying them was a great delight. They would be put for sale in the Ambabai temple. Whenever we went to the fair my eyes would zero on the mud toy which I wanted to buy. I would even pester my mom to buy one. She would insist that we should visit the temple first. It was her policy that while you go to the fair, you must first visit the temple , pay your respects and on the way back, backed with blessings of the goddess, you could have a little fun, which included shopping.

The temple would be decorated for the fair. There used to be festoons and coconut branches installed at the entrance welcoming the devotees. In the latter days even strings of small electric bulbs would be spiraled around the pinnacle of the temple. The idol of Goddess Ambabai would be decorated too She would be decorated with rich, expensive sarees and fragrant flowers of all kinds. There would be bakula, rose,jasmine and many other flowers whose names I didn't know. There would be scents and incense sticks burning too. The temple would be filled with mix of variety of perfumes both – natural and man-made.

There would be a different theme on each of the nine days. The goddess would be decorated according to the theme of the day. One day she would be placed in a big lotus made up of paper. Another day she would mount on lion, tiger, elephant. She would swing on the zhoola or sit on the peacock. I loved the peacock. It was so colourful, so beautiful. On the eight day the theme would be Mahishasurmardini. She would be depicted as a warrior who killed the demon Mahishasura. There was a rumour that a male goat would be sacrificed on the early morning of the eight day to the goddess. I had a hidden desire to witness this ritual first hand. But I was a child. No one would allow me to go to the temple in the dawn. Moreover, I too was scared of the darkness of the dawn.

Even my grandmother would visit the temple during Navratris. I did not like accompanying her. That was because she visited the temple in the mornings. All the stalls in the fair including those selling mud toys would be shut in the morning. Even the idol would not be decorated as per the theme. In the mornings it would be only the plain idol as worshiped on any other day. She would stand in her mundane form. There wouldn't be any elephant, tiger, lion, peacock, swing and other paraphernalia. However I would accompany my grandmother on the first day of the Navratri. On the first day of the Navaratra my grandmother would offer salt and wheat flour to the goddess. That was the custom. Two big baskets would be placed before the Goddess. One for salt and another for wheat floor. My grandmother would carry salt and wheat in two different paper packets. I liked to accompany her when she made these offerings. I would insist on opening the paper packets and pouring its contents on to the baskets. I wanted to do it on my own and she would allow me.

These incidents of my childhood had a very deep impact upon me. They taught me how colourful our country was. Yes my mother would not have always bought me the things which I wanted. But I was grateful that I had a mother who took me to the fair.

Such has been the impact of the colourful peppy fair of my town that it is permanently etched on my mind. I just close my eyes and I am transported to the fair. 
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.      

Daughter's impact

That day my little five year old daughter was very happy. She is a happy child. But that day she was too happy. When I asked for the reason of her happiness, she said that she was happy because at her school her classmate Rohan had allowed her to go ahead in the queue. Now for we adults this may be a small act. But that was the reason of her happiness.

This incident has had a deep impact upon me. I too started finding happiness in little moments like my daughter. That day my peon gave me a piece of sweet meat for he had bought a new house. I was very happy for him. People wondered why I was so happy. My peon had bought the house. I hadn’t bought the house. Yet I was very happy. I was happy because I got the sweet meat too. Apparently it may seem foolish. But if you are happy for small acts, then you will be the happiest person in the world. This wisdom is the impact of my daughter. She had taught me a very important lesson.

That it was my birthday. Had it been any other birthday I would have been very demanding from my family and friends. I would have expected them to wish me happy birthday. I would have expected that they should bring me an expensive gift. I would have desired that they should arrange a surprise party for me.

But as told earlier, the lesson taught by my daughter had a deep impact upon me. I was very happy that day. No one had wished me. No expensive gifts were brought. No party was thrown. Yet I was very very happy. I was happy because I was alive to see my birthday. This was the impact of my daughter upon me. I thanked her for making me a better person.

That day in the office my colleague took away all the credit and appreciation for the presentation which I had prepared. Had it been any day before Rohan let go my daughter ahead in the queue, I would have been furious.

But such was the impact of that little incident in my little daughter’s life that it changed me as a person. It changed me and it changed me for the good. I did not feel angry because my colleague had taken the credit for my work.

I felt happy. I was happy because it was my work which was appreciated. Like Rohan did to my daughter, I simply allowed him to let go ahead of me. It gave me immense happiness. I had a good job. My presentation was appreciated. I would get opportunities to give many more such presentations and I would get credit for the same.

Such was the impact of my daughter upon me.
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.     

Impact of that Sermon

God is everywhere.” The Guru delivering the sermon said. “He is everywhere. He is in the trees. He is in its leaves, in its fruits and in its flowers too. He is in its trunk. He is in the birds. He is in the animals and humans too.” The Guru said.

I was sitting in the audience listening to the words coming from the mouth of the guru. I was apprehensive. But those words had a great impact upon me. I could see the God behind those words. I could see the God in the building beneath which I was sitting.

I was always scared of driving on the busy roads. But now I knew that He was everywhere. He was there in my car. He was there inside me. He was there on the roads and He was there in other vehicles and their drivers too. So if He was everywhere there was nothing to fear.

Such was the impact of finding Him everywhere that my fears vanished.
My new boss was very demanding. No matter what I did he always found faults in my work. He appreciated other employees. But he was always mean to me. He insulted me in front of everyone. But I always say the God in Him. Trust me, I never had any ill feelings towards him.

One day he asked to mail an important presentation to the head office. I worked hard to make the presentation. My boss disliked me. He had gone through my presentation. He had made some changes which I did not agree with. But yet I had retained them on his insistence. It was his plan that seeing the presentation, rather the changes which he had carried out, our head office will disapprove my work. He thought that would be a good reason to sack me.

My colleagues had told me about his plan. But I was cool and calm. I knew He was everywhere. We received an email from the Head Office that the project was scrapped and the presentation was of no use. The email specifically thanked me for taking efforts to prepare it.

Now this has been the impact of seeing God everywhere. The most challenging tasks were reduced to child’s play. Such has been the impact of seeing everywhere that I am no longer stressed about anything. I know that He is everywhere. He is within me. He is around me. He is everywhere.

That day when I had heard that sermon I did not know the kind of impact it was going to have upon me. But it changed me and it changed me for the good. I do not follow any rituals. I do not chant any mantras. But I see Him everywhere. Such has been the impact of that incident.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.