The Great Fest


HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

Oh what a boring clichéd phrase to start a post that is supposed to contain ideas and tips and tricks on Remaking the World, a post that is supposed to inspire its readers, to enlighten them and make a fluorescent bulb glow on top of their heads signifying the Billion Dollar idea inside their brain that has the potential to wipe out all the misery from the earth, and yet I start off with no innovative comments whatsoever. But yes, History does repeat itself, with glorified metaphors and overwhelming coincidences.

The question asked was:

What if you became the Creator who could build a new world the way you want?

Excuse me, but that sounds a lot like the questions that were asked when we were students, when the teacher needed some peace and quiet, asked her students to write an essay on “If I was the President/Prime Minister of our country, I would…” 

The question asks of ideas, ways and different methods that is supposed to ignite in its readers, a flame that will cure the earth of all its misfortunes and so I request all of you currently reading my post to keep a working a fire extinguisher alongside you.

Remaking the world, sounds like an awfully big and tough job, but there is something that is fundamentally wrong with the question being asked as well? “WHAT WOULD YOU DO?” This expectation of us, the true-born citizens and heir of the beautiful planet Earth, that there is a someone else who will take care of the problem, even though, I know, if I contribute even a little bit to the task, it would make a big difference, but well, I am lazy and that person will definitely do it mentality adds to our woes. For example, People want the government to boost up the methods and procedures and bring in laws to clean the country, but nobody wants to walk a few extra steps to the bin. I have witnessed so many people who’ll maintain themselves and be all civil at the airport, but as soon as they step out, I don’t know what kind of wave hits them and suddenly trash just starts to flow out of their hands and goes everywhere except the trash can. Every citizen wants the government to wipe out corruption from the very soul of the nation, but nobody will mind bribing someone when it will benefit them. Somehow corruption becomes a problem only when it is not in their favor. There are things that are wrong at the grass-root levels, and no matter who comes in power and becomes the next Prime Minister or the President, change will happen only if the people are actually willing to change themselves. Government can only do so much, unless it is the citizens who act. In my world, people would actually act for the things they want instead of begging and blaming the government because they couldn’t find the damn TV remote.

In this age, where we gobble up more information than our pansy brains can accommodate and with the influx of technology and us being on-the-line for almost 24 hours a day, there are only a few things that we don’t outrage about. Oh my God, Maria Sharapova does not know who Sachin Tendulkar, the god of this country is, we must abuse and threaten her until she apologizes to us. Holy crap, this particular brand of newspaper only showed us one side of the story and did not publish the complete details of the story, we must totally side by them because whatever they say, is definitely the truth without researching for ourselves. Damn, this random person on the internet totally just shared his views and they do not appear to be aligning with the views I have, he must be thrown into the jail for being an anti-religious person. With our short attention spans and without the patience to research everything before we air our views along with zero tolerance for other’s opinions and views, it is only a matter of time before this implodes in our face. In my world it would be fine to not know a famous player, not get trashed for not believing in God, even though it does not align with your thinking of God and that opinions would be respected. 

One of the many things that has always plagued our country and will continue to do so is CULTURE. People have this weird notion of culture inside of their heads and if a sound reasoning is provided against a cultural practice that has been followed around for centuries, it messes with their head and the outrage starts to flow. Today, homosexuals are hated upon in our society citing the Culture excuse, rights are being denied citing the culture excuse, in our country even hanging out as a young couple is looked down upon as an abomination to the culture even though one of their most powerful gods had a gf. It is the constant hypocrisy battles that we fight amongst ourselves is what is fuelling our constant dislike towards the others. In my world, hypocrisy would cease to exist. 

I can go on and on, but I can see the smoke coming our of your chest, and i think the flame has been ignited. The only thing that I have to say is that, before we blame other human beings, our luck, the kind of situation we are in, it would be a lot better if we were to introspect, look at ourselves before we start despising others to mask the things we do wrong or don’t understand. And if we were to begin this introspection right away rather than procrastinating, it would do us a hell of good and REMAKE THE WORLD. 

I am participating in the #TheWorldRemade activity at BlogAdda in association with India Today #Conclave15 “.

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Befikar Umar Bhar


You know there are times when suddenly your mind goes into the stupid and idiotic mode in which thoughts about the future hound you, leaving you distressed and angry with your self completely ruining the thing hat you currently are doing. What makes it even more irritating is that it can happen anytime, I am enjoying my sleep and KABOOM!!! You are a nobody, while driving to college and BOOM goes the head, Look at your friends, all scoring nicely and have solid plans about the future and look at you, FAILURE. I can go on and on about this, but you get the drift. How awesome would it be if we could be Befikar Umar BharLike no worries about anything, you can sleep all day, complete the House of Cards season 3 that is going to uploaded soon in a day or two, jump off a cliff only to come back and enjoy the thrill of it again.

I was going through the TV other day and seeing the kind of advertisements that have lately started to come up, I don’t know who is actually sanctioning off the paychecks on those adverts, but, BUT this one advertisement of IDBI Federal Life Insurance made a lasting impression. Kudos to the team that created it. Here it is

Seeing this beautiful video, I decided to make a list of things  if I was Befikar Umar Bhar, they are: 

1) Watch the Northern Lights from either Norway or Canada:

You know what I am talking about. A Shade of green across the black backdrop of the night sky with stars blinking and me lying on the snow just trying to take in all the beauty that the lights would cast. This has been on my list since 6th grade, ever since I saw a documentary about them on Discovery.

2) Bungee jump or Base jump from a very tall structure. :

I saw a video of a friend who bungee jumped from the Macau Tower, touted the tallest bungee jump in the world. He edited the video and put in a great background track, how gorgeous and inspiring the video looked. Also since I have mild vertigo issues, it would be lovely to get over those.

3) Road trip along the beautiful roads of Eastern Europe.:

Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the list goes on. Not much touristy places, but oh so beautiful. Almost as if they have rarely been explored. A road trip along these countries would make life successful for me.

4) Get a tattoo of the world and all its countries and fill them with different colors after visiting them. :

Wasting time on the Interweb gives a lot of cool ideas that slowly end up increasing the bucket list of mine. But this one I saw on Pinterest almost a year back made it to the top 5 instantly.

5) Get a Book published.

I sometimes liberally call myself a blogger(the audacity of me). But yes, one fine day, I definitely would love to see my nam on the stands of a bookstore and seeing a book that is actually completely written by me. Let’s see when that happens.

Anyway, we will see when this happens. But these were the top 5 things on my bucket list, if I was Befikar Umar bhar

The Great Indian Litterbug


AH!! Those were the days, Ramesh reminisced about the times when he could go and decorate the beautiful walls and sign the huge canvasses with his name without having to worry about the smart-phone clad, trigger happy people clicking away his pieces of art whilst brandishing them with absurd tags and captions on those stupid misery-spreading, non-stop hating, insecurity-fuelling websites. Perplexed, angry and sad and along with having to deal with these group, the new government was also launching campaigns left, right and centre banning his style of art. He had never thought that the public would be so stupid and yet so ignorant. How could they not look through all this hogwash and see the actual reason behind the campaign. The new head of the country and his right hand were sneaky, he had to give him that. Planning and launching elaborate campaigns to wake up the political party members from their snooze-fest and give them an excuse to find some media time on national television without having to do any of the actual work. All of this at the cost of his precious from of art. How could he let that happen? How could he just stand there and watch his hard work being termed nonsense and remain silent. Because of the stupid government, he now had to look around before starting to work on his mural. There were times when many painters from different backgrounds, different social structures played with different shades of white, yellow, red, maroon and brown among other colours come together and indulge in transforming this world into a better place wall-by-wall, bush by bush, corner by corner. But now his co-artists are going underground slowly. He now paints alone at the wall, decorates the area around the road with those beautiful plastic bags in solitary, watches the corner at the building walls painted only in the maroon red that comes out from his paan. But he will not be discouraged. Those pesky signs will never bother him. He will start a revolution against the perpetrators of his art, against those who try to ban his way of bringing about the renaissance in the modern age. How can this be termed vandalism? How can this be termed as filth, that people should remove from their hearts and clean? The famous unknown guy once truly said:” All the artists in their times are misunderstood.” It is after centuries that their work is again found and their actual contribution to the society is realized. Picasso was misunderstood in his times,so were Van Gogh and Rembrandt. That spitting which you people so disgustingly call my stroke is actually a very difficult maneuver and co-ordination between my teeth and tongue to exert the exact amount at the perfect angle so that is strikes along the corner in a way that makes the painting grow. What you call peeing in a bush is actually a way in which the liquid strikes the plant in a way that darken the colour around it in such a way that it also aids to the growth of the plant and also sets it apart from the other unique plants. He just goes on painting, waiting and waiting for his counterparts to show. Instead of the dozens that used to come, only 3-4 come now. Why is the world so unfair?, Ramesh pondered as he finished another one of his masterpieces on the big red wall. I will fight this injustice. I will fight this government which is dead-set against my campaign to make this world a place that has more art in it, a place that is beautiful in its own way. I will call myself the Great Indian Litterbug. I will do Dharna in the capital of the country. I will wear a muffler to let people know of my sorrows. I will start a twitter campaign #TheGreatIndianLitterBug. I will fight and I won’t back down, wrote Ramesh in his tweets, asking readers to tweet using the hashtag #TheGreatIndianLitterBug, to spread the awareness, to bring change. All of those who are reading this. Please go to Ramesh’s petition to allow people to paint this world and make it a vibrant-smelling, colourful place to live.

Dabur Chyawanprash


I remember the times when I was a small kid, about 8 or 9 years, the times when I was fiercely notorious, running into things, hitting my head, once I unknowingly even cut my thumb with a knife lying around, fell sick a lot, headaches were my constant guests and so was the cold and fever. I distinctly remember the trips to the doctor whom I used to unlike ferociously. Those big syringes and injections were my kryptonite so to say and I honestly still fear them a lot even though I have a tattoo. The medicines which came with the promises to help me say goodbye to my headaches and fear, I used to gulp them down like they were toffee. All this and much more happened and struck with my were my family members, Dad, mom and sister. Taking me back and from the doctor’s place was a regular deal and though tiring it wasn’t s tiring as the constant worry that clouded their mind of the deadly diseases that were going to make a sumptuous meal of me. The same worry ate into them and with no one else to talk to, I would often eavesdrop on them being extremely worried about me. Slowly I gained back my strength and the headaches seemed to shorten their trips as well. The fact that came to the light was my utter lack of important nutrients that I missed with the daily chapatis and veggies, the ones I used to despise. But as compared to the several bouts of headaches, I gladly chose the tasteless veggies, for they helped me ward off the worry from my parent’s mind. The prospect of not welcoming an unwelcome guest can easily tempt one to do things they won’t imagine in their lives. As my headaches and fever slowly started to become less and less frequent, so did the worrisome talks about me starting to dwindle and I could have a sigh of relief at the thought that now at-least I won’t be the reason behind their worries. Often for parents, their children are the most prized possession of their lives, taking care of al their needs, providing them with  all kinds of facilities at their disposal, taking utmost care of them when they are sick, motivating them to do their best  and when this child on which they spend so many hours of love and care, falls sick or becomes a target of a disease, the whole atmosphere around the house changes and becomes this area of tension and questions. To help the parents not fall into this area of tension and to help the children carry on during the day healthily and provide them with extremely essential nutrients at the very start of the day, Dabur has this great product called the Chyawanprash. Poised with a number of herbs like Amla, which is scientifically known  to be one of the best antioxidants, Giloy (Guduchi),which is  known to have immuno-modulatory properties, and more than 40 other natural ingredients this products makes sure that your child does not fall prey to the basic of diseases and not make you worry about the regular trips to the doctor.

Tata Literature Live 2k14


Would you avail, if presented the opportunity to witness the speakers like Vijay Sehsadri, Vir Sanghvi, Samar Halarnkar, Rashmi Bansal, Gulzar Saab, Barkha Dutt, Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Devdutt Pattanaik, Ramachandra Guha, Cyrus Broacha, Shashi Tharoor and many more such elite speakers, watch a performance by the Sugnaram Bhopa & Group, The Chamber Singers, watch internationally acclaimed plays, get books signed by your favourite authors and also enter a book swap, all this and so much more for free?

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No, I haven’t gone insane or spewing nonsensical stuff, like I do most of the times on my blog. Coming across a twitter feed of the event, I had to double-check my facts, pinch myself thrice, rub my eyes four times to confirm whether what I was reading was even true. Indeed it was. I had come across the glorious twitter feed of the Tata Lit Live 2014. Heading over to the website, I myself was in shock and awe as to the scale of the event in which it was being organized. Kudos to the team for having been able to manage all that!!!! Without thinking for one more second, I headed to the parents room to get my permission to attend this lifetime of a chance. A little background on this, I am 20, just another engineering droplet in the sea of engineers across the country who lives in Ahmedabad. Hence I needed permission to get to the city of Mumbai, where the event was being held. Being such cool parents, they instantly said yes, but now that I think, I guess hey just wanted some peace and quiet in the house, and seeing Tata Lit Live 2014 as their chance to have the same for the next 5 days, why would they think about saying no. So I packed my bags and headed to the mega city to experience the event in all its glory.

 

The first event on the first day was the launch of Gulzar’s book and his conversation with a friend Mr Pavan Varma. Gulzar Saab has always been the guy who has dished out poems and couplets that touch the soul and seeing him speka live in front of you. Oh, it was a different experience altogether.

 

Not going deep into the each events that I attended or you all will either close the tab or start snoring like a guy did during the talks between Father Mascarehas, Harsh Mander, Sanjay Baru and Samar Harlarnkar on the topic “The Relevance of the Liberal in the Modi Era”.

The event that stood out for me on the second day i.e. the 31st October was the one-man play by Martin Mohan titled All the Rage. It was probably the most beautiful play I have ever seen in my life, so compelling and emotionally touching, the play talks about the anger that engulfs us in one moment and how weirdly we are wired regarding the emotions that make us. Beautiful to say the least and my wors won’t do any kind of justice to the great play.

 

On the third day of the Tat lit Live 2014, I went to Prithvi Theatre. Being a tourist, I wanted to explore the city more and hence took my ride to Juhu where the glorious Prithvi Theatre stands. The event that stood out for me during the day was the one with Ashish Shakya who is a humour columnist for the Hindustan Times talking to Santhnam Sanghera, Atray Banan and Amy Fernandez on the topic of Changing Idea of Romance in India. A really good discussion that often had us in splits and some bouts of actual thinking. The line that made me lose it was when Ashish says, ” Arrange Marriage is a case of the Stockholm Syndrome”. Hysterical and true to the point if you really consider and think about it.

 

Fast forwarding to the last day, the best of all. Events with the authors I have read a lot and respect the most, Devdutt Pattanaik and Ramachandra Guha. Getting the books signed by them and being able to talk to them was probably the moment I will never be able to forget in my life. Even though I already had a copy of all the books by Devdutt, in that moment, the opportunity to get a book signed by the man was too much for me and I caved in, bought another copy right there and got it signed. The same goes with Mr Ramachandra Guha, all his books adorn my shelves yet for that one particular sign, I was ready to buy another book. This is what happens when you et to meet your idols in real life. Not ashamed to say, I was acting like a fangirl on the spot, not knowing what to speak, just elated at the opportunity to do so.

 

Here are a few pics I managed to sneak in with my good ol camera. Not a dslr, but works fine for me. 🙂

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In the end I would like to thank the absolutely brilliant team of  Tata Literature Live 2014 that transformed it into such a huge success and the team of BlogAdda as well for making me write on the deadline as no more Landmark vouchers if I don’t post by midnight. (wink wink)

Gharwaali Diwali


Waking up yesterday morning with a slight nip in the air, I felt a smile across my face. Aah, the time of winter is slowly approaching. The time with all the cozy blankets and the times when I turn the fan on full and jump inside the said blanket all curled up till the time my mother comes scolding me about the deadly effects of the an on full speed. All this times have a grandiose welcome to them. The celebration of Diwali. You know whenever someone talks about Diwali, the faces of everyone light up, especially mine. These are the times when the complete family comes together, all the hustle bustle inside the house right from the early mornings to the late night chats, everything that happens is all so much memorable. Knowing friends who haven’t been able to make it to their homes on the festival,and me quipping them on how #GharwaliDiwali is the best time and teasing them around made me realize the value of this special occasion. It is not just a festival, but a long week that is filled with all kinds of emotions, happiness, sadness, anger, disappointment, but only the happiness is what one indulges his nostalgia on.

 

Many of my friends from other countries have often asked me what is so special about the festival and whenever I am asked the question to share my best memories of the festival, it always takes me back to the times when I used to set up the lights for the house, setting the Puja table, going to the market for the various things needed for the same and the list goes on. However, one thing that always made me burst out into spurts of laughter was the time when me being in my very young age of 12, enjoying the bliss of the morning day cartoons during the fortnight long school vacations when my dad asks me to adjoin him for buying the fireworks. Yay time for any kid right? However during the ending days of the school, we were told about the extremely harmful effects of the crackers and fireworks o the nature and being made to parade around the city in an extremely boring Anti-Cracker Rally which always made me go UGHHH!!!!! NOT AGAIN!! But, unlike the other times, I actually listened to what the teachers said this time to us and gave a little thought into it. So when my dad asked me again whether I was coming or not. I, being extremely dramatic about it, slowly stood up, put my right arm forward and gave a long talk about how crackers are not good for the nature and basically everything the teacher said, I repeated it back. Amused, my father called my mother and sister who started laughing and asked me if I had a concussion or did something hit me in the head. Not letting that get to me, I took away the keys from my dad’s hand and did not let him go. That was the year I stopped bursting crackers and have maintained it till now. It is one thing that makes me laugh and smile at the old and naive person that I was.

 

This post has been written for the Indiblogger Happy Hours, Diwali – A Time for Family. Check this cool video out.

Hope you all have a grand Diwali celebration Guys!!!!!

Private India by Ashwin Sanghi – Book Review


Private India is a thrilling suspense novel from two masters of the art: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson.

Summary of the Book

When a series of seemingly unconnected murders rock the city of Mumbai with the macabre rituals and artefacts found around the corpses, Private India, a leading investigation agency takes the case. Santosh Wagh, the head of the organization, has only one mission. He needs to stop the killers before they strike again. However, in a city of over 13 million people, he finds that the clock is ticking too fast. He finds himself pitted against underworld dons and a Godman who isn’t what he seems. However, the worst is yet to come and Private India itself may be threatened with a revelation that could destroy the entire organization.

 

About the Authors

Ashwin Sanghi is an Indian writer and entrepreneur. He has also written: Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key. He is also known by his pseudonym: Shawn Haigins.

A graduate of the Yale School of Management and St. Xavier’s College, he has since been awarded several acclaims for his work. His second book has been optioned for a movie by UTV and is expected to begin production soon. He currently lives in Mumbai with his loving family.

James Patterson is a bestselling American writer. He is best known for Along Came a Spider, Jack & Jill, When the Wind Blows and Step on a Crack among over 100 others.

 

MY REVIEW

Starting off with a promising note, Private India tries to do so very much in itself. The start to the book is phenomenal and I turned my pages quickly trying to gobble up more and more of this thriller that was supposed to keep me on the edge of my seat. Alas!! That was not happened. Reading Ashwin’s previous books, The Krishna Key and The Rosabel Line, I was coming in with great expectations of this book. Although the author tries and often successfully, the plot does leave a bit hungry at the end. The various series of murders and the clues along with them are written so as to generate this air of a great age thriller that will leave you gasping for air. With a stale plot, the authors fail to deliver what was promised. Mixing the Indian Mythology along with the murders, was something I did not expect and did bring a certain amount of freshness into the story. It clearly shows that the authors have done their research and they have done a good job doing that, but the essence of it wasn’t portrayed perfectly. Apart from the loose plot and the shoddy details regarding the police infrastructure as well as the technology being used, it also looks as if it has heavily borrowed from the long time running crime-show on a national television channel. Though Ashwin Sanghi is one of the Indians who absolutely nails down the thriller fictions, Private India is a let down. The real Ashwin Sanghi, whom I have come to love was missing from the words of this book. Grammatical errors on pages 211 and 393 could have been avoided, and the murder on page 117 should have dealt a blow to the reader instead of being the cold scene it was. Anyway, all in all the book did also have a few good points, intertwining government officials and the other murder scenarios are really good to the core and quite enjoyable indeed. Yet Private India just does not give you the goosebumps a thriller should, it does not make glue you to the chair, it makes you yawn (23 times during the whole course of the book) and it definitely does not leave you with a void one feels, when one finishes a great book.

Overall, I give Private India a 2.5 on ratings out of 5. 

Ashwin Sanghi – You are a brilliant author. There is no doubt about that. Keep dishing out thrillers, you’ll always have a reader in me. 

PS: I thank Blogadda.com personally for offering me the opportunity to review this book.