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SHORT STORY: THE HAPPY MAN’S SHIRT

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 HAPPY MAN’S SHIRT—an Italian folktale, retold (Italo Calvino)

    Once there was a king by the name of Giphad. He ruled a very peaceful … yet powerful kingdom. All his people loved and adored him. Everything was just going fine in his kingdom. Except for his son Jonash. Jonash was very unhappy for some unknown reason. He would sit is his room staring blankly out of the window at the lands and frown.

    The king addressed his son one day, ‘What on earth is upsetting you, Jonash? What is it that you don’t have? What is making you so distraught?’ The young king only shrugged his shoulders. The king added, ‘could that be a girl, a particular woman that has caught your eye? Tell me her name and I will move mountains to have the two of you married at once.’

    ‘No, it’s not the girl. I don’t know why I’m so unhappy.’ The king nodded at this and walked off. Later the king pondered if such a situation continues with his son he might die out of melancholy.

    He thought his son required professional help. So, he issued a decree inviting all the top physicians, astrologers and wise men of the kingdom come to him. When they arrived, the king made them meet his son. And after three days of deliberations the astrologers finally came up with a solution. ‘Your Majesty,’ Janklo, the head astrologer spoke. ‘We have thought through the problem in great depth. In order, to help your son, you must find a happy man. A man who is happy without any possessions and desires.’ The king raised an eyebrow at this. ‘I now have to find a happy man?’

    ‘Yes,’ replied the head astrologer, ‘and when you find the happy man you must trade his shirt for your son’s shirt, then all will be fine.’

    The king agreed and dismissed them. He called his Prime Minister and other dignitaries to his court and told them to go out and find for him a truly happy man. He had posters placed all over the kingdom offering a handsome reward to anyone who could find a truly happy man.

    the first person who was made to appear before the court was a priest. “Are you happy?’ The king’s question was simple and to the point. ‘Yes, milord, I am very happy.’

    ‘Well then, how would you like to be my bishop?’ At this the priest perked up. ‘Oh yes, your majesty, nothing would bring me greater joy.’ The king got very angry at this. He ordered the priest to leave at once before he decided to imprison him. ‘You are an absolute liar, and on the lookout to better yourself. So, get out of my castle.’ He shouted as he got furious.      

    Nevertheless, the search for a happy man continued. A week had gone by when there was news that the neighbouring king was a real happy man. He had a lovely wife and many children. He had no enemies and had a peaceful but powerful kingdom. Thinking this to be a possible solution, the king sent his ambassador to enquire after him.

    ‘It is true that I have everything I wanted. But I fear I may die soon and lose it all. Every night I lie in bed thinking I will lose it all.’ With this answer, the ambassador thought it wise not to ask for the kings shirt. And when king Giphad was given this news he was furious. For he had no clue what to do next. His son was getting more and more depressed and as a result of that, he could have expired.

    So, in desperate need for a change and some fresh air the king decided to go for a shoot. When he reached the outskirts of the city the king noticed a hare a few meters away and tried to shoot it with his arrow. But the arrow only grazed the hare and the animal escaped into the woods. Following the hare, the king moved away from the rest of his party. After a few minutes, he gave up looking for the hare and decided to head back but suddenly stopped. There was a sound coming from his left. He discreetly drew closer. Someone was whistling a small tune. Coming close to the whistle he saw a dashingly handsome blond youth lying on the reeds. The lad was on his back gazing at the many clouds in the sky.

    ‘Hey you there! Boy! Tell me … how would you like to be appointed to the highest position in the land as the king’s personal advisor?’

    ‘Advisor eh?’ The youth sat up at once and scratched his chin. ‘Such a troublesome position. Sorry I’ll have to pass it. For I’m fine without it.’ The king beamed at this answer.

    ‘You’re the one! Come on! On your feet boy!’ He grabbed the youth and dashed back to the men in his camp. ‘My son is saved! My son is saved!’ He turned to the young man and gestured warmly. ‘You boy, you can have from me anything that you wish. But I need … I need.’ The terrified youth looked at the king strangely and asked, ‘You need what?’

    King replied.

    ‘My son the prince is dying and only you can save him. Come closer.’ The king grabbed the youth, smiling in his brightest of smiles and quickly began to unbutton the youth’s jacket, and then suddenly stopped. His arms dropped to his sides.

     The happy man wore no shirt.

***

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)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

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BOOK CORNER: THE UNEXPECTED GUEST … by Agatha Christie

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 UNEXPECTED GUEST

by Agatha Christie

Novelisation by Charles Osborne

    ‘The Unexpected Guest’ is a novelisation by Charles Osborne of the 1958 play by the same name written by the queen of crime fiction, Agatha Christie. This novelisation was first published in the UK by Harper Collins on 6th September 1999, and in US by St. Martin’s Press on 1st October 1999.

    Just like the play. The novelisation is a straightforward transfer of the stage lines and directions of Christie’s script into a smooth written narrative. Charles Osborne chose not to add characters, lines or even scenes which would alter in any substantial way what had been presented on the stage some forty-one years ago. Although minor amendments were made to produce suitable chapter endings or beginning of chapters.

    Hindi film ‘Dhund’ of 1973, produced and directed by B R Chopra with a powerful caste of Navin Nischol, Sanjay Khan, Zeenat Aman, Danny Denzongpa, Devan Verma, Madan Puri was based on this play of Agatha Christie.

    Now let us come to storyline. South Wales, close to Bristol Channel forms the backdrop of this novel. And before I take you through the plot let me give you an overview of the main characters.

  1. Richard Warwick—Is the deceased who was shot. The murder mystery moves around this character. He is crippled post an accident.
  2. Laura Warwick—wife of deceased Richard Warwick. Confesses to the murder of her husband Richard in the beginning.
  3. Michael Starkweddar—Is the stranger whose car lands in a ditch and stalls in the foggy night around the hilly track.
  4. Julian Farrar—A local politician and Richard Warwick’s friend, suspected of having an affair with Laura.
  5. Miss Bennet in short Benny—A combined housekeeper and a secretary.
  6. Angell—The male nurse attendant of Richard Warwick.
  7. Jan Warwick—Richard Warwick’s young half brother.
  8. Warburton—A nurse.
  9. Macgregor—Father of the child who was run over by Richard Warwick some years ago.
  10. Sergeant Cadwallader—From the police department but extremely poetic in nature. Looks for poetry in everything.
  11. Inspector Thomas—Cop who investigates the case.
  12. Mrs Warwick—Mother of Richard Warwick

   

    On a foggy night, while driving around the hills a man by the name of Michael Starkweddar drives his car into a ditch near an isolated house. Choiceless, he enters a house which is close by and finds the body of a dead man slumped in a chair. A woman stands over the corpse, with gun in hand, and confesses to the murder. She gives her name as Laura Warwick, the wife of the dead man. She goes on to explain that he was always drunk, abusive and mad after shooting.

    Michael decides not to turn her to the police. The two decide to come up with a cover-up story to protect Laura. In the end they settle on an enemy from the past by the name of Macgregor whose son was run-over by Richard Warwick several years ago. And who is now the man murdered.

    They slip a paper into Richard’s pocket with the date of the accident saying, ‘paid in full.’ Then they stage a murder, so that it appears to have been recent, alerting the residents of the building.

    The police are soon alerted. They begin investigation. When it is revealed that Macgregor is dead and then suspicions start running wild.

    Meanwhile Michael discovers that Laura is having an affair with another man by the name of Julian Farrar who happens to be an adjacent neighbour, and, also, a local politician. There is a conversation in the book that stretches a couple of pages where Laura questions Julian if he had killed Richard and where Julian insinuates at Laura that even if you have killed Richard he will take the blame. So, both in a way blame each other. Michael however believes Laura to be guilty.

    Finally, it is revealed that Michael only is Macgregor and that he come to avenge his son.

    He shouts this to Laura along with the fact that he cares for her and jumps through the window, running away.

    The book is less than two hundred pages. The language is plain English so you don’t require a dictionary every now and then.

    I would give the book eight 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)

*****

 

 

 

   

A caution for Times of India

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

    While breezing past the morning editorial of Times of India, Delhi edition, yesterday the 4th of October 2018, I came through an unpardonable mistake as pointed above. Instead of ‘Nobel Prize’ what is mentioned is ‘Noble Prize.’ Hiding behind semantics in this case that ‘Noble is Nobel’ is futile because Nobel is a name and a proper noun.

    The short point is TOI needs to be much more careful when its editorials are considered sacrosanct by its readers and litterateurs. 

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: PANCHANTRA by Vishnu Sharma

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

PANCHTANTRA

By Vishnu Sharma

    Panchatantra moral stories are one of the most popular collections of animal-based fables. Originally written in Sanskrit, where, each of these fables have a concomitant moral. These stories are simple to understand. They are colourful and appropriate even for tiny tots and provide valuable lessons that stay in the mind … forever.

    The legend about the origin of Panchatantra goes back to times of King Amarashakti. Who had appointed a scholar by the name of Vishnu Sharma to educate his three sons. Vishnu Sharma soon realized that conventional tools and techniques of teaching will not work well with these princes, so he decided to teach them through stories instead. He, therefore, wrote a collection of stories under the following five volumes, and so it was named as Panchatantra (‘pancha’ – five and ‘tantra’ – systems).

  • Mitra labha (gaining friends)– Collection of stories relating to winning of friends.
  • Mitra bheda (losing friends)– Collection of stories relating to losing friends.
  • Aparïksitakárakam (acting without thinking) – Collection of stories relating to how imprudence leads to losing what is important.
  • Labdhapranásam (Loss of gains)– Collection of stories that mention how to come out of difficult situations without losing things.
  • Kákolùkïyam (Crows and owls)– Collection of stories about rules and strategies of war and peace.

The Panchatantra was translated into many languages, including English, Indian vernacular languages, Persian and Arabic.

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: KALIGRAM–1891 by 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

KALIGRAM 1891

By Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

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

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THIS UNQUIET LAND … by Barkha Dutt

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

THIS UNQUIET LAND

(STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES)

By Barkha Dutt

(Published in 2016)

Publisher: Aleph

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE COST OF WAR

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

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

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

TERROR IN OUR TIME

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

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

IN THE NAME OF GOD

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

A CHRONICLE OF KASHMIR

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

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

OF POLITICAL DYNASTS, JUGGERANUTS AND MAVERICKS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A SOCIETY IN FLUX

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

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

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

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

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Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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