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Hand in hand for eternity

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"The Stopover" - A Review



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As most people reading this must already know, we are publishing a book soon, a set of anthology – created by members and writers of www.socialpotpourri.com. The journey of creating a book, I discovered is cluttered with obstacles small and big. Even so for a first time publisher! But with an iron will we continue and defeat everything that comes on our way!

In the middle of such a battle on a hectic day last week a mail dropped into my inbox. The signature below said Deepa Rachel Pinto and she introduced me to a project that she herself has been involved in - a creation of a novel form in books. They are going to call it “The Stopover” she wrote and described it as “a first-of-its-kind Photo Fiction”. As soon as I showed my keenness in getting a sneak peek, another mail followed promptly comprising a part from the book for me to review. Below are my thoughts on the same.

I think, it would be fair to say, calling it a “photo-fiction” would be under-estimating its’ potential. It is much more than just those two words. It captures your mind in three dimensions. It’s a story (“a blend of fiction and fact”) said in the course of a travelogue with captivating pictures of the journey that the protagonist makes. Neither would it be too far-fetched to say the style reminds one of Shakespeare’s “story within a story”. Only in this case there are several plots built in.

The part of the book that was shared with me is about heart-broken Varun who travels to Leh, for that much needed break after a storm has passed his life and left him in tatters! The writer takes the reader through his journey in simple English. We slowly unscramble Varun’s angst, his confusion and pain while we explore parts of Leh that he treads on. Through him we learn not only that this place exists but a whole deal more like its history, the topography, the culture there, the locals, the schools and much more.

The photographs that run along the narrative are most captivating. And even though I am pretty familiar with the history of Tibetans; the creation of Leh; The Dalai Lama; and the politics behind it all, “The Stopover” did explore unfamiliar grounds for me. The reader learns through the mind of Varun and sees through his eyes. To that extent at times he/she is made to play the role of the protagonist himself. The conversational mode of writing makes it a fast paced reading yet at times just admiring the pictures and imagining the scenes told in the book makes one linger.

Overall I think the book will surely open a brand new concept of narration that will open new paths for publishers and writers alike. It is not without reason that “The Stopover” Facebook page has a following of 55,000+ even before it has been published. I am inspired by these guys and this has been a sign for me to tread along with all that I have planned for my book! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lover's Cove Challenge #4 8-26-2012





It's that time again! Time to head on over to apd-loverscove.blogspot.com, other wise known as Lovers' Cove and take part in this week's challenge! Please read the Guidelines and Q's & A's thoroughly before entering! In short, you must come up with a line of 15 words or less and your line must continue on in thought based on what the previous person on the linky wrote! 


Andy`s Line
      "Behold! I am renewed again, for the spirit of love has descended upon my heart!"

 Crystal`s Line
       "Years, I've wandered aimlessly through the midst of the shadows trying to elude the dark."

 Elen`s Line
       "Darkness isn´t always so dark, sometimes becomes hope when our imagination wants to look for a light"

Radwa’s Line
 "A light that has been trying to find its sight through such darkness night"

My line
This darkness becomes me; I am but the light of our shadow that quivers now


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Feel Achieved


When I started blogging in howaboutthis I never knew I would one day write to share my achievement here. No don't get me wrong! I haven't gone to the moon yet; or even to Genova for that matter! But a couple of years ago, for no credit of mine, I met Sulekha Rawat online and somewhere during our chats we suddenly devised Social Potpourri. As one of its features, we thought, it would be way cool to have a meetups section where like minded members could meet offline to share things they were interested in or curious about. Its been a year since Social Potpourri was formed. We managed some amazing meets during this time. It was not easy at first; still is not to get people to understand where we are headed. 
However, on 28th of July Meenu Mehrotra, called to discuss an idea of a meet she had in mind. We called it "Construction of a Writers' Mind". 
The morning of the meet welcomed Delhi in drizzles which turned into raging pellets of rain. The majority of the Delhi population heaved a sigh of relief but Social Potpourri was not too happy. We waited an extra 20 minutes for participants to arrive and then started off without some who had registered for the meet. 
Engrossed in what Vikrant Dutta was saying about his decisions in life and how he came to be a writer I had forgotten about my worries for less participants. I turned around to ask for a cup of tea and was amazed to see what I saw. 
The room was full and the meet was just the warmest close knit meet I have ever attended. Even that is not the achievement I am talking about though. The achievement my dear friends is that me, the most technology challenged person in the planet, managed to make a "movie" of the meet! Its not the best but I did manage to bring it together - I feel really achieved. Do check it out and let me know what you think please. 


"THE CONSTRUCTION OF A WRITERS' MIND"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lover's Cove Challenge - part III

Andy David initiated a brilliant poetry link up session called Lovers' Cove. And here I am trying to participate in the third round of fun and literature all of which can be read at http://apd-loverscove.blogspot.in/2012/07/lovers-cove-challenge-3-07262012.html. Here's my 15 word contribution that will ultimately meet with the sea of brilliance over at Andy's blog. 



"I drink your hues, merge into me, be born with me in a new color"

I hope that does justice

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lovers' Cove Challenge


Lovers’ Cove Challenge #2  06-27-2012
Lover’s Cove set a writing challenge, which you can read about at  http://apd-loverscove.blogspot.com/   I continue from Sulekha's thought
I spent seven joyous years, besotted in the love of someone I knew not. How is this different then? Strangers both; One my past and the other my prospective future. 



Path to the Future

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lovers' Cove May Link Up

Andy David initiated a brilliant poetry link up session called Lovers' Cove. He gave us his first line which can be read at http://apd-loverscove.blogspot.in/2012/05/lovers-cove-challenge-1-05262012.html. I continue his thought with

But I bleed enjoying your thorns of love, rest awhile so I may breathe

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Typical Morning for me


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I sail through scenes of a typical Gurgaon Monday morning – a scrawny guy comes out of a tin hut and scratches his behind sleepily, the corners of his mouth have stains of dried drool from his restless night, he stretches and yawns a jaw breaking yawn; the early morning commuter drives with blaring music to keep himself awake, taps his fingers on the steering wheel, and shakes his head vehemently at the scenes of the day shaping up in his head; a dog stretches out and leaves his spot from the middle of the road to look for food and water; a prostitute comes out sheepishly from where she has been working and walks briskly towards the nearest auto rickshaw, tries to smoothen the ruffled hair, she probably was not given the time to get decent before she left. 


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I watch these scenes, as I tutor my daughter nonchalantly about farm animals – the topic of the week. I observe everything and return my attention to the interior of the car. I realize something about myself – that I look at the world like a spirit, as if I wasn’t there adding to the camaraderie, like my driver was not trying to avoid the speed breaker with furrowed brows, like the little child next to me wasn’t like thousands of sleepy children this morning, just craving to go back to their room and create a brand new shiny mess. 

We halt at a red light, a bike stops next to our car. The window on my side is rolled down so I can catch some of the morning air. I can hear the two men on the bike talking over the buzz of the traffic. It’s strange that they find it difficult to hear each other when I can hear them clearly at a distance! The driver curses his addiction to cigarettes. He compares smokes to “suicide bombers’. He points out that cigarettes burn themselves to kill the smoker. His friend disagrees; he says he only wishes it could be that spontaneous. The lights change leaving me with a thought.


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We only stop next in front of our destination, the school. I pick my daughter to take her off the car, smoothen her dress, ruffle her hair and then put it back in place again, kiss her a little too aggressively on both her cheeks and tell her to go and have fun, start conquering the world right from here and that I will be back to pick her up when she’s done. She gives me a hug and walks toward her school, I sense a loss already but shoo the feeling away as one of those useless silly ones that are meant to slow you down. As I am walking away, I meet a new friend. Someone I look forward to seeing in the school. I walk towards her with my usual “sup”… She says nothing except, “I am putting this away for much too long…” She notices my questioning face and says “didn’t you notice, I’m growing my hair” and then she lifts her tracks to show me her legs. I laugh and we walk together towards where our cars await us.

A year in Gurgaon and I already possess a world-full of things that have roots here. Memories of where I spent the last few years grow dimmer with every passing day. I have already started to forget the frequency of my favorite station. Here, if both my Queen friend and me are bored at the same time, we agree to meet to sail through time. I let him take over the conversation, so we don’t have to put the TV on to tide over the awkward silences. There are none when he is around and it’s pleasant. Lately though, he seems to be as busy as I am and when we meet its different. It was because of him that I could add a life lesson to my list. “No one wants to look you in the eye when you are trying to make money”. 

When that thought occurred to me, I urgently reached over for my laptop and double clicked on the word processor. I needed these thoughts to be processed – thank you Microsoft!! And here is what I wrote, “They say it’s a sin to pray for material gain. They also say I am a part of the machine called the universe. I should pray for the whole and forget petty things like my own gain. But how does the whole function smoothly if its parts are not well oiled. I take it upon me hence, to look after my well being. That is a task I take on for the well being of my whole, the universe. I do it for all of you and you should do it too.” I picture myself saying this to a crowd and what echoes back are giggles and an angry murmur. I smile, save the document and get ready for a shower. 

Later that evening, a friend calls to say he’s going to play a poker game. I grimace and exclaim “don’t you have anything better to do?” He replies “does that mean you don’t know how to play the game?” I am at a loss of words. And then I wonder how many times have I given myself away like that. Lately I have come to believe that my thoughts are visible. I am convinced that any person talking to me knows what I am thinking, even if I am enacting something vastly different. It’s not because I am an open book or anything. I believe this to be true of everybody in this world. Our body gives out signals of the truth, to warn or to compliment the listener. The listener should just listen with his/her soul. 

So I listen, I really listen these days. I hear the needs around me, the joy, the fear, the pride, the embarrassment, the annoyance, the exhilaration, the hurt and I cannot help but wonder… am I more receptive to myself now? Is that why these emotions feel free to open up to me? I feel like a vulnerable bunch of exposed nerves. But like I said I am a part of that Monday morning, the morning will protect me like it does all who are there in the scene. I will then wrap the scenes of Gurgaon around and walk straight into life. 





Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Calling


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I hear a calling. I hear it as soon as I wake up in the morning and it lasts throughout the day. It’s a pleasant distraction in the quiet hours of the morning newspaper, an addictive humming during my commutes, a welcome mat when I return home and a lullaby when my eyelids get heavy. I see before me a path unfolding itself, opening out as I walk, green pastures or fields of marigold. I see myself armored in a desert – still walking, still humming that tune. I see myself create an inheritance for posterity, a foundation for the needy, a bridge for people separated. I hear the rumble of footsteps getting closer almost drowning the faint buzz of discontent! I hear the applaud of the gathered world while someone far away draws the curtain to keep the light away. I strain to hear the buzz, trace the unhappy. But I realize with joy that on this path I can only walk on one direction. I can look back but cannot retrace. I hear a voice telling me to focus and I do. I am headed towards www.socialpotpourri.com  

Have you ever felt this strongly about something? Do you think I should heed to the calling?