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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Quote of the Day!

Comedy is dandy if it is well-humored otherwise it is awful. Horror is groovy if it is horrifying otherwise it is a comedy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Test Match

It was 24th of January last year I remember when my brother asked me whether I am interested in coming to Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) with him to which I humbly agreed. Being the last day of the festival and attending it for the first time I went with not much of expectations from it (although as a writer it is an irony). Having said that I attended 3-4 sessions of the day including the closing session of the festival titled “Is freedom of speech absolute?” As the festival bid adieu to the people, on the way back home I felt bad for two reasons; firstly the last session turned into a political battleground of politicians (thanks to an AAP member) and secondly and more importantly because of the feeling why didn’t I attend the festival for all five days. This was the impact of attending one day of the fest left on me (at least) and this excitement was the root for me registering for the festival this year.

The largest book festival of India and largest free literature festival of the whole world was going to be held from 19th – 23rd January 2017 and I was lucky to attend it for first four days out of five.

It was inaugurated by Vasundhara Raje (Chief Minister of Rajasthan state) in the grandest way possible (after all the festival was celebrating 10 successful years of its emanation) after which Gulzar mesmerized with his keynote for the festival. The morning music session by Shillong Chamber Choir was enough to take you into a trance and serenity.

The sessions I attended on my four days visit were as follows:
19th January
1. Eternal Cities: Encounters and Inspirations
2. Azaadi Mera Brand: Walking Free - Anuradha Beniwal in conversation with Swanand Kirkire
3. Big Cat Story 
 20th January
1. Suspected Poetry - Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma in conversation
2. Before We Visit The Goddess - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in conversation with Shrabani Basu
3. Main Shayar To Nahin - Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor in conversation with Rachel Dwyer
4. Narsimhanomics and Legacy of Reforms - Vinay Sitapati and Sanjay Baru in conversation with Surjit Bhalla
5. Kalijayee Premchand: Timeless Legacy – Kamal Kishore Goyenka in conversation with Satyanand Nirupam
6. Gambit and Game Changers: Relooking the Indian Economy - Aruna Roy, Mihir S. Sharma, Ram Gopal Agarwal and Surjit Bhalla in conversation with John Elliott
21st January
1. Why the Future of Free Speech Depends on India
2. The Dishonourable Company: How the East India Company Took Over India - Giles Milton, John Keay, Jon Wilson, Linda Colley and Shashi Tharoor in conversation with William Dalrymple
22nd January
1. Ideate: Freedom To Dream - Prasoon Joshi in conversation with Puneeta Roy
2. Akbar: Kitna Itihas, Kitna Upanyas
3. After the Young Angry Man, the Traditional Woman. What? Javed Akhtar introduced by Rachel Dwyer
4. On Tour With Rolling Stones - Christopher Sykes introduced by Alex Ross
5. Mallika Dua: #nofilter - Mallika Dua in conversation with Suhel Seth

It is somewhere a shabbiness differentiating these sessions from each other on the basis of document formatting and albeit I feel every session was unique, intriguing and stimulating per se (I am not writing this because I am meant to but I mean it) still I chose to bold the ones that left me altered in certain ways.

First of all, I would like to introduce to you all a sensational writer I was lucky to enjoy the session of, Anuradha Beniwal. In an era where adolescents and youngsters opt out for writers like Chetan Bhagat (it's a disgrace to even write his name in a literary article), I think and suggest that it's high time they go for writers like her. What a carefree, fearless and thought-provoking woman with fresh, anew and rejuvenating thoughts which she not only reflected in her new book "Azaadi Meri Brand" but also delivered to the audience in a respectable manner in the festival for which she deserved the applause she got. I think she is the first author whom I liked, to the extent that I decided to read her books just after hearing for 25 minutes. Her book is the first Hindi book I am going to buy for myself because the reason she gave behind writing the book in Hindi is not only enough to buy it but also to savour her ideas and thought process. For me, this session was one of the top 5 sessions of the whole festival and Anuradha was a new and peculiar found!

Another dandy session was Before We Visit The Goddess and although the session was more about the new book "Before We Visit The Goddess" of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, for me this session was more about learning and discovering aspects of and as a writer. She is not only an out of the league writer like Paulo Coelho but also an empowered woman (please do not relate it to orthodox feminism and woman empowerment). It was such a pleasure to hear her stories, encouragement behind writing novels, personal life and above all the lessons she gave to improve oneself as a writer.

Then there were sessions like Narsimhanomics and Legacy of Reforms, Kalijayee Premchand, The Dishonourable Company: How the East India Company Took Over India and On Tour With Rolling Stones that implied how intriguing history can be if you start to explore it. Immerse yourself in the sea of facts and the sea will engulf you, you don't need to swim, it's just natural.

Writing only good aspects of my experience won't do any justice to the festival in my point of view and therefore here are few flabbergasting and melancholic experiences. People and nothing else I think would completely summarize this but still, I will elaborate. I quote here a Policeman in the parking area duty of festival and suppose the same, "5% of the total people visiting come and savour the festival for what it's really meant to be: LITERATURE!" But just to be "tolerant" and "lenient" and I would accept 10% rather than 5%. I saw most of the people busy in taking selfies just to get few likes on their Instagram or FB handles. I am not raising objection against taking selfies. In an era dominated by technology, our half happiness comes from the facts how we look, how many likes did we garner on social media but you have come to a lit fest, not a fashion show. You came here to share and exchange ideas and thoughts and more than that acknowledge the beauty of literature, not photographs. I also saw people eating and gathering like a reunion with friends, beware some came in the festival just to hang out with friends and above all, take a bow some lovebirds conceived the festival as a lovers point and did exactly the same things. I could see more people in the food zone than in the sessions at times. I could see people talking loudly with each other or over the phone at sessions where they are supposed to be quiet and concentrated on the words of authors and speakers. I can see people coming to see Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, Rishi Kapoor and etc. rather than listening to them. People came to see celebrities rather than listening to authors.

And I could not resist myself from stating this one particular incident that happened while in the On The Tour With Rolling Stones session. Firstly, I will clarify here that most of the time venue would go houseful were at times when people like Rishi Kapoor came and not some foreign author because half of the people simply don't know them. Now, this session included only Christopher Sykes. He was narrating his story of being with The Rolling Stones on their tours along with some timeless and personal pictures of them. I was sitting in third last seat and a row ahead of me were some 8-9 boys (do not expect age, I am very bad at deciphering age by looks). They were talking, playing, making fun of each other and I don't think they have the least idea of legendary work of the band. So my concerns are essence lies in originality and although you are pleased by your acts there are people that are not, that genuinely praise ones work. As one of my friends said to me "Samosa bhi ₹40 ka milta hain.....wo jagah ab dharti se jude logon ki nahi rahi (Even a samosa costs ₹40....the festival no more belongs to serious literature enthusiasts)." Stating the word literature enthusiasts may bring upon a mayhem on me and I am not portraying myself as some serious literature enthusiast (although I have become a big fan of literature in recent past years), I am just saying that we ought to do what we are supposed to at certain places (well who am I to judge and pass comments, Sorry!).

On the other hand, I assume these 10% meaningful audience is the core, why the festival is still sustaining and getting larger and larger every year. I saw some faces on all the four days visit of mine and it made me happy deep down that there are also people like these that actually come to appreciate a different opportunity served to them and I think they were happy too to see my face. Then there were these kids and some literally nascent in terms of understanding literature but again they surprised and rejuvenated me by asking apt questions and the way they conducted themselves the whole time. I can see writers and poets reciting and speaking their works and asking for suggestions and guidance from authors which eventually help everyone.

Earlier in this article, I wrote something about some sessions altering me in certain ways and I am going to conclude this article with the same. I don't know in which way my above paragraph (the one describing the Arvind Kejriwal's Common Man) will be inferred and I don't care much about that because more than I was down in the mouth I was elevated and ecstatic for the overall experience I had. Most of the times I restrained myself to get affected by people around me and rather enjoy what I really came for and I think was successful. The most adjuvant thing that happened to me in those 4 days was how to be a better writer and there was some advice that was simple yet elegant and powerful. Another thing that was brainstorming was healthy debates and discussions on serious topics like Demonetization, Women Equality, History and etc. I got an opportunity to know other people's opinion on the same topic. I got to feel what it looks like to see something from other's perspective. There were thoughts, there were words, and there was literature.

The festival was a mixture of liveliness, pure legends, geniuses, colors, words, books, beliefs, experiences, thoughts, poetry and everything that can make you fall in love with literature. In the end, it was an experience wherein I learned so many things as an audience, as a boy, as a writer, as a person, and as a human.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

StoryInPicture #1

When the smile is innocent,
When the immaturity is cute,
No worries and only plays,
You are enjoying and ambivalent,
In the life's best phase.

The first thing that comes to your mind when you see the picture is, "How adorable?" Obviously he is adorable but I am not going to bore you people with the emotions of a child being innocent. Rather this picture conveys something more than the cuteness of this child.

Let us consider a man that spends his eight hours working daily. He may be discomfited or may be partially happy or may be he is satisfied with his life, doesn't matter. Now show that man this picture and I am 100% sure you are going to see nothing but a smile on his face and that is the true power, the true story of this photo.

It reminds us of that no matter how much you grow up, there lies a child within us that still wants to be carefree and we can give it to him. All it takes is to smile in life unconditionally.

Problems and humans are like opposite poles of magnet. They always find a way to get near to each other. It's completely on you to be the same pole as your problems or be harum-scarum and find a way to smile and enjoy.

It also tells one more thing. In your life only thing that matters is you. You are the one that should always be in focus and all the other things will get blurred at some point of time or the other.

I could have easily edited this picture to make it more appealing but it would have been a shabbiness because just like one's childhood, its memories must also be pristine. This picture makes me yearn to return back to my childhood but I know that's not possible. I just contemplate that it was fun to be kid and if allowed I would like to be a kid once again, once more.

Photograph By: - Umang Jain

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

It's Time - The Global Perpetrators

In Hindu mythology, when the cruelty of Ravana reached beyond toleration, Lord Vishnu came himself in one of his avatars: Lord Rama to end his period. The same happened when evilness of Kans over his people reached way beyond overhead and Lord Vishnu came in the avatar of Lord Krishna to end his period. And why one must see the examples in only Hindu mythology, there are also excerpts in Islam, Christianity, Jainism like every religion. The main point here to notice is that evilness is always defeated by good and if to do that if God has to come himself he will.

It's very obvious of you all to chew over why am I opening religious books of every religion about good and its victory over evil. Read the title again. Yes, there you go. Got it? It's time folks, it's time. Time for Supreme Being to come once again in one of his avatars on earth to balance the things again and this time he will come with more powers because this time there is not a single Ravana or Kans but many and many who need to learn a lesson.

Let us begin our give-and-take with rather a simple and short group of people. Politicians. Not all of them but some of them would be found guilty in that judicature of almighty because you know they are the most powerful people that do bad and wrong while holding a very good and prestigious line of work. Well if you ask me about their punishment I will say they will be punished more than criminals because criminals at least do what they are meant to do. I am not saying that criminals are any good but at least they have decided that they will do all these things while bearing a bad image in the society. These politicians on other hand are rather phony. The discussion of politics and politicians is vast in itself which will need another post I guess and therefore without going further deep into discussion let's just say that they will be punished first and foremost of all the culprits.

Now comes the group about which we had a little talk in the above paragraph. It may seem a total irony to you all and some of you may even find it mirthful but according to me this group will be least punished. I am talking about criminals. Saying that merely on the basis, that they do what they are meant to do would not only be total unjustifiable to the society but is also very likely to exasperate one but my logic lies in that they are bad people doing bad and therefore they are less punishable than politicians, terrorists, and people.

The last word of the last paragraph must have astonished and flummoxed you. People? Punishable? We? Punishable? Me? Punishable? It will bruise you but the answer is yes. According to me, the general people will have the second most severe punishment in that court and why it should not be? You see of the four I mentioned we people are the ones that do every wrong we can while being innocent and clean-handed. You might ask what is that crime we do! The fact is everything. There is a legion of things that we are collectively doing wrong and our crime is the only offense that hurt no people, no humanity, no sentiments ut above all the nature. For an example take Global Warming. There are plenty other which will easily fill my whole post and that gives the enormity of our actions. Whether you believe it or not but when that deity comes on this sphere mark my words we will be punished in an unforgivable way.

Discussing three of the four main perpetrators, let's talk about the worst of all. This community will be last that will be punished because the decision of how to punish them will be toughest for the God and is surely going to take some time. Plus they will be punished in a badass manner. Terrorists. Terrorism. These two words are two of the most serious threats facing the entire human species. Terrorism a feeling of nightmare spread by its so-called agents: terrorists. Oh sorry, sorry! They are neither agents of terrorism nor terrorists. They are rather the agents of Jihad: Jihadists sent by God himself to avenge those who do not listen to him. And God sent them on earth on his lieu because he's currently contemplating what made Sajid Khan to make "Humshakals". Basically, God is busy so he sent them. And those who didn't understand the whole sarcasm part please make yourself useful to almighty and start cogitating over "Humshakals". Well, jokes apart but the whole agenda terrorist is rather a joke.

They say they are sent by God. I ask why? Why god sent only you? Why only humans? I mean he could have sent like Bengal Tigers of India, lions, elephants of Thailand or maybe Pandas. Why only them who have thought of themselves as angels sent by God and have equipped themselves with ammunition.

Okay, let's accept that they are messengers of god part for a moment but then they say they will kill those who don't listen to God and in their belief, this God is no one but they themselves. So basically if someone doesn't listen to them gets killed. They say they are completing God's work whereas the fact is all they savor is killing the innocent people. And if anyone likes killing innocent too, welcome to the party otherwise be ready to invite your loved ones to your funeral soon. Let this fact be very clear to those calling themselves angels that if you say the war against humanity is the only way to spread and accomplish God's mission then you are on Ravana's side, not Rama's.

You love killing, then it's okay but why waste human lives just for your hobby. I suggest be a butcher and start killing hens and chickens. At least that way poultry diseases can be controlled and you will also help in God's mission, not much but yes that will do.

I also don't seem to understand the futuristic world they dream of. Let us for one moment accept all the beliefs they have. Then one day this sphere we dwell in will be free of people that they think do not listen to God or more specifically to them. Then what next? I mean this world is full of those people that like to kill innocent people and nothing else but after such a cataclysm there will be no one left for them to kill, so basically they will have to indulge themselves in killing hens and chickens. Then why not to start doing the work which you are ultimately going to and that too after so much struggle, fight, destruction and catastrophe.

All I know is that all their beliefs, all their agendas contradict themselves and may be I am wrong on my part but it doesn't matter because I am going to be punished any way and I am ready for it. All that matters is the severity of your punishment you are going to get and the question: "Are you ready?"

It's time now because no matter what, whenever evil has spread beyond the allowed boundaries God came to balance things and as this famous proverb says it all: "History repeats itself."