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BOOK CORNER: SAHIB’S WHO LOVED INDIA … compiled & edited by Khushwant Singh

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.

SAHIBS WHO LOVED INDIA

Compiled & edited by Khushwant Singh

    For far too long we have despised the English as unwanted rulers. Who exploited India and kept their distance from Indians.  And as soon as their tenures ended, they went back to their homes in England and were happy to forget the time they had spent in India.

This asymmetrical image of the English in India persists in the mind of most Indians. It is true that the majority of those who came here came because they could not find jobs in their own country. They hated everything about India: its climate, mosquitoes, flies, the filth and finally its dirt consummating into reek.

Plainly speaking they hated Indians. There were others who enjoyed the luxury of spacious bungalows with servants, shikar, riding, pig-sticking, drinking, dancing. But even they kept themselves aloof from Indians with their ‘whites only’ clubs.

However, there was a third variety that liked everything about India, stayed away from the racists club, went out of their way to befriend Indians and maintained contacts with them even after returning to England.

Some even lent tacit support to the freedom movement. They stayed on in India after the country gained independence, reluctantly returning to England when their bread winners retired.

Khushwant Singh was quite fortunate in knowing quite a few of this breed. Both, whom he befriended during his long years in England and those whom he got to know in India.

This book, therefore, is a collection of articles written by people who enjoyed India I would say and went back with pleasant memories.

In all there are about twenty-two articles in this book written by renowned Britishers such as Lord Mountbatten of Burma—as he calls him, Taya Zinkin—a prominent French born journalist and author. She was married to ICS officer Maurice Zinkin, J.A.K Martyn—the Head Master of Doon School and many other distinguished personalities.

The flavour that you get is quite contrasting. Like in present times you find so many Indians going abroad to work. Well … in those days of the British Raj, there were many Britishers who came to India to work. Some through the bureaucratic process and some on their own.

Initially they entered India with a lot of apprehension, of it being primitive but when they started working here they started enjoying the country. Especially, the open surroundings, the spacious bungalows and above all the warm people.

While zooming past the articles you’ll find some of them being even critical about the British establishment and the racist culture that they spread in India.

Some even disagreed with the thought process that India was not ready for ‘independence.’ That also brings me to the point that there is always a logical disconnect between the rulers and its citizenry.

It is a rare collection of essays that invites to revisit a vanished era of the sahibs and memsahibs. From Lord Mountbatten to Peggy Holroyde to Maurice and Taya Zinkin.

Britishers who lived and worked in India reminisce, about topics and points of interest as varied as the Indian Civil Service, the Roshanara Club, shikar and hazari, the amateur cine society of India, the Doon School, Rudyard Kipling and of course Mahatma Gandhi.

Selected from a series of articles commissioned by Khushwant Singh when he was editor of the illustrated weekly of India. These delightfully individualistic and refreshingly candid writings reveal a fascinating array of British attitudes, experiences, observations and fond memories. The occasional short-lived grouse and above all, a deep and abiding affection and respect for India.

It’s a less than a lengthy book of around a hundred and ninety pages full of fun. Especially, if you are interested in knowing about episodes that happened during the British Raj.

The articles are by ICS officers, journalists, technocrats, architects, teachers, BBC correspondents, government servants, army officers and bureaucrats.

I would give the book nine out of ten.

***

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)

*****

 

 

 

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BOOK CORNER: THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allan Poe

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 TELL-TALE HEART

By Edgar Allan Poe

    The Tell-Tale Heart is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in 1843 and is relayed by an unnamed narrator who endeavours to convince the reader of his sanity while simultaneously describing a murder he committed. You could call it self-confession. Since then, some movies have also been made on this particular theme.

    There are only five characters in the story. The narrator, the old man and the three policemen. To me the story appears to be a horror. The entire narration is in first person. Where, the narrator stays with the old man in the same house and is apparently quite fond of him and that also makes him quite friendly. But then an eye of the old man keeps irritating and scaring the narrator who feels it is a ‘devil’s eye’ each time he sees it. He feels the eye has a yellow film because of which it looks like an ‘evil’s eye’ or one could say a ‘vulture’s eye.’

    Even when the narrator is quite friendly with the old man, but whenever he sees that ‘evil eye’ something happens to him. One could call it ‘over acuteness of the senses.’ Upon seeing the eye, he becomes very aggressive and loses his cool. So, one day he decides to murder the old man just to get rid of the ‘evil eye’—you can call it a Nazi’s solution. During Hitler’s time. Nazi’s pursued this methodology of liquidating anything they didn’t like. And that reminds me of the many Jews they had liquidated.

    The narrator soon starts planning for the murder. Consequent to which he enters the chamber of the old man on seven nights. But on seeing the him fast asleep with his eyes closed he goes back. Because he reacts only when he sees the ‘vulture eye.’ The narrator each day carries a lantern along with him. The lantern is covered with a black paper all around. Except for a slit that is kept open and from that, a ray of light almost like a torch beam falls on the face of the old man.

    On the eight night when he enters the old man’s room. He finally finds the evil eye of the old man open. This is when he loses his temper and shrieks out of anger. He then pulls the old man down and overturns the bed on to him and suffocates him to death. But before the death when the narrator enters the room his lantern slips out of his hand and makes a sound and with that the old man gets up.  He looks around for the noise but is unable to find it. And because of the minor mishap the narrator stands still in a corner, so that he doesn’t get noticed. And while standing there in that pin drop silence he listens to the heartbeat of the old man. After, sometime, when the old man decides to go back to sleep he goes close to him when he finds the old man lying maybe half asleep with his evil eye open and this is when he gets enraged and he attacks. After killing him. He dismembers his body and buries it beneath the floorboards of the chamber.

    Upon hearing the narrators scream the cops are informed perhaps by some neighbour. At 4 am in the morning three policemen enter the house to investigate. But by now the narrator has done away with the body. After which he places all the furniture on top of the floor planks so that no one suspects the location where the body is buried.

    The police come and start their interrogation. The narrator very smartly answers all the questions. He feels he is successful in befooling the policemen. And the policemen too, don’t suspect him. He tells them that he has not seen the old man for a couple of days now. Perhaps, he had gone out shopping or even to his village.

    But then things suddenly change when the narrator gets to hear the heart beat of the old man. Initially the beat is low but gradually it starts getting louder. Slowly, he begins to feel scared. Thinking that even the cops are hearing it. But in reality it is the ticking of his conscience that is making the sound and not the heartbeat of the dead old man. So the cops can’t hear it.

    And finally, when he is unable to take it anymore and is overwhelmed with the feeling that the cops are also hearing the heartbeat he screams and confesses. Yes, he has murdered the old man and hid the body below the floorboards.

    This is when he is arrested for the crime.

    Moral of the story: It is hard to carry the baggage of crime solo. Sooner or later, one needs to confess it.   

    I would give the story nine out of ten.

***

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 CORNER: THE FINAL DIAGNOSIS by Arthur Hailey

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 FINAL DIAGNOSIS

Arthur Hailey

    Illness … doctor … pathologist … investigation … diagnosis … treatment. Yes, I’m talking of THE FINAL DIAGNOSIS by Arthur Hailey.

    At times, even an ace pathologist might have to send his findings, his slides to two experts who are contemporaries and in the same discipline of medicine. Where, one might say the tumour is malignant and the other might say the tumour is non-malignant or benign.

    So then, how does Chief Pathologist, Dr Joseph Pearson finally script his … final diagnosis. Basis which the surgeon would have to decide whether the amputation of leg is required or not. The pathologist is often known as the doctor the patient seldom sees.

    In ‘THE FINAL DIAGNOSIS’ Arthur Hailey unveils, the tension packed drama that is being played in the mammoth complexity of a great hospital. A world, where, one faulty diagnosis or one irrevocable error, precipitates, into appalling tragedies.

    In the enthralling story there is an ongoing professional war between the Chief of Surgery Kent O’ Donnel and Chief Pathologist, Joe (Joseph) Pearson—who was once an ace doctor but with the passage of time he has stagnated. Which he realizes only towards the end of his career.

    The book also describes the struggle of a young pathologist, David Coleman, who happens to be, doctor Joe Pearson’s deputy. The conflict emanates when he attempts to upgrade the standards of the hackneyed hospital lab which is controlled by the ageing and once brilliant doctor Joseph Pearson. Hailey takes us behind the reception areas, and into those emergency rooms and the bustling world of medicine, to reveal those hidden corridors of a world that the patient never gets to see.

    The centre of action is the Three Counties Hospital in Burlington, Pennsylvania. The novel has a plethora of characters … prime being:

    Orden Brown—Chairman of Three Counties Hospital

    Eustace Swayne—Board Member and a retail magnet of a chain of departmental stores.

    Doctor Joseph Pearson—Chief Pathologist around whom the entire novel revolves.

    Doctor Kent O’ Donnel—Chief of Surgery and Head of the Medical Board.

    Doctor David Coleman—Deputy of doctor Joseph Pearson

    Doctor Charles Dornberger—The baby’s doctor … Paediatrician

    Doctor Lucy Grainger—Orthopedic Surgeon

    Hilda Straugham—Chief Dietician

    Vivian Lobourton—Trainee nurse

    Mike Seddons—Doctor

    Alexander and his wife Elizabeth.

    The language of the book is moving and precise, with tailor made sentences that fits the bill. There is usage of high-toned vocabulary, but it doesn’t give that shade of verbosity. The intensity and tone of the sentences change as frequently as the change of scene. The flow of book gives you a feel as if you’re seeing and not reading—something close to a movie. Most descriptions are vivid as if you are witnessing the scene. Especially, the ones that describe the happenings in autopsy, pathology and even surgery.

    The novel makes an important point for doctors through Chief Pathologist, doctor Pearson.  And that is, one should never give up his or her pursuit for the latest inventions in the medical world, no matter how much work pressure is there. For that was the sole cause of doctor Pearson’s failure. And that holds good for any career today.

    And the scenes when Vivian is diagnosed of cancer and when Alexanders lose their new born baby because of a faulty blood test report in the hospital are nail-biting and highly emotive.

    I would give nine out of ten to this book. So, don’t just miss it.

    One last point—I was amazed at the manner, in which, these doctors smoked in the hospital and drank in parties. And to their patients they must be canvassing otherwise. It is said about authors that they try and paint the real picture of the times when the novel is written. I now believe in it ever more. This novel was written way back in 1959. Still I would say. Pick it up, even if you have to find time to read it.

***

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: WAS ARTHUR HAILEY ONE OF THE MOST VERSATILE STORYTELLER OF HIS TIMES?

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

    Wasn’t Brirish Canadian novelist Arthur Hailey one of the most prolific and versatile storytellers of his times? You bet he was. According to me he was one of the most talented writers who had an amazing eye for detailing which you’ll notice if you’ve read his novels.

        His plot driven storylines were set against the backdrop of various complex industries. His meticulously researched books which include his best sellers such as Hotel … wheels … money changers … overload have sold 170 million copies in 38 languages.

    Hailey would usually spend three years on a book. First he would dedicate a year on research. Then for six months he would review his notes and finally in the next 18 months he would write. His research was painstaking. To cite an example. He had read 27 books on the hotel industry before he wrote ‘Hotel.’ He spent months at a Detroit car plant before writing ‘Wheels.’ And he spent his time at the age of 67—with rebel guirellas in the jungles of Peru for his book ‘Evening News.’

    Hailey himself had few literary pretensions—he often said—I’m a storyteller and anything else is just incidental.

    But the short point that I want to make is something different. Was Hailey one of the most talented and versatile writers of his times? All the books that he wrote belonged to different industries. Mind you. You take a lifetime to imbibe knowledge and experiences of a particular industry which he did in three years and in that manner he was a genious. And he wasnt a student of any business school and so he didn’t have that business school instincts for any natural insights. He was a flight lietenant who had taken retirement.

    I will corrobaorate my point with the list of his diversified books as below:

  • FINAL DIAGNOSIS 1959- about medicine world
  • IN HIGH PLACES 1962- about politics and career of a Canadian Prime Minister
  • HOTEL 1965—about hotel industry
  • AIRPORT 1968—about running of airports
  • WHEELS 1971—about auto industry
  • MONEY CHANGERS 1975—politics inside a major bank
  • OVERLOAD 1979—about electricity production
  • STRONG MEDICINE 1984—about pharmaceutical industry
  • EVENING NEWS 1990—about media industry
  • DETECTIVE 1997—about a Miami police detective

    All his books were bestsellers and all pertained pertain to different industries and therefore writing them was no mean feat.

    Today, you find many established authors restricting themselves to a single theme or genre or at times even sequels. With that logic Arthur Hailey has written on a whole lot of themes and industry that are poles apart. So don’t you think he is the most versatile story teller of his times?

***

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

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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)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: LETTERS OF GURUDEV RABINDRANATH TAGORE

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.

LETTERS OF GURUDEV RABINDRANATH TAGORE

    If the razzmatazz of this hurly-burly digital life is beginning to throttle your peace, pace and cheer of mind? If the endemic digital platform—whatsapp, played, more by adults than children, since its invention has turned your life into a hackneyed saga. You need to go back in times for some more sans souci. Let me therefore take you through the synopsis of a letter written by Tagore. That winds-back in time and is indeed a refreshing read.

    Tagore had written many such letters during his lifetime in Bengali. Later, in 1920 he translated them into English. And it goes without saying, that these letters take you to that litterateur’s magnetic world almost immediately. It unleashes that ‘thinking English’ on you that revs up your literary appetite. When you go into a pleasant reverie. It of course, stay’s away from the current day ‘instant English’ with that digital makeup. He narrates each letter in that typical atavistic settings. Today, I have attempted to summarise one such letter for you.

BANDORA, BY THE SEA –written in October 1885

    I have turned twenty seven. While being seated by the sea side in Bandora, located in Ponda Taluka of North Goa. I’m able to capture the gestures of the unprotected sea that huffs and puffs. And while doing so it transforms into the tiresome froth. The sea equates with the feel of some shackled giant as if straining at its bonds. That too, right in front of the gaping jaws of the land. Where, we build our homes on the shore and watch it lashing its tail at the sea. Wow! What a massive show of strength that sends the waves splashing high, like the muscles of a giant.

    Primeval and from time immemorial this battle between the land and water has been going on. The parched earth slowly and steadily is only adding the sea to its kitty and thus spreading a broader apron for its children. Where, the ocean is receding under consternation step by step. Wailing and sobbing, beating its chest in despair, as if to a somber call of beating the retreat. One shouldn’t forget. Sea was once the sole monarch—utterly unencumbered.

    After all, land has only risen from its womb and usurped its throne. Since then sea has become the mad old creature with a heavy crest of foam. It moans and groans, and laments continually. Like King Lear … exposed to the fury of these elements.

    These events of land and sea keep impacting my mind on and on. As nothing else has happened of late apart from my turning, twenty-seven.

    But turning twenty seven is no trifling … happening for me. As I have crossed the meridian of the twenties. I am now progressing to thirty. They say I’m now headed towards maturity an age. Where, people begin to expect fruit rather than fresh foliage consumed hitherto. But alas, where is the promise of fruit. As I shake my head. Life still feels like a brimful of luscious frivolity, with not a trace of deep philosophy.

    Folks in general have started complaining: “Where is that something that we expected of you. In the hope of which, we absorbed the soft tenderness of your childhood? We can’t be putting up with immaturity forever? So, it is high time for us to know what we shall gain from you. We want an estimate of the proportion of oil which even, a blindfolded miller or an unbiased critic can squeeze out of you.”

    It is impossible to delude people into waiting expectantly any longer for results. While I was under age they trustfully gave me credit. But it is sad to disappoint them now that I am on the verge of thirty. But what am I to do? Words of wisdom will not come so easily. I am utterly incompetent to provide things that may profit the multitude. Except for, a snatch of a song, or some tittle-tattle, and a little merry fooling, that I’ve been able to advance. As a result, those who had high hopes will turn their wrath on me. But then, no one has ever begged them to nurse these expectations of me.

    Such were the thoughts that assailed me since a fine Bysakh morning. When, I wake up amidst the fresh breeze and light with a new leaf and flower. Only to find, that I had stepped into my twenty-seventh year.

    Even way back in 1885 Gurudev was able to comprehend the rivalry between the land and the sea. 

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: WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME? … by Ravinder Singh

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read initiative–

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

TITLE: WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME?

RAVINDER SINGH

Publisher: Penguin

 Abridged in about thousand words for your quick assimilation

    There are times when a frightful mishap might instigate you to write a novel around it. This appears to be one such instance. Where, the author opens the book with an insinuation of a personal tragedy. He as if nudges his dad—who is enduring through the aftermath of a road accident, and then coming to terms with his life, which is not easy. Especially, when, life is not going to be the same there on.’

    This stimulates the author to make a valid point by highlighting some deplorable statistics that happens to be a sad reality of our country—‘Around a lakh and fifty thousand people die in road accidents each year in India. Just in case a disease would have taken these many lives. It would have been pronounced long back, as an epidemic. But sadly in India it is still not considered so. In less than every four minutes, carelessness claims a life on Indian roads. By the time you finish reading this book, probably, it would have claimed a lot many of us.’

    CENTRAL THEME: Of course … it is a love story.  With an overdose of coincidences, that spirals into a stunning romance. That would generally appeal to the young and perky age group or the likes of them. There is also a life lesson that the book offers in the ultimate. But that could have been scripted, more forcefully, in all sincerity. The book tow chain’s between the regular chapters narrating the past and the in-between lackluster chapters narrating the present, titled as the ‘Present’ that comes at regular intervals. That is after the completion of a few regular chapters. The author could have avoided this to make the continuity of the plot more weighing and the end more wholesome.

    PLOT: The series of coincidences, commence, when Rajbeer and Lavanya are juxtaposed in an aircraft flying from Mumbai to Chandigarh. Rajbeer hails from Patiala, where he owns a garment store along with his brother and father. He comes from a Sikh background but he himself is a cut-sardar.     

    Lavanya is a girl from Assam who has spent her childhood and teens in Shillong. The scenic hill capital of Meghalaya. So we are now talking of a North and North-East alliance. She now works in Mumbai, and is on her way to attend her best friend Shalini’s wedding in Chandigarh. They both start chatting in the aircraft that soon evolves into a warm friendship with some rollicking banters. This is followed by another coincidence. When at the airport they inadvertently lift the wrong bags that looked similar. This warrants Rajbeer to return half way from Patiala. When, he realizes the mistake and decides to track down Lavanya through the airlines, to retrieve his bag that is laden with cash as her bag was with him. This gives them the opportunity to be together for some more time. After the wedding Lavanya goes back to Mumbai. This is followed by another coincidence when Lavanya gets her MBA admission in Indian School of Business at Mohalli. So she is back with Rajbeer once again when the courtship only grows and intensifies. But by now one begins to feel as if one is watching an Anand Bakshi movie of the seventies starring Rajesh Khanna. A quote from the book, ‘who knows if love is a creation of conspiracy’ surely justifies the string of coincidences.

    Gradually, the romance peaks into a full blown love story. When, the protagonists finally decide to spend their lives together by getting married. While doing her MBA, Lavanya also starts teaching destitute children in the slums. That happens to be her prime mission and passion of life. In fact earlier she had given up her Google job because of this undying passion of hers.  She is extremely talented—a graduate from IIT Bombay who follows her heart. Where, Rajbeer is from GuruNanak Dev Engineering College of Punjab that gives him a fleeting complex of sorts.

    But then Rajbeer’s family has reservations about Lavanya, because she has chinky features with ‘almond eyes’ so to say and is sadly described as a ‘Chinese’ by Rajbeer’s father. A typical mindset of North Indian’s when it comes to people from the North-East. To which Rajbeer revolts in a soft manner when he doesn’t go with his family to Darbar Sahab in Amritsar. Instead he escorts Lavanya to Shillong on a holiday. The trek scene of Shillong is described quite in detail by the author—especially for those who love trekking.

    Lavanya with her exceptional talent continues with her classes for the destitute. Soon she is shortlisted by her college for a debate. Where, she represents the state of Punjab even when she is from the North-East. And as luck would have it. She figures in a tweet sent out from the twitter handle of the Chief Minister of Punjab. This makes her a local celebrity overnight. When, the family of Rajbeer finally agrees to marry them.

    But then the story takes a bizarre turn from chapter twenty three. When, Rajbeer tries to locate Lavanya and Chutki the young daughter of a police constable Madhav Singh. Who regularly attends Lavanya’s classes in the slums, in the midst of a severe storm and rain, one evening. Where, his inveterate habit of breaking traffic rules and speeding to madness finally makes the horrendous dent in their lives. I should not reveal the suspense I guess.

    The story has a plethora of intimate scenes. Perhaps, that happens to be the key driver of, such romantic novels.

    On the whole it was not a very moving story for me. However the book has its strength in terms of detailing and imagination of the author that includes:

    A trek in Shillong/A Punjabi wedding/ Bhangra dance/A sensual scene in the kitchen while making tea/Description of Guwahati and Shillong/Passionate feelings of Lavanya and Rajbeer all throughout/Description of a … typical Punjabi family/Local market of Patiala/A well defined buying process of salwar kameez perhaps he had lived the role/ Detailing of Patiala town/A scene of the hospital.

    About running through this book. The choice is yours …..

 *****  

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

*

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. 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)

*****