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

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–Read India Read initiative–

TITLE: SUPERSTAR INDIA

–FROM INCREDIBLE TO UNSTOPPABLE–

SHOBHAA DE

PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN IN 2008– 456 pages 

Abridged for a quick read

 

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

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

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

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

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

 Some catchy lines from the book

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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. 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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CROSSTALK: WHO HELPS WHOM … the X-factors of politics

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political party

    Mohd Asaduddin Owaisi, is a bitter rival of BJP. But now his party is fighting Bihar elections and this is surely good news for BJP. As this will help in dividing Muslim votes further. That will only help BJP. So in real life you don’t really know whose helping whom.

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    Dr Manmohan Singh after bitterly criticizing BJP in the morning. Calls on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the afternoon. Many TV channels speculate as to why this meeting took place. There are rumours galore. That he went to tutor the PM on how to run Indian economy. Some said he called on the Prime Minister for asylum. Owing to the various scams committed during UPA regime. Where, BJP won the general elections, primarily because of the scams. So, in some ways thanks to Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh.

    Well on the face of it. BJP and Congress might be bitter rivals but the moral of the story is even a bitter rivals can give their opponents a lifetime of an opportunity. Perhaps, PM Narendra Modi didn’t forget this gesture of Dr Manmohan Singh. So, in politics who helps whom is often not in the hands of politicians alone.

aobjp

    Mohd Asaduddin Owaisi, is a bitter rival of BJP. But what happens. If his party MIM decides to contest UP elections. Muslim votes will further get divided, amongst Congress, SP, MIM, BSP and BJP. And who will it benefit–obviously BJP? So in politics no one knows, who’s helping whom.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

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

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

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

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

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

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

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

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INDIA JOINS CLUB OF NATIONS WITH ‘ROAD RUNWAYS’- A moment of pride for Uttar Pradesh

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

iafNew Doc 63_1 (2)

Uttar Pradesh which is often in the news for wrong and silly reasons had a moment of pride when in a first for military aviation in the country, Indian Air Force on Thursday successfully test-landed a French Dassault Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Raya village, Mathura at 6.40 am on 21st May 2015.

The aim behind successfully test-landing a Mirage-2000 fighter on Yamuna Expressway was to be able to use national highways during emergencies.

Flown by Wing Commander Prashant Arora from the “Tigers” squadron based at Gwalior, the French origin Mirage-2000 first made “a practice approach” around 100-metre over the highway. Then, after tearing back into the sky, the supersonic jet returned to finally touch down.

mayawatiakhilesh

The marvel of Yamuna Expressway was constructed by JP Infratech when Mayawati was the Chief Minister of UP and that showcases her vision for big infrastructure projects, and Akhilesh Yadav the present Chief Minister showed graceful maturity by helping IAF in landing a supersonic jet in the Expressway constructed by his rival.

Others who helped IAF were Yamuna Expressway Authority and Mathura Police.

Though several countries, ranging from China and Pakistan to Sweden and Germany have such “road runways.” But it was the first of its kind in India.

IAF deserves commendation, and so does JP Infratech for the Engineering genius. It is also a rare moment of pride, for the citizens of the state and the country.

And last but not the least we hope in this celebratory moment, the bickering and divided Netas of UP will join hands to honour the occasion.

FOR A CHANGE MPs FROM U.P. SHOULD UNITE- TO SAVE THE FOODPARK IN RAE-BAREILLY FROM GOING OUT FOR THE PRESTIGE OF UTTAR PRADESH

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New Doc 63_1

When Pratibha Devi Singh Patil was contesting President’s election, Shiv Sena decided to vote for her enbloc, even when she was a Congress candidate, just because she was a Maharashtrian.

They say ethnic food, language, and minorities have tremendous potential to unite. Unfortunately UP (Uttar Pradesh) has none even when it happens to be the biggest state of India. Its mere name is Uttar Pradesh which means the northern province and does not denote any form of ethnicity. Its mother tongue happens to be Hindi. So what, everyone speaks Hindi—sab bolte hain, and so it still doesn’t create that fusion amongst UPites as it would in case of Tamilians, Maharashtrians, Bengalis, Gujaratis or Punjabis to cite a few examples.

It even does not have that ethnic umbrella of food which by sheer name hyperlinks you to the concerned state like—Idli, Dosa Sambar connects you to Tamil Nadu, fish to Bengal, Chole Bhature to Punjab and Dhokla to Gujarat to name a few. It has ordinary Dal Roti, Saag, Sabzi, Kabaabs and Mithai to mention a few which most states of the north have, so there again there is no pull. And so the underground connect that some the other states have by virtue of language, food and ethnicity is largely missing in this state.

Though UP was and still is the livewire political capital of India with 84 seats in Lok Sabha and 31 in Rajya Sabha it was always a case of chirag tale andhera. It never developed like other states and always basked in the comfortable backyards of Delhi. And, sadly the MPs from UP only bickered with each other across party lines and the trend goes on, even when every other state of India is fighting tooth and nail to get new industries and investments into their state. And, so can we expect giants like Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati and Rahul Gandhi all from UP, ever coming together for the cause of U.P? The answer is big no.

Eight of India’s fifteen Prime Ministers were from Uttar Pradesh: Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Charan Singh, Rajeev Gandhi, V.P.Singh, Chandrashekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee apart from various other senior union cabinet ministers who have represented U.P. But still it is a laggard state. And no one knows whom to blame, whether the political class of the state and so also the citizenry.

For some Prime Ministers it was understandable because they had short stints and came in much later in the day but some had long initial stints post India’s independence and still couldn’t provide that initial desired impetus of industrialization and development.

In fact Mrs Indira Gandhi coolly handed over the Integral Coach Factory tipped for Allahabad to Kaputhala in Punjab while Punjab agitation was at its peak to please Sikhs not realising how bad Uttar Pradesh must have felt especially when Phoolpur-Allahabad was Jawahar Lal Nehru’s constituency; and all her life Mrs Gandhi fought elections from Rae-Bareilly in UP.

After Indira Gandhi now Rahul Gandhi the scion of Gandhi parivar is taking Rae-Bareilly for a ride by not taking the food park project seriously when it was sanctioned to him in 2010 and with all the influence at his command he could have seen the project through and got so many in Rae-Bareilly employed. And therefore I fail to understand why Congress Party tries to take Uttar Pradesh for granted.

And looking at the plight of U.P. it is important that the MPs of Uttar Pradesh unite for a change and not let the food park go out to some other state. Even Aklesh Yadav’s government should provide all clearances asap. For one food park or a coach factory will not make any difference in the life of Gandhis, but will certainly make a tremendous difference in the lives of a common man from Uttar Pradesh.

TOI news item- ‘UPA refused cheap gas supply to Rahul project.’