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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

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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)

*****

 

 

 

 

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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)

*****

 

 

 

 

BOOKISH VIEW: SUPERSTAR INDIA–FROM INCREDIBLE TO UNSTOPPABLE–SHOBHAA DE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read initiative–

TITLE: SUPERSTAR INDIA

–FROM INCREDIBLE TO UNSTOPPABLE–

SHOBHAA DE

PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN IN 2008– 456 pages 

Abridged for a quick read

 

    The book is full of masala … quite like the proverbial Bhanmati ka pitara—the wonder casket. It seems, whatever, dawned her mind and heart. She just penned it down—so in many ways she has opened her heart. Shobhaa is, as old as independent India. So, she runs through India keeping that in mind, in her flamboyant narrative style. But the content is quite scattered and even skewed at places. In fact any regular gazer of a newspaper or a periodical may find a great amount of familiarity with the content. So, while reading the book the reader might just start reminiscing, where he or she had read it earlier. As ‘SUPERSTAR INDIA’ is not some deeply treasured secret in this day and age of internet, driven by search engines, and the aggressive paper and electronic media. So a lot of it seems to be a lift-off from there. True enough. The book is well styled, well ornamented, orotund, and is quite generous. With the munificent usage of ‘within-the-brackets’ that simplifies or elaborates the meaning of many of its subtle sentences—her aristocratic and well born writing style—I guess. Also, in galore there are ellipses and punctuation marks. The narration is loudly verbose but with sound construct of sentences, of course to zenith the literary astuteness. In a nutshell it is a good detailing of, the already circulating India’s contemporary and ancient history of those times, in a monotonous and drowsy speed and style. Where, she could have sharpened the content by not leaving it open ended and maybe with some sub-chapters and even span breakers.

    Nevertheless, the book also has some latent strengths, within the long spans of boredom. She is indeed very bold and doesn’t spare anyone which is plus point. She brings in a wide range of topics. But it doesn’t tie up all to well, to derive any lessons of life. So an average reader may not find it very interesting. Especially, if he has mistook the book for an interesting stretched out story. Although the title of the book is SUPERSTAR INDIA. But in reality she is more critical than appreciative about her. Where, I’m forced to think. As to why did Shobhaa think of writing this book at all? It remains a mystery to me. Did she want to criticize the West? Or did she want to praise India. Down the line she also criticizes Indian men to raise the flag of Indian women? She praises India only when she compares her with the Western World. Otherwise, she is critical about her most of the times.

    She starts off well with her visit to Agra but then she goes all over the place after some sixty odd pages. Where, she covers personalities, political system, Indian beliefs, Hollywood, Bollywood, the Mayawatis and the ilks, schedule caste and tribe in great detail. 

    She downloads most of what she knows about India. But then it does not add up to a formidable plot. No doubt she throws her heart out, by being abusive, frank and quite unbothered. But all of that doesn’t churn into an interesting read. Let’s not forget the acid test of any book is the impact it leaves behind after you’ve completed it. She has flagged some great facts and some interesting points as mentioned below:

    People still correlate Bollywood with old songs and not the new ones/She appreciates India here and there, but also criticizes her, no end. But when she compares India with the western world she begins to praise her/Describes how India is evolving sexually/Talks about Indian realities/Promotes the Taj Mahal/Paints a picture of Indian hospitality/Book satisfies the Indian ego but only partially. As it even magnifies the chinks of Indian civilzation/Reveals many hidden facts about Indian Corporate Inc/Facts about foreign citizens of Indian origin … like Zubin Mehta and Laxmi Narain Mittal to name a few/India’s great culture of sacrifice/She sounds like an American Born Confused Desi (ABCD) herself. When she makes fun of Indians when it comes to their age old customs and habits/Her views are quite clear about how we treat our elders/describes an Indian family life/ She also talks of metro cities and its cultures but doesn’t go so much in detail about the rural areas barring the established religious and social practices/Indian weddings including destination weddings/Intermittently even speaks of her family/Talks about big brother America and page 3 culture/At quite a few places it is India versus the Western world/Talks of Indian spices in the US/Talks of Indians being superior in many ways where she builds the tempo in certain pages/Very vividly she describes the contemporary lifestyle  of the Indian megapolis/Indian shamelessness while defecating in the open/She even errs out to see love making in Bombay chawls/Bathroom habits/Death rituals/Bombay municipal corporation/Describes Indians as sex machines/Writes quite bluntly about sex/Talks about ‘nazar’—the evil eye. And calls herself a firm believer of that/She even talks of death rituals/ She is very bold and doesn’t spare anyone—is what I liked about the book/She is descriptive but doesn’t connect the dotted lines/ She describes the lives in China and Pakistan quite well.

 Some catchy lines from the book

    ‘When all hell fails, we pull out Gandhi. The Mahatma has saved India’s ass in more ways than one. If he only knew how frequently and arbitrarily we use the Gandhi trick to impress outsiders.’

    ‘Most Indians are like elastic bands, ready to stretch themselves or shrink, depending on circumstances.’

    ‘Adjust’ is a favourite word in India, and is used across the board, even by those who barely speak intelligible English.’

    ‘The trouble is Indians aren’t used to being prosperous. We are more comfortable dealing with poverty—after all, poverty is a staple here, and has been for centuries.’

    Well … if you have the glorious time and patience pick it up.

*****  

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)

*****

 

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: And Then There Were None–Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read Initiative—

Title: ‘And then there were none’

(Also published as—‘Ten Little Indians’)

Agatha Christie

St Martin’s paperback

A 275 page novel abridged to around eighteen hundred words (ten minutes) for your quick assimilation

Hindi movie ‘Gumnam’ was only an adaptation of this book. So, were the movies made in Hollywood on the theme of this novel.

    I’m sure many of you must have read this amazing novel sometime in the past. Well, I read it for the third time only recently. What an amazing book it is. A master suspense and a masterpiece, and the most difficult of her books to write confessed the lady author. It was first published in the UK by Collins Crime Club in November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song that serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until 1939. Its American reprints and adaptations were all re-titled as ‘And Then There Were None.’

    The narration is so precise and intricate that you tend to forget after a while. And when you read it again you get a feel as if you’ve not read it earlier. It is Christie’s best-selling novel with more than 100 million copies sold. It is also the world’s best-selling mystery and one of the best-selling books of all times. Publications international lists the novel as the seventh best-selling title. So, if you’ve not had the chance or time to read this book earlier  at least go through the synopsis below.   

CENTRAL IDEA

    The novel starts with a bunch of people being lured into coming to an island under various pretexts such as offers of employment, to enjoy a late summer holiday, or even to meet old friends. And mind you. All have been complicit in the deaths of some other human beings. But have either escaped justice or committed an act that was not legal. The guests and the two servants who are present there are ‘charged’ with their respective ‘crimes’ by a gramophone recording after dinner on the first night and informed that they have been brought to the island to pay for their sins.

    They are the only people on the island, and cannot escape due to the distance from the mainland and the inclement weather. Gradually all the ten are killed, one after the other. Each, in a manner, that seems to match, the nursery rhyme. Nobody else seems to be left alive on the island by the time of the last apparent death. A confession in the form of a postscript to the novel, unveils how the killings took place and who was responsible.

PLOT

    On a hot day in early August, sometime in the late 1930s, eight people arrive on a small, isolated island off the Devon coast of England. Each appears to have an invitation tailored to his or her personal circumstances. Such as, an offer of employment or an unexpected late summer holiday invitation. Where, they are received by Thomas and Ethel Rogers. The butler and the cook-cum-housekeeper, who state that their hosts, Mr Ulick Norman Owen and his wife Mrs Una Nancy Owen, whom they have not yet met in person have not arrived. But have left instructions, which strikes, as odd to all the guests.

    A framed copy of a nursery rhyme ‘Ten Little Niggers (called ‘Ten Little Indians’ or Ten Little Soldiers in later editions), hangs in every guest’s room, and ten figurines sit on the dining room table. After supper, a gramophone record is played. It contains a recording that describes each visitor in turn. And accuses each of having committed a murder but escaping justice, and then asks if any of the ‘accused’ wishes to offer a defence. All but Anthony Marston and Philip Lombard deny the charges, and Miss Brent even refuses to discuss the matter.

    They discover that none of them actually know Owens and conclude that the name ‘U.N. Owen’ is shorthand for ‘Unknown’. In the aftermath of the recording, Marston finishes his drink and immediately dies of from cyanide poisoning. The remaining guests notice that one of the ten figurines is now broken, and the nursery rhyme appears to reflect the manner of death (‘One choked his little self and then there were nine.’)

    The next morning, Mrs Rogers’ corpse is found in her bed. She had died in her sleep from an overdose of chloral hydrate. By lunchtime, General MacArthur is also found dead, from a heavy blow to his head. Two more figurines are found to be broken, and again the deaths parallel the rhyme. Miss Brent, who had refused to speak with the men present, relates the account of the gramophone charge against her to Vera Claythorne, who later tells the others.

     A search for ‘Mr Owen’ shows that nobody else is on the island except the remaining seven. The island is a ‘bare rock’ with no hiding places (see how Christie had planned the story) and no one could have arrived or left. Thus they uncomfortably conclude that any one of the seven remaining person is indeed the killer. Justice Wargrave leads the group in determining that as of yet, none of them can definitively be ruled out as the murderer. The next morning, Rogers is found dead while chopping wood, and after breakfast, Miss Brent is found dead in the kitchen, where she had been left alone after complaining of feeling unwell. She had been injected with potassium cyanide with a hypodermic needle.

    Wargrave then suggests searching of all the rooms, and locking up of any potentially dangerous items. Suddenly, Lombard’s gun goes missing from his room. When Vera goes upstairs to take a bath, she is shocked by the smell of seaweed left hanging from the ceiling of her room and screams. The remaining guests rush upstairs to her room. Wargrave, however, is still downstairs. The others find him seated, immobile and crudely dressed up in the attire of a judge. Wargrave is examined briefly by Dr Armstrong and pronounced dead from a gunshot to the forehead.

    That night, Lombard appears surprised when he finds his gun returned to his room. Blore catches a glimpse of someone leaving the house but loses the trail. He then discovers Armstrong is absent from his room, and the remaining three guests conclude that Armstrong must be the killer. Vera, Blore and Lombard decide to stay together at all times. In the morning, they unsuccessfully attempt to signal SOS to the mainland from outside by using a mirror and sunlight. Blore then decides to return to the house for food by himself—the others are not hungry—and is killed by a heavy bear-shaped clock statue that is pushed from Vera’s window sill, crushing his skull.

    Vera and Lombard are now confident that Armstrong is the killer. However, shortly afterwards, the duo come upon Armstrong’s body washed up on the beach, which they do not immediately recognise due to decomposition. They realise that Armstrong could not have killed Blore. Panicked, each concludes the other must be the killer, overlooking that neither had the opportunity as they were together on the beach and when they found Blore’s body. Quickly regaining her composure, Vera suggests moving the doctor’s body past the shore, but this is a pretext. She manages to lift Lombard’s gun. When Lombard lunges at her to get it back, she shoots him dead.

    She returns to the house in a shaken dreamlike state, relieved to be alive. She finds a noose and chair arranged in her room, and a strong smell of the sea. With visions of her former lover, Hugo, urging her on, in a post-traumatic state, she adjusts the noose and kicks the chair out from under her.

    Two Scotland Yard officials are puzzled by the identity of U. N. Owen. Although they can ostensibly reconstruct the deaths from Marston to Wargrave with the help of the victims’ diaries and a coroner’s careful report, they are forced to conclude that ‘U. N. Owen’ was one of the victims, but are unable to determine which one. They note that the chair on which Vera stood to hang herself had been set back upright, indicating that someone—presumably the killer—was still alive on the island after her suicide.

POSTSCRIPT FROM THE KILLER

    In a postscript, a fishing ship picks up a bottle inside its trawling nets. The bottle contains a written confession of the killings, which is then sent to Scotland Yard. It is not clear how long after the killings the bottle was discovered.

    In the confession, Justice Wargrave writes that he has long wished to set an unsolvable puzzle of murder, but is morally limited to victims who are themselves guilty and deserving of such an end. He explains how he tricked the gullible Dr. Armstrong into helping him fake his own death under the pretext that it would supposedly give him the freedom to help the group identify the killer, and also explains that after Vera died, he replaced the chair in her room neatly against the wall. Finally, he reveals how he used the gun and some elastic to ensure his own death matched the account in the guests’ diaries. Although he wished to create an unsolvable mystery, he acknowledges in the missive a “pitiful human” need for recognition, hence the confession.

He also describes how his first chronological victim was actually Isaac Morris, the sleazy lawyer and drugs trafficker who anonymously purchased the island and arranged the invitations on his behalf. Morris was poisoned before Wargrave departed for the island. Wargrave’s intention is that when the police arrive they will find ten bodies, with evidence that someone had been alive after each death, but nobody else on the island, and no way to trace the killer through his invitations or preparations. He states that, although there are three clues that could guide the police to the correct killer, he is confident they will be unable to do so and that the mystery will remain unsolved until the confession is retrieved.

Current published version of the rhyme

Ten Little Indians

Ten little Soldier Boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Soldier Boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Soldier Boys travelling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Soldier Boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Soldier Boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Soldier Boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Soldier Boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Soldier Boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two little Soldier Boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Soldier Boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

*****

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

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

*

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)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: MRS FUNNY BONES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read initiative–

MRS FUNNYBONES

TWINKLE KHANNA

    ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one—George R R Martin—American novelist. The book only elucidates the above quote, in content, language and even the format. As, one truly lives through Twinkle Khanna’s day-to-day chores, while reading it. I would hesitate from calling the title, a book. As that is a misnomer in itself. Truly speaking it is only a collection of Twinkle’s Sunday columns, tied into one hilarious spine.

    In all the two hundred and twenty five plus pages, one only breezes past Twinkle’s flurry of activities. Goodness! She has so much to do, so much to brood, so much to improve and above all so much to … guftagoo. Nevertheless, it is written quite vivaciously, but mostly in present tense. Where, one only gets to feel as if one is tied to a timepiece, as the narration keeps ticking episodically over the pages, seamlessly till chapters change: 8.15 a.m., 1.30 p.m., 1,45 p.m., 2 p.m., 2.30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4.15 p.m., 4.50 p.m., 5 p.m., 5.30 p.m., 7 p.m.

    It tosses out relevant day to day issues that are meticulously captured by the lady author. She tries to scoop out something out of nothing most of the times which is not easy to do. But then you also require that hilarious frame of mind to keep receiving the humour one after the other, at close intervals—a kind of deluge of some … subtle side-splitting.

    The story builds around her routine activities. And where, one even gets an opportunity to peek into the life of her super star husband, referred all throughout as the ‘man of the house.’ And her son, mostly and mildly reproached as, ‘the prodigal son’ together with the infant daughter as, ‘the baby girl.’ Well that is not all. There is also an interesting quick-witted Punjabi Mummyji, Twinkle’s mother-in-law. Who keeps adding enough masala to the pantomime, periodically, over the fast turning pages. But where, pages can turn for more than one reason. To be frank it is quite a bhan-mati-ka pitara if I may say so. In a nutshell, many lady readers, on quite a few pages would like to identify themselves, as the chief protagonist or at least aspire, to be one.

     Well if you’re looking for a thumping storyline or a plot this is certainly not the book. Plus you also need a particular mood to enjoy its funny occurrences and laughter filled happenings. Which in the normal context, you would get to read in the newspaper column once a week on a relaxed Sunday morning. So even the state of mind and timing are important for such titles where the plot and storyline are amiss.

    The narrative connotes to be a personal account of Twinkle Khanna—a mightily placed business woman with two children and a high profile husband. I would say she milks her day well, and also doesn’t hesitate in making a mountain out of the mole hill. At times one also wonders if it is a detailed biography of the ‘daily chores’ per se or a ‘to-do-list’ in the metaphoric sense. The book of course is an accumulation of her columns. So, laugh it out there and then. For there are no carry forwards in it.

    The book doesn’t impact you in any significant manner. But yes, floods you each moment with some interesting vignettes and needle precision sentences. The effervescence of which is not felt for long, especially when the pages are over.

    In the little room that the lady author had without a storyline or a plot she has done a good job and so have the publishers.

    A good read if you’ve not picked it up already.

*****

    This is an attempt to spark an 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. 

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)

*****

 

 

 

 

Book review: MY MUTE GIRL FRIEND

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read–

(Just launched)

MY MUTE GIRL FRIEND

Himanshu Rai

The author of the book is an engineer and so is the place where the story unfolds, an engineering college, in Jabalpur. The two main protagonists Vaidehi and Rohan are also engineering students. And that is where, one wonders. If it is a churn out of, the author’s own imagination or an … aap-beeti. But either which way. The piercing story line, takes over, after only, a few pages. It is an erupting and moving story with roller coaster emotions and captivating suspense that carries on, till the end. Not to be revealed here, as the book has just been launched.

But yes. It does have, some good lessons for the college goers. In terms of how to manage their love life in the milieu of their professional springboard. The author has vjividly described each happening that brings about a kind of visual effect. And has also handed out, some time tested tenets. Especially, when you are caught up between love, life and career.

Overall a good read.

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 characteristics. 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. Book 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 HAPPY PRINCE– By Oscar Wilde

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read–

THE HAPPY PRINCE

Oscar Wilde

    Some souls think of others even after death and some don’t even while they are alive. Many of you may have read this beautiful story some time back. Nevertheless, let me narrate it for you, once again.

    Long ago, there lived a ‘Happy Prince’ whose statue was placed on a tall column in the city, at a height for all the citizens to see and admire. The statue was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold. And for the eyes, it had two bright sapphires with a large ruby glowed on to the sword-hilt.

    As a prince he was greatly loved and revered by the Mayor and even by the town councillors.  His sobriquet as ‘happy prince’ had become so famous that there was seldom a passer by, who did not appreciably comment on the statue. For example:

     ‘Why can’t you be like the Happy Prince?’ asked a sensible mother of her little boy who was crying for the moon. ‘The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything.’

    One night there flew into the city a little Swallow. Whose friends had gone off to Egypt some six weeks before, but he had stayed behind. For, he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. Whom, he had met early in the spring when he was flying down the river, after a big yellow moth. Since then he had been attracted by her slender waist and he had stopped to converse with her.

    But since the Swallow did not get proper response from the Reed he too decided to leave for Egypt to see the Pyramids. All day long he flew, and in the night he arrived at the city. Where, he was looking for a place to settle down when he saw the statue of the ‘Happy Prince’ on the tall column and alighted just between the feet of the statue.

     ‘I have a golden bedroom,’ he chirped. And then looked around and prepared to sleep. But as he was putting his head under his wings, a large drop of water fell on him. That got him curious. As there was not a single cloud in the sky and all the stars were twinkling.

     Then another drop fell.

     ‘What is the use of a statue if it cannot keep the rain off?’ he said; ‘I must look for a good chimney-pot,’ and he determined to fly away.

     But before he could even open his wings, a third drop fell. When he looked up, and saw – Ah! what did he see?

     The eyes of the Happy Prince were filled with tears that were running down his golden cheeks. His face was so beautiful in the moonlight that the little Swallow was filled with pity.

     ‘Who are you?’ he asked.

     ‘I am the Happy Prince.’

     ‘Why are you weeping then?’ asked the Swallow.

     ‘When I was alive and had a human heart,’ answered the statue, ‘I did not know what tears were, for I lived in the Palace of Sans-Souci where sorrow is not allowed to enter. In the daytime I played with my companions in the garden, and in the evening I led the dance in the Great Hall. Round the garden ran a very lofty wall, but I never cared to ask what lay beyond it, everything about me was so beautiful. My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so I died. And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot choose but weep.’

     ‘What, is he not solid gold?’ murmured the Swallow to himself.

     ‘Far away’ continued the statue in a low musical voice, ‘in a little street there is a poor house. One of the windows is open, and through it I can see a woman seated at a table. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, for she is a seamstress. She is embroidering passion-flowers on a satin gown for the loveliest of the Queen’s maids-of-honour to wear at the next Court-ball. In a bed in the corner of the room her little boy is lying ill. He has a fever, and is asking for oranges. His mother has nothing to give him but river water, so he is crying. Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, will you not bring her the ruby out of my sword-hilt? My feet are fastened to this pedestal and I cannot move.’

    ‘I am waited for in Egypt,’ said the Swallow.

     ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so thirsty, and the mother so sad.

     The Happy Prince looked so sad that the little Swallow felt sorry. ‘It is very cold here,’ he said ‘but I will stay with you for one night, and be your messenger.’

     ‘Thank you, little Swallow,’ said the Prince.

     So the Swallow plucked the great ruby from the Prince’s sword, and flew away with it, in his beak over the roofs of the town.

     He passed by the cathedral tower, where the white marble angels were sculptured. He passed over the river and various other places. At last he came to the poor house and looked in. The boy was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. In he hopped, and laid the great ruby on the table beside the woman’s thimble. Then he flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy’s forehead with his wings. ‘How cool I feel,’ said the boy, ‘I must be getting better;’ and he sank into a delicious slumber.

    Then the Swallow flew back to the Happy Prince, and told him what he had done. ‘It is curious,’ he remarked, ‘but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold.’

     ‘That is because you have done a good action,’ said the Prince. And the little Swallow began to think, and then he fell asleep.

     When day broke he flew down to the river and had a bath.

         ‘To-night I go to Egypt,’ said the Swallow, and he was in high spirits at the prospect.

     When the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince. ‘Have you any commissions for Egypt?’ he cried; ‘I am just starting.’

     ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘will you not stay with me one night longer?’

     ‘I am waited for in Egypt,’ answered the Swallow.

    ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘far away across the city I see a young man in a garret. He is leaning over a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint.’

     ‘I will wait with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. ‘Shall I take him another ruby?’

     ‘Alas! I have no ruby now,’ said the Prince; ‘my eyes are all that I have left. They are made of rare sapphires, which were brought out of India a thousand years ago. Pluck out one of them and take it to him. He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food and firewood, and finish his play.’

     ‘Dear Prince,’ said the Swallow,’I cannot do that;’ and he began to weep.

     ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’

     So the Swallow plucked out the Prince’s eye, and flew away to the student’s garret. It was easy enough to get in, as there was a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, and came into the room. The young man had his head buried in his hands, so he did not hear the flutter of the bird’s wings, and when he looked up he found the beautiful sapphire lying on the withered violets.

     ‘I am beginning to be appreciated,’ he cried; ‘this is from some great admirer. Now I can finish my play,’ and he looked quite happy.

     The next day the Swallow flew down to the harbour. He sat on the mast of a large vessel and watched the sailors hauling big chests out of the hold with ropes. ‘Heave a-hoy!’ they shouted as each chest came up. ‘I am going to Egypt!’ cried the Swallow, but nobody minded, and when the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince.

     ‘I have come to bid you good-bye,’ he cried.

     ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince,’will you not stay with me one night longer?’

     ‘It is winter,’ answered the Swallow, and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm. My companions are building a nest in the Temple. Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea.

     ‘In the square below,’ said the Happy Prince, ‘there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her.

     ‘I will stay with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow, ‘but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then.’

     ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’

     So he plucked out the Prince’s other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. ‘What a lovely bit of glass,’ cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing.

     Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. ‘You are blind now,’ he said, ‘so I will stay with you always.’

     ‘No, little Swallow,’ said the poor Prince, ‘you must go away to Egypt.’

     ‘I will stay with you always,’ said the Swallow, and he slept at the Prince’s feet.

     All the next day he sat on the Prince’s shoulder, and told him stories of what he had seen in strange lands. He told him of the red ibises, who stand in long rows on the banks of the Nile, and catch gold fish in their beaks; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the world itself, and lives in the desert, and knows everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly by the side of their camels, and carry amber beads in their hands; of the King of the Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as ebony, and worships a large crystal; of the great green snake that sleeps in a palm-tree, and has twenty priests to feed it with honey-cakes; and of the pygmies who sail over a big lake on large flat leaves, and are always at war with the butterflies.

     ‘Dear little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘you tell me of marvellous things, but more marvellous than anything is the suffering of men and of women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and tell me what you see there.’

     So the Swallow flew over the great city, and saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets. Under the archway of a bridge two little boys were lying in one another’s arms to try and keep themselves warm. ‘How hungry we are’ they said. ‘You must not lie here,’ shouted the Watchman, and they wandered out into the rain.

     Then he flew back and told the Prince what he had seen.

     ‘I am covered with fine gold,’ said the Prince, ‘you must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy.’

     Leaf after leaf of the fine gold the Swallow picked off, till the Happy Prince looked quite dull and grey. Leaf after leaf of the fine gold he brought to the poor, and the children’s faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played games in the street. ‘We have bread nod’ they cried.

     Then the snow came, and after the snow came the frost. The streets looked as if they were made of silver, they were so bright and glistening; long icicles like crystal daggers hung down from the eaves of the houses, everybody went about in furs, and the little boys wore scarlet caps and skated on the ice.

     The poor little Swallow grew colder and colder, but he would not leave the Prince, he loved him too well. He picked up crumbs outside the baker’s door when the baker was not looking, and tried to keep himself warm by flapping his wings.

     But at last he knew that he was going to die. He had just strength to fly up to the Prince’s shoulder once more.’Good-bye, dear Prince!’ he murmured, ‘will you let me kiss your hand?’

     ‘I am glad that you are going to Egypt at last, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘you have stayed too long here; but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you.’

     ‘It is not to Egypt that I am going, ‘ said the Swallow. I am going to the House of Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not?’

     And he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips, and fell down dead at his feet.

     At that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had broken. The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully hard frost.

     Early the next morning the Mayor was walking in the square below in company with the Town Councillors. As they passed the column he looked up at the statue: ‘Dear me! how shabby the Happy Prince looks!’ he said.

     ‘How shabby indeed!’ cried the Town Councillors, who always agreed with the Mayor, and they went up to look at it.

     ‘The ruby has fallen out of his sword, his eyes are gone, and he is golden no longer,’ said the Mayor; ‘in fact, he is little better than a beggar!’

     ‘Little better than a beggar,’ said the Town Councillors.

     ‘And there is actually a dead bird at his feet,’ continued the Mayor. ‘We must really issue a proclamation that birds are not to be allowed to die here.’ And the Town Clerk made a note of the suggestion.

     So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince. ‘As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful,’ said the Art Professor at the University.

     Then they melted the statue in a furnace, and the Mayor held a meeting of the Corporation to decide what was to be done with the metal. ‘We must have another statue, of course,’ he said, ‘and it shall be a statue of myself.’

     ‘Of myself,’ said each of the Town Councillors, and they quarrelled. When I last heard of them they were quarrelling still.

     ‘What a strange thing!’ said the overseer of the workmen at the foundry.’This broken lead heart will not melt in the furnace. We must throw it away.’ So they threw it on a dust-heap where the dead Swallow was also lying.

     ‘Bring me the two most precious things in the city,’ said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird.

     ‘You have rightly chosen,’ said God, ‘for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me.’

*****

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

(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

(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 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. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Now available in Amazon.com

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****