Dear Zindagi -Who’s your Jug? On Friendship – Panchatanthiram

When BlogAdda announced this contest, I was perplexed. In reality, I do not have too many friends. Friends who were close enough once upon a time, have moved on focusing on their lives and new friends. Facebook, Twitter and Blog friends and friends in reality are two different variables.

Then what is a constant???

‘Friendship’ in itself is a tough word to define. As individuals, we grow, physically, mentally, we evolve over a period of time. Our preferences change, with age, hormones play their trick. The five year-old girl in a frock with whom you used to play hide-and-seek when you were five years old as well, changes into a young woman over the next 15 years. The same holds good for boys as well. Chaddi-yaar – underwear-friends at the age of five and at the age of twenty have two completely different connotations in the modern world.

Everyone seems to be leading a dual life! One in reality and one on Facebook!

I seem to digress, or am I on track? How do you define who a friend is?? Is it someone with whom you can share your darkest secrets and all he/she does is listen to you patiently and then says – “Chood yaar! Chal ek sutta maartey hain phir ek beer – sab theek ho jaayega!” — Or is it the chap who says — “Matchaan, for Pete’s sake – get over her – she is not the only girl in the whole wide universe!”

Is it the friend who keeps messaging you to check if you are home after a late-night? Is it the friend who ensures you get the larger slice of cake when you go for a party? Is he/she a friend who keeps reminding you to wear a helmet when you ride the bike? He/she shares the best novels/music/film DVDs. All these are passing clouds in this moment called life.

What defines a friendship?? Lending money in tough times? Donating blood when needed?? Ensuring that he/she does not end up in bad company?? What is friendship?? Who is Jug??? And how does one assume that it is just one person?? Why can’t it be a group of inseparables??

For the purpose of this post, I would like to tag five friends – ‘Panchathanthiram’.

Bragadeesh. He is an entrepreneur managing sales and business development for a digital marketing firm. In addition, he is a published novelist, a cinema-buff, poet, player of the flute and an avid photographer as well. At various points of his life he has dabbled in managing a restaurant, selling fire-crackers online, working as a tour-planner and also coordinated wedding shoots.

Someone who does not necessarily display his warmth outwardly, he is a thinker who plans out surprises for his friends. Be it a birthday treat or a surprise movie get-together, it is tough to beat his planning skills and resource-utilization efforts.

The friend with whom I share a deep bond of admiration and respect is Dr. Ganesh. He is a qualified facial reconstruction specialist. I hope I got the term right! A humour writer with many popular blog posts to his credit, an avid photographer, active quizzer and a repository of information on Chennai and its history.

Jothivel – A traveller, web-designer, arts-enthusiast, historian focusing on ancient Tamil culture, political commentator, movie-buff, ham-radio operator and avid photographer. He offers words of wisdom when there is doubt and is a pillar of support in the Chennai blogging community. He has travelled more than 70% of India by car.

Vinod – A professional photographer, traveller and techie. He quit his IT job to explore his passion of photography and is a prominent wedding photographer based out of Chennai. Very calm in approach, silent, speaks very little but offers guidance to everyone. A regular Sabarimalai devotee as well.

Prason – An engineer, a corporate communications specialist, stand-up comedian, singer and guitarist, fashion-blogger, spiritual blogger, humourist since 1982. There are lots of adjectives to describe him. Someone who embodies wit and sarcasm in equal measure a rising figure in the Chennai stand-up comedy circle.

This is my group of five friends – the ‘Juggers’ or shall I call them ‘Jugheads’.

Har ek dost zaroori hota hai!

Thanks for being a part of my life!

“I am writing about Jug in my life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda

 

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The Best Seller She Wrote by Ravi Subramanian

A review of Ravi Subramanian’s new book The Bestseller She Wrote.

Ravi Subramanian’s – “The Bestseller She Wrote” carries the tag-line – “Love. Betrayal. Redem[tion.” As a reader, what you should note is that these three words are not separated by commas but have periods in between them.

This book was received by the blogger as a part of the “BlogAdda Book Reviews Program” The book has been published by Westland Publishers and is priced at Rs 295 and has 391 pages. The cover of the book has been designed by “Think Why Not” and shows an open book separating a man and a woman. It is as if the book is a by-product of two great minds! As we read the book, we realize how apt the cover is for the title.

For an author who was handed the moniker of being India’s John Grisham for his banking/suspense thrillers; the author takes a shot at romance, as romance and candyfloss tales are setting the cash registers ringing for many publishers across the country.

Aditya Kapoor is an established author with a strong and secure career as a banker. At a ceremony organized at his alma-mater – IIM-Bengaluru, Aditya speaks about a book being a product and a feisty young lady bruises the novelist’s ego with her strong stand on a book being a labour of love and not a product. I for a fact know where this scene started because Ravi was in conversation at the Hindu Lit-Fest where he had a discussion/argument of sorts with novelist Anita Nair (if memory serves me right), Ashwin Sanghi was the moderator!

In true cinema style, the girl Shreya becomes a fan of the novelist after finishing his book overnight and sending an apology/thank you email of sorts to him. Next we have the readers being introduced to the novelist’s wife Maya who works as a teacher in the Dhirubhai Ambani School, she also manages the social initiatives of the group for the upliftment and education of the children in the slums. We learn how the two were batchmates at IIM-Bengaluru and get a brief about their live so far. The two are blessed with a boy Aryan as well.

We are also introduced to another interesting character – Sanjay who is Aditya’s batchmate and now a colleague at work. As I read the book, I felt Sanjay’s character was the one who had a finer tale, perhaps a book centered around Sanjay’s rise, fall, rise, divorce and love and his passion for books, wherein he refuses to let anyone else touch his books would really work wonders!!

Let us return to the tale that the novelist Ravi has woven, we see how in a twist of sorts, Aditya becomes a part of an interview panel and Shreya is hired at the bank and eventually gets to work in Aditya’s team. As usual, the sparks fly and in the guise of seeking assistance in getting her first novel written, a mutual seduction of sorts happens as both the novelist and his protégé fall for each other. The complications that follow, the betrayal that happens and the very convenient illness Ebola that affects Maya and the various twists that follow are presented by the novelist Ravi with ease.

Somehow, I seriously think that the author has let down his genuine fans in an attempt to garner sales with the romantic attempt! There are a couple of lines that I really liked in the book and I reproduce them below:
Life is binary in many ways. There is no way that we can move away from each other slowly and painlessly. It has to be a complete exit.

With the book already carrying a line indicating that it is being going to be made into a movie, one wonders if the novelist was made to make a compromise somewhere! Lovers of romance may enjoy this book for more, but for a chap like me somehow this book does not tick all the right boxes.

Dear Ravi Sir – Awaiting a return to the thriller genre from you soon!

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggestBook Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

#ShareTheLoad – Or a Series of Unfortunate Incidents

This is a fascinating initiative by Ariel and BlogAdda to promote men also taking on the chore of washing. In my case I have been washing my own clothes since I was in Class Eight in School and it is nothing novel or unique for me. I wash my clothes every weekend and then spend time ironing the clothes.

This post narrates the ironical twists when I attempted to take pics of myself, the washing machine and the Ariel packet that I received. After adding the powder, water and clothes within the machine, I attempted to position myself to click a proper picture on my phone. I use a phone which has no front-facing camera and I have to use my wits to take a selfie with the rear camera.

It was precisely at this instant that I slipped and fell and in an attempt to balance myself dropped my phone and that in essence explains why there are no actual pics clicked by me for this post 😦

pics ariel

For the sake of the rules and instructions I have taken pics from the Internet, no copy-righted images no cyber-bullying please. The washing machine is the same model as the one that I have at home.

Share the load my dear brothers, uncles, and members of the male clan. Help your family-members was the clothes, with Ariel’s super fragrance, powerful chemical stain removers, washing clothes will be a breeze and not something to worry about.

I am a regular user of Tide detergent for as long as I can remember, Ariel gave me a chance to try something different and I am happy with the results of the clothes being washed well.

The phone will be back from the service centre in a few days and my fingers are crossed!

But let us focus on the main topic here. Washing is not a gender-specific job, wash your clothes – #ShareTheLoad. I still feel it is idiotic to expect the woman of the house to wash the clothes of the entire family. With most modern families having both the husband and wife working and leading a busy life in the tough cities across the country; washing becomes a weekend job. The washing machine and dryer come to the rescue of families. So help your partner wash the clothes. Share the task, spread love and see the smiles and warmth that overflows.

This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at BlogAdda.com is association with Ariel India.

The Day After Tomorrow

I just don’t like it,
You crazy kids of mine,
I thought you would,
Be my greatest triumph,
You have disappointed me badly,
Killing each other in my name,

Destroying the bounties,
Of Mother Nature,
Cleaning away forests,
To make way for resorts,
Seas that have become dump-yards.

Religion and caste,
Reservations and gender bias,
Am I supposed to love you???
Day after day,
I look at you from the skies,
And just keep wondering,
Where did I go wrong???

It is time to reboot,
This planet called earth.
I am triggering the Apocalypse!
Let me think of a better world,
Where people will respect each other,
Where narrow thoughts,
Don’t cloud sensibility.

Where truth and justice
Will prevail!!!

I have often wondered how it would be to play God?

Think starting from scratch create a new world.

Well how about a world where no religions remain, no countries, no passports, no complex legal systems. One unified earth where everyone can make an honest living.

A world where no God exists. Where men and women can choose to live a life that they envision. Where the law ensures swift justice. Where rapists and terrorists and paedophiles are hanged to death. There are so many things that can be done!

The only thing that is valued is money. Love, relationships, friends and siblings, parents and relatives, everyone is expendable. We see more old-age homes and orphanages with every passing day. The people on the streets seem to be more tired and worried. Everyone awaits the weekend to drown one’s worries in some intoxicant or the other.

Science and technology has made so many advancements, but there is still no substitute for a caring warm hug, a hot meal shared with a stranger, learn to love unconditionally… For any chance at redemption at all.

I guess, humans will never learn, they will evolve and start creating religions and assign names and laws and traditions and rituals and more lives will be lost in the name of God than any disease or natural disaster.
No you humans will never learn…..

Perhaps the new world will have no humans. Just animals….. That is the best way forward.. Triggering the Apocalypse now….!

“I am participating in the #TheWorldRemade activity at BlogAdda in association with India Today #Conclave15

We have all the Time in the World

The silence is deafening,

The guests, friends and relatives,

Have come, paid their respects,

Consoled me with words,

Some close friends with a hug,

Leaving me to ponder,

On the impermanence,

Of everything in life!

She lies before me,

In an ice-box of sorts,

Her face has that angelic smile,

That sent hearts abuzz,

In high school as well as college.

How quickly does time fly?

 

It just seems like yesterday,

When two teenagers,

Squabbled over the merits,

Of James Joyce and Joseph Conrad,

Each calling the other a pretender,

Saying – ‘You have not read – Ulysses’.

‘You have not read Lord Jim’.

Debate after debate,

Culturals at various colleges,

We would be pitted against each other,

We would go hammer and tongs,

At each other, gung-ho on our arguments,

Raising points on topics,

As varied as child-abuse and state-sponsored alcoholism.

Somewhere down the line.

A spark ignited within and there was a lamp,

A lamp of love that lit,

Within our hearts.

I still remember that day.

Culturals at IIT-M – the rains arrived,

Without any warning.

She stood along with her classmates,

Sheltered from the rain.

I walked up to her and offered my umbrella.

She smiled, – ‘What Mr. Hero?’

And I said – ‘Yes, my lady!’

We walked in the rains, an umbrella,

That sheltered the two of us.

From Gajendra Circle to the Main Gate.

Two souls bonded together as one.

College flew by in a flash,

Both of us went on to become lecturers,

By a quirk of fate,

We started teaching at the same college.

God was kind to us!

The wedding went on without a hitch.

We grew old together seeing life go by.

Two splendid kids who have made their parents proud.

A life really well-lived!

And now you have left me,

All alone to battle my remaining years,

Just holding your memories,

In a way it is good,

For I would never be able

To fathom your sorrow,

If I were to die before you.

Now that you have left me,

What purpose do I have here,

I shall meet you soon,

In another world and time,

Where we shall have,

Plenty of time for each other!

All the time in the world!

“I am participating in the #SoundOfLove activity atBlogAdda in association with Bluestone”.

The Price of Stardom

The cinema industry is a heavily schizophrenic one. On one side we bend over backwards to celebrate our heroes though in real life they are rash drivers, drug addicts and serial womanisers. On the other the heroine is always looked as an object of desire, a spark that ignites a thousand fantasies.

The price that actresses pay, the casting couch, the sacrifice of privacy, the roving eyes and a crazy media that scrutinises every action. Eager asses that focus on cleavage rather than actual news. The tough ask of maintaining an hourglass figure, restrictions on diet, a 100 other things, what is the price of stardom.

Many actresses succumbed to pressure.

Silk Smitha who committed suicide,

Meena Kumari who died of a broken heart,

Madhubala who was chased by so many stars but died a bitter death.

The problems faced by National Award winner Shweta Basu

The list is long.

This post is a dedication to all those ladies who struggle and still create a meaningful life.

Amala Akinneni who supports the Blue Cross and helps in animal safety awareness.

Revathi and Rohini who work for health awareness in women.

I would like to salute these and many other stars who do a lot of good and noble acts but do not seek media exposure.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus

Anamika Does Not Live Here Anymore!

Married away at 15,

Separated from her parents,

Brothers and sister and pushed,

Headlong into a life,

That she was thoroughly unprepared for.

 

Having just studied till Class Eight,

Never ever did she argue,

With her parents or elder brothers,

Hoping that they had found,

The right man for her.

 

Ah! How cruel can life be?

Joining a brood of individuals,

Who cared only about money,

And were polished parasites,

She suffered a lot.

 

Then a ray of hope arrived,

As her husband,

Received a posting far away,

And she joined him on a long journey.

A man who felt it below,

His dignity to attend social gatherings,

With his lawfully wedded wife,

Because she was a simpleton from a village.

 

She would adapt, living on her own,

Assisted by the friendly old neighbours,

As her husband went away on duty,

She would pick the nuances of an alien language,

And learn to survive in the harsh cold climate.

She would remain the emotional bond,

That would bind two,

Dysfunctional families together.

 

Over the years the man,

Would display a seriously disturbing,

Personality trait – where the devil,

Would awaken with the poison,

Alcohol going into him.

Mood swings, domestic violence and abuse,

Stealing money, lying and all the sins,

That the mind and body,

Could conceive – the man,

Finally turned into the Devil.

 

One fine day her saint-like,

Patience and perseverance broke.

She slapped him tight,

Leaving him in a daze,

Packed her bags,

Took her last remaining,

Un-pawned jewels and walked out.

 

Out of a crazy life,

That sapped her grace,

A monster who treated her,

Like a paltry rug,

To be trampled upon,

Family which never understood her.

She just walked out,

Into the gentle rain.

The rain brought hope,

Hope of a new beginning,

An independent life,

Where no one would,

Trample upon her,

Or take her for a ride.

Where she would be respected,

For who she was,

And not looked upon,

Like a mere commodity.

It was the beginning,

Of a new life,

A Better Tomorrow!

This is a tale of many a woman in this great country of ours. Domestic abuse and violence is a serious problem. For ages, women have remained tied to their abusive husbands just for the sake of their children. But now things are changing, courage, love and respect takes precedence and women are taking a stand. They are walking out of abusive marriages and relationships and starting life afresh. This poem is dedicated to every single woman – be it sister, mother, friend, or someone whom I have never met; who have chosen to respect themselves and move on! I salute your spirit!

Note: I am not adding anyone’s photo as this is dedicated to every woman in this country!

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus