The Khushwant Singh I knew

Khushwant Singh joke books

I discovered Khushwant Singh in the Wheelers book store in the Railway station (I don’t remember which one but I think its Calcutta ). The book that won my attention was not Train to Pakistan or The Company of Women. I set my eyes on the Khushwant Singh’s joke books.

That was an era before SMS and Watapps. Even before email forwards. Before we knew that stand-up comedians could get full time job. The humor were restricted to Johnny Lever’s cameo in movies or some loud uncle’s ill-attempts  in the family gatherings.

His joke books were instant way for fame for me. Jokes made me popular; in school, in gully cricket team, in family gatherings and in neighborhood. Some of his jokes were taboo in nature, we called it non-veg, which made me famous among the older boys in the school.

As we grew up, the technology took over the joke telling experience. Now, the jokes were not told, they were forwarded. This has also taken a toll over my popularity (ok, I am just dramatizing it ). I try to clean the rust from the old humor bone through this blog sometimes, sometimes through tweets. Also, later I discovered the actual Khushwant Singh, his writing, his column in Hindustan Times on weekend and his books in Penguin orange paperbacks.

He passed away last month, at a giant age of 99. Its a late tribute to someone who was part of my bookshelf in two different timelines, for two different reasons.

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Books and related topics.  To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

J is for Jhumpa Lahiri #GuestPost

This post is contributed by S. She doesn’t write too often, but when she writes, she does it brilliantly. You can check her Blog here.

Jhumpa Lahiri is most well known for her book, The Namesake which turned out to become a mainstream movie by Mira Nair. So let me start this post with a little trivia about names. Jhumpa’s real name is not Jhumpa. She was born with a mishti Bengali name, Nilanjana Sudeshna – that sounds like two names though. But she took up her daak naam i.e. her pet name Jhumpa as a writer. Jhumpa is a very common daak naam in Bengalies. In fact I have a cousin called Jhumpa; her younger sister is called Tumpa. Yes, we bengalies like rhyming daak naam, easy to holler the kids together. Not many bengalies have the audacity to be known in the world with their daak naam (just like Gogol in The Namesake). But Jhumpa did that. Kudos!

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

I have read all of her published fiction; I did that recently actually, reading one book after another almost like a marathon. It is safe to say that she lived in my head for quite some time. I had given her a cozy place to reside in my mind. I started with Interpreter of Maladies, then Unaccustomed Earth followed by The Lowland, and lastly The Namesake. With the first book itself, Jhumpa had become my favorite writer and so I went on to read all the available books. But I have my favorite. Yea, I am a child like that. I have my favorite color, my favorite uncle, my favorite food and a favorite book of my favorite author. Lo and behold, it is Unaccustomed Earth.

For the record, I must say that I feel Jhumpa is better at writing short stories than long winding novels. And I think Unaccustomed Earth did her great for the next (and latest) novel The Lowland. She has clearly grown as a person, thus as a writer, when she wrote The Lowland. The large canvas of ALL her stories is the same- Indian Diaspora. But the splash of colors and emotions that she has been able to evoke in her last two books is notches higher from the first two books, Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake.

What I love about her stories are the characters – each of them so real. It takes a lot of keen observation to speak a language that is so rich in tiny details that pulls strings of your heart and leaves you bare. With every word, every sentence Jhumpa walks closely towards you, looks you in the eye, her warmth touching your heart and then she laughs wickedly and evaporates. That is the thing about truth. It is so real that you feel helpless standing in front of it.

S

http://toblog-withlove.blogspot.in/

The Inscrutable American #AtoZChallenge

The Inscrutable American

The Inscrutable American

If I have to make a list of Humor books from India, I will definitely put Anurag Mathur’s The Inscrutable America at the top of the list. Published in 1991, the book is the story of Gopal Kumar, son of a wealthy hair oil baron, who moves to USA to do Chemical Engineering.

Gopal is a pre-liberation, pre-internet and pre-globalization days youngster. The only source for him to learn about American culture was Letters to Penthouse!

His interpretation America, its culture and people is so amusing and funny that you can’t stop turning the pages. Its a tiny, 250 pages book, you might complete in couple of hours. If you are having a dull moment, grab the copy and have an instant fun.

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Books and related topics.  To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

 

 

Himalayan Books #AtoZChallenge

Himalayas is the nature’s pinnacle that proves that the limitlessness exists. Here are my favorite books based on the mighty Himalayas:

1. Seven Years in Tibet

Also a major motion picture with the same name starring Brad Pitt, Seven Years in Tibet is narrated by Harrer who during his adventures in Himalayas ends up in then British ruled Indian jail. He escapes to Tibet where he befriends young Dalai Lama. The book deals with the struggle of Tibet during Chinese invasion.

Seven Years in Tibet

Seven Years in Tibet

2. Into Thin Air

Jan Krakauer might be more famous for Into The Wild, however Into Thin Air is equally exciting read. The book deals with the episode of struggle, at what is world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.

Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air

3. Tintin in Tibet

For me, this is the best Tintin book ever. Herge takes the adventure to the top of the world where air is thin and wind is nasty. Published in 1960, this book was responsible to bring Tibet into people’s attention and even Dalai Lama acknowledged the role of book as an cultural influence towards Tibet.

Timtin in Tibet

Timtin in Tibet

4. From Heaven Lake 

Vikram Seth is India’s most gifted travel writer and in this book, he bought the chronicle of his travel and treks from Sinkiang, Tibet, Nepal and India. This book also won him Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.

From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth

From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Books and related topics.  To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

Also on My Blog

Delhi Books

Bombay Books

Getting to know Digonta Bordoloi #AtoZChallenge

“Write from the heart, not what the trend is. Then truly work becomes pleasure. And then, hopefully one day the right readers will find you”, said Digonta, when I asked him for an advice for young writers. That statement sums up Digonta for us, who allowed me to interview him. We ended up discussing books, writing, publishing, little travel but mostly his debut book Slow. Here are some extract from the interview :

Slow, The Book

Slow…, The Book

Avinash(Avi): Congratulations on your first book. Tell us about Slow…?

Digonta Bordoloi (DB):Thank you, Avinash! Slow…is a story about life and living. It’s told through the eyes of Baba, his family and friends & servants that keep changing with every place, when Baba’s father is transferred from one town to another. Early on, Baba realises and lives by one rule – that there is no hurry. The first part of the book is set in the nostalgic 70′s and 80′s. Then through a Rip Van Winklish twist in the story, it moves to the present day.

Avi: Sounds so good…. How much of “you” is hiding behind “baba”?

 DB:Good thing about fiction is you can create a character out of multiple people. Better than any plastic surgeon’s job, I guess…  To answer your question, guess about 40% in the beginning is me in Baba, then in the second half of the book, probably I am hardly Baba, who becomes an observer. Then probably my inner mind becomes 50% Baba.

Digonta Bordoloi

Digonta Bordoloi

Avi: Paperbacks or ebooks? No diplomacy please

DB:The environmentalist and the gypsy in me, makes me go for ebooks. Once you get used to them, they are very handy to read, if you have a nice, simple, e-reader. With paper book, I am always heartbroken to leave them behind, every time we move.But with print on demand becoming more popular, at least a bad book needn’t rot in tons of paper.

Avi: yes, the publishers, authors, bookstores, readers…everything is on demand now a days it seems.

DB: Yes, in that race, don’t know if some are forgetting the core of the business, that is something written from the heart. Not what the market demands.

Avi: Do you believe in self-publishing and how it is changing the books business according to you ?

DB:I decided to self publish Slow, because I was lucky to have an excellent editor, in-house. Initially before sending it out, my wife Susie, volunteered to edit it. She had experience in editing of scientific papers, so I was initially apprehensive. But since our reading interest in fiction is similar, she ultimately did an excellent job on it and I realized I needn’t go to another editor.

I guess self publishing has its pros and cons. It has made it easy to publish. But then writers shouldn’t forget that the process of writing hasn’t become easier…

Avi: Yes, and also the role of editor in making the book better, and publisher in promoting the book…

DB:True. I think the divisions had worked for so long, because they do work. But one good thing with self publishing shaking the old foundation is that now publishers cannot sit on their high horses and go through manuscripts in a skimming manner, but look at every piece more sincerely, or they might be the ones missing out.

Avi: Who were/are your favorite authors when growing up and now?

DB:Till my teens it was mostly comic books, maybe a bit of Enid Blyton. Then there was a phase where I hardly read anything. And now, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is God.

Avi: Any closing words for Slow…

DB: Think people who have moved from small towns to big cities to work, will especially find Slow…very relatable

Slow… is available on ebook version on Amazon on the link here and on paperback on the link here. To know more about him, visit him on goodreads.

Fatwas, Bans & Censorship #AtoZChallenge

 

The Hindus: An Alternative History

The Hindus: An Alternative History

I hated when I came to Know about the fate of The Hindus: An Alternative History in India. Penguin India withdrew the copies of Wendy Doniger‘s book off the shelves and also destroyed the remaining copies of the book. The action were taken because of the lawsuit flied against the book by a group which says that the book was ” written with a Christian missionary zeal and hidden agenda to denigrate Hindus and show their religion in poor light.”

I agree sometimes a book can harm the feelings of a group of people but India is a country which is advocating free speech and tolerance and such actions can only be seen as an ironic weeds in the nucleus of the society

When M.F Hussian, India’s most gifted artist, died on the foreign soil, many poured in their tributes and also regrets that he could not live his last days in India. Due to the dismissive intolerance of few had made him to leave the country. When I saw the number of tributes, I said to myself, “if so many people cared for him, then why did he had to leave the country?”

On the same note, nobody cares that the same has happened to Salman Rushdie. The Satanic Versus was controversial and won him Fatwa, but that was not end of it. His next book, The Moor’s Last Sigh was also temporarily banned in India, one of the reasons being the dog in the book was name Jawahar (The courts in India later over-ruled the ban)

It doesn’t end here. Along with art and books, cinema also faces the same hypocrisy of freedom of expression. (You must read the hilarious and jaw-aching interview of the CEO of Censor board, Mr Rakesh Kumar )

I believe that the book-burning, drawing insecurity from literature, or controlling the art/cinema are the signs of weak society. What are your views on the Fatwas, bans and censorship of books/art/cinema/media ?

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian books and related topics . To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

End of Road for the Street Book-sellers? #AtoZChallennge

Book Sellers at Fort area in Bombay

Book Sellers at Fort area in Bombay

In the Fort area of Bombay, behind the lane of High court, you will find rows of books lying on the foot-park. The books are arranged in the 3 stacks according to prices: Rs 30 ($ 0.50), Rs 60 ($1) & Rs 100 ($1.75). I asked Shankar, who ran the place, how he priced the books, on which he replied that the pricing depends on the condition of the book and his purchase price. All the books on sale were used ones, bought from individuals, public libraries or exchanged there.

Shankar had an elegance and ethicate of an usual book sellers. He never interrupted while you browsed the books, helped only when asked for, offered a place to seat if you wanted to read few pages and entertained no bargaining. On a peaceful Sunday afternoon, Shankar’s offered better ambiance than most of the book stores in the city.  Resting below the shades Pepal tree, you can find the old copies of Lonely Planets, National Geographics, Orange Penguin Paperbacks, the classics and the bestsellers of yesteryear. On the background is the beautiful Victorian buildings of Bombay, and not -so busy streets (thank you Sunday)

Street book sellers

Street book sellers

I asked Shankar how was his business to which he replied thik thaak (not bad).

“Earlier it was much better”

How earlier? I asked

4-5 years back. I used to sell pirated copies more than these Second hand books. The margins on them were very good.

“Weren’t you afraid of cops ?”

“That time it was not a big deal. But gradually, it became very difficult. If they caught a hawker like me selling pirated book, it is the end of his life. The fine is more than Rs 50,000 ($800) and with imprisonment, there is no sight of hope for him. That’s why I left that business behind me.”

What kind of books you usually sell most?

“This street was famous for only 2 things: Art gallery and Court. People use to come here to buy law and Art Books. One time, a firangi paid Rs 4000 for a coffee table book. That was my best sell till date.”

He went on telling me the story of his prime when there were 4 book sellers on the street. Now the number in down to 2. Both the margins and the volumes are down. He can not compete with the internet and home delivery. I told him that  even the big stores are facing the same challenge. The art of survival is in innovation and his style of selling books is pleasant. He looked assured and I moved on after buying 2 National Geographic Magazines, dated Sept 1987 and July 1986 for Rs 30 each.

What are your views on the Street Book sellers and on their contribution to the culture of the city ? Do write your views.

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Writing in English. To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

Delhi Books #AtoZChallenge

The city of Delhi has always caught an attention of many. Capital of India now, it was also the capital of Pandhavs, Lodis, and of Mughals. Delhi is multi-cultural city with one side with historical ruins and other side with modern malls. One side of the city which is home for politicians and diplomats and other side hosts slums and rural migrants. Here are some books which brings Delhi close to us:

1. City of Djjins

City of Djjins

City of Djjins

William Dalrymple explores the lanes of the purani Dilli, the ruins of forts & tombs and gives an excellent book to us. From the Mughal architecture to gharagnna culture, William brings us closer to the Delhi’s past and present. The book also won him the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.   Also by the same author on Delhi , The Last Mughal

2. The White Tiger

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The Delhi in the white tiger is a confused city. While a part of city is chanting the slogan of India Shining, the other part is still coming in terms with urban life. He shows the difference between 2 India, a shining India, represented by the master living in one of the skyscraper and his driver representing darkness.

3. Delhi by Khushwant Singh

Delhi by the Khuswant Singh

Delhi by the Khushwant Singh

Confession time. When I read Delhi by Khushwant Singh, I didnt enjoy it much. I was in college, my first year in Delhi and I wanted to read something about the city. But this book was strange, I think so little blizzard for younger me. However, some details in the book were truly eye opening. This book also introduced me to Indian Coffee House, which was a good take away from the book.

4. 5 Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat

Five Point Someone

Five Point Someone

Finally Chetan Bhagat gets a mention in my blog and not with a jibe. Contrary to his own falling standard, Five point Someone is a decent read. The book takes us to the tour of IIT Campus of Delhi and if you have been around that part of city, you will relate with the book.

What are your favorite Delhi Books? Do write to me. My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Writing in English/Book and related topics. To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

Also on my Blog

Bombay Books

Care for Bookstores Anyone ? #AtoZChallenge

I do get worried when people discuss about bookstores in India. Not so long back, bookstores were hip here. Along with Multiplex, Quick Serving Restaurants, International fashion brands and Bittu-Tikki-walas, Book-stores were must have for the malls. Retail giants like Tata, Reliance, Rahejas etc were investing Book store chains and related leisure stores. These stores were huge, big sections for Graphic novels, which were the pleasant surprise, some stores even had merchandises and life-size action figures. It was like a dream.

Landmark in Mumbai

Landmark in Mumbai

But last couple of years, the e-commerce evolution in India has spoiled the run of these bookstores. Cash on Delivery, Free-shipment, and  Nail-in-the-eye discounts were too much to handle and slowly Bookstores in India are facing an acute shortage of traffic and revenues. Also the impact of ebooks, ipad and kindles have also not helped them.

I always dreamed about owning a bookstore (along with Restaurant, Recording studio, ad-agency and a school :P) You can play the music you love, create a beautiful ambiance, stay around books, read whatever you want andflirt with bookworms with bookish pick-up lines (  Girl, you’re so flawless, even James Wood couldn’t find anything to criticize :). But I doubt in the coming years, there will be enough left for new bookstores.

Last month, New York Times reported that in neighborhoods like Brooklyn and Manhattan, the popular bookstores are planning to close down due to ever-increasing lease price and south-ward moving revenues. In India, the situation might become similar if they don’t innovate and  engage more with the readers. The extinction of bookstores can be a big cultural loss for us but in this jungle, only the fitted shall survive.

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Writing in English/Book and related topics. To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

 

Bombay Books #AtoZChallenge

Bombay is the city full of colorful characters. With its vivid past, strange present and uncertain future, Bombay (or Mumbai) offers itself as a good subject or an abstract setting . Here are my list of Favorite Bombay books:

1. Shantaram by  Gregory David Roberts

Book cover: The Shantaram

Book cover: The Shantaram

Maybe,In terms of accuracy, this might be the most ill-fitted book in the list. Gregory’s Bombay sounds real when he writes about Colaba, Leopold or Searock.  When it came to Chawls and Chopati, his Bombay looks little drifted from the reality. Do read this book for brilliant plot, extra-ordinary quotes and never-ending twists.

2. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

The Magical Midnights Children

The Magical Midnights Children

In Midnight’s Children, Bombay is the young city which is yet to find its full potential. The streets had more space and the people had more class. The tireless city which we know now,has some a sense of calm here. Nevertheless, still it is rich with its diversity, cosmology and wide open doors.

Also by the author “The Moor’s last Sigh”

3. Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto

The beautiful paperback

The beautiful paperback

To be honest, there is not much Bombay outdoors in this book. The most of the story is inside the 1 bed-room apartment in Mahim and in the physiatric ward in JJ Hospital. But still there is lot of Bombay inside that house. The spirit of being there for each other, the absence of space, ignorance of privacy, the beauty of past, the fear of future, and the courage of steel. That is the Bombay for you (You can read the book review here )

Also by the Author “Bombay, Meri Jaan

4. Dongri to Dubai by S. Hussain Zaidi

6 Decades of Mumbai Underworld

6 Decades of Mumbai Underworld

Enough about the beauty of the city. Dongri to Dubai takes you to the dark side of the city. The story of the gangsters, underworld, criminals, the wreaked ones and the wannabes. This book takes you to the neighborhoods like Dongri, Byculla, Dharavi where the failed dreams of this city breeds. Also the city parts where rich and famous lives which was their favorite hunting grounds.  The book has also been adapted in Bollywood feature films.

Also by the Author: Byculla to Bangkok

5. Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

Last Man on the Tower

Last Man on the Tower

Last Man in Tower is the story of a city in middle of transition. A real estate tycoon dreaming of the city’s fate to be like that of  Shanghai,  proposes to re-develop a residential tower which has outlived its days of glory. The characters in the book are typical middle class Bombay. This book will offer you a kind of Bombay which both excites and petrifies its own citizen.

Other books Suggested:

1. Maximum City

2. Love and Longing in Bombay

3. Narcopolis

4. Breathless in Bombay

What are your favorite Bombay Books? Do let me know.

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Writing in English. To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

 

And The Bookers’ Goes to! Past Winners from India #AtoZChallenge

My theme for #AtoZChallenge is Indian Writing in English. Here is my first post 

Arvinda Adiga, with his Booker's Prize for The White Tiger

Arvinda Adiga, with his Booker’s Prize for The White Tiger

 

The fact is that all of the Indian authors who have won Man Booker Prize are alive and healthy. That shows that India arrived on Bookers’ rader little later than expected.

It all started with Salman Rushdie extra-ordinary  narration in Mid-night’s Children. He brought the Indian writing in global map with Magical Realism in to mainstream and Saleem Sinai in every readers’ mind.The year was 1981 and there was no looking back for Mid-night’s Children. It won ‘Booker of Bookers’ Prize in 2008, getting the highest ever honor in fictional literary segment.

Salman Rushdie, file picture

Salman Rushdie, file picture

The next Booker arrived in 1997 with Arundhati Roy’s The God of small Things (I want to dedicate an entire post for the book, so wait for it ). Anita Desai was shortlisted for the big prize for three times in past, but didn’t make the cut. However, her daughter made her and nation proud with her mater-piece, Inheritance of Loss, which got the grade in 2006. With White Tiger in 2008, Aravind Adiga won the forth and the last one for India so far.

Presentation1

Bonus Quiz: Who is the first India-born author to win Nobel Prize in Literature ? Its not Tagore. Find out here

In recent years, Jeet Thayil and Jhumpa Lahiri came close to win the bookers for Narcopolics and The Lowland respectively. I am sure there is lot more to come

Please come back tomorrow for more on Indian Literary.

To know more about #AtoZChallenge, please visit the link 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Bucket List

Avinash Gupta:

The Best Bucket list ever !

Originally posted on :

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “bookish bucket list.”

1. Work in a bookstore/library during university
I absolutely adored working as a student library page throughout high school, so if I could get a position like that during my university years, that would be wonderful. A bookstore seems like it would be a lot of fun too – especially if I get to have “Erin’s picks” or something like that!

2. Attend a book signing
Rainbow Rowell was in Toronto last semester, and I was heartbroken that I had to miss her signing due to exams. I’ve heard that signings are a lot of fun – and an excellent way to interact with authors…

View original 394 more words

My entry to #AtoZchallenge & The Theme

I don’t know why I chose to accept A to Z Blogging challenge. I have never posted more than 6 a month, my blog always complain that I care more about my job and less about her. And I have still accepted to post 26 posts in a month !

And of all the months, we have April for this challenge ! April, when Game of Thrones is back, Football season is on pick, the work pressures are insane, new financial year, elections in the country, social events are on full swing and still I have taken this challenge. Have you already given up on me…..? Wait for it, I have also decided the theme for the challenge which is none of the above (now is the right time).

My theme for #AtoZchallenge is “Indian Literary” where I will square my opinions on Indian books, authors, the genres, the business of books, the future, the past and the challenges. Yes, my blog’s name is Avi’Random’, but I still have One theme for a month, for 26 posts (Please don’t give up on me yet). While I will focus on the contemporary books and trends, I will also deviate from the timelines and move to past sometimes. I have also requested few friends to contribute here for guest post. I am looking forward for The April.

Yeaahhh!!

Yeaahhh!!

I would love to hear your suggestions to make it better. Also, if you are interested to contribute, then please let me know.

Book Review: Unaccustomed Earth By Jhumpa Lahiri

The book Cover: Unaccustomed Earth

The book Cover: Unaccustomed Earth

Have you ever tried a curry in an Indian restaurant aboard? They usually are too mild for Indians but too spicy for others. That is exactly how the characters of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth were. It is a short story collection, like her debut book, Interpreter of Maladies, based on 2nd generation Bengalis (natives of Bengal region of India) , living in the land of opportunity.

The book has  2 parts, where the part I is the random stories  and part II is the story of Kaushik and Hema. Hema and Kaushik met in childhood through their families, where Hema and her family played host to Kaushik and their family. Though they grow apart and in different worlds, they cross the roads 2 decades later in Rome. They find the intimacy which was missing in their lives, right before the important life phrase which was already framed by them.

In the part One, the first story shares its name with the book. The character has a  Jhumpa’s signature complications. However my favorite story is “Only Goodness” which is the story of a complex relationship between siblings where the younger brother gets in to drinking problem which a traditional Bengali family in the US tries to deal with.  The sister hides her guilt of introducing Alcohol to the brother which at that age seemed harmless and fun.

Bonus Read: Book Review: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (click on the Image below to read the post)

The Lowland by Jhumpa Laahiri

The Lowland by Jhumpa Laahiri

In most of the stories, you think the gap between the characters has been mended, their conflicts has been resolved but right before the end, it goes otherwise. As a reader, you can’t protest it, because there are human elements which protects the action, an emotional propaganda which eliminates the rationality and sometimes impulsive decisions that subsides the logic.

I recommend Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth to readers of all age, culture and origins. I have rated it 4 out of 5 star in goodreads.

Happy Reading

Also on My Blog 

Book Review: Em and the big

Hoom by Jerry Pinto

Book Review: And The

Mountain Echoed

Guide to Indian Wedding Part II

Thank you for the overwhelming response on the Guide Book to Indian Wedding Part I. After observing some more wedding closely, I am back with other significant wedding characters and their salient characteristics which will help you survive the wedding nuisance.

5. Overly Attached Couple:

Found this gem online. I love Internet

Found this gem online. I love Internet

They might be newly wed or pretend to be newly wed but they are very important part of the wedding scenes . They pose for million photographs, share food from the same plate and hold hands even while scratching the groins. The couple’s love invokes Onida’s commercial (Neighbor’s Envy anyone  ?) but to know the true story, one must interview the house maid who can testify for the possession of Television remote on the prime time and Balika Vadu life-size action figure, about their true love. Anyways, who wants to play Sherlock on the visibly happy couple on the wedding night with matching underwears and salty colgate smile.

6. The comparison aunty

(Thanks Tanay for the idea)

The Comparsion Aunty(TC-A) is like Film Critique.  TC-A are useless but still marries are incomplete without them. There sole purpose to be in the wedding is to compare every hook and corner of wedding. Their usual benchmark is their richest neighbor or the poorest relative. An average TC-A compares 17 things in 1 Wedding hour which will sum up to  4200 things in 10 days wedding celebration (and we are talking about 1 Comparison Aunty) . And you thought who will notice your un-matched socks !

7. The Statistics Uncle

Above data like TC-A compares 17 things in 1 Wedding Hour was brought to you by one of these Statistics Uncle (and I am not that). They are the number people of wedding circles, who keeps the conversation going with the most unflattering statistics. “Dilli Mein Aaj 20 Lakh saadhiya hai, “93.36% of American Marriages ends in divorce.” Ramdev’s Mutra(Fresh Brewed urine produced by consuming Govmutra) can cure more than 3 Million Diseases (half of which has not been discovered yet ). They are the olders and more animated version of Twitter Trolls which see now a days.

"Can cure 3 Million Diseases",

“Can cure 3 Million Diseases”,

8. Car-o-Bar Manager 

Car-o-bar Manager might also sound like Business Manager but with different sets of responsibility. According to ground breaking Stats by a Statistics Uncle from Chattisgarh, only 19% of Indian wedding serves liquor officially but in 102% weddings, we find drunk people either dancing at the Baraat with Handkerchief  snake in their mouth or at the Groom lifting competition at the reception. The credit for this buzz goes to Car-o-Bar Manager who makes sure there is enough liquor running in the systems of fun loving, devil-may-fuck wedding guests.

Car-o-Bar is a mobile Bar. You sit in the car, mix your drink, gulb it quickly and then disappear in flash. Normally grooms friends from Northern India (Haryana, Punjab ) are selected as Car-o-Bar Manager. Other choices are Maternal uncles, Family well-wisher from Army and Always-Helpful-Neighbor.

So, what do you think about my wedding characters ? Do you have any wedding story which is typically Indian and which will bother our laughing bones? Do write to me.

Some ‘more’ Puns on My Blog

Guide book to Indian Wedding

 

Cricket: Bollywood songs which

can Improve Team India’s

Performance 

 

How to know if your friend is

doing MBA 

We Will, We Will Stone You

Avinash Gupta:

Another Gem by Ashish, the Stoner !

Originally posted on Ashish Shakya:

The elections are going to unload upon us very soon, which means that the IPL will move to another country, because we can only handle one garish display of black money at a time. Also, the elections are far more entertaining than the IPL, because I don’t remember the last time Mitchell Johnson knocked Gayle’s head off with an inswinging rock. So here’s a pretty unreliable recap of some of my favourite moments from this week’s episode of Politicians Do The Darndest Things:

(Most of the following happened on the day that the model code of conduct was announced. Or as politicians call it, *ackthoo*.)

1. Arvind Kejriwal arrives in Gujarat to verify Modi’s claims of development. As soon as he crosses into Gujarat, the road transforms into a sixteen lane highway made of golden sunshine. As Kejriwal glides down the highway, with the wind in his hair

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Book Review: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis

“Are you really reading this ? ” said the friend who read the summary of the book. I can’t blame her because summary of the book looks strange. A traveling Salesman transforms into a Bug , i mean, does it sound interesting ?  This is the beauty of Kafka who made a grossly uninteresting topic into an amazing read.

Originally written in German, Metamorphosis is a short story with 3 parts.Every line suggest some short of irony, a message hidden that can stun you. The gift that Kafka gives in this book is that you may not notice these hidden treasures unless you intent to.

I read some reviews of the book in goodreads and I was shocked to see the comments of some readers.
Someone wrote, “I’m sorry, but all this stuff about him being a symbol for Jesus and struggling for mankind is a bit over-the-top I think. He’s a cockaroach. There’s no explanation for it, and his family is only mild freaked out at the fact that he suddenly turned into a giant bug.”

Another one said, “Thank goodness this is a short story because I don’t think I could have suffered through a full-length novel by Kafka. I read this years ago in school (can’t remember if it was high school or college, but either way, it was many, many years ago) and didn’t like it then”

Bonus Read: Kafka’s letter to his father (very amusing ). Click on the image below for the link 

Kafka’s letter to his father

Kafka puts you in the situation where you will either love him or hate him for The Metamorphosis. Just imagine, you are the head of the family, earning member and the shining lamp of the household and then there is accident which changes everything for you. The way the family saw you, the way they treated you. You are no longer the commanding figure in the family, you are no longer sought for opinion, you are just a giant insect of the family.

Many argued that the Kakfa designed the character Samsa in an autobiographical way. His hatred towards his job, his relationship with his father and his Bibliographic believes were well exposed in the book.

The Metamorphosis has enjoyed a great cultural and literary recognition throughout the world. The theater adaptation of the book is also very popular. In the edition of the book which I read (the same as the cover I have posted above) explained the translation process and the essays based on Franz Kafka.

Unfortunately, Kafka couldn’t live enough to see the achievement of his literature. He always wanted to be an author, during his working years as well, and that is how the world remembers him. I rated The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka 4 out of 5 star on the goodreads .

More Book Reviews on My Blog

Book Review: The Man who

knew Infinity

Book Review: Disgrace

 

Book Review: The Pregnant King

Cricket: Bollywood songs which can Improve Team India’s Performance (#Puns)

The state of Indian Cricket

The state of Indian Cricket

The way Team India is performing is giving hard time to cricket fans in India. While the newbies are acting in total disbelief by the performance aboard, the likes of me who grew up in 90s see it as Deja vu. We were so used to bad performances that sometimes we choosed Shekhar Suman over Live cricket (Ok, that only happened once )

Bollywood songwriters were most instrumental in inspiring and improving the performance of the national team in the 90s. The legends says that “Choli pe pecche Kya Hai” inspired Vinod Kamli to slam 2 double tons, one for his each man boob. But this song lost its meaning when Robin Singh was ignored for the test squad for England at the tender age of 36(D).

Here are the list of songs which can help the current bunch of cricketers who are failing to perform in the third most important stage (obviously after IPL and Jhalak Diklaja ). These songs have encrypted message for which Cricket analyst like Veena Malik and Saba Karim can be consulted  to break the code.

1. Hi Hukku Hi Hukku Hai Hai (Gopi Kishan )

Not only the song, entire movie was encrypted to show the sorry state of Indian Cricket. Sunil Shetty played double role. While the first character was brave, clever and winner, representing Indian Cricket Team in India, the other character looked similar but was loser in core nature, representing Team India aboard. Suniel Shetty wore a shirt with 800 font size ‘SODA’ written over it. It mocked the half successful cricketers’ eagerness to work with Soda brands.

In this particular song, the message was very clear:  how to deal with the Short ball . The answer is “High Hook High Hook High High “(recite it 15 times, really fast. You might feel like Ricky Pointing or Charlie Sheen ). The cricketer who was most benefited by this song was Sunil Joshi.

2. Bholi Bhali Ladki (Sabse Bada Khiladi )

Again this song represent 2 layers of metaphors for Indian Cricket of the era. Mamta Kulkarni represented the state of middle order of India which was too shy to open up. Like Mamta Banerjee  Kulkarni tried her best to save her modesty by not opening up her pyar wali khirdki (face of the bat) spite of the many pleas by Akshay Kumar . The song inspired some of the batsmen to realize their potential and help them achieve a respectable strike rate of 55 runs per 100 balls. The comparison with Mamta Kulkarni was very flattering for some of them.

Hemant Badani, File picture

Hemant Badani, File picture

The most benefited  by the song was Hemant Badani who played the match winning knock in the Independence Cup in Bangladesh.

3. Saath Samundhar Paar (Vishwatma) 

Long before Indian team’s WAGS started touring with the team, this song was a secret initiative by the BCCI for the lonely boys in the long tours overseas. The idea was to replace their absent WAGs with the fantasies of Divya Bharti. This worked initially before Mohammad Azharuddin got married to Sangeeta Bijlani. Fabio Capello also used this movie during England’s 2010 World Cup Camp but failed because of presence of Chunky Pandey in the movie which caused too much distraction to the players.

Other notable song which helped Indian team during Turbulent times were:

a. Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano ka (Naya Daur) : This patriotic song was played in Baraat just before the first night of the marriage to boil the masculinity of the groom before the intercourse .  Parthiv Patel was given the dose of this song to escape his years of puberty which paid off badly.

b. Songs of Altaf Raja : It inspired/hypnotized  Abhey Kurvilla and Debashish Mohanty to believe that they could play for India and cure cancer.

The flying machine

The flying machine

I hope BCCI goes back to old techniques in reviving the fortunes of the team. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Puns on My Blog 

Guide book to Indian Wedding

 

How to know if your friend is

doing MBA 

Book Review: Nine lives by William Dylarmple

Cover of Nine Lives

I had 2 motivations to read the book. One, with this book, I would complete all the book length works contributed by the William Dylarmple (later I realized that I have not read The Age of Kali yet) and another was, my book challenge of reading at least 12 books in 2014 based in India. As the Nine Lives filled in both bills (and similarly, The Age of Kali will fit both bills :) ), it was easy to pick it from the airport Book Store.

Nine lives is the story of 9 individuals of India, who collectively signifies the diversity of India. They are from the religious communities and tribes which are otherwise undocumented and most of them, unwritten. This does not mean that William traveled around India looking for Witch Hunters and Snake Charmers.

The true Dilliwallah , William Dylarmple

The true Dilliwallah , William Dylarmple

William might not be the first European to document the unknown, mysterious India but what he achieved that his preceders failed was: keeping the neutral observation in his research. No matter how weird and unbelievable the subjects were from the known view of point, he maintained neutral and did not show any judgment in his writing. For these 9 stories, he traveled to the depths of Karnataka, deserts of Rajasthan and  the lengths of Himalayas. As a reader, he allows this space of judging the subjects and analyzing their social believes.

Bonus Read: Book Review : In Xanadu by William Dylarmple (Click the image below to read more)

In Xanadu: A Quest

In Xanadu: A Quest

The stories which moved me most were the story of the Jain Nun and the story of the Buddhist monk. Here, the both ‘lives’ might read similar but there is lots of contrast. However, there is possibility that  you might find book monotonous. In lieu of maintaining the neutral tone, he compromises an opportunities of the bringing his opinion on the table. I think so William should not fear sounding an outsider while commenting on Indian myths and culture, because most of the readers in India have accepted William as one of their own. Overall, book offers good value to the readers who are interested in exploring the subject. Nevertheless, the book is avoidable if the cover text does not excites you.

I have given 3 out of 5 stars to Nine Lives by William Drylample on the goodreads.

Also on My Blog:

Book Review: Em and the big

Hoom by Jerry Pinto

 

Book Review: The Man who

knew Infinity