BOOK TALK: KALIGRAM–1891 by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

KALIGRAM 1891

By Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

    When Gurudev was young he had written many letters that later on got published as a book, after they were translated into English. In these letters Gurudev has mostly described a village scene in Bengal. He calls letter writing a form of literary extravagance. These letters have now become part of his published works. Kaligram 1891 happens to be once such letter and below is the synopsis of this letter.

    I am feeling listlessly comfortable and delightfully irresponsible. (Perhaps that gives him time to indulge in letter writing). This is the prevailing mood all around here. There is a river here. But it has no current to speak of. And is merely lying, snugly tucked up in its coverlet of floating weeds. Perhaps, it seems to think—‘since it is possible to get on without getting along. Why should I bestir myself to stir?’ The sentence has a deep meaning. The edge that lines the bank knows hardly of any disturbance until the fishermen come with their nets.

    There are four or five large size boats moored nearby. They are floating alongside. On the upper deck of one, the boatman is fast asleep. He is rolled up in a sheet from head to foot. On another, the boatman—while basking in the sun—is leisurely twirling some yarn into rope. And on the lower deck of another boat there is an oldish looking bare bodied fellow leaning over an oar, staring vacantly at our boat. God knows why.

    All along the bank there are various other people. But why they come and why they go, with the slowest of idle steps, or remain seated in their haunches embracing their knees, or keep on gazing at nothing in particular, no one can guess.

    The only signs of activity that one gets to see are the ducks. Who quacking clamorously, thrust their heads under and then bob up again to shake off water with equal energy. It appears as if they repeatedly tried to explore the mysteries below the surface, and every time, shaking their heads, had to report. ‘Nothing there! Nothing there!’

      The days drowse all their twelve hours in the sun. and then silently sleep away the other twelve, wrapped in the mantle of darkness. The only thing you want to do in a place like this is, to gaze and gaze on the landscape, swinging your fancies to and fro, alternately humming a tune and nodding dreamily, as the mother on a winter’s noonday, with her back to the sun, rocks and croons her baby to sleep.

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

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BOOK TALK: MERCHANT OF VENICE by William Shakespeare

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MERCHANT OF VENICE

By William Shakespeare

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    Merchant of Venice was written sometime in the 16th century. Since then. Several plays, shows and even movies have adapted this timeless play.

    The main characters of this drama are as follows:

  1. Antonio—A prominent merchant of Venice.
  2. Bassanio—Antonio’s close friend, a suitor of Portia and later husband of Portia.
  3. Gratiano—Friend of Antonio and Bassanio, who is in love with Nerissa, and later husband of Nerissa.
  4. Lorenzo—Friend of Antonio and Bassanio, who is in love with Jessica, and later the husband of Jessica.
  5. Portia—A rich heiress, and later wife of Bassanio.
  6. Nerissa—Portia’s waiting maid—in love with Gratiano, later wife of Gratiano, disguises herself as Stephano.
  7. Balthazar—Portia’s servant, whom Portia later disguises herself as.
  8. Shylock—A miserly … Jew moneylender and father of Jessica.
  9. Jessica—Daughter of Shylock … later wife of Lorenzo.
  10. Tubal—A Jew, and a friend of Shylock.
  11. Launcelot Gobbo—Servant of Shylock, and later a servant of Bassanio, son of old Gobbo.
  12. Old Gobbo—Blind father of Launcelot.
  13. Leonardo—Slave of Bassanio.
  14. Duke of Venice—Is the authority who presides over the case of Shylock’s bond.
  15. Prince of Morocco—Suitor of Portia.
  16. Prince of Arragon—Suitor of Portia.
  17. Salarino and Salanio—Friends of Antonio.
  18. Salerio—A messenger from Venice.

PLOT

    Bassanio a young Venetian (from Venice) of a noble rank wishes to woo the beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont. Having squandered his estate, he now needs 3000 ducats to tide over his expenses as a suitor. So, Bassanio approaches his friend Antonio, a wealthy merchant of Venice who has previously and repeatedly bailed him out. Antonio agrees, but since he is cash poor—his ships and merchandise are busy at sea to Tripolis, The Indies, Mexico and England. He promises to cover a bond if Bassanio can find a money lender. And that’s how Bassanio turns to the Jewish moneylender Shylock and names Antonia as the loan’s guarantor.

    Antonio has already antagonised Shylock through his outspoken antisemitism. His habit of lending money without interest forces Shylock to charge lower rates and that irritates him to the core. Shylock is first reluctant to grant the loan, citing abuse that he has suffered at Antonia’s hand. But he finally agrees to lend the sum to Bassanio without interest upon one condition: If Antonio is unable to repay it by the specified date, Shylock may take a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Bassanio does not want Antonio to accept such a risky condition. But Antonio is surprised by what he sees as the money lenders generosity and he signs the contract. With money at hand, Bassanio leaves for Belmont with his friend Gratiano who has desired to accompany him. Gratiano is a likeable young man. But he is often flippant, overly talkative and tactless. Bassanio warns his companion to exercise self-control and the two leave for Belmont.

    Meanwhile in Belmont, Portia is awash with suitors. Her father had left a will stipulating each of her suitors must choose correctly from one of the three-caskets—one each of Gold, Silver and Lead. If he picks the right casket he goes to Portia. The first suitor, the prince of Morocco, chooses the Gold casket, interpreting its slogan, ‘who chooseth me shall gain what many may desire,’ as referring to Portia. The second suitor the conceited prince of Arragon, chooses the silver casket which proclaims, ‘who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves,’ as he believes he is full of merit. Both suitors leave empty handed, having rejected the lead casket because of the baseness of its material and the uninviting nature of its slogan— ‘Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath.’ The last suitor is Bassanio, whom Portia wishes to succeed, having met him before. As Bassanio ponders his choice, members of Portia’s household sing a song that says that ‘fancy’ (not true love) is engendered in the eyes with gazing fed. Bassanio chooses the lead casket and wins Portia’s hand.

    At Venice, Antonio’s ships are reported lost at sea. So, the merchant cannot repay the bond. Shylock has become more determined to extract revenge from Christians because his daughter Jessica eloped with Christian Lorenzo and converted. She even took a substantial amount of Shylock’s wealth with her as well as the turquoise ring that Shylock was given by his late wife Leah. Shylock has Antonio brought before the court.

    At Belmont, Bassanio receives a letter informing him that Antonio has been unable to repay the loan from Shylock. Meanwhile Portia and Bassanio marry, as do Gratiano and Portia’s handmaid Nerissa. Bassanio and Gratiano leave for Venice with money from Portia to save Antonio’s life, by offering the amount to Shylock. Unknown to Bassanio and Gratiano, Portia even sends her servant, Balthazar, to seek counsel of Portia’s cousin, Bellario, a lawyer at Padua.

    The climax of the play takes place in the court of Duke of Venice. Shylock refuses Bassanio’s offer of six thousand ducats, which is twice the amount of loan. He demands his pound of flesh from Antonio. The Duke wishing to save Antonio but unable to nullify the contract, refers the case to a visitor. He identifies himself as Balthazar, a young male ‘Doctor of Law’ bearing a letter of recommendation to the Duke from the learned lawyer Bellario. The doctor is Portia in disguise and the law clerk who accompanies her is Nerissa, also disguised as a man. As Balthazar, Portia repeatedly asks Shylock to show mercy in a famous speech advising him that mercy is twice blessed—’it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.’ However, Shylock adamantly refuses any compensation and insists very much on the pound of flesh.

    As the court grants Shylock his bond, and Antonio prepares for Shylock’s knife, Portia deftly appropriates Shylock’s argument for a specific performance. She says that the contract allows shylock to remove only the flesh, not the blood of Antonio. Thus, if Shylock were to shed any drop of Antonio’s blood, his lands and goods would be forfeited under Venetian laws. She tells him that he must cut precisely one pound of flesh. No more no less. She advises him that ‘if the scale do turn, but in the estimation of a hair, thou diest and all thy goods are confiscated.’

    Defeated Shylock concedes to accepting Bassanio’s offer of money for the defaulted bond, first his offer to pay the bond thrice which Portia rebuffs, telling him to take his bond, and then merely the principal which Portia also prevents him from doing on the ground, that he has already refused it ‘in the open court.’

    She cites a law under which Shylock as a Jew and therefore an alien having attempted to take the life of a citizen, has forfeited his property half to the government and half to Antonio leaving his life at the mercy of the Duke. The Duke pardons Shylock’s life. Antonio asks for his share ‘in use’ until Shylock’s death when the principal will be given to Lorenzo and Jessica. At Antonio’s request the Duke grants remission of the state’s half of forfeiture, but on the condition that Shylock convert to Christianity and bequeath his entire state to Lorenzo and Jessica.

    Bassanio does not recognise his disguised wife but offers to give a present to the supposed lawyer. First, she declines but after he insists, Portia requests for his ring and Antonio’s gloves. Antonio parts with his gloves without a second thought, but Bassanio gives the ring only after much persuasion from Antonio, as earlier in the play he promised his wife never to lose, sell or give it. Nerissa as the lawyer’s clerk succeeds in likewise retrieving her ring from Gratiano, who does not see through her disguise.

    At Belmont, Portia and Nerissa taunt and pretend to accuse their husbands before revealing they were really the lawyer and his clerk in disguise. After all the other characters make amends, Antonio learns from Portia that three of his ships were not stranded and have returned safely since then.

*****

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE by Oscar Wilde

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

 

THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE

By Oscar Wilde

 

    Oscar Wilde was an Irish poet and playwright. He lived during 1854-1900.

    Unless one is wealthy there is no point in being a charming fellow. Romance is the privilege of the rich and not the profession of the unemployed. The poor should be practical and unsentimental. It is better to have a routine permanent income than to be a captivating personality. These were some great truths of life which Hughie Erskine never realised. Intellectually Hughie was of fair consequence. He had never said an anything brilliant in his life nor had he said anything offending. But yes. He was a wonderful person and good looking. He had brown hair with clear cut profile and grey eyes. He was popular with men as he was with women and he had every competence except that of making money. His father had bequeathed him his cavalry sword along with a history of peninsular war in fifteen volumes. Hughie had hung the first over his looking glass. And he had put the second on a shelf between Ruff’s guide and Bailey’s magazine. He lived on two hundred a year that was allowed to him by his old aunt.

    He had tried everything. He had worked in a stock exchange for six months but was a butterfly to do among bulls and bears. He had even been a tea merchant for a longer period of time but soon tired out Pekoe and Souchung (variety of tea). Then he tried selling sherry. But there also he didn’t n do well. Finally he became nothing but a delightful, ineffectual young man with a perfect profile but no profession.

     To make matters worse he was in love. The girl he loved was Laura Merton, daughter of a retired colonel who had lost his temper and digestion in India and had never found either of them again. Laura adored Hughie and he was ready to anything for her. They were the handsomest couple of London. But they did not have a penny-piece between them. The colonel was very fond of Hughie but could not hear about their engagement.

    And he used to say. Come to me my boy when you have ten thousand pounds of your own in your pocket and then we will see about it. This used to sadden Hughie who then used to look glum and go to Laura for consolation.

    One morning when he was on his way to Holland Park, where Mertons lived. He dropped by to see a great friend of his, Alan Trevor. Trevor was a greater painter. And an artist too. That was a rare combination. He was a strange rough fellow with a freckled face and a red ragged beard. But when he took up the brush he was a real master. Moreover, his pictures were largely sought after. He was very attached to Hughie mainly because of his personal charm. ‘The only people a painter should know,’ he used to say, ‘are people who are bete and beautiful, people who are artistic pleasure to look at an intellectual repose. To talk to, men who are dandies and women who are darlings rule the world, at least they should do so.’ After he got to know Hughie better he liked him quite as much for his bright buoyant spirits. And his generous reckless nature. Because of which he had given him the permanent entrée to his studio.  

    When Hughie came in he found Trevor applying finishing touches to a wonderful life size painting of a beggar man. The beggar himself was standing on a raised platform in a corner of the studio. He looked a wizened old man with a face like wrinkled parchment and a piteous expression. Over his shoulders was flung a coarse brown cloak all tears and tatters. His thick boots were patched and cobbled. And with one hand he leant on a rough stick, while with the other he held out his battered hat for alms.

    What an amazing model whispered Hughie as he shook hands with his friend.

    ‘An amazing model?’ Shouted Trevor at the top of his voice, ‘I should think so. Such beggars as he are not to be met everyday.’ And he goes on to praise the beggar.

    ‘Poor old chap.’ Said Hughie. ‘How miserable he looks! But I suppose, to you painters. His face is his fortune.’

    ‘Certainly,’ replied Trevor. ‘You don’t want a beggar to look happy, do you?’

    ‘How much does a model get for sitting?’ asked Hughie as he found himself a comfortable seat on a divan.

    ‘A shilling an hour!’

    ‘And how much do you get for your picture Alan?’

    ‘Oh! for this I get two thousand.’

    ‘Pounds?’

    ‘Guineas. Painters, poets and physicians always get guineas.’

    ‘Well I think the model should have a percentage.’ Cried Hughie, laughingly. ‘They work quite hard as you do.’

    ‘Nonsense … nonsense! Why look at the trouble of laying on the paint alone and standing all day long at one’s easel! Its all very well, Hughie, for you to talk, but I assure you that there are moments when art almost attains to the dignity of manual labour. But you mustn’t chatter; I’m very busy. Smoke a cigarette and keep quiet.’

    After some time, the servant came in and told Trevor that the frame maker wanted to speak to him.

    ‘Don’t run away, Hughie,’ he said as he went out. ‘I will be back in a moment.’

    The old beggar man took advantage of Trevor’s absence. He rested for a moment on a wooden bench that was behind him. He looked so forlorn and wretched that Hughie could not help pitying him, so he felt his pockets to see what money he had. All he could find was a sovereign and some coppers. ‘Poor old fellow,’ he thought to himself, ‘he wants it more than I do, but it means no hansoms for a fortnight,’ and he walked across the studio and slipped the sovereign into the beggar’s hand.

    The old man started, and a faint smile flitted across his withered lips. ‘Thankyou sir,’ he said, ‘thank you.’

    Soon Trevor arrived when Hughie took his leave blushing a little at what he had done. He spent the day with Laura, got an affectionate scolding for his extravagance, and had to walk home.

    That night he strolled into the Palette Club at about 11’o clock. He found Trevor sitting by himself in the smoking room drinking Hock and Seltzer.

    ‘Well Alan did you get the picture finished all right? He said as he lit his cigarette.’

    ‘Finished and framed, my boy!’ answered Trevor, and by-the-bye, you have made a conquest. That old model you saw is quite devoted to you. I had to tell him all about you—who you are, where you live, what your income is, what prospects you have.’

    ‘My dear Alan,’ cried Hughie. ‘I shall probably find him waiting for me when I go home. But of course, you are only joking. Poor old wretched! I wish I could do something for him. I think it is dreadful that anyone should be so miserable. I have got heaps of old clothes at home—do you think he should care for any of them? Why his rags were falling to bits.’

   ‘But he looks splendid in them,’ said Trevor. ‘I wouldn’t paint him in a frock-coat for anything. What you call rags I call romance. What seems poverty to you is picturesqueness to me. However, I’ll tell him of your offer.’

    ‘Alan,’ said Hughie seriously. ‘You painters are a heartless lot.’

    ‘An artist’s heart is his head.’ Replied Trevor, ‘and besides our business is to realise the world as we see it, not to reform it as we know it. A chacun son metier. And now tell me how Laura is. The old model was quite interested in her.’

    You don’t mean to say you talked to him about her? Said Hughie.

    ‘Certainly, I did. He knows all about the relentless colonel. The lovely Laura and the ten thousand pounds.’

    ‘You told that old beggar all my private affairs?’ cried Hughie. Looking very red and angry.

    ‘My dear boy,’ said Trevor, smiling, ‘that old beggar as you call him, is one of the richest men in Europe. He could buy all London to-morrow without overdrawing his account. He has a house in every capital, dines off gold plate and can prevent Russia going to war when he chooses.’

    ‘What on earth do you mean?’ exclaimed Hughie.

    ‘What I say,’ said Trevor. ‘The old man you saw to-day in the studio was Barron-Hausberg. He is a great friend of mine, buys all my pictures and that sort of thing and gave me a commission a month ago to paint him as a beggar. Que voulez? La fantaisie d’un millionaire! And I must say he made a magnificent figure in his rags or perhaps I should say in my rags, they are an old suit I got in spain.

    ‘Baron Hausberg!’ cried Hughie. ‘Good heavens I gave him a sovereign!’ and he sank into an armchair the picture of dismay.’

    ‘Gave him a sovereign!’ shouted Trevor and he burst into a roar of laughter. My dear you’ll never see it again. ‘Son affaire c’est I argent des autres.’

    ‘I think you might have told me Alan,’ said Hughie sulkily, ‘and not have let me make such a fool of myself.’

    ‘Well to begin with, Hughie,’ said Trevor, ‘it never entered my mind that you went about distributing alms in that reckless way. I can understand your kissing a pretty model, but your giving a sovereign to an ugly one—by love, no! besides the fact is that I really was not at home today. To anyone; and when you came in I didn’t know whether Hausberg would like his name mentioned. You know he wasn’t in full dress what a duffer he must think me!’ said Hughie.

    ‘Not at all. He was in the highest spirits after you left, kept chuckling to himself and rubbing his old wrinkled hands together. I couldn’t make out why he was so interested to know all about you; but I see it all now. He’ll invest your sovereign for you. Hughie pay the interest every six months. And have a capital story to tell after dinner.’

    ‘I am an unlucky devil,’ Growled Hughie.

    ‘The best thing I can do is to go to bed; and my dear Alan, you mustn’t tell anyone. I should dare show my face in the row.’

    ‘Nonsense! It reflects the highest credit on your philanthropic spirit, Hughie. And don’t run away. Have another cigarette and you can talk about Laura as much as you like.’

    However, Hughie couldn’t stop feeling horrible. He walked home feeling very unhappy and leaving Alan Trevor in fits of laughter.

    The next morning, when he was at breakfast, the servant brought him a card on which was written, ‘Monsieur Gustave Naudin! Dela Part De M. Le Baron Hausberg.’

    ‘I suppose he has come for an apology,’ said Hughie to himself, and he told the servant to show the visitor up.

    An old gentleman with gold spectacles and grey hair came into the room and said in a slight French accent, ‘Have I the honour of addressing Monsieur Erskine.’ Hughie bowed.

    ‘I have come from Baron Hausberg.’ He continued. ‘The Baron … I beg sir that you will offer him my sincerest apologies,’ stammered Hughie.

    ‘The Baron,’ said the old gentleman, with a smile, ‘has commissioned me to bring you this letter,’ and he extended a sealed envelope.

    On the outside was written, ‘a wedding present to High Erskine and Laura Merton, from an old beggar!’ And inside was a cheque of ten thousand pounds.

    When they married Alan Trevor was the best man and the Baron made a speech at the wedding breakfast.

    ‘Millionaire Models,’ remarked Alan, ‘are rare enough: but by love, model millionaires are rarer still.’

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THE NECKLACE by Guy De Maupassant

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 THE NECKLACE

By Guy de Maupassant

 

 

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    This short story was first published on 18 February 1884, in a French newspaper named Le-Gaulos. The story is known for its twisty ending … or you could say ironic end which indeed is the hallmark of De Maupassant’s writing style. The original French title of this book is ‘La Parure.’

    The story revolves around, only a few protagonists. Prime being Madame Mathilde Loisel. Who always imagined herself to be an aristocrat despite being born in a lower middle-class family. And she describes that as an ‘accident of fate.’ She marries a lowly paid clerk who tries his best to make her happy but has little to offer. Through lots of begging at work, her husband is finally able to get an invitation for both of them to the ministry of education’s royal ball and party. Where, Mathilde refuses to go for she has nothing good to wear and desires not to be embarrassed there.

    Her husband is upset to see her displeasure. So, he uses all his money that he has saved or was saving to buy a hunting rifle, and gives Mathilde four hundred francs to use. Mathilde buys a dress. But is still unhappy because she has no jewels to wear along with it. The couple does not have much money left. Her husband suggests that she should buy flowers to wear along with the dress. But Mathilde disagrees. He then gets a brainwave and suggests borrowing of jewelry from her friend Madame Jeanne Forestier for the evening. Mathilde jumps at the suggestion and visits her friend at once and borrows the fanciest peace. A huge scintillating diamond necklace.

    They then go for the ball. Where, Matilde outshines other women both in looks and waltz. Even the minister makes a comment on her accomplishments. After attending the party when they return home early in the morning Mathilde discovers the ‘Necklace’ has gone missing. Mr Loisel immediately goes in search of the necklace but is unable to find it. The couple is aghast. They try to find a quick way to replace it. They go to a shop and buy a similar looking necklace for thirty six thousand francs. But in doing so the couple has to sell everything they owned to secure loans at high interest rates to pay for the it.

    Ten years later, one day while walking along the Champs-Elysees, Mathilde suddenly sees Madame Forestier. She still looks as majestic as she looked ten years back. But she barely recognizes Mathilde. Mathilde is now haggard and in a shabby state. Where, she, really has to introduce herself.  The two then get around talking. Mathilde recounts the story of losing and replacing of the necklace. In a way she also points a finger that it was only because of her friend Madame Forestier that she has lived a terrible life thereafter and during the last ten years.

    Horrified Madame Forestier takes Mathilde’s hands in her own, explaining that the original necklace that she gave her was a fake one or ‘made of paste’ and was nothing more than five hundred francs.

LESSONS;

    One of the lessons out of the story is the dichotomy of ‘reality versus appearance.’ Mathilde is indeed beautiful outside. But inside she is discontented with her less-than-wealthy status and lifestyle. This reinforces the idea that wealth means happiness. Mathilde is gripped by a greed that contrasts with her husband’s kind generosity. She believes that material wealth will bring her joy, and her pride prevents her from admitting to Madame Forestier that she is not rich and that she has lost the necklace she borrowed.

    Because of her pride and possession with wealth, Mathilde loses years of her life and spends all of her savings on replacing the necklace, only to find out that the original necklace was a fake one to begin with. The story demonstrates the value of honesty. If Mathilde had been honest to Madame Forestier she’d likely have been able to easily replace the necklace and enjoy the prosperity she wanted but never had.

    The story has been adapted by many movies, sound tracks and stage plays. Some are:

  • The Diamond Necklace 1921. A British film
  • A String of Pearls. (1926) a chinese film
  • Sound track played in All India Radio’s ‘Hawa Mahal’ in Hindi.
  • Vennila Veedu a Tamil play uses a similar story line as a main theme.  

   *****

 

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHORT STORY: A DANGEROUS GAME

Copyright@shravancharitymission

A Dangerous Game

by Ajit Tripathi

    The ship rolled on the placid waters of the Devils Strait. It was growing dark. The rosy, post glow of the sunset had long since disappeared. The ship guided by a mysterious light was steering cautiously. Then suddenly, there was a deafening sound, as if all hell broke lose. A rocky under water reef had ripped open the frigate that disappeared into the Davy’s Locker. Seething and hissing foam was all that remained behind. No one had survived except for a weather beaten, rugged faced sailor.  He was aghast at what had occurred. His immediate worry was survival as he held on to some flotsam for dear life.

    He tried to peer into the darkness but failed to find his bearings but on a hunch swam in the direction to his right. He didn’t know how long he had been in water but was washed ashore tired, almost in a state of delirium. When, dawn broke. Jason (the shipwrecked sailor) woke up rubbing his eyes. Slowly, he recalled the incident and looked in the direction of the vanished ship. He felt a small pack on his back. Opening it he saw a small bottle of water and some victuals. Almost famished he lost no time in gobbling up whatever there was and thereafter took to exploring what appeared to be a small island.

    Apart from the incessant chattering of birds, scared looks of some scurrying rabbits and a passing mongoose there was very little wild life. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks. Right in a glade ahead, there stood a quaint little villa. He ventured in and was greeted by a liveried servitor who lost no time in taking him to his master.

    The master: “So you have come!”

    Jason: “Have you been expecting me?”

    The Master:  “As a matter of fact, yes. That eerie light you saw from the ship was simply to lure you chaps. I am sorry about that small liner or frigate as you call it. By the way I am Sir Drax.”

    Jason: “You mean the famous big game hunter who disappeared from the scene a few years ago.”

    The Master:  “I am flattered that you recognized me. But I would have wished under happier circumstances.”

    Jason: “Why is that?”

    The Master: “Years ago I had realized that animal is no match for a man’s intelligence. I decided that I would rather hunt man and so I devised a game. I will give my quarry provisions for twelve hours and give him a start of two hours in which to hide in the island. I will start the hunt with my dogs. In case I fail to hunt him down within twelve hours he becomes the master of the island.”

     Jason: “That is not fair. You have your dogs, the island is known to you.”

    The Master:  “But do you not see the prize that awaits you at the end of it should you win.”

    Jason: “How many have won?”

    The Master: ”None or else I wouldn’t be here. Now without wasting time I will ask you to start playing the hunted.” He nodded towards the servant who immediately brought the provisions.

     Jason: “But I will need a few more things-a small knife, a bed sheet for making a comfortable bed and a bottle of whisky that serves me both as an antiseptic and refreshing drink.”

    The Master thought for a moment and replied: “Take whatever you need, but the time for the hunt will not change” Jason was handed the things he wanted.

     Jason was soon on his way and after having covered a hundred yards or so he completely undressed himself and improvised an overall from the bed sheet. His own clothes he threw across the trails in different directions. He collected wild lichens, bitter fruits and some chilly looking fruits. After grinding them he threw them further down the trail in different directions to throw the dogs off the scent. Then he made use of the knife by whittling down dry twigs and small branches to fashion out a Malay Trap of sorts.

    The hunt was now on. Sir Drax started off with his dogs on leash and two double-barrelled rifles. With plenty of ammunition in his hunting jacket, that he had once worn, while hunting wild games in Africa. The dogs hit the false scent planted by Jason. One was snared partly by the Trap. The hunt wore on. Sir Drax was looking worried. His bravado and arrogance appeared to be ebbing.

     Another dawn was unfolding. Jason was making a hearty breakfast of bananas, wild fruits and coconut. The hunt was over.

    Jason had not slept in a more comfortable bed in the last fifteen days.

    NOTE: OBVIOUSLY JASON HAD WON. BUT IT WOULD BE A GOOD PLOY TO LET THE AUDIENCE/LISTENER WORK OUT THE ANSWER.

    Moral: even when the chips are down and situation is entirely hopeless one should have his wits about him like Jason did.

***

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

SHORT STORY– UBUNTU–I am because we are

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    The culture of ‘UBUNTU’ comes from Africa—I AM BECAUSE WE ARE

    I bring to you a very nice short story from Africa based on the motivational culture of ‘Ubuntu.’

    Once, an anthropologist, proposed a game to the tribal children of Africa. He placed a basket of sweets near a tree and made the children stand some 100 metres away. He then announced that whosoever reaches first would get all the sweets in the basket. When, he said ‘ready steady go!’

    Do you know what these children did? 

    They all held each others’ hands and ran together towards the tree. Divided the sweets in the basket equally among themselves and ate it and enjoyed it. 

    When the anthropologist   asked the why they did so, they answered,

‘Ubuntu.’

    Which meant

    How can one be happy when others are sad?

    Ubuntu in their language means …

    ‘I am because we are.’

    A strong message for all generations.

    Let us always have this attitude and spread happiness wherever we go.

    ‘Let ‘s have a ‘Ubuntu life.

    ‘I AM BECAUSE WE ARE’

*****

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THIS UNQUIET LAND … by Barkha Dutt

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

THIS UNQUIET LAND

(STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES)

By Barkha Dutt

(Published in 2016)

Publisher: Aleph

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    There is an old saying. ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.’ I think the saying fits in quite well in this case as you’ll come across many lives in this book.

    Barkha began working in 1994 for a news show that was originally broadcasted on Doordarshan. Her entry into journalism coincided with the birth of private TV. But, then, why this book all of a sudden? Showcasing India’s fault lines that runs deep and wide. Some of them even go back, centuries. The book is some three hundred plus pages. Where, she has selected certain topics, that have been haunting India for quite some time now. And these topics have even besmirched India’s reputation abroad. Basically she has handpicked issues that she came across during her career as a journalist. And around those issues the book spreads like a Banyan tree, but without any storyline. Hence it is difficult to summarise or even write a synopsis. However, what I’ve attempted here for you is, the trait of the book. Along with its central points that will give a sense of what the book is all about.

    The book spins around issues and the issues spin around Barkha. It has a gamut of aspects—starting right from her childhood, including parents, education, career, enthusiasm and even frustration. But most of the time … it is India’s helplessness. So, not a very superlative narrative for the country I would say. But I guess it can’t be helped. Because, for most journalists the uncompromising tenet is to first broadcast the negatives comprehensively, and beyond that if the time permits a few positive outlines too. Remember by broadcasting achievements you don’t get as many eyeballs as you get by broadcasting disasters. To substantiate the point Barkha quotes a VIP who says—‘India is a country that moves from headlines to headlines.’ Of course sensational ones. 

     The central theme of the book perambulates around, the last hundred years of India. One could call it the not-so-recent as well as the recent events of India. But then, while cruising through the book one does get a stale feeling, as if you’re zipping through some old newspaper columns or an old magazine article in staccato effect. Certain pages get you a feel as if you’re negotiating a long prose, though well described but high on verbosity. And what really keeps you charged during such narrations, are things that you don’t know, and that too, within what you know and also what goes on behind the scene. Many of us know a lot about the Kargil war through electronic and print media. Yet, we may not know, how important a role, late Mr Brajesh Mishra played in solving the crisis. Or we may have heard about Bhanvari Devi rape case in Rajasthan. But we may not know that ‘Bhanvari Devi’ was the starting point in the rape history of India where the other end was ‘Nirbhaya.’ The title covers the following chapters. Where, each chapter appears to be a short book in itself.

    PLACE OF WOMEN:  the chapter is almost like the rape history of modern India. The description below is about Bhanvari Devi and how ghastly.

     ‘Post rape: ‘Back at the police station, she was asked to strip and leave her ghagra behind as evidence. It was past midnight when she made her way home draped in the thin cloth of her husband’s turban.’ she picks the narration from Bhanwari Devi rape case of Rajasthan and links it up with Nirbhaya.

    In between, the lady author also spreads across to other rape cases, that had figured in various headlines during all these years. At times the narration appears as a memoir with a lot of emphasis on the sufferings of Indian women vis-a-vis the unceasing tyranny of the Indian men. Something, that is even otherwise known to most Indians. But then she doesn’t really relay any out-of-the-box suggestions, to at least dampen the malaise. She gives a good account of a lady journalist. Problems she faced while commencing her career. And in all of that, she juggles quite well with the words but the content doesn’t seem to be very uncommon. In certain pages sentences are long. But then they are vivid and to the point. The book has a tilt towards feminism which is quite obvious.

     It’s high on lexicon for an average reader, who might have to Google more often, to keep cruising. Therefore, the target audience is clearly the elite. But shouldn’t books with such historical sparks be, in easy read format? She has dug out some exhaustive statistics on females of India, especially, working women, and their sexual harassment.

    The book has a striking hard cover. The title is appropriate and gets further substantiated by a pin pointing sub title that says—STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES. It is well presented in terms of font and flow. But it is still not a very moving book. As it swings between, diverse chapters and the personal memoir and does not have a linear penetrating plot. And it goes on and on. Sure intermittently it has interesting frills. As a messenger she has reported the happenings in the most erudite style, but has not presented too much of her own view points. She also touches upon the Gulabi gang of Uttar Pradesh that once operated in full flow. At places the narration is quite pungent when you compare it with the topic. Chapter deals with women’s issues, especially rape where it also cites three other cases. But then there are no incites or suggestions to solve the menace. She also goes on to describe the methodology of women politicians and about the callousness of women officers who are not sensitive to women’s cause. Superwoman versus supermom is comparison she draws quite artfully.

THE COST OF WAR

    This chapter by and large takes you through the sad tale of Kargil War. During the war Barkha was often seen near the the LOC. It was well covered by the channel she was working for, then. I’m sure. She must be carrying evocative memories about it. Such memories don’t die. Rather, you carry them to your grave. In this chapter, she even goes on to describe the role of Brajesh Misra, principal secretary and national security advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in quite a detail, which you won’t come to know unless you read the book. She even elucidates the role that the diplomats of India played in bringing the war to an end, together with the balancing act of the US. She throws up some good war statistics. But she could have vented her views more ferociously. The chapter has a lot of stuff from ground zero.

    It fleshes out some good war statistics. It also hazily talks about gun configurations. The chapter explicates extensively, about the various wars with Pakistan and even the border skirmishes with China. She mixes the blend of her career and the Kargil war quite efficiently. For the general public doesn’t know what all goes on behind the scene and this is where she makes a killing. Excellent and moving description about martyr’s cremation.

     The sentence that moved me was, ‘And so in Kargil without snow shoes or proper high-altitude gear, Vishal and other first-time troops literally crawled their way up to peaks as high as 18,000 feet, where the temperature slipped to as much as ten degrees below zero to fight for the honour of their platoons and regiments.’

TERROR IN OUR TIME

    The chapter covers the gory parliament attack of 2001. It also gives a good account of, the history of terrorism in modern India. In this the lady author covers selected terrorist attacks. She gives a wide coverage of 26/11 Mumbai attack, describes Ajmal Kasab’s episode in detail. And how, in that moment of disaster, communities come together in Mumbai’s Zaveri bazaar. Narration is good and content is extensive. She also sketchily talks about farmer’s suicide. As a true messenger she reports whatever is happening in India. She talks about various issues without any solutions. Then she goes all over and even touches upon Sheena Bora murder case in page 95. She then even adds Samjhauta express and Malegaon blasts. A lot of it is the same and reverberates in your mind as news items of those times. But yes there are some finer points too, which were kept under the carpet, which is interesting. ‘Extremism is a bigger threat than terrorism’ she hears from another VIP.

    But in the ultimate analysis I would ask. If such books even reach the think tank of the dispensation to act upon, or they just get into their personal libraries and sit their as literary accolades. She further makes an important point–200 districts have Maoist movement—India’s red corridor. Where, she richochet’s some good statistics. And gives a good hidden perspective of India, overall.

IN THE NAME OF GOD

    She covers Gujarat riots together along with with the rapes that happened in 2002. A lot of it is a recount of recent history. How kar-sewaks were murdered and Muslims were massacred as a consequence of that. But she nowhere blames the media for reporting inflammable stuff. Rather she rarely points a finger at the media. She covers Gujarat riots in great detail but has less to say about the sentiments of the relatives of the kar-sewaks who were murdered in Godara. The narration appears as catchy news reports without author’s own modulation. She talks about the strong points of Indira Gandhi. She covers Babri Masjid demolition too. And compares the trinity– Narsimha Rao, Rajiv Gandi and Rahul Gandhi

A CHRONICLE OF KASHMIR

    Barkha mentions the minute India released Maulana Masoor Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed on 31.12.99 for hijacking IC-814 India turned into a soft state. Farooq Abdullah who was then the Chief Minister of J&K vehemently protested this. She narrates further, ‘the minute we gave in, India became a soft state; an apoplectic Farooq Abdullah, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir during the hijacking of IC-814, would tell me later. He phoned L.K. Advani, the then home minister, to vehemently oppose the release of terrorist.’ … She doesn’t hesitate in exposing India’s weakness. Then she covers the 1st suicide attack of the valley. Even harps about countries spreading terrorism, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. She of course has a lifelong obsession about J&K and doesn’t forget to talk about Nehru’s background and the birth and growth of JKLF. An interesting point that she makes is:

    ‘A month later in September, the prevaricating Maharaja Hari Singh made an offer of accession to India for the very first time. Nehru stunned him by making the deal conditional on the release of Sheikh Abdullah from jail. The maharaja refused.’ She also goes on to describe Patel’s conversation with Nehru. And of course she has described J&K’s constitutional history quite well and has also dealt with the malaise of Kashmir in detail.

OF POLITICAL DYNASTS, JUGGERANUTS AND MAVERICKS

    The chapter is full of anecdotal tales which the readers would love reading. It covers lady author’s encounter with various national and international leaders and even there close relatives. Where, it starts from Priyanka, Raga (Rahul Gandhi) and even Robert Vadhra. Barkha is curt and brusque when she wants to be. She compares Modi with Gandhis only to say, ‘Modi was determined to overthrow the political royalty of the Gandhis. He was a citizen who had come to take the kingdom.’ She disparages Raga, who had the luxury of several years of authority without any responsibility. But he neither became a minister in the government nor took charge of the party.

    She then goes on to describe the sum and substance of Arvind Kejriwal and at one point even draws a comparison between him and Raga. Both are youthful men, in their early forties—where, Arvind is acutely educated, and has a self achieved track record.

    Another interesting point that she makes is about Indira Gandhi under whose leadership Congress as an institution collapsed. She then spreads across to various political leaders of India and their parties. Her description about Mani Shankar Aiyar is engrossing. And there is a good compilation of political barbs. And of course how could she leave out Dr Manmohan Singh. L. K. Advani couldn’t have been left out either with his stories about Babri Masjid and his visit to Jinnah’s grave.

    The interesting comparision she draws is in between the ‘Chaiwala’ and the ‘Mufflerman’ (Namo and Arvind Kejriwal). Talks about ‘Achhe Din’ and ‘Make in India.’

    She opines about Modi, ‘I have always felt, in the many years that I have observed him, that Modi’s ambitions are personal not ideological.’

    I personally feel her overexposure to the affairs of Pakistan and Kashmir in some ways narrowed her journalistic prowess. She got branded. And that reflects in the book also. But then exposure is not always in your hands. She covers Nawaz Sharif and his delegation in the US, and his calling Manmohan Singh a ‘Dehati Aurat.’—that she clarifies.

    She talks about AAP party at length and the anti corruption movement.

A SOCIETY IN FLUX

    This chapter flows all over. It has no direction or plot. Whatever she felt … she has written about. And is quite a contrast to the previous chapters. I guess she wanted to close the book now. India is prone to disasters, so she talks about the Nagapattinam Tsunami of 2004, in Tamil Nadu which she had covered. She describes Ambedkar’s conversion ceremony to Buddhism. Where, she doesn’t forget to remind what Mahatma Gandhi had to say about conversion

    ‘I am against conversion, whether it is known as shuddhi by Hindus, tabligh by Mussalmans, or proselytizing by Christians.’

    Then she covers certain topics that had made it to the headlines. She of course digs into the history of India and fetches out things she had not come across in her career. She describes the pliant middle class of India. Talks a bit about the Modern School, where she had studied. Remembers, the Mandal agitation of 1992, and also brushes past IPL, Sunanda Pushkar and even Lalit Modi.

    Overall, a valuable read. Only if you’re interested in knowing how India operates or rather how the government of the day operates.

*****

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****