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IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

IPL – Indian Parliamentary League…

This year’s IPL is on…and is surely heating up. It is becoming more and more difficult which one to follow and which one to let go – Indian Premier League (Cricket) or Indian PARLIAMENTARY league and I felt that this would have been the most apt time for the Joker to come up with something after a long gap of eleven months.

A Year Back…

I shouted…Mummy…come here fast. We had just finished with today’s IPL (cricket) match she was about to go to bed…it was about 1 o’clock in the night. She came hurriedly and with an irritated look asked…what now…what happened!!! She got scared with the way I shouted ‘Mummy’. I said, “Nothing has happened to me…just calm down”…and at the same time pointing my finger towards the TV. A leading news channel was on…and the Breaking news was…three cricketers were caught in IPL spot fixing with one of them being an international star. I follow a lot of cricket and me being at home means that she also has to bear a lot of cricket on TV…but she enjoys it too…and hence follows it. She was more shocked than me to see the international cricketer’s name coming up in all this. She…astonished…looked at me. “I told u so…” with a smirk was my reaction. “But why…these guys have to do such things…as if they are not making any money…they are already earning loads…and still…” she complained.

Cursing them…she again went to her room to sleep…and shouted from there… “Now Mr. you go to sleep…no need to watch this fixed shit…it’s all rubbish…waste of time…waste of energy…and above all loss of faith in the game itself”. I switched off the light…and pretended that I have fallen asleep by not making noise…but sleep eluded me…and what happened got me thinking…serious thinking. While taking this stroll down the thinking lane…I don’t know when this thought crossed me that…what if the elections are rigged…what if they also decide that you rule this time…we will sit in the opposition…what if they fix here too…whether our vote ever gets counted or not. We will never know the truth till the day everything happens behind closed doors or on cctv footage… which again many believe is tampered or false. What we can really do and control is…whom to vote and whom to choose as our representative to lead us. But then again…

“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” ~ Mark Twain

I guess when Twain wrote this he wouldn’t have known that one day it would be most relevant to the largest democracy of the world. What if the person you voted for never gets counted…even bigger question is who to vote to…the available options are all same just under the wraps of different ideology (as they say) but none practice them.
The 16th Lok Sabha…is turning out to be the most talked about Parliamentary League of the recent past with the social media at its peak…the touch points have increased and so is the reach…but are we really getting heard…or are we again getting lost and unheard in too much ‘Marketing and Advertising’ noise. I believe so…the campaigns…the advertisements…the issues were always there and more or less are still same…it’s just that the communications mediums and along with it the audience might have changed. But has the voter changed…has the demographics of those who vote have changed… the caste-ism and the logic for whom to vote irrespective of the nature and background of the candidates changed…My simple answer is NO.

This IPL (politics) for me is the one that is more focused on individuals than the parties and ideologies that they bring…leave alone the ground issues…around which the debates…discussions and elections should revolve. There are three main figures that are leading this marathon from the rest of the wannabes and unrealistic opportunists. One who has got all the popularity charts going…it seems as if everyone from a rickshaw puller to a software developer…from a mason to a CEO…is rooting for him to be the next PM – Mr. Narendra Modi…or as he is referred to as in social circuits…NaMo. The other one…who also has all the popularity charts going… but mostly for wrong reasons…I guess if anyone tracks the number of shares on social media of his blundering speeches, it would easily surpass anything that might be trending on twitter or facebook at this point of time – Mr. Rahul Gandhi…or…RaGa. The third one who you may say is a rookie in the field…but for me is a master at emotional marketing…he is like one who has just debuted for India…scored a triple century…and is immediately eyeing the Indian captaincy – Mr. Arvind Kejriwal…or…Kejru :D .

Then there are some…who are just there to fill up the spaces…but they sure know when to make their presence felt…specially…the Yadavs from UP & Bihar…some cine superstars turned politicians from our very own Tollywood, a self proclaimed messiah of the suppressed…again hailing from UP…the Behenji of millions, a Kumar…who literally transformed Bihar and how Governments functioned there…but with all the development and great work…he was bashed up just because he withdrew support from a One Man Army, a DiDi from West Bengal…who knows which button to press when and some old cranky…always cribbing gentlemen known as the LEFT. There are some more…but I don’t even consider them worthy enough mentioning here. Now you know why this should also be marketed as IPL – the Indian Parliamentary League.

Moving on…throwing a bit of light on the ideologies and the kind of governance that might come with these Super Heroes (remember these are just my views…so no need to get offended). Discussing NaMo…I’ll bring up the most common acquisition of Godhra pogrom in the last… let’s see what are the other issues people might have been missing regarding him and his style of governance which are getting shadowed by the so called development of Gujarat.

To begin with…if NaMo comes in power…BJP comes in power…and if BJP comes in power…NDA comes in power. Do remember the functioning of the previous NDA governments before you actually decide to vote for one individual…it will never be same. People voted for Vajpayee because he was the most respected and eligible of all the options available at that time. He was thought of being the most capable but ironically he turned out to be one of the weakest PMs ever. For those who are ready to vote this time and were in their early adolescence back then should ask their elders. Jayalalitha literally made a mockery out of a PM…he was there at her doorsteps every time she turned the knob and intensified the heat either to console her or to convince her not to withdraw the support. It was also under him and NDA’s rule that the tensions with our not so loved neighbor reached its supreme. He met Nawaz…then he met Musharraf…and what happened at Kargil is still fresh to our memories.

Secondly when NDA comes to power, extremists such as VHP and RSS too gets empowered. Many people hardly know that when NaMo began his political journey it was as a RSS activist only and people want to believe that he, whose whole thought process to begin with was based on those ideologies, would have changed (I doubt). Somehow these policing authorities get a feel that they have the authority to control what we do. From digging up cricket pitches to rampaging rave parties…they believe they have the right to do all. It all just happens because of the shrewd arrogance and the self-belief that nothing will happen to them if they go on doing such things. For me the simple solution is, if you are ready to ban SIMI…then you should be strong and bold enough to ban RSS, VHP etc. Either preach about ‘Hindutva’ with all courage or don’t preach about false secularism. From imposing restrictions on women…to increasing tensions with neighboring countries…to vandalizing stores and streets on Valentine’s day…they do it all…without fear.

Speaking of ‘Hindutva’, one key observation that I made during many of the NaMo speeches which were usually identical wherever he delivered was that many a times he ended up saying we are descendants of ‘Suryavnashis’ n ‘Chandravanshis’. I wonder if you start a sentence with such words…how can you signify secularism (still wondering). For the past twelve years after Godhra pogrom, he has been in power in Gujarat; people came out in good numbers to vote for him…but that population was Hindu majority. They always recognized him as their representative…as their leader and for me, this is the biggest proof that there is secularism only on the outside but deep inside the core still contains the same burning iron of ‘Hindutva’.

Moving on to the biggest topic that many people, who are his worshippers (blind), brag about him – the Gujarat development model. I have never seen so many people of other states come out and speak about a state’s development than the people of the state itself. Its simply because they blindly (again) follow what the marketing gimmicks and the paid media speaks. I have myself stayed in Gujarat for quite some time and let me tell you an astounding fact that you might not have heard from him or the worshippers…that power cuts do occur in Gujarat. I know this might be big news for some because they totally believed what was said in media and speeches…but the truth is ‘to know the truth of a land, you got to stay in that land’.

When you talk about growth and development…I believe it should be inclusive growth. Does the poor not have any right to be a part of the development…because there is strong proof in the land itself that when NaMo was busying developing the state for the past thirteen years…the poor irrespective of what God it worshipped…was displaced…was disturbed…and above all…was ignored. Only the big corporate and business houses (without naming any) that have their roots in Gujarat or are present in Gujarat grew larger and stronger. On the name of development – malls and apartments were erected, but no body has the slightest idea what happened to the poor who were simply tramped by those malls and apartments. It is like the China model…you only hear about the big five cities…about their development…about their progress…no one actually knows what is happening in the rest of the country. Similarly, one only hears about the Ahmedabads n Surats n Vadodaras without even getting a single feed on the Kuchchs n Bhujs. I wonder if that development model is so awesome…why are the other BJP ruling states not replicating the same model. They say that the state has the best development model in the country…I say the farmers are still committing suicide in that state.

One outstanding feature of Gujarat that you will hardly notice in other states is the occupation of people. Business community rules Gujarat irrespective of their religion. They simply follow – I’ll help his business grow…he’ll make money…which he’ll put in my business and help it grow. One unique thing I noticed there – on weekends the women hardly cook at home. The whole family goes out together to have the peculiar sweet ‘dals n kadhis’…thanks to it being a dry state ;).

They cry about Onion prices under UPA without remembering what happened under Vajpayee, when in 1997 it crossed 100 Rs per kg with a huge help from black marketers. They rue the fact about dynasty politics…when they themselves stack up Gandhis (Varun) amongst their ranks. They moralize about speaking Hindi and Sanskrit…when their (especially party president) kids are studying abroad. I hope they are not paying dollars or pounds to study Hindi and Sanskrit there.

They complain that congress ruled for 60 years… rubbishing the fact that, BJPs n NDAs have had their share of luck in the past and only because others were neither strong enough nor capable enough. They claim that RaGa is spending Rs 1200crs in election campaign without even realizing for a moment the Rs 5000crs they are speding on ‘Abki bar Modi Sarkar’…which in itself is more than the total cost of the entire elections process (Rs 3500crs)…forgetting that it’s all people’s money and… ‘Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi’.

This style of governance might end up making us a developed nation for 5 years but a weaker Democracy…and at what cost. People will say that UPA protected Vadra…but they should not forget that NaMo too protected Shah…or I should say both these people were protected with the twisting of administrative machinery…even sometimes against their will.

Finally the issue, which I believe has haunted NaMo the most – the Godhra pogrom (will try not to dig too much into it). No matter what the court says…no matter what anyone else says…but he somewhere deep down knows (or should know)…that people will not spare him of the massacre that took place. No matter how white his clothes be…the blood stains of the innocent will always come back to haunt him. I know many will come right back at me by saying that congress also did the same in 1984…but I guess they forget that no one who has been directly accused has ever contested for the most prized political position in the country. Pointing fingers at others won’t lessen one’s own gory acts. It was only us that brought congress back to power back then also…so it’s only us to blame to…I just simply hope that we are not repeating the same mistake again.

BJP always came to power like this always…but why they fail to sustain is because of their weak PMs and poor policies. NaMo has a strong personality for sure…but…don’t tell me that he wasn’t afraid. Otherwise he should have faced RaGa one on one in Amethi…and not taken a more safe and secure seat of Varanasi. Sushma Swaraj was brave enough to do it…when she took head on with Sonia Gandhi at Bellary. Even our Kejru is daring enough to do that…irrespective of the outcome.

Lets now move our focus a bit towards the title defenders of the IPL – United Progressive Alliance, which ideally should have been responsible for the progress of the country. It is quite surprising that such a weak government (UPA 2), which got thrashed daily for their decision making, actually survived their whole five years at the top. UPA literally had the chance of transforming India…and they did transform India…just that they misunderstood the meaning of transforming in the opposite sense. They gave scams a whole new definition with the staggering value of each one of them. One has to admire the sheer audacity with which they committed one after the other…fearing nothing. If corruption would have been traded in the share markets…I guess it would have peaked daily under UPA 2. NDA themselves rode high on corruption…its just that the media ten years back was not that active running behind TRPs… with only fewer mediums…and truer stories.

For a time even the CBI guys would have started believing as if they are a part of the cabinet and a separate ministry. Since its inception, CBI was a dummy…is a dummy. Every government that came to power used it or I should say misused it not for the sake of getting to the bottom of truth but simply for the sake of gaining political mileage over their opposition.

Their PM was the mutest PM ever…as if a TV never had a volume button…was still kept on mute…with the remote control in someone else’s hand. Manmohan was a weak PM in UPA – 1 and an even weaker in UPA – 2…so there is no difference there…he was never allowed to get into his own…but that doesn’t deny his credentials. The Gen Next who is busy gulping vodkas and smoking sheeshas …should know that he was the one who gave LPG to this country and economy…and I m not talking about cylinders. Still he should have been given the chance to speak ;).

On the other hand RaGa didn’t realise that he should check what all he speaks. It is not always just about polished vocabulary…one needs to be a good orator in todays media frenzy environment. If his speeches n interview were dumb…then the dolts who actually penned them down were even dumber…making even ‘dumb and dumber’ an intelligent watch. Ideally he should have taken a more mature role or a ministry…at least in UPA 2, something like, what Lallu Prasad did in UPA 1 and should have showed whether he can actually lead or not. But he, along with the 1.25 billion Indians, knows that he is destined to be the PM of this country…somewhere down the line. It’s just a matter of one assassination…as that is the normal cause of death in their family…and one out of Priyanka or He will be hoisting the flag at Red Fort.

The surprise package of this IPL…the Maxwell of 16th Loksabha…should be Kejru. He once again proved to the world that it’s all about packaging and Marketing irrespective of the product. Credit should be given to him for making a fool out of everyone who rooted for him and once again validating that anyone can, with a ‘Topi’ n ‘Jhaadu’, take Indians for a ride. The most ambitious of them all…who wanted to achieve the same, which took 30 years for others to achieve. Some of them like Mr. Temple Advani who spent their complete life with a motto (of being the PM one day)…might not live long enough to even see the end of 16th Lok Sabha…Kejru wanted to achieve the same in one go. From swearing on his kids to taking decisions by taking public opinions…he did it all. When he decided to take congress support to form the govt. in Delhi…on the basis of public opinion, I don’t think he has the right to resign without again taking the opinion.

The only reason he won was because people wanted a change. The voting was anti congress rather than pro BJP or pro AAP. Otherwise either the BJP or AAP would have won if the wave were to be believed. I don’t find the same wave in Tamil Nadu…nor in West Bengal…because it can never be about one individual.

Kejru tried to take a leap…the leap was good…he aimed for the moon…but somewhere during the flight he became overambitious n tried to reach the stars in the same leap…and that is where he faltered. I m sorry for him that instead of reaching the stars he is not reaching the moon…but will again end up from where he started. The only thing he did was he gave the generation, which reached the voting age just in this election…a lot of hashtags to use on social media ;).

How Parliament works !!!

How Parliament works !!!

Everyone’s focus is just how to win the elections…no one gives a thought…for the nation…for its development…for its people…for their empowerment. I hardly doubt whether anything will change even if the government changes. It is just the start of corruption. UPA laid the foundation…and the future governments will simply build on it…with the help of pure majority in the parliament.

A report suggests that half of world’s slaves are in India…so is anyone going to do anything about it? If we can feed and be the creators of super powers why can’t we ourselves do the same for our country? I guess slaves in India increase at the same rate, as our population is increasing or maybe even faster.

Our irony is we have been ruled n ruled n ruled and somehow we have forgotten how to rule ourselves…and till the time we don’t learn that…there will some or the other idiot ruling us and deciding what should be our course of life. It’s just that we don’t know how to rule…we are born to be slaves.

When we are born we don’t decide which religion to follow…whether to worship with folded or open hands…then why is it that some bunch of irrationals decides it on our parts…and our stupidity is that we let them do this on the name of religion.

We are hoping for someone to make happen the change for us rather than we being that change. Everyday the system causes so many people to be deprived of so many things that we should actually be thankful for whatever we have and that the blood still flows in our veins and we are not being taxed even for that. If actually and truly anyone wanted us to be developed…I don’t see any reason why we cant be…we would have been developed a long time back…but the truth is no one really cares.

If we really want to remove corruption then get hold of yourself…and become honest yourself…if you are not honest don’t expect it from someone…or someone to fight for your cause…because it was you who brought it in the first place.

I don’t say that the governments don’t work…the administration still does its work…I still believe and have faith that for every 90 people who are hell bound on doing wrong…there are still 10 guys to lay their lives for the betterment of everyone. It’s the politicians that make it dirty to fulfil their filthy motives…and the irony is we end up helping them.

This is an IPL because they are all the same…its just that some have different colour…some are good marketers…and some are from abroad. In the end the motive is that high priced seat by stooping down to any levels of bloodsucking…and we can just sit and be ready with our veins.

For all those who believe in politics,
For all those who hate politics,
For all those who want to be in politics,
For all those who want to have a better future,
And
For all those who want a better nation,

Its not a GoodBye…
But it’s a GOOD BYE…Aur han…be ready…one day he might just get up and make India a dry country.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Note:-
I know many who will read this will question that this article is more anti Namo n anti NDA rather than being anti UPA or against any who claim they have a chance at the big seat at the centre…I’ll not give an explanation or justify myself…its simply that I guess they are the biggest force that is emerging to decide on the future of what is left of this nation.

10

The ALIEN BRIDGE

The ALIEN BRIDGE…

It was a very humid night. The sleep eluded me because of the muggy and sticky weather. The summer power cut made merry while it was irritating for me. I was getting twitchy and restless to the extent that I decided to take a bit of stroll round the terrace. The sky was getting murkier and murkier…the rain clouds gave a crimson touch to it. I felt that even the wind became more and more uneasy. I thought to go inside before the rain actually gets me all drenched up. I came back to my bed…gave another shot at sleep…but the pillow was becoming damp coz of the sweat and at the same time it was becoming difficult for me to get a drier part of pillow. I was very tired because of the research work that I was undertaking and the amount of overtime that I was dedicating in the recent past…hence I finally gave in and didn’t realize when I actually fell asleep.

The window just next to the bed started banging against the frame and the window glass was making a shattering noise. I hurriedly got up to close it…but was shocked of what I saw outside. Neither it was raining nor the wind was fast (Sarcasm)… it was actually a S-T-O-R-M. Though it was very dark, I was able to make out metal sheets from roofs of houses blowing away with the wind…the trees were terribly rattled and the squall even caused a few of them to kiss the ground. It was a terrible sight as if something was about to happen. I closed the window and had a glass of water.

A fluorescent blue light was blinking at the right top corner of my so called smartphone…it suggested an unattended message or call. I picked it up, to check who it was. It was an unread message from ‘the Big Bang’ on my ‘WeChat’ messenger which I recently downloaded from the app market. Annoyed…I tried to find out who it was. Contrary to what the weather was implying, it was actually ‘Mr. Stephen Hawking’. I was way too happy to be called sane at that moment…was excited beyond imagination. The message said, “I have gone through your research work and would like to share some things with you…which might actually help you in the book that you are coming up with”. He continued, “The big bang is my signature and please use this only while you are making any conversation with me and it will better for you if you use something like this”. I replied, “sir from this point onwards I’ll be using ‘The Joker’ as my signature”. He simply replied, “ :D :D :D”.

He immediately got busy and straightway went to the business. (Now onwards I’ll write the conversation as it happened on the WeChat messenger).

The big bang: I have a new device which uses a certain kind of technology which the world is yet to see or hear. With the use of this we can talk to people from past and they can talk to us in return and we will use this WeChat messenger as an interface to hear what they have to say. Today is the perfect weather for us to use the application.

The Joker: (Wiping off the sweat off my forehead) Awesome!!! Great application sir, but why would you tell me about this technology and help me with my research?

The Big Bang: I have seen your work and whatever you are doing with ‘Adam’s Bridge’, I actually want to know the truth. I am really impressed with your work as it gives an ‘Alien Edge’ to the whole thing and I don’t think so that anyone has ever thought on these lines. One more thing, stop calling me Sir.

Ref: en.m.wikipedia.org

The Joker: (Trying to control the excitement) Thank You Sirrrr…..sorry sorry…Big Bang.

The Big Bang: I guess the best person with whom we can begin this conversation – in fact without whom my technology wouldn’t have been possible – is the person who was responsible for the ‘theory of relativity’.

The Joker: No need to even mention his name…what’s his signature?

The Big Bang: ‘E=MC^2’…what else…

The Joker: Ohhhh Yeahh!!! My mistake.

The Big Bang: I have sent him a request…let’s wait for him to reply. Joker…you won’t believe when I’ll tell you that I have already conversed with him many times before…the only problem is the weather…we need a storm every time we need to connect.

E=MC^2: Hi Big Bang…what’s up?? Who is this Joker guy who is a part of this conversation? Have you revealed our secret?

The Big Bang: I am perfectly fine E=MC^2…just counting down my final days. This joker guy is doing a research and you will be glad to hear the direction and the focus that he has given to his research. He wants us to help him and I can get some of our friends from the past to help also. Please don’t worry…our secret is totally safe with him…and we actually need someone to carry our baton in the future.

E=MC^2: (To The Big bang) Okay then…if you say so…Hi Joker…how may I be of help to you?

The Joker: (Astonished) Hi… E=MC^2…I cannot express what and how I feel at this moment. I can’t even believe it’s actually real.

E=MC^2: Big Bang…see this is what happens when you bring a new guy to our conversation.

The Joker: I apologize to both of you…I am not doubting anyone here…since I, the joker, has never felt anything like this…that might be one of the reasons.

E=MC^2: Leave it buddy…quickly tell me what you want to discuss before the weather changes and we are disconnected?

The Joker: E=MC^2…I am doing a research on ‘The Adam’s Bridge’ which according to the Hindu mythology is called the Rama’s Bridge or ‘Ram Setu’. During my research I have come across some astounding facts which makes me believe that the way it was built and the technology that was used to build it…didn’t exist then…and to me it occurs as if it got a bit of extraterrestrial help. Since the only person alive who can really help me with this is Big Bang and I really persuaded him hard before he actually showed up today on my messenger.
E=MC^2: I understand what your query is…but I can only help to a certain extent. I guess we need some more people from the past who can really help us out here…and I would like to contact them…what’s say big bang???

The Big Bang: Absolutely E=MC^2…you have all the controls…take it over from here…

E=MC^2: Big bang I think the person who was really a genius according to me and whatever he thought…whatever he suggested…whatever he said…was always ahead of his times…I think he can throw some more light on this extraterrestrial aspect.

The Big Bang: I don’t clearly get it E=MC^2…whom are you talking about?

E=MC^2: Ohhh!! Big Bang…you should have guessed it…Joker…do you have any clues about whom I am talking about???

The Joker: E=MC^2…I have totally lost it…my mind along with my body has totally gone numb…it is actually too much for me…a mere mortal…to handle all this in a single night…you please go ahead and reveal his identity.

E=MC^2: You Dumbos…I was actually talking about the man…the genius…the superhuman…whose signature is ‘The Mona Lisa’. I have already sent him a request to join…he should be replying soon.

After a few minutes…

The Mona Lisa: Hi!!…Everyone…Hope you have not forgotten me…so tell me what is, that requires this common man?

E=MC^2: Common man…hahaha…nice way to introduce yourself…or were you trying to make fun of me and Big bang…because the third one is already a Clown.

The Mona Lisa: E=MC^2…nothing like that…I was just trying to sound modest…I apologize if that sounded offensive…please go ahead with your enquiry…

The Joker: (I interrupted them…I felt this was unnecessary and might take this conversation on another tangent) The Mona Lisa…I wanted to know that, “did you ever encounter any extraterrestrial happening in your life??”… I have closely read about your life…I have gone through it again and again…but there are specifically two years …of which there is no record mentioned anywhere…not even in your own books…I have heard that you went in a cave and didn’t come out of it for those two years. Is it true…because I have a very imperative question regarding the same???

The Mona Lisa: Who are you by the way…and why shall I tell you anything about my life…about which there is nothing known to the outside world leave alone aliens…if possible please come to the direct question that you have in mind and I’ll see to it whether I can of any help or not.

The Joker: Sir, I have a very simple query, it is regarding the ‘The Adam’s Bridge’. I just want to know that whether you have any information regarding the bridge and can you corroborate on whether there was actually some alien help involved?

The Mona Lisa: Son you are trying to fetch too much here…don’t you think so…if I answer this…whether in affirmative or not…I’ll put myself in a kind of spot which I have avoided during my lifetime and will try today also. But I am not totally going to disappoint you. I can get you to the two most important people with whom you can directly put these questions and let’s see whether they themselves help you or not…please give me a moment…

Everything and everyone became quiet…no one said anything and suddenly they appeared…

Unknown: Hi all…since Mona Lisa forced us we are here…we actually don’t need any introduction but for the sake of this messenger and to let everyone know…one of us here has a signature ‘The Lord’ and my signature is, ‘The Ten Heads’. Hope you all would have recognized us with this info only.

The Mona Lisa: Good Evening…The Ten Heads…I hope you will first answer me before answering this lad here…I want to know…that I made a blueprint of an airplane some four hundred years before something like it actually took flight…but there is clear description in the ancient writings found in your country that you had something like it, which was very much capable of taking an aerial route.

E=MC^2: (To The Ten Heads) Sir before you answer that…I have myself read a lot about you and know for sure that you were the most intelligent of all the living beings that ever walked this planet and want you to bless me please…

The Ten Heads: Can you people keep this a bit professional…I have my own question to ask to The Lord…How is ‘Seeta’ buddy??? Hahahahaha

The Lord: (Angrily) Will you ever change…The Ten heads…you know it for sure that this was a below the belt kind of blow…I think the thrashing that I gave you was not good enough for you…

I knew that this was getting out of hand and I had to intervene before it is actually too late and I might never get a second opportunity at this…

The Joker: Could you all please shut up and focus to my problem and the question I actually put up in the beginning…

Everyone was silent for a moment…

The Lord: Yeah!! son…go ahead…shoot your query…

The Joker: Hey!! Lord…Please answer, whether you answer it in yes or no, but please do answer…‘The Ram Setu’…or the bridge that you built…was it actually built by you or did you actually receive some alien help…please answer it…my whole life’s work is based on it…

The Lord: Do you really want me to answer that…because there is thousand years of history that is on stake here…there are belief of billions which will shatter and I am sorry to say my friend…but then the whole concept of God will be fake and no one will believe in us…no one…

The Joker: Sir please go ahead…please…and answer it….

The Lord: OK then…here it is…What do you think who we are…how we got those special powers…how we were able to do stuff which nobody else could…and the real answer is…

Ref: yousigma.com

Ref: yousigma.com

And just as he was about to answer it the Storm stopped…the sky got cleared and I got disconnected to everyone without even getting to know the correct answer. Whatever the correct answer may be…I’ll never come to know the truth…and neither will anyone else…
My research which was already very complex…critical…and Confusing became more so in all the three aspects.

Note: All the names and character that I have used in this particular blog are just for the fictional purpose of writing this blog. I do not intend to hurt any individuals or community’s feelings or sentiments.

Here is a link to WeChat’s youtube channel WeChat Youtube Channel

For all those who believe in Aliens,

For all those who don’t believe in them,

For all those who use WeChat,

For all those who love all the characters used,

And

For all those who believe that the Aliens exist…

It’s not a GoodBye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘SAMEER’ Mukul

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This post is part of the WeChat with Anyone Anywhere Contest in association with Indiblogger.

3

MADE for EACH OTHER

Made For Each Other

The screeching ringtone of my Nokia 3310 rattled me off my sleep…I disconnected and went back to sleep. The phone rang again… this time I made an effort to check who it was. With one eye closed and with the other one half opened…I tried to ogle at the name in the fluorescent green background. It was mom. I sprang up and sat at ninety degrees to the bed. I checked the time and it was 5 30 in the morning. I wondered why mom was calling me at this time. I answered the call… mom’s voice was shaking. “Please come to Ambala…he wants to see you”, was all she muttered in a feeble tone. I immediately realized that now is the time to go as his condition was very serious.

Mom was in her maternal home, Ambala. He was struggling with his life after a serious of paralytic attacks and prolonged illness. Mom didn’t talk for long but it was clear that the time had arrived for me to be there in his last days. I was at home in Lucknow during Holi break of 2005 and it was due in another three days. My father was still out of station. I informed my sister about the conversation with mom and told her that I will have to leave immediately. I, without even getting confirmed reservation…boarded a train to Ambala. It took me twelve long fretful hours to reach there.

My parents had parted ways some three years ago…and hence it became more so important for me to be around him in those days. As soon as I reached Ambala…mom came running towards me…started crying…hugged me…and immediately took me to his room. I saw a longing in his eyes…as if he was waiting for something…or I should say ‘for someone’. Mom told me that, “off late he has developed this habit of looking towards the entrance in anticipation of your father”. “He is really worried for me and wanted to see you before he finally rests in peace”, she continued. “He thinks that your father will have a change of heart and will surely pay him a visit in his last days”, she added. The doctors had given up any hope of recovery and they informed us that he barely had a week with us. He was my maternal grandfather.

The next day as soon as I woke up… I was at his bedside… and decided to spend all my time with him. He wanted to speak continuously but because of his medical condition he was struggling with words. I advised him not to talk a lot but he kept on insisting. His eyes guided me towards a packet of candies which was kept on an old small wooden table near the bed. He told me that he distributed candies and sweets every day without fail to kids after my maternal grandmother had passed away. People made monuments…wrote books…donated money…did many extravagant things in their lover’s memory…but this was his way of remembering and paying a tribute to his love, my grandmother. I was moved by his love…and don’t know how but ended up blabbering, “How did it all start between you and grandma”?

He glanced towards me and then turned his gaze towards my grandma’s picture that was hanging on the opposite wall. With flickering eyes…trembling hands…quivering and broken words he began…

I was born in Plassi village near Nangal in Punjab on 28th august 1932 to Sardar Shyam Singh and Kushal kaur. My father was a railway engine driver. We were financially quite well off compared to other fellow Indians in those days. We had a good home accompanied by large farms and real estate properties. My childhood was decent and got educated up to eighth standard, which was considered fine especially in the pre-independence era. It was not long before I was asked to marry, as the practice of child marriage was very much prevalent in those days. I was just eleven years old when I married your grandmother, Bibi Charan Kaur.

These days you people have all kinds of communication mediums, from telephones to computers…from emails to SMSs. You people at least meet each other…get to know each other…try to understand each other… before you get married. Can you imagine my plight, a boy who is yet to reach his teens…who is yet to even understand what is right and what is wrong…who is in sixth standard…who doesn’t even wear any undergarments (he told me frankly that he didn’t wear any undergarment till he got married) is asked to marry some stranger. Honestly, I didn’t feel anything…I was too small to. I was simply delighted to get the amount of attention and pampering that I was getting and the sweets and the ‘laddoos’ that followed. Everything happened so swiftly that by the time I realized what was actually happening, I was married to a girl whom I had never ever seen before.

I don’t remember the exact date but I recollect that it was around 9:30 am on a Thursday that we got married in a nearby ‘Gurudwara’. I was not even dressed properly for such an occasion. I was wearing an off-white shirt with brown vertical lines and dark brown trousers with a turban of the matching colour. She was dressed in a dark pink ‘Patiala Salwar-Kameez’. Her face was not visible but from her hands I was able to guess her complexion. “I was actually fairer than her”, he said with a naughty smile. If today I have to describe her then I would say that, even before her adolescence, she was looking very pretty and cute as if she was a ‘Punjabi Barbie’.

She was about eight years old when she tied the knot with me. Till today, I don’t know what was her exact birth date…all I know is that it is somewhere around 1935. She was also from Nangal in Punjab. Her father, Sardar Bachint Singh, was a ‘Lambardar’ (a term that doesn’t exist today but in those days it was related to panchayat). She was the lone survivor of the thirteen children that her mother gave birth to and hence she got lots of love and affection from her parents. The first time when I laid my eyes on her face, obviously after marriage, I saw that she was very naïve and innocent. As the days passed by I noticed other virtues that she possessed. I felt she was very tender and caring. She was a very hard working and dedicated family woman. She was brave and courageous but at the same time she respected everyone and obeyed everything what my mother ordered. She was an awesome cook too and prepared meal for the whole family without any help. I loved the ‘Gulabjamuns’ that she specially prepared for me.

We were too little to understand friendship or love of any kind leave alone the whole concept of marriage. But I must admit she really helped me through this. We started spending time together…began to know each other…I shared whatever I did in the whole day…she listened to whatever I had to say. She never complained about anything…just carried on with her daily chores with total devotion and then had an ear for me whenever I needed her. My mother never used to like her…she had a sense of dictatorship to her and she was always tetchy about one thing or the other. She was abusive and sometimes even hit your grandma…but a lady like your ‘Bibi’ (we all used to call her ‘Bibi’) enriched with virtues…suffered through everything…swallowed every abuse and punishment that was dished out at her without even uttering a single word. No one ever heard her raised voice against anyone…she didn’t even share all this with me then and it was when she was about to leave me for heaven that I came to know about all this. Soon we became friends…good friends.

From day one, my mom was extremely cruel to her. When I now think of it…I end up smiling as there were some incidents when your Bibi got the better of her, without even taking a single step against her. Bibi was incredibly fond of tea but my mother always deprived her of that too. Just to cope up with her addiction Bibi used to swallow tea leaves and sugar and consume hot water after that. This maddened my mother even more. It was normal for women to be confined and restricted in those days… but my mother was simply too much for anyone.

I still remember clearly that day…I guess two to three years into our marriage. I was done with my studies as my mother wanted me to take care of farms and help in farming. We (Bibi, my mother and me) were at one of the farms and working. It was late in the afternoon after the lunch that my mom started abusing her on some issue. She kept on hurling abuses at Bibi and her family but she didn’t even say a single word. This infuriated my mother even more. Before I could intervene…In the fits of fury she got hold of a thick bamboo and thrashed Bibi’s head with it. There was blood everywhere…her head was busted…and soon she fell unconscious. I, along with other farmers, took her to a nearby medical facility. This event was the biggest twist in our love story…actually you can say that this is where the seeds of our timeless love were sown.

(Just about then my mom entered and asked me to have lunch with my grandfather. She thought this way he will have something substantial for the medicines, as he was not having proper meals due to illness. He barely managed to have one chapatti. I asked him to take some rest for a while. Around 5 in the evening…he again continued from where he left off…)

Her parents took her home along with them after that incident. They wanted to end all ties with us because of my mother’s never ending brutality. By this time we developed a special bond between us and we were beginning to understand each other. I became a kind of rebel and revolted against my mother. My father loved me very much and was always supportive of your Bibi. He motivated me to leave the home…get a good job… and become someone of reputation on my own. I decided to leave home and go to Ambala in search of a livelihood and to try to get her back with me. When I was moving out of my parents shadow, I never realized that my biggest test…or I should say our relationship’s…our marriage’s…our love’ biggest examination was yet to come.

She decided that she was not going to leave me alone in this battle and made up her mind to support me in whatever manner she possibly could. Her parents were adamant not to let her go this time, so it was all left up to her to help me save money. In order to cut down on my expenses… she stitched clothes for me with bare hands, I hope you know that sewing machine had not yet reached Indian homes. She made suits, shirts, trousers, sweaters and what not… all without anyone’s help…with her bare hands. She tried to save every single penny that could have been saved.

There were days…and weeks…and months when we were not able to meet or hear from each other… and then there were seconds…minutes…and precious moments which we did get to spend with each other after all the limitations that were put on us and especially on her. My friend, Karam Singh, and her friend, Karamjeet, helped us a lot during those struggling days. With Karamjeet’s assistance she came to one of her farms… and waited for me… sitting on a tree for hours ‘n’ hours. When I did finally arrive, Karam Singh and Karamjeet kept a close careful watch to make sure that we were never caught. It was during these seldom meetings that I began noticing how beautiful and wonderful she actually was. I never really mentioned it to her that during these instants I literally thanked God for actually making my parents marry her. She was an illiterate but she was still as brilliant as an engineering graduate today with abundance of boldness and commonsense. During those days only I realized that our unique bond was now tied with ubiquitous love which made us inseparable.

By then India was granted Independence but our country was left in a very corrupt state. I decided to go to Delhi and stay with my cousin and look for some job. You won’t believe when I’ll tell you that I walked barefoot two hundred kilometres from Ambala to Delhi. There I applied daily for various job positions but since I had nothing to pass under the tables or anyone to vouch for me, I returned empty handed every day. One fine day I was noticed by Hari Kishan Shastri. He walked up to me and asked me about my whereabouts and my purpose of everyday being there. When I told him about the entire situation… he understood… and took matters in his own hand. He made me meet Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was the railway minister then.

Her prayers… her efforts… my hard work… my knowledge… and our love did pay off and in the spring of 1954, I was appointed as a train clerk in Ambala for a meagre salary of rupees 60 by Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri. It might sound very less but it was more than enough for me to get my life… my love…my Charan back.

Time flew and few years passed by…

By 1960, she had given birth to our third child. I knew that it was time for me and my salary to get a raise… but for that I needed some decent educational qualification. She encouraged me to go for studies but to leave the job at that time with three kids would have been like committing suicide. She came up with an idea. In those days there was a new concept of night classes. She got me registered to one such class and made me sit with children half of my age. She was the sole motivation for me to study further and I did. With the help of those night classes I successfully cleared tenth standard. I know you will be laughing after hearing this…but in the sixties, just to pass tenth standard or to be able to put a signature in English or moreover to even understand English was considered an achievement and it surely fetched me respect in the society.

Difficult times lasted longer while merrier times just came in short spurts but they surely existed. We were huge fans of the movie ‘Mughal-e-Azam’. It was an epic in itself and the kind of romance that was portrayed in it surpasses the best what today has to offer. I am not sure but I would have watched it more than twenty times with Bibi. I used to go the cinemas even at 4 am just to be the first one in the ticket queue and still found people standing there earlier than me. But let me assure you, none of the shows would have been so much fun and joy if she wouldn’t have been there with me in them.

I didn’t speak to my mother for twelve years but during each of Bibi’s pregnancies I always wished her to be there. I cannot even describe what all pains she took to raise my children… to take care of them… to take care of me. She gave birth to a child in the morning… then by the evening she was again busy with the daily chores. Whether good or bad, my mother received every news about us through our relatives but somehow after all those years… her hatred towards Bibi never shrivelled.

(Mom brought the dinner but he refused to have it and wanted to continue telling me the story)

Five more kids later and some ten years down the lane…

During the 1971 Pakistan war, I simply saw a different quality in her. I knew that she was valiant and fearless but I could never imagine that she could go to such an extent. Because of an emergency she had to travel to Nangal. It was a four hours train journey from Ambala. I was astonished and shocked to see that she travelled all alone in that train as people refrained from using public transport vary of the Pakistan bombardments. It, even to this day, gives me ‘Goosebumps’ just to admire and accept this feat of hers.

After the war in the early seventies everything went quite smooth and okay. But destiny as always had some other plans. In 1975, I was transferred to Bhatinda. I was the sole earner of the family with a loving wife and eight kids. She asked me not to go to Bhatinda and stay with them. I was suspended for not obeying the orders. She said we could start something of our own but you don’t have to leave us and go to Bhatinda. She purchased two goats and started selling their milk. The money was slow but sure. In few months time… we had a herd of cows and buffalos. I was not contributing much; in fact I became a reason for most expenditure and because of me they kept on increasing. I fell severely ill during the summer of 1976. On her own only, she kept me and my family going. I realized that my love towards her increased several folds… and I actually began respecting her which was not how women were treated in those days.

In 1977, due to some turn of events and our good fortune I got my job back and that too in Ambala. I married my daughters and invested in my children’s studies. We went from strength to strength. From a struggling poor household we now had good income sufficient enough to fulfil each and every of my child’s dream.

His eyes began to glitter…and suddenly they turned moist (I saw). He continued, “I guess it was 1987 or 1988 when she suffered from an unknown disease”. No doctor was able to cure her; they even failed miserably at identifying the disease itself. Her body became dead from below the waist. Her legs became numb forever (and the tears touched his pillow). It was as if God wanted me to take care of her and do my little bit for what all she gave me…and did for me. I read newspaper to her…washed her clothes…bathed her…fed her…and did everything possible in human limits to make her feel alive and cheerful. But I guess it was too much for her, she had suffered enough. She was born just to take care of others…love them…make them strong and above all believe in themselves. Her love gave me courage…was my support…and strengthens me even till today. If it was not for her…then I would have died long back. On 8th July 1992, she left me all alone forever. You know, till the day she was alive, she made it sure that we had dinner in the same plate and that is the reason why I hate having dinner without her.

I got up wiped my tears…wiped his tears…kept my hand on his forehead and requested him to please go to sleep. I don’t remember when I, sitting next to him, fell asleep.

Ref: 123greetings.com

Ref: 123greetings.com

I felt a hand rubbing my hand. It immediately brought me to senses. He asked me what time it was…I replied it was 3 am…I enquired if he needed anything? He gently smiled…took a pause…and whispered… “Ikk Gulabjamman khila de” (get me one gulabjamun). I resisted…but his weak eager eyes made me get one for him. He had it like a six year old…wished me ‘Happy Holi’… looked at Bibi’s picture… and with a smile on his face… fell asleep. At about 4:55 am on 24th march 2005, he left us for heavenly abode to be with his love…his best friend…his everything…his Charan.

For all those who love their Grandparents,

For all those whose grandparents have such a story,

For all those who have grandparents still with them,

For all those who don’t have theirs with them,

For all those who miss them,

And

For all those who want a story like this for them

It’s not a GOODBYE…

But it’s a GOOD BYE… aur han go to your grandparents and ask if they have such a story to share with you.

Manas ‘SAMEER’ Mukul

5

MOTHERHOOD – The SACRED Emotion

For the past three days I have been thinking a lot about this, writing about it, reading even more about it and trying to come up with a start to this one but I was unable to do so…until now.

When a mother Crocodile lays eggs, it usually lays them around some murky area like a swamp. It takes around three months for the eggs to hatch. You will be surprised to know (if you don’t know it already) that it stays just at the water level in such a position that only its eyes are above the water level. The mother crocodile does this to keep a close watch on the eggs that nobody tries to eat them or destroy them. It does not eat anything for months before it has laid eggs but just after it has laid them, one will expect it to at least have a decent diet. But it’s shocking (at least for me) that it does not move even a single bit till the time they actually hatch. Can you imagine the kind of sacrifices it makes…the kind of pain it endures…and the kind of a selflessness the mother crocodile shows? Irrespective of the species…whether it is a human or an animal…this can only be done and achieved by a MOTHER.

You might be an atheist but the whole concept of bearing a child…giving birth to a living being is in itself is totally awesome…totally divine. There is something very beautiful in being a mother. I have seen people abandoning their parents…their homes…their souls…but you will never find a true mother abandoning its child. No matter how much distressed you are…how much depressed you are…a mother’s lap is the best medicine if not the best solution. Her hug is the soothing heaven. There are days when u are surrounded by crowd and you still feel lonely and then there are days when u have just your mother by your side and you feel BLESSED.

Image Reference: www.imageblogs.org

Image Reference: http://www.imageblogs.org

A pond is bound to have some bad fishes, similarly some of these modern madams…today…are seen shying away from their duties…their responsibilities. Their priorities have changed but still I strongly believe and feel…that the good ones…the dedicated ones…the devoted ones…are far too many that these bad ones can have any effect on the society and one can surely say that Motherhood is here to stay for eternity.

Being a mother, no matter how easy it seems, is the most difficult job of the world and on top of it…surprisingly…there is no salary…no package attached to it. And still every girl wants to get married and be a MOM someday. When a lady gives birth, the amount of pain she experiences is way too much and beyond human boundaries and it is in itself a kind of miracle that a woman bears that much just to get to the end of it…to be a MOTHER.

Image Reference: techmadz.com

Image Reference: techmadz.com

Only a mother can go out there and wash others dirty clothes and utensils so that she can feed her child…so that she can just bring a smile to her child’s face. She undertakes all sorts of pain so that there is none in our lives. You can see mammals…you can see amphibians…you can see humans…and find so many dissimilarities…but the only constant among all is…MOTHERHOOD. The dedication…the devotion…the protectiveness…the care…the selflessness…the love…the MOTHERHOOD…is the visible and remains same among all.

There are days when a mother can even fight the Gods and bring you back to life from his grasp and then there are days when she can go ahead and take the life of her offspring when she realizes that he/she has treaded the wrong path. I guess they rightly say, “A woman is born again when she gives birth and becomes a mother”. If you ask any woman who has given birth…she will reply with a gentle smile…that the sacrifices she makes…the sleepless nights she spent raising us…is the real joy being a mother and the splendour of motherhood.

Motherhood; it is simply incomparable…immeasurable and you can surely bet upon it that wherever it is present there will be goodness around it. She is the one who understands you without you even uttering a word and she is the one who knows you more than you yourself. For me, if there is any form of life there is bound to be motherhood. Even the gods require a mother to take birth. Motherhood is the most beautiful and sacred of all the emotions.

This one is a tribute to all the mothers out there including mine who gave me birth and made me capable enough of writing it this day. RESPECT THEM AND NEVER LEAVE THEM.

For all those who love their moms,

For all those who care for them,

For all those who respect them,

For all those who are mothers,

For all those who want to be mothers,

And

For all those who can do anything for their mothers,

It’s not a GOODBYE…

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han just go and tell your mothers how much you love them…Now is the RIGHT TIME.

‘I am writing a Tribute to Mom in association with Parentous.com

MANAS ‘SAMEER’ MUKUL

2

“Made for Each Other” – my entry to the GetPublished contest

Made for Each Other” – my entry to the GetPublished contest

The Idea – Just imagine you are an eleven years old guy in the pre-independence era and one day your parents get you married to an eight years old girl. You even don’t understand the word friendship or love; leave alone the concept of marriage. You are far away from what we call as ‘reaching puberty’. There is no facebook, no mails, no texts and not even any mode of communication other than letters which takes at least two weeks to reach a destination. Imagine what it would have been like to get married in these situations, to befriend someone, to love someone and to create an inseparable special bond, the fragrance of which is left in this world long after you are gone.

This story is all about that. It takes place in the pre and post independence era. It is about the marriage of my maternal grandfather and grandmother at the above mentioned tender ages when one is breaking the shackles of childhood and about to step in their teens. The story begins when their lives and destinies decided to coincide. It was after their marriage that they became friends and much later they discovered love – a never ending, never fading love for each other. They themselves didn’t know when this friendship turned into love and later this love became a special kind of bond which you only find in tales and legends, in stories of Romeos and Juliets.

This story is about their hardships, their struggle and all the thicks and thins that they have witnessed but none was strong enough to wither their love for each other. The story portrays how in the darkest of hours she never left him and in fact became his strength and guided him to become strong and successful.

What makes this story real – I would say whatever love and understanding I have seen between my grandmother and grandfather and what my mother has described to me, makes this story very special and real. The unique thing will be that most of the people today, who are in their teens, haven’t witnessed anything like this. The facebook generation doesn’t know what it would have been like to wait for days and weeks just to hear or get a letter from your beloved. This story takes you to those days and what was special and unique in the way people loved in that era. The black & white movies do give you an idea, but it was always about that ‘Hero’ who was very distant from the fact reality. This story is about that common Indian who in the 40’s and 50’s was married before he even understood it. This story is about all the real life events that took place and none of it is fiction.

I would most definitely like to mention that this story wouldn’t have been possible without my mother’s support and verbal narration.

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

If you feel that this story deserves to be told and you want to read the complete story then please like it at this link: http://www.indiblogger.in/getpublished/idea/562/

0

Banquet on the Dead

Book Review:Banquet on the Dead

Book: Banquet on the Dead

Author: Sharath Komarraju

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sharath for getting his second novel published within a span of six months. I was fortunate enough that Blogadda selected me to review his first book ‘Murder at Amravati’ but this time it was Sharath’s friendly gesture that he himself asked me to review his second one, ‘Banquet on the Dead’. I would apologize for the slight delay in the review as I was caught up with things. I have read the book thoroughly, infact slower than my usual pace of reading and I will try to be as honest as possible and do justice with the review of this Murder Mystery.

For me personally the cover page doesn’t have much significance this time, as was not the case with ‘Murder at Amravati’. As you flip two pages Sharath has dedicated the book to ‘Lakshmibai’ his father’s maternal grandmother. In the prologue we are introduced to two characters, Nagesh and Ashok, who are labourers employed to do the job on a particular day at the mansion where the whole story revolves. The prologue has their version of what they have heard while they were busy working at or around 1 pm on the day in question.

Just like ‘Murder in Amravati’, ‘Banquet on the Dead’ is also set in a small town, Hanamkonda. The story begins with Valmiki Nagarajan, the inspector in charge of the case, and Dr. Koteshwar Rao engrossed in a discussion where Dr. Koteshwar requests the inspector to have a re-look at the case. The story is all about the death of Kauveramma, whose dead body was recovered from the well which was within the same enclosure of the mansion. Everyone including the inspector believed that she has committed a suicide and was about to close the case. But it was Dr. Koteshwar, grandson of Kauveramma, who kept on persisting that he thinks otherwise. Dr. Koteshwar recommends Hamid Pasha, an unlikely ‘Hero’, to Nagarajan in his pursuit to find the murderer.

Nagarajan with his assistant, Hamid Pasha, sets out on unravelling the truth and to find out who the actual murderer is? All the suspects in the story are relatives of Kauveramma with more or less the same motive – ‘Money’. Many a times in the story there is mention of the huge property that kauveramma possessed and everyone who was living in that manor wanted a piece of it, if not the whole. The stand out thing in the story is although being a part of a joint family, most of the members simply hated others. Ironically as you read on you will get a feel that majority of them actually disliked Kauveramma and in one way or the other they wished her to be no more. The story has a lot of characters (suspects) and I will restrain myself from mentioning them and their relation with the diseased. Everyone had a motive and most of them had the means to commit the crime, it all rests on the duos (Nagarajan and Hamid Pasha) shoulders to unveil the murderer. Do they successfully do it, to find out read the book?

I must praise Sharath here in the way he brings out the most miniscule of details about a particular setting and even if one has not been to that place, he/she can very easily visualize how it all looks. The same is the case with the mansion in which most of the story takes place. There is a very vivid description of the mansion and the details are very well taken care of as one gets sucked into the story as if he/she is actually living the story. The diction is plain and simple and is a fast read. The build up to the climax of the book is good. Every time it keeps you guessing who according to you is the murderer.

This time I noticed more negative than positives, I am sorry Sharath but I am trying to be as honest as possible. The book with its 260 pages is way too long compared to most of the Indian fictions that are in the market these days. It becomes a drag in the middle and you have to be patient enough to reach the end. According to me, one of the major flaws in the story is the number of characters that are dished out. You need to make a mental map of the characters and how each of them is related to Kauveramma. By the time you reach the middle of the book, it becomes very difficult to remember just by the name that how was this character related to her. If one has read ‘Murder at Amravati’ he/she will find striking similarities between both the books, like the way Sharath has dealt with the investigation. Because of the build up, you gear up yourself for a shocking or surprising ending but if you want my take on it; you will be disappointed. Unlike ‘Murder in Amravati’ where it had an awesome twist right at the end, ‘Banquet on the Dead’ won’t serve you that.

This banquet instead of turning out to be a great feast it turns out to be an ordinary supper. One suggestion for Sharath, try some other genre also otherwise it won’t be long before people cast you as a stereotype. If I had to rate this, I would go with two and half out of five for Sharath Komarraju’s ‘Banquet on the Dead’.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

You can also reach to Sharath Komarraju at sharathkomarraju.com

11

Surprise…Surprise…Surprise…

Surprise…Surprise…Surprise…

“You know tomorrow is my first presentation ever”, she said nervously to me. Her voice was shaking and none of her friends were able to infuse enough confidence in her to make the presentation work. She rehearsed…rehearsed…and rehearsed…to the point that she began to forget everything… at least she felt so. It was left upon me to get that confidence back going for her. I reminded her, “Believe in yourself and think of how good you are and what an awesome presentation you are going to deliver tomorrow”. I knew that my words have a calming effect on her, but this time it was not going to last.

I decided it was time for me to make her feel that I am always there for and I just don’t simply say that ‘I will be there for the smallest of things’. I immediately called her back and broke her heart (for that moment) that I have a company visiting my campus tomorrow and I will have to switch off my phone through the entire duration of the seminar and there might be a possibility where I would not be able to give her a call before the presentation. I checked the tickets and asked my ever so sweet sister to get the tickets done for me (don’t forget me being a student these days was unable to afford the price just a day before ;) ). She managed to get one booked for me.

The next day I had an early flight to catch and she was still sleeping. So the best I could do was to text her, “All the best for your presentation sone, make me proud, phod phad macha dena, I am going for the seminar muah muah muah forehead”. I landed by 10:30 a.m. and her presentation was supposed to begin by noon. I gave a call to her best friend and told her about my plan to surprise her by visiting her just before the presentation and say, “All the best of Luv ‘n’ Luck to her face”. I knew that girls can’t be trusted when it comes to keeping secrets and her friend proved me right by spurting out every bit of my surprise. The news made her extremely happy as if she won a lottery. It was a complete turnaround…she was brimming with confidence…and in the process completely nailed the presentation and answered each and every question that followed.

She knew which hotel I (we) stayed in every time I visited her city as this would have been my fourth visit in the past four months. As soon as she was done with the presentation she didn’t even wait for the teacher’s response…immediately took an auto and reached the hotel. She enquired at the reception…took the spare keys in an effort to surprise me instead…and came running to my room. She was puzzled not to find me there. She tried my mobile but was switched off. She made a call to the reception but could not get any info on my whereabouts. Her face which was glowing with confidence and courage…now suddenly had an edgy and worried look to it.

There was a knock on the door…she opened…anticipating that it will be me she shouted my name. Less to her surprise and more to her shock it was police at the door. She was beginning to panic. The police informed her that a guy was crushed by a truck this morning and they recovered a bag from the accident site with a printout of booking of this hotel room with your name on it. She opened the bag only to find out ‘a Barbie’, ‘a box of Soan Papdi’ and ‘an envelope with confirmed booking for two days and two nights for a couple at the Marriot’.

She remembered, how, since her childhood she never craved for anything except for a Barbie, she had had many delicacies but it was the ‘Soan Papdi’ that made her taste buds go crazy and she visited many places around the globe… rested in many resorts but it was the Marriot which was the closest to her heart. It was all a part of the surprise that I had planned for my bestest buddy.

There are days when God gives you signs or omens which tell you what is going to happen and then there are days when even the Gods get confused what the omen says.

The police told, “The Guy was wearing this shirt” and handed it to her. She straight away recognized it to be my shirt as it was the same shirt in which she slept the last time I was there. Tears started rolling down her cheeks. The blood on the shirt made her scream…scream…and scream. There were flashbacks of, how every night before we went to bed, I always called her to say how much I loved…cared for her and will be there with her forever n ever n ever. She reminded herself of her decision to tell me that how much she loved me…and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. She cried uncontrollably…gasping for breath…her shrieking voice made even the policemen feel her loss…her pain…her regret of not telling me just for once that SHE LOVED ME…

There was another knock at the door…one policeman opened it. To everyone’s disbelief it was me who was at the door. For a moment she thought she was seeing me just because of the sheer love for me. Without even caring for the standing policemen, who were themselves astonished, I started… Bubu…as soon as I landed…my bag was stolen…last night I wasn’t able to charge my phone’s battery…hence it died…but what’s this…why is police here and above all why are you crying guddu????

She stood up…ran towards me…grabbed me by the collar…started slapping me…kissing my face all over…saying I Love You…I Love You…I Love You.

For all those who believe in surprises,

For all those who like surprises,

For all those who like giving surprises,

For all those who like getting surprised,

And

For all those who will go to any extent to say that ‘All the Best’

It’s not a Goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han go out there and give surprises…your loved ones actually love it and a HAPPY DIWALI to all of You…enjoyyyyyyyy.

Manas “Sameer” Mukul