Tag Archives: guwahati

BOOK TALK: WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME? … by Ravinder Singh

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read initiative–

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

TITLE: WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME?

RAVINDER SINGH

Publisher: Penguin

 Abridged in about thousand words for your quick assimilation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 *****  

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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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. 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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By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

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

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

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

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

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NAMAMI BRAHMAPUTRA-BIGGEST RIVER FESTIVAL OF INDIA

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THEME SONG

… Namami Brahmaputra,

Kabhi shaant bahe kabhi rudra,

Pal pal mein ek naya chitra,

O Zindagi ke sakha

Yu he behna,

Dur hai shristi,

Brahma tere pita  …

    When the end gets nearer, life gets dearer, childhood comes closer and memories get thirstier. The song brings about wild nostalgia and takes me back in time, some 45 to 50 years when I used to sojourn in Guwahati circuit house, located near the High Court, on the banks of mighty Brahmaputra while driving down from Shillong, then capital of Assam, on my way to Kolkatta with my Parents. So, one can’t help but reminisce those wonderful times after hearing this beautiful song cranked by Mr Bachchan. I was very young then …

    I had not seen the mighty sea, but yes I was seeing the powerful Brahmputra in its shaant and rudra expanse as the song goes. The view from the circuit house was just tantalizing. Each morning as I woke up, I used to rush to the lawns and thereafter run to the railings that divided the circuit house from the long and wide embankment of the river.  As the sun rose, one could see herds of cattle flocking around the shore for water and pasture and their herdsmen, with their long crooks on their shoulders singing those folksongs, perhaps to please the rising sun. A few bare feet—bare chested Deswali milkmen too, passed my sight with their soiled dhotis tied around their slender waist. Generally in conversation, trying to describe the might of the river, while comparing it with the humble brooks in their distant village in faraway states.

    Even, when, it was hazy. From the embankment one could get a vivid view of the lush green Uma-Nandi islet, located in the centre of the river. It had tall trees and a few boats anchored around. From a distance, it appeared as a humble abode for some rural families involved in small time farming. Where, one could distinctly hear, calls of languri bandars (monkeys) coming from there, that could be heard right up to the rooms of the circuit house. The fierce flow of the river made that rhythmic splash at regular intervals, when it hit the shore, while it kept under wraps, its strong undercurrents. Something, that we humans also need to learn. To keep our raucous mood swings under check.

    All around there were hills and hillocks some tall and some not so tall. At a distance one could see a flurry of dinghies and even a couple of ferries carrying people across. By now the sun had arched up and its mirror image could be seen in the river water. The entire panorama is still so fresh in my mind as if it was captured by some high pixel camera about half a century ago.

    I jumped the railings to be on the other side of the circuit house that gave me a feel as if I had touched the river. But the flow of water was still at a distance. From here it looked blue and foamy. I walked the distance and up to the shore without anyone noticing me. Where, I dipped my hands to finally touch Brahmaputra. He was cold. Yet he was the biggest warmth around, for the civilisation. The passing herdsman yelled at me to get back, as the river had strong undercurrents. Meanwhile, his carefree children raced across to me. They appeared ace swimmers. The elder one jumped into the river and swam for a while. The others pointed their fingers towards the circuit house. ‘Yes I’m from there.’ I said. They clapped and asked for some money to buy ‘chanajor garam’ early in the morning. They were four so I gave them eight annas. And they immediately ran away, thinking, I might ask them to return the money as there was no one selling chanajor early in the morning. But soon I saw them at a close by tea stall.

    I waved and they waved back. Soon I was immersed in my own thoughts. Why are some places so beautiful and some so ugly? Why can’t fishes be out water and live with me? Why can’t I walk through the water and go to Uma-Nandi to see those langurs? Why do I need to always do, what others tell me, and not what I want to do?

    Suddenly, I could hear the voice of my Dad’s office boy. He was darting at me, finding me alone and that too on the banks of such a powerful river. The serene and enchanting morning was thus over but it had left a mark in me. I wish I could carry the mighty Brahmaputra with me in my pocket was the last thought.  

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     Namami Brahmaputra is the biggest river festival of India. It was organized across 21 districts in Assam from March 31-April 4, 2017. Brahmaputra is the only male river by name in India and the fifth most powerful river of the world with very strong undercurrents.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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Share if you like it

*

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

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A day with Dad

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    I knew for sure. This ever changing world around me will only change further. But I just didn’t know how much. Ever since you left us on this very day many years ago. I have stayed away from Lucknow. And after many years I’m home around this time. Thinking, I would sight the changing times myself. So, on this serene and dismal morning I went out for a morning walk. Pursuing, quite the same route. That, you once frequented. And it gave me a feel as if I was following the same trail that you had left behind.

     To be frank. I wasn’t surprised when I saw. The old surroundings had really sprung up to the hilt, leaving no niche for that stilly calm. The flow of river Gomti has receded and it isn’t what it used to be in your times. It has thinned down. Like the plait of an ageing lady. The chirping Gauraiyas are nowhere to be seen. And no one knows where they have gone. Did you see them by any chance? Did they come to you? Meanwhile some Gods have grown in stature but some remained where they were. The temple of Hanuman Setu has exalted both in pomp and spirits, just like you. But the small Shivalaya near the banks has only greyed. It still emanates of that salt and pepper looks. The overarching, Banyan tree there, has spread all around the Shivalay. As if, protecting, the God of the poor, residing in it. That reminded me of the days when you protected all of us.

     The chauraha has become quite psychedelic as everything out there has changed. The famous samosawalla—Phullu who had his makeshift shop in the middle of it is nowhere to be seen—the samosas are there but the walla has changed. No one knows where he has gone. Some say he is no more. One, Good Samaritan has converted her home into an institution. I wish. Many were like her.

     The chauraha gossips are no more vociferous. The morning newspapers have swapped positions and with that even the feel. From Swatantra Bharat it is now Dainik Jagran and some others. What has grossly depleted over the years is ‘time.’ People don’t have time but enough to whine. Where, morals have declined.

    Even in the faint trickle and rustle of the holy river. I could hardly hear the serenading calls of those joyous koel in the colourful months of spring. That used to be so piercing earlier. It has now been overtaken by the roar of the swarming vehicles thriving on the embankment. That sadly pollutes the vicinity, all along the scorching day. Lots of people walk up to the newly resurrected Mandirs, Ashrams and even a Masjid nearby for peace of mind. Perhaps, someday, their temples within, shall also kindle to the call of the Almighty.

    Most bright children in and around have left for good. I now only find their parents whiling away their time in obsolescence. Is when, I wonder what I got from you and what I gave to my child. If the equations are not comforting peace shall always elude me.

    So much has changed over the years. Yet a few things haven’t changed. Just as, the day and night take their turn. The sun still rises and the rain comes when it has to come. Seasons too, alternate when they have to. But more importantly the chord we struck during our lives will never ever change.

    What I continue to learn from you is, pillars should not change. But they should allow  the change.

    May, you rest in peace.

    By Kamlesh Tripathi: Homage to Babuji (K.P. Tripathi). He left us this day in 1984.

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CAUSERIE–AERIAL SIGNALS OF LOVE

   Copyright@shravancharitymission

    I was then young. My uncle used to stay in Niralanagar, a posh colony of Lucknow that was not very far from my home. He had an adjacent neighbour. Who, happened to be a Flight Lieutenant with the Indian Air Force. His name was Palta. Attached to the transport squadron where he flew Dakotas, and posted in Bakshi-ka-talab, the defence airport of Lucknow. His chic and suave wife was Rita. Good looking and quite in line with the upbeat image of the armed forces wives.

    He often used to pilot the morning flight at 7 a.m. to Guwahati. It used to take him about five to six hours. Because, enroute, he used to off-load cargo at Bagdogra airport in West Bengal. Next day he used to return in the same manner from his sojourn. Where, he normally used to take-off from Guwahati at seven. And, after touching Bagdogra again, he used to reach Lucknow by around 1 P.M.

    I often used to go to my uncle’s house those days, to meet my cousins. He had a huge terrace where we used to go and play. And, whilst on it. I often used to notice Rita aunty, sitting in one corner of the adjacent terrace, alone, with her umbrella open, under the hot sun. And, I used to wonder why. But I never bothered to ask.

    One day, when the suspense became unbearable. I decided to break it. So I asked, ‘Aunty, why do you come and sit under the hot sun?’ she smiled at me and asked.

    ‘Who are you?’

    ‘Well, I am Bina’s cousin. I often come here, to spend time with her. But each time I came here. I saw you sitting in that corner with your umbrella, under the hot sun. So, I thought of asking you.’ She looked at me and smiled and then said.

    ‘I must say you are very observant beta. I’m waiting for your uncle. He should be coming any moment now.’ And with that she grinned again. I didn’t quite understand what she meant. I began to mull, ‘waiting for uncle and that too on the terrace in the peak of summers.’ It really wasn’t making any sense to me.

    ‘But is he going to fall from the sky that you’re waiting here aunty?’ I asked a bit loudly. She laughed in amusement.

    ‘You want to see him coming?’

    ‘Yes aunty.’

    ‘Then just wait here.’

    The suspense was beginning to get interesting now. So I decided to wait. Even when it was lunch time and I was hungry. After about ten minutes I could hear the faint sound of an approaching aircraft. Soon, it grew louder. Is when, aunty stood up and closed her umbrella, and started waving at the aircraft that was now descending into the nearby airport and wasn’t very high. I then saw, the pilot had dipped the left wing of the aircraft. And after a little while it vanished behind the tall trees. Skyscrapers had not come up then so the view was clear. After the sound of the aircraft subsided, she looked at me and said. ‘That was your uncle.’ I asked.

    ‘How do you know Aunty?’

    ‘Didn’t you see? He dipped the wing of the aircraft until it went behind the trees. That signal was for me.

    ‘Aunty, but why did he do that?’

    She smiled again and said, ‘Beta to announce his arrival. Now I need to go and cook for him.’

    ‘And what will you cook?

    ‘That’s a good question. If he dips the left wing, it would mean non-veg. Right would mean veg. And, if he doesn’t dip either, that would mean no lunch. So bye for now as I need to get into the kitchen.’ And with that she went away.

    I was dazed for a moment. I too went down for lunch. And after about forty five minutes. I could hear the sound of Mr Palta’s bike.

    Many years have passed since then. I don’t even know where Mrs Palta is. But, I could never forget this small and sweet incident that reflects so much about her love and concern for her husband. And, last but not the least. How they learnt to communicate from the sky, with each other—like in semaphores. When, mobile phones were not invented and even landlines had a long wait.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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Share if you like it

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

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

*****