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 ( 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

<iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//”>

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…

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
    Hotline: +91 33 2474 5886
    Hotline: 2474 5255
    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:
     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
    E-mail Helpline:
    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
     Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 21:00
  • Sumaitri
    1 Bhagwandas Lane
    Aradhana Hostel Complex
    110 001
    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
    Hotline: 2338 9090
    Website: org
     Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 14:00 – 22:00
     Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00
  • MAITHRI – Cochin
    Ashirbhavan Road
    Ernakulam Kochi
    682 018
    Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter:
    Hotline: +91 239 6272
    Website: org
    E-mail Helpline:
     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 —

To buy the book

Darkness and Light Within-

Darkness and Light Within-

minette waltersBook review.

The dark room

When my mother wanted to say that we did something foolish, or she felt foolish, she used a term, “upper storey to let” somehow the book took me through the journey

Finally the throne of my idol Dame Agatha Christie is threatened.

The Debut Novel of author Minnette Walters, The Dark Room had me absolutely hooked. Published by Pan Boooks, the ISBN number is 0330343742

The story of three unsolved murders spanned over 10 yrs opens with a prologue which feels totally irrelevant when the actual story moves on.  The relevance pops only towards the end.

It is so difficult to talk about this whodunit without placing the spoilers.

Set in contemporary England, the Story line is quite simple three unsolved murders, one attempted suicide the suicide victim is the suspect at the murder, so is her father,   the plot is very simple what makes the book unique is the treatment, Walters focuses on relationship, and the subaltern thought process. She does not bother to vindicate her characters behaviour moral or amoral.

Though the book is about relationship and one of the dead being sexually overtly liberal there are no sex scenes to distract, she actually rejects an obvious buzz issue child abuse to keep the focus.

Stories in Indian context even western contest are either plot driven or Prakarna as Sanskrit literature calls it, that is events dominate the narrative, while the other is Purana or the character dominated ones. each character is crafted quite convincingly that one does excuse couple of misses here and there.

The young man who comes up from the ranks the hard way, him marrying a woman from the elite society of England, him idolizing her and the daughter that is born to them. when she dies he marries someone from his own environment, the jealousy  the apparently dysfunctional family juxtaposition with apparently well knit traditional families the story pans out very interestingly. Though being a seasoned whodunit reader, I did het a whiff of who the murder might be  I realized the temptation to jump the plat was not there.

Hope I have not put a spoiler for anyone,

about the author


300 Bloggers,30 teams, 3 stories– one book.

300 Bloggers,30 teams, 3 stories– one book.

Game of Blogs at Blogadda, published by Leadstart Publishing.

This was an interesting experiment by BlogAdda, I was supposed to participate as a blogger but procrastination pervaded.

Lets come to the six Degrees the game of Blogs, like a said is an experiment by Blogadda, six stock characters were given,

Shekhar Dutta a work from home writer.

Tara Dutta his wife, who has a corporate job.

Roohi Dutta the couple’s nine year old daughter.

Cyrus Daruwalla a Law student from Delhi.

Jenifer Joseph a photo-journalist from Kerala.

Arya Ahuja a neighbour.

Can you imagine300 odd people, working as 30 different teams and creating stories round these characters. The rule was a blog a day, the teams, had discuss, plan,  connect and coordinate. Yes the team that I was to be part off, did not make, poor guys I handicapped them.

This was then judged by Ashwin Sanghi, Kiran Manral, Meghana pant, Natasha Badhwar, Raksha Bharadia, and Ravi Subramanian.

The first team to present their version was, Team By Lines, with the title The Awakening. Their story on a science fiction fantasy plane, I could not connect to the narration, I actually put the book away for two days.

Two days later I read The Entangled Lives which was really good, I was rather disappointed that they stopped where did, I hope someday Team Potliwale Baba you will give us a full novel, tying the loose ends just as intriguingly as you did it here, the suspense maintained right to the end, each character given their fair share of importance. Additional charecters like Naina, and inspector Jawa added without distracting anyone.

The story revolved round the murder of Naina the domestic help of Shekhar a work from  home dad, and his corporate journalist wife Tara. The murder is discovered by their daughter nine year old daughter Roohi, Cyrus who rescues Roohi from a scrap, and Jennifer who was stalking Tara for a Photo-shoot assignment are also on the suspect list. Then there is wheel chair bound Arya Ahuja who gets his thrill peeking into the neighbours windows.  There is a guest appearance by Rohini IForgetWho, who happens to be Roohi’s school counsellor.

The bloggers lulled us to “caught you” only to jerk the rug. The sinister poetry added to the flavour. The team definitely gave us a peek into what they could create with more words, the use of dialogues, and narration was comfortable.

The domestic help slipping into multiple roles within the family, the career focused parent slowly loosing connect with family, the home bound parent developing resentment that could manifest as caustic comments, and yes, I did empathize with what anyone working from home has to put up with, ”But  you are not answerable to anybody, so your time schedule is juggle-able.”

Finally Missing –A journey within, by team Tete-A- Ten was okay, the story focused on Cyrus, with the Dutta family being relegated as back drop. The introduction of Sneha Phadnis and her intriguing connect with Arya Ahuja.

Cyrus a law student goes missing, his partner Fanus Mistry, and doctor Sneha Phadnis go looking for him, as he says he is going to Bombay the mayanagari. The story is rather lost, and does not keep the promise it makes in foreword, yet is does flow charmingly. The characters are saccharined of course twice in the book the murkier side of human nature peeks, but it is quickly sterilized. The story is dominated by Sneha Phadnis, and Fanus Mistry with Cyrus becoming the muse.

What was interesting for me was the way three teams presented the characters.

Shekhar Dutta came across as a lanky nerd in the first two, while in the third, i would cast Anoop Johnson from Indiblogger as Shekhar Dutta. Tara Dutta emerged as a idealist in the first, hard and focused executive in the second and insipid and whinny in the third.

Cyrus, I could not picture him in the first, in the second I would visualize a curly haired, again Anoop Johnson look alike, while in the third was imagining a stocky bespectacled, owlish young man.

Jennifer in the first well I could not visualize, in the third she was too miniscule for me to bother with a visual while in the entangled lives she reminded me of travel writer Yana, from Terrascope.

It was great to see how each team wove a different story, different genre. As for why six degrees, my take, it is double the pain of a third degree to plan, coordinate and execute a project that involves 300 bloggers, into 30 teams and keep to a timeline.

 This review is a part of the biggest <a href=”; target=”_blank”> Book Review Program </a> for <a href=”; target=”_blank”>Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

Trance Between Sips

world is my dustbin, the Iindian mentality

“…what thrills me about trains is not their size or their equipment but the fact that they are moving, that they embody a connection between unseen places.”
― Marianne Wiggins

The Jammutavi express lands an hour late, that means the goa express waits outside the Pune station for an hour. That in turn means the passengers are in a limbo tensed up.

When the train finally arrives and we get into the train, the coupe we realize is blocked by a steel trunk, that nobody seem to own.

Out of sheer frustration we get the trunk disembarked and we occupy our seats only to find peanut shells, paper cups and coke bottles strewn. We requested one of the freelance cleaners to clean up the place and handed him a Rs.100/- currency for doing such an efficient job. He not only swept the place clean, and mopped it with disinfectant. He collected the garbage and disposed it to the garbage bin and gave another large recycle black bag, where we could collect our garbage without messing the place up.

With this exercise done all that we wanted was a sip of tea. Like Diode smith said

“I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.”
Savouring the ginger tea, it was so relaxing and soothing, once the tea was drunk we just put our cups into the refuse bag. Of course I did not bother to think further

Between the sips, the mind is in a trance like state ideal to put in a message. I am not talking about the gory once like the one on the cigarette containers, something very simple, something that says

When done dispose into a refuse bin.”

Banega swach bharat is a distant call and does not let us take responsibility, I would just say, #IDon’tPolluteDoYou.

Maybe it is a good idea to call up ask them how would they handle this? I mean it is one of corporate social responsibility of indian railways on one hand, it is about being a responsible citizen on the other.

The normal way that  work is they use the 3-5 mnts trance between the  beverage sip, to get a message across. Of course most of their audience are targeted and monitored but how would they do it here? since we are trying to elicit responsible behaviour from the travellers. Yes one cup of free beverage might help, but how about the flyer.

Imagine a flyer that shows the collection of garbage, how it effects the landfill, how the entire thing facilitates onset of disease, well now getting that flyer across may be difficult. Flyers in the form of graphic novels might be an interesting option to try.

Just in case you are wondering what an recycle reuse freak like me is talking about, I mean using paper cups, that is bad for micro-economics, agreed, but Gingercup uses food grade paper. And the logos that they print are of ink passed by the F&B department.

As of now.. “My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody.”  Let me pick my GingerCup