6 Dec 2011

I'm Not Twenty Four.. I've been Nineteen for five years

I recently read the book 'I'm Not Twenty Four.. I've been Nineteen for five years', written by Sachin Garg. The cover page of the book was something that caught my attention. It has this pic of a girl's legs adorned by red stilettos and clad in slim fit jeans. An image that shouts, 'chick lit'. But it couldn't be one, this is written by a guy! My initial scepticism turned into amazement as I drifted through the pages of this beautiful book.The author promised to tell a story that will take us to a world which is hard to believe in. That is exactly what Sachin Garg has succeeded in doing. He has delivered a beautifully crafted, engrossing story in 200 something pages.

INTF is the story of a girl, Soumya Kapoor, an MBA graduate from Delhi who loves her shopping sprees, malls and handsome guys. The story begins with her getting a job offer from Lala Steel Ltd, a much sought after steel manufacturing company. She is shocked when she comes to know that she has been posted in a remote village in the heart of Karntaka - Toranagallu!
In Toranagallu, Soumya along with her college mate, Amit (whom she dislikes for various reasons) meets Malappa, another new employee. Soumya strike up a good rapport with the talented and smart Malappa. Her first assignment in the company is in the Safety Section as a part of the Reaction Team. Her job involved taking evasive action in case of an accident and informing the relatives of the employee about the incident- a very emotionally taxing job that she grows to hate. Soumya had to witness several gory accidents on field that makes her crumble under pressure. Another unanticipated incident at the company makes her life there, unbearable. She has to make a crucial decison- quit the job or stand up and meet the challenges head on.

It is at this point that her relation with Shubrodeep Shyamchaudhar, a mysterious Indian hippie, develops. Soumya met him during her initial days at Toranagallu, during a trip with Amit and Mallappa. An IIM graduate, Shubrodeep has a different view on the world and relishes his nomadic lifestyle. Soumya falls in love with this charming and handsome Bengali, who never stays in a place for more than 90 days.Shubrodeep comes to live with Soumya at the township. But Soumya doesn't reveal her emotions for him as she fears that it might break her heart even more when he moves on after three months. From there, the story of Shubrodeep and his relation with Soumya unfolds and takes unpredictable twists.

The character that caught my attention is that of Shubrodeep. The author has developed the character in detail. His philosophies and carefree lifestyle really got me addicted. But the blog posts of Shubrodeep was a bit disappointing. I was expecting it to be a bit more colorful and interesting, coming from a guy as interesting as Shubrodeep. The character of Soumya also lacked detailing.

The author could have written the story from a third person view or from a guy's perspective. But he chose to write it from a girl's view. A very brave attempt for a first time author. At places he has failed in capturing the depth of emotions but that doesn't make it least bit ineffective.The prologue about meeting Soumya on a bus journey, reminded me of Chethan Bhagath's style of writing. Sachin is yet another young Indian author who doesn't try to bog you down with a lot of literary devices and techniques. He told a beautiful story in simple and effective language.I would give this gripping story eight on ten. A must read for everyone who likes an easy, refreshing and unpredictable story.

After reading the book, I couldn't help wondering, what is this title about?? The only relation I find with the story and the title is that the protagonist is 24 years old. But she never complains about it! Then why did the author choose such a title? A question that will keep me guessing.. :)

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11 Nov 2011

In Pursuit of Originality

I've been off the blogging world for a while now. My regular readers ( I hope I have a few! ;) ) , might be wondering where I've been. To them my reply is, I was wandering in the pursuit of originality. I've been facing an acute shortage of ideas for my literary rampages. Ok.. that was not the only reason, I was feeling damn lazy too. But lets come back to the point.

Lack of novel ideas is one common problem faced by all writers. I wrote a few articles and then deleted them completely because I felt that they lacked creativity. Someone, somewhere would have already talked about it or talked about something similar. Now if I say the same thing, won't that be plagiarism? I wouldn't wanna do that, would I?? Definitely no!! So I've been stuck in this cult of originality seekers. 

Then it got me thinking. Well is plagiarism of ideas that big a crime? Shakespeare is supposed to have ripped off plots for his plays from Greek and Roman mythology. Our very own  Mahathma Gandhi has said that there is nothing new in his methodologies and that everything he has ever said is as old as the hills. If these great people can do it, why can't we? Is there anything new in this world? No idea or thought is new. Everything under the sun has already been spoken on written by someone or the other. Haven't you all faced a situation where you thought up some new, superb ideas and later found out that someone had already thought of it. What makes an idea or thought unique is our packaging. Our very own twist to the story. Ripping off an entire article and claiming it to be yours is definitely bad. But borrowing an idea from someone and then reconstructing it to suit our style is definitely not that bad.

Knowledge of the fact that its ok not being completely original all the time, has lifted a huge burden off my shoulder. I feel happy and all ready to kick start another string of my random thoughts. It feels great to be back here.. :)

21 Jun 2011

Thumb Rules for Happy Relationships

Busy as a bee, but even then my thoughts find time to wander into uncharted waters. Something that recently caught my fancy was a thought of Osho. In a very laconic way, he states the secret to happy relations. According to him, we have to realize three basic truths of life :
  • Nobody is born for another
  • Nobody is here to fulfill your ideals of how he should be.
  • You are the master of your own love and you can give as much as you want but you cannot demand love from another person.
 Yes, the rules are simple but to sink them deep into your mind is not a simple task.

The first rule is the simplest. We came alone into this world and will be leaving alone.We transverse the journey of our life alone. All that people can provide is a false impression that they will be there forever. We are all separate individuals swimming across the turbulent water, trying to reach our destination. Don't always expect people to come up to your help when you are trapped in the undercurrents. Who knows, others might be battling their own private battles at the very same time.

The second rule is more insightful. We all have expectations from people, we have a preconceived notion of how a person is or should be. But its not always correct. Your ideals about a person don't necessarily have to be the way the person is and you cannot demand it from them. All that you can do is accept the person for who he really is. Giving space for other's individuality is a very important factor in any relation. You cannot expect everyone to behave in the way you want them to. Understand it and move on with life.

The last rule is the easiest to understand and the most difficult to implement. Our love is very often, a give and take institution. Most of the people feel that they have a right to expect back love in a quantity proportional to what they are giving out. That is selfish love. Love is a weird thing. It comes naturally to us but most of us don't know how to love. The way I express my love will not be the same way in which you express it. A person would naturally be expecting someone to love him the way he understands it. This leads to misunderstandings which brood discomfort and problems. All this is absent in selfless love. Selfless love is the purest form of love in which you give and give, never expecting a thing from others. It is not an easy task at all. But once you have learned to love that way, life would become a lot easier and fulfilling.

At this point, you might ask me if I follow these rules. I'm a student of life. I try out these so called rules searching for the ones that suit me the best. Of all the things Osho said, there was one that I personally loved.

Don't blindly follow the rules of anyone.Question them. Learn from life, explore and make your own rules...!

Now that's what I call the real thumb rule... :)

3 Jun 2011


It had been raining all day and like the rain drenched earth, her mind felt damp and icy. There are things that time can't erase. Some memories stay on forever.. Two years had passed and even now, rain made her cry. She found it difficult to hold back the tears that rolled down her cheeks, a downpour in itself. The rain beating down the roof brought back a swirl of memories. His face.. A small dimple forming in his cheek as he swept away the soft hair that wind pulled down across his forehead. The way he tilted his face as his eyes closed for a second to wink at her.. It was raining the first time they met..

The heavy rain had delayed his flight for two hours. Even though he had to wait at the busy airport amidst a milieu of bustling people jostling for space, he dint mind it a bit. It was going back to that city, that he dreaded. Not long back, the very same city was close to his heart. It had given him everything he held valuable in his life.. his friends, his family, his flourishing career, his first love.. A jolt of pain cursed through him at the thought of her, his throat felt dry and parched.. The sweet fragrance of her body, the smell that he loved above all. Her touch, gentle and firm. He yearned for it, once just once to see her smiling at him. To feel his stomach doubling up, a feeling he hadn't felt since he last saw her.

Her office was buzzing with noise-the beeping printers, ringing phones and incessant talking. But as usual, she dint notice any of it. Life had become a routine. Wake up in the morning, make breakfast, call mom and listen to her patiently as she goes on filling her on the latest gossips or about the 'handsome, educated,six figure salaried boy' looking for a bride.. She hardly listened to any of it. At office, she didn't talk much.. She kept herself busy all the time.Often the fact that she was becoming a workaholic had crossed her mind. But the thought didn't scare her. The only thing that scared her was her buzzing phone. Every time it rings, her heart leaps up in anticipation. She hesitates a second before looking at the screen. Hoping for a second that it would be him. But like the rain outside her office window, her hopes had also started dieing..

As the car sped through the highway, rain had stopped outside, leaving a trail of droplets on the window. He flicked through the photos in his cell. There was her, in a white salwar, holding the rose that he had given her on their first valentines day. He remembered every second of that day so well as if it had all happened yesterday. How she had lied to her hostel warden to go out with him, how she had draped her dupatta  over her head with one hand and clenched his shoulder with the other as they drove through the city. She looked like an angel, standing there among a bunch of flowers in that park. It was the day he had gifted her the silver ring with a small heart engraved in the metal, the very ring that she threw at him the day they parted. Shuffling through his contacts, he stopped at her name,his thumb poised over the green button. "I don't want to see you ever again. Get lost you cheat..I hate you" her words ringed in his mind.

Sitting up in the couch she flipped through the channels. A chat show was going on where the host was guffawing over a joke cracked by her guest -pop- "the heavy rain has caused havoc in the city and the traffic has come to a standstill", a news reporter was shouting into the camera as rain rolled in the background -pop- a latest film song was playing with the scenes showing the hero and heroine dancing away in exotic locations -pop- pop- pop- The scenes flickered but she didn't pay attention to any. Sleep was again evading her and she had nothing else to do. Switching off the TV, she went to her bedroom and took out a silver ring from her drawer. As he walked away, she had picked it up from the ground. Through those watery eyes, she had stared at him walking away from her, calling out to him but words stopping at her throat. If he loves me, he'll turn back, she told herself stubbornly. But he dint. She waited till he disappeared and the sun had sunken low. The world moved about her but she never left that spot ever again..

The meeting was a success. The company had appreciated his proposals and had agreed to move forward with the deal. the next round of meetings would be held at his office. He had politely declined the invitation for dinner with the excuse of an early morning flight. Back in his hotel room, as he poured out a drink, he thought of her. She would be living somewhere in this city, working in a corporate firm as she had always wanted, married to some lucky guy. Maybe she even has kids now. She would be leading a happy life that might have been his too. "Oh God, why did this happen to us?? Where did we go wrong?"He thought as tears rolled down his cheeks...

Few kilometers away, a bolt lighted up the dark room where she lay cuddled.Her cries got muffled on the wet pillow..

Near yet so far..

29 Apr 2011

Royal Wedding

It has finally happened!! Prince William and Kate Middleton got married today!! After a long wait and lots of speculations and debates, the historic wedding has finally taken place. Like millions of people around the world, even I sat glued to the TV as the royal coupled exchanged their vows.

What a gala event these royal weddings are. 1,900 privileged guests including the heads of around 50 nations had gathered at Westminster Abbey to witness the wedding. Thousands of commoners thronged the streets of London waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of the couple. The colorful ceremonies, the speculations over the bride's gown to the list of invitees, months of exclusive shows on TLC, BBC and umpteen other local and international channels.. pheww.. what a wedding!It was beautiful watching a stunning Kate walking down the aisle holding her father's arm and the look on William's face as he got the first glimpse of his bride. Prince Harry dint forget to whisper a comment in his brother's ears as Kate made her entry.That was really cute!! :)

Some of my friend's commented what a dream wedding these royal couples have.All the publicity, glitz and glam!But I don't quite think I'll be able to stand that kind of an event. All the media, people, the rituals and customs accompanying such an event would choke me. I really think Kate has mettle to stand there in front of all those dignitaries wearing a gown that could trip her any moment, and smile without a trace of tension!You have to applaud that lady.Even William appeared a bit tensed compared to his lovely bride. I would have preferred a more private event. Simple and elegant.The one thing that I absolutely despise is these big fat Indian weddings.Its all about showing off one's wealth than about the union of two souls.Often the bride and groom don't even recognize half the guests at their wedding. And the bride has to be decked in gold from head to foot or the family's honor will be in jeopardy.Sending out boxes of sweets and decorating the invitation cards with precious stones has become a common thing among the rich and the middle classes. In their rush to organize the most spectacular wedding the country has ever seen, they forget the sacred values behind a wedding.

My dream wedding would be a simple, private event. A fairy tale wedding held somewhere quite and peaceful.It would be nice if the groom could come riding a white horse but then I can adjust with a BMW!! ;)

22 Apr 2011

When will this end??

Atrocities against women continue to happen and justice remains unobtainable to women in some countries. The verdict passed by the Pakistan Supreme Court recently on the  Mukhtaran Bibi case is a shame to the country and its judiciary! 

Mukhtaran, a resident of the Meerwala village of  Pakistan was gang raped in 2002 on the orders of a tribal council, which saw this as a way of taking revenge on her brother who allegedly had an extramarital intercourse with a woman of the tribe. Mukhtaran was dragged to a stable and gang raped by four men. She was then pushed out wearing nothing but a torn qameez. On the order of the tribal council, she was paraded naked in front of hundreds of on-lookers. The accusation against Mukhtaran's brother was later proved to be false. 

As this shocking incident gained publicity, people all over the world condemned it and the police was forced to take action. Mukhtaran bravely went on to file a case against the men and a lower court convicted six people including the tribal chief. They were sentenced to death for this cruel and inhuman brutality. The Lahore High court later overturned this verdict and a few days back the supreme Court agreed with the High court. All the accused except one was let free and the death sentence of the accused was reduced to life sentence.
The verdict is unacceptable and it is scary to think that the highest guardian of justice has denied a poor illiterate women the justice she deserves. It is a setback to the spirit of humanity.The verdict is gonna set a bad example and people would become fearless to commit such brutalities. I don't have words strong enough to condemn this verdict. Not all women have the courage of  Mukhtaran to come up and report such events. If the ones who do come up are given this kind of treatment, the oppressed are gonna remain silent forever. Mukhtaran still lives in the fear of government and the men of the tribe. Pakistan government had initially restricted her from going abroad and it was only due to international pressure that they lifted the restriction. 

I do hope that a day will come when atrocities against women will stop and they will enjoy freedom and respect from the society.

14 Apr 2011

Smiling Strangers

I usually walk home from my college bus stop. Its a pretty long walk, but I never get tired of it!! In fact, i love the walk! It's a time for me to collect my thoughts, to reflect on the day's events, to watch the people around me, to take in the fresh air and listen to the trees whispering, to hum a tune and let the breeze play with my curls.. it's a time for me to unwind..

During the walk, I see a lot of people. Some of them would be rushing home after work, some would be out to do shopping, some would be heading to the church or temple while some people would be loitering around or engrossed in animated discussions with their friends, relatives,acquaintances or colleagues. The scenes are mostly repetitive except for the characters. But amidst them there would be a few familiar faces. I don't know who they are or where they are from. I have no idea where they are heading to. They are just nameless people,whose path cross mine regularly at one point in time. 

First time we meet, these people would glance at me absent minded. Then as we pass each other regularly, they would stare and I would stare back. This game of staring would continue for a while until one day, either I'll smile or they'll smile at me.
And now, everyday as I walk back home, I meet one or two of these smiling strangers. We never talk but a simple smile does the trick. After a terrible day at college which leaves me with no reason to cheer, a smile, even from a complete stranger is reassuring. The warm fuzzy feeling that I get after I've smiled at a stranger and got back one is simply motivating....

I hope my smile could also help these wonderful strangers to forget their worries,if only for a second.
World is so beautiful and filled with so many beautiful people.If anyone feels otherwise, its time to change the soiled glass through which you are viewing the world. A small smile can go a long way in spreading cheer and good will!. You have nothing to loose and the person receiving it might be in need of one.
I want to dedicate this to all those smiling strangers I've met!!
I don't want to know who you are or what you do, but I just want you to know, you've made my day.. Not once but umpteen number of times!!
Thanks a lot guyz..

10 Apr 2011

We Support You Hazareji!!

Anna Hazare, a name which is on the lips of every Indian. A person who is hailed as the next Gandhi. A social worker and Gandhiyan who is spearheading the fight against corruption in India. His fast-unto death hunger strike for the passing of Lokpal Bill ended recently after the Government agreed on passing the bill.

In history,we learned how Gandhiji won us Independence through non-violence. The idea was extremely intriguing for me at that time. How can anyone defeat a powerful empire without the use of any weapon? What good will a sathyagraha do against a colonial rule? Anna Hazare's non violent struggle has given me some idea regarding this. The power of a man's will power should not be underestimated.

To go on a hunger strike is no small thing. To do such a thing not for any personal benifit, but for the general good of the country is a great selfless act indeed. It shows  Hazareji's strong belief and dedication to the cause. I salute this great human being who has above everything, given hope to the youth of this country. It has given us faith in democracy and has made us believe that a single person can bring about great changes. A line that comes into my mind right now is a famous verse from Bhagavathgeetha  :

"Yada yada hi dharmasya         
Glanir bhavati bharata
Abhyutthanam adharmasya
Tadatmanam srjamy aham"

"Whenever and wherever there is decay of righteousness and a rise of unrighteousness then, I manifest Myself!"

God has a way of sending his envoys to Earth whenever something goes extremely bad. The corruption in our country had reached its peak with a new scam surfacing every other day. 2G scam was the biggest of all while ,Common Wealth Game spoiled the image of our country, Corporate lobbying and the subsequent actions of media in silencing the issue made us loose faith in the media. For the past few years we have been seeing the fall of the three great pillars of democracy- Government, Judiciary and Media.Rise of this Gandhiyan has given us a small reason to cheer!

But the victory of Hazareji is just the beginning. The flame that was kindled by him shouldn't be allowed to die out. Being part of the nation wide campaign against corruption and rallying behind Hazareji is a very fulfilling thing. But our job has only begun. We have to take a pledge never to give or take bribe and if we know of any corruption in the society, we should report it. Whenever in fear or doubt, think about the man who was ready to die to make our nation corruption free! 
India is proud of you Hazareji...

4 Mar 2011

My Bucket List

I was going through these weird lists that appear in various sites on books..
It lists the '100 (or 1000..number is a variable) books that you should read before you die'!! I thought maybe I should start making a list of the '10 things I want to do before I die'. So here I've jotted down my own bucket list..
Hold your breath, here it comes..

1) Read all or at least half of so called '100 books that you should read before you die'
    Okay.. Now that's a huge ambition but lets see if its gonna work out.

2) Learn Dancing!!
    People who know me will laugh at this point I know.. :(
    I belong to the category of  people who look hilarious while dancing. I always boast of being a lady with no regrets in life. But here I'm declaring my one and only regret - I quit my dancing class while in primary!In my kiddie days, my teachers had selected me as one of the students with a potential to become future 'bharathanatyam' exponent. Our dance teacher started training us and the difficult steps had me panting and puffing. Lazy me, as usual decided to quit. I cried and begged to my father for two days to let me quit. Finally I made him write a letter to our dance teacher stating that I'm not interested in learning dance. That was the day that I wish had never happened in my life. Who knows if I hadn't quit that day, I would have become the next Padma Subramanyam or Mallika Sarabhai by now! Its never late.. is it??? ;)
3) Learn Swimming!!
    I remember drowning at the water theme park,' Veegaland' as a kid! I've wanted to learn swimming ever since.With melting of glaciers, global warming, rising sea level blah blah and being a resident of Kochi which happens to be below the sea level, swimming will be a part of essential survival skills. Not that I'm dumb enough to think that I'll be able to swim to safety in case of a tsunami or flood. But Later on, I shouldn't feel that maybe I could have survived, if I had learned swimming!;) So there it goes.. right into my list.

4) Learn Spanish
    I love Spain and Spaniards. From Enrique to Nadal.. They are all so close to my heart.. I dunno why I like Spain.. maybe its because I was a Spaniard in previous birth.. :P Crazy but intriguing thought..

5) Travel a lot
    'Travel a lot' is a generic phrase that everyone uses. But I have two specific places of interest- Kashmir and Austria.
 Kashmir because I've heard so much about the place, its natural beauty and beautiful people.
 Austria because in my 7th standard I did a project on the country and I took so much pain into researching about the country that I fell in love with the place.When i read Heidi (one of my all time favorite books), I dream of the Alps and of Austria!

6) Watch a live opera performance
     I'm an ardent admirer of literature and art, especially the classics. I've heard a lot about operas and how magical the experience can be. I wanna attend an original opera performance sometime.

7) Social Service
    This should have come first on my list but I was feeling a bit weird putting it on top. Maybe because from where I stand now, it seems impossible.
Its a dream of mine to run an orphanage for poor,homeless kids.I just wanna give them all the love and care that is missing in their lives. 

8) Do something extremely adventurous and sporty
   I'm not the kind of person who likes taking risks. Adrenalin pumping activities- no way! But before I die,I wanna do something extremely adventurous!Paragliding,bungee jumping, rafting..anything dangerous and fun ;)



Okay.. Now I'm having trouble thinking up 9th and 10th point.. I've run out of ideas..
Maybe I'll leave it blank for my unformed wishes..!!

22 Jan 2011


Why am I writing this?? I don't have any idea..Maybe its because I have nothing else to do..But that's not true.I've got two tests,one assignment and a record to complete by Monday. But like all the other lazy days, today I'm in no mood to do any work. I don't feel sleepy and neither am I in a mood to read. So I thought, why not blog. But strangely my mind is blank.Do people write because they have something to say or do they write because of the want to write?
My 2011 diary is lying untouched on the table.I have nothing to fill it with. Life is eventful as usual but nothing is crossing the realm of mechanical work and entering my mind. All I really do all day is think, think and think. What am I thinking about? Mostly about dreams..about future..about life..

I have heard that dreams are a way of communication between God and man..Nature's signs to guide us.
I keep dreaming about a green meadow with a huge tree in the center, a blanket of clear blue sky and a smiling me running towards the horizon.If dreams do have meaning, I wish I knew the meaning of mine.

Future always look hazy, no matter how much ever we plan.With just two more semesters left before the end of my days as an engineering student, I can't stop wondering where I'll be two years from now.I'm not sure what I want to do after this. It helps that I have a long term plan and dreams to work for. But my short term goals are a bit temperamental.

I've been trying to understand this one word for a long time now..What is this life all about? Why are we here on earth? Why is it that some of us have all kinds of worldly riches,health and happiness while there are people with none of these?On what basis is this discrimination made? I've been trying to find answers. The idea of rebirth sounds appealing to me. Every deed that we do, good or bad gets recorded in the logbook of heaven and we get back the same in this life or the next. This would also mean that the cycle of life and death will go on. The people who have broken this cycle are the enlightened ones, the people who knew the ultimate truth of life.

Whatever these higher truths maybe, a good question to ask yourself will be,"What have I done with my life?"
My answer to this, " I gave lots of love and respect to the people around me!" might not fetch me an entry pass to heaven. But I don't care!It feels good knowing that I could give an answer!! I'm sure not all can say that with conviction.