Saturday, 19 December 2015

Chennai - December 1, 2015...

          Never has the sound of rain drop been scarier. When the first drop hit the floor,  it was a welcome relief to a city after a dry spell. By the time the last drop came down,  the whole city was a disaster. People lost their lives,  their houses,  their belongings and their loved ones to the horror. It was nearly 30 hours of incessant rains coming down on an unsuspecting city. Mother nature came down with all her fury and washed away everything that came her way.

          It was a disaster, a true one!  Everywhere you turn,  there was water. Railway tracks were broken, telephone lines were damaged,  streets and roads were rendered impassable and bridges collapsed. When all hopes were lost, humanity rose from the debris like a Phoenix bird. Yes,  humans stood for each other.

          The true heroes of the city looked up from their phones. They had a job in hand and they went about it without a fuss. The social media turned from being a 'waste of time ' to a life-saver for once. Facebook status updates were used for distress calls and troll pages turned into help pages. People became one in the event of distress and religion,  cast and class were swept away by the raging floods.

          An RJ turned from being an entertainer to being the face of the youth and a cine actor freaked out on losing his home and came out to help the people in need. Many other silent heroes worked day and night to restore the lives of those affected. An auto-wala refused to get paid for the ride and instead requested the passenger to donate it to the affected. An old woman cooked 7 days straight for the homeless. Theaters, shopping malls and IT companies threw open their doors - this time without parking charge! Hotels and restaurants offered food - this time without a bill at the end. Cab and auto-drivers offered to drop people at their homes - this time without meter. Help also poured in from other cities, other states and even other countries. Within 7 days, the city was almost back to normal.

          But there is a marked change in the people after the disaster. They are more considerate to their fellow beings. They honk less (we can't stop honking because honking is in our genes!) and wait for an elderly to get to the other side of the road safely. Thank you rain, for showing humans their human side. Thank you rain, for showing us our true heroes. Thank you rain, for reminding us of nature and her power. Thank you rain, for washing our ignorance, hatred and greed off us.

          We have risen from the water like the Phoenix rose from the ashes - stronger!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Story of my Life - Helen Keller

 About the book:

          Recounting her triumph over deafness and blindness and her journey toward becoming one of the most successful and admired women of this century, Helen Keller writes her own remarkable story, providing an emblem of hope and possibility for all.

          I've been meaning to read about Helen Keller's life for a long time and this book has set me on my way. I first heard about Helen Keller way back, when I was in school. At that time, I couldn't fully comprehend the struggle she had to undergo, the battles she had to fight to become what she had become. Nevertheless, her name had stuck to my mind, and for years I went around meaning to read her life, but just couldn't get myself to do it. A few weeks back, as I was roaming Starmark with my friends, I came across this book and immediately got a copy and set about reading it. I must say I regret not knowing her before.

          What an extraordinary life this woman has had! This book is so full of raw emotions and struggles that will make your heart weep for the pour soul trapped within. This book is a rude reminder of the things that I have taken for granted, of the gifts that have been so generously bestowed upon me and the luxuries that I have been overlooking everyday. To be deaf and dumb and yet get educated and go on to become a political and literary figure is no less a miracle and this woman is no less a true hero in every sense.

          Now, as to the book, it mainly deals with Helen's education and the role of her teacher Anne Sullivan in it. It is a honest and humble account of the author's life, her mood swings, her strong passion and unbreakable will.She also traces the various people who have played their part in making Helen what she had become. The one thing that struck me as extraordinary was Helen's indomitable spirit, her willingness to strive for betterment no matter whatever your drawbacks are. Her ability to draw life lessons from nature is sure to leave an everlasting impression on the readers. 

“Indeed, everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom had a part in my education--noisy-throated frogs, katydids and crickets held in my hand until, forgetting their embarrassment, they trilled their reedy note, little downy chickens and wildflowers, the dogwood blossoms, meadow-violets and budding fruit trees. I felt the bursting cotton-bolls and fingered their soft fiber and fuzzy seeds; I felt the low soughing of the wind through the cornstalks, the silky rustling of the long leaves, and the indignant snort of my pony...” 

          My first tear was shed when Helen understood the word "water". What joy! What relief! What delight to the soul. 

“It is so pleasant to learn about new things. Every day I find how little I know, but I do not feel discouraged since God has given me an eternity in which to learn more.” - these lines pretty much sum up her desire to explore, learn and understand the world.

          The book is so full of such motivational messages, as listed here. A must read story of success for everyone!

About the Author:

         Helen Keller would not be bound by conditions. Rendered deaf and blind at 19 months by scarlet fever, she learned to read (in several languages) and even speak, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where as a student she wrote The Story of My Life. That she accomplished all of this in an age when few women attended college and the disabled were often relegated to the background, spoken of only in hushed tones, is remarkable. But Keller's many other achievements are impressive by any standard: she authored 13 books, wrote countless articles, and devoted her life to social reform. An active and effective suffragist, pacifist, and socialist (the latter association earned her an FBI file), she lectured on behalf of disabled people everywhere. She also helped start several foundations that continue to improve the lives of the deaf and blind around the world.      

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Curse of Social Networking


                           "Happy birthday daddy! May you have a long and sweet life!"
This was the status my friend posted on Facebook on his father's birthday. And no marks for guessing, his dad is not on Facebook. And there are more chances are that his dad was sitting right next to him reading a newspaper when my friend posted this status. Immediately, the status was filled with comments by friends of my friend wishing for his dad's birthday. So, why did such personal things like wishing someone on his birthday become so public? I've seen people wishing 'Happy Mother's day' on social media. I've seen people checking in their location on Facebook when they are on their honeymoon. Seriously people, do you have anything called PERSONAL?

          The advent of social media has ripped our privacy apart and today everyone's life is out in the open for everyone to see. There is nothing to hide. People upload their marriage photos, people upload their son's photos as soon as he is born, people cry on Facebook over their parent's demise, people delight on Orkut over their promotion, people feel sad over their breakup on Twitter and people share their wedding celebrations on Youtube. But do others care? Some people might really care but most of them don't. Creating an illusory happy life in a virtual world online is the latest fad among people.

          The number of likes(Facebook) or the number of followers(Twitter) a person gets has become directly proportional to the popularity of the person. People are willing to go to any extent to get as much likes as possible.

          News like this(Female Tourist Plunges to Death While Taking a Selfie) is proof of the impact of social media on today's life. As mentioned in this article, (Has Technology Surpassed Humanity?), people have gradually stopped inhabiting the real world and are more comfortable in the virtual online world.

          The humongous development of such online life has taken abusing to a new level. It is easy to hide your identity online and this has become the cause for trolls and haters spamming the Internet. Everyone is abused, every action by a celebrity is dissected and analysed, every move by the Government is cheered and booed in equal measures. Each and every one of us must have come across such trolls at least once and I must say, it is very irritating. Yes, online life has become such a big headache that people have started suffering from depression and associated symptoms more and more.

 It is scary to think what the future holds!

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva Trilogy #3) - Amish Tripathi


Shiva is gathering his forces. He reaches the Naga capital, Panchavati, and Evil is finally revealed. The Neelkanth prepares for a holy war against his true enemy, a man whose name instils dread in the fiercest of warriors. 

India convulses under the onslaught of a series of brutal battles. It's a war for the very soul of the nation. Many will die. But Shiva must not fail, no matter what the cost. In his desperation, he reaches out to the ones who have never offered any help to him: the Vayuputras. 

Will he succeed? And what will be the real cost of battling Evil? To India? And to Shiva's soul? 

Discover the answer to these mysteries in this concluding part of the bestselling Shiva Trilogy.


Amish Tripathi

          Simply failed to meet the expectations. I had huge expectations on Amish after his first two books. He seemed to be living up to his reputation till the final 50 pages of the book.. The author completely lost the plot in the final pages. It was as if he didn't know how to finish the plot and resorted to finishing it in a vague manner. But I take nothing away from the book. the first three-fourth of the book was simply outstanding. The war strategies, Shiva's visit to various lands and his gathering of forces, the revealing of true evil were all worth praising.
      The usual pattern accompanying trilogies is that the first book is a killer, the second book - a plot developer and the final one builds the plot to a crescendo before reaching an apt climax. This trilogy too follows a similar pattern but for the final 10%. Shiva is portrayed as an ideal character throughout the series and his virtues are worth following. What I really loved about this series was the fact that Lord Shiva was shown as an ordinary human being who has his own flaws and occasional mood swings. He is portrayed in flesh and blood, vulnerable and yet eerily strong. I absolutely fell in love with the character.
          The next character Sati - a perfect partner for the all conquering Shiva. She is a rare combination of beauty, intelligence and bravery and her romance with her better half is mesmerising. Again, making her human only serves to make the character more interesting and lively. (Spoiler alert!)The heartbreak at the end is not for the weak-hearted! All other characters like Parvateshwar, Nandi, Anandmayi were beautifully brought out and I must say I have developed immense respect for the author. If only he had come up with a better ending, sigh! I especially loved the philosophical parts where Shiva is enlightened about what is evil and the role of the Somras. Also, the part where Shiva's rage comes forth and conquers everyone on it's path gave me goosebumps.

Overall enjoyed the book but for the final few pages. A must-read!

Rating: 3.7/5

Find my review for the first two books of the series here!

Buy the books here!

Check out news about Amish's next book here.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The World of Nagaraj - R.K.Narayan


       Nagaraj's world is quite and comfortable. Living in his family's spacious house with only his wife Sita for company, he fills his day writing letters, drinking coffee, doing some leisurely book keeping for his friend Coomar's Boeing Sari Company, and sitting on his veranda watching the world and planning the book he intends to write about the life of the great sage Narada. But everything is disturbed when Tim, the son of his ambitious landowing brother Gopu, decides to leave home and come to live with Nagaraj. Forced to take responsibility for the boy, puzzled by his secret late-night activities and by the strong smell of sprits which lingers behind him, Nagaraj finds his days, suddenly filled with unwelcome complication and turbulence, which threaten to alter for ever the contented tranquility of his world. The latest of R.K.Narayan's magnificent Malgudi books, The World of Nagaraj is beautifully written, funny and haunting , evoking in marvelously rich detail the atmosphere of a small town in southern India and creating a magical world into which the reader is instantly drawn.



       This is my first R.K.Narayan book and I must say I'm pleased with the book. Though some online browsing suggested me that this is not the best book by RKN, I personally loved the book for its simplicity and brilliant portrayal.

          I've personally heard and read a lot about the mystical town, Malgudi but this is the first time I'm experiencing the town through the author's words. I'm from south India and I must say it was refreshing to see a great author's take on my part of the country. Yes, Malgudi was brilliantly portrayed and I loved every street, every shop and every corner of the ethereal city.

          The World of Nagaraj is about an honest and simple man named Nagaraj  who has inherited a huge sum of money that allows him to spend his life in silent contemplations and thoughts. He thinks he is a man with a mission but doesn't know clearly what his mission is. He has a silent and peaceful life with his wife Sita who is shown to be a caring and affectionate spouse. RKN reveals through a series of flashbacks the characters of Nagaraj's mother, his brother and his sister-in-law. His brother, a dominat and self-imposing elder brother had wanted the farmhouse after their father's death and that was well for Nagaraj who wanted the Malgudi house for himself. All was well in Nagaraj's life until his brother's son, Tim enters his life.

          From the start, Tim had mysterious ways and was unpredictable. Nagaraj never had the nerve to ask Tim what he was up to. Tim eventually married and his wife Saroja only added to Nagaraj's woes by playing her harmonium which got on Nagaraj's nerves. Throughout all these incidents, Nagaraj had the mind to stand up for himself or to defend his rights. His is a typical soft character who lets others rule his mood. Thus, Nagaraj's mission of writing about the great sage Narada could never be realised.
Since this is my first RKN novel, I can;t compare it with his previous works but it was a good and enjoyable read with a good dose of humour thrown in.

Rating: 2.8/5

Buy the book online here:

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