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LITERARY CORNER: THE NAMESAKE by Jhumpa Lahiri

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.

    Jhumpa Lahiri’s full name is Nilanjana Sudeshna “Jhumpa” Lahiri (born July 11, 1967) is an American author known for her short stories, novels and essays in English, and, more recently, in Italian.

    Her debut collection of short-stories, ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ (1999) won her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN-Hemingway Award. Her first novel The Namesake (2003), was also adapted into a popular film of the same name. Her second story collection, ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ (2008) won the ‘Frank O’Connor’ International Short Story Award, while her second novel, ‘The Lowland’ (2013), was a finalist for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction. In these works, Lahiri explored the Indian-immigrant experience in America. In 2011, Lahiri moved to Rome, Italy and has since then published two books of essays, and has a forthcoming novel, written in Italian. She has also translated some of her own writings and those of other authors from Italian into English.

    In 2014, Lahiri was awarded the National Humanities Medal. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Princeton University. The novel begins in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1968. Ashima Ganguli, expecting a child, makes a snack for herself in the kitchen of her apartment, which she shares with her husband, Ashoke. The two met in Calcutta, where their marriage was arranged by their parents.

    Ashoke is a graduate student in electrical engineering at MIT. Though Ashima was afraid to move across the world with a man she barely knew, she dutifully did so, satisfying her family’s wishes. She gives birth to a boy in the hospital in Cambridge. Ashoke, nearly killed in a train accident as a young man in India, decides that the boy’s nickname, or pet name, should be Gogol, after Nikolai Gogol, the Russian writer. Ashima and Ashoke agree to register the boy’s legal name as “Gogol.” Gogol is Ashoke’s favorite author, in part because Ashoke was reading Gogol during the train accident. A dropped page of that book helped the authorities to recognize Ashoke in the wreckage, and they saved his life.

    The Gangulis wait for an “official” name for Gogol to come in the mail, from Calcutta. But Ashima’s grandmother, who has the ceremonial honour of naming the boy, suffers a stroke, and her letter with Gogol’s official name is lost in the mail. The family settles into life in Cambridge, with Ashima learning to take Gogol around on her errands. As the family prepares for its first trip back to Calcutta, Ashoke and Ashima learn that Ashima’s father has died suddenly. Their trip is shrouded in mourning. Ashima, especially, misses her parents and her home in Calcutta, despite the family’s growing network of Bengali friends in the Boston area. Around the peak of the story the lady author even brings up the abbreviation ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) and how they manage in the US.

    The Gangulis move to a Boston suburb, a university town where Ashoke has found a job teaching electrical engineering. Gogol begins pre-school, then kindergarten, and Ashima misses spending time with him, and walking around the neighbourhood. Gogol begins school, and although his parents have settled on an official name, Nikhil, for him to use there, Gogol insists on being called “Gogol,” and so the name sticks. And he is referred both as Gogol and Nikhil in the book. Ashima and Ashoke have another child, a girl named Sonia. Years pass, and the family settles into the modest house in the suburbs, on Pemberton Road. In high school, Gogol grows resentful of his name, which he finds strange, not “really” Indian. He learns about the life of Nikolai Gogol in a literature class, and is horrified by that man’s bizarre, unhappy existence. Ashoke gives Gogol a copy of Gogol’s stories for his fourteenth birthday, and almost tells him the story of his train accident, but holds back. Gogol hides the book in a closet and forgets about it.

    Gogol officially changes his name to Nikhil before going to Yale. He meets a girl there named Ruth, and they fall in love, dating for over a year. After waiting hurriedly for Gogol’s delayed Amtrak train, one holiday weekend, Ashoke tells his son about the train-wreck that nearly killed him, and that gave Gogol his name. Gogol was unaware of the story until this point. Nikhil develops a love for architecture, and after graduating from Yale, he attends design school at Columbia, then lives uptown and works for a firm in Manhattan.

    He meets a young woman in New York named Maxine, who leads a cosmopolitan life with her parent’s downtown. Nikhil essentially moves into Maxine’s home, and the two date seriously. Gogol introduces Maxine to his parents one summer, then spends two weeks in New Hampshire with Maxine’s family, the Ratliffs, believing that their life, as opposed to his parents,’ is paradise.

    Ashoke takes a visiting professorship outside Cleveland and moves there for the academic year. He comes home every three weeks to see Ashima and take care of household chores. Ashoke calls Ashima one night and tells her he has been admitted to the hospital for a minor stomach ailment. When Ashima calls back, she finds out that Ashoke has died of a heart attack. The family is stunned. Gogol flies to Cleveland and cleans out his father’s apartment. The family observes traditional Bengali mourning practices, from which Maxine feels excluded. Soon after this period is over, Maxine and Gogol break up.

    Gogol continues his life in New York, though he visits his mother and sister in Boston more frequently. Ashima sets Gogol up with Moushumi, a family friend from Pemberton Road, who now studies for a French-literature PhD in New York. Gogol and Moushumi initially resist this blind date, but later find that they like and understand one another. They continue dating and soon fall in love. After about a year, they marry in a large Bengali ceremony in New Jersey, near where Moushumi’s parents now live. They rent an apartment together downtown.

    Time passes. The couple takes a trip to Paris, where Moushumi delivers a paper at a conference. The marriage strains. Moushumi likes spending time with her artistic, Brooklyn friends, whereas Gogol finds them frustrating and selfish. Gogol also resents the spectre of Graham, Moushumi’s banker ex-fiancé, who was good friends with the artistic crew Moushumi still adores. Moushumi, feeling constricted in the marriage, begins an affair with an old friend, an aimless academic named Dimitri Desjardins. She keeps the affair a secret from Gogol for several months, but eventually Nikhil catches her in a lie, and she admits all to him. They divorce.

    Gogol returns to Pemberton Road for a final Christmas party. His sister Sonia is marrying a man named Ben, staying in the Boston area. Ashima decides to spend half her time in Boston and half in Calcutta, close to relatives. Gogol continues working as an architect in New York, but for a smaller firm where he has more creative input. Nikhil goes up to his room and finds the copy of Gogol’s stories his father gave him once, realizing how much the author meant to his father. Gogol, feeling close to Ashoke’s memory, finally begins reading Gogol when the novel ends.

    It’s a very sweet novel that will interest both Indians staying in the US and elsewhere and even Indians staying in India. The book does impact you, especially, because the world has now gone global with a stream of Indians settling down in the US and with many dreaming to be there. I would give the book eight out of ten. Do find time to read this book.

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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is 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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Literary corner: Good Boss Bad Boss–Robert Sutton

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.

    Robert Sutton is a professor in Stanford University. This book was first published in the year 2010. In life we all have bosses. Some are good and so remembered. Some are atrocious and are soon forgotten. So, quickly analyse yourself as to in which category you fall.

    Numerous studies around the world drew similar conclusions, noting that 75% of the workforce reports that their immediate superior is the most stressful part of their job. And a lot of feudalism still exists out there. Professor Sutton, the best-selling author of ‘The No Asshole rule,’ explores how good and bad bosses affect the workplace and what distinguishes one from the other.

    Sutton’s research is comprehensive and his anecdotes are interesting and far out. As you might guess from the title of his last book. He indulges in salty language and profanity, so be warned. With that caveat, I recommend his book to anyone who has a boss—or—is—a boss. I have divided the summary into 3 parts. The first part being:

NEGATIVE IMPACT OF BAD BOSSES     Bad bosses, especially bullies, have a profound negative impact on their workplaces. In a 2007 survey of almost 8,000 U.S. adults, 37 percent had experienced being bullied at work. Of those respondents, 72 percent said they suffered abuse from their superiors. Employees with their obnoxious bosses were more likely to make intentional mistakes that is (30% as against 6 %), and report sick when they were healthy (29 % as against 4 %), and put minimal effort into their work (33 % vs. 9 %).

    A boss can be bad in many ways, but whatever the permutation, ill-behaved bosses make people feel sick. In England, researchers tracked 6,000 civil service workers for 20 years. Those with bosses who were hypercritical, poor listeners or stingy with praise experienced higher rates of angina, heart attacks and death from heart disease than those working for benevolent bosses.

    Finnish or (Finland) and Swedish studies show similar results. Employees working for bad bosses frequently report feeling angry, stressed out, emotionally numb, depressed or even anxious. It is normally said an employee doesn’t leave the company but he leaves the boss. On the flip side, employees are more satisfied and productive when they feel their bosses care for them.

    Organisations with good bosses enjoy healthier employees, more profitability and greater employee retention.

BALANCE DETERMINATION AND “SMALL WINS.”

    Good bosses are not micromanagers who suppress creativity and interrupt workflow, and they’re not laid-back, like bosses who fail to achieve company goals. Good bosses walk the line between stepping in when necessary and letting their employees work without interference. Good managers have determination, or “grit”—that is, “perseverance and passion towards long-term goals.” Bosses with grit regard work as a marathon, not a sprint. They sustain effort through adversity and never stop learning.

    Good bosses don’t just plan to meet long term goals. They also set out to achieve small wins along the way and they also motivate staffers to reach for lofty goals. For example, some people ‘freak out or freeze up’ when their tasks become overwhelming or too complex. People are more effective when they conquer smaller tasks and celebrate small victories. Helping staff members stay calm and confident is one reason to break projects into manageable, and contained segments.

    Bosses must meet certain performance goals without destroying their workforce. Partners at one law firm made, on an average, almost $1 million a year, but over time they became exhausted by their quest to achieve enough billable hours to satisfy their bosses. Like many other high pressure leaders, this manager was oblivious to his nasty behaviour and bad reputation. Bad bosses tend to have inflated views of their own abilities and performance. By contrast, great bosses strive for a balance between performance and humanity.

    As the research shows, the more time you spend around rotten apples—those lousy, lazy, grumpy and nasty people—the more damage you will suffer. When people are emotionally depleted, they stop focussing on their jobs and instead work on improving their moods. If you find that there are a few subordinates who are so unpleasant that, day after day, they sap your energy you need to inspire others and feel good about your own job, where my advice is—if you can’t get rid of them—spend as little time around them as possible.

    Flipping through the pages further. I see a list that includes the 11 Commandments for wise bosses. Further, there are topics like: How to lead a good fight; tricks for taking charge; and a recipe for an effective apology—which is interesting and the one I liked the most.

    The components of an effective apology are: No sugar coating, take the blame fully, apologize fully, take immediate control over what you can. Explain what you have learned, communicate what you will do differently, and get credit for improvements. Sutton describes how this looks when it is successful.

    In late August 2008, Maple Leaf Foods was responsible for a number of deaths and illnesses caused by bacteria in the meats produced in its plant. So then, how did the CEO, Michael McCain handle the situation? The CEO Michael McCain, announced in a press conference that the plant was closed. He apologized to those hurt by his firm’s products and admitted that he and others in the plant were responsible for the tragedy. He went into detail about the steps Maple Leaf was planning to rectify the problem and emphasised that it was his job to restore the faith of the Canadian people in Maple Leaf.

    By December 2008, polls indicated that confidence in Maple had risen from 60% to 91% since the crisis began. McCain’s swift actions and willingness to take personal responsibility were largely responsible for the turnaround.

    The author has also included sections on issues that bosses deal with every day, including how to create Psychological safety for your employees and how to shield them from “red tape, interfering executives, nosy visitors, unnecessary meetings, and a host of other insults, intrusions and time wasters.”

    These techniques not burdening your employees with excessive meetings, which are notorious time and energy suckers, intercepting and dealing with problems and people so that your employees can focus on their work, and proactively intervening with

upper management when bad directives come down that your people either cannot implement or that will likely harm the company.

    Then there is a chapter titled, “Don’t Shirk the Dirty Work”. Bosses are the ones who have to lay people off, confront poor productivity, or do other things that will hurt others. Author says that dirty work does less harm when bosses add four antidotes into the mix: That is production, control, understanding and compassion.

    First this, predictably helps people know when to relax versus when dread and vigilance are warranted, which protects them from the emotional and physical exhaustion that results when people never feel safe from harm for even a moment. Bosses, for example, can warn people that layoffs are imminent or, conversely, that workers are safe for the next three months.

    Second, the best bosses know that it is better to give people explanations they like than no explanation at all. Employees who are given sound and believable explanations for unsettling changes are less prone to become angry and anxious, retaliate, quit, steal, or become less productive. When fear is in the air, your mantra should be: Simple, concrete, credible and repetitive.

    Third, great bosses help followers feel powerful rather than powerless, especially during rough times. This means that dirty work will do less harm if you can give people some control over when and how bad things happen to them. Fired employees will suffer less if they have control over where they go next, how they leave, and when they leave.

    Fourth the best bosses convey empathy when they make and implement tough decisions. For example, don’t lay people off using text messages, email, or in a public place. Do realize that one day you may be on the other side of the table, so treat people the way you’d like to be treated in this situation.

THE 11 COMMANDMENTS FOR WISE BOSSES

  1. Have strong opinions but weakly held beliefs.
  2. Do not treat others as if they are idiots.
  3. Listen attentively to your people. Don’t just pretend to hear what they say.
  4. Ask a lot of good questions.
  5. Request others for help and gratefully accept their assistance.
  6. Do not hesitate to say, ‘I don’t know.’
  7. Forgive people when they fail, remember the lessons, and teach them to everyone.
  8. Fight as if you’re right, and listen as if you’re wrong.
  9. Do not hold grudges after losing an argument. Instead, help the victors implement their ideas with all their might.
  10. Know your weaknesses and flaws, and work with people who correct and compensate for your weaknesses.
  11. Express gratitude to your people.

    The worst bosses condemn their people to live in constant fear as they wait for the next wave of bad news, which always seems to hit without warning and at random intervals. The best bosses do everything possible to communicate when and how distressing events will unfold. When the timing of a stressful event can be predicted, so can its absence: Psychologist Martin Seligman called this the safety signal hypothesis.

     Predictability helps people know when to relax versus when dread and vigilance are warranted—which protects them from emotional and physical exhaustion that results when people never feel safe from harm for even a moment. Seligman illustrated his hypothesis with air-raid sirens used during the German bombing of London during World War II.

    The sirens were so reliable that people went about their lives most of the time without fear. They didn’t need to worry about running to the shelters unless the sirens sounded.

    The second way was explained to the author by a group of General Electric executives. I pressed them about their rather extreme ‘rank and yank’ system (which has been modified recently, but not much), where each year the bottom 10% of employees that is (‘C Category Players) are fired, the top 20% (A category Players) get the lion’s share—about 80%—of the bonus money, and the mediocre middle 70% (B category Players) get the remaining crumbs.

    I pressed them because a pile of studies shows that giving a few top performers most of the goodies damages team and organizational performance. This happens because people have no incentive to help others—but do have an incentive to undermine, bad-mouth, and demoralise co-workers, because pushing down others decreases the competition they face. The performance also suffers because hard workers who aren’t ‘A’ players become bitter and withhold effort.

    All bosses can be more effective when they work with the peer culture, rather than against, the peer culture. Bosses who are known as fair and consistent will get more support from the peer culture when they do their dirty work. Research on punishment shows that co-workers often believe that offenders are let off too easily by bosses—especially when they have violated the rules consistently, shown little remorse, and a fair process was used to convict and punish the wrongdoer.

    In the best of workplaces, bosses and their charges agree on what is right and what is wrong, and peers—not the boss—dish out punishment. Research on employee theft’ shows that ridicule, rejection, and nasty gossip by peers is 250% more effective for preventing stealing than formal punishment by supervisors.

    Here are a few great quotes from the book.

  1. ‘The best bosses dance on the edge of overconfidence, but a healthy dose of self-doubt and humility saves them from turning arrogant and pig-headed.

Bosses who fail to strike this balance are incompetent, dangerous to follow, and downright demeaning.’

  1. ‘The best bosses don’t just recruit people with stellar solo skills; they bring in employees who will weave their vigour and talents with others … no man or woman is an island.’
  2. ‘Bosses shape how people spend their days and whether they experience joy or despair, perform well or badly or are healthy or sick. Unfortunately, there are hoards of mediocre and downright rotten bosses out there, and big gaps between the best and the worst.’
  3. ‘Psychological safety is the key to creating a workplace where people can be confident enough to act without undue fear of being ridiculed, punished or fired—and be humble enough to openly doubt what is believed and done. As Amy Edmond-son’s research shows, psychological safety emerges when those in power persistently praise, reward, and promote people who have the courage to act, talk about their doubts, successes and failures.
  4. ‘Talented employees who put their need ahead of their colleagues and the company are dangerous.’
  5. ‘The best management is sometimes less management or no management at all. William Coyne, who led 3M’s R&D efforts for over a decade, believed a big part of his job was to leave his people alone and protect them from other curious executives. As he put it: ‘After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing.’
  6. ‘The best bosses do more than charge up people and recruit and breed energizers. They eliminate negative because even a few bad apples and destructive acts can undermine many good people and constructive acts.’
  7. Harry S. Truman said, ‘It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.’

    It’s a thrilling, educative and an impacting  book on management practices full of exciting quotes. I would give the book eight out of ten. A good read.

Posted 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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is 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)

*****

 

 

 

LITERARY CORNER: THE INDIAN MUTINY OF 1857

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 INDIAN MUTINY OF 1857

by

George Bruce Malleson.

Pages 278

Publisher: Rupa Publications.

Price Rs 278.

(Caveat: Most foreign writers especially of British origin call it a ‘mutiny’ which means a rebellion against authority. Whereas, Indian writers and more so Indians like calling it a ‘War of Independence)

    The fifth print or impression of this book came out in 2016. Malleson lived from (8 May 1825 to 1 March 1898). He was an English officer born in Wimbledon and educated at Winchester. Thereafter, he obtained a cadetship in the Bengal infantry in 1842, and served through the second Burmese War. He was a prolific writer. He had written extensively on the Sepoy Mutiny. His important works include, ‘History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58’ that runs into six volumes, ‘History of the French in India’ and the ‘Decisive Battles of India.’

    He even authored the biographies of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the French Governor-General Dupleix and the British officer Robert Clive for the Rulers of India series. He died in London on 1st march 1898.

        Mutiny of 1857 remains an event shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Its very significance, whether it can be considered as the first war of Independence, continues to be questioned. The causes of the mutiny are many but all elusive, and so are the consequences of the mutiny. But the moot point is did the mutiny ring the death knell of the British Empire, or was it a mere speck of exaggerated trouble? The book takes you through that.

    It serves to fill a tremendous gap in narrative accounts of the mutiny, and demystifies lay assumptions. It begins with a sizeable background on the genesis of the British Raj in India—a move not deliberate but powerful enough to shape history for decades to come. The author delves in great detail into the causes of the mutiny, unlike preceding writers who mostly concentrated on the consequences. And this the author could do because he was a serving officer and therefore privy to many decisions and happenings. With the aid of personal knowledge and observation he attempts to pin-point the ‘latent power’ that drove the mutiny on.

    He provides a realistic account of all the important operations that took place, praising the heroic and criticizing the undeserving. He is careful not to overlay his work with too much tedious detail, where his writing remains lucid and interesting. 

    The subject book captures successfully, and even uncompromisingly, an event that was perhaps disorganized but large in scale. It deals with each individual and geographical area separately, analysing the causes and effects, both locally and nation-wide. It captures the spirit of the time, its people who fought and died, and the changing attitudes of the British Raj, which was gradually losing control of its Empire.

    In writing this short History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The author has aimed at the compilation of a work, which when complete in itself, should narrate the causes as well as the consequences of a movement unforeseen, and even undreamt of. For the mutiny as per the author was sudden and swift in its action, and therefore taxed utmost the energies of the British people. Preceding writers on the same subject, whilst dealing very amply with the consequences, have, with one exception, but dimply shadowed forth the causes. Even the very actors of the Mutiny failed to detect them.

    Sir John Lawrence the then Viceroy of India from 1864 to 1869, himself, writing with full knowledge of events in which he played a very conspicuous part, mistook the instrument for the chief cause. He stopped at the greased cartridge. But the greased cartridge was never issued to the great body of troops, if indeed to any. There must have been a latent motive power to make of an unissued cartridge a grievance so terrible as to rouse into revolting men whose fathers and whose father’s father had contributed in the making of the British Empire in India. The greased cartridge, too, did not concern those landowners and cultivators of Oudh and the North-Western Provinces, who rose almost to a man. What that latent motive power was, the author has described fully, in this volume.

    In the early chapters of the book the author communicates, ‘That his belief about the mutiny is founded on personal knowledge and personal observation. Locally chief of the Commissariat Department at Kanhpur when, in January 1856, Sir James Outram crossed the Ganges to depose or remove from office the King of Oudh, I had witnessed the indignation which the very rumour of his purpose caused among the sipahis of my own guard. I reported their excited state to my superiors, and was laughed at for my pains. But, impressed with the accuracy of my forecast, viz., that the annexation of Oudh would rouse indignation and anger in the sipahi army. Nevertheless, I continued. After my transfer, two months later, to an appointment in the Military Audit Department in Calcutta, to keep a careful record of several occurrences, all apparently of minor importance, which supervened when the effects of the annexation of Oudh had been thoroughly realised by the sipahis. My observations led to the conclusion that they were thoroughly angered, and, a little later, that their minds were being mysteriously worked upon. I kept copious notes of the matters I observed, and discussed them with my brother officers, without, finding that my views were shared by any one of them. Essentially, it was not alone the greased cartridge but a host of other factors that brought about the mutiny of 1857. It would seem, however, that the officer who held the responsible post of Town major. His name Major, Orfeur Cavenagh, had, from his own observation, arrived at conclusions not dissimilar. He has narrated in his admirable work the observations forced upon him by the changed demeanour of the natives of the North-Western Provinces in 1856. But he too, stood, amongst high-placed Europeans, almost alone in his convictions. The fact is that, up to the very outbreak of the mutiny at Mirath, which is present day Meerut, no one, from highest to lowest, believed in the possibility of a general combination. Those, and they could be counted on the fingers of one hand, who endeavoured to hint at an opposite conclusion were ridiculed as alarmists. So ingrained was the belief in the loyalty of the sipahis, and so profound was the ignorance as to the manner in which their minds were affected, that neither the outbreak at Mirath nor the seizure of Delhi entirely removed it.

    The book is divided into twenty eight chapters that begins with the introduction and then talks about the conspirators, to the first mutterings of the storm and the happenings at Barrackpur, Calcutta and the North-West. The revolt at Mirath present day Meerut is significant along with the seizure of Delhi. The effect of the seizure of Delhi across India. The author then goes on to describe the progress of the insurrection in the North-West. There are several other chapters as a spill over of the mutiny that leads to the march to Delhi and the author has listed the reactions and activities that flared up in Kanhpur, Lakhnao, Allahabad, and Calcutta. It also describes in great detail the Britishers taking back famous monuments from the mutineers such as ‘The Residency’ at Lucknow after Havelock’s first attempts to relieve it failed.

    The other places that the book covers are the events in Sagar and Narbada territories, Central India, Rajputana, the Mirath Districts, Rohilkhand and the Punjab province and even Gwalior.

   It then talks of the second attempt to takeover Lakhnao Residency and the Gwalior contingent. It also describes how Sir, Colin Campbell recovers the Duab area of Punjab.

    The book also covers the rebellion in Eastern Bengal, Eastern Bihar, Azamgarh, Allahabad and Eastern Oudh.

    The author has used the old names of the cities and places as they were spelt during those times.

    The book does impact you only if you read it in a continuous stretch. It brings you to a point where you start thinking that sure enough the ‘mutiny of 1857’ the forerunner to the fight for freedom in India that the Indians launched on the British Raj in the twentieth century under Mahatma Gandhi.

    Overall the book is a treat for history lovers. It is meticulously punctuated and that changes the style of writing automatically, and with that the speed of reading, where, you might take some extra hours to finish the book, as compared to some other present day book of similar pages. I would give the book seven out of ten. A must read for history students.

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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is 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)

*****

 

 

 

LITERARY CORNER: CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller

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.

    In our normal day-to-day life we often use the phrase Catch-22. It means a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

    Catch-22 is a satirical novel by American author Joseph Heller who began writing it in 1953. The novel was first published in 1961. Often cited as one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, it uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters (where, the author has, or seems to have, access to knowledge of all characters, places, and events of the story, including any given characters and thoughts). The book has separate storylines which are out of sequence so the timeline of the novel develops along with the plot.

    The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 Bombardier (Bombardier is a member of the bomber crew in the US Air-force). Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.

    PLOT

    During the second half of World War II, a soldier named Yossarian is stationed with his Air Force squadron on the island of Pianosa, near the Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea. Yossarian and his friends endure a nightmarish, absurd existence defined by bureaucracy and violence: they are like inhuman resources in the eyes of their blindly ambitious superior officers. The squadron is thrown thoughtlessly into brutal combat situations and bombing runs in which it is more important for the squadron members to capture good aerial photographs of explosions than to destroy their targets. Their colonels continually raise the number of missions that they are required to fly before being sent home, so that no one is ever sent home. Still, no one but Yossarian seems to realize that there is a war going on; everyone thinks he is crazy when he insists that millions of people are trying to kill him.

    Yossarian’s story forms the core of the novel, so most events are refracted through his point of view. Yossarian takes the whole war personally: unswayed by national ideals or abstract principles, Yossarian is furious that his life is in constant danger through no fault of his own. He has a strong desire to live and is determined to be immortal or die trying. As a result, he spends a great deal of his time in the hospital, faking various illnesses in order to avoid the war. As the novel progresses through its loosely connected series of recurring stories and anecdotes, Yossarian is continually troubled by his memory of Snowden, a soldier who died in his arms on a mission when Yossarian lost all his desire to participate in the war. Yossarian is placed in ridiculous, absurd, desperate, and tragic circumstances—where he sees friends die and disappear, his squadron gets bombed by its own mess officer, and colonels and generals volunteer their men for the most perilous battle in order to enhance their own reputation.

    Catch-22 is a law defined in various ways throughout the novel. First, Yossarian discovers that it is possible to be discharged from military service because of insanity. Always looking for a way out, Yossarian claims that he is insane, only to find out that by claiming that he is insane he has proved that he is obviously sane—since any sane person would claim that he or she is insane in order to avoid flying bombing missions. Elsewhere, Catch-22 is defined as a law that is illegal to read. Ironically, the place where it is written that it is illegal is in Catch-22 itself. It is yet again defined as the law that the enemy is allowed to do anything that one can’t keep him from doing. In short, then, Catch-22 is any paradoxical, circular reasoning that catches its victim in its illogic and serves those who have made the law. Catch-22 can be found in the novel not only where it is explicitly defined but also throughout the characters stories, which are full of catches and instances of circular reasoning that trap unwitting bystanders in their snares—for instance, the ability of the powerful officer Milo Minderbinder to make great sums of money by trading among the companies that he himself owns.

    As Yossarian struggles to stay alive, a number of secondary stories unfold around him. His friend Nately falls in love with a whore from Rome and woos her constantly, despite her continued indifference and the fact that her kid sister constantly interferes with their romantic rendezvous. Finally, she falls in love with Nately, but he is killed on his very next mission.

    When Yossarian brings her the bad news, she blames him for Nately’s death and tries to stab him every time she sees him thereafter. Another subplot follows the rise of the black-market empire of Milo Minderbinder, the squadron’s mess hall officer. Milo runs a syndicate in which he borrows military planes and pilots to transport food between various points in Europe, making a massive profit from his sales. Although he claims that “everyone has a share” in the syndicate, this promise is later proven false. Milo’s enterprise flourishes nonetheless, and he is revered almost religiously by communities all over Europe.

The novel draws to a close as Yossarian, troubled by Nately’s death, refuses to fly any more missions. He wanders the streets of Rome, encountering every kind of human horror—rape, disease, murder. He is eventually arrested for being in Rome without a pass, and his superior officers, Colonel Cathcart and Colonel Korn, offer him a choice. He can either face a court-martial or be released and sent home with an honorable discharge.But there is only one condition: in order to be released, he must approve of Cathcart and Korn and state his support for their policy, which requires all the men in the squadron to fly eighty missions. Although he is tempted by the offer, Yossarian realizes that to comply would be to endanger the lives of other innocent men. So he chooses another way out, deciding to desert the army and flee to neutral Sweden. In doing so, he turns his back on the dehumanizing machinery of the military, rejects the rule of Catch-22, and strives to gain control of his own life.

    So friends if you’ve not read this book you have indeed missed something in life. I would give the book eight out of ten.

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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is 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)

*****

 

 

 

LITERARY CORNER: HAMLET by William Shakespeare

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play and is considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature, with a story capable of being retold and adapted by others. It was one of Shakespeare’s most popular works during his lifetime and still ranks among his most performed, topping the performance list of the Royal Shakespeare Company and its predecessors in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1879. It has even inspired many other writers from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe and Charles Dickens to James Joyce and Iris Murdoch—and has been described as “the world’s most filmed story after Cinderella. Hindi film “Haider” released in 2014 is a modern day adaptation of Shakespere’s tragedy Hamlet.

    The play is divided into four acts.

Act I.

    Prince Hamlet of Denmark happens to be the main protagonist of this play. He is the son of the recently deceased or killed King Hamlet, so essentially there are two characters by the name of Hamlet in this play. Then you have King Claudius, who is Hamlet’s uncle and his father’s brother and also the successor. After the death of King Hamlet, Claudius hastily marries his widow. Her name is Gertrude, who is also Hamlet’s mother, and occupies the throne himself. The play goes on to say that the country of Denmark has a long-standing feud with the neighbouring Norway, in which King Hamlet had once killed King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle some years ago.

    Although, Denmark defeated Norway and the Norwegian throne fell to King Fortinbras’s infirm brother, Denmark does fear a retaliation led by the dead Norwegian king’s son, Prince Fortinbras, as imminent. Then the scene changes to a cold night on the ramparts of Elsinore, the Danish royal castle, where the sentries Bernardo and Marcellus discuss a ghost resembling the late King Hamlet which they have recently seen, and bring Prince Hamlet’s friend Horatio as a witness. After the ghost appears again, the three vow to tell Prince Hamlet what they have witnessed. As the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of the state with their elderly adviser Polonius, where Hamlet looks on glumly. During the court, Claudius grants permission for Polonius’s son Laertes to return to school in France and also sends envoys to inform the King of Norway about Fortinbras. Claudius scolds Hamlet for continuing to grieve over his father and refuses him permission to return to his schooling in Wittenberg. After the court adjourns, Hamlet despairs on his father’s death and his mother’s hasty remarriage. Learning of the ghost from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it himself.

    As Polonius’s son Laertes prepares to depart for a visit to France, Polonius decides to give him a contradictory advice that culminates in the famous ironic maxim, “to thine own self be true.” (Meaning he must think of his own benefit first). Meanwhile Polonius’s daughter, Ophelia, admits her interest in Hamlet, but Laertes warns her against seeking the prince’s attention, and Polonius orders her to reject his advances. That night on the rampart, the ghost reappears in Hamlet’s, presence telling the prince that he was murdered by Claudius, his own brother and demands that Hamlet avenge him. Hamlet agrees, and the ghost vanishes. The prince confides in Horatio and the sentries that from now on he plans to put an ‘antic disposition’ on, or act as though he has gone mad, and forces them to swear to keep his plans for revenge a secret. But privately, however, he remains uncertain of the ghost’s reliability.

Act II

    Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving erratically. Polonius blames love for Hamlet’s madness and resolves to inform Claudius and Gertrude. But as he enters to do so, he finds the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two student acquaintances of Hamlet, at Elsinore the royal palace. The royal couple requests that the students investigate the cause of Hamlet’s mood and behaviour. In the meanwhile some additional news requires that Polonius waits further to be heard. When messengers from Norway inform Claudius that the King of Norway has rebuked Prince Fortinbras for attempting to refight his father’s battles. The forces that Fortinbras had drafted to march against Denmark will instead be sent against Poland, though they will pass through the Danish territory to get there.

    Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude his theory regarding Hamlet’s behaviour and speaks to Hamlet in a hall of the castle to try to uncover more information. Hamlet feigns madness but subtly insults Polonius all along. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive, Hamlet greets his “friends” warmly but quickly discerns that they are spies. Hamlet becomes bitter, admitting that he is upset at his situation but refuses to give the true reason why. Instead he comments on “what a piece of work” humanity is. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Hamlet that they have brought along a troupe of actors that they met while traveling to Elsinore. Hamlet, after welcoming the actors and dismissing his friends-turned-spies, asks them to deliver a soliloquy about the death of King Priam and Queen Hecuba at the climax of the Trojan War. Impressed by their delivery of speech, he plots to stage, “The Murder of Gonzago,” a play featuring a death in the style of his father’s murder (that reminds of the last song of Rishi Kapoor’s film Karz) to determine the truth of the ghost’s story, as well as Claudius’s guilt or innocence, by studying Claudius’s reaction.

Act III

    Polonius forces Ophelia to return Hamlet’s love letters and tokens of affection to the prince while he and Claudius watch from afar to evaluate Hamlet’s reaction. Hamlet is walking alone in the hall as the king and Polonius await Ophelia’s entrance, musing whether, “to be or not to be.” (The famous phrase that means to act or not to act). When Ophelia enters and tries to return Hamlet’s things, Hamlet accuses her of immodesty and cries, “get thee to a nunnery,” (give her to the whore house) though it is unclear whether this, too, is a show of madness or genuine distress. His reaction convinces Claudius that Hamlet is not mad for love. Shortly thereafter, the court assembles to watch the play that Hamlet has commissioned. In which after seeing the protagonist King being murdered by his rival by pouring poison in his ear, Claudius abruptly rises and runs away from the room. For Hamlet, this indeed is a positive proof of his uncle’s guilt.

    After which Gertrude his mother summons Hamlet to her room to demand an explanation. Meanwhile, Claudius talks to himself about the impossibility of repenting, since he still has possession of his ill-gotten goods that is his brother’s crown and his wife. He sinks to his knees in frustration. Meanwhile, Hamlet, on his way to visit his mother, sneaks up behind Claudius but does not kill him, reasoning that killing Claudius while he is praying will send him straight to heaven while his father’s ghost is still stuck in purgatory. In the queen’s bedchamber, Hamlet and Gertrude fight bitterly. Where Polonius, spies on the conversation from behind a tapestry, calls for help as Gertrude, believing Hamlet wants to kill her, also calls out for help herself.

    Hamlet, believing it is Claudius behind the tapestry, stabs wildly, but in the process he kills Polonius. He pulls aside the curtain and discovers his mistake. In a rage, Hamlet unsparingly insults his mother for her apparent ignorance of Claudius’s villainy. But just then the King Hamlet’s ghost enters and reprimands Prince Hamlet for his inaction and harsh words. Unable to see or hear the ghost herself, Gertrude takes Hamlet’s conversation with the ghost as a further evidence of his madness. After begging the queen to stop sleeping with Claudius, Hamlet leaves, dragging Polonius’s corpse away.

Act IV

    Hamlet jokes with Claudius about where he has hidden Polonius’s body, and the king, fearing for his life, sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to accompany Hamlet to England with a sealed letter to the English king requesting that Hamlet be executed immediately.

    Shocked by grief at Polonius’s death, Ophelia wanders aimlessly around Elsinore. Meanwhile Laertes returns from France, enraged by his father’s death and his sister’s madness. Claudius convinces Laertes that Hamlet is solely responsible for the killing, but a letter soon arrives indicating that Hamlet has returned to Denmark, foiling Claudius’s plan. Claudius switches tactics, proposing a fencing match—a sword fight between Laertes and Hamlet to settle their differences. Laertes will be given a poison-tipped sword, and Claudius will offer Hamlet poisoned wine as a congratulation if that fails. Gertrude interrupts to report that Ophelia has drowned, though it is unclear whether it was a suicide or an accident exacerbated by her madness.

    In the meanwhile Horatio receives a letter from Hamlet, explaining that the prince escaped by negotiating with pirates who attempted to attack his England-bound ship, and the friends reunite offstage. Two grave-diggers discuss Ophelia’s apparent suicide while digging her grave. Hamlet arrives with Horatio and banters with one of the grave-diggers, who unearths the skull of a court jester from Hamlet’s childhood that he loved. His name was Yorick. Hamlet picks up the skull, saying “alas, poor Yorick” as he thinks of death. Meanwhile, Ophelia’s funeral procession approaches, led by Laertes. Hamlet and Horatio initially hide, but when Hamlet realizes that Ophelia is the one being buried, he reveals himself, proclaiming his love for her. Laertes and Hamlet fight by Ophelia’s graveside, but the brawl is soon broken up.

    Back at Elsinore, Hamlet explains to Horatio that he had discovered Claudius’s letter in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s belongings and that he had replaced it with a forged copy indicating that his former friends should be killed instead. A foppish courtier, by the name of Osric, interrupts the conversation to deliver the fencing challenge to Hamlet. Hamlet, despite Horatio’s pleas, accepts it. Hamlet does well at first, leading the match by two hits to none, when Gertrude raises a toast to him using the poisoned glass of wine Claudius had set aside for Hamlet. Claudius tries to stop her but is too late in doing so. She drinks, and Laertes realizes the plot will now be revealed. He slashes Hamlet with his poisoned blade. In the ensuing scuffle, they switch weapons, when Hamlet wounds Laertes with his own poisoned sword.

    In the meantime Gertrude collapses exclaiming she has been poisoned, she dies. Further, in his dying moments, Laertes reconciles with Hamlet and reveals Claudius’s plan. Enraged Hamlet rushes at Claudius and kills him. Soon the poison takes effect on Hamlet. Who upon hearing that Fortinbras is marching through the area, names the Norwegian prince as his successor. Horatio, distraught at the thought of being the last survivor and living whilst Hamlet does not, says he will commit suicide by drinking the dregs of Gertrude’s poisoned wine, but Hamlet begs him to live on and tell his story. Hamlet dies in Horatio’s arms, proclaiming “the rest is silence.” Meanwhile, Fortinbras, who was ostensibly marching towards Poland with his army, arrives at the palace, along with an English ambassador bringing news of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s deaths. Horatio promises to recount the full story of what happened, and Fortinbras, seeing the entire Danish royal family dead, takes the crown for himself and orders a military funeral to honour Hamlet.

    In the final analysis a demon such as Claudius is sufficient to destroy the entire clan.

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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

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

*****

 

 

 

BOOK CORNER: “JAWS” by Peter Benchley

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.

    This book was written in the year 1974 by American writer Peter Benchley. It tells the story of a great white shark that preys upon a small resort town and the voyage and determination of three men trying to kill it. So it’s a superb adventure novel. The novel, emanates out of Benchley’s interest in shark attacks after he learned about the exploits of a shark fisherman Frank Mundus in 1964. Doubleday is the publisher of this book, who commissioned Benchley to write the novel in 1971, a period when he worked as a freelance journalist. The book was a great hit. It stayed in the bestseller list for 44 weeks. The novel was later adapted into an exciting movie, by film producers, Richard Zanuck and David Brown, at Universal Pictures.

    The story is set in Amity, a seaside resort town, on Long Island, New York. Before I enter the plot. Let me describe in brief, the main characters to you, because it’s a very fast moving story, where, one needs to be crystal clear about each character. There are eleven of them and their names and brief descriptions are as follows:

  1. Chrissie Watkins—she is the young lady tourist killed by the shark.
  2. Martin Brody—is the police chief of Long island.
  3. Larry Vaughan—is the mayor of the island.
  4. Harry Meadows—Editor of the local newspaper.
  5. Alex Kintner—a young boy killed by shark.
  6. Ben Gardner—Local fisherman.
  7. Leonard Hendricks—Deputy Police Chief.
  8. Matt Hooper—Marine Biologist and also the younger brother of David Hooper.
  9. Ellen—Brody’s wife.
  10. David Hooper—a man whom Ellen used to date earlier.
  11. Quint—a professional shark hunter.

    One night, a massive great white shark kills a young tourist named Chrissie Watkins while she skinny dips in the open waters. After finding the remains of her body washed up on the beach, the investigators realize she was attacked by a shark. Police chief Martin Brody orders closure of Amity beach. But the mayor Larry Vaughan and the town’s selectmen overrule him out of fear for damage to summer tourism, which happens to be the town’s main industry. So, with the connivance of Harry Meadows, the editor of the local newspaper, they hush up the attack.

    But a few days later, the shark kills a young boy named Alex Kintner and thereafter an old man not far from the shore. A local fisherman, Ben Gardner, is then sent by Amity’s authorities to kill the shark, but he too disappears in the water. Brody and his deputy Leonard Hendricks find Gardner’s boat anchored off-shore, empty but with large bite holes, one of which has a massive shark tooth stuck in it. Blaming himself for these deaths, Brody again tries to close the beaches, while Meadows this time investigates the Mayor’s business contacts, only to determine why he wants to keep the beaches open. Finally, Meadows, uncovers, the mayor’s links with the Mafia, who pressure Vaughan to keep the beaches open in order to protect the value of Amity’s real estate, in which the Mafia has invested a great deal of money. Meadows in the meanwhile recruits a marine biologist by the name of Matt Hooper from the Woods Hole Institute to advise them on how to deal with the shark.

    Meanwhile, Brody’s wife Ellen starts missing the affluent life she once had before marrying Brody and having children. She therefore starts a romantic relationship with Matt Hooper, the marine biologist who is also the younger brother of David Hooper, a man Ellen used to date earlier, and the two have a brief affair in a motel outside the town. Throughout the rest of the novel, Brody suspects Ellen and Matt to be having a relationship and is continuously haunted by these miserable thoughts.

    With the beaches still open, people pour into the town, hoping to glimpse the killer shark. Brody sets up patrols to track the fish. After a boy narrowly escapes another attack close to the shore. Brody this time closes the beaches and hires Quint, a professional shark hunter, to kill the shark. After which Brody, Quint and Hooper set out on Quint’s vessel, the name of which is Orca. But the trio are soon at odds with one another. Quint’s ways, anger Hooper, especially when he disembowels a blue shark, and then uses an illegally fished unborn baby dolphin for bait. All the while, Quint pokes fun at Hooper as a rich college boy when Hooper refuses to shoot at the beer cans with them. Brody and Hooper also argue, as Brody’s suspicion about Hooper’s possible affair with Ellen grows stronger; at one point, Brody unsuccessfully attempts to strangle Hooper.

    Their first two days at sea are unproductive, although they do come in contact with the shark by the end of the second day. Upon seeing it for the first time, Hooper estimates the animal to be at least twenty feet long. He is visibly excited and in awe at the size of it. Meanwhile Mayor Larry Vaughan arrives at Brody’s house before Brody returns home and informs Ellen that he and his wife are leaving Amity. But before he leaves, he tells Ellen that he always thought they would make a great couple. After he leaves, Ellen reflects that her life with Brody is much more fulfilling than any other life she might have had with Vaughan, and feels somewhat guilty for her prior thoughts of missing the life she had before marrying Brody.

    After seeing the size of the shark, on the third day Matt Hooper wants to bring along a shark-proof cage, to help take photos of it, and then to use it for killing it with a bang stick. Initially Quint refuses to bring the cage on board, even after Hooper’s offer of hundred dollars, considering it a suicidal idea, but he relents later after Hooper and Brody get into a big argument with him.

        Later that day, after several unsuccessful attempts by Quint to harpoon the shark, Hooper goes underwater and into the shark cage. Where, the shark attacks the cage, something Hooper did not expect it would do, and, after ramming the bars apart, kills and eats Hooper. In the meanwhile Brody informs Quint that the town can no longer afford to pay him to hunt the shark. But Quint no longer cares about the money and resolves to continue until he has killed it.

    When they return to sea the following day, the shark starts ramming the boat. Quint is able to harpoon it several times. The shark leaps out of the water and onto the stern of the Orca ripping a huge hole in the aft section of the boat thereby causing the boat to start sinking. Quint plunges another harpoon into the shark’s belly. With that it falls back into the water, but sadly Quint’s foot gets entangled in the rope of the harpoon, and he is dragged underwater to his death. Brody, now floating on a seat cushion, spots the shark swimming towards him and since he has no choice now he prepares for his death. However, just as the shark gets within a few feet of him, it succumbs to its many wounds, and rolls over in the water and dies before it can kill Brody. The deadly fish sinks down, and goes out of sight, dragging Quint’s still entangled body behind it. The lone survivor of the ordeal, Brody now paddles back to the shore on his makeshift float.

     It’s an excellent book both in terms of storyline, adventure, speed and even the narration. Where, the author has quite vividly described the action scenes in perfect vocabulary, which is not easy, on the contrary extremely painstaking. It leaves a spine chilling impact on you. You begin to hate sharks … at least for some time. I would give the book eight out of ten.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is 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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SHORT STORY: BEWARE OF TOO MANY CHOICES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    Once a jackal and a cat met in the middle of a forest. The jackal asked the cat how he would get away from a tiger. The cat said: ‘I know only one way and that is to climb the tree as fast as possible.’  Then the cat asked the jackal what would you do in case you come across a tiger? The jackal replied: ‘Brother,  I know 101 ways of getting away. For example, I can go into the bush. I can climb up the rocks and can even hide behind the tree, or can even go into a hole.’

    Just then all of a sudden a tiger appeared. The cat immediately climbed the tree while the jackal pondered—which solution should he adopt? In the meanwhile the tiger pounced on the jackal and killed it.

    Moral of the story: Too many choices at times create conflicts and problems, and leads to unhappiness. In fact too many choices can paralyse anyone.

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. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. 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)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is 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)

*****