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BOOK CORNER: THE LEGEND OF LAKSHMI PRASAD by Twinkle Khanna

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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 LEGEND OF LAKSHMI PRASAD

TWINKLE KHANNA

PUBLISHER: JUGGERNAUT BOOKS

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2016

    When Twinkle writes it goes straight into your head and not over your head. I bring to you this title which is a collection of four short stories. The sequencing of which is as follows:

  • The legend of Lakshmi Prasad
  • Salaam Noni Appa
  • If the weather permits
  • The sanitary man from a sacred land.

    If you are interested in light reading that has stories with a social message this indeed is the book. Where, the lady author focusses on women centric issues. Issues, that are in everyone’s mind, but are seldom talked about. The novel has an assortment of stories from Bihar, Mumbai, Kerala and M.P. almost a national integration.

    The book starts with the ‘LEGEND OF LAKSHMI PRASAD.’ It is about a young girl who resides in a village, sandwiched between river Kosi and Ganga, in Bihar. Her name is Lakshmi Prasad (Prasad being the family name). She has an elder sister whose name is Sukriti.

    The village has a rich foliage. Mainly trees of a precious fruit called Jardalu—a golden mango which is very sweet. So sweet that once eaten, its taste, lingers in your mouth for days. Lakshmi’s elder sister, is just three years elder to her and is married off at an early age. Like it happens in most villages. But sadly her marriage runs into a rough weather. After a while she is tortured by her in-laws and sent back home to her parents.

    Where, Sukriti discovers she is pregnant. She hopes for a son but as luck would have it she is blessed with a daughter. Her in-laws refuse to accept the baby girl—calling her an illegitimate child.

    The baby girl is named Radha. But unfortunately there are no resources to raise the child, especially, because Sukriti has been thrown out by her in-laws.

    This is when Lakshmi comes as a saviour. They use a wooden stick to cut ten ripe mangoes off the tree and plant the mango seeds evenly in a straight row. These ten Jardalu trees are Radha’s trees. They will grow along with her, taller and stronger with each other. When Radha will be eight they will bear fruit. We will sell them in Munger and that money will be hers.

    After that every year her trees will bear fruits and the money will be saved for her education and for her marriage. Even the village decides based on Lashmi’s Prasad’s advice that each time a daughter is born. We will celebrate and plant ten Jardalu trees for her and they would belong to her forever. Ten trees like ten fingers with which we women can hold destinies firmly in our hands.

    SALAAM NONI APPA: Is a very touchy and emotional story of an elderly lady Noni Appa who is a Muslim widow and lives in Mumbai. She also has her sister staying in Mumbai in a different house nearby. Noni Appa comes in contact with an elderly yoga teacher Anand ji. Anand ji is married with a grown up son. But he doesn’t get along well with his wife, who keeps insulting her often. Matters precipitate, when, she once insults and gets physical with Anand ji in front of Noni Appa and her sister and servants. That forces Anand ji to take a decision. Meanwhile Noni Appa is admitted into a hospital in a very critical condition but she survives. There is no one to look after her. Just as there is no one to look after Anand ji. They start giving each other company by playing rummy. And gradually one day Anand ji moves into Noni Appa’s flat. She a Muslim and Anand ji a Hindu. But the soul connect is divine. In life when the odds start bothering you what matters most is a one on one relationship. The story truly depicts that.

    IF THE WEATHER PERMITS: This is a story of a girl named Elisa. She is a Keralite born and brought up in Mumbai. Her father puts her through several marriages but none fructify. Finally she is married off to one Chacko. Chacko is from Kerala. He is a drug addict and even smokes hashish. The marriage again goes through rough weathers. I shall not reveal the end. The readers will have to do it themselves.

    THE SANITARY MAN FROM THE SACRED LAND:  The story is based on Padma Shri awardee Arunachalam Muruganantham (better known as Muruga) and his marvellous invention. That happens to be, the low cost machine, for manufacturing sanitary napkins. The chief protagonist of this story is Bablu (official name Prabhash) who is a lowly qualified mechanic-cum-plumber. Yet he is quite perturbed about the fact that Indian women don’t use proper sanitary napkins during their menstrual cycle as a single unit is sold for forty rupees by these multi nationals which women cannot afford.

    As a result of which they use all sorts of unhygienic cloth on account of which they catch infections of various kind. So, Bablu is determined to make a cheap machine for manufacturing cheap sanitary napkins.

     And since he stays in a small town Mohana he keeps his ambition a secret. But then matters do leak out. Because of which he is considered as a mad guy and even a pervert by some ladies and men in the town. As a result his family which includes his mother, sisters, wife and child they all desert him except for his dog Choti.

    But inspite of all these hardships Bablu is adamant and doesn’t give up his mission. In the process he even loses his house and finally shifts to Indore where he works in a dingy rented workshop.

    The story throws up the struggle of Bablu in great detail. Finally he comes out victorious. He is then invited by IIT and even Unilever in London to give a talk on his invention. He even starts visiting a young lady teacher to learn English as he is now a renowned man. The story is quite well written.

    The book is around 232 pages. The book is in easy read format but has a good flourish of vocabulary. The detailing is excellent including little knick knacks.

    I would give the book seven out of ten.

    Price of the book is around Rs 270.

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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. 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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BOOK TALK: THE GIRL IN ROOM 105 … by Chetan Bhagat

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 GIRL IN ROOM 105

By Chetan Bhagat

    Chetan Bhagat this time has tried his hand in a different genre. From writing love stories he has tried to move to a thriller that has romance … melodrama and even suspense. Although, he has tried to shift in the category. He continues to remain in the same quadrangle … IIT. A place he loves the most … I guess. As the story largely unfolds there.

    The book is full of masala … only a little short of the proverbial … Bhan mati ka pitara. The novel navigates, giving an impression as if it’s been written for a Bollywood movie. At one place I am even reminded of Hindi movie ‘Parwana’ starring Amitabh Bachchan and Navin Nischol released in 1971.

    Chetan has written this book with a lot flashbacks. I would have preferred the book to be around 225 to 250 pages and not 300 pages. As the last fifty pages are a bit of a drag. Also one is more comfortable with the disclosure of suspense within 250 pages as it becomes difficult to hold on beyond that.

    Author has used a lot of cuss words including some Hindi abuses that only mars his own reputation. His language as usual is clumsy. But he has done some good detailing with respect to the portions where the main protagonist endeavours to solve the murder and has used the right terminologies when it comes to technical words.

    The book can also be classified as a love story with murder mystery as an inbuilt plot.

    All prominent characters of the book are alive barring one till the end. In fact around the last 30 pages at one place I found the presentation a tad similar to a Hollywood movie—Murder by Death written by Neil Simon.

    STORYLINE

    Keshav Rajpurohit is an ex IIT student. After passing out from IIT he could never find himself a lucrative job in the corporate sector. So he joins a coaching centre as a faculty that coaches students for IIT entrance. With him is also his durable friend Saurabh who also happens to be his room partner, or I should say his house partner and also his colleague in the coaching centre and his batch mate from IIT.

    It once so happens, that Keshav bumps into Chetan Bhagat on a flight where he starts narrating the story of his girlfriend Zara to him. Zara is the second main character of this novel.

    Keshav had met Zara some seven years back. Their friendship gradually evolved into a strong courtship and finally into a hot love affair. But since their families were quite different. His coming from Alwar where his father was a senior member of the RSS, and where, Zara was from a Muslim family from Kashmir. A divide was but obvious and separation a strong possibility.

    After this Raghu a Tamilian Brahmin enters Zara’s life. An industrious person, again a pass out from IIT, now an owner of a thousand crore start-up company. Raghu is not a good looking. So when Zara discusses marriage he readily agrees, and he even agrees to convert to Islam. Both are thus engaged and even a date for their wedding is announced.

    But Keshav, after the breakup is unable to forget Zara. He therefore out of lovelorn, starts boozing regularly and even gets into binge drinking. Keshav tries his best to win over Zara once again, but fails in all his attempts.

    But surprisingly on Zara’s birthday. Keshav receives a whatsapp message from her. She invites him to her hostel room which is 105, in Himadri, IIT Delhi. Keshav goes to meet her at 3 in the morning along with his friend Saurabh. While Saurabh waits downstairs. Keshav climbs the mango tree and enters her room. Where, he finds Zara lying dead on her bed.

    Terrified, both Keshav and Saurabh inform the police. SHO Rana of Hauz Khas Police Station reports at the crime scene and starts investigation on fast track. Under media pressure he hauls up Laxman, the security guard of the hostel for the crime.

    The thrill starts after this. When Keshav feels, Laxman is not the real killer, and it is a doing of someone else. So, he decides to go all out, to unravel the crime along with Saurabh. The plot seems quite farfetched as they even travel to Kashmir and come in close contact with a terrorist gang there. The plot doesn’t quite fit with the character of the protagonists—Keshav and Saurabh who are just a faculty with a coaching centre.

    Well … if he is doing it for the cause of unceasing love than obviously the book turns into a tragic love story with an inbuilt murder mystery. The chief protagonist Keshav does mention the word ‘Únlove’ towards the end of the novel which only denotes love in a subtle manner. Or it could even be a marketing gimmick—who knows. The lighter side of the book is filled up by the nok-jhok between Keshav and Saurabh which is interesting.

    Before the murder mystery is solved. The author takes you through all the suspects that includes Zara’s father; Zara’s cousin … Sikander; Professor Saxsena … Zara’s PhD guide; Captain Faiz Khan, Zara’s childhood friend and even Raghu.

    It has angles of honour killing, a terrorist job, jealousy and even a straightforward accident. You’ll find out when you read it. Finally after helicoptering and hovering over a long period of time the suspense eventually lands and unravels.

    The book is in easy read format … somewhat Hinglish at times. It was definitely not a page turner for me and did not impact me in any significant manner. The book is more for the college going students who would be able identify themselves with the plot and the characters therein.

    It is also quite awful when it comes to tenses, punctuation, editing, sentence structuring. But even with all that Chetan Bhagat sells. So isn’t he lucky. Well God is with him.

    I would like to give this book six out of ten.

  Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

Author & Blogger

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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

(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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ARTICLE: THE HYPE OF #LITERACY AND DILEMMA OF #EMPLOYABILITY

Copyright@shravancharitymission

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DEFINITION OF LITERACY

    Literacy, as defined in Census operations, is the ability to read and write with understanding in any language. A person who can merely read but cannot write is not classified as literate. Any formal education or minimum educational standard is not necessarily to be considered literate.

    (UNESCO) has drafted a definition of literacy which is, “the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.”

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    The National Literacy Mission defines literacy as “acquiring the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic and the ability to apply them to one’s day-to-day life. The achievement of functional literacy implies (i) self-reliance in 3 R’s-reading, writing and arithmetic, (ii) awareness of the causes of deprivation and the ability to move towards amelioration of their condition by participating in the process of development, (iii) acquiring skills to improve economic status and general well being, and (iv) imbibing values such as national integration, conservation of environment, women’s equality, observance of small family norms.”

    According to the latest report released on 31 March 2011 the literacy rate of India has increased to 74%. This means a decadal growth of around 10 %.

BUT CAN MERE LITERACY GUARANTEE EMPLOYMENT?

Is the moot point, as literacy only provides general ability to read, write and a sense of better awareness, but jobs, require deeper and varied skills that need to be created. In the recent Times Ascent edition of 27th November, I read; in the just concluded PAN-IIM World Management Conference held at IIM-KOZHIKODE our HRD Minister Smriti Zubin Irani harping on some appreciative facts about India as a routine lullaby.

    That India is one of the world’s largest democracies and according to some studies 57% of our population is under 30. Our average age is expected to be less than China and the US by 2050. This means more workers, or in other words, a demographic dividend. India has a large pool of workforce that is predominantly English-speaking. 4.4 million Graduates join the Indian job market annually, so there is no shortage of skilled workers in our country. So be it.

    But then do we have appropriate jobs for all as she has not spoken about those unpleasant figures of unemployment. ILO indicates sluggishness in the job market over the last two years where jobless rate could be around 3.8% this year which sounds optimistic. On a more historic note the unemployment rate has been hovering around 6-8 % on an average over the last decade or so. So, can one say, each time when literacy levels have gone up unemployment hasn’t come down?

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    This necessitates, we should take up skill building on fast track. Which horrifyingly comes up in India at a later stage of our educational system. And considering, the alarming school dropout rate of 40% with more girls facing the brunt, this should start at secondary school level.

CAUSE OF SYSTEMIC WORRY

    It is worrying to see, important ministers making isolated parroted statements in coveted milieus like IIMs and IITs, where even otherwise everything is hunky dory. And it goes without saying the stark reality continues to remain as it is and nothing much has changed on the ground. So the big question is how will the additional annual workforce of 4.4 million per annum be adjusted in the job market, and what is the road map for creating such jobs each year. Time has come when at least 74% of the literate Indians would want to know end-to-end on how these jobs would be created, before one brags about the English speaking workforce of 4.4 million and the young India. The central point therefore is the job-creators and the workforce creators of India need to meet on one platform to align, which is still missing.

    In any case most IIT and IIM graduates or post graduates won’t remain unemployed, rather would be gainfully employed. But what is more worrying is the lower end of the pyramid that will bear the brunt of unemployment.

    Considering the present unemployment rate. HRD minister would have done well by initiating a dialogue with those states and departments where huge vacancies are lying unfilled, especially teachers and police constables. The low hanging fruits. Which I guess is also the baby of HRD ministry. Needful to mention teacher appointments in some states have been subjected to scams, and appointments cancelled subsequently.

INDUSTRY INTERFACE

    One of the biggest sources of employment in any country, with India being no exception is through business and industries. Where, according to the World Bank we are still at an agonizing 142 in the ease of doing business out of 189 countries. And time taken for registration of a business is currently at 27 days that needs to be cut down to one day, as in Canada and New Zealand.

    Government intends to go online on approvals, for over 200 state and central permits by April next year which is laudable. Currently 81 state level clearances and another 133 at the central level are being put on line and out of these more than 50 relate to railway ministry, alone. But the big question remains; whether we can set up industries at a pace matching 4.4 million jobs a year, which will only increase by leaps and bounds. The answer as of now is no and that necessitates searching for other alternatives. And so; where is the MEA proposal (Ministry of External Affairs) if we were to export our workforce to various aging countries about which our Prime Minister talks so often? And which new countries have been identified where our young English speaking workforce can go and work safely with proper work permits and visas, in a safe manner. I guess, the two distinguished ladies Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani should meet on this agenda and at least identify the countries, and if for some reason it happens to be Germany, Smriti should not think of replacing German by Sanskrit.

THE ROUTE AHEAD

    For brand India, literacy to full employment will be a long and arduous walk, considering its size and scale. Where, premier institutions such as IIT and IIM should also brainstorm to show the way out. And we will have to figure out other avenues also, where I guess PM Narendra Modi’s team needs to come together on one platform.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

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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