All posts by My Era

About My Era

My Era is a simple girl who writes about her struggles, her strengths, her failures and everything else that is a part of her life.This blog is her unedited diary.

Dawn

Today was a very special day in my family’s life. One for which we have toiled night and day for a very long time. A day that came after all I had was put at stake, many times.

I humbly wish to thank the Almighty for blessing my family with this important milestone.

All details are coming up in a password protected post(s). Everyone of you who had shared their emails to receive passwords (long back) should expect an email from me. If you don’t receive the password within 6 hours of my publishing the post, please drop me an email. I’ll be glad to share if you have been a reader of my blog.

P.S. – This post is in no way related to Fools day.

School Diary -II

End of first week in school brought along the mandatory flue, every child suffers from on stepping out of the cocoon of home. Luckily, in case of Pari it started on a Friday so she got rest over the weekend and didn’t have to miss school.

At the onset of Pari’s tantrums and absolute reluctance to go to school came a phase when my maternal instinct doubted something serious but the school totally denied existence of anything to worry about. I had a word with the principal and her class teacher but they all sang the same song “All’s well” in a well-practiced tune.

One fine afternoon around the third week, I was a few minutes late in reaching school to pick Pari after school. That was when I met one of her school nannies. Let’s name her M. It was a rare occasion when Pari had been escorted from class to where I’d been standing by a nanny and not one of the teachers.

That fateful afternoon I asked a question I have been in habit of asking her school staff. “How has Pari been doing at school?” and the reply was a shocking revelation. M replied “Pari hadn’t vomited that particular morning”. I was dumbstruck, panicked and confused all at once. On slight probing M revealed that Pari had been vomiting every morning after I dropped her to school cause she used to cry so hard and the same would happen around her lunch time.

I was very annoyed at the fact that this was not told to me despite its regular repetition.  With the school teachers conveniently denying existence of anything worrisome, constantly, I decided to keep my calm and work around the available information. M has been particularly caring and loving towards Pari. She helped me tide through that tough phase taking extra care of my child and slowly our boat sailed to calmer waters.

Being a mother, I have learnt to always pay heed to my gut instincts & not be dissuaded by what the school staff says. Well, almost.

In the days that followed Pari was introduced to crayons & use of pencil in its initial stages. That changed the dynamics of Pari’s liking for school. She seems to have been smitten by the crayons enough to start loving school because of them.

This was the first time in life when the thought, “Like misfortune, sometimes good luck too doesn’t arrive alone” struck me.Soon started the preparations for Annual Day at school. Given to her immense love for dancing, on day one she was selected for the dance and couple of days later in the fashion show.

The next two months have flown past in a breeze with Pari looking forward to go to school everyday only to get to dance with her friends and have lots of fun.

Though these two months have sailed past smoothly in terms of her growing fondness for school, but on a personal front she has faced sickness, very severe to make me get real worried every single time. (Details on that are coming up in a different post as it has its roots in other problems we have been facing).

Among the many challenges parents and pre-schoolers face, prime is the parent learning to let go off his/her child free. Free to learn the ways of the world, letting go off their hand and making friends with teachers. I had initially been under the misconception that I was going to be a cool mum who won’t panic over seemingly trifle issues.

But, like all parents of the world I have been no different. I too panicked and worried beyond limits on many occasions, but I think we (i.e. Pari & I) have managed through the start-up trouble phase.

Two major issues that made Pari’s initial days at school difficult were her strong disinterest in food that kept her hungry and sparked her tantrums. Second, being her limited verbal skills. Pari has a very limited vocabulary at her age when kids in her class talk as fluently as adults do.

Not speaking much has been one of the major roadblocks why I had taken longer than other parents in getting Pari admitted in a pre-school. I wanted her to be able to talk (atleast the basic) to convey to her peers and teachers if she was in distress, needed help or simply learn and recite with her classmates. (again, further details on Pari’s milestones is coming in a separate post).

Today, Pari has completed three months of her school life and looking back I can see her having morphed into someone very different from what she was in December when she started her school journey. I am aware that at this age kids grow and change by the minute, but still I’d like to give full credit to her school staff in bringing about many positive changes in my child.

The song on my mind: Tera Saath hai to mujhe kya kami hai ~ Pyasa Sawan 

What’s been keeping me busy?

I have made many attempts to get back to regular blogging, failing every single time. Today I am at a place in life when many days pass without me logging in my blog and many months have elapsed since I have visited any of my favorite blogs.

Time seems to have slipped past my grip like sand and today I have no clue what is gong on the blog world, who are the new faces, what have my favorites been upto and most importantly what have I been upto if I need to have a closer look in hindsight.

But, the truth stands, most of this absence has been deliberate. It started with me going crazy busy, then depression added up to the chaos and together they both stirred up a cocktail that now when i do get time, I try my best to cook up an excuse in my head to put off writing until tomorrow. And tomorrow never comes.

My mind is so cluttered with insecurities, depressive thoughts, anger, frustration, fatigue, angst and every other negative emotion that can fit in my little head that I never feel I am ready to write like I did when I started this blog.

It has more to do with the walls I have built around myself in an attempt to feel secure, but the reality stands they’ve merely crippled me and done no good what so ever.

Let me share snippets of all that’s going on at my end because I have no idea when will I share the elaborate details on these.

Mum is better than before. After 4 surgeries post the complications I had written about, finally after many grafts and re-infections she is finally off her daily visits to the hospital since last week.

I humbly thank everyone who sent me emails, messages and prayers for my mother’s speedy recovery. It’s all cause of your good wishes and support that we have reached this side of the tunnel.

Pari is at her mischievous, stubborn best setting the bar higher everyday. We’ve come a long way in these two months of her school life, details of those are surely coming up soon because everyday is precious and eventful.

Dad is tired, broken and exhausted emotionally as well as physically.

But we are still going on and are determined to break free of this dull phase soon.

I have been working at making my dreams come true, they were never too many and the handful of those that I had, I am trying my best to transform them to reality because last 3 years of life have shown me life is too short to waste it wishing for things we love without working to achieve them.

P.S. – This post has not been proof read.

The Hunt For Kohinoor

  • Title  – The Hunt For KohinoorOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Author – Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
  • Publisher – Westland Books Ltd.
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 425
  • ISBN – 978-93-83260-60-7
  • Price – 295 INR

Blurb on the Book - A spine-chilling ninety-six hour hunt through the world’s most dangerous terrain where history collides with gunfire – will Mehrunisa get out of this one alive?

One morning on her way to work, Mehrunisa gets a call that will change her life forever. The truth about her missing father is at her fingertips – but it will take her on the most desperate chase of her lifetime.

A chase that will pit her against hardened Jihadis plotting the deadliest terror attack on India, that will test her mettle against history’s deep secrets, that will teach her that the price of love can mean bloodied hands.

Review -  The book has a beautiful cover that does full justice to its plot conveying the setting to be the disputed Kashmir Valley , a man racing against time with the terrorists plotting the next terror attack on Indian soil. The silhouette on the spine of the book of a man with a luxuriant mustache further adds to the feel of the gripping plot while relating to a key character.

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The Hunt For Kohinoor (THFK) is the second book of the thriller series featuring Mehrunisa Khosa. The first book being ‘The Taj Conspiracy’. Since I haven’t read the first book, I was a little apprehensive about going ahead to read THFK. The intriguing blurb of the book put my qualms to rest and I am glad I did go ahead to read THFK.

The book starts with an interesting prologue that hints the goriness and terror that lay ahead. In the initial chapters I did feel a bit lost not having read the first book but slowly and steadily the elaborate characterization brought to fore the clarity I’d been eyeing to understand the background, relevance and role of each character.

The book is fast paced with great research done to bring to life every scene as if we were watching it happen live. The plot has been woven on the political grounds of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia with great care taken to keep it close to the reality yet gifting it the leeway of fiction writing.

The narration is vivid, language is lucid and rich that’s a bounty of new words used like the painting strokes of a painter bringing to life pictures in words. The book has a treasure of inspiring quotes that enhance the impact of the narration while making sense as life-lessons too.

“Destiny, as you know, is a saddled donkey. He goes wherever you lead him. The time has come to kick the donkey from our door.”

The book clearly shows the hard-work, intensive research and pain taken to gift the reader intricate details of the landscapes, characters, their background, cultural and also the political histories that makes this political thriller an enlightening read.

I must confess the numerous characters do make way for confusion on certain points but that is soon cleared of as you read on. The book is unputdownable and a gripping page turner that justifies the maxim that it isn’t all about the climax but the journey to reach it is equally important, that’s what makes for the beauty of this book.

The book makes for a fast paced read that leaves the reader spellbound.

“What the mullahs forget is that when a woman wears a burqa, it hides her looks not her brain”

I highly recommend THFK for everyone who enjoys thrillers taking roots in the real world yet leaping a step further to prove that indeed, sky is the limit.

I am looking forward to read more from this gifted author’s pen. The Taj Conspiracy is going to be read soon and so will other works by Manreet.

About the Author - Manreet Sodhi Someshwar trained as an engineer, graduated from the IIM Calcutta, and worked in marketing, advertising and consulting. An award-winning writer (Commonwealth Broadcasting Association), and copywriter (Creative Abbey), she is a popular blogger as well.

Her debut novel was Earning the Laundry Stripes, released in 2006. It was followed by The Long Walk Home, The Taj Conspiracy and The Hunt for Kohinoor.

Rating - 4.25/5

Babloo ki Condition Serious Hai

This is a true story of a boy named Babloo who was born in the far west of India where water is worshiped and filling a pot of water is the sole aim of survival of the human race.

Babloo was a 21-year-old nerd who was known for his slick look and disciplined life. His heavily oiled hair that sent out the aromatic fumes of ‘Jasmine Oil’, were oiled and combed to perfection by his loving mother every morning before he left for college after an hour spent praying for good results and polishing the eight precious rings that he wore on advise by the astrologer.

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Babloo’s innocence hadn’t yet been touched by technology as he kept himself drenched in the sea of wisdom, books. Girls, Internet, Facebook and Whatsapp existed in other planets for Babloo because he had no time to waste, not even on recharging his mobile so he lived on giving missed calls to everyone he wished to talk to.

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He was the brightest student to have walked the earth in his town who worshiped Einstein every morning, aimed at nothing but 100 percent marks and wept for hours in a dark corner if he scored a 99. Though a nerd, Babloo was all set to face life’s every exam.

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He’d take along at least 8 pens to every exam, used his fingers to calculate even when he carried his calculator just to be double sure. He’d write like an answering machine using up multiple supplementary copies when his batch-mates struggled to fill the main answer sheet.

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He was always the first person to hit the pillow and also to brush his teeth every morning. Life looked perfect to him but the day he cleared his final exams his parents pronounced him eligible to get married.

One, he was now a graduate, so fit to join his father in the family business of selling Sarees, secondly he’d reached the legal age of getting married, 21. Babloo had led a celibate life till date so happily agreed on marrying the girl their parents found perfect for him.

On the day of marriage, all the family and friends were beaming with joy swaying to the tunes of ‘Nagin dance’ just when someone in the ‘baraat’ procession uttered ‘ Paani aa gaya’ (water supply has come) minutes before they were to reach the bride’s home. Not only the friends but also Babloo’s mum fled in a flurry to fill water pots as their life depended on the existence of water filled pots at home.

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The ‘Mahurat’ was missed due to the chaos to fill water, leaving the bride hurt, heart-broken and seriously contemplating her fate on getting married in a water maniac family. The marriage finally happened with the bride and groom happily stepping into their new life.

On the first night Babloo kissed the bride expressing desire to have a daughter just like his beautiful bride. The coy bride blushed and waited for more but her anticipation met loud snores from Babloo every night from then on. Flustered, worrying about Babloo having an extra-marital affair, one fine evening Babloo’s wife confronted him about her concerns.

Every day you say to me you wish for a daughter like me, then why haven’t you taken any step to make that wish come true in the two months since our marriage?” complained Babloo’s wife.

Who said I am not working for it?” replied Babloo in a surprised tone.

What work are you talking about?” asked his wife, who looked more shocked and taken by surprise than Babloo.

Don’t I kiss you every night before going to sleep? That’s how we are going to make a beautiful daughter” uttered Babloo before smiling and going off to sleep.

Not sure how to tackle this face-palm moment of her life, Babloo’s wife slapped her forehead before breaking into an uncontrollable sob. An hour later she decided to speak to her elder sister about it, who advised her to take Babloo to Dr.Chatur.

Babloo’s wife was a little apprehensive in the start but finally decided to visit him with Babloo after spending a lot of time convincing Babloo to visit the doctor. The doctor had already been briefed about their case on the phone.

After a brief introduction and checking on Babloo’s vital parameters Dr. Chatur gave Babloo a dose of the new Cadbury 5 Star and within moments he saw Babloo ease out. His shoulders dropped, he looked relaxed and smiled wide.

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That marked the beginning of a happy married life for Babloo and his wife who have been munching on 5 star non-stop and are now proud parents of two daughters.

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The Song on my mind: Main ladki po po po ~ Hera Pheri

Do check out the Facebook page of Cadbury 5 Star.

P.S.- All cartoons have been drawn by me, please do not copy.

The pot picture has been adapted from here.

School Diary – I

Pari has recently stepped in one of the most important phases of her life. The one that’ll make her, refine her and will also define the path she’ll tread on, in life. The school life.

Though I have been pretty irregular in recording my life and Pari’s milestones but my resolve to freeze all these precious memories is still unshaken. Since our journey through Pari’s schooling is going to be a long chapter with many anecdotes and life lessons worth blogging, I hereby start a new series of posts titled ‘School Diary’ to keep them all together for easy reference.

Since we have already talked about how I came about admitting Pari to the school and exactly how it all went, this post shall throw light on the two months that have flown past hence.

It’s amazing how time seems to fly because I blog rather sporadically these days, when the reality is, I have spent each of those days feeling every moment weigh me down due to countless reasons. Let’s not dilute my thoughts by meandering on topics other than how did Pari fare in the first two months of her school life.

After a very encouraging reaction to the school atmosphere on the day of her admission, I was hopeful that perhaps I am going to be one of the few lucky moms whose child loves school from day one and doesn’t panic on having to stay away from home and parents.

On day one, I escorted Pari along to school much against the liking of her teachers (as she had shown hints of being fine staying away from me on the day of admission) but still for my own satisfaction I decided to sit out of (Pari’s ) sight to be able to take care just in case she starts crying or gets home-sick.

Time flew and Pari was enjoying the company of the children of her age with teachers paying extra attention, it being her first day. Around an hour and a half later she saw me sitting and that was when she refused to go back to her class and it marked the end of day one as the principal too felt she’d been pretty good on her (official) first day at school.

The following morning Pari was quite ecstatic about getting to dress up in her new uniform and being taken to the fun place she’d been to in the past two days. Being an early riser, waking up problems have yet not shown up in her case. I spent a restless morning after dropping her to school. At the pre-determined pick up time (as was instructed by her principal) I raced to school just to find my baby having fun.

The first three days passed by in a breeze. It was on the fourth day which happened to be a Monday (after a two-day weekend) was when the reality of the school struck Pari. All this while she’d been loving the adulation, attention and admiration being showered on her, but it soon dawned on her that this is eerily becoming a daily schedule. The idea of not having her mum be a part of the fun and play, disturbed her little mind.

That’s when tantrums in getting ready, reluctance in getting inside the car, dreading the sight of me carrying her school bag or water bottle and screaming with tears running down her cheeks as I dropped her at school began. Her crying was heartrendingly loud that made it tough for me to spend the two hours while Pari was at school.

I’d keep checking my mobile if the principal had sent in a text or tried to call me. A couple of days went on smooth (as I’d pick Pari from school after 2 hours, that was an hour earlier than the school timing). Then came a surprising revelation that I bumped upon in a very interesting way. Details on that and many other stories of Pari’s life at school will continue in my upcoming posts.

The Song on my mind: Yahan ke hum Sikandar ~ Jo Jeeta Woh Sikandar

Advantage Love

  • Title  – Advantage LoveOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Author – Madhuri Banerjee
  • Publisher – Rupa Publications Pvt. Ltd.
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 191
  • ISBN – 978-81-291-3002-0
  • Price – 195 INR

Blurb On the Book : When Trisha Mathur leaves Lucknow for Delhi with stars in her eyes, little does she realize how drastically her life is about to transform. In the din and drama of college student politics, she meets debonair politician-in-the-making Vedant Kirloskar, who sweeps her off her feet with his poetry and rakish charm.

When irreconcilable differences drive them apart, a broken-hearted Trisha becomes wary of love and men. That is until the dashing tennis star, Abhimanyu, comes along and fills her life with love and laughter. All at once she finds herself in the midst of the glamorous tennis circuit which is in stark contrast to her small-town moorings.

Even as Trisha embarks on a path of love and self-discovery, fate brings Vedant back into her life, asking that they rekindle their old romance. Will Trisha dare take a second chance with Vedant or move on to play match point with Abhimanyu?

Review : The book has an apt title and a beautiful cover with a lush green Tennis court that I feel goes well with the plot but acts as a spoiler in its own way. The beauty of the cover could have been enhanced if the title of the book and author’s name were written in a slightly smaller font and without the tilt that seems to bite on the charm of the cover.

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Advantage Love is a compelling and passionate contemporary Indian romance that explores the complexities of love, friendship and career in a woman’s life. A book that I could relate to in many ways.

The plot is simple, language lucid and narration impeccable that beautifully paints pictures in words. The beauty of the book lies in the sensitivity with which the thought processes, emotions of love, heart-break and making compelling choices in life has been touched upon.

Without being preachy the author has highlighted many grey areas that people searching for love after a heart-break fail to take note of; hence accentuating their fear of relationships even further. Besides the love story that makes heart flutter passing on the passion in the story to the reader, the book also talked about the importance of family dinners, the dilemma faced by students who never studied in a co-education institute and much more.

The book subtly offers relationship advise that goes beyond the book in its logic, simplicity and ability to clear a confused mind helping it to seek answers. I’d like to congratulate the author for the many wonderful quotes throughout the book that made this book a literary delight.

“Your worth cannot be measured by how important you are in someone else’s life. It needs to be determined by your place in your life”

The book makes for a heart-warming, breezy read that left a smile plastered to my face to last for a long while after I’d put the book down.

I’d highly recommend the book for everyone who enjoys reading contemporary romance that serves passion draped in logic. This book is a treat for travel reading or relaxing on a weekend.

About the Author :  Madhuri Banerjee is a bestselling author, a blogger with CNN-IBN, a screenplay writer for Bollywood films, an Ad film director, a columnist with Asian Age and a mother.

She has her own production house, Gray Matter Solution, that makes ad films and TV shows. She has also won a National Award for her documentary on women’s issues called Between Dualities. Currently, she is the face of Revlon as their Relationship Expert.

Rating: 4/5

The Ekkos Clan

  • Title  – The Ekkos ClanThe Ekkos clan
  • Author – Sudipto Das
  • Publisher – Niyogi Books
  • Genre – Fiction
  • Pages – 260
  • ISBN – 978-93-81523-95-7
  • Price – 350 INR

Blurb on the Book - Someone wants Kratu’s whole family dead. Is it personal vendetta or is it because they have access to Kratu’s grandmother Kubha’s stories, which conceal perilous secrets.

The eventful lives of Kubha and her family span a hundred years and encompass turbulent phases of Indian history. From her ancestors, Kubha inherited a basketful of stories. Kratu, a graduate student at Stanford mentions Kubha’s stories to Afsar Fareedi, a linguistic palaeontologist, in a casual conversation.

Afsar quickly figures out that the – bedtime tales contain rich linguistic fossils and layers of history. Afsar, Kratu and his best friend Tista travel across continents to trace the origin of her stories. Their journey also leads them to discover one of the oldest civilizations of the world. But will their efforts also unearth the causes behind the series of murders.

Review - The book has a very interesting cover. Tinted in earthly notes of brown with a glimpse of a horse’s head drawing inspiration from the seals found around the ruins of the Indus valley civilization. The back cover bears a sketch roughly outlining a female, holds immense significance as the whole book revolves around it.

The book is a thriller ride that explores the history of the subcontinent in a wonderful fashion. He takes the reader for a ride through exotic places, thrilling twists and turns and very real characters. The book somehow bridges the gap between fiction and non-fiction making it a unique read it also seeks inspiration from astronomy, touching upon the depths of linguistics too.

I learnt about the linguistic paleontology for the first time in this book and it sure was an enriching experience. I wish to congratulate Sudipto Das for he has presented the ancient Indian history in a very authentic way, without getting swayed away or being preachy. In most places he has implicitly provided authentic sources.

The Aryan history, the origin of the Rig Veda, the development of the class system, the origin of the Hindu lineage and more have been presented wonderfully. The book is deftly woven around centuries of Indian history.

With strong characters the book oozes in inspiration right from the beginning. The strength of character and grit shines bright as the characters face every situation with determination.

The major distraction in the book is the number of characters. In the start it took me lot of effort to remember the names of the numerous characters and how they were linked to each other. In some places the gory scenes made me go edgy but the book is unputdownable. Another gray area is the extensive use of terms in Bengali that greatly slows down the pace of someone like me who has no knowledge of the language.

Besides, I’d like to suggest that the glossary of regional language terms be at the bottom of the page instead of the end of the chapter to avoid meddling with the flow of reading.

The language is lucid and the cracking plot is well drafted with lot of research done to put together this enriching read. The characters are young and easy to connect with.

The ending is rather simple but the book makes for a journey with moments to cherish than just a thriller read.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thriller wrapped in history that draws inspiration from science creating an out-of-the-box book.

About the Author - Sudipto Das, an engineering professional (B.Tech. IIT, Kharagpur) lives in Bangalore with his family. History, culture, language, writing and music are of special interest to him. Member of an amateur music band, Kohal, he also enjoys travelling.

The Ekkos Clan is his debut book.

Rating - 3.5/5

Spring Cleaning Time

Spring has officially arrived. The very first thing spring brings along in people with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for cleanliness is the natural urge to get spring cleaning. Long ago, I admitted to be a sufferer of this OCD which to many people’s relief I am not even 50% of my original insane self.

But, since I am still possessed by 50% of my OCD, here I am with a broom that I actually used to ride to make my way back to the blog. I know you are thinking that this is another clichéd ‘come back post’ that’ll be full of promises for regular updates, blah…blah…blah. Hold on, the good news is the answer is, no.

I have come to realize my blog is my personal diary, the ‘home’ for my heart, where my soul belongs. I can never actually be gone too far from it. I might be off on a vacation but eventually, I will return. Today I have done just that.

I was hurt to note that I haven’t written any posts in the new year (except a book review) even when my life has been full of things I wish to write about, record them in detail as they happened. Having said that, the fact remains that I am in a total mess, with amnesia worsening by the day and worries mounting by the minute.

Its time to get writing, reading, book reviewing ( because that’s my only motivation to read in the present times) and doing all that this blog has been known for.

I am aware that I have successfully shooed away all my readers, making this blog a living fossil, but just in case you happen to be reading all this, please make sure you add me to your reading list because I want you to show me the mirror.Tell me there’s still hope for me to be the person who once wrote optimistic posts on this blog.

The song on my mind: Shaam se aankh mein nami si hai ~ Jagjit Singh (Marasim)

On A Clear Day You Can See India

  • Title  – On a Clear Day You Can See Indiaon-a-clear-day-you-can-see-india-the-little-world-of-the-district-official-in-india-s-north-east-400x400-imadz7e4vqmde3kg
  • Author – C. Balagopal
  • Publisher – Harper Collins Publishers
  • Genre – Memoirs
  • Pages – 203
  • ISBN – 978-93-5029-687-5
  • Price – 299 INR

Blurb on the Book – C. Balagopal’s first posting as an IAS probationer was in Tamenglong, Manipur, where his task in the first few days was to only follow the deputy commissioner around and observe the way he conducted his affairs. As he gained experience, he realized that being in the civil services was a much more complex proposition than one would expect – more so when one was posted to the north-east.

From a bewildering visit on his first day in office by his ‘opposite number’ in the underground movement in Manipur to ‘surveying’ a dubious pineapple plantation, from conducting full-fledged elections to going on a hair-raising curfew patrol, the young officer found himself being educated in a most unusual manner.

Review – The book has a very fresh feel both in the title and the cover of the book. I liked the use of ‘Clear’ in the title because it wonderfully reflects the myriad perceptions and views about the core social, political and developmental problems affecting the life in the distant, remote, beautiful part of India, Manipur, that can be seen only with a clear mind.

Recounting anecdotes from the life C.Balagopal lived over three decades ago when he first went to the north-east, he has taken due care to present his observations in the light of his thoughts at the time trying his best not to bask in the leeway provided by hindsight.

The book is a fascinating collection of personal and insightful memoirs where a thorough ‘Introduction’ has covered the many thoughts, preparations and research (or lack of to avoid modern-day changes in the north-east affect his candid memories) that went on to bring about the making of this literary masterpiece. The honesty in sharing the thought process touches a chord and the feeling lingers till the end.

I’d like to congratulate C.Balagopal on the wonderful portrayal of the sensitive yet weighty issues of identity and nationhood into its ambit in a light-hearted way. I particularly liked the many life-lessons the reader learns with the author as the book progresses.

Reminiscent in its charm yet bringing alive the nitty-gritty of the political scene the book is divided in easy to read, bites of smartly titled chapters that tell an individual story yet seamlessly maintain the flow of events in a lyrical fashion. This whimsical, witty, poignant and heart-piercing book is wonderful in being free of patronizing or judgmental remarks of the circumstances, life and the sociopolitical scene in Manipur.

The language is lucid and narration impeccable. The semi-fictional approach in the narrative that’s rich and refreshing is a great plus of the book.

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The photographs in the book are copyrighted by the author/ publisher.
The picture has been taken only for illustration purpose.

The book also includes two sets of photographs taken during the early 2000s by author’s friend. The pictures wonderfully gift the picturesque narration a colorful view of the landscape of Manipur.

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I highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys poignant memoirs peppered with subtle humour. The book is a journey into the wonderful and less explored north-east of India that intelligently educates while entertaining.

This volume is an enthralling read that left me craving for more from the author’s pen.

About the Author - C. Balagopal studied economics at Loyola College, University of Madras, and then enrolled for a PhD programme (unfinished) at the University of Kerela. He joined the IAS in 1977 and worked in Manipur and Kerela before resigning in 1983 to set up a pioneering venture to make cutting-edge medical products. He has retired recently and spends his time consulting, writing, reading, travelling and playing golf.

He lives in Thiruvananthapuram with his wife.

Rating -  4.5/5

* P.S. - The photographs in the book are copyrighted by the author/publisher. The pictures have been taken only for illustration purpose.

Gifts for my baby

My dear Pari,

This Christmas while playing Santa I mulled over the list of gifts I’d love to give you in the
times to come. Quite contrary to my thinking, the list actually isn’t too long and has gifts that I am sure you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

1. Freedom to be who you are born to be - I wish you follow your heart at every step in life to be who you were born to be. I’ll be your guide, helping you get access to a variety of resources letting you explore your hidden strengths. But, the decision of what you become in life will always rest with you.

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Be what you feel you want to be in every cell of your system, never worrying about the tradition or social norms. Don’t spend your precious life being what others want you to  be.

2. Be Open - In your thoughts, words and contemplation of all that happens in your world. Don’t assume. Ask lot of questions to understand the reality better because it is the key to ‘adventure’ of seeking while you inquire and wait for answers from all over. Basing today, on the judgement of others made in the past, is never the right policy.

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Have a clear mind and gift yourself opportunity to outshine your past achievements. Every record is made to be broken. People aren’t mind readers, tell them what’s on your mind. Communication is the key, saying those first words makes everything clear like the first rays of sun clear up the fog in no time. I might disagree with what you say but I will always hear you out before making my point.

3. Read more -  I dream of you reading lots of books. We are the products of all we know. The easiest mode of gaining knowledge is reading about things to lengths we desire. The more time, energy and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you will have over your life.

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Don’t restrict your reading to academics, novels or comics. Read all that the world reads, for interest begins only when you’ve touched upon the treasures of the unseen, discover them through reading.

4. Imagination & Curiosity - Imagination is the leaven that adds color to even the monochrome chapters of life, making them animated and soothing to the soul. However, curiosity makes life a never-ending adventure where ‘stopping’ is never an option as you desire to know more and more.

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Let your imagination encourage resourcefulness, spur creativity, and break down boundaries. Fan the spark of your imagination and curiosity to sail through life with joy.

 5. Discipline -  The ability to postpone pleasures of today for long-term gains is the biggest sign of discipline. Be it in planning your timetable as a student, taking care of your finances, organizing your career goals or scheming for your family’s future; disciplined approach always bears sweet fruits.

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Another vital aspect of disciplined life is having the reins of your very being in control. You are the master of your universe, your body, mind and soul and responsible of its well-being. So make sure you take care of yourself devoting time in staying healthy, eating nutritious foods, save well for indulgences and be the planner of what all happens to you and your life.

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I am wrapping these gifts in the wrapping of my unconditional love, sealed with the glue of confidence and adorned with the bright ribbon of hope that tomorrow shall be brighter and better than today in every way, because we are together going to build it on the foundation of faith I laid the day you tiptoed in my life.

With lots of love & blessings,

Mum

The song on my mind: Ek pyar ka nagma hai ~ Shor 

 

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* This post is a part of the 1001 Gifts Activity by HDFC Life in association with BlogAdda

And our school journey began

When I reached the pre-school with my father and Pari, I was very anxious.

On the other hand, Pari was excited to see the swings, flowers, cartoons everywhere, while it was just another day for my father who has already done this exercise of school admissions earlier on in his life.

Meeting the principal started on a calm note because we were called in within five minutes of our arrival. It actually worked in my favor because I didn’t get anytime to panic sitting in the parent’s shoes in a school premises to add fuel to my anxiety.

We were soon seated inside the principal’s office talking business. Just as we were to discuss at length the formalities required to have Pari admitted, the principal rang a bell asking one of the teachers to take Pari around the school. I was a bit hesitant and wanted to accompany my baby, but was instructed by the principal against it.

With my one eye glued on my baby through the glass window and the other busy reading the paperwork I tried to concentrate on what the principal was uttering. Fifteen minutes later, with paperwork sorted and my bucket full of questions answered, I eased out to realize Pari had yet not returned (much contrary to my expectations).

I tiptoed in the direction of the classroom where I had seen Pari go with the teacher just to find her seated on the bench with other kids and smiling while trying to follow what all was going on. Though Pari had no clue about the very concept of a school she was sure happy being there.

I soon returned back to the waiting area outside principal’s office where the principal asked me to wait for next ten minutes as the school was about to get over and she deemed it good to let Pari sit in class till then.

While I waited for the school to get over, I tried hard to swallow the fact that my child had neither resisted going away from me with a complete stranger and neither had raised an alarm as yet.

I know, as a parent I should have been proud with the wonderful way Pari had responded to the new environment but something inside me wasn’t quite at peace. The school bell rang marking the end of the day. I darted to the class where Pari was seated, just to find her smile and say goodbye to her teacher. Soon the kids walked out in a line. Pari too followed suit, like a duckling following mother duck.

I tried to stop her but she resisted. I tried to pick her up but she blatantly refused, much to my horror. I had to distract and tempt her with the idea of going shopping straight from there to get her back to the waiting area where my father had been sitting all this while. That’s when Pari spotted the many cute toys placed on a big side table.

Within no time Pari picked a handful of those squeaky rubber toys and refused to let go off them. After lot of coaxing I finally managed to return the toys and we all stepped out of the school premises in the next ten minutes.

The following hour was spent getting photographs clicked for her admission formalities and shopping for her school bag, school uniform, lunch box and the like.

I had initially planned on getting Pari to start school from the new year, but seeing to her enthusiastic response, her school principal asked to send Pari to school from the following day itself so that she gets enough time to get used to school before the school closes for a week’s winter break. The idea appealed to me as well and thus began Pari’s school journey.

Details about how was her first week at school, coming up in the following post.

The song on my mind: Tu na jaane aas pass hai khuda ~ Anjana Anjani