Karna’s Tragic Personal Choices and Its Outcome

Book Title: Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen

Author: Kavita Kane

Translator:  N/A

Rating: 3.25 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

The central character is Princess Uruvi of Pukeya and she is the main storyteller. The entire novel is from her perspective. Karna as her husband is seen from her emotional view. Uruvi way of looking at things is colored with her sense of being fair towards all.

She is caught between two men, who are arch-rivals determined to fight to death, if the opportunity arises. How that opportunity arrives and how it pans out is the entire story narrated mostly from Uruvi’s view and later, the narration of war has more than one voice.

Uruvi’s thoughts are well-structured about various aspects of women’s role in the society of ancient India. Woman are used and discarded with little thought in the ancient world even if they were Princess or Queen. A woman is just a prized object to be donated like an object for fulfilling allegiance towards the winner of the competition.

Kavita juxta poses the various strong women characters and comments using the view from Uruvi’s point. The enforced choices that each woman makes in their personal and social life nags Uruvi’s sense of right. Of course, Queen Kunti’s choices directly affects Uruvi’s life.

Story in a Nutshell:

Mahabharata unlike Ramayana has many side stories, that culminated in the eventual battle, that defined the balance of justice. The novel is about lesser known stories that are not even mentioned about Karna’s life. His personal life as seen by his second wife Princess Uruvi gives an insight into this most wronged character of the epic.

Karna’s obsession to be recognized as man of honor and remove the label of his low birth, almost colors everything in this story. Throughout the novel, his view of how the society sees him plays the vital part of all decision-making. He feels trapped in his role of an adopted son of a Charioteer.

He is also unwilling to give up on his adopted family, while secretly harboring angst on his natural parents for abandoning him. At every given point of decision-making, he sides the people who had stood by him, despite the mystery behind his true identity. The fact that they stood with him against all odds, becomes the factor for his steadfast loyalty towards them.

He is so loyal to his friend, that he is willing to support him even when his friend is wrong. By way of association Karna also becomes the villain of the piece. Karna’s strength of conviction, that his friend is faultless is so strong, that he is unwilling to see it differently, even when, Uruvi points out the fallacies of Duryodhana.  

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

Karna’s life from the perspective of Uruvi might not be a complete portrayal of this misunderstood and failed war-hero. This specific aspect about Karna really captured my imagination.The motif played throughout the novel is one of societal recognition and bearing the label of being a ‘sutaputra.’ Kavita portrays Uruvi as someone who makes her choice of selecting the man she desired to wed; but even in that, the wedlock didn’t give Uruvi the joy that she hoped for; yet there was some really endearing moments in her married life with Karna.

War by any standards has elements to it, that leaves behind a bitter after taste. As you witness, how Uruvi’s simple statement, that her love for Karna was unconditional and watch how it becomes a hindrance to her understanding of her own mind, as her very choice of her man brings her morale down. Karna is forced by his principle to side the bad men. Uruvi has great difficulty accepting this and never gives up, even though she points out the fault in Karna’s processed thoughts.

At the same time, there are glimpses to Karna’s characteristics, which reveals a man of honor and integrity, that even his bad choice of friendship and misplaced loyalty, this only makes him a tragic hero whose redemption was not possible, even past his death.

Both Karna’s loyalty to Duryodhana and Uruvi’s love towards Karna are nemeses choice for them. The lead pairs make the story a tragic loss of noble beings. Yet, it invokes a pathos in the readers for Karna’s end in the battlefield, disarmed and helpless. His death was already decided by the set of curses from his tutors and other celestial beings. He is nonchalant about his actions from the past and that almost places the final wood piece on his preset pyre.   

Kavita’s voice when she used minimalist brush stroke for the Kurukshetra war in the voice of Uruvi, brought out the dire straits of war in a more poignant style.With each fall of brave warriors of the lore, the war gets to be uglier to even watch through the voices of the varied narrators. One can feel the deep sense of despondency and death of humanity in general.

My Opinion

I believe when reading ancient stories, one must treat them as literature that often reflect the past era. There are two variant contingent thoughts for me. One, do we look at the ancient past as a more advanced pure age, or two, do we see it as an era that is just pulling its way into the more advanced thought processing era.

When we use the prism of the past being much more progressive than the present, then I feel there is a lot of disappointment instore for the readers. Since, the story speaks of everything going from bad to worse. The Mahabharata war ends the Indian Bronze age and ushers in the Iron age or Kaliyuga. As per ancient text, the Iron age is riddled with all kinds of immoral activities and darkness. The story ends with a paraphrased statement about Karna and Uruvi’s son Vrishkethu being under Krishna and Arjuna’s guidance.   

So when we read the worst from the Bronze age the book leaves one hopeless of the coming age.There are no positive thoughts at all. One even feels sad for the violence in Duryodhana’s death. As a retelling and narration of Princess Uruvi and Karna’s life this book is truly wonderful to read, though it is a one bumpy emotional ride.    

Image Source: Karna’s Wife Cover page

 

Antal’s Love for the Mãl

Book Title: Antal and Her Path of Love: Poems of a Woman Saint from South India

Author: Vidya Dehejia

Translation of:  Andal’s Thiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumozhi

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Translator:

Vidya Dehejia wears multiple caps in her profession as a passionate art historian. Much like a detailed investigator, Vidya probes deep into the past and pulls out the stories behind artifacts and monuments clearly listing the era of progress in Art history and social settings of the past.

Vidya Dehejia’s professional website provides interesting information about all her interest areas. She is Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University. and visiting professor to the Mario Miranda Visiting Research Professorship at the Goa University.

Her Exhibition show her in-depth knowledge of the South Asian Art History. She is also a Padma Bhushan awardee, whose passion for the Art world sparkles in every one of her books published so far.

In this book, she has picked the work of the Woman Saint Antal and her center-piece theme of her poems is Krishna one of Vishnu’s ten incarnation. The Southern milieu works of the Alwars are great inspiration for sustaining the growth of Vaishnavite religion.

Vidya has done a clean translation and has been very detailed to a ‘T’ about various aspects of the poems. The translation is clean and the author had done a wonderful job of looking at the text from various perspectives, thus providing a rounded view of the age and time.

Poems in a Nutshell:

Antal is one of the 12 Alwars and the only woman alwar who is recognized and worshipped in the Temples of Srivaishanava Hindu religion. Her work in praise of the Lord Vishnu is used as text to churn the spirit of worship from within to any who reads or recites her poems.

Antal has written two poems, Thiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumozhi. The shorter poem Thiruppavai, consisting of 30 verses, is popular and is recited during the month of Marghzi (Period: between Mid-Dec-Mid-Jan) in the Srivaishanava temples even today.

Both the poems are focused on the central theme, the love of Mãl or Vishnu or Krishna. Andal pours forth her love for Krishna in her two works with such passion that the enthusiasm of her love gets transferred into the hearer of the pasuram or verses.

Between the two works Thiruppavai is mellower than the Nacciyar Tirumozhi, which is an outcry of a young maid longing for her lover. The vastness of the poem’s angle can be seen in the approach that Antal had on the verses that she rendered in praise of the lord Vishnu.

Nacciyar Tirumozhi is more erotic and speaks of a lamenting lover grievance to be with her love. But the second work Antal is more herself and unrestricted. Where Thiruppavai is restrictive to proprietary behavior in a social settings, the Nacciyar Tirumozhi breaks those boundaries. Her second work is more a personal and private conversation between her and her lover Mãl.

Vidya does a beautiful work of bringing out the huge difference in the works and Antal cannot be better represented textually. The translated text flows beautifully and there is an unique understanding of the poetess which brings out her inherent fragrance of spirituality.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the way the words flowed into each other. The translator has done a wonderful work of almost replicating the musical quality from the source language to targeted language of translation, English. Even though both the languages have a huge difference; but Vidya had done justice to both the languages.

There were places where the flavors of South Indian scenario comes out beautifully. The rustic life and Antal’s love in translation didn’t lose its quality and intensity.

My Opinion

This book opened many of my sensitive points of thoughts in my mind as I read it. I also understood that the conversation of spiritual nature when based on emotional attachment to spiritual head, it removes almost all barrier of expression. When love becomes the expression, then the rules of social life just vanishes.

Image Source:  Amazon

My First Book on Kindle Paper White | The Experience

Book Title: Half-Girlfriend

Author: Chetan Bhagat

Translator:  N/A

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Chetan Bhagat is a writer of Indian origin and widely recognized as popular stream writer. The New York Times calls him “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history”. Of course, you can check the Wikipedia for more info. But I found his official website more informative. I found the Q & A very interesting.

Chetan’s style of writing at least for this novel was very down-to-earth and simple. If I read another story of his, then I can make out if his natural style is to be simple and to the point. But in this novel the storyteller’s voice is very distinctive which I liked.

Chetan as a storyteller gets to my sensitive emotional points, I am invested in the story that he draws out of those bear necessity words. I am someone who reads Virginia Woolf for light reading. I love complex sentences and I am a long sentence writer myself. If sentences get complex and beat around the bush, then one is studiously serious to offer something important to the world. All hail my misconceptions!

But then, if you the above kind of reader, then you are in for a shock, because the main characters one from Bihar and another from Delhi don’t do language. For the most parts, the story moves like an art movie giving an immense sense of reading between the lines. Storyteller was such a pleasure to listen to.

Story in a Nutshell:

A typical college love story and the fate of the lovers in the face of varied life challenges. Relationship definitions under Indian setting and how much goes into maintaining one. The story has been set in contemporary timeline and space-out for a few years. Will the lovers and their love succeed? Well, that is something you might want to read the book and get to know.

The leads Madhav Jha and Riya Somani are in a not-yet-there relationship. A tug of war of emotions that creep in slow process which indicate where the relationship is headed. Simple thing is that the story is about a boy who loves a girl. That girl feels she not yet ready for him and rest of the story is all about why she isn’t and if she would ever be ready to accept his love!

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

There were places in this novel, that I felt Chetan just chickened out. But one thing was very strong for him and that is his English is superlative in its simplicity. He never strayed away from simple and compound sentences and used complex sentences only if he was pushed by the narrative. This makes the story so smooth flowing in the head and reads well.

Books take the head space and I think of it as a tête-à- tête session between the storyteller and the reader. Unlike watching a movie, it is not a communal activity, though the discussion of the books among friends could be a group activity of like or different minded people. So, when I read the book, there were moments when I was rushing to put things together. But Riya’s reasons for her silence was such a shock for me. Do this say that woman are vulnerable all their life on earth.

But I felt Chetan didn’t do a psychological twist on it and couch crashed Riya. I liked that a lot. Sometimes, somethings need to be just not explicit but suggestive. The book is an excellent light read and a travel companion during transit.

This book was a little unusual for me, because I was in the mind of a male and with the view of woman’s thought process from male perspective. Though it was very interesting space to be in, I did feel that emotional complexity and frustration were beautifully administered.

My Opinion

Chetan Bhagat right after Shashi Tharoor was an extreme relief. Shashi’s book cooked my brain while Chetan’s book was a fluffy omelet. IMHO, I believe that this book is wonderfully light reading and of course, the movie version of this book has some beautiful songs.

Image Source:   Amazon

Unearthing My Mother-Tongue with Sujata Bhatt

Today was an interesting day for me. I am excessively emotional about poetry and I love to dabble around with it. I came across this Poem quite by accident really. I was looking for Daksha Sheth’s dance drama titled “In Search of My Tongue” but I kept getting Sujata Bhatt’s poem.

I got fascinated by the link and went over to the page where the poem awaited me with patience. It showed me what I have never really lost. I have felt like an alien at all places because of my English language.

All these years whether at a Convent School, Women’s College, or US College I always felt that I didn’t belong anywhere. Even now I stand as a stranger not knowing when I would reach home.

But this poem gave me back my identity that has been wallowing around in dark corners to hide from the reality of my existence. This poem put into words those unmentioned words that gets stuck within me.

Even now, as I am writing this piece, I tell myself what language is truly me. My understanding of English is a little stronger than my understanding of my mother-tongue Tamil.

Yet I feel I am not accepted by English speaking people and rejected by my own people who take pride in their Tamil knowledge. I can’t be free when I’m among English speakers and I fear my mother-tongue speakers.

In 1998, I got a chance to see the dance drama “In Search of My Tongue” staged by Daksha Sheth dance troupe which was hosted by British Commission in the Government Museum theatre in Egmore, Chennai. This dance drama was based on the poem and was truly a treat to watch.

This was my first live theatre to which I had free passes given by my Uncle. Once seated, I settle down to be entertained. But then, that didn’t happen but it became something else altogether.

The play expounded the birth of language from the initial random sounds to the musicality of words strung together. The human characters in the play began initially by making wide bodily movement and then moved on to produce whole sounds at the end of the play.

When I reflected upon the play, I understood that the birth of storytelling started with wide physical puppet-like movement, then solidified into a string of musical words that was sounded.

Eventually, the sounds got recorded and became printed words on a sheet. Mostly the entire play was aimed at showing the language in symbolic bodily expression and how sound eventually took over the expressions of human emotion.

It set me thinking deep within me as to my own identity and what I perceived to be the person that I am. The confusion both the languages put me in left me bereft and alone to figure my own way out.

To this day I haven’t yet found reconciliation for both the languages. There are few things that my English speaking Tamil heart is unable to really express in any language. Yet struggle through I do.

So when I read the poem “Search for My Tongue” by Sujata Bhatt I understood that my mother-tongue lies awaiting to take over my dreamscapes.

I live for those days when the dreams entirely takeover and I am not overwhelmed by my mother-tongue. But I believe sometimes silence is the best language that expresses everything.

If my mother tongue comes alive in my dream space then I would welcome it with open arms to be my permanent mode of expression. I feel like a prodigal daughter whose family awaits her arrival.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Panoramic View of History of India

Book Title: India Shastra | Reflections on the Nation in our Time

Author: Shashi Tharoor

Translator:  N/A

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Author:

This book is the first of my political books that I have ventured to read up. Shashi Tharoor as an author is very structured and articulate. His thoughts are progressive and innovative. Each chapter has been written with the mindset to expand the readers thoughts and get a general perception of true advancement of India.

As a person who has held official posts in the Indian government, he speaks erudite lingo of progress. Sometimes the best expressed thoughts create the right kind of impact on the readers. As an author I found him to be convincing with much of the intelligence of political tendency to be articulate to a fault.

Sometimes, I found him to be pro-congress in his expressions. I think that is expected given that he belongs in the Congress party. But I was disappointed that it colored some of his perceptions, I looked forward for some fair deal in voicing what Congress did wrong too. But then loyalties are stood up to by using finesse of expressions.

Book in a Nutshell:

The book is divided into 8 section under the varied topics, and sub-topics are covered with well structured thought process. This gives a reader a complete panoramic view of India’s political stand from Pre-Independence day to Modified days. The book contains some really interesting information bundled into knowledge packets. The past, present and future of India is beautifully drawn using words as a medium.

The author has been really sharp and erudite in expressing his visions, provisions for better Indian governance. The common goal of India has been given a beautiful platform to perform and excel with good and wise leadership at the helm. Is there a single party that can provide good leadership at the helm is still open for a debate?

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

Shashi Tharoor as a thinker is par excellence. His thought process is really the niche that this book enjoys and educates the readers. The fact that India at various stage of history has been bouncing back on its feet and continuing its journey of progress. As the largest live democracy India’s political engine works with its regular set of maintenance requirement.

Per se, I had no dislikes about the book; but I did felt that Shashi couldn’t prevent the voice of his party infringe his words in certain places. If BJP voices strongly against minority, then Congress goes equally loud on religion and other weaker points of BJP. But then, there is no ownership to faults in Congress governance. This could possibly be that while representing a greater machine of Democracy’s working in voting populace that will get your eyes popping, I believe the Laxmanian Common Man has to bear the brunt.

My Opinion

I must say that the book was really much more informative than the history book that I read in my school days. Given the requirement to rote learn all details, I wonder if history books do carry the truth or truth according to the group that won the war. When I read Shashi Tharoor’s history, then I wondered all the hardship of memorizing even the swatted shape of a dead mosquito in my history book doesn’t serve the purpose of educating me. But given so many wars, humans have yet to learn that war is futile and not worth all those bloodshed.

History is often written by the winners of the situation and it is angled to make the winner’s look better. But history is always is written on blood that will leave you cold and rebuked as an outcaste. But then what does the common man want of all this history upheaval? I would say that the night will follow the day and likewise, various parties may come and go; but still, public problems are just that, public problem unresolved.

Image Source: Flipkart

A Boy Growing Up In a Graveyard | A Light Take

Book Title: The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman

Translator:  N/A

Rating:   3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Neil Gaiman is an author who loves libraries from his formative years. The surprising thing about this author is his quality of making the horrific almost a natural occurrence. I enjoyed the way he works on the story of Bod and there are some excellent moments of surprises. The flow of words is done with such care, that I like the way things connect in this book.

The storyteller’s style is a little green; but the magic of words and images create a feeling of eerie quality. It is like seeing an Halloween costumed kindergarten play. The various components of this story presents an interesting combination of fictional imagination being given the reality coloring, that have an almost thrilling experience for the reader.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story surrounds around a little boy named Bod and how he grows in the graveyard with complete access to the world of the dead. The experiences that Bod undergoes in this story is quiet interesting. A sense of protectiveness towards Bod that is shown by graveyard dwellers makes the spirits of the death to have reminiscent human feelings. The young baby in the crib loses not only its entire family; but also has to put up with threats to his life, all through his growing years.

The best part of the story is the realistic way in which the story ends. The episodes around the graveyard and Bod’s understanding that takes form through his own emotional growth is a wonderful way to experience this book. There are much more interesting information in the book, that captures the attention of the readers.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I like the way the graveyard is structured and the magical quality with which the scenes are set together to bring out the sense of thrill and a more human view of the life beyond. Of course, the concept of hell is dealt differently in my culture and this book gave me another perspective.

There is nothing that I dislike in this book. I believe I will not come across a book which I would dislike. I always thought that a book is basically a point of view and the author or creator takes the pleasure of creating it for their readers.

My Opinion

I believe this book is a great starting point for young readers who are willing to explore friendly kind of ghosts and other creatures who live in the graveyard. I did tell my niece when she suggested this book from her book shelf, that I am easily frightened person. My niece was very insistent, that I read the book only before I go to sleep. By the time I was four pages down the book with my slow reading, I knew this story to be gripping. I suggest it even for people who are easily frightened to experiment with life in the beyond and quirks around those hangouts.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Home They Brought Her Warrior Dead | By Alfred L. Tennyson

The mind takes a fancy for some deep-seated sorrow and I begin searching for a poem from my past. The one subject which I really loved in my schooling days were the English classes and especially poetry unit. I was unconscious and struggling with my grades, until I was in the eighth. Then, my schooling life’s equation changed completely. Because, in the summer of 1987, I had started to write my journals and experimenting with writing poem with fixed end-word rhyme patterns.

Everything in this life of mine, was for a reason and I strongly believe it. Some of the strange occurrences in my life was an indication for inner growth of my emotional and mental state. I love poetry and still do. For me writing long explanatory prose is tedious; while a rhyming four lines can achieve much more and effectively too!

Today, the sky is filled with rain bearing clouds and the sound of light shower pitter-patters on my window pane, while becoming an ongoing reminder of the climate. The showers reminded me of a brave recent widow whose husband’s dead body arrives home. I remembered the poem but didn’t know who wrote it and was struggling to find this poem.

Somehow this kept reminding me of a Rajput Widow and somehow I got it mixed with Sarojini Naidu. After much permutation combination of search keywords, at last, I found the poem. But then I was saddened that it was not a Indian Poet.

Here is the poem:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45379/the-princess-home-they-brought-her-warrior-dead

You may also listen to it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVi4ZtmEu7I

I was fascinated with Alfred Lord Tennyson’s version of the poem. Somehow, the Authurian Knight having parted with the spirit, now lay motionless on his mansion’s cold floor; while his lady love’s emotions are frozen like his inanimate body. Did it reach my sensitivity? A resounding yes!

This made me interested In Tennyson’s life story. According to me, some of the most experiential writers are people who have lived the words that they write, if not in real-life at least in their imagination compounding from parallel life experience. I believe the poet and their experiences are not far apart. Beneath that camouflage of emotional outburst in verse form lives the very human poet.

I was elated that I found the poem from my past, if I hadn’t found it, I would have worried my mind endlessly. Many a times, I had within me a line from my past which would grip my understanding and emotions like some kind of a fierce hold on my life. That sense of unrest can be very intense for my peace of mind.

Having restored my peace and I watched with fascination at the long narrative about Tennyson’s life and works, courtesy: poetry foundation dot com.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/alfred-tennyson

I often wondered why poems were taught away from the creator of the piece. The quintessential factor is as much the piece, as the creator of the piece. The poem without the poet is simply not a given for me.

I wondered at the meeting of emotional points in Tennyson’s poem and those of Indian sentiments. I believe any warrior’s wife from which ever country, would have been the silently grieving lady who gives expression to her sorrow when her child is placed on her arms. The past and present got culminated in the vision of the future. Why do we have war in the first place? Because we kind of try to justify the need to defend the specific ideologies. Or, simply put, if peace can be achieved only by fighting for it, then so be it attitude! But at the end of the day, we have just lost the best people, given that men and women join the armies, these days.

Where am I hypothesizing in my thoughts about war and warriors? I find it fascinating that brave and courageous warriors are in great demand to create a new world; but I disagree that it be created on the bloodshed of many innocents. I don’t propose war and especially unwarranted, but then what if it is unavoidable circumstance. What would be the most humane stand to take?

The whole gamut of the scenario is reduced to the child on the arms of the mother. Is there going to be a repeat of the incident at a future date with the son now covered with the country’s flag. I don’t agree to that scenario, but then tell me haven’t we witnessed this scene repeat itself in a loop over many centuries.  I am perplexed and confused, since this is a question that will remain unanswerable because braveness calls forth for sacrifice that mere weakling mortals cannot achieve in their lifetime.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Emotional Freewheeling Indian Ads

I have always loved watching Advertisement in various medium. There is a lot of variation in the print and audio-visual format. Each of these medium uses its strength in representing company’s ideologies and product for the intended targeted audience.

Sometimes, I think, when you aim for a specific market, then there is a common aspect that requires to be looked at for the specific point for angling the advertisement. I mean, how do copywriter can come up with such interesting concepts for an ad? The ad becomes the source of social commentary under 3 minutes.

I feel a good ad is a team work’s best effort. The aligning of thoughts from the idea generator to the final executors are a trickle of synchronized understanding of thought process. The sophistication that is found in the present-day adverts can be very enriching experience for an audience, if one could view the content by contrasting it to real-life experience.

I might have been a person who had lived during the time when there was no television at home. Later when it did make an appearance, it was timed screening and of course, now it is 24/7. Any new medium has it own challenges that can be used for the best effect derivation. It is not surprising that exceptional ads are still popular in present-day viewing and are timeless.

Back in my younger days, my attraction towards adverts were more focused on sweets and something that I might get to eat and toys never was a part of it. I simply never thought of toys. Since my interest was centered around in knowing what’s the latest chocolate that I can ask my parents to get for me. Later as I grew so did my perspective towards viewing ads grew. The product no longer mattered and it was more about viewing the ad for its own aesthetics.

One factor, that I looked out for was the varied kind of humor that one can experience from the subtle play of words and actions. An ad can almost be an equivalent of a movie since it accomplishes in limited time what a movie does in hours.

The wiser consumer beliefs are tramped and squashed to create a sense of altered presence in the ad, which appeals to varied taste requirements. Might be, I am overthinking here about the Ad. But then, it is hard to explain what an ad does to the sensitivity if it is well done. There have been times when the ad has moved me to tears. The Ads make the maximum use of Indian emotions, which are as diverse as their understanding of the color spectrum

Sometimes, you see a celebrity making a field’s play with short roles in ads. I feel, it is far more difficult to get an essence of the moment captured in a fine web of emotional understanding and all under two minutes slot. There have been times when an ad could change the thought process for me, but this could just be me.

I seem to sense an interesting movement in the ad world. One could find a timeline in the growth of ad from the time it was first used to the present day VFX varieties. Some products have predictable storytelling; but, the surprise factor ads are the most attractive for me.

Commercial Ads story-line and words are my favorite interest and I like being surprised. Life reduced to its essence could just be a good ad viewed and internalized.

The latest ad that got me interested in the concept it was selling was Idea Ad. Though there are certain aspect of social media which indicate that being yourself on online might not be safe, yet being genuine really got to me. What with all the identity theft and much, there is a lot that needs to be thought about before getting personal on social streams.

Given this thought base, I was just an onlooker of the possibilities on trying the angle presented by the Idea Ad. Social Media rat race is rather hard to live by. I am trying to get away from it. The sense of being totally addicted to likes and comments makes anyone’s personal life an internalized hell. But here is some thought that kind of says about being yourself online.

Watch the Ad here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQbmZjiXdSI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLNajx25hTw

To shift the view from the perfect picture to the image of having some naturalness, I feel that it is definitely worth exploring. I bought the concept definitely; yet I have not converted to the product! The interesting thing about ads are not whether conversion happens; though that is the main intention of the ad, I feel it has to do with just having sold a thought. Ad do add brand value in the long run. It is much like the Seo efforts for a website, which you see over a period of time and not immediately.

Image Source: Pexels.com

Healthy Life of Full Circle Recycling! Pratham Books Champions 2018

This year’s book  for the Pratham Books Championship Programme was “A Cloud of Trash,” written by Karanjeet Kaur and illustrated by Bhavana Vyas Vipparthi.

I enrolled late in the programme with less than two weeks. When I read the story, I got curious about trash!

The topic of Trash was interesting in two ways.

First, I have never thought about what happens to the trash that I throw away! Seriously what did happen to them?!

Second, I cannot wait for an extraordinary event of a trash cloud chasing me to change my ways?!

These might seem relatively not so important questions. But when it appeared in my mind I needed to know what can I do better than what I have been doing?!

Following that twisted questions, I researched on the topic of Trash. Many weeks were spent just getting to understand what trash really was! What was good effects of fully recycling the natural way!

Not surprising, I found some really interesting sources that provided more light on the trash. Currently, the Chennai Corporation has to deal with Mixed Trash which contains wet, dry and harmful wastes all in a huge messed up mix. The current method for managing it is called Integrated Solid Waste Management.

All the mixed waste from house goes into the garbage bins in the street corners which the corporation collects from the corners and dumps in sites without the city limits. The two dump sites in Chennai are Kodungaiyur and Perungudi which take in the mixed waste disposed from the entire city.

Source of Waste are 68% Residential, 16% Commerical, 14% Insitutional, 2% Industrial

Per Capita Waste Levels in various cities are:

City Kg/Person/Day
Chennai 0.71
Kokata 0.66
Delhi 0.65
Mumbai 0.51
Hyderabad 0.65
Bangalore 0.45
Pune 0.53
Ahmedabad 0.42
Kanpur 0.49
Surat 0.47

(Source: Green Earth)

I got so engrossed, that I had not even found a school where I can read to the Children until the very last week of the International Literacy Date!

A few days before September 8, I had approached Jaigopal Garodia Hindu Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School in West Mambalam, Chennai to present this story. The school responded with affirmation to my request to hold a session for grades 3 and 4.

The experience of presenting the story to the children was so enthralling that I think I was inspired to do more for the children.

I collated all the details to make an informational flyer, which is still an on-going activity that was inspired by this book.

Bookworm’s Corner is my small effort to get stories across to children. Every child that I come across has a story of its own and the joy of spending a one-on-one session with a single child is so enriching and so are the group session.

Not surprisingly, I spent one session the previous day with the child from my residency. The next day, when I had to present it to Children at the school it was much more fun.

When I reached the school on Saturday at 9:50 am to converse with the teacher and to present my Session Plan, I was a nervous pot. The school was celebrating Vinayaka Charthurthi. I silently thanked my favorite lord and hoped that He would guide me in the story-reading.

The Head Mistress and the teachers of both grades were such helpful beings. They smoothed the way for me to present the story to the children.

The most interesting thing that got away from this story was the concept of segregating at source. Among the various research sources, I found the place which used a scientific method for making compost of the wet waste.

It is also important to know that when the wet and dry waste are separated, then the value of both the wastes increases.

  • Wet waste can be composted and the by-product of compost can be used in kitchen gardens or gardens near the locality.
  • Dry waste which is not corrupted by the presence of wet ingredient can now be recycled or reused.
  • Harmful chemical waste can be provided to proper channel to prevent leachate of the chemicals.

The take away in my session was not only to use the dustbin, which was what the student took away; but also, to separate wet and dry waste so the trashed out material can be recycled or reused based on their quality.

One happy thing that came out of this experience was the fact that I have begun composting at home using the Daily Dump product, medium Kambha. Watch the video to know how it is used!

There is a sense of excitement and a need to get this story further to other children. This might be a whole year round sharing for me.

Pictures of the session:

Surprised In the Summer of 2000

It was in the year 2000, that I came across Ponniyin Selvan and before that I knew nothing of this epic book. It had happened quiet by accident like much of my other experiences in life.

My father ran a family trust that had printed two books and he wanted to collect the payment for the earlier batch, so he took me along to Higginbothams, a book store in Chennai.

He left me with the books, while he went to settle the payment issue and I was left lost in the world of books displayed on the shelves. Of course, my father regretted leaving alone with the books once he saw the arm load of books that I was carrying to buy.

I was browsing the books in the shelves when I came across a book titled “The First Floods” of Ponniyin Selvan (Part 1) translated by C V Karthik Narayanan. It was the last book on the 12 books I was already holding. But after one look at this book, I moved no further and picked that book to begin reading, just when my father came searching for me.

One look at my expression and my father asked, “You are not thinking of making me pay for all those books, are you?” Well my father can be very easily convinced and I believe my sad puppy face did do its magic. But then he bargained hard and eventually I dropped all the books and chose Ponniyin Selvan alone. I was hugging the copy close to my heart as I walked out of the shop dreaming and quietly convinced that I am the actual owner of an entire world.

It was nearly two years later, that I was able to get the rest of the parts of the book. Appa got a promise from me when I got all the parts on the same day that I am not going to ask him for anything for the rest of the year and I readily agreed to not ask him anything for the rest of my life! But my father just shook his head and got me the books.

My father was a fair person who didn’t exploit the situation by asking me to give up any of my wild ways in life. Mind you, on that day I was willing enough to agree even to study the dry subject Economics too, if I had to redo my college. I was that agreeable to any conditions for the rest of the books.

To this day, if I come across a book, it would stop all my other works completely and I get warned, threatened by my mother for not doing my assigned chores. Eventually, she will give up on me as she knows nothing will stop me from completing the book. She also knew that I will bug her for the rest of her working time to just talk to her about the story that I read. There isn’t any hope for my confirming to house rules until I finish the book that had captivated my sensitivity.

Both my parents were surprised that I was so goo goo and gaa gaa about the historical novel which was popular during their young adult days. They were happy to have a conversation about the Kalki magazine being their favorite and how people in their house would fight for the copy.

Once I finished the book and I wanted the rest of the books. I reread the Part 1 book about couple of more times and every time the magic remained and never vanished from my imagination. I think I feel in love with Vallavarayan Vandiyathevan that summer of 2000.

Around that time, I was part of a Writer’s Mailing List through email. It was very basic and I was trying to get any native English speakers’ opinion on my work. I found myself wanting in trying to be calm and collected but it took me a long time to understand their critic on my works. I wished to know if I could even contemplate publishing them in the future.

I remember writing a piece that was totally inspired by Kalki’s “The First Floods.” Even today when I reread that piece of creative non-fiction, I am reminded of the causative feel that made me write. Even now I feel that magic of reading the hero on a tired horse traversing along the banks of Veeranam was so romantic for me.

When I wrote that piece I was like nothing could be more magical than the moment that I am drawing out of my memory that pure imagination. I almost felt that Chennai had turned into something special and when the Koel’s call resonated in the sky darkened with rain-bearing clouds, my heart would just sing a timeless and ageless song.

I tried really hard to read the book in Tamil since the magic of a language cannot be captured at the same level. But honestly, I think C V Karthik Narayanan had done an exemplary artistry with the translation. The rhythm of a Tamil story in English was beautifully captured. Since then, I am trying to write like Kalki but then nowhere near as yet, I am not giving up hope though. But the truth is that, if you write the way you write, the writer within will find that personal rhythm which the reader is able to connect with eventually.

My favorite character in the epic novel was Nandini and I just loved her role as a vamp. I was like rushing to read the books because there was such energy in the work that I felt enervated as the plot unfolded. I think none of the characters were willfully bad. The shades of grey that I found in their personality were such pleasure, that I found happiness in the balance expressed in the story.

Image Source: Pexels.com