Posts

Showing posts from January, 2016

Haiku Fest

Buddha The Buddha smiled and Touched his own heart for once to Choose death o’er haikus Christ Deliver me, Lord, From the cross of the preachers Mostly blog haikus Mahatma Shoot me Godse dear Save the world from the winter of barren words drear Haiku Death by words without My fate in leaves that never Grew syllable count Inspired a little by Umashankar Pandey and largely by blogger-haikuers

Hangwoman – Review

Image
Book Review Title: Hangwoman Author: K R Meera Translated from Malayalam by J Devika The hangman’s noose is a symbol of power.  The hangman experiences a sense of power when he pulls the lever to strangle the victim: the power to allot death to a human being.  Chetna Grddha Mullick, the protagonist of K R Meera’s novel, Hangwoman , experiences the exotic sensation of that power as she sends a condemned convict to his death by enacting her duty as the hangwoman.  But there is a greater sensation awaiting her: that of the symbolic power she has acquired over all men, especially those men who have played the role of patriarchal subjugator in her life. K R Meera The novel is really about woman-power.  It is about how women have been subjugated in various ways through centuries by men who took pride in the power they wielded over people for centuries.  Even Phanibhushan Grddha Mullick, Chetna’s father and 88-year old hangman, is proud of his profession whose history,

Selfie

I take the liberty to bring here four reviews of my book, The Nomad Learns Morality .  Amit Agarwal , blogger and poet: “Brevity is the essence of this awesome work. The language is crisp ant curt. The extraneous details have been done away with and the reader cannot find an excuse to take a breath while reading, their deep interest is maintained throughout.” Sunaina Sharma has neatly summed up each one of the stories in her review .  “The book is a collection of 33 stories that deal with topics ranging from mythology to religion, history and politics. The themes are vivid - faith, doubt, human fallacy, God's devise, divinity, morality, sin, facticity, fantasy, truth,  illusion and deception,” says Sunaina.  “The author has probed deeper and, asks the questions which might have stirred every logical mind. The stories not only make you mull over harder on a few things but also help to come out of parochialism,” says Maniparna Sengupta .  Sreesha Divakaran sums

Waking up to a Gold Morning

Image
Every morning is a new promise.  It is the beginning of the rest of my life.  It is the opportunity to begin anew once again.  To start the journey again with the confidence that I can change what can be changed and with the insight that I will accept what cannot be changed. What makes a good morning begins with the pre-dawn freshness of the cool air that distils through the chinks in the window.  The sun has not risen yet.  The lark has not only risen but is on its wings.  It whistles its usual tune from its blissful height.  The tune may be usual but its meaning depends on my response to it.  I choose to whistle back. That’s what converts my good morning to a gold morning.  My choice is the miracle worker.  I choose to smile rather than smirk.  I choose to respond rather than react.  I choose to hope rather than give up.  I set my value rather than let others do it.  I forgive myself and others.  I refuse to be a victim.  I choose to carry on the journey.  With renewe

No Salvation, sonny!

One of the many well-wishers I have managed to gather along the way, much against my wish, sent me the above video a little while ago via Whatsapp.  Having watched it, I replied to my well-wisher: "I agree with him (the speaker in the video) totally.  But my experience: those who preach love are the greatest peddlers of hatred.  Or they are self-righteous and want to reform others.  And ruin many in the process." [I don't know anything about the speaker in the video and my remark was not against him.] My response was spontaneous and it came from my experience that goes back to decades, not just years. I have been ill-fated to attract a lot of self-appointed well-wishers in my life for reasons that I never managed to understand.  There are so many murderers, drug addicts, corrupt politicians, and all kinds of evil-doers in the world, but why are these well-wishing moralists bothered about me even when I try to live as far away from people as possible except for the v

My Hunger is Concrete

Image
I’m just a year and a half old and am constructing this huge shopping mall. Here I am sitting in the shade of a bush by the side of the towering structure to which my mother carries the mixture of gravel and sand and cement in a grating crater on her head. When I’m hungry, I wail loud. That’s when mother comes and makes me stand on a wall, opens her blouse, and pops a nipple into my mouth, her one hand behind my back and the other holding the crater. It’s my hunger that builds the mall. PS. I wrote this poem some ten years ago when I watched a mother stopping to feed her child at a construction site in Delhi.  The photo was taken a few years later while walking through Bhatti Mines, a part of Delhi that has palatial ashrams belonging to godmen and also slums where people struggle to make both ends meet.  Anyone interested in a free pdf copy of my book, The Nomad Learns Morality , is welcome to contact me. 

Octopus and Leech

Insipid humour like life “Yes, Sir, I was just thinking of you,” said Dr Prerna when Dr Rakesh walked into her office.  He was not even in the most remotest part of her thinking.  He knew it too.  That was just one of their many secrets.  Dr Prerna had done her PhD on the artistry of octopus tentacles and Dr Rakesh’s thesis was about the destiny of leeches for sucking blood.  The former was the principal of the school and the latter was a leading principal-aspirant.  The latter warmed up to the former hoping that she would recommend him for the vacant vice-principal’s chair and the former entertained the latter as he played the role of both the stooge and the snitch.  Having buried his soul in the most dishonest flattery and having informed on all his colleagues who matter, Dr Rakesh would cover up the stench and filth of his inner rot beneath his three-piece suit. “Your disrobe looks fabulous today,” said Dr Rakesh as usual trying to flatter his boss’s new dress. “

Whose Country?

Image
On the New Year’s Day, the government of India slashed the price of aviation turbine fuel by 10 percent. This is the second reduction in the price of ATF in a month’s time.  The New Year gift to the common person was a hike in the price of cooking gas.  The price of non-subsidised LPG was hiked by Rs 49.50 per cylinder.  LPG price was hiked on 1 Dec by Rs 61.50.  Prior to that, rates were increased by Rs. 27.5 per cylinder on November 1. The flight ticket rates have not changed though ATF rates were cut.  The benefit does not trickle down to the passengers.  The corporate sector harvests the benefits.  The trickle down effect of neoliberalism is a myth.  When the price of petroleum shot up to $140 per barrel, Dr Manmohan Singh managed to keep the price of petrol in India at Rs 72 per litre by providing subsidies so that the common people would not be taxed too much.  Now when the international price hovers around $37 the prices of petrol and diesel in India refuse to come d

What are Books Worth?

Image
In today’s Time of India , Ruskin Bond narrates a revealing anecdote .  A boy who looked after his father’s ration shop requested Mr Bond for a book.  Always happy to encourage youngsters to read, Mr Bond gave the boy a copy of his latest, large-format children’s book.  The next day, Mr Bond bought some jaggery ( gur ) from the boy’s shop and the writer was chagrined to find that the sugar lumps were handed to him in a paper bag made out of the pages of his own book.  “My author’s ego was shattered,” he writes. Ruskin Bond When I decided to gather some of my short stories in a book form I had varied motives.  The primary motive was to dedicate the book to a religious cult because of which I lost my job in Delhi and, far worse, I threw away a large collection of my books in a fit of depression.  The cult took over the school where I taught with the promise “to run it at least for a hundred years” but killed it in a brief span of two years.  The entire school complex inc

My India in 2016

Image
“Every Indian has a right over everything that India has.  From this, he or she is free to weave his or her dreams.  The India of tomorrow will have 125 crore such dreams, and will be built on the same.  We will not only empower our citizens with the ability to dream, we will enable them with the capacity to actualise their dreams.” The passage is quoted verbatim from the 2014 Election Manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party which went on to win the elections.  A year and a half is not a period long enough for materialising such a grand vision.  But it is a period long enough to move in the direction, at least a few steps.  Modi at Sivagiri math in Kerala recently Instead of empowering the dreams of the citizens, they are being driven deeper and deeper into a quagmire of rising prices of food and communal dis-ease, in addition to all the old problems of corruption in politics, unemployment, widening gap between the rich and the poor, and so on.  Worse, certain concepts