Migration,Statistics and a story.

Migration,Statistics and a story.

The Goa Book club met up after a long time. This time it was an interaction with statistician John Nazareth who is a statistician, based out Canada, he talks of the Goan Diaspora statistically, the migration to South, then Africa and now Australia and Canada.

The challenges of actually getting the numbers, he talks also talks about the methodology used, and why have the numbers at all. it was quite interesting that talk about the multi layering that eventually brings out this rich fabric called the Goan Identity.

From the seed of geography it takes on the hues of various exodus and assimilates it into the fundamental psyche He was also talking of how once this project was taken on, he comes across pockets of Goan settlement worldwide.

He shared what triggered this compilation, and how he decided to invite himself to the Goan houses so that he could connect with the community, and then eventually how people started tapping him for the demographic numbers. He shared the many layers that formed the ethnic fabric, like catholics, mangloreans, of course some how he had not reached out to the Nawyati’s of Bhatkal, or the Kochikar Goans.

To him the statistics were not just numbers, they were talking to him, telling him story of the multicultural society that he came from. It was definitely very animated and vocal discussion. I loved the inputs from AnnaMarie Goswami.. who by the way ought write her thoughts down, she is a lady I love interacting with.

The group was compact and cozy, of course most had already read Alan Machado’s slaves and sultans so the other factors of the migrant Goan in Mangalore came up.

the interaction

Mr. John Nazareth can be contacted at  jhr_nazareth@hotmail.com

Through Thick and Thin, Sick and Sin

Through Thick and Thin, Sick and Sin

Through thick and thin,  is something we used to define friendship, in one of my favourite books Lace, Shirley Conran has her character Maxine pronounce it is sick and sin, since she was French, that’s how friendship stuck in my place through thick, thin, sick and sin.

As I read the book during my teens I do not really remember much about it. there is a girl, a porn star who traces the mother who abandoned her, and out comes the tale of four girls I think between wars, so the changing role of women, attitudes, the emerging working woman all these are part of the story some interesting .

“Bromance ” is much touted buzz word these days, somehow media does not seem to think women are capable of this kind of bonding, so many be I am one of the lucky ones… when I came down to Manipal I was the intruder, the rest of them were either born there or were definitely there before me,

My first day at the children’s play park, I was really different, I spoke pidgin, not English, and that was delivered with Tamil accent. I remember every one laughing at me, until.. one pretty girl with deep blue tights a white sleeveless top that small primroses of light and dark blue looked up, she gave me a 1000 watt mega smile, walked right up to me and asked me my name, the next thing she did has me in tears since then, ”I will be your friend” it is 46yrs now, and 20 yrs since we have lost connect, but each day, I think of her, and a prayer to her is definitely on my routine.

I remember playing in the sandpit, with our toys, be sun or rains, then as we grew up, we rode our bicycles, we went to movies and one movie was “Hattari” about the African hunt so the next month we pretended that our cycles were horses, and we lassoed pigs, and chicken that wandered into our campus screaming Hattari until someone’s mother caught us and then well lets not talk off painful events.

Finding out which mother would be out, so that we could experiment cooking, baking, make up it was all part of the growing up. When I look book we had great milestones in the journey of friendships,

Friendships grew and I do know of best friends drifting apart, and finally to quote Agatha Christie they cannot go beyond, “oh! Do you remember” stage if they meet after a decade.

Fortunately for me, my friends grew with me, we probably have the same likes, dislikes, so from hating Premalatha teacher we grew into cycling, swimming climbing trees and generally harassing our teachers in the middle school that was also the time we discovered the pleasures of cooking, and no pleasures of the whacking we got for creating kitchen disasters.

Despite of choosing various professions, the time when people tend to drift, we still stay bonded, though our conversations developed from kitchen disasters to disasters of the romantic kinds, in a while, boss became the pivot of crush either of the romantic kind or want to crush his head kind. From Pregnancy being an inconceivable  state we discussed pregnancy, picaphagia and appreciate our evaluation to the status of a referee when the second child came along.

Then came marriage, mother-in-law, her son the bonding now became strongers since friends are only safe net. When my BFF from Manipal moved to states, I was lucky in finding one in Goa, who is there for me through thick and thin, and yes, sick and sin… of course she does tell me that “Buddy in my precinct this is sin, but you make the rules in yours.”

Kids are grown, it’s the empty nest, our conversations now are arthritis, retirement, old age homes and “do you remember?”lace

I am lucky, I have had friends who refused to walk in front of me, for they didn’t want me to follow them, neither did they walk behind me, lest that I lead them, they always walk beside me, through thick and thin, sick and sin.

Just sharing a clipping of my oldest BFF Dr.Jyotsna Mirlay.

This has been written for  http://www.ozee.com/shows/yaaron-ki-baraat.

Banned book week

Banned book week

Loss of words is not just figure of speech it is a frighteningly dangerous pathology. it was the secret weapon of the intelligentsia, the clergy and the power hungry to oppress. Banning books is just another form of bullying. It is all about fear and an assumption of power. The key is to address the fear and deny the power.

Books are dangerous, they have to be, they contain ideas, no, rather feed an dormant idea seed with supernova energy that in turn could empower and an empowered soul is definitely not subservient.  Every book has something that offends, after the freedom of expression includes the freedom to acknowledge that you are offended, or to offend the other. Without the freedom to offend  it ceases to exist.DSCN8018

The idea of Banned Books week celebrates the freedom to read, it draws attention to banned and challenged books. It talks of people persecuted for their writing, and is held on the last week of September.

The banned book week was founded in 1982 by the library activist Judith King,  the association of American publishers with the idea of bring to the attention of the American public the slain books, and six weeks later the first banned books week was celebrated.

The Wednesday of the banned book weeks is the Banned Website Awareness Day.

Amnesty international also celebrates Banned books week by directing attention to individuals persecuted because of the books that they produce, circulate or read. Banning of books creates silence instead of speech, and speech is essential. Banning of books makes us shut out noises and stops us from seeing visions we see. Think about this the first man to translate bible to English was burnt at the stakes, this has been happening time and again, whatever the reason for it, yet it is right back on the shelf, to become a best-seller.

Here is sharing a quote from John..F.Kennedy   “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.

[Response to questionnaire in Saturday Review, October 29 1960]
― John F. Kennedy

Reading for is visit a home they have left behind, for some it is an escape from the surrounding they are in, books, uplift weary souls, energize the tired minds…sooths an aching heart, kindles hope for the future, and provides an respite when all escapes are sealed. They are ultimate dumpees, keep them down and there are there for you whenever want to pick them up.

Then there are those books that fill us with the strange almost evangelical zeal, and convince us that the prescription to put the shattered world together is to get all humans to read it.

“A word to the unwise.bookworm
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.”
― Ellen Hopkins

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
― Joseph Brodsky

GALF 2016 makes an appearance

GALF 2016 makes an appearance

GALF 2015 was vibrant, with lot of kids taking part, there were kids book releases.

It is almost end of September but GALF 2016 event has not yet debuted while 2014, and 2015 we had ongoing book events through the year, it is a no show as yet.

With Astri and Jugneeta

It only almost a month ago that the first official event of GALF 2016 took place with Astri Ghosh’s book on the Grantha Sahib.

Though I am not a Sikh, the first ever spiritually oriented book I read was the Japji, rendered in English, it was given to me by my father I was twelve then. The book used to be with me until it got battered beyond redemption. The year my father passed away I had a Langar in his name, at the Gurudwara in Vasco, it was an amazing experience.

So the combination of GALF, Gurubani  and Jugneeta Sudan as moderator is definitely a place to be in. Astri Ghosh is a familiar stranger as she is a GALF regular.

The book Guru Nanak The Thinker and The poet—the book  is edited by Astri Ghosh she walks us through the story of Guru Nanak Dev, each episode leading to a relevant hymn. The hymns are translated to English. The book brings to us the extraordinary life of Guru Nanak Dev and most important sayings and beliefs. From his stead fast pursuit of truth and equality and his love for all, the book inspires us to maybe contemplate walking the Guru’s path.

Astri being a skilled translator shared her thought process in choosing the particular hymns that she used. She then discussed challenges of the actual translation having to preserve the content and flavour of the original yet render an appealing translation.

The simple language without being condescending I felt would appeal to the young reader whose intellect is respected without over burdening with bombastic and complex language. I have picked three copies one author signed for my nieces and nephews.

The book travels the time line a chronology of Guru Nanak Dev’s life, it has a section of Japji Sahib and a fun how much do you about Guru Nanak Quiz.

The book is published by Hachette India, and is presented as a sleek book with a inviting green over and the soothing image of Guru Nanak Dev.

Anuradha Goyal (www.inditales.com) joins us.

Thus the GALF 2016 is sighted.

In search of the Ikshvaku

In search of the Ikshvaku

The Seal Of Surya

Author Amritanshu Pandey

Publisher Pirates.

ISBN 978818192681054

I have flipkart vouchers to exhaust and buying anything else from flipkart does not make sense as they either do not deliver to my address or they send the wrong product, so it has to be books. I picked up the book hoping it would deal with Ikshvaku kings of Andhra who rules the Krishna-Godavari Basin. What made is more attractive was the blurb written by my favourite author Krishna Udayasankara

But the book turns out to be the  “Raghuvamsha” like the one written by Kalidasa, the book is narrated  by Bhagiratha, the son of Sagara to a chandravamshi scion who comes to train with him. It is believed to be the saga of Ikshuvaku the son of Vaivasvata Manu. Who is believed to be giver of Manusmriti

The story telling traditions of India are of two types either they are Puranas that is the legends of the Heroes or they are the Prakarana the documentation of events, the book follows the prakarana pathway not much emphasis is given to the emotional drama. This where to me the author falls short, despite of walking the path that Krishna Udayasankara did he is not able to deliver because she had the prakarana’s woven about Puranas.

The stock characters used were not really convincing, like the Maharishi Vashishta the depth of the character did not emerge, nor did the charisma of Bhagiratha, the focus seemed to be displaying elaborate nomenclature they could be authentic, but I could not find the connect to the story that I know.

The interesting thing about any mythology is that it is neither an adult story nor a children’s story it just is …

Coming to the social structure of patriarchy, well patriarchy was definitely there, but women had the choice of choosing their partners, it was considered a sin if a man refused sex when a woman asked the concepts of women having single sexual partners came from Svetaketu who was jealous of his mothers affair  with I think Indra and the hurt his father felt1. Children born out of marriage, before marriage or to widows were all acceptable and there were specific names for them2.

The rule of vidya was very clear no child could either write or wield weapons or heavy implements before the age of 8yrs because the intellect and the bones were not mature enough3.

If one is not challenged by these information, then it is a fairly good travel companion.

Krishna udayasankara can you redeem with the promised book on Shikandi?

Shatrujeet Nath how about the next instalment of the Guardians of the Halahala?


  1. evil in hinduism  Motilal Banarasidas publication.
  2. Battles and Bards, collection of academic articles of  sanskrit studies.
  3. Battles and Bards collection of academic articles in sanskrit studies.

About the author www.scrollsofaryavarta.com

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Chota Chetan

A suicide story


E-book review

author Sriram Aiyer

When Indiblogger sent out this link I was curious, since it was about suicides. I decide to read it. As a story I would not really recommend it to anyone, nor would I say crap. I you stumble upon it, it is okay.

I am a little confused here if the suicide in the title is used as a noun or a verb.

The book traverses from an attempted suicide to a successful suicide. Has a total of 31 chapters. Charu oversexed, exhibitionist and a misplaced feminist, Sam an immature testosterone king, I had feeling that the author empathized with him who cannot zip it or handle the fact that he does not send hormones racing,  Hari comes across as more realistic character who was sexually abused as a child and still bore the scars, Mani who moves up from an challenged environment to the elite environment of KIT which is built up like the clone of IIT.  The book deals exhibitionism, voyeurism and violence in the contemporary world.

Theme appears to be bringing about glamorizing the unpleasant elements of a college environment, like I said, the exhibitionist girl, the voyeur-hacker and his drug addict delinquent friend on one hand, and the abused battered Hari and his socio-economically transplanted partner on the other. The character of Mani is actually well defined and somewhere a character who is at peace with himself, despite not fitting the conventional package.

There were some moments when the book actually came alive, like the statement, ”activists are good storytellers.”  The culture of taking down notes and studying from notes seems so prevalent. Then there is this character who declares on a public forum, “I am gay” the spontaneous response to which is so what…?

The constant engaging in twitter, twitter no doubt provides us with a wonderful platform to discuss, confront social issues, but just look at what is trending, and the language that is used. Raw but not really alive it just hollow phonetics with the emotion left out.

The protagonist Hari being a victim of misdirected cyber bullying gives up on life to commit suicide. That is the only part of the book that actually sounds real. That does not want to wake up. Sleeping seeming a better option but sleep eludes, even sleep is live a reverse nightmare.  It is not a depressed person who kills himself/herself. A person does not kill himself to escape, or I shall show you kind of vindictiveness, the terror of having to face the aftermath of such humiliation is like the terror of being trapped in a fire of a high raised building, between the terror of heights and the terror of burning becomes the choice, the sense of being trapped comes up. This poem by Dorothy Parker kind of sums it all up.

Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.”
― Dorothy ParkerEnough Rope

Before you jump the ledge this is something you need to hear… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jjh1W_TbUNY

Here are some helplines

  • Aasara 24×7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669
  • Lifeline Foundation
    17/1A Alipore Road
    Sarat Bose Road
    700 027
    Hotline: +91 33 2474 4704
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    Website: vsnl.com/n4h/
    255 Thyagumudali Street
    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
    Hotline: +91-413-339999
     Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 14:00 – 20:00
    1-8-303/48/21 Kalavathy Nivas,
    Sindhi Colony
    P. Road
    500003 A.P.
    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
    Hotline: +91 40 7904646
    E-mail Helpline: help@roshnihyd.org
     Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 11:00 – 21:00
  • Saath
    B12 Nilamber Complex
    L. Commerce College Road
    380 006
    Hotline: +91 79 2630 5544
    Hotline: +91 79 2630 0222
    11 Park View Road
    (Near Chennai Kaliappa Hospital)
    A. Puram
    600 028
    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
    Hotline: +91 (0) 44 2464 0050
    Website: snehaindia.org
    E-mail Helpline: help@snehaindia.org
    24 Hour service:
  • The Samaritans Sahara
    Sir J-J. Road
    Byculla Bridge
    400 008
    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:  – E-mail:
    Hotline: +91-22-2307 3451
    Website: com/health/samarita.htm
     Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 15:00 – 21:00
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    1 Bhagwandas Lane
    Aradhana Hostel Complex
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    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
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     Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 14:00 – 22:00
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    Ashirbhavan Road
    Ernakulam Kochi
    682 018
    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
    Hotline: +91 239 6272
    Website: org
    E-mail Helpline: maithrikochi@yahoo.co.in
     Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 20:00

Tooth trouble shooting.

karadi talesTooth trouble shooting.

The Dragon’s Toothache ISBN 978-81-8190-306 .  A simple illustrated book by Karadi. Author Annie Besant and illustrator Rayika Sen have created an interesting read.

I am not going into the story theme since it is a very brisk book

This is a great book that I would keep in my clinic, I would also recommend it to the paediatric and pedodontists patient reading list.

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
― Brandon SandersonThe Way of Kings

Is precisely how stories and storytelling manifest in my space. As a young mother I would cuddle my daughter and read her a book, that would also be a space for me to share many ideas and listen to what she had to say. A single book of 19 pages like this one would take about  a week to finish in the first round. Since there would be so many other things that we talk about

If this was a book that I read to my daughter I would talk to her about…

Dragon — what are dragons, i would draw a few drawings talk to her about dinosaurs, promise to share the my dragons book after this book. Dragons do form  an important arch type in stories it is not about establishing that dragons exist, it about establishing that dragons can be beaten.

Toothache – here we would probably ponder about why did the dragon get the toothache? How can he stop the toothache, a little about dentist, dental hygiene, and brushing technique… I would ask my child how will she teach her dolly to brush?

Innovation – it is a great space to draw  attention to how the protagonist was innovative, maybe compliment some situation where my daughter was innovative, or at least draw her attention to it.

Digestion –  this is a great space to discuss chewing habits, digestive system

Trouble shooting — here is where I would lead my daughter into a mock session of troubleshooting… that is okay

  • Calm down
  • Where are we
  • Where should we be
  • How can we go.

This technique that we used to used during the story telling session has made daughters quite competent in troubleshooting and crisis management.

Finally I would sing the song along and make her sing after me, this bit I would record to use for a later time.

At the end of the day

“Don’t just teach your children to read…
Teach them to question what they read.
Teach them to question everything.”
― George Carlin

If you would like to have a peek about the book check —  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu1Kwb4ZOoE&feature=youtu.be

To buy the book http://www.karaditales.com/FormCatalogsView.aspx