Snow-Falling-Effect

The New Year Resolution

Its a new year again. 
Resolutions and promises .... only to be broken, as they say in modern cities.
Not for her. 
Ria has never made New Year Resolutions.. She don't need them. Her life as a cashier in the India Gas Agency in rural outskirts of Moradabad is more than punctual, disciplined and content. Free from all those complications that a life in Metro offers to a young 17 something girl.

But this year is different...she has some savings and the offer seems irresistible.

To be able to click HD images,edit and filter them and make a fancy collage and to be able to take part in the prestigious 'Pic Of The Year' in her district is something only dreams are made of ... for her at least .

Well , clicking pictures is not as easy as it seems. It needs patience and persistence - the only two things she has in abundance ,she thought wryly.

But then, that's why this resolution is needed.So that she can not step back. There are other things, a list of priorities on which pic of the year is nowhere to be seen. But still, Ria wants to at least give a real try to it.

The major deterrent is that the past seven years' winners were all students or pass-outs from the suave` graphic courses from big colleges in Moradabad and other cities. Neither she has, nor she can have the cameras they bring with them while receiving awards ... Those huge black monsters with strange long lenses attached making them look like a black arm zooming to capture the shot. 
And Ria has no knowledge except that inner feel,an inherent sense for light and shade and the free ocean of knowledge available online. 

Its equal to what a bird knows about swimming. But then, she chuckled, " Penguins are birds ..Aren't they ?" 





The topic she had in mind is Nature .
 She will make a collage which show how nature is more loving , caring and giving than us humans in all aspects .
Toying with her idea for a whole night , she finally took the plunge and bought the Micromax Canvas Tab P666 . The Tab with Intel Inside and Intel Media Accelerator ... which promises to fulfill her dream of clicking fast, clear, in HD and then to send the images to the URL of the District Panel of Photography ...all by a click of a key from her hometown! 
 "No need to advertise the fact by boarding a train!" she smiled .
                                       
Armed with her brand new device and brimming confidence Ria was glowing with excitement.She had clicked numerous pictures and with instant connectivity she knew more about rules of the contest. NO filters/NO Editing .It says.

She has so much time to browse and enrich her knowledge as there are still many days left in submission. No more dependency on the cyber cafe` wale bhaiyya for internet browsing.

Finally she submitted 3 images she had clicked of which one got selected and cleared the round one and two. Now came the final round where the contestants have to combine their chosen topic with Patriotism.

As she has chosen nature she was much worried... nature and patriotism .. its good but how to convey in an image ? Only 2 days were left when suddenly, she has to go to Bhopal with her senior for some urgent work. From Bhopal they went to Indore and to Jhansi too. Ria clicked tons of images in the journey and finally chose an image of a Gul-mohar tree providing shade to a neglected statue of Rani LaxmiBai. 
The tree was in bloom and the orange -red petals were adorning the Rani and her little son on her back. It was a beautiful pic speaking volumes but the light was bad and the image saddens the heart. Ria was looking for something optimistic .


Nature and India
Before submitting the image she was having a last look when suddenly, she saw something unbelievable....Ria was shocked.
 It was a pic she clicked on Bhopal-Indore highway and it shows trees making a map of INDIA !!
It was so clear as if photoshopped!

Ria's heart was beating fast and with trembling hands she submitted as her entry.

Next few days were a blur which she realised on the day she received an email congratulating her as a winner . Finally she made it.The award which is so prestigious and important to her ..all by the help of her new Micromax Canvas Tab P666 which enabled her to click clear and fast, store and browse and submit it even from Jhansi :)


This post is a work of fiction written in response to IndiBlogger happy Hours with Micromax Canvas Tab P666. 

Love Unfulfilled : From Old Pages

Credit 
Many years back when I was definitely not a young child but a little innocence and notions of pure love fed in me had made me the sentimental fool, I wrote this poetic piece (true blooded poets need not get offended..It sounds good this way.that's all!) after a phrase  - 'Even Love Unreturned Has Its Own Rainbow' which I came across in Reader's Digest. I was touched (inexplicably) and wrote it in one go. So, read it keeping my state of emotional frenzy in mind...:)

 LOVE UNRETURNED

Oh! love just makes the world go round
 It blossoms beautifully anywhere
It paints the world in glittering tints
But true love is for a few who dare

I've once been through this path 'my dear',
And now I'm sauntering here again
It's still the same,under golden veil,
It's filled with anguish,sorrow,pain,

And as I ponder,hopes grow higher
only to be dashed again
hearts beat as one but far across,
it's circumstances hard to explain
Thanks !

But well ! then love means growing up


To move on ,seek and understand
Even love unfulfilled is strong enough
To help us be a better man.

Yes! It is such a wonderful thing
It makes, it breaks ,it fills our souls
Heartbeats are stopped, but still for it
A special place our hearts behold.

In deepest woods, in deepest storms
It gives to life a sunshine hue
An inner warmth, a bright outlook
A new perspective in all we do

The soul is drenched with joy and care
the heart sways in ecstacy, lo!
an inner strength, a brand new dare
Even, Love Unreturned, has its own Rainbow!


                                                                                          7thMarch03.My notions have not changed though :)

Near :Haiku

                                           new dreams, fresh start, hope
                                           bright pastures, better,greener 
                                           always, near the end
                                                 
                                                            *** 
         
                                         buds smile shy, tickled

                                         sun kissed petals sway, near by
                                         you are here somewhere 

                                                        ***
                                         hurt, I cried, you sulked

                                         they looked content, our marriage
                                         survived a near death 
                                           
For HaikuHorizons

Good Morning !

 With Profuse thanks  to the source for capturing the chaos
                                                  
                                               
                                                 the kettle shattered 
                                                all scattered topsy turvy
                                                my kids are awake !


Source

Ruby

Top Post on IndiBlogger
Source

                                             nose-pin pearls glow gleam   
                                             in ruby lips' reflection
                                             like pomegranate seeds

                                             beautiful curved nose
                                             decked with shining red ruby 
                                             parrot spies parrot

                                             mystified unsure
                                             the bird stays shy and wonders
                                             to pluck , not to pluck 


Source


These lines tells about the exquisite facial features of Urmila (Laxman's wife). Here the beauty of Urmila's perfectly arched nose and the red bloom of her lips is presented by describing the thought process of a puzzled parrot thus, drawing the picture without touching the object of admiration!
These lines are by Maithili Sharan Gupt . The prompt 'Ruby' by HaikuHorizon inspired me to translate these beautiful lines as haiku. 

                                                   नाक का मोती अधर की कांति से 
                                                  बीज दाड़िम का समझ कर भ्रान्ति से 
                                                 देखकर सहसा हुआ शुक मौन है 
                                                 सोचता है अन्य शुक यह कौन है ?

अधर - lips
कांति - luminescence
बीज -  seed
दाड़िम - pomegranate
भ्रान्ति - dilemma
शुक - parrot
मौन - quiet

"In the red reflection of Urmila's lips , the pearl of her nose-pin seem like a pomegranate seed, confusing the parrot who thinks her nose as another parrot having a pom-seed in its beak."

A Mother from Peshawar

Top Post on IndiBlogger
With thanks to the Source 
                                                 pearl of my eyes now
                                                 lies adorned with a ruby 
                                                on heart, life trickles..

with HaikuHorizons

The Contract : Review

Book          : The Contract
Author       : Zeenat Mahal
Genre`       :  Romance/Contemporary
Publishers  : IndiReads
Cover         : Lacking, unimaginative and bland ..for such beautiful characters, it deserved better. Surely
Ratings       : 3/5

The blurb which got me interested was-


…I’ll pay you a monthly salary to behave and appear for all practical purposes as my wife…If you agree, the marriage vows can be taken on the phone on Saturday, since I have an hour free in the morning.”
Circumstances have forced the young divorcée, Shahira, to accept Hussain’s unusual proposition. As per their contract, she’ll have his name, will be paid to look after his ailing mother and motherless daughter and will be left well alone by him. Perfect!
Until her new husband decides to stop playing by the rules…"
My TAKE
 Of - course I was expecting a romance ! And romance it is.. heady mix of traditional and contemporary,aromatic alleys of Pakistan and cobblestoned Western streets. May be, sort of mild Mills n Boons.
With glimpses of Asian life and mind set the book is essentially contemporary and liberal.
A book which I wish would have been better if thicker ! there was still a lot more to explore.The writer had such a potent plot, the stage set, props at place and emotions ignited...... 
Writing Style 
Is clear and simple so much so that I finished the book in 2 hours flat. The sentences mainly are short ,crisp and devoid of unnecessary details.
This too much simplicity also works against it as there were sights to be seen , seasons waiting to be described and scenic views unfolding beautifully in front of our protagonists' eyes... but then better not to describe, than doing it badly or too much. 
For a romantic novel, the narration was fast but, it was smooth and powerful also. I enjoyed reading Shahira's emotional journey . 
CHARACTERS 
Loved Shaihra for her integrity though Hussein still seem to have some (unintentional) corners which need a bit rounding of
Nudrat could have been more than stereotype other woman ...
The character I loved most is Salma Aunty.Her love and acceptance for Shahira as well as her son is touching.
 It was a REAL pleasure to read about their relationship.
My VERDICT
Good.
My rating is 3 as though I was not expecting anything literary, yet, the characters could be more layered and meaty. As well as beside the Daahta Sahib, there is hardly any glimpse of Lahore or Paris Or London. It would have been rewarding if little peccadilloes, the and routine activities would have found a passing mention in the narration, it helps the book to set in real world  and makes the impression lasting.
Having said all, the writer IS Promising with a capital 'P' and I look forward to read her more :)
About the Author

Zeenat Mahal (@zeenat_mahal) is an avid reader and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has an MPhil in English literature from Government College Lahore and is currently doing an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University, London. She won a BBC short story competition in 2001 and has been a regular contributor to newspapers. Zeenat has eclectic tastes and an insatiable desire to learn. Her romances are a heady mix of the traditional and the contemporary, old world values face the challenges of a shrinking globe that impinge upon and help shape South Asian sensibilities. She is currently working on a literary novel with elements of magical realism, while continuing to write romances. 
Zeenat currently lives in Kingston Upon Thames with her fabulous sons.


*The book was offered as  a part of IndiReads Reviewer Program

Best Buy at amazon 

For my GoodRead Review
For Amazon Review

The Case Of The Chinese Mastermind : Review

The Book with the heart
bookmark made by me :)
Top Post on IndiBlogger




Book     : The Case Of The Chinese Mastermind 
                    (The Crime Busters' League)
Author       : Ketaki Karnik
Genre`       : YA Fiction /Mystery
Publishers : Jaico Publishing House
Year          : 2014
Cover        : Childish
Ratings      : 3.7/5

How will it feel to go back in childhood and have a mystery ala Nancy drew style to solve for ? Smashing ! You would say and that's what the book is - S.M.A.S.H.I.N.G .


THE PLOT
With Uncle Ravi's valuable papers stolen and his company refusing to call in the police,its upto 14 years old Kavya,Raima,Varun and Anna to solve the mystery. 
Uncle Ravi's reputation and hard work is at stake and perhaps some lives too ..... as a blood-thirsty monster, a killer car, rogue spies, muscular henchmen,plotting friends, crooked officials,corporate espionage, blackmail ,theft, guests and servants in disguise .... are only few of the things to be taken care of  .... in that very secluded farmhouse .
And to top it all a very much harried Pinky Aunty to deal with! And not to forget that  Pinky Aunty’s farmhouse was once a haunted abode of the king of Patiala.....

Will the four friends succeed in busting their very first crime mystery ...Will they be able to evade the life threatening danger they are in ? are just some of the questions they are facing ....

MY ANALYSIS 
 Except for the rather bumpy start, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
 Its ideal for a 9 year old ,a teenager looking for adventure as well as a stressed out adult .
 Such books which suit so many sensibilities are rare so there's no beating around the bush .. its a winner friends.

LANGUAGE
Because its target audience are young adults and children, the language is of utmost importance and am glad and beaming to say that our wards can read it without any parental guidance in this particular area .

WRITING STYLE

The book opened on a rather verbose note for my tastes but after two and a half chapters it gained momentum (Or I got adapted to it ..) and the long adjectives and similes were spared which otherwise followed each character and its each gesticulation like ghost attendants and water boys scuttering around the characters in question, applying - oh! now a dab of powder and here!just a dash of rouge and now another coat of mascara and now ............... well you got the drift .

Though I MUST mention that each and every simile and adjective is authentic , witty and unique . I quite enjoyed them only they hindered the pace, which is too frantic in the first two chapters !

I loved the witty narration as wit always gets me . 

Sample it - 
Page 22 , Kavya the 14 year old reflects

 "I walked upto the car. there's a fine line between bravado and stupidity, I remembered reading somewhere. the truth is there is no line - it only depends on the outcome. If you succeed , you're brave. If you don't...."

And this -
pg. 66 , Kavya the 14 year old child observes 

"It was the first time I was sitting with Prof. Fernandes from this close. He had this ultra-serious demeanour about him- the kind that proclaims 'don't talk to me unless you have a PhD and have atleast made two noteworthy discoveries '...... I decided some adults are just born adults."

At moments you may find yourself at splits despite yourself. So, Overall its accolades for the Writing Style . 

CHARACTERS
 Are well crafted and nicely drawn.Their traits,motives and menace is well depicted in so few pages and so much to write about.

Umm..
Well it is for these two unanswered questions -

What about The Rameshwarans' curiosity ?
Why was Rhea Sabarwal looked menacingly at the Glass Safe facade when she did not have any grudges with Ravi ?
AND
the insipid Cover and the Title ... There are plethora of awesome covers with  (kiddo graphics too Here and Here ) which could have done as smashing a job as 'smashingly' Ketaki Karnik has written the story. 
Here are some of my favourite examples intriguing, mysterious and nicely sketched 
Ditto for the Title.. it ought to be cryptic not misleading or meaningless as there was no Chinese connection in the actual theft !Grrrr....

VERDICT
 Recommended. Go for it !

About the Author
Ketaki Karnik a MBA from Oxford roller-coastered through management consultancies and corporates and writing the next Crime Busters' League only kept her sane through all this .
To chat with her live on the13th of Dec 2014 Here 

Find more about the book 

On Facebook
On Twitter  
Buy  Amazon Kindle  Edition
Buy on Flipkart 

A History of Insects : Review

A Beautiful cover with the handmade
Bookmark.
Top Post on IndiBlogger
Book        :    A History of Insects
Author    :    Yvonne Roberts
Genre`     :    Coming of age 
Year        :    2000
Cover      :   beautifully symbolic, Loved it.
Ratings   :    3/5

Nine-years-old, Ella is caught amid the pretentious world of grown ups and found it to be sham and full of hypocrisy. For her, the adult behaviour is confusing and contradictory.

She is lonely as her relation with her mother is far from good.The only sunny rays are 'Uncle Ash', the Pakistani Brigadier Ashraf Khan, the American lady Betty and the very ill, soon-to-die- Tommy.
 Later, in the story, when Ella is send to a hostel she met Zuhra, Miss Patterson and Dr Mac.
After gaining new insights in the matters of religion and sin, Ella loses her voice and was brought back by Betty to Peshawar for the summer holidays.  How she got her voice back  in more than one ways marks the end of the story.

My View-

Set in early 1956 when the last of the British Empire was struggling to hold its place in Peshawar, Pakistan, Ella, the 9 year old daughter of Bill Jackson, the 'Morse Man' of British Deputy Commander, becomes witness to the troublesome times of social,political and personal unrest. As her father is the 'code-man' who translates the delicate Morse coded information send from Abbotabad to the British High Commission's office in Peshawar and hence, lives in the compound of the  gated British community of 4-5 families and a handful of native servants, she is confined to its walls . She soon finds a secret garden to there soothe her senses thus, keeping her fertile imagination running wild around it.
She becomes aware of the ongoing sexual conflicts and the social unrest in a place brimming with racism, class hierarchy,treachery, snobbery, secrets and lies. 
At such turbulent phase, her diary is her only solace, a requisite to live, analyse and understand the strangeness of life around her.

Confused and somewhat embarrassed by the quirkiness of adult behaviour, their codes of conduct and double standards, Ella promptly makes her journal a secret one and it becomes a secret book  labelled as 'The History of Insects' to avoid undue attention. She had learnt it the hard way that if you label your diary 'Private' and 'Keep Away' adults are bound to open and read it while pretending it to be something as boring as 'The History Of Insects' no adult will touch it even when it is in plain sight !
She pours her heart in to it to her heart's content about things which confuse, enrage and disturb her. Most of the entries were triggered by her mother Alice Jackson's strange  ways in dealing with her only daughter Ella and life in general. 

WRITING STYLE
There is  something amiss here.

Am sorry to say this but though the writer writes with clarity,she lacks pathos and wit. 
Not a single witty character or lines to lighten the mood. 

The writer  is lucid, correct in language and interpretation and in creating situations but they all seem .... incomplete . After each situation, the reader is left with a sense of 'adhurapan' - incompleteness ... no single event reached its end ...  except that Shafi is executed (wry smile)
So many loose ends- 
What is the secret if any was their in Noel playing with toys?
What about the broken leg of Noel's toy horse?
What Dr Mac did rather not did ?
Why Alice changed suddenly.. in hardly an hour  ?
And lastly ........... the somewhat ambiguous end . 
I felt like leaving Ella in a lurch, with her decision of not growing up . Ever.


CHARACTERISATION
Is Excellent. 

The writer has etched fine characters out of facts and figments of imagination and observation. She has also managed to create that troubled sense of impending doom throughout the book .
But again, the characters - all of them , finely etched, carved , mouthing well-formed dialogues are devoid of LIFE.And it's this lack of life (which is there even in the lifeless) that mars the book .

ALICE'S character is a mother who lacks that source of feeling which a woman has as an integral part of her physiology . No doubt, her past experiences had shaped her the way she is but  she  could have made life a cheerful place for Ella and Bill both had she just tried !Too occupied in keeping up with the Jonses she missed out life's little pleasures and the knowledge of it made it hard for her to accept her faults thus making life miserable for her and those related to her.At the end of the story, Alice is changed without any apparent reason or explanation and without making her any better .

MARJORIE and SYLVIA are the other two female characters who show a passive interest in life expecting fun without work. 
While BETTY and BLOSSOM are the ones who chose to take the active part in life.With their own share of troubles and lows,they are involved in life and though they have acceptance regarding fate and their choices yet they keep working on it ... 

All the wives of the story are real fine characters including the blink and the miss performance of the poised, sheathed in a pale-linen dress,strikingly beautiful Mrs. Faryal Afridi Khan. 
Read it for her.

REASONS
 Though mentioned earlier I am writing again to make my mind as well as your head clear. 
GOOD
 The book is
- engaging and fresh as Pakistan as a background is new for me. 
- has good narration
- fine characterisation,
- correct, crisp language ,
- proportionate description 
the rich cultural back 
- engrossing wives and 
- enough secrets ... 
BUT it lacks
- that lyrical flow,which is there even in disasters.. 

- that beauty which shines even from sadness and
- that  music of melancholy . 
Over all, it lacks zest, spark, in one word  - Life. 

It has that intricate pattern of marriage and love... self-respect and loneliness, the sad, insecure, yearning for a better life n love wives, courage, and cowardice .... all embroidered on the already rich tapestry of British-Pakistani-Sikh-Muslim-Indian-Americans cultural presence with The Ruler and The ruled relation on the fringes.  
With such a rich premise and a protagonist with a fertile and curious mind, you simply mourn for the waste of the potential.

VERDICT
Bland .Engaging.
Despite myself I loved it !
If something can be good despite being bland then it's this book.
So, an engrossing read with that little something amiss which could have turned it into Beea...uuutiful ... Sigh!

My Goodread Review 

About The Author

 Yvonne Roberts is an award-winning journalist who has worked in TV and newspapers including The Sunday Times, the observer and the Guardian.She grew up in Pakistan in the 1950s and is an author of non-fiction and fiction books.

You can find her 
On Linkedin 
On GoodRaeds
On Twitter

And buy the book from 
Amazon
Flipcart

स्वेटर : Haiku

रेशमी ऊन 
With Thanks to this creative Mom :)
स्वेटर में हैं गुंथी
यादें नरम

शोख प्यार के
सुर्ख़  धागों  से बुने 
ये ताने बाने

ख़्वाबों  ख्वाहिशों  
मख्मली  अल्फाज़ों की 
चंद  डोरियां 

खुले उलझे 
धागे कुछ गिरहें 
आ सुलझा लें  

सर्द बर्फ में 
दे तपिश-ए -रूह   
दिल (का)  नमूना 

Top Post on IndiBlogger
Sweater

tender and warm fur
a sweater knitted smooth in 
satin memories

                                                                                  from blood crimson threads 
                                                                                 I weave knit and crochet it 
                                                                                  a token of love 

I knit fibres of dreams
and velvety expression 
longings desire ache 

                                                                                   a few tangled knots 
                                                                                   some loose threads overlooked, sigh ..
                                                                                   love ! will sort them .. fresh


Source
in  frozen white lands
wraps, protects and warms your soul 
the design of (my) heart

Hot : Haiku

SOURCE
                                                                     पिघला देती 
                                                            सुन्न हाथ मन भी 
                                                                     गर्म कहवा 


SOURCE
                                            

                                                      warms numb hands, cold hearts
                                           cardamom ginger basil                                                                                                          a cup of hot tea

for HaikuHorizons

The City of Joy



                                                                     Where joy-beams dance in sunlit streams
                                                                     and morn shines bright with hope as gleam
                                                                     they smile with eyes, and laugh with hearts
                                                                      where love grow strong on being apart

                                                                     where the 'selfish' fog has lifted long ago 
                                                                     insecurity, ego are words not known
                                                                     where compassion blooms on every tree
                                                                      and girls and birds both dance so free

                                                                     where charity graces all their homes
                                                                     and clemency decorates every dome
                                                                     where empathy grew in backyard patch
                                                                      and mercy fever, like cold they catch!

                                                                      Vines dangle from contentment hooks
                                                                       try and persistence bloom at nooks
                                                                       forgiveness scents the avenues wide
                                                                       and life seems like a good-luck-ride

                                                                       A bed of thanks, and a gratitude  quilt 
                                                                       acceptance cuts the threads of  guilt                                                                                                                                       where fondness curtains sway in air
                                                                       and 'I can' windows throw out despair
                                         
                                                                       where kindness rolls as waves at the shore
                                                                       and hate is a figment, a piece of lore
                                                                       where mercy droppeth like gentle rain
                                                                       and a knee grazed bad is the only pain ...

                                                                        tears turn into stars; laughter in pearls
                                                                        to deck the town, light up the hills
                                                                        In that blessed town, I wish to stay
                                                                        where life is love, work, JOY and to pray.

sharing it with PoetsUnited  motif  : Joy                                
                                           

Living Life. Simply .


जीवन पथ का पाथेय यही ,

खुद की पहचान समझ लेना 

जग में अपनी निजता लय कर

निज में ही जग को पा जाना।


sustenance of life is


realisation of  the self.

harmonize 'self ' into the world 

to find the world ...in oneself .


जीवन  - life ,  पथ  -  way , path , road

पाथेय  - support, sustenance , निजता - self 

लय  - harmonize ,blending


Sparked by Miss Marple from Agatha Christie's books .
Used as introduction in my new Hindi Blog "पाथेय "

You May Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...