Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Discrimination or harassment?

“Arey tum to poorav k ho. Tum to zeher bhi sone k bartan me doge. Ek to poorabiya upar s tumhari jaat.”
Quite a common statement among the UP walas. Discrimination is everywhere. It can be on the basis of caste, state, creed, anything. We Indians need all reasons to show ourselves better than others. If we see a person doing better than us.
“Arey wo to reservation wale hain bhaiya. Kam padh k bhi pura khandaan doctor ban gya.”
C’mon when all of us know that reservation has been prevailing in India since times immemorial and it is here to stay for long then why not work accordingly? And hell, have you in any manner even reached the cut off for reserved category in medicine. And please I am not here to preach about reservations. Even I don't support it but I don't forget to acknowledge people who reach a good place through reservation. This is something we need to live with.
“Kitna hi accha bana ho, chamaar ka khana chamaar ka hi rahega, pandit ka nahi ban jaega.”
Man, do you even know the caste of the chef who prepares food at the five star hotel you visit every Sunday? What if a reserved category person saves your child? I am telling you half of India’s crowd is going to make the child bathe in holy water for the simple reason of being touched by a scheduled caste.
I remember a friend creating ruckus in my hostel because the maid had touched her biscuit filled container while dusting. She had thrown it off that very day. If you don’t have pity on that maid, have a little pity on those Bourbon biscuits at least.
The Northies face discrimination in South and vice versa. Same happens with the east and the west region. U.P and Bihar are most of the time considered as the outcasts but amazingly if a Bihari reaches U.P, he is harassed to the peak and likewise. Hell, there are divisions in the state as well. The Western part of U.P considers itself better than the Eastern part. I see so many ragging cases based on the same.
Harassment on the basis of stupid discrimination is truly baseless and uncalled for, that is what I believe. Each individual is born with a unique quality and no one gets a chance to select his location, colour, caste or creed before birth. So the next time you victimize someone else think again for you could be a victim yourself some day..

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book Review: Love Happens..So Does a Break Up- Saurav Vaish

Author: Saurav Vaish
Publisher: Diamond Books
Price: 100 INR( Available at a low rate on different online shopping sites)

Book Summary: Everybody falls in love once in a lifetime but not everybody is destined to have them. Saksham and Priya were one of the few lucky ones.

They had their share of ups and downs through school till they reached the status of “in a relationship” which takes them on a journey of commitment, long distance relationship, sacrifices, demands, expectations, fights, arguments and sex.

They not only have to deal with their strict families but even with themselves. With the rapid change in the mindset of the youth about love and relationships, it becomes interesting to see if their movie-tale like love story will have a happy ending or not? Will they be able to resist temptations? Will they be able to confront their families? Will they be able to sacrifice their comforts and happiness for the one they love? And the most important question is...ARE THEY REALLY IN LOVE???

About the Author: Saurav Vaish completed his engineering from Amity University, Noida and presently works at HCL. He discovered the writer within him after a few life changing incidents. His tryst with writing started through essay writing competitions for which he has many accolades. He is also an avid blogger. You can follow his blog @ This is his debut novel.

My View: A guy meets a girl and they become really good friends at school and fall in love. But like every love story, the girl cheats on her boyfriend and breaks up with him eventually for a better and rich guy. Simple, isn't it? Yes it is a typical love story infused with sweet talks, love, fights, the pain of staying away from each other, the anxiety to meet your partner and what not. Reasons enough not pick a yet again love story of a youth.
But, but, but, hold on! There's something that tries to gather all your attention to the story. The book is a kind of memoir and I believe so many of us can relate to it. The author has put all his emotions into this book, each word and incidents are strong and captivating. The way they bunk their coaching classes to stay by each other, bridging the gap of a long distance relation, saving all month to meet your girl friend trying to cover up all the lies you say for that one girl. You know there's no future, still you are head over heels for each other and hope to make it one day. Their friendship at school that becomes stronger day by day, support that Priyali provides when Saksham's mother passes away, the rift between a father and son, a father scolding his son for not concentrating on his studies, balancing personal and professional life, Priyali leaving Saksham for another boy are some situation described really well in the book. The way Saksham copes up with his break up is really heart renting, you feel so sad about the state of Saksham. The book makes you kinda emotional and sympathetic for the protagonist and creates a little hatred for Priyali. You really wonder as to why does she leave him for some rich guy? The book shows an aspect of long distance relationship and very clearly depicts the pros and cons of such kind of a relation.
The only drawback the book faces is poor editing. One of the biggest problem that Indian book market is facing is real bad editing and this book seems to be a victim of the same. At certain stages, you get to see 'bucks' written as 'bugs'. I really wonder how could one find some number of bugs in his bag, were they bed bugs or something? Lol!

My Rating:  3.5/5
The book should be read at least once and I am sure you'll not be disappointed.

Buy your copy at HomeShop18

Friday, August 17, 2012

Losing our own happiness for a better nation

Don't let the title mislead you in anyway. No I am not here to talk about Indian Independence again. I know as Indians we may not work even for a sec for the goodwill of our country but a day like 15th August does make us remember that we are Indians and think about the heroic deeds of our former leaders and so on.
Anyway, let's just come back to the topic I saw 'The Lady' two days back and today again and that is whhy I am writing this post. I just can't give a movie review here plus the movie is an year old but then there's one thing I really wish to say is I am completely bowled over by the movie.

I am not a movie buff but there are some movies that always leave an impact and this movie has been one for me. I really acknowledge people who direct movies on revolution and betterment of the nation. Hats Off Luc Besson, you've directed a great movie. In Bollywood, there have been movies that talk about great personalities but we really need to get inspired from this movie. We've had enough of typical masaledaar, tapori music and Rajnikant fights. Commercial cinema always does well and as viewers everyone wants that he should be entertained. But then if media won't try its best to arouse people who else will? Media is one of the biggest means to make people realize the fact that injustice ought not to be suffered, facing and raising your voice against it is what matters.

The movie is based on a true story of the 1991 Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Its about her fight for democracy against the military reign in Burma. The Burmese military is considered to have the highest record in terms of being brutal, mass murder, torture, forced labour, rape and what not. In fact there were around seventeen video journalist who were imprisoned for leaking out footage for this movie.The movie unfolds the strength of a woman, how she rises up from a homemaker residing at London away from her homeland, Burma to the saviour of the whole nation. Purity of relations and the emotions related to it, the sacrifices a husband makes for her wife to grow politically, the maturity kids show when they see their Mom helping out her homeland, the understanding of a family staying away from the woman of their life, a mother's courage to let go off her family, a daughter's goal to achieve the dream her father saw, the hope for a better land, the willingness to forgo one's own happiness for the sake of the country is something that the movie has touched upon. She was even kept under house arrest for years so that NLD doesn't get stronger, she couldn't be there to see her husband walk the heavenly abode. She couldn't leave the country for if she did, she'd never be able to come back. But she did everything, fought out her way through non-violence so that there was no loss of life. 'You may not think about politics but politics thinks about you'. This is a line spoken by the protagonist and I am so touched by this phrase. I really wish this was applied in our country.I am so pleased that I actually watched the movie as soon as I got it because normally I catch up on movies quite late even when they are somewhere lying in my laptop.

I had heard about National League of Democracy, Myanmar and Aung San Sui Kyi(I remember mugging up her name for one of those G.K tests at school) but had never sat up to read the whole history behind it. We achieve so much in life but we often forget to acknowledge so many people who left their comfort and home to bring happiness into the lives of others. Today when I've just seen a part of her life and I am so inspired by her, I really don't know how great she'd be in my eyes on the day I pick up some literature on her.
And in case if you also feel like knowing about the movie, you can always see the Wiki and to know more about Aung San Suu Kyi, Wiki comes to your help again. Check it out here. Believe me, you should watch movie at least once and I am sure it's not going to disappoint you.
And don't you think we all need to think over it? We can always do better things rather than keep thinking about our selfish needs, forgoing our own joys to see a smile on hundreds of people. We just need a little more strength and courage to go out of our way to do small little things in our own way and you yourself will be surprised to see yourself rejoicing at others' happiness.
(Image Source:Google)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day...
Is our nation really independent? Even after being an independent nation, the good face the wrath of being correct, the rich turn more rich and the poor become poorer...we are still slaves to a namesake independent democratic Government. The best thing our leaders ever did was during the times of independence but after that what? Have they forgotten their duties? Not only they, have we all stopped thinking about our country. Corruption prevails for we let it happen to us. When the head clerk asks for bribe in a Govt organization, do we really have to given in to his demands? Can't we all stand against even the smallest injustice being done to us? The country is being run by morons and why have we lost our brains in the process? When there is so much unity in the autowalas to stand against the authorities then why can't the literate class of people do the same? We talk about society, how many us actually gel along as a society. No body is ready to co-operate even for the smallest of things,leave alone the big ones. So ladies and gentlemen, if we really want an independent nation in true sense, we need to work out our way ourselves.

Nevertheless Happy Independence Day to all..
I hope this independence brings goodness to our country :)))

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Papa

To the man I look up to
To the man who made me what I am
To the man who has always been my source of inspiration
To the man who I've always wanted to be like
To the man who erased every sadness from my life
To the man I miss the most here
To the man who has been around 24*7
To the man I love the most
To the man who has been my best friend throughout
To the man who has always guided me towards the right path
To my Dad, may you keep motivating us like this forever and ever
I want to make you proud of me some day
And I wish you a whole lot of success in your life
Thank you for giving me the best of life and best family
Love you Dad, you are the best
Wishing you a very Happy Birthday....

I wish I was there with you now

You helped me move on to the right path. You've been through all my thick and thins. I remember going out for the evening rides with you when I was a kid. How tired you might have been, you never refrained from taking me to the evening rides out in the market following the daily ice cream ritual at the Mickey Shop. I remember the times when you made me learn the names of animals through different tactics of yours, I loved the way you fed me dinner every night. Times after you come from office are the most joyous moments for us. I've heard so many friends saying their Dad didn't have time for them but I always said proudly that my Dad gives all his time to us. The Sunday breakfast, the hang outs with you, the never ending conversations with you, the not so good arguments, the learning times, the morning chats at the bus stop while waiting for the school bus, checking time again and again in the coaching so that I could just flee by with you, the moment I was gifted a scooty, shopping with you(most girls go out shopping with their Moms or friends but I am a little different), the vacations, the goodies you bring for us, the evergreen smile on your face, all make me feel so proud and lucky to have a Dad like you. I have so much to say but I really can't. I am falling short  of words for they can't really be enough to express the gratitude I have for you.

Happy Birthday once again :))))

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And we say we are technically advance..

Okay, aren't we proud of the innumerable Indian engineers working in the foreign land earning name and fame? Don't we raise our collars when we get to know about a certain researcher of Indian origin makes a mark at NASA? Yes, we are proudly heading as the technically advance nation, if you want brainys Indians are the most sought-ed people. We come under the intellectual class.
But where has the intellectualism gone? Some time back North India was hit by an extreme power failure. Hell, even when there is sufficient amount of energy available it is wasted by lighting street lights at 4 p.m. What is the point of being technically advanced when you can't fulfill the basic needs of the common man?
Coming to first basic need, FOOD. How many people actually get proper meals three times a day? And we all see the newspapers flooded with news about hunger driven people found dead. The Government started the mid day meal concept in schools long time back but we all know where the grains go? And where does the hard earned money of people snatched away as taxes go? THANK YOU GOVERNMENT
Second basic need, CLOTHING. When elections are round the corner, every minister is seen distributing shawls, saris, blankets to the poor. After that, what? You are left with nothing. They are here only to make empty promises. THANK YOU GOVERNMENT
SHELTER. You and me are lucky to have a roof but not all our that lucky. So many poverty stricken people sleep on road sides, footpaths, railway stations. Some are even found sleeping by the stinking nalas. Does the Government care? Hell, no. When SP was campaigning for elections in U.P, MSY clearly said he'd be providing employment and laptops to the students. This statement made him catch easily on votes and unfortunately UP again came under the prey of some of the most corrupt ministers. I would really like to know how many actually got employed in their 150 day reign. When you can't provide proper infrastructure to the country, how can we think of anything else? You have been an utter failure in the name of CM, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, like father, like son. Anyway, THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN.
Now that we really are unable to suffice the most common needs, how can we even talk about other  necessities like medical facility, electric supply, water supply, roads, transportation. Don't these things fall under technical stuff?  And still we say we are technically advance but in the end I'd like to add on the sarcasm once again, THANKS A TON GOVERNMENT :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

'Red Jihad' indicts the scourge of terrorism, violence and hypocrisy : Sami Ahmad Khan

This interview was published on Isahitya on 01.08.2012

Sami Ahmad Khan book ‘Red Jihad-Battle for South Asia’ , an action packed thriller is just released.  ‘Red Jihad-Battle for South Asia is his first novel. Sami Ahmad Khan read Literature at Hindu College and Rajdhani College, University of Delhi. He then completed his masters in English Literature at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is a PhD Scholar at JNU, where he is working on Science Fiction and Techno-culture Studies. Currently, Sami is on a Fulbright Fellowship at The University of Iowa, USA. He has engaged in film production, teaching, theatre and writing. His short stories, plays and articles have been published in magazines and academic journals. 
The book takes you to 2014 when Pakistan has transitioned into a full-fledged democracy and is reconciling with India. However, there are forces working against this fragile peace. A Pakistani jihadi leader, Yaseer Basheer, travels to the Red Corridor and enlists the support of an Indian Naxalite commander, Agyaat. Their plan is to unleash Pralay, Indias experimental intercontinental ballistic missile, on the subcontinent. As the missile changes course en route, it hits Pakistan and causes collateral damage. In response, Pakistan unleashes war on India. The battle for South Asia turns murkier as an Indo-Pak war threatens to embroil many other countries in the endgame. Have India and Pakistan sparked off the mother of all wars?
Here Sami Ahmad talks about how his book came into shape and the apprehensions attached with writing on such a sensitive topic.
(Interviewed by Harshita Srivastava)
Q. How does it feel to have that ‘author tag’ with your name?
Sami : It feels good, of course, but nothing uniquely ultra-special. After all, every one of us has at least one book in our hearts. I just got blessed with an opportunity to write it. 
Q. You’ve always been related to literature for a long period. Was writing books in your mind since long or was it something that came all of sudden?
Sami :  I loved reading since I was a kid. Writing was the next organic extension. I began with poems and short stories. When the germs of this book started to proliferate in the depths of my mind, I realized it was time to move to novels, though it was a gradual rather than a sudden shift.
Q. Being a debut author, what hardships you had to face while writing as well as getting your book published?
Sami : Any writer, debut or experienced, always faces hardships, even if they're only (!) literary decisions (for example, which words to use and where) or intellectual doubts (the theme and its treatment, for example). For me, the process of writing, re-writing, and polishing the drafts of the manuscript were just as challenging as finding a publisher who was willing to take chances with not only a debut writer, but also one speaking on an atypical topic in an unconventional manner, and one who was not writing on the 'proven' formula of love, romance and relationships. I am grateful to my publisher (Rupa) and Mr. Kapish Mehra, who encourage and hone new voices and newer forms of literature, for having faith in a greenhorn such as me.
Q. Tell us something about your book .
Sami : It is a thriller set a few years in the future. Jihadis join hands with the Naxalites and try to destabilize a (relatively) stable South Asia. The book depicts how South Asia, specifically India, reacts to such threats of terror and how decisions are made at the top levels of bureaucracy, military and political executive, and how exactly they affect the soldier holding the gun or a civilian fleeing the dogs of war.  It is, however, a piece of utter fiction, though ripped out of newspaper headlines (with which I have taken extreme liberties) and extrapolated to its slightly more masaledaar form, and should be treated as such.
Q. How did you come up with such an intriguing title of the book?
Sami : Not only are the words 'red' and 'jihad' symbolic, they also represent how mass-media portrays the existence of religious fundamentalism and political extremism in contemporary discourses- both amounting to the same terror, the same insecurity, and the same loss of life felt amongst those who suffer. Red Jihad united these opposites and was thus the perfect title for what happens in the book.
Q. Weren’t you apprehensive of the fact that you are writing on a very sensitive topic that might bring your book wrong publicity?
Sami : Yes, I was aware (and afraid) that it might be misconstrued, but since Red Jihad is nothing but a figment of my imagination, is a work of fiction, and has its heart in the right place (it indicts none but the scourge of terrorism, violence, and hypocrisy etc), I was not too worried, for the underlying leitmotif in this book is peace, universal brotherhood and a shared, unified existence for all humanity.
Q. Is there any message you would like to give through your novel?
Sami : I believe in the reader extracting his or her own message through the text, rather than being spoon-fed the reasons the author chose to write the book. The reader does not need that. Though yes, if I were to give a message, it would be, a la Benjamin Franklin, this - 'we (humanity, as a whole) must all hang together, or rest assured, we will all hang separately'. And that the only way ahead for us all is via peace, tolerance and mutual cooperation. Violence can never be a solution to anything. Ever. Parochialism can only lead to bloodshed, nothing else.
Q. Is there any particular age group you are targeting?
Sami : Rather than targeting any age group, I tried to target a worldview present in us all. The outlook that makes us read newspapers, take part in campaigns against social evils, and feel responsible for the world we live in. A worldview that is interested in 'what if' and capable of believing in 'if only'. To top it all, a worldview that believes, to quote Faiz, that "Aur bhi gham hai zamane main mohabbat ke siva". I did not want to write a campus romance or a novel pertaining to the angst of another IIT-IIM graduate. There are others better equipped to do so. I wanted a topic that was much more sinister, and much more in need of addressing; a topic that could tear us apart, or unite us as brothers. In terror, I found that synthesis of emotions, of raw anger, pure hatred, blind faith, hidden sensitivity and brutal directness.
Q. What kind of reviews have you got for your book till now? Did you expect this?
Sami : Only online reviews are out till now and they've been quite good. It is quite encouraging. Though I am happy with whatever reviews or criticism that I may get. After all, I need to learn a lot more about writing.
Q. What prompted you to write a book on terrorism and who has been your source of inspiration all this while?
Sami : For evil to triumph, it is enough that good men do nothing (attributed to Burke). I have no delusions of a grandiose, heroic, nobility, but I think as a citizen of this world, I can do my bit in trying to end this cycle of bloodshed and parochialism by writing about it. In the same breath, I say this: Red Jihad is a work of fiction and was written by fictionalizing events in a manner in which I thought made them more interesting to the reader. If I had wanted to solemnly sermonize, I would have tried my hand at non-fiction. Red Jihad has all the action that a thriller might have, but I simultaneously tried to mete out an impartial and balanced treatment of the subject under consideration. As for the inspiration, my parents, my friends, and my muse, have been the inspirations behind this project. No, they did not inspire terror in me, but supported me and helped me finish this novel.
Q. What are your favourite works and who do you think have been authors who changed the literary scenario of India?
Sami : I am a huge fan of science fiction. Douglas Adams, Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, etc, not to mention the fantasy-fiction of JRR Tolkien and JK Rowling, are texts I swear by. I also think there are so many good, very good, writers who have sprung up in India over the last two or three decades and are conscious of bridging the gap between the so called 'high' literature and popular fiction. Our future looks quite bright.
Q. And finally, any advice or suggestion you would like to give to aspiring authors and readers?
Sami : The clich├ęd motto of 'follow your heart' does work. True story. Keep thinking about anything and everything, pen down your thoughts and just do it. Don't worry about the form or content or the result. Pouring one's heart out via the mind is what matters. The means is as important as the end. And it works!
Thank you Sir, it was pleasure talking to you
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