- How important is a father’s presence in a child’s life? Very Much.
- How much can a father influence the upbringing of his child? A Lot.
- Can a father’s role ever be substituted in a child’s life? Never.
For many children the father invariably becomes the role model very early in life. At least for me, my father definitely was my role model. It took me many years to understand and acknowledge how much of a role model my mother too became for me later in life but more of that in another piece.
While my mother protected me with her warmth and rapping, my father was the one I looked up to whether it was for his extrovert nature that made him the cynosure of many friends or the benevolent nature that made him unhesitant in helping people whenever necessary. I admired the respect he got from people for being the self-made man that he truly was. I loved the adventurous streak in him that made him permit me to handle the family Ambassador when I was very young or the time when he taught me how to ride the cycle and then also ride it all the way to school despite my mother’s protests.
In many ways, I have inherited my father’s guts and also his obstinacy to do things the way I want to, in the manner I want to. In fact, this led to many a family conflict when I grew up into a teenager with neither of us realising that I was only expressing my emotions the way I saw it in my father!
Till some time back, my son identified with me despite our gender difference. But today, with tiny hair waging little wars to sprout on his yet to be transformed stiff upper lip, he sees in his father what he would like to become. Casual, carefree like his father in many ways, he is still to retrospect on his father’s ideals and principles in life. Shooting up like a bamboo tree, he is yet to chew on the thought that body structure is not everything.
His father-inherited sense of humour sometimes tends to clash with his mother-inherited wit and sarcasm. But yes, today he realises that whatever his Mamma might say (in anger), he is better off with her nagging which he dislikes instead of his father’s rarely expressed volcanic anger! Still to form, follow and delve on spiritual beliefs, I hope and pray that he picks up his father’s introspective and unconditional faith.
There was a time when I glowed proud when my son would come straight to me to share his school stories. Today, I feel proud to see my son sit down to chat with his father – man to man. A day will arrive when my son will sire his own children and teach them, share with them all that he has been influenced or touched by. And, I am sure that his father will definitely figure up there. Until then, I can only wonder:
“Papa kehtei hain bada naam karega.
Beta hamara aisa kaam karega.
Magar ye to koi na jaane
Ki mere bête ki manzil hai kahaan…”
For my father, my husband and my son: wishing you a Happy Father’s Day. Every Day!
Author: Kota Neelima
Publication: Rainlight by Rupa Publications India Pvt. Ltd
Price: Rs. 495
Until now I lived in the illusion that it was I who selected the kind of books that I wanted to read and review. But, today after reading Shoes of the Dead, “….I am only incidental,” I realized that I played no role whatsoever in the kind of books that came to me. Instead, the books choose me! Whether good or bad, energy consuming or a wastage of time, the books decided whether I was worthy of them or not. Otherwise, how could it be that some books refused to come to me even though I desperately desired to read them while some books just seem to pop into my hands without any effort or desire?
Kota Neelima’s book, Shoes of the Dead seems to be one such purposeful and heart wrenching book which deals about one man’s courageous battle against the system that refuses to acknowledge suicides by farmers.
It isn’t easy writing about farmer suicides. All the more difficult weaving a novel around it without appearing cynical or hypocritical. After all, such things happen in villages, to poor desperate farmers, not to urbanites like you, me or the writer! But, the author writes a novel that is sensitively soaked in reality with a narrative that edges you on, making you feel part of it all, making you want to make a difference!
The novel deals with the issue of suicides of debt ridden farmers, how it affects their families, how the matter is either ignored or politicized for selfish gain by the people in power both, in villages and at the Centre.
Gangiri Bhadra is the main protagonist of this deeply moving novel who has to face the agony and loss of his dear brother Sudhakar, a farmer to suicide. More tragic is the betrayal of the law that refuses to accept the untimely death as related to any ‘burden of unpaid farm debt.’
Gangiri has a choice – to either go back to the city, continue his job as a teacher and become just “a man from nowhere, a man who was just a name on a salary cheque, a face on a photo ID, a voice on the phone. A part of the moving mass of people in a crowded bus, a metro, a local train. Perhaps he was braver than Sudhakar. He was not merely killing himself; he was killing the farmer in himself.”
Or, make a decision, “to make sure no farmer was ever humiliated again, no widow ever called a liar.”
But, the fight is deadly, the consequences even deadlier – not only must he protect his sense of integrity and self respect, he must also not allow poverty, hunger and the innocent vulnerable desire to live of his brother’ s two small children and widow to make his mission weak. He has to protect them from humiliation, hunger and death while be wages a war against a system that is both powerful and insensitive.
Will he succeed when the enemies outnumber him in politics, power and immorality? Will he be able to garner justice for the farmers when Keyur Kashinath, MP whose constituency lies in Gangiri’s village is hell bent on destroying the blot that farmer suicides have made on his party’s image by destroying the one man who is making it public – GANGIRI?!
Don’t miss out on this powerful piece of political fiction. I guarantee that you will not come out unaffected.
Kota Neelima works as Political Editor with The Sunday Guardian and is a Research Fellow for South Asia Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, Washington, DC. Her previously published works include the novels Riverstones and Death of a Moneylender.
Sometimes, it is easy to douse the fire of adventure and curiosity.
Sometimes, desire and drive can be carelessly strangulated…
…. All by a parent’s highly careful attitude towards the upbringing of their child.
As adults and parents, we have seen life. Let’s get that straight. That indeed is a fact. Dipping into the pockets of the large experience that we have had as children, youngsters and as adults, we are indeed equipped with a plethora of information and knowledge that can help us in safeguarding the lives of our children and making it better. But, are we indeed that perfect? Is our so called experience not without its quota of prejudice and cynicism? When was the last time we told our kids, “Oh all right, go right ahead and try that new thing out. I am not so sure about it… didn’t work for me when I was a kid…it just might work out for you.”
Chances are that 9 out 10, we are bound to dissuade our children from trying out something new, from attempting something that we weren’t successful at. Now, why would we do that?
Well, as caring parents, we don’t want our children to get hurt, to face disappointment or simply putting it, we don’t want our loving kids to lose faith. Right? But, in the process of preventing bad from happening to our children we are only encouraging them to take it easy, to value life less and to basically not use their grey cells and intuition! Now, how would such a child turn out to be… if not now, then later in life?
Being the know-it-all, ‘I told you so’ kind of parents, we are definitely going to get children who are locked in confusing thoughts of life. On one side, the children are told, be yourself, be natural. Yet, on another side we tell them to be careful, to do all that we say BECAUSE we have gone through it all. In today’s world, if children were to browse through the guidebooks of our life and apply them then, life is not going to be a cakewalk, nor is it going to appear sensible to them. What applied to us then, way back, hamaare zamaane ke time mein cannot hold true a full 100% today for them.
And here, I am not talking about values. For that another discussion would be required. What I am trying to say is that the rules of survival are different today. By being skeptical, by being careful to the extent of being discouraging, we are only killing the child in our children. Yes, we must warn them about the dangers that lurk around. No, we must not influence their thought process and murder all originality. Yes, we must lovingly tend to the sapling. No, we must not overflow their system entirely with our overpowering emotions. Yes, we must talk to them, discuss with them. No, we must not prejudice them about situations, ideas or people.
Children have that little thing within them which many of us as adults have successfully managed to get rid of – the sense of natural instinct. By living and re-living our lives in society, we have shrewdly learnt the laws of the game. And, we desperately want our children to learn them too, and soon so that they don’t suffer disillusion or hurt as we did. But then, aren’t we forgetting one important aspect? Didn’t we also learn by trial and error? Didn’t we also reach this pinnacle of survival and comfort today by experiencing life as it came to us albeit with a little help and support from family and friends?
Let’s do that for our children. Let’s not plague them with overburdening doubt and fear. Let us just let them be……
Posted at Parentous
An objective and witty novel by author Anees Salim about a mohalla called Vanity Bagh.
A journey of realization for the protagonist Imran Jabbari.
Will destiny take his side?
Read more of my review of this book at http://vaultofbooks.com/aplus/review-vanity-bagh
A novel by teenage author Mehek Bassi.
A sensitive tale about aspirations, passion, dreams and love.
Read more of my review of this book at http://vaultofbooks.com/aplus/review-chained
Editor: Nethra A
Publication: Mahaveer Publishers
“The sky was a purple bruise over the dark Gomti river. He wanted her desperately tonight. Time stood by and watched him, as he lay down on the sand and stared at the velvet sky above. The stars twinkling there reminded him of the glittering lights that would adorn her huge mansion tonight. Through a film of tears, he saw the stars move from their places and drop upon him like liquid fire. His eyes burned, his heart was ablaze, kindled perhaps by the fire before which she sat, in her red and gold silk lehenga. Silk on silk, he would say, every time she had draped a silken sari around her silky form. He could never have afforded one. But, that had never deterred him. He would drape her form with gossamer words, he had said, or with velvet kisses.”
Having always been fond of stories, I wasn’t going to permit this beautiful story collection from Fablery to pass me by. The fact that all the stories belonged to different genres made reading this collection all the more interesting!
Ten extremely good stories narrated by writers who know their job well. All the writers have made their respective stories so enticing that it becomes difficult to put the book down. So, where you come across chilling tales like in ‘The Incarnadines’ by Cheyenne Mitchell and ‘Weekend in the Country’ by Bruce Memblatt, you also get to read lovely love stories like in ‘Red and Gold’ by Monika Pant.
Each story is different because it catches the imagination of the reader in the manner in which it is narrated apart from the fact that the theme chosen is out of the ordinary. ‘Barren Harvest’ by Vinaya Swapnil Bhagat is one such story where the issue of global warming is merged with the lives of humans after the much predicted end of the world. ‘Harry’s Bluff’ by Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan is a tale about goons and their humane aspirations while Reshmy Pillai’s ‘The Secret of Ahiraah’ is a well written piece of historical fiction. ‘A Good Day To Die’ dwells on the life of a firefighter written by Rahul Biswas. ‘Where Did You Go?’ by Deepa Duraisamy is about baby swapping. ‘Something Like That’ by Shankar Raman A stood out for its comical cynicism while ‘A Nootropic Egress’ by Kartick L was an interesting take on the UFO.
All the stories carry you into different worlds.
Due credit must be given to Nethra A for editing such a fine book. Hats off to the writers! For all those story readers wanting a taste of something different, ‘TEN SHADES OF LIFE’ is THE book!
Author: Kulpreet Yadav
Publication: LiFi Publications Pvt. Ltd.
Kulpreet’s writings always give that realistic appeal to things without becoming cynical. In fact, having read his work before, I could detect the same cozy feel that the author brings to his characters. Here, despite the fact that this book of stories has innumerable characters, the readers are able to slip into the skin of most of them. Due credit must be given to the language, narration and observation skills of the author.
“The outside is as alive as it could be on this typical summer day in June. I watch lives that pass by in the narrow lane: a buffalo, a rickshaw, a woman in a burqa who walks like a man and I have no way of knowing if there indeed is a man in it, two giggling teenage girls followed by a teenage boy on a 100cc motorcycle, a pig with about a dozen piglets in tow. I know I can’t risk being less interested in the shopping we are here for, so I quickly return my attention back to the sarees.”
Tales like ‘Not The Only Peanut Seller Who Hasn’t Heard Of Osama Bin Laden’ and ‘A Familiar Stranger’ are narrated simply and you know that yes, you have seen people like these in your life too. ‘The Beautiful People’ and ‘Bringing Sunset Home’ are some other stories that are moving and touch the heart within. In between, nature and the environment are described aptly and beautifully.
“The sun looks tired, hanging dopily over the tiny village precariously perched on a mountain slope.”
How often we have seen the sun like that but it takes a Kulpreet to describe it so!
“Water invaded everyone’s lives. Schools were shut down, giving children a chance to splash collected rain water by jumping in the puddles. Traffic crawled on the roads like depressed insects queuing in their long pursuit to their destinations where perhaps food waited, a stinking odour swam around everywhere from the rotting garbage islands like pheromones seeking more garbage. Frogs, centipedes and millipedes and sometimes even snakes began appearing in houses like unwanted guests. And my favourite leather belt and shoe began to grow fungus on it.”
This description of the monsoon season is just so apt. All of what Kulpreet has mentioned we all must have experienced some time or the other in our lives. That’s what makes the connection with the stories in India Unlimited all the more intimate.
Abstract images, natural human fears, poverty, sloth, deceit, desire – all figure in the stories that seem to have been taken from the lives of people all over the country. India Unlimited is a beautiful read. It is representative of the lives of the ‘aam aadmi.’
Don’t miss the book!
Kulpreet Yadav is the founder-editor of Open Road Review, a journal of short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and artwork. He also edits Under the Banyan Tree (UTBT), an online forum of short, true stories. He writes novels and short stories too. Kulpreet is also the founding member of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association . He is also the author of the novel, A Waiting Wave.
Publication: Apeejay Stya Publishing
“And the Lakshman Rekha will protect you?” Anu said, giving Amit a sideways glance.
“Protect all of us in it. Lakshman used this to try and protect Sita in the Ramayana. This is old tradition, these lines made cannot be crossed, physically, mentally, or spiritually.”
Is this guy for real? Spiritual lines and force fields? Anu was beginning to regret coming. She knew the spirit world was active, but this was a little insane.”
I had heard about the night demons when I was little. More as horror stories narrated by terrorizing cousins! Later, much later I was to read about spirits, about the astral world where souls (good and bad) roamed making visits to the mortal world.
When I got my hands on Adi’s Tantra, it brought to life all that I had heard and read about – evil spirits, people practicing black magic and tantra.
“People hear of tantra on television shows, horror movies, even news magazines. There is much myth, much confusion….Tantric is different. It is wild, untamed. Its ceremonies cross the mores of general society…”
The protagonist, Anu Agarwal is a professional vampire slayer. With a deadly experience in vampire killing in New York City, she is now in New Delhi to find the murderer of the person she loved the most in her life. But, life in New Delhi is another ball game altogether. The vampires are different and Anu soon finds out that she has a lot on her hands when children frequently start disappearing and the needle begins to point towards tantric rites. The rakshas hunt requires her to master other measures, something that she would not have in her wildest dreams ever imagined.
“In all the great battles of old, the true warriors – the Maharatis, as they were called – fought not with weapons of ordinary stature. They imbued their arrows, swords, spears, all sorts of battlefield equipment with potent spiritual power. These are called astras. Today, people think they were special weapons given by the gods…They channeled the intent of the doer into spiritual form and charged the weapon.”
So, would Anu succeed against such tantric powers in saving the children? Would she discover the killer of her friend? Would she slay dangerous Indian vampires? Read this and more in this highly engrossing tale. Hats off to the author Adi for keeping believers and non-believers alike interested in this fictional story about vampires and tantra. For those interested in a tale that surfs into the world of the beyond, this is a great book making one realize that…
“…the ball in” one’s “chest was just a tangle of” one’s “emotions, the place where” one’s “deepest memories had been squeezed together so that” one “could avoid feeling them. Rather than yanking at the ball,” one “ tried to see where all the threads went….” One “had thought that maya was just” one’s “past experiences, pools of nostalgia” one “could swim in. She now understood the magnitude of the illusion….”
Author: Sneha Kumar Chakma
Genre: Non Fiction
“Nehru was opposed to the idea of the CHT (Chittagong Hill Tracts) joining the Indian dominion, since he thought that re-opening this issue would spark off an international controversy and would amount to antagonizing other countries. Ironically, at the cost of the independence of the Chakmas, he was going to preserve the prestige of India… Nehru’s refusal to help us underlined our endless agony, sufferings and sorrow.”
The book, ‘The Partition and The Chakmas’ is a compilation of the written work of the unsung hero of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) edited by his son, Deepak Kumar Chakma. It is a semi-biographical narrative of his inspiring life. His sincere efforts in protecting the interests of CHT during and after the Indian partition have been portrayed well, very much obvious in the power of his pen which he kept using till the very end of his life.
The author of this book, Sneha Kumar Chakma spent his entire lifetime fighting for the cause of the Chakma freedom movement. Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel and most of the well known freedom fighters and Indian political leaders of India were aware of this terrible ‘Himalayan blunder’ but did nothing. The Radcliffe award was put into action discreetly and the CHT was allocated to Pakistan without even informing the Chakmas. Maybe, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Subash Chandra Bose and even Indira Gandhi were sympathetic towards the movement but all their sympathy and S.K.Chakma’s efforts went in vain because by the time Rajiv Gandhi came to the political stem, the Chakma issue had become a lost cause.
India was finally independent, free of enslaving British rule. All over the country people rejoiced. The Chakma tribe was one such set of people – an organized lot, loyal and patriotic. They raised the Indian tricolour on the 15th of August with a lot of joy and pride at their district headquarters at Rangamati. In fact the Indian flag stayed flying for six days from15th August to 20th August 1947. All of a sudden, on 21st August the Pakistani flag had replaced the Indian flag and the jawans of the Baluch Army of Pakistan had taken over everywhere.
As of today, the people from the Chittagong Hill Tracts are the worst affected victims of partition. They do not want to be in an alien country nor can they live as legal citizens in their own country (India) where they are now treated as refugees. Terrible injustice for the Eight Sister of the North East , a 97% non-Muslim area which had no desire whatsoever to be thrown into Pakistan nor was there any proper justification for this to happen considering the fact that the area and its people had no history of trouble-making ever.
“Driven out of Bangladesh, the Chakma Buddhists are a persecuted and homeless people today. The influx of these tribal refugees from the Chittagong Hill Tracts to Tripura continues unabated, with most of them refusing to return home because they fear for their lives.”
It is alleged that innumerable Buddhist Chakmas were forcibly converted to Islam. Allegedly, numerous gang rapes were also committed and more than 10,000 Chakmas were murdered. And finally, encroachment of their land also commenced. The Shanti Bahini was formed in the year 1973 to forestall this encroachment but the brave resistance of the Chakmas died a pitiable death.
Many people born after India gained independence are indifferently unaware of the part played by the Chakmas/ CHT in the freedom struggle. This book makes a valiant effort at bringing to the forefront a part of the Indian struggle that has been pushed under the carpet of powerful red tapism and insensitive governments of India for decades.
The articles, confidential documents and letters, photographs incorporated in the book make it a valuable piece of history that would definitely grace the book shelf of readers interested in the truthful picture of a brave sect of people lost to the world all by a ruthless stroke of an indifferent pen!