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Mumbai believes… (Excerpts from ‘Mumbai dreams…’)

December 17, 2012 Leave a comment

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Religious sensibilities are often imbibed in Mumbaikars. The precarious truce between the two predominant  religions (H&M) dwelling in the nooks and corners of Mumbai has always been a subject for politically moulded views and equally sensationalising media.

Growing up in the Mumbai (then known as ‘Bombay’) of early 90s, witnessing the cannibalising riots and bombings of 1992-93, gains a prominence in my childhood memories. Flashes of crude impertinence taking the form of inhumane insanity was visible even to the naked eye of an 8 year old. The fresh-fruits stall of a Rahimchacha beside the community hall was not safe for someone named Rahul. Not anymore. The notable Haribhai  samosewalla  was not safe for Rahul’s friend Iqbal either.

“Rahul, don’t ever go to Rahimchacha’s stall. It’s dangerous. Woh bure log hai! (read – Those are the bad guys!)”  The same was supposedly fed to Iqbal by his kin about Haribhai’s stall.

During the riots, the playful Mumbai evenings were replaced by a stern schedule of bread and vegetable purchases, adhering to the curfew timings. My father’s advertent walks in the marketplace, with one hand engaged to a red-ribboned white cloth-bag and other firmly gripping my wrist, were fast; his eyes intermittently exchanging glances, once at his wrist watch, once at my mother’s to-buy list. Uncluttered.

But, sensibilities do change as you become an adult walking your own walk.

……

Saddam Hussein, Iqbal’s father, supported his thirteen member family by selling books in the Fort area of Mumbai.

“I sell books of Barbara Cartland to Baudelaire. Which one would you like to read son?” He smirked as I paved my way in through the heaps of books kept on the road pavement that stretched from Marine Drive to Flora Fountain.

Iqbal, seemingly benumbed, never really sensed the depth of books. His father’s wayward ardour about his business as a bookseller far exceeded the vivid intensity of the illiterate character he, so effortlessly, conceled.

……

“Revenge is known to every young and old, every man and woman. We will avenge the innocent blood that has been shed no matter what it takes.” It was far from a cry. It was an unheralded furore on the part of Saddam Hussein.

The transition from a pavement bookseller of Flora Fountain to an opportunistic leader of a small clan of aggravated beings was queer. His concealed frustration as he followed the TV news at my house in Lalbaug was not beyond my juvenile senses. His visits to my house in the evening for watching news and an elderly talk with my father had stopped. Eventually.

……

15 March 1993 Bombay Bombings

“It seems Saddam Hussein was the one who parked the explosive filled vehicle at Plaza cinema. People are talking. It’s not hard to believe!” I still remember the exact words from my father as he returned from office and conveyed the rumor to my mother.

…..

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Mumbai Dreams – Part I



The abnormalities of Mumbai beseem this unduly congested city, thought the man sitting on a bench at the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus). The usually blatant railway station in Mumbai had chosen to remain silent for the past ten minutes.

    For the man.
    No clanking of trains. No timely announcements. No buzzing of the daily commuters. No creaky chaiwallas (kids carrying kettleful of tea, with tiny hands holding a balancing tower of paper-cups, short flaccid steps paving their way through coarse men and numb women). SILENCE.

The searing heat of Mumbai summers, blatantly known for drenching the ambitious dwellers in sudor, and the exploiting trait of Mumbai television industry, represented by a handful of superstitious and mine run production ventures, had exacerbated his woes. For he, a fledgling scriptwriter in his early twenties, had been at work for the entire summer day battling for opportunities to earn his share of write up in a screenplay for a television sitcom.

“You better be good this time with your write up. Ektaji wants a perforating episode to be telecasted tonight. It will be shown to viewers with the title suggested by Ektaji – ‘Pavitra Rishta Mahaepisode’ (‘Virtuous Relations Grand Episode’).” 
The director had conveyed emphasizing the title, with his hands mimicking a hoarding in space. Typical gestures of a motion picture director.

“Do put some extra rancour amidst the lead pair. Also, we can have a few scenes by killing the protagonist’s brother. We need some heavily emotional glycerine scenes” The director had added in a holistic tone.

“Rahul, you better be good this time.”

The director’s warning cry before disappearing for his lunch had sounded  more restraining than encouraging.

The offstage grimace of this neophyte writer in the television scripting arena had been appalling lately. The Mumbai television industry churns out a superfluity of sitcoms that straddle the limited creative content written on the foundations of romance and the household spurts of epithets between monster-in-laws. A winning formula followed by most of the industry pundits. For a writer, it was callously implied to adhere to these norms and avoid traversing any untouched aspect of story-telling. By the book.

The writer’s afternoon had been weary. Plot Designing. Character Segregation. First Draft. And no time for lunch.

The first draft had turned into an exact portray of his director’s plain unembellished suggestions. Although a smearing touch of finesse to the characters, their behavioral convention was a much needed ingredient to the story, the writer had been reluctant towards it. He was fearful of taking this stride that could annoy Ekta and her accomplices and cost him his chance of writing for this sitcom.

“Better to be a regular writer with a job, money than trying to be an Artificer, a Craftsman and be a cast away.”  He had considered.

Eventually, the draft script had moved up the ladder.

It is presumptively inconceivable to decrypt the pattern in which scripts are reviewed in this television industry. A task that can let down even a gallant writer.

“This is not the way I wanted it to be. It lacks the emotional punch. Raw. It has the elements I had told to include. But its not commercial.You don’t understand what I’m saying!”  The director turned into a confounded philosopher with the first-draft script in his hands.

The lead character being sad about his brother’s demise resorts to cursing people around him, delivers over-the-top dialogues. Squalling.

“This blizzard display of perceptible emotional chaos is commercial. This is what you mean a**” The writer had not been able to put forth his understanding of the situation and his paradoxical opinion on it.

Second draft was assigned to another writer with traditional writing sensibilities.

Disdain.

The writer had perceived this doom as an opportunity to search for work that is originative and doesn’t bind his liberal want for contentment. He’d called a few of his busy ghost-writer friends and inquired about any need of an adjunct to share their burden of work. No Respite.

He’d received a call from one of his acquaintance and, with no halcyon choice at hand, had consented the offer to work as a second-level production assistant for the finale episode of the Indian counterpart of American Idol. The shoot was scheduled to commence at 2:00 am at a nearby film studio.

With two barren hours on his hands, he had taken shelter on a bench at the Terminus.

Ebooks Collection..A book-lovers’ delight

February 17, 2011 18 comments

Book Lovers

Life has metamorphosed itself in metro cities of India. It is this transmogrification that has proved to be a catastrophe for Book-Reading. A day with 24 hours is utilized in office, with friends, family, on facebook and not to forget the liturgical sleeping dose one has to have to survive. Book-Reading, love for literature doesn’t fit in.

The blog lists out my collection of ebooks that can facilitate your proximity to books via your smartphones, eReader devices..

For ebook reader for desktops and smartphones, check out: MobiReader Software




A
A Beautiful Mind - Sylvia Nasar
A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking
*A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
A House for Mr. Biswas - V. S. Naipaul
A Man of the People - Chinua Achebe
A Painted House - John Grisham
*A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - J. Joyce
A Room With A View - E. M. Forster
*A Tale of two Cities - Charles Dickens
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
A Walk to Remember - Nicholas Sparks
About A Boy - Nick Hornby
Acts Of Faith - Erich Segal
*Aesop's Fable - Aesop
A
irframe - Michael Crichton
*Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Caroll
Alexander: Child of a Dream - Valerio Massimo Manfredi
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
Amy Foster - Joseph Conrad [SHARED]
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
*Andersen's Fairy Tales - Hans Christian Andersen
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Anger Management For Dummies
Anges Grey - Anne Brontë [SHARED]
*Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery
*Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Anthills of the Savannah - Chinua Achebe
Are you Afraid of the Dark? - Sidney Seldon
Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne
A
rrow of God - Chinua Achebe
Art Of Public Speaking - Dale Carnegie
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand



C
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
Chatterton - Peter Ackroyd
Chromosome 6 - Robin Cook
Congo - Michael Crichton
*
Crime And Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky



D
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Deception Point - Dan Brown
Deterring Democracy - Noam Chomsky
Diary - Chuck Palahnuik
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
*
Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell
*
Dracula - Bram Stoker



E
Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer
El Sueño Del Príncipe - Fedor Dostoiewski (Spanish) [SHARED]
Eleven Minutes - Paulo Coelho
*
Erewhon - Samuel Butler



F
False Impression - Jeffery Archer [LINK BROKEN]
Fatal Cure - Robin Cook
First Among Equals - Jeffery Archer [LINK BROKEN]
Fist Of God - Frederick Forsyth
*
For the Term of His Natural Life - Marcus Clarke
*
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Fury - Salman Rushdie



G
Gandhi: A Very Short Introduction - Bhikhu Parekh
Girls at War and Other Stories - Chinua Achebe
Girl With A Pearl Evening - Tracy Chevalier
Go Ask Alice - Beatrice Price
Google Blogger for Dummies - Susan Gunelius
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
*
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
*
Grimms Fairy Tales - the brothers Grimm
*
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift



H
Harry Potter (Complete Series) - J. K. Rowling
Haunted - Chuck Palahuink
Hawksmoor - Peter Ackroyd
*
Heart of Darkness - by Joseph Conrad
Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams [SHARED]
How Opal Mehta Got Kissed Got Wild And Got A Life - K. Viswanathan
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living - Dale Carnegie
How would you move Mount Fuji? - William Poundstone [REQUESTED]

 



L
*
Lady Chatterly’s Lover - D. H. Lawrence
Learn to Program with C++
Life Of Osho - Sam
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
*
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov
Love Story - Erich Segal
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold [LINK BROKEN]



M
*
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Made In America - Sam Walton (WalMart Story)
Magic Seeds - V. S. Naipaul
Many Lives, Many Masters - Dr. Brian I. Weiss [SHARED]
Marriage Most Scandalous - Johanna Lindsey
Mein Kampf - Adolf Hitler
Memoirs of a Geisha - Aurthur Golden
Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus - John Gray
Message in a Bottle - Nicholas Sparks
*
Middlemarch - George Eliot
Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Midnight Sun (Partial Draft) - Stephenie Meyer
*
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Mother Teresa - A Biography
Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
Murder On The Orient Express - Agatha Christie
My Experiments With Truth - M.K. Gandhi
My Life And Work (Biography) - Henry Ford
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult



N
Naked Intimacy - Joel D. Block
Nemesis - Isaac Asimov
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
*
Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard - Joseph Conrad
*
Notes from the Underground - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Nothing Lasts Forever - Sidney Sheldon
No Longer at Ease - Chinua Achebe



O
*
Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham
*
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
One Night At The Call Center - Chetan Bhagat.html



P
*
Paradise Lost - John Milton
Penthouse Legend - Ayn Rand
Pillars Of The Earth - Ken Follett
*
Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter
Power Of Positive Thinking - Norman Vincent Peale
Prey - Michael Crichton
*
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
PS I Love You - Cecilia Ahern



Q
Q & A (Slumdog Millionaire) - Vikas Swarup



R
Rage Of Angels - Sidney Sheldon
Reader's Digest Best Jokes Book [SHARED]
*
Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe



S
Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie
*Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts [REQUESTED]
Something New - P. G. Wodehouse
*
Sons and Lovers - D. H. Lawrence
Sons Of Fortune - Jeffry Archer
Sophie's World - Jostien Gaarder
Stay Hungry Stay Foolish - Rashmi Bansal
Stories For Parents, Children And Grandchildren - Paulo Coelho [LINK BROKEN]
Sunshine - Alex Garland
Swami Vivekananda's Biography



T
The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie
*
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
*
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
The Age Of Innocence - Edith Warton
The Art of War - Sun Tzu (Translated by L. Giles) [SHARED]
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
The Appeal - John Grisham
The Audacity Of Hope - Barack Obama
The Broker - John Grisham
*
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein - Peter Ackroyd
The Chronicles of Narnia(The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) - C. S. Lewis
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Constant Gardener - John Le Carre
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Day Of The Jackal - Frederick Forsyth
The Devil and Miss Prym - Paulo Coelho
The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger
The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
The Firm - John Grisham
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The GodFather - Mario Puzo
*
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Haunting Of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
The Hitchhiker Trilogy - Douglas Adams
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
*
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle
The House of Doctor Dee - Peter Ackroyd
The Human Stain - Philip Roth
*
The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Iliad - Homer
The Inheritance Of Loss - Kiran Desai
*
The Island of Doctor Moreau - H. G. Wells
*
The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Liar of the White Worm - Bram Stoker [SHARED]
*
The Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
*
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving
The Magic Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
The Manual of the Warrior of Light - Paulo Coelho
The Master of the World - Jules Verne
*
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - Howard Pyle
*
The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari - Robin Sharma
The Mystic Masseur - V. S. Naipaul
The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
*
The Odyssey - Homer
The Only Thing Between Us - Pamela Santos [REQUESTED]
The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
*
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
The Pilgrimage - Paulo Coelho
The Plato Papers - Peter Ackroyd
*
The Prince - Nicolo Machiavelli
The Princess Bride - William Goldman
The Prisoner Of Birth - Jeffry Archer [LINK BROKEN]
The Rainmaker - John Grisham
The Road Ahead - Bill Gates
*
The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy
The Sky Is Falling - Sidney Seldon
The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemmingway
*
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Duma
The Time Machine - H. G. Wells
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffeneger
*
The Trial - Franz Kafka
The Unauthorised Biography - Barack Obama
The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella
The Valkyries - Paulo Coelho
*
The War of the Worlds - H. G. Wells
The Wedding - Nicholas Sparks
The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
The Winner Stands Alone - Paulo Coelho [REQUESTED]
The Witch of Portebello - Paulo Coelho
The Woman in the Dunes - Kobo Abe
The Zahir - Paulo Coelho
Theft, A Love Story - Peter Carey
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Three Mistakes of my Life - Chetan Bhagat
Till We Have Faces - C.S. Lewis
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Trainspotting - Irvine Welsh
*
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer



U
*
Ulysses - James Joyce
Undead And Unappreciated - MJ Davidson



V
Veronika Decides to Die - Paulo Coelho



W
Whoever Tells The Best Story Wins - Annette Simmons
Who Moved My Cheese - Spencer Johnson
Wings of Fire - A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
World Without End - Ken Follett
Writings of Nostradamus - Nostradamus
*
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë



X
No ebooks yet!



Y
You Can Win - Shiv Khera

Phir Dil Chahta Hai..

February 10, 2011 3 comments

A covetous ray of light is finding its way in through the half-opened window making the room’s reticent dignity more obvious at the time of dawn. A large canvas supported by a tripod lies at the heart of the room portraying an affable painting of a woman. There are spurts of color spread on the white marble floor around. The painting is semi-dry giving an impression that it was brought to life a couple of hours before the sunrays added luster to its beauty.

Scrubbing his sensitized eyes, Sid <a.k.a Siddharth Sinha> tries to comfort himself on the couch. It’s been just an hour since he decided to take a break from the vicinity of brushes and color tubes and catch some sleep. But the uneasiness creeping over him has overpowered his impulse indulging him towards sleep. He gets up from the couch, moves towards the kitchen room just beside the bed room and opens up the fridge to grab a bottle of water. After gulping down half of the bottle, he starts to feel grounded. 

Finally after striding his way through the kitchen, he is back to his room; staring at his painting and trying to assay the sumptuous colors put into action. He feels the painting is missing a streak of curled hair appearing at the left side of her face just covering her ear. He picks up a brush and gives the final strokes of excellence. It’s been four years since she left him. But Sid has kept her alive in his paintings. Each one of it impersonates Taara in an extremely impeccable way.

Sid has permanently moved from Mumbai to his Uncle’s farm house in the outskirts of Pune. It’s been a pretty lonely life for him over here. He doesn’t favor intrusions by any visitors. Whenever he feels like talking to someone, he diverts this urge on a canvas with each stroke of his brush manifesting a thousand of thoughts.

He is still sitting relaxed on the couch contemplating his creation on the canvas. There is no one around to admire his work of art. There was Taara who was able to apprehend his creativity. But she has forsaken his life and found a place for herself in his paintings. There is no one, not even to animadvert his efforts. Sometimes this onus was taken care of by Aakash and Sameer.

A one sided smile has become apparent on Sid’s face the moment a thought about Aakash and Sameer stroke his mind. He is getting into a trance; hovering into the memories of the past when he had delineated a woman revealing her back and called up Aakash and Sameer.

 

 “Hello…”

“Hello, Sameer… come to my place. Come here right now!! ”

“Hello… Sid…Hello…”

Though it was almost half past one, Aakash and Sameer hastily turned up at Sid’s place.

“How is it??” Sid asked as he saw both of them.

“Are you crazy?? You called us in the middle of the night for showing your painting!!” Sameer replied annoyingly without having a look at the canvas.

“It’s beautiful…” Aakash said raising his eyebrows.

This aroused Sameer to approach closer to the canvas and look at what Sid was up to.

“Wow…that is beautiful.” Finally Sameer was chilled down.

“Hey guys, don’t you think she resembles someone.” Aakash said.

“I think each one of us has a resemblance with someone or the other living in some part of the world.” Sameer replied after giving a thought to the question raised by Aakash.

“I think this is a perfect sculpt of Miss. Kashyap.” Aakash said as he noticed the confused faces of his friends.

“Miss. Kashyap… our economics teacher???” Sid asked.

“Yes… my dear.” Aakash said with boost of confidence in his tone.

“I know Miss. Kashyap very well. Tutions… I used to attend her tuitions.” Aakash continued.

“Were there any others students attending the tuitions?? Or it was a private one with only you and Miss. Kashyap …” Sameer asked as got into an investigative mood. He was eagerly waiting for a positive reply.

“It was totally a private affair.” Aakash replied with a devious smile on his face.

“That’s great, Aakash. You dog… you never told us.” Sameer got excited.

“But you know what… Sid has made a blunder while portraying her figure.” Aakash was unstoppable.

Tujhe kaise pata unka figure kaisa hai???” Sameer was envious.

Before Aakash could reply a word, Sid picked up a painting brush and walked towards Aakash.

“You know what… I hate economics!! ” Sid said as he brushed off some color on Aakash.

A mess was definitely triggered. Aakash grabbed a bottle full of colors and was ready to color up Sid.

“No… Aakash…please don’t do it… Aakash… No…”

 

 “No.. Aakash… No” Sid has returned to consciousness. He realizes that he’s alone in his room. Sameer and Aakash are nowhere around. It was just a hallucination.

Sid grabs a telephone lying beside the couch. He dials a number connecting to Australia.

“Hello… Hello… Aakash… Sid bol raha hoon…”