Sunday, April 12

Book Review: Ramayana – The Game of Life: The Shattered Dreams

This will be the first time I’ll be structuring my feedback of a book around the most apparent observation which remained unchanged from its start to finish page. This observation can be easily summarized in just two words - ‘Identifiable Mythology’. 

There have been way too many an adaptations, narrations, translations and evolutions of this great scripture in the past. What makes this book by author, Shubha Vilas, worth of spending your free time and money is the way it makes the epic scripture relatable in today’s time. This combined with the fact that narration remains accurate to the original composition, will keep an impatient and busy reader like me hooked to the book.

Whether it’s the introspection of character of Ravana, or the beautiful humanization of the dilemma and insecurity of king Dashratha, the book has it all. Like most of us, I have known Ramayana through the earlier text books and the Ramanand Sagar’s epic serial. This makes the knowledge imparted through this book all the more valuable. At least now I know the names of the all the characters of this epic drama. Tone of the book effortlessly shifts between humorous, thrilling and intriguing throughout. The way characters of Ravana, Dashratha and Rama have been portrayed gives the glimpse of promise on part of Shubha Vilas. 

Another feature of this book which differentiates it from other Ramayana narrations is the way learnings from different key incidents are presented in it. Author has made clever use of footers in this book. These footers have given an extra space or parallel track to author where he has been able to project his perception or thoughts without actually breaking the flow of the story. This feature makes one reminiscent of the way an elder or Panditji would have read out the chaupayi (verses) in original scripture and explained its meaning or learning associated with it with day to day life examples. 

This book opens with internal turmoil being faced by king Dashratha before arriving on the decision of coronation of Rama as new king. On one hand he wants Rama to take on the responsibilities of kingdom and is worried whether people will accept his decision during consensus. But when things turn out in his accordance, instead of being relieved or happy, he becomes insecure to the extent that he starts doubting his competency as a ruler. Similarly when queen Kekayi falls prey to Manthara’s persuasion, every range of human emotion is beautifully depicted by the author.  

Now coming to the flaws, there are grammatical mistakes, related to tenses and sentence structuring in the book at some places which easily stand out in this otherwise flawless narration.  Call me crazy, but I found myself re-reading the same sentence again with correct grammar to see the impact it creates. I am sure many of the readers will do the same. At some places, I also felt the need for a crispier packaging though the story made up for it.

All in all, I got a pleasant familiar feeling of well spent time after completing this book and I would recommend others to take it up.

Monday, March 23

Do you like Change?

For many of us, the answer would be a vehement No. This ‘us’ includes me as well. I am not a change averse person but in general I am happiest being my ‘Crocodile-Self’. 

(Crocodile-Self: Imagine a crocodile lying at a pond shore, happily enjoying the warmth of a beautiful sunny day for hours together, without entertaining a change as small as batting an eyelid)

Alas, for us crocodile-selves, harsh reality is that change is the only constant in life. While doing my graduation, I never thought that I’ll move out of city to pursue further studies. Somehow it was never in ‘Plan’. After all, there is no dearth of resources and opportunities in Delhi. But then again, change has a tendency to approach when you least expect it. 

So, after a series of flunked MBA entrances, a disastrous third round of interview for M.Sc. (IT), a newly discovered dis-interest in teaching profession and an accidental application on insistence of a very dear friend, I was suddenly shifting my life to Jaipur for doing masters in computer applications.  To my utter surprise and amazement, I enjoyed this change to the hilt. This was a huge change, impacting almost every aspect of my existence. Earlier I was staying at home under a protective shield of parents, now I was living in PG along with a happily-weird, unique and adorable roommate. Earlier I never used to bother about my monthly expenses, but now I was planning every penny judiciously. You get the picture right?

I discovered a sense of responsibility in doing routine tasks like buying groceries for whole week or planning household chores on weekends and not to mention, a new found freedom in living alone. In the course of time I developed my own views on differences between a busy metro like Delhi a laidback city like Jaipur. PG and hostel life was super fun. Every day brought something new. While criticizing the quality of PG/hostel food, bunking boring lectures, evading teachers on the way to college canteen and cursing course syllabus, semester after semester, I made some amazing friends for life. 

I managed to pass all my semesters with decent grades, thanks to my ever concerned, comparatively disciplined roomies and some luck. Landed myself a job with my dream company and started my next journey in another city, Bangalore as a professional. I stayed in Jaipur for two and a half years. Now, after almost ten years later, if I look back and get into an evaluating mode, I would say that this maiden journey really shaped me up as a person. I’ll fall short of adjectives and examples, if I start describing each aspect of this wonderful time of my life. So I’ll stop here and leave it to the experience itself to make you experience what I experienced! In easy words, I’ll command, every one of you my dear fellow crocodile-selves, to buck up yourself, fasten up your seatbelts and experience the roller coaster of a big change at least once in your lifetime.

This was my #StartANewLife story, hoping somebody somewhere would get inspired after reading it.  Do leave your comments below.

Sunday, March 22

Summer of 90’s

It was the era, when we didn’t have the internet; we had comics.

Summer holidays was the time which was eagerly awaited by all. The time where after a competitive cricket match session eating ice-cream together while analyzing the match like Harsha Bhogle would make us tremendously happy.  
We used to have a plan for every specific time of the day, used to start our day early with a warm up cricket match + swimming session. Heavy breakfast of parathas with overflowing butter…yummy. True happiness. 

Due to the scorching heat, afternoon was spent playing cards, music dhamaka, ludo, recreating movies, quizzes, reading and sharing comics, video games to name a few. Aah….it was pure fun. These small sessions filled my afternoon with pure happiness. 

Evening was the time when we used to have a fixed cricket match with local mohalla team. After assembling at the fixed point, we used to make strategies which generally used to work for us. The winning amount was spent wisely on a veg patty, coke and an ice cream each. 

After an hectic evening, we used to run home, to watch the television, duck tales, tales spin, alladdin, small wonder to name a few were among the favorites and were not missed at any cost. 

The late evening were spent gossiping, fooling around, playing with a pet dog, damsharas, antakshari and contest where we used to have enormous leg pulling and fun. And who can miss, the story telling by grandmother, before we go to sleep. I wish I can go back to the summer of 90’s.  

These small moments make you realize that happiness lies in small things. Few of the ones I specially remember are:-

1.     Playing with my dog (dobberman) for just 15mins used to make me forget all the miseries I had during the day.
2.     A 1 rupee orange candy in the summers
3.     A additional life or an extra coin in video games
4.     A glass of coke ( with a hint of salt in the scorching heat
5.     Woke up and realise, you still have some more time to sleep specially in the winters.
6.     Sharing comics with friends.
7.     Dancing with your friends on your favorite song

These days it is becoming easy to miss on the simple things which bring smile and fills you with happiness. I think what we should really do is be more human. Go to him/her, talk in person, put that phone down. Share your stories rather hiding yourself behind a screen, be yourself rather than, trolling somebody.

These were the moments which bring a smile on my face even now; I would like to know about your moments too. I hope today is one of the happiest day of your life. Do leave your comments and share your thoughts with me.  

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