Friday, June 15, 2018

BOOK REVEW: VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE

Veronika Decides to DieVeronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The initial pace of the book was pretty slow and I had a challenge to hold on and continue. But with the progress of the story and the coming in of characters Mari, Zedka and Eduard, the plot becomes very interesting. Dr. Igor is a very ambitious doctor in his bold research steps.

I remember having read in Steven Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" about the best way to set our goals is to think of what the world around in different layers of relationships i.e. family, friends, colleagues,etc would want to think of us once you leave this earth. Those are the biggest dreams that lie dormant inside us.

In this novel there is one step further that the author takes us and that is to explore the embarassing territories of our dreams which may not necessarily be what people would want to speak about you but what you would like to experience in life.

On the whole I liked the book. I have had the opportunity to observe persons with schizophrenia and those who were about to embrace death soon, from very close quarters and so I was able to understand the rhythm of Eduard and Veronika. Some of the takes of Paulo on sin in the Garden of Eden is interesting.

Definitely a book worth a read.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A FEATURE ON MY SECOND BOOK IN THE MEDIA

Dear Friends,
Happy to share this piece with you. This is a feature on my second book "A Pearl From Every Oyster". There is indeed a long way to go in my writing journey, but still this is a good feeling. I thank all of my friends who were part of my writing journey with their feedback.

The link to the feature is below:




Wednesday, March 14, 2018

THE FINAL JOURNEY

It was a rainy morning in October 1982. I was nine years old then. Although the peculiar stench of the mortuary was making me uneasy, I still enjoyed the rhythm of the water drops falling from the grill of the large window beside which I was standing. 

My mind though was still in parallel pondering on why Dad had woken me up early that morning and taken me with him to the mortuary. I knew Dad was here to assist with the burial of John Uncle who had passed away a few days back.  John Uncle was a widower. He had been staying in Chennai and all his three sons were settled outside India. They would be reaching only that day afternoon. Some friend had to step in to support the family in the absence of his children.  


Dad was a pillar of silence as he stood beside me. He got the news  from John Uncle's neighbours, only after the body was kept in the mortuary. Standing beside him was another man of almost the same age as him. He was a close relative of John Uncle who had come from Kerala to attend the funeral.


There were a few other people, possibly the family members of the other departed ones whose mortal remains were also kept there. Soon, I saw two attenders carry the body of John Uncle out of the chambers and then place it on the floor. The sheet that covered the mortal remains was old and dirty and so was the attire that was on it. They lifted the head and placed it on a wooden block, so as to keep it raised. The two attenders proceeded to strip the clothes from the body and then with an ordinary bar soap that is normally used to wash clothes, proceeded to bathe and clean the body.


I turned away from that ghastly scene and looked out through the window. I tried to keep my eyes and thoughts fixed on a crow outside whose feathers were all ruffled up after it had shook off the rain water that had dressed it. I could feel Dad's hand pat me from behind.

"Do you remember going to John Uncle’s house last Christmas as part of our carol group? It was drizzling then and he did not let us inside. We could hear him say that he felt that we would dirty the house, as we were all wet. And so the entire carol group stood outside the gate and sang two songs and then we left. And today, you see the irony. The clothes that were on his corpse and the floor where it is kept now are all dirty. This is life. There is nothing here that we can possess and take with us my son. Unless you have exhibited love and respect, mostly you will not get it in return.", he said calmly. The two attenders dressed the body again and soon we left the place along with the body.

As I left that place, although it was a harsh reality of life that Dad had shared, I found it very difficult to digest. But that’s what life is, when it shows its ruthless face.

You can have some more taste of my writing through my books. Visit them at:

A Pearl From Every Oyster - India Link

A Pearl From Every Oyster - USA Link

Indelible Eternal Etchings - Poetry- USA Link

Monday, February 26, 2018

UPLIFTING TRAITS FROM LIFT RIDES

The hubbub of the audience beyond gave me creeps as I stood like an ice statue behind the curtain. I was in my kindergarten then and my parents were also there as part of the audience to witness my performance in a stage play that was coming up next. I could feel the heaviness of my breath as the announcement went by and the curtain went up. I could feel my legs shaking and I just did not move an inch. I continued to stand there like a statue. It was the play of the popular kindergarten story "The Monkey and the Cap Seller". I was the cap seller and I had to make the first moves in the play and here I stood like a rock instead. My friend Simon, who was supposed to be the monkey, was all active as he was supposed to be and waiting for my move. My parents urged me with signs and gestures from where they sat so that I would overcome my frozen state, but I just stood there. Many in the audience smiled, giggled and cajoled and nothing worked. Soon the curtains came down and I was taken off from the stage.




I never ventured into a stage activities for the next six years and then made my next attempt at small public speaking opportunities at school. Although the start was shaky, I managed it well as I was fluent in my language. But still, I was not that natural and free through the first ten minutes while I got onto the stage anytime. I always felt conscious until these initial hiccups went by each time and thereafter I could see that I became stronger. To beat this jittery patch, I made several plans. The plan that I put to use mostly, was to get behind the stage early and have a feel of the audience before my turn came in so that I got used to the crowd.  With the passage of time, I was on stage several times as part of presentations and seminars and these strategies worked well for me. But still, when suddenly put on a stage in front of a huge crowd, I would still get the flutter of wild butterflies deep in my tummy.

I also noticed that many times I would get this same funny feel while waiting for lifts at my office. I would be close to the lift door waiting and suddenly the lift would open with people jam packed inside. Each of them would look into my eyes and I would be taken unawares. There would be nothing I could do looking at each of them and for the span less than a minute that the lift door took to close, all eyes would be at me. I would move away from that spot or shift my eyes away.

One day I witnessed a young recruit handle this situation with such grace. I was inside the jam packed lift and as soon as it opened, I saw this young gentleman with inquisitive eyes and a sly smile assess the situation quickly and then make a graceful bow. It was really an amusing scene for all of us as he remained outside with a smile on his face. A few days later, I saw the same gentleman again while I was inside a lift which was not really jam packed, but seemingly so. And this time he was quick to discern and very beautifully handled the situation. "I think Madam, you can move a little to the left and Sir, you could just step a little backwards, so that this little soul can find a place" he said to a very senior lady and gentleman in the lift and beautifully created space where all of us inside thought was really impossible. After this happening, my respect for him grew all the more. At those moments I really wished that I had been so bold, cool and graceful when I was young. But many times a chunk of any trait comes with the genes and thereafter we get to work on it and polish it further. But I see possibilities and I believe this is an uplifting trait to have.

You can have some more taste of my writing through my books. Visit them at:

A Pearl From Every Oyster - India Link


Indelible Eternal Etchings - Poetry- USA Link

Thursday, January 18, 2018

AT THE CHENNAI BOOK FAIR WITH MY SHORT STORY BOOK : A PEARL FROM EVERY OYSTER

It was a great evening with family at the Chennai Book Fair. I had the opportunity to see my short story book 'A Pearl From Every Oyster' being perused and bought by readers. We took some photographs that day. I came back again with my office friends for a second visit the next day. Though we all feel that the reading habit has generally come down, the book fair still had a huge response.

I have been to the fair earlier, but this is the first time as an author and it's a different feel.

Standing for a long time was tiring but once we see a good book, we feel the energy flowing into us again.

The fair closes on 22-Jan-18. Chennai friends can pick it up there for a good price.


The book is also available online.


Please visit the link below to see more details:

For print paperbacks:
INDIA

USA

UK

For Kindle eBooks:
USA

UK


AUSTRALIA


CANADA

Please feel free to share and forward to as many friends you can and help me reach more readers.
Happy Reading friends !!!



Monday, January 8, 2018

RELEASE OF MY SECOND BOOK: A PEARL FROM EVERY OYSTER

BOOK RELEASE:
BOOK YOUR PRINT PAPERBACK AND eBOOK COPIES ONLINE OR PICK THEM UP AT THE CHENNAI FAIR. 
FAIR CLOSES TOMORROW.
Hello,
Happy to share with you the release of my second book 'A Pearl from Every Oyster'.
Motivation:
This is a collection of 22 stories drawn from the lives of people I connected with.

Audience:
This book will cover a wide age RANGE from age 12 or 13 to the serious readers in their 60s and in particular will help individuals to reflect and see things in life in depth. These are stories that inspire and recharge your life batteries.


Please visit the link below to see more details:

For print paperbacks:
INDIA

USA

UK

For Kindle eBooks:
USA

UK


AUSTRALIA


CANADA

Please feel free to share and forward to as many friends you can and help me reach more readers.
Happy Reading friends !!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DANCING FOR MY FRIEND SOUMITRA

In the year 1978, I was on my way along with Dad to attend the Good Friday mass at a church at Broadway, Chennai. Our bus was making its way and stopped somewhere close to Sowcarpet. The conductor announced that it had broken down. We got down and had to walk a little distance to get to the next bus stop. As we made our way through the busy road, I noticed that a portion of the road had been festooned high up with coloured flags and flowers. There was some function coming up and preparations were on in full swing. A group of young boys, younger than me, were dancing passionately while the popular song ‘Oh Kaike Paan Banaras Wala’ from the Hindi blockbuster Don, was being played through loud speakers. Dad in front was walking at a steady pace looking out for the next bus while my pace slowed down every time my eyes looked at the footwork of the boys dancing. At one point in the song after the interlude, the song stops fully while the playback singer takes off with the next paragraph. It was so beautiful to see the boys stop and gesture exactly like Amitabhji and take off with the dance again.

Realizing the distance that had grown between me and Dad, I hurried a little and caught up with him while my mind was still fully into the dancing. I really wanted to dance with abandon but I knew that it would be something that Dad would never approve. And so, I kept walking, went past the dancing scene and still moved on looking back while heading for the bus stop.

There came up another situation years later, while I was at college,. Our batch was returning to Chennai after a day long trip to Neyveyli. After dusk set in, there was singing and revelry inside the bus. A few of my batchmates, mostly friends from the North, started dancing to the tune of a Rajinikanth Tamil song. My feet kept tapping to the tune of the songs that followed and the temptation that grew inside me was so big that I could not sit quietly. Towards the end of the trip, to the surprise of all my batchmates, I was there up and dancing. Once we got down from the bus, a few commented saying “Hey man, I cannot believe that this guy danced”. Their expression made me feel as though I had done something I should not have done.



Many years rolled by and I had got into a job with my first employer in Chennai. My colleagues and I were at a marriage reception in Chennai. We had got in there pretty early and were waiting for the bride and the groom to arrive. The guests were slowly coming in and I could see the seats getting filled up. My friend Soumitra from Kolkata sat beside me. In a flash he was up and dancing to the tune of the popular song ‘Ek Dho Teen Chaar Panche Saath’. The crowd seated there were mostly South Indians and almost all of them were surprised seeing this young man dance in the middle of a silent crowd. Soumitra was in full flow initially and then soon realized that not one in the crowd were clapping or supporting his dance. His energy drained and as I was sitting close to where he was performing, I could see the embarrassment that was slowly dressing his face. He was almost on the verge of giving up and some kind of gloom dressed his face. Soon my Divisional General Manager, who was from Mumbai, got up and clapped for him. At that moment, I got up and joined him and danced along with him. I could see the relief on Soumitra’s face. We continued and danced for two more songs and then went back to our seats. He shook hands with me and gave a sigh of relief. I could see it on his face that day.  Thereafter, I got a few chances to dance with him on other occasions. I wouldn’t say that I performed without any embarrassment during these times. I was certainly conscious about the crowd around not being in approval of the same.

I still love dancing and spend a lot of time watching some of the dance numbers from the Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil numbers. The three numbers of Amitabhji from the films Don. Amar Akbar Anthony and Kaalia still stand out for it’s naturality and grace. It’s not always the technical correctness that some actors bring in that matters but the casualness in the dance with which a commoner can connect and try out dancing that makes a few dance numbers so very good.

Dad never knew about my dancing nor does anyone at home know about this either :)


You can have some more taste of my writing through my books. Visit them at:

A Pearl From Every Oyster - India Link


Indelible Eternal Etchings - Poetry- USA Link

A Pearl From Every Oyster -USA Link

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