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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.


By Ravinder Singh

Publisher: Penguin Metro Reads

Year of publication: 2016

    At times one wonders what life is all about. If love is the bulls-eye in the game of life then one needs to define love. Love, often reminds you of marriage, duty, emotions, attention, aspirations, bindings and possessiveness on one hand. And independence, liberation and ambitions on the other. So then, where does the buck stop? And mind you the tussle between love and life is primordial.

    Well … Ravinder Singh tries to unravel these answers, in this book of his through the triad of Naina, Aarav and Manvika.

    But first the storyline which isn’t very meaty. One can say. It’s like some old Bollywood flick. Naina Singhania is the wife of (Sid) Siddharth Singhania. Her marriage to Sid is an outcome of their parents being family friends. Sid is a builder attempting to expand his father’s business. They stay in a posh apartment in Gurgaon.

    Naina, though smart, educated and even well-read is married into this family that somewhat has a traditional mindset. She leads the life of a traditional bahu and housewife along with her super busy husband—who is even a golfer.

    Sid is highly ambitious and in this pursuit, he knowingly or unknowingly tramples on the aspirations of his wife Naina. Naina after her marriage has become somewhat plum. So she joins a gym where she comes in contact with Manvika. Manvika is from the media world—a TV anchor who conducts TV debates.

    Then, there is Aarav who is young and handsome. He happens to be the gym instructor, as well as the personal trainer of both Manvika and Naina. When Naina comes in contact with Manvika and Aarav, the hitherto dormant storm of aspirations in her stirs up. She begins to feel more vehemently about it. And somewhere she starts blaming Sid for it. Her loneliness accentuates, when Manvika who is very forthright and individualistic and a hardcore women’s lib activist stokes the fire in her.

    The trio of Naina, Manvika and Aarav meet in the gym, almost daily. As a result Naina falls in love with Aarav. Where, Manvika prompts Naina to live life, on her own terms, for there is only one life. Then there is a long conversation and discussion between Naina and Manvika on adultery which doesn’t result into anything tangible in the novel.

    The novel climaxes when all of a sudden Sid is forced to cancel his anniversary trip to Maldives, just as, he had to postpone his honeymoon trip, because he has to fly out to a different destination abroad to meet his investors.

    This breaks Naina emotionally. When her love for Aarav finally unleashes to its zenith. In these difficult times Manvika guides Naina and pulls her out of deep depression. Finally, Naina gathers her guts to voice for a divorce, citing reasons that anyway her marriage remains an unrealised dream.

    It is not very clear in the novel, whether, Naina has decided to join Aarav who has moved to Canada for a course on physical education. Aarav is matured enough to understand the intricacies of attempting to marry a lady who is already married.

    The book finally winds up with a lot of ifs and buts. Where, the author finally puts forth a question for the readers on the definition of adultery.

    Finally, while reading the book my mind was filled with the following thoughts.

    The book is some 232 pages but is extremely slow and not at all moving.

  • It gives you a vivid description of how a gym operates with all its technical nomenclature. In fact the story commences from the gym.
  • Since the book doesn’t have an interesting storyline. It often tunnels through a boring prose and at times even zooms into the ambits of soft porn—and that could be the prime reason for its sale.
  • The book caters more to the younger crowd in the range of college students.
  • It dwells on women’s emancipation.
  • Author has played well with the words in this book.
  • It is deluge of gym-gym and gym and … also emotions—emotions and emotions.
  • It has long monotonous conversations of the stale kind that the society has been dealing with from time immemorial. Nothing is new.
  • In fact up to page 90 the story hardly moves.
  • Even the build-up of love affair between Naina and Aarav consumes about 84 pages.
  • Conversations are well described but then they are over detailed that exceeds the attention and interest span of the present day reader—something like unwanted detailing when Aarav goes to a salon.
  • As a male author he has describes female emotions quite well.
  • Lot of research has gone into fitness. The author also uses certain posh terms when it comes to garments and ladies dresses to build up that snob value.
  • The book is a romantic song without melody.
  • There are also some psycho battles in it.
  • Deals with a lot of day-to-day aspirations such as how to keep looking good, always.
  • There is a tussle between work and wife that Sid faces and which is quite common.
  • The surrounds and ambience becomes a bore as the book is merely confined to the gym and the mall

     Finally it’s a novel that tries to convey a social and emotional message for a tussle that is age old.

    I would give this book 5 out of 10.

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi




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(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)  


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RSS- a necessary counter balance ideology


By Kamlesh Tripathi


    In the annals of Indian history compiled by historians who pledged their prolonged allegiance to Congress. RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) was always projected as an untouchable organization along with its off-shoots. One of which was even held responsible for the gruesome murder of Mahatma Gandhi—father of the nation. That is Nathu Ram Godse. And collectively they all are blamed for fueling communal disharmony in the country. So much so. That very recently, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha M.P. Ghulam Nabi Azad mindlessly compared RSS with ISIS. But, be that as it may. It may not be out of context to say. That Indian history was wrongly written on several pages by these historians. Reason being: Because it was biased, and cunningly against the RSS and not at all in sync with what was happening in the neighbourhood of newly born India. It did not even deal with the regional demography and its likely effect on India. So quite frankly it was devoid of prospective anticipation, of how the troublesome neighbourhood of India is likely to be after a bunch of few decades.

    I always feel. Any historical perspective should always be dipped at leisure in the demographic paste of the past the present and the anticipated gush of future. Much before it is presented to the world. To have an unbiased view. But unfortunately out here. It was not presented in that manner. Therefore, RSS & Co remained a villain of all times. RSS, was formed on 27th September 1925 on the day of Vijay-Dashmi, and would be celebrating its centenary in less than a decade. Thus, it has come a long way since then. It was banned during the British Raj and thereafter thrice in the post independence era. More for political reasons. But RSS couldn’t care less. As recently it has decided to graduate into trousers replacing those vintage shorts in an attempt to jerk off some of its ancient looks. But will it also change its inveterate mindset? Is something we need to wait and watch, but I’m sure. It’ll surely try and bolster its global image across the world.

       For Congress and other left-of-center pseudo-secular parties. RSS remains that untouchable ball of fire that will only disintegrate the country. But then the moot question is, who brought about the painful disintegration of India in 1947? For RSS was just about twenty-two years old then. When Congress was about fifty two and definitely more matured and resourceful. Moreover, Congress continues to plot. That typical, slippery and conniving kind of a mindset for a very long period of time now. That is, support the Muslim minority, but get the Sikhs massacred in riots, and still label yourself as secular. This is what Congress did in 1984 Sikh riots. So, can one call Congress a secular Party?

    As of now RSS bashing is vital and important for pseudo-secular parties. To survive and trade on vote bank politics. And, it will continue to be so as long as they can fool the Muslim minority of the country. That RSS is a threat to them. But with the continued peaceful co-existence of both RSS and the Muslims. The fear and misunderstanding falsely crafted by these parties, will only subside as per the law of time.

     The mission statement of RSS says it was formed:

    ‘For the welfare of entire mankind, Bharath must stand before the world as a self-confident, resurgent and mighty nation. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has resolved to fulfill this age-old national mission by forging the present-day scattered Hindu Society into an organized and invincible force both on the plane of Adhyaatma and on the plane of material life. Verily this is the one real practical world mission – if ever there was one.

    The mission of reorganizing the Hindu society. On the lines of its unique national genius, which the Sangh has taken up is not only a great process of true national regeneration of Bharat. But also the inevitable precondition to realize the dream of world unity and human welfare.  Our one supreme goal is to bring to life the all-round glory and greatness of our Hindu Rashtra.

    In order to take our nation to the pinnacle of glory, the first and foremost prerequisite is the invincible organized life of the people without which even the highest national prosperity will crumble to dust in no time.

    Expressed in the simplest terms, the ideal of the Sangh is to carry the nation to the pinnacle of glory through organizing the entire society and ensuring the protection of Hindu Dharma.’

    While some may find the mission statement to be bearable. Some others may find it as incendiary, but that’s up to them. But to me it appears. It delves more in uniting, the otherwise fragile Hindus and their ethos. Hitherto divided so much by caste, class, language and even state. In fact both the British Raj and Congress instead of bridging the gap. Tried their best to widen it. This is what RSS wants to rectify. So it should not be misunderstood as aggression, or a lurking danger against any minority community as often projected by pseudo-secular parties and the media. Hindus were never receptive to unite under any single temple or deity. Like the Muslims do under the name of ‘Allah.’ So in some ways RSS tried to act only as a counter balance in the demographic space of India, and I doubt if it will ever go ballistic first, and that too like ISIS.

    Political parties can’t be relied upon for protection of a particular religion or faith completely. As they first nurture their own selfish needs. Where, their first priority is always their vote bank. Congress today doesn’t know where to look at. Ever since other pro Muslim parties have sprung up. Because of which their own Muslim vote bank has shrunk (In Lok Sabha only 44 seats) and for the majority they never ever bothered. Most Muslims and Christians, even when they lean on left wing parties. Still cannot afford to stay away from their mosques and churches. That issues diktats about whom to vote. Which is not the case with Hindu temples. Political parties confine you to geographical boundaries and nations whereas mosques and churches make you global but that is not the case with Hindu temples.

    Hindus, though, intelligent, were never a marshal race. Rather for over four hundred years they have been gullible and subservient. Be it under the rule of the Mughal Sultanate or the British Raj. They were always naive and never united under one religious banner. They also had big individual egos. Therefore were always exploited individually by their opponents. Their temples never united them. On the contrary their day-to-day living only separated them by caste wars. As compared to Islam and Christianity where mosques and churches were heard and acted upon. Temples had practically no say in arriving at important milestones decisions of Hindus. Except for milestone rituals. So no temple could have brought Hindus together. And that is where RSS came into picture to hold the hands of Hindus and fill the gap. But the idea was not to launch an onslaught on any other religion. Earlier Sikhism was formed as a marshal force and religion to protect Hindus from the onslaught of Afghan and Mughal invasions.

    If we compare the world demographics and religions across various countries and colonies. We will find there are 161 countries where Christianity is in a majority; 49 where Muslims are in a majority. In 7 countries unaffiliated religions rule the roost; 3 countries where Hindus are in a majority; 7 where Buddhists are in a majority; 3 countries where Folk Religion guides the majority and 1 where Jews are in a majority. Whereas, Christianity is more predominant in other continents such as Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand just to name a few. Islam and Hinduism on the other hand largely dominate Asia and the Middle East, and that to neck-to-neck. As compared to Muslim adherents of 1.12 billion in the region. Hindus number around 1.03 billion. I’m placing these vital statistics on the table. As that will only expose the tilt of the heft and the crucible required to balance the heft.

    66% of the world’s Muslims reside in Asia and the Middle East. They are 27% of the total population of Asia and the Middle East. With around 1.12 billion adherents and thus the heart of Muslim civilization on earth. And it is noticeable. They share space with over a billion Hindus in the same region. But there is always a tug-of-war between the two on strength and mettle.

    If we further zero in on South Asia. That includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. We will find 48 crore Muslims stay in South Asia which is about 28% of the world’s Muslim population and 30% of the population of South Asia and in comparison there are around 102 crore Hindus residing in South Asia. Which is around 98% of the total Hindu population of the world and around 64% of the total population of South Asia. And with a little over 95% of world’s Hindus living in India alone, a mind game of sorts is always on the prowl. Where RSS plays the card of Hindu saviour, and where Congress and other pseudo-secular parties are considered minority protectors.

    RSS came into wider relevance and recognition ever since terrorism escalated in J&K. Where Kashmiri Pandits had to flee the valley and the Congress government in the centre did nothing effective about it. It also raised its voice whenever Hindu minorities were crushed in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries. Even the illegal entry of Bangladeshis into Assam was overlooked if not encouraged by the Congress government. That changed the demographic pattern of Assam. Thus, one can say. It was also because of the Congress that RSS started gaining traction in India. Today the antenna of RSS goes even beyond the borders of India and stands as a peaceful Hindu insignia. Whether you like it or not.

    But times have changed. Besides trousers RSS should also think of broad banding their base. To get in their fold dalits and minorities. And India needs to realise. As long as you have vote bank politics, organisations like RSS will come up to take the cause of the neglected.