Oct 6, 2014

An Incident that changed me.. Part 2

To read Part 1, click here

I understood and felt that I was truly blessed in every way, when compared to the people I met during the next couple of days. Later, I even chided myself for being critical of the accommodation provided to us.

When I now reflect on how and why my attitude towards life changed so much, I realized that there was one particular incident affected me deeply. It was when I met a poor widow of a farmer...

During the week long trip,my classmates and I met several deprived people, with  problems ranging from  lack of access to education, improper health and sanitation to caste issues and domestic violence. Women trafficking and farmer suicides were the major problems in the area. All the villages that we visited comprised a majority of illiterate people, mainly artisans and farmers. While artisans were plagued with the issue of their dying art forms and did not know any other form of work, farmer suicides abounded due to the huge agricultural losses incurred in the barren lands that had scarce rainfall.

Amongst the scores of people whom I met, the story of a middle-aged widow called Lakshminarasamma, touched my heart. This quote sums it up:

"...the misery is there inside her, like a stone, and there’s no room for any other thoughts.." 
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
She was neck-deep in debt and struggled to make both ends meet. Her husband, a farmer, had committed suicide when faced with loss of crop yield, unable to pay his debts. These people led a life that was consumed by debt. They were born in debt, lived in debt and died in debt!

Oct 5, 2014

An Incident that changed me.. Part 1

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Each one of us, at some point of time, experience certain situations that change our attitude towards life. For me, there was one such incident that totally changed me from the inside out...

While pursuing a post graduate diploma in journalism, I was required to undertake a week-long trip to 'cover deprivation'. All of us students were divided into several groups and sent to various parts of India that were socially and economically backward or faced some troubling issues. Upon our return, we were all expected to file news reports or feature stories based on what we witnessed during our field trip.

I was part of the group that was sent to Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. The trip was a life-changing experience for me. My sheltered upbringing did not prepare me for the harsh realities of life that I faced during those seven days.

Oct 4, 2014

Top Ten Books that I love

You would be aware of the book list challenge that was recently doing the rounds on Facebook.  For those of you who aren't aware, the challenge is simply this: In a few minutes, without thinking, you have to list the top 10 books that stayed with you in some way, those which you love :) After that you have to tag ten of your friends to continue the chain.

I got a chance to make my list, thanks to my friend Olympia who tagged me. And I decided to blog about the same, just because I want to share it with a wider audience.

Before I list the books, I would like to mention that these books may not be literary masterpieces or impressive books. But they are all personal favourites that have touched my heart and stayed with me in some way. After each book in the list, I have included a description too! Here goes:

1. Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
Simply the best books I've ever read so far in my life! No description needed. Enough said :)

2. The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
A thought provoking book that showcases the personality of a woman as described by the perceptions of different people. Loved it.

3. Idle Hours by R.K Laxman
Simple yet heartwarming writing makes this one delightful to read. It is a collection of short stories, anecdotes, travelogues and essays.

4. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
A touching and compelling tale that tugs at my heartstrings for the tragedy of it all.

5. Message in a bottle by Nicholas Sparks
A story that speaks of love and loss, and of fate. I like it because I'm a romantic at heart!

Oct 3, 2014

Coffee: the powerful beverage

Someone asked me why I love coffee?? Well, the answer is quite simple. Every time I drink a cup of coffee, I feel super-charged. It makes me active and helps me out of energy slumps. I just love the beverage. Here are a few reasons-
  • When I wake up in the morning, all it takes is just a teeny-weeny cup of coffee to rev up my internal engine. I go from groggy-eyed to bright-eyed in a matter of minutes!
  • When I'm working and my mind feels heavy, I just take a few sips of coffee and there I go- my brain goes to fast forward mode and I start afresh with renewed energy.
  • A steaming cup of coffee acts as a great companion when I curl up with a book and some snacks during rainy evenings.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_India
  • Drinking coffee makes me feel good. Yes, it really does. When I'm feeling low or down in the dumps, I just make myself a cup of coffee. I sit in a comfy chair, just close my eyes and relish the beverage, focusing only on drinking it and soon I become oblivious to everything around me. It is a sensory journey that I undertake-I deeply inhale the aroma of coffee and imagine coffee beans in my mind's eye..Well, its a kind of meditation that I do. But the point is, at the end of my coffee-drinking, I feel much better- sadness vanquished.

Oct 2, 2014

My first 55 fiction

I have read many 55 fiction stories and wanted to try my hand at writing one. But  I was somehow hesitant for a long time. Today, I finally decided to give it a shot. Here goes:

They exchanged rings as a mark of marital union. Her face glowed with happiness as she cherished the moment. Stretching  out her hands to reach his, she touched something cold and hard. She opened her eyes to find her hands on the bedside alarm clock. Becoming his wife would always remain a dream for her.

Note: 55 fiction is basically a short story with exactly 55 words or less. Many people use surprise endings since the story is so short. For more info, check this link

Oct 1, 2014

Physical versus digital books- My opinion

“A book, being a physical object, engenders a certain respect that zipping electrons cannot. Because you cannot turn a book off, because you have to hold it in your hands, because a book sits there, waiting for you, whether you think you want it or not, because of all these things, a book is a friend. It’s not just the content, but the physical being of a book that is there for you always and unconditionally.”- Mo Willems

Nothing can quite match the charm of a 'real' book, as opposed to its digital version. Reading physical books is a unique experience, a sensory journey of sorts..

The rustle of pages in the wind, the enticing woody scent of paper, the printed word in all its splendour with the ink glistening in sunlight and the comfy feel of holding the book with both the hands; all these are part of the beautiful trip that you as a reader, take.

When owned and loved, the book physically grows old with you; the much-turned pages are lightly folded at the edges, giving a feeling of familiarity. The paper gradually begins to possess a yellowing tinge, which brings in a touch of sadness. Some food or coffee stains remind you of the earlier times when the book was read.

Sometimes, you tend to mark certain paragraphs in the book, to highlight the segments that you enjoyed, but you may also make notes in the margins, adding your thoughts, thereby personalizing the book.

Sep 22, 2014

Of Worries and Celebrations

Team : Wings of change

Note: This post has been written for a contest 'Game of Blogs' being held by BlogAdda. Several teams, each comprising of ten random bloggers are chosen to compete. Each team has to weave a story using characters provided by BlogAdda. Each member has to continue the story from where the previous person left it.

Our team successfully made it to round two :) Three cheers to us!  So far, eleven chapters have been written by our team.

Read the previous part of the story here (chapter 11)

Here is my post-

Chapter 12:  Of Worries and Celebrations

Two weeks ago...

As Shekhar stood outside the emergency room of the hospital, he was puzzled. He had recognized the bleeding man the instant he had looked at him. Mr. Cyrus was the same man who had knocked on his doorstep a day ago and then rushed away without explanation.
The doctors had said that it would take an hour for them to comment about the man’s condition. Hoping that the man would be alright, Shekhar immersed himself in his thoughts.“There is something that the man wants to tell me or my family. I wonder what it could be? Is it fate that we should meet two days in a row? What is going on?” he wondered.

The buzz of his mobile phone disturbed Shekhar’s thoughts. It was a message from Tara- ‘Im worried. Did you pick up Roohi? Why no intimation from you? Meeting is still on, so text me your reply’.
 Shekhar texted her back-  ‘Aryan picked her up and Roohi is at his home with his family. I couldn’t go as something cropped up. Relax, I will fill you in on the details later.’

Sep 17, 2014

C for Cyrus-coward and commitment-phobic

Team : Wings of change

Note: This post has been written for a contest 'Game of Blogs' being held by Blogadda. Several teams, each comprising of ten random bloggers are chosen to compete. Each team has to weave a story using characters provided by Blogadda. Each member has to continue the story from where the previous person left it.

So far, seven chapters have been written by our team.

Read the previous part of the story here  (chapter 7)

Here is my post-

 Chapter 8: C for Cyrus- coward and commitment phobic

As Cyrus stared at the woman before him, he couldn’t hide his surprise.  It was Jennifer, but she looked totally different, even more beautiful than she had been before.  His eyes became moist and he struggled with his emotions. Unable to utter a single word, he just stood there, opening and closing his mouth like a goldfish. But within his brain, the memories were travelling fast, back to the time when he had left Kerala…and Jennifer.

(Nine years ago- Cyrus)
Back in his hostel room, Cyrus quickly called up a cab to take him to the airport. Piling all his stuff into his bag, he grabbed a quick bite and ran to the cab, not informing anyone that he was leaving. His main aim was to get out of Kottayam as soon as possible. During the 90km ride to Cochin airport, Cyrus’s thoughts were focused on one thing- ‘Forget the past and move on’. 

Back in Delhi, Cyrus played his emotional cards well and convinced his parents that he was severely homesick. Being a pampered and only son of affluent parents had its benefits and they let him stay at home. 
For the next year, Cyrus stayed at home, spending his time aimlessly. He could never forget Jennifer and the time he had spent with her. “She was a true beauty, with her casual dressing and rebellious attitude. She cared a lot about me. But I couldn’t be with her,” he often thought to himself. 

She had texted and called him repeatedly in the first month after he had returned to Delhi, but he had ignored her and changed his simcard. She then took to emailing him, but he ignored the emails and opened a new account. He also deleted all the other traces of his life in Kerala. 

Cyrus knew that he had liked being with Jenny and had a strong attraction for her, but he was also aware that his parents would never accept a free spirited girl like her. Moreover, he wasn’t interested in a serious relationship. Watching his parents quarrel everyday had turned him into a commitment phobic man who wanted to live life without any shackles.

Sep 16, 2014

Meeting after nine years...

Team : Wings of change

Note: This post has been written for a contest 'Game of Blogs' being held by Blogadda. Several teams, each comprising of ten random bloggers are chosen to compete. Each team has to weave a story using characters provided by Blogadda. Each member has to continue the story from where the previous person left it.

So far, six chapters have been written by our team.

Read the previous part of the story here (chapter 6)

Here is my post-

Chapter 7: Meeting after nine years

As she stood behind the mesh-fence of the school, Jennifer reflected on her past.  Leaving her new born infant at the doors of the adoption agency had been the toughest decision she had made in her life.  But it was fate.  As an 18-year old unwed girl disowned by her family, she had been left with no choice.  Though the act of abandoning her baby was a rational one, the emotional part of her being gave her hell.  Not a single moment of her life had been spent without thinking of her child.

The little one had dominated Jennifer’s mind at every point of her life in the past nine years. And everytime she thought of her child, she was also reminded of the one who was the reason for the child’s existence. Cyrus..he was her first love. She could never forget him, ever. 

Though she was now happily married now with a loving husband, Jennifer knew she would always remember Cyrus. Though he had abandoned her after that one night of physical intimacy, Cyrus would always reside in a corner in the deepest recess of her heart. Jennifer could not bring herself to hate him, in spite of what had happened.  

Cyrus’s cowardly act had transformed Jennifer from the inside out. Over the years, she had metamorphosed from a rebellious and outspoken teenager to a soft-spoken and gracious woman. Her short and unruly locks were tamed to flow long and beautiful, always neatly plaited. Shorts, tees and accessories that had filled her wardrobe were replaced by elegant sarees and salwars.  People found it hard to believe that she was a journalist, as Jennifer broke all stereotypes about her job.

Even today, she remembered everything like it had happened yesterday, a bitter thanks to her photographic memory.
She remembered the look on his face, on the morning after they had made love. Beads of sweat lined his forehead and his hands were trembling. She remembered holding them softly with her own hands and showing him the tattoo in the shape of ‘C’.  Cyrus had not been soothed by her calm talk. He had stood up, picked his stuff and left her house abruptly. She remembered running after him to her doorstep and calling out his name- “Cyrus! Cyrus!! Cy…Wait..!!!” Ignoring her repeated calls, he had walked quickly out of sight. That was the last time she had seen him…

Sep 4, 2014

Book review: Private India

Title: Private India
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Genre: Crime Fiction

What can one expect when two acclaimed authors join hands? A masterpiece that is filled with the best of both their skills. With Private India, James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi have given us a brilliant story that does not disappoint.

The Plot

A serial killer is on the loose in Mumbai and it is upto Private India, an investigation agency, to try and prevent the murders and nab the culprit.  
Apparently unconnected women are killed, strangled with a yellow cloth. Strange objects are placed with the corpses and these puzzle the investigators. As the bodies begin to pile up in quick succession, it is a race against time before the case is cracked.
But it does not end there. Yet another danger is imminent and this time, the lives of thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens are at stake...

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