Muse n' Motivation

The Thinking Blog!

Can I Have This Chance : A Book Review

neelam book cover1
Having read Neelam Saxena Chandra’s innumerable interesting stories before in national magazines, there was no way I was going to miss out on her novel! Neelam’s stories have never ever disappointed me so I was confident that I was going to read an equally interesting novel.

The title of the novel itself, ‘CAN I HAVE THIS CHANCE?’ is an attractive one. Who would not wish to have a chance to do something he/she so desperately wants? Who would not like to make amends or make a difference if another chance was given?

The protagonist Avantika is one such person who is at the crossroads of her life. Having all along believed in the significance of duty, work and career, she is given a chance to fall in love again. But, something edges her on to ignore the chance and board a flight to New York instead despite the co-incidental/destined chance that comes her way. Is she running away from love? Will she permit fate to play its role? Or, will she carve out her own destiny?

“Avantika was also lost in her own world. She knew she liked Sunil. After all, they were so similar. Their professional liking, their tastes in reading, their tastes in eating – almost everything. But wasn’t liking different from loving? Why did she never feel the pangs of love which she had felt when she used to be with her first love? Had her failed first love closed her world so much that she was not ready to accept someone else? Or was it that she did not really love Sunil?”

But wait, this is not all the story is about!! It is about a ‘fiery young journalist grappling with crime, murder, rape and aspiring to bring justice to the oppressed and keeping up the quest for truth intact and lot’s more!’

To be able keep the reader enthusiastic about turning the next page and also convey a message to the society is not easy a task. But, the author is successful in both. Neelam Saxena Chandra’s narrative takes you on a see-saw, now up and then, down providing you with situations to ponder about and a desire to know where the story is headed. From the present to the past and back to the present again, Neelam takes you on a journey that never fails to disappoint.

“Avantika had got so lost in the past that she had missed even the flight take off. She wondered how she could have done that. She always enjoyed the take-offs and landings. Take-offs made her feel the thrill of life on starting on an unknown voyage, of surging hopes and of aspiring wings. Landings made her remain grounded and signified the attaining of ultimate wisdom.”

The charm of the book lies in its simplicity. Despite a theme that is filled with action and adventure, the author never loses focus and therein, lies the success of the book.

Take the Chance dear reader friends. And have a wonderful read!

Book: Can I Have This Chance
Author: Neelam Saxena Chandra
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 220
Publication: Authorspress

neelam
Neelam Saxena Chandra is an electrical engineer by profession working for the Indian Railways. Around 600+ of her stories/poems have been published in various leading Indian as well as international magazines, anthologies and journals. The Delicate Wings, Layers of flickering lights, Silhouette of Reflections, Hues of Love, Rishtey Mohabbat ke, Treacherous Lady, Chanda – A picture book for children, Pankhudiyan, Five tales – short story collections for children. Can I have This Chance is her novel. She also debuted as a lyricist in Shankar Tucker’s composition Mere Sajan Sun Sun. Many more books are in the process of getting published.

For you dear Papa!

Father’s Day was here last Sunday, and I read this prompt a few days later. Thought I would write something about two pictures of my dad which never fails to make me smile even today.

IMG_20140614_202204

Ever protective of his darling daughter, he taught me to be bold and strong

while I was happy, ever bursting into a song!

The first man in my life,

in joy and strife!

It was from him that I learned to be courteous and polite.

Yes! I remember, it was he who taught me a letter to write.

Never denying me anything.

Colors, sketch pens or the cycle with a trrring, trrring!

 

All that I am today is because of you Papa.IMG_20140614_202131

I am ever close to your heart although I stay afar.

Now, the tree has bent a little.

The energy for life brittle.

But, your shade still protects me.

In its leaves, your love for me I can see.

Age may have weakened You.

But, as my hero I still see You!

 

Happy Father’s Day Today and Every Day!

 

 

 

For the Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt 9

http://writetribe.com/blogging-checklist-wednesday-prompt/

Lost Nature!

Last night the tree in our colony uprooted.
With it innumerable leaves lost their lives
unexpectedly.

It is summer and they
were hoping to spread their wings
and bring into the comfort of their shade
all creatures-
big and small,
long and short,
humans and animals.

And yet,
despite their pure resolve
they had to unwillingly
lay down their lives
for a man made development-
The Metro
that runs below our building and the once upon a tree.

Is development worth the gruesome murder of a part of Ma Nature?
Now, I understand negative vibrations
and its dangerous side effects.
The drilling vibration below the beautiful tree destroyed it.
Now, we humans await….

Reviewing the madness of Lucifer’s Lungi!

lucifer's lungi

Lucifer’s Lungi : Book Review
Title: Lucifer’s Lungi
Author: Nitin Sawant
Publication: Fablery Publications
Pages: 111

Genre: Psychological Horror

“Everything I was today was exactly what Saravana’s father wanted him to be – educated, worldly-wise and free from all bondage. Everything Saravana was today was exactly what I was petrified of becoming once – gullible, irrational and dogmatic. Somewhere in our course of bilateral exchange today, we both were fighting with an image projected out of our own subconscious minds.”

This book is Fablery Publications’ first book of fiction and an excellent choice I must say. Do not get deceived by the cute little size of the book or the non-glamorous cover – all this is only to drive you into a tale that cannot get any more realistic!
The author, Nitin Sawant has done full justice to a story that travels from nowhere and gets you neatly tied in its grip and before you realize it, you are onto a journey, travelling along with the protagonist.

“Every morning I rose to the same gigantic challenge – how to pass this day without falling asleep at my desk? Then there were a lot of mini-challenges every hour: how to keep my yawning to a minimum? How to keep myself away from heaping all sorts of profanities on my only-paying customer?”

So, what is the story about? An atheist working in the city lands up in a village where people believe in strange tales and traditions. They believe in the wrath of ghosts and things like that. Our protagonist is caught in this ‘unholy clash of beliefs, fears and frailities with unknown Gods and demons.’ Much against his will and convictions, he is drawn into a world that plays on his subconscious fears and his imagination, driving him to a state of no-return.

“Never felt so miserably helpless in my entire life. What am I in front of Palayar’s might? How did I get this audacity to challenge His authority? Do I even matter in His grand scheme of things? Turns out that all the knowledge of the universe that I’d accumulated so far counts for nothing, since I lacked the humility to accept His divine will….”

So, are they real demons that follow him everywhere he goes?
Or, are they the demons of the protagonist’s own mind, being created out of nowhere, paralyzing his logical reasoning?
Is it a battle between good and bad?
Or, is it a war between blind belief and unquestioning modern reflection?
All of 111 pages, Lucifer’s Lungi is a slick book that requires no installment reading. I completed reading it at one go and loved the pace at which the author takes the reader along with him. The author’s witty style of writing is an added incentive to an already well narrated tale.
For a first timer, the publication and the author deserve to be appreciated. I am sure that with the reader’s encouragement, this book will do very well. What I really liked about the book was the fact that it is a book sans any superficiality-there is no attractive glamorous cover picture to attract you to it. The book succeeds where many fail – the story plot and narration. And, basically, that is what the reader really wants!
Nethra Anjanappa(Fablery), you did it!

Nitin Sawant, author

Nitin Sawant, author

 

 

Nitin Sawant is a first time author with this book. He has had varied experiences as a software programmer, engineer, stock market analyst, copywriter, journalist, tele-shopping expert and jewellery designer at various stages in his life. This gives an unique perspective to all his tales and offers a distinctive colour to his writing.

Jai Jawan Jai Kisan – Lessons in Leadership: A Book Review

Title: Lal Bahadur Shastri – Lessons in Leadership
Authors: Anil Shastri – Pavan Choudary
Genre: Management/History/Politics
Publication: Wisdom Village Publications Pvt Ltd.
Pages: 156

shastri

“Though Shastri was seeped in the tradition of non-violence, and in not initiating violence, he demonstrated real politic in this instance. After Chanakya, he was among the few Indian leaders who gave pride and honour to the Indian people. While other leaders talked of non-violence when action was required, he understood that this was the time of action. To counter the attack on Kashmir, he attacked Lahore and dispersed the Pakistani army.”

When I was first approached to review this book, I was like, ‘Do they even print books like these today’ (considering the current rage of books on the dark forces, the romantic tales and historical thrillers). This book looks ordinary and therein lies its secret. It talks about the ordinary things in the life of a leader. While a fiction fan might not find the book engaging, the book is in fact a jewel just like the leader it talks about. This can be vouched for by the readers who love biographies, autobiographies and self help books.

 
“The public tends to stereotype leaders. Given Nehru’s personality, a leader had to be tall, bold, impressive and a great speaker. Lal Bahadur was a complete contrast – short, quiet and an average speaker. So, he did not fit the public’s blueprint of a leader. They found him wanting as a leader but this did not perturb Shastri. He did not let these opinions trouble him, and through his bold action during war with Pakistan went on to create an image of himself bigger than any other Indian leader for some time to come. Evidently, it is not about the height but the stature one achieves that matters.”

 

The book is mainly about one of the most honest, humblest and efficient ministers of India quite unlike the pack of politicians we get to see now-a-days. The fact that he had experienced poverty and lack of resources early in life made him understand the genuine issue that plagued Indian society after independence.
The book comprises of the memories and recollections of Anil Shastri, the second son of Lal Bahadur Shastri (an Indian politician himself) and interpreted by Pavan Choudary, the author of ‘How A Good Person Can Really Win’ and a management strategist. The end of every chapter has a ‘Wisdom Window’ which is more like a moral lesson and it is a delight indeed to delve into such treasures that awaken us to the values we find disappearing now-a-days.
I would in fact, recommend this book to be included in the curriculum of schools and colleges too as the language is simple, it portrays a different persona of the leader Lal Bahadur Shastri, is less of history and more of little stories that inspire the mind and touch the soul.

Wisdom Village Publications has indeed, done a good job in getting together Anil Shastri and Pavan Choudary to bring to life the thoughts and ideals of India’s second Prime Minister who is more known for his slogan, Jai Jawan Jai Kisan.

 

“The Security Chief pulled up the guard for allowing people to come out of turn and break the line. His reply was, “Sir, what can I do? I keep begging them with folded hands not to break the queue, but they keep saying, ‘Who are you to stop me? Don’t you know, I am so and so,’ and, insist on going in then and there. But I am sure that the man who they have come to see would have listened to me and not broken the queue had he been alive.”
(With reference to the crowd that had gathered to pay their final homage to Lal Bahadur Shastri after his death).

2 authors dalai lama 1

Mother…….

6

During my last visit my mother had asked me unexpectedly, “Are you going?” something which she never asked me before. If that was not indication enough what else could have been? I should have known then that she was giving me a hint. But, stupid that I was, I smiled, kissed her on her forehead and said, “I’ll be back soon.” And I kept my word. I returned in four days to see her die! Today, she is no more yet; I feel that she is some where around, ready to take me in her arms when I see her next. Without a whimper she left the world, so silently that it makes me feel guilty for still existing.

One December had me mysteriously dwelling on thoughts of death. But then, those were reflections of the futility of living a life without meaning, without a mission. I had no inkling then, that it was God’s way of preparing me for death, not mine but a dear one’s the following year.

“Bahut bhadiaan hein. Bahut achcha laga” was what she told me when I read out an article written for her four years ago. She was proud to see my words and my name in print. I am glad she was alive then, to know what I felt for her. Always there to encourage me, the first one to reprimand me she made my world complete. Today, I stand incomplete with a wound in my heart that refuses to heal.

She came from an illustrious family (the Pandey Ghat in Varanasi is named after my maternal grandfather) but led a life so simple that anyone could identify with her. Yet, she stood apart with her obsession with fitness and perfection, her taste for colour, her broad-minded non-ritualistic faith in God. Today, when I look back and see her in her padmaasana pose reciting Om Namah Shivaya, I can imagine her seated at His lotus feet. Memories come back rushing like the tsunami whenever I am not distracted by the duties of the day.

Critical to the point of being cynical she was my balancing shield. Now that she has made home elsewhere, I am only waiting for that final moment when I shall greet her on common ground. Then, maybe, we shall have some axe to grind.

I know she was prepared to die as she had been talking about it for years as she felt she had accomplished all her duties. Every time she talked about it I would try to appear casual and say, “When God wills it.” Now, I wish I had hugged her more, kissed her more and made her feel happy as a person. I don’t want to get too self absorbed because I need to live for the dreams that she wove for me even as she gave up so many of hers.

Suddenly, life has not just become a day to survive and connect with people, with myself, to evolve – it has also become a long wait only to get a glance of her, to see her smile and talk a few words with me.

3
Mera Aashiyaana Hai Tu.
Meri Kashthi Ka Kinara Hai Tu.
Mera Aazaan Hai Tu.
Dhoond Rahin Hoon Main – Kahaan Hai Tu

Every time, the world doesn’t agree with me, I remember her.
Every time, I feel lost and lonely, I remember her.
Every time, I feel overwhelming love overpower me, I remember my mother.
Every time, I see my friend’s mother, I remember my mother.
Every time, I behave spontaneously like my mother I declare to my family, “Good Lord! I am behaving just like my mother. I remember her then.
Every time, I go out shopping, I remember my mother.
Every time. There are so many every times which will remain forever memories that moisten my eyes.
The love of my life. My guide. My friend in whom I would confide.
My angel. The only one who loved me unconditionally.

I need no Mother’s Day to remember her. She is always there. But, my eyes swell up when I relive the past trying hard to gather the sand of sweet memories and turn them alive once again!

Nothing like a mother’s warm lap of love. UntitledI felt it every time I put my head in her ever welcoming lap which smelt of motherly love and affection, something that I never got to feel anywhere else and rightfully so. My son followed suit in her arms to get his share of her love and it increased my joy to see the next generation also partake of her undying love..

Today, on Mother’s Day, I offer my humble pranams to my mother. And, even as I call out to her, she sings, “ Tu jahaan jahaan chalega.Mera Saaya Saath Hoga….

Reflections: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2014

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

Accepting the Blogging Challenge was one of the finest things I did as far as writing impromptu was concerned.

With a busy professional and personal life, one can get really exhausted to even take the trouble to put down a few words on paper/ computer despite it being the only thing one would wish to do…

When I took up the challenge I wasn’t even sure I would be able to complete it. There were days when work beckoned. There were days when all that the alphabets could churn out were nursery rhymes that I had learned way back in school! Adding to it all was the fact that this was my first try at the Blogging Challenge.

But then, with lovely new friends who also participated, some who had taken part the previous year and some who were like me, taking part only this year, the fact that they were sharing their views, made the process worth all the trouble.

Thank you dear friends for visiting my blog. I hope to been in touch with you for sure. It was great to know about you, your blog and your thoughts.

I came to know so many new things, ideas, experience due to this challenge, something I would have missed out had I not taken part . I myself am surprised that I had written about so my things out of the blue. Thank you to all the people who were instrument in starting such an unique programe. I did not know that I could write about things like the following:

A for Art and Artist : how I forayed in to the world of drawing and writing.
B for Birth: Giving birth and taking birth .
C for Cocoon- our personal shelter
D for Duster : dusting away old wounds and mistakes
E for Easy
F for what I fancy
G for gratitude for all that we have in life
H for Hat
I for I, Me, Myself
J for Jewelry – their scientific appeal
K for Kashi Ketchup
L for Lost and Found -losing one’s way to find a better path, a better you
M for Making the right choices
N for Nah, no – thinking twice before we say no
O for open opening hearts, doors, books
P for pat, patting someone’s shoulder in need, in appreciation
Q for quilt -making a quilt of old attitudes, broken dreams
R for retry after a failure
S for Shail -meaning of my name and what it means to me
T for testing times
U for unanimous
V for going viral

W for Without I – i am nobody

X for Xanadu- searching for my personal paradise

Z for zodiac signs and its effect on our lives

I am happy to have been infected with the virus of ‘Blogging from A to Z April Challenge’ this year.
And, I am sure all my other new blogger friends who  participated in this challenge were happy too to share this infection. A virus is not a very joyous thing to have but when it comes to challenges like these, we go around infecting one another with beautiful emotions and thoughts that unite us all. The common thread of sharing emotions of joy, sorrow, knowledge, happiness is going viral thanks to the beautiful challenge of blogging every day with one alphabet for every day of the month. What better way to share, to show compassion, to exchange information, to follow ideas, to pick up themes, to promote the very idea of friendship across the globe irrespective of race, color, tribe, status or nation.
I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the persons who had begun this challenge and also my gratitude to those who participated in it and cared to pause, drop by and express their views on my blog.
Thank you All.

A beautiful way of connecting with one another and sharing thoughts. Let’s keep at it.

All the very best.

Book Review of Whisper of the Worms

 

whisper“Baby’s blood is O Negative,” she said on coming back. “It’s a rare group. Who is negative? You or your wife?”
“Wife. I’m thoroughly negative, except for the blood,” he told.
“Arrange a blood donor and keep him ready for matching immediately,” she ordered and vanished.
He ran to familiar faces. They all were positive, except for the blood.

 

Book Title: Whisper of the Worms
Author: Marcardian
Publication: Cactus Publishers
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 317
Price: 240

 
“Asinisation? I’m hearing it for the first time.”
“It’s a word coined by a friend of mine to illustrate how an officer could be made to work like an ass.”
My first glance at the book cover got me confused. There was this picture of a donkey (ass) and the title mentioned ‘worms.’ How were the two related? I wondered.
The book, if it has to be described in one line would be, ‘Philosophical, Sadistically Practical and Insightful.’
Thobias Mathias, the main protagonist of the book is dying and wants to get back to the land of his roots before his time comes. So, he rushes from USA where he has been living for ages with his family and goes to Kerala where his aged mother lives – All that he wants is some peace and respite from this dreary life.

 
Unfortunately, destiny has a lot in store for him and quite contrary to what he had planned (even visiting the grave of his father and paying in advance for his burial in the same place) his past catches up on him. No No! Not quite the stereotype skeletons tumbling from the cupboard this. Instead, his past stint in a banking firm and his ordeals there come to haunt him in a strange way. Just when he wants to let lose the strings of life, he finds a legal case against him and the strings, instead of setting him free continue to tighten further. Or so he thinks.
What I like best about this book is the blending and wonderful portrayal of the philosophy of life all within a bank culture.

“If you are a carrot chaser,” he continued, “you will be very close to the APM. You can’t imagine a junior sitting in the posh cabin and ordering you. You will fear the errors and rumours that can affect you. You will fear the customers, auditors, VIPs, the dons of the area and even the peon of the head office. You will even fear a situation where there is nothing to fear. This fear should come to you even after you work perfectly.”

 

“In the process, you will be running faster and the results will be better. There will be a fire in your abdomen. The Big Boss will ensure that no junior overtakes you, so that the carrot of promotion is available round the season. Imagine what happiness when the first carrot lands in your lap in the form of a promotion!”

 

“You want to be treated as a horse. It’s a good animal; energetic and working well. But, the cost of maintenance is high and rebels easily. It is not needed in routine work….Donkeys will be happy with what they get. …In between, give the carrot to another donkey which is about to fall, or at random, but never to a donkey that has got stamina to continue moving.”

I had never quite understood the pain and frustration of my friends who worked in banks, government jobs and the like when they complained about not getting their due promotions or a junior being allowed to go up the ladder. It was only upon reading this book could I really sympathize from the heart all the agony of the stick, carrot and donkey system.

Like here, where the author mentions in his book, “The stick-phase starts after ensuring that your roots are sufficiently cut through frequent transfers. You won’t be having anybody to share your sorrows or to defend you. You will enter a new world where you are the villain responsible for all ills, surrounded by a group of saints without any productive work, but trying to save the institution. This system is evolved over a period; much researched and improved by the best brains, that it goes undetected during your entire service period.”

The author needs to be really appreciated for seeing through the system of working in organizations and he does it with a lot of satirical wit that can cut through the skin so to say. The Kerala backdrop is nicely described and you get to sip the rustic background of God’s Own Country.
So, what happens to Thobias?
Does he finally die as predicted?
Does he get the peace that he initially aspired for?
Does his former working place (bank) get the better of him and drown him in the mire of politics and selfish survival?
Read on to know more. The gist of the novel lies in its portrayal of a present connecting with its past. It could be anybody’s story…..

“Institutions grow not because of a few brilliant officers, but because of the loyalty and hard work of the less-than-averages.”

The Author being honoured..

The Author being honoured..

 

 

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

Zodiac for Z. Which zodiac sign do you belong to?

Do zodiac signs really determine our destinies?

Do zodiac signs reflect the true colors of our nature and personality?

sun signs

I am sure for many amongst us, Linda Goodman is our zodiac Bible that helps us understand ourselves, our friends, families and even strangers.

I would vouch for that. It has helped me over the years to understand why I behave in a certain manner or why somebody behaves in a manner I find strange at times. This has aided me in coming to terms with situations that would have otherwise angered me or left me feeling sad.

Of course, I did not take this zodiac obsession too much. I did not select my friends that way nor did my soul mate come into my life in that manner. But yes, after these relationships were formed I did understand them better with the help of the zodiac signs.

So many of us look out for the weekly horoscopes that predict our week ahead according to our zodiac signs! But the problem with me is that by the time the day is over I have forgotten all about the prediction and carried on my activities according to what my heart dictated or my brain logically stated!!

Let’s hope that the friends we have made during the course of this blogging challenge will continue to share thoughts and emotions irrespective of their zodiac signs. Right?

A big warmth to all of you friends. Will be keeping in touch…..

 

  For the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2014 for the Letter Z

Yesterday Once More…

yesterday

Nostalgia – a beautiful word

Understood even by the greatest nerd.

Floating and Flying into the prolific past

Hoping beyond hope, lost emotions would eternally last.

until yesterday

But, not today as I dread each draining day.

When my reflections no longer transport me,

Into a world I long wishfully to see!

Getting disheartened with every dying attempt

Disillusion, darkness, delirium – is this what nostalgia actually meant?

My old convent school flashes a neon sign,

The hangouts today a flashy place to dine.

The monument of a memory laden home

Today, a modern multi-storied dome.

Hurt, harassed and dismayed

I search for all the good times that were originally made.

Like ashes in an urn of a loved one

I roam like a zombie waiting for my turn.

If a living being could turn to dust

What of a past that has to naturally rust?

Patting myself on my shoulder

I tell myself…

Let Memories Be.

Let It Be. Let It Be.

Let it be Yesterday Once More……

For the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2014 for the Letter Y

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