19

Happy Birthday Papa

Happy Birthday Papa

The year was 1991. I was about 5 years old then. Papa always motivated us to be courageous, brave and work on our fitness and had this habit of saying that his body was made up iron and how I should also exercise and eat right to get that perfect balance for the body.

It was a hot summer morning and my summer vacations were going on. Papa was following his daily routine of exercise. I was in a fun mood that day and somehow got hold of a huge stick. He was sweating profusely and was exercising bare-chested. I was always a naughty child and was always ready with one or two tricks everyday.

That day I dared him, “Papa you always say that you are made of iron. Right. I want to test it today.”

He casually replied, “Yes I am and so are you. So how do you plan to take the test?”

Exuding my childhood innocence I stupidly suggested, “I will hit you with this stick on your back and lets see whether you feel any pain or not.”

One thing I would like to highlight about him; he was exceptional with kids especially when it involved their curiosity. He would never shy away from answering lamest of queries and encouraging them to try out new things. He always taught you would never learn until you fail.

He persuaded me to go ahead.

I kept on asking him again and again whether he was sure. Each and every time he confidently replied, “Yes! My son. Bring it on.”

I thought that I had thought this through but I was too naïve.

With all my might I swung the stick hard and bangggg!!!

Papa and Me

A crimson cylindrical line appeared where the stick hugged the skin.

Moments later similar crimson lines appeared on my cheeks with the love that was showered by my mom after the Iron Man test was completed.

Everybody in the family including my mom was shocked that I actually did it. They all thought I was just playfully bluffing. For a moment I was appalled too that I actually did it but it was all too late by then.

This was the kind of bond Papa and me shared for the major part of our lives. I remember he being either my partner at the running end on a cricket pitch or would be bowling to me being as part of the opposition. He always said that we are friends first and father-son later.

I clearly remember the nights scarred with power cuts and me spending most of them on his shoulders bombarding him with innumerous ‘whys’ and then would doze off on his chest. I would suck the juice out of oranges and then would give him the pulp to finish. How he would take me to buy cream rolls every evening. How he would take me on a bicycle round and round every time it rained. The memories are uncountable and the vacuum is forever.

For the last 3-4 years he would constantly say to me that I want an hour from you and want to discuss something but destiny always deceived us. In fact there was a trip, which we both undertook and the only time that we were separate was the time when we would use loo. I guess this sums up what a father-son relation actually becomes when they grow old. Both of them have so much bottled up to say but none of them has the courage to look weak.

Everybody loses someone in his or her life and my case isn’t special. It’s just that sometimes when the people are alive you don’t have the words and expressions to convey your feelings and this is my way of communicating to him. I am sure wherever he will be he will be in peace and would definitely be smiling over me; reading what all I write. It’s been 530 days since he left us and he would have been 65 years old today. There hasn’t been a single day where I haven’t craved to speak to him and hug him. Some would say he left too early…All I would say is that he lived like a king and he left royally too where he didn’t give anyone a chance to serve him in any manner and take care of him.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

A poem by my sister Shraddha Mukul

Life has moved on, and yet you still remain,
Your absence your memories is unbearable pain.

Every day I wait to sleep wait to be with you in my dreams,
I hug you, I hold you so close … your presence makes me smile,
And then I wake up and see you gone,
And that you were never there …you are gone for a while.

I waited on my bday … coz you promised you will always be there,
No matter which part of the world I am, you will come to me to celebrate,
You didn’t come … I am still waiting…
And now I wonder I might go crazy at this rate.

When I was little I always thought … nothing will ever happen to you,
And that you are “my daddy strong”
Look where I am standing Papa,
I feel so so very wrong.

I am angry at you and I feel cheated,
You promised you will never let go of me,
I am falling in the dark Papa,
Don’t you care anymore, can’t you see?

People say I am silly,
that one who goes never comes back,
They don’t know our connection, Papa
I know you will find me even in a world pitch black.

– Shraddha Mukul

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22

Cirque Du Joker

Its a WOW post

Once upon a time in a far far land,

It was unique, as it was known as TEDDYLAND.

 

There lived a Mr Joker,

He was no ordinary card…he was the hero of his own Poker

One by one they came and broke his heart,

Though smiling through the pain was his art

 

They love their Jager bombs and Jagermeister,

He would honor them with his own JOKERMEISTER

 

They would cuddle and lay on his chest,

The funny stories he told were his best

 

In his genre, he was a rocker

He brought to the town his own CIRQUEDUJOKER

 

Each had a Paraphilia that brought them to orgasm,

He had his JOKEROPHILIA hat created a lot of LAUGHGASM

 

His art was to touch women’s heart,

All they would do is break his apart

 

So many stories and so many happy endings,

He was a storyteller whose JOKERTALE was never ending

 

They say, Jack-of-all-trades master of none,

For him, it was Joker of all trades and master of some

 

He faded with time, but his stories remained,

The Contemplation of a Joker forever entertained.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Tell me which one did you like the most of all the new words.

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

The New invented Made up words:

TeddyLand – A place where every inhabitant is a Teddy bear.

Jokermeister – A potion of the Joker

Cirque Du Joker – Circus of Joker (inspired from cirque du soleil)

Jokerophilia – Love of Joker

Laughgasm – orgasm experienced with laughter

Jokertale – A tale of Joker

 

12

The Cricket Bat

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The Cricket Bat

The continuous ringing of doorbell was a unique trait of Papa’s arrival. Every time that happened I almost instinctively knew who would be on the other side of the door. I was right this time too.

As soon as he entered he announced, “Listen I have a meeting in the evening and I will be leaving early. Sit down, I want to have a quick chat regarding the preparations of the reception”. We both sat down on the sofa in the living room and started discussing. I told him about the things that were already taken care of and what were the expenses involving that.

He went to the items that were yet to be finalized and what would it approximately cost us. While he was still speaking I don’t know when I involuntarily stood up and started walking to and fro. In fact, I didn’t realize until he pointed out to me.

“Why can’t you simply sit and continue a serious conversation? Why are you so restless always?” Papa questioned digressing from the main discussion. By now mom and sister had also joined in. In an attempt to showcase sincerity I blurted, “I am all ears and listening very carefully to what all you are suggesting”.

A smirk had already formed on my sister’s face. She knew where this was heading, like the usual conversations where, in the end, Papa will get angry and frustrated and without completing the discussion, shout at me and leave for some work.

My Cricket Bat

Papa began again with the details. A few minutes later he shouted again. This time I was unconsciously shadowing batting postures with my favorite childhood bat in my hands. “I am earnestly listening to you, Papa. I swear. I can repeat each and every word that you have said”, I pleaded to keep him calm.

It was too late. He was already irritated and all I could overhear was he shouting at mom saying what’s wrong with this boy? Why can’t he just listen to me? Even if he can’t…he can at least act? Someday I will definitely burn this cricket bat of his, somehow it becomes a part of every discussion. My mom sarcastically replied to him, “You are the one who gifted the bat to him”.

The ignition of the car suggested that Papa drive away. My sister was now laughing, as it was a daily routine for her to see every discussion end this way.

My parents say that I have a good memory and a decent recall power. As far as I can remember the first memory about myself is holding a plastic cricket bat and being surrounded by plastic cricket balls. I was about 8 or 9 years old when Papa gifted this bat to me.

Even in ‘the State of Happiness’ I highlighted this. Playing cricket with him was pure bliss. It brought happiness and joy beyond words.

I would carry this bat along with me everywhere possible. Like the girls have their dolls by their side, I would have my bat. I would even sleep with it. I have scored most of my childhood runs with this bat. I still remember how Papa taught me to oil a cricket bat and how I would take care of it like the most precious thing in the world.

It has seen its ups and downs. They were phases where I felt that it might get broken but with the help of some adhesive tapes and extra love and care, it has seen those treacherous and scary days off.

Even today, if you visit my house you will find it in the living room living along with us. You will still see me playing around with it, mimicking cricketing postures even during serious discussions. There were many times when my mother and sister during their clean-up drives, tried to get rid of it. But they know that it is like those older movies of fairy tales where the villain will only die once you kill his pet parrot, similarly my lies in this cricket bat. It is my first cricket bat and is like my first love.

For all those who love cricket,

For all those who have their bats with them,

For all those who still play with them,

And

For all those who are still living with them…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

 

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

7

An Era of SMART Lives #GetFitWithFlipkart #SmartHomeRevolution

An Era of Smart Lives


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

A century ago if somebody would have said that there would be huge iron birds flying over our skies and would be used as a mode of transport, I am sure he or she would have been stoned to death on the premise of going insane. But today that is a reality.

Technology is something that helps us dream, create and achieve what most of the people can’t even imagine. With the use of more and more artificial intelligence and the concept of ‘Internet of Things’, we are currently living in a ‘Smart’ world.

From devices to gadgets, phones to watches the advancements in technology haven’t spared anything and left its footprints everywhere. In fact these days, every year a smart product gets launched and takes the whole technological world by storm before slowly percolating into our daily lives.

Smart Wearable Watch – Source Flipkart

Last year it was the year of air purifiers, the year before that was of smartwatches, the year before that was of Smart Wearable health gadgets and the list goes on and on. With ‘internet of things’ gaining momentum the Smart Home with Smart Lights, Smart Electronic Devices, Smart Home Security with Smart Camera is also gathering pace.

Even the traditional legacy systems based realtors are very much aware of these trends and they are incorporating these smart features from the very beginning of the designing and construction phase.

I believe that people born in the late 80s like me should be called the transition generation. We witnessed both the extremes and acted as a bridge between both the generations. I have spent days where basic electricity was treated like a luxury living through 16-hour power cuts in a day. I clearly remember for years finishing my school homework in candlelight, in fact, we were so blessed that we had the privilege of having candlelight dinners on a daily basis. And all this was happening when we were living in cities imagine the plight of rural India.

Smart Home with Google Home – Source Flipkart

My first desktop had only 32 MB of RAM and 10 GB of ROM. Yeah, you read it right. Today my smartphone has more RAM than ROM of my first computer. That’s the real leap technology has taken. In fact, there is a stat, which suggests that technology becomes obsolete every 18 months and with continuous innovation of smart devices I believe this timeframe is getting even shorter year by year.

Remember the day, when the first mobile phone was of brick-sized, black in color with a long antenna attached to it and we had to shell out loads even for incoming calls. The current generation can’t even relate to those days whereas we have closely witnessed the real change that technology and smart devices have gone through.

After my father passed away and my sister and me staying away it was getting really difficult for us to keep an eye on the safety of mom and home. Today with Smart Home Security Devices it has brought us some deserved peace of mind. All it needs is an Internet connection and an application on my smartphone and I can keep a watch over the complete house while being anywhere in the world.

Smart Home Security Camera – Source Flipkart

People are becoming health conscious and these Smart Gadgets are surely helping in keeping a track of your daily activity. You can monitor your heart rate, BMI, numbers of steps walked, kilometers did and what not. Products like electronic cigarettes have their share of nicotine but are comparatively less harmful than the regular ones.

The flurry of smart devices and gadgets is coupling nicely with the modern urban frantic lifestyle. I recently saw a product for new parents known as ‘Baby monitor’. You can use it remotely listen to sounds made by an infant. Such products are really a blessing for working mothers and parents who have separate rooms for them.

The lines are constantly getting blurred among different categories of products with modification, minification, magnification, and innovation. One doesn’t need a separate phone, camera, and computer – all of these are clubbed in one smartphone with a million other features, which in all honesty we don’t even use.

There are a lot of areas that need attention and I am sure that slowly they will also be under the ‘Smart’ umbrella. Moving ahead a lot of focus should be on products for Smart Medical Devices, products for woman safety and education.

Smart Lights with Smart Home – Source Flipkart

Being a writer and a pet lover I wish there would be more products, which can assist us in writing and creating quality content. What a boon it would be if I could get to know what my dog is thinking or what it wants.

The future looks really bright and promising for the ‘Smart’ technologies but it has its ploys too. The mix should be perfectly balanced. A product should not be pushed down our throats just because they have invented it and it is smart in nature. Sometimes I feel that humans are getting dumber while the devices are getting smarter. Just Kidding. The basic premise that it is catering to some actual need and providing a solution to a real-world problem and in the process easing our lives should always remain of utmost importance and priority.

With 5G on our doorways along with artificial intelligence guiding our way into future and its perfect marriage to ‘Internet of Things’, we are embarking on a journey from Smart Devices to An Era of Smart Living.

#GetFitWithFlipkart and #SmartHomeRevolution

Smart Glasses – Source Flipkart

For all those who use smart devices,

For all the tech savvy people,

For all those who are in love with technology,

For all those who use Flipkart,

and

For all those who are ready for a Smarter future…

It’s not a goodbye,

but it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is for the Let’s #GetFitWithFlipkart & start a #SmartHomeRevolution contest by Flipkart in association with Indiblogger.

11

The Shadow


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Each and every creature…each and every thing on this planet has one common thing. It is attached to every being but we consider it so insignificant that we hardly pay any heed to it. No matter how much one tries it is impossible to get rid of it. I am talking about our shadow.

I see the shadow in an all-different perspective. Remember the quote, “where there is a will there is a way”. Similarly, I have my own, “Where there is a shadow there is light and where there is light there is optimism”.

Without light, there can’t be any shadow and the only way possible to make it disappear is ‘darkness’.

I often wonder what if I get an opportunity to be someone else’s shadow and get to know him like no one else does. The moment you start thinking, there are many names that start popping up inside the head. But then again these names pop up because of the qualities that are already known to us about those people.

The greatest joy lies in unraveling those physiognomies and virtues which are unknown and hidden from everyone. The more I think about being the shadow of someone, the more I realize that the best person you can be a shadow of for a day is – YOU.

I only know ‘me’ from how I think about myself and what others have to say about me and how they perceive my actions and me. But that is again, all visible or known in the public domain. There is a lot, which goes without anyone noticing and realizing including me.

If I can be my shadow for a day, I will consider it as a blessing in disguise. That way, at least, I can make an attempt to know myself better, know my shortcomings and what part of my actions might not be pleasing or might be the reason of discomfort to others.

I will get a golden chance to understand my body language at a level like no one else can and then can work to rectify what might come across as wrong or offensive to others.

People do not want to change or like others to point out flaws in them but when it is your own shadow observing and judging, I believe a little bit fine tuning in one’s own self won’t do much harm and can actually work wonders for future.

For all those who are optimistic,

For all those who believe in change,

For all those who are thinking,

And

For all those who would like to be their own shadow…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU…Enjoyyyy.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

 

16

The State of Happiness

It was an early Sunday morning. Around 5 am he shook me out of my slumber. He signaled me to be extremely cautious and not make any noise. He hated waking up people but on Sundays, he would make an exception. I quietly picked up my cricket bat and bowl and went to the roof. I had to make sure that I don’t wake up my mom else our plan of morning cricket would not be executed. He was waiting there for me.

For fifteen years since my early childhood, my father and I would go and play cricket every Sunday morning. On days when we would be playing on the roof, we had to take care of the plants mom had planted. On those evenings she would find a branch or two cello-taped and we would be banned from playing on the roof. This ban would only last till the next Sunday and my father and I would be back to our mischievous best.

That is my earliest memory with my father. Playing cricket with him was pure bliss. It brought happiness and joy beyond words.

Happiness is like success. It is not a destination but the journey. It can last for a moment, an hour, a day or a lifetime. It depends a lot on internal as well as external factors. It is a state of mind.

Happiness brings a smile but a smile is not necessary for me to be happy. I can be silent…observing a picturesque view…and be completely happy without smiling. And I can be all smiling and laughing out loud without being happy.

Happiness comes from within and depends from person to person. A person can have all the wealth and pleasure of the world and he might still be unhappy while, on the other hand, a person earning just daily wage…sleeping on a footpath be content and happy. People befriend adversity and somehow find happiness in that also.

A monk is happy when he finds peace through meditation while an entertainer finds happiness by witnessing how happy his audience is.

For me;

Happiness was playing cricket with him – when he would be my partner at the other end or I would be facing him.

Happiness was sleeping was on his chest and talking to him for unlimited hours sitting on his shoulders.

Happiness was asking him irrelevant innumerous ‘whys’ and he patiently responding to each and every one of them.

Happiness is finding sleep in mom’s lap and love in her food.

Happiness is teasing your sister and pulling out pranks on her and then spending the rest of the days pleading her not to complain to mom.

Happiness is having a meal together with all the family.

Happiness is the tea, pakode (snacks) and the petrichor of first rain.

Happiness is facing the red cherry opening the batting.

Happiness is bowling leg spin and getting the batsmen bowled behind his legs.

Happiness is holding her hand when you are down and out, knowing that there is someone in the entire world who will never turn her back on you when the entire world will actually face the other way.

Happiness is going for a long bike ride in the mountains.

Happiness is playing with kids and letting them win.

Happiness is taking a long walk in a downpour and getting completely drenched.

Happiness is cracking jokes in a group of friends and being a reason for their smiles.

Happiness is traveling to places, meeting new people, learning about their cultures, eating their food, speaking their language and experiencing their lives.

Happiness is dancing to any tune and making others dance with you too.

Happiness is acting in a theatre play and seeing your parents with tears in the audience.

Happiness is the delight of putting my thoughts into words and seeing it reach to the readers.

I believe these days everybody is so caught up in the paraphernalia surrounding them, that they have actually forgotten how to smile…how to be happy. We are just living a dead life. It is like pressing the play button at 28 and stopping it at 60 without realizing to live the moments.

I took the part of being the Joker to bring some smiles and happiness to people and their lives whenever and wherever possible. Humor is the medicine which can save lives out of grimmest of situations. I have seen biggest conflicts getting resolved when both the parties broke into laughter at the same time.

Smile often, people…Laugh genuinely…be aware of every moment. Let happiness come to you rather than you pursuing it. And you will surely find your peace.

For all those are in the pursuit of happiness,

For all those who believe in positivity,

For all those love to smile

And

For all those who are genuinely happy…

It’s not a goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

12

Through the Mist – Book Review


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Cover Page

Through the Mist – Book Review

Book: Through the Mist

Author: Sona Grover, Abirami,

Adhithya, Nimitha & Rupali

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: Jimpify Publishing (29 Aug 2017)

Price: Rs 99

Pages: 92 (pdf)

Language: English

My rating: 3/5

One picture – Five Authors – Five stories – One Book. This in itself is an interesting premise for anyone to enlist ‘Through The Mist’ in his or her reading list.

About four years back I took part in a collaborative effort to come up with content worthy of publishing. Collaborative writing can sometimes turn out to be very tricky. It can be less writing ‘effort’ but it can surely be more ‘headaches’. When too many heads collide taking a story in a definite direction then sometimes the story takes the back seat and ego begins to power the engine. Anyway, let’s not digress.

Sona Grover, one of the five authors of the book, to do a review for them, approached me. My bargain was; an honest review in exchange for a free copy.

I found the overall premise very intriguing. A picture, which is also the cover page, was shared with the authors and each was expected to start with their version of the story keep the picture as the pivotal point.

Usually when authors collaborate the book turns out to be an anthology but what makes ‘Through the Mist’ interestingly unique is that each author will share their unfinished draft with other authors in a sequential manner and after all the authors have written on every story then only it will be considered complete. So that means each author will contribute to every story.

It is like a relay race of writers. You don’t know how the next is going to imagine and write or how good the outcome would be; all you could manage is your own leg.

The Motivation

The team:

Jithin, who provided the inspiration for the book. He blogs at www.trablogger.com

Abirami, the teenager who’s obsessed with writing and blogs at www.theobsessivewriter.com

Adhithya, the youngest teenager of the team who blogs at www.wordstuggedatheartstrings.wordpress.com

Nimitha, the writer who finds time to write between her busy work schedule. She blogs at www.nimzrevealed.wordpress.com 

Rupali, the teenager studying maths and writing poems at www.literatureismyporn.wordpress.com

Sona, an avid reader and the resource person to lend any help. She blogs at www.sonaonline.wordpress.com

Aadhira, the in-house editor who pushed everyone to write this book, blogs at www.aadhira.me

The five stories are:

‘A Middle Class‘ story brings us Pari, the independent, headstrong girl whose parents want her to marry and settle down. Love has other views and comes unexpectedly through Rehan. In this comedy of errors, blunders pile on and the protagonists head a laugh riot.

In ‘A strange Life‘, Aarya, bored with her profession and disappointed with her personal life, finds an unexpected adventure that is a little too much for her to comprehend. Can she manifest the life she has wanted to have, by reclaiming her power?

Aakash cannot forget Anavya, the love of his life. His longing turns him into a poet and he hopes and waits for her, years later. ‘Languish in Love‘ is a delicate story that explores love, longing, pain.

‘The Lone Man‘ is hard-hitting. All John wants is to forget his wife Sarah’s death and get on with his life. But his nightmares and visions would not let go of him.

‘Turn of the Tides‘ is set at sea and the men who have lived with the sea and loved her are the ones who fear her now. Can they conquer their dread and have the sea lose her power over them?

PROS:

What surely works for the book is the diversity that each of writer brings to the table. With their experiences and thought processes that vary from a teenager to a mom, it definitely adds on to the flavor. The love of writing is what makes this a ‘team’ irrespective of the difference in their culture, language, preferences, age groups and perspectives.

The standout thing in the book is that each story is completely different from each other and do not belong to a single genre. That is very refreshing, as it doesn’t overdo a single theme or genre.

One thing which I would like to highlight since each story exchanged hands five times that there was consistency in the storyline and the theme in all five stories. It is a swift read with only 92 pages.

CONS:

The role of an editor in such a collaborative effort becomes crucial and critical. I felt that the authors were let down by average editing, judging by how the stories were stitched.

The other thing, which I believe, could have been a bit better is the vocabulary. There are far too many grammatical errors. So the onus lies with each author as well as the editor. I can understand the flow of the stories not being smooth because of the format but still, that’s no excuse for the grammatical errors.

How it came about:

My favorite story:

The last story how it personifies the sea. I like it for its poetic and metrical tone and how expressively it gives ‘Sea’ a voice.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons in ‘Through the mist’. It’s definitely worth a read once. I give two and half stars for the stories and another half a star for the concept. It’s 3 out of 5 for the unique collaboration i.e. ‘Through the Mist’.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Grab a copy here: Amazon