Wednesday 28 July 2021

Quiet Feelings : A Poem

Images & stories of you, I behold in my eyes I breathe in, & imbue, while exhaling poetry for all we have between us are sincere words, for now quiet feelings wait in windswept moments of time.

***

Photo:Pinterest

Half A Face : A Poem

#Covid19 taught us how to reduce the breathless pace Masks & sanitizers now govern & rule the place Let throwbacks take a bow, or memories vanish with no trace Succumb to trends, that allow the display of only half a face.

***

Beauty : A Quote

 


Anything that soothes

tired eyes

and brightens

the heart

is called beauty.


#zephryrlilies

#flowers

#beauty

#beautiful

#nature

Photo: Chethana Ramesh

Monday 19 July 2021

Book Review of 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini


'A boy who doesn’t stand up for himself 
becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything'.

- Baba, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

I have been saving this read since a long time. My last book by Hosseini was the famed, deep, disturbing read: A Thousand Splendid Suns. The story and even some powerful scenes have stayed etched in my mind despite the passage of more than half a decade of reading it.  I knew that 'The Kite Runner' would be a similar read: powerful and impactful.

Characters

There are few characters, well defined and memorable. Amir and Hassan are the friends, who are handed different statuses in society by a cruel twist of fate. Baba’s character evolves continually, even after his death. Sohrab, the child throws light on multiple cruelties meted out to children by the Taliban.

The other characters such as Hassan's father Ali are crucial to the build up of the tale. Amir's wife Soraya and uncle Rahim Khan, assume more importance as the story builds up with the turn of the pages, especially in the second half. The cruel character of Assef returns to offer an element of more shock and surprise, towards the climax.

Storyline

Set in Afghanistan during the initial days before the country was plundered and ravaged by the Taliban, with a shift to America, the story brings out the contrast in the lives in the two countries, and its effect on the people. The latter part is rich in atmosphere, where the damage caused by the Taliban rule is showcased in a highly impactful manner.

However, the story is about the deliberate disruption of friendship of a lifetime by a mind that is insecure, envious and cowardly. It is about unquestioned loyalty amidst betrayal and hurt. And then, it is about seeking redemption, while paying a price for acquiring it.

Thereby, the story is a bildungsroman, narrated by the protagonist Amir, charts his growth through his childhood to manhood amid a lot of honest soul-searching and courage. Strong symbolism plays a constant role in adding layers to the characterization and story-telling - the main one being the kites.

Themes

Friendship, jealousy and redemption are the main themes. Other important themes such as religion, parental relationships, racism, casteism, romance, love, trauma and childhood rape add potent nuances to the storyline.

Conclusion

A powerful novel, that juxtaposes history with human psychology, a must read. I rate it 4.7 out of 5. Pick it up only if you are able to read it in as less sittings as possible, because it won’t let you go until the last page is turned.         

If you found my review useful, do follow my blog for more. Happy reading, readers.

*** 

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Scarred Beauties : A Quote


...and the laughing blooms
taught me that a few visible scars only add on to the charm.

#ipomoea
#NaturePhotography #BejucoBlanco

I Paint : A Poem

Enamoured
by your words I engulf myself in painting stories of your soul.

Void Walker : A Poem

A half hidden path 
to hazy city of dreams beckons & entices 

Me, a void walker 
selfish eyes 
seek solace 

while undressing poetry
with lilting sparks 
of orphic melodies

***

Photo: Chethana Ramesh
Location: Kudremukha

He, my Love : A Poem

His words ignite my mind undressing poetry
His voice fires my nerves in orphic melody His drawl teases my senses in orgasmic symphony
His presence unleashes cosmic colors in aphrodisiac rhapsody He, my love my glee & blissful destiny

***

images: pinterest

Monday 5 July 2021

Book Review of 'Guns and Yellow Roses – Essays on the Kargil War'


What does the jawan get out of this?

Tell me what does the jawan get?

You get your story,

we get our quotes in the newspapers,

what does the poor jawan get?

 If he dies, he stops getting

even the pittance he earns as salary.

 – Brigade Major Rajeev Srivastava,

 Journeys without maps, Sankarshan Thakur

This anthology is a first of this genre for me. Being a fiction buff, I rarely read non-fiction unless the topic in question is compelling enough to hold my attention. And Kargil definitely qualifies as compelling, and then some. I took a far longer time to finish this book because some paragraphs just do not allow readers to go ahead after reading – rather demand an insightful imbibement or reflection. I admit that I may have missed many insinuations that ought to have been picked up but will only reveal themselves in repeated readings, perhaps in the third or fourth attempts.

‘Guns and Yellow roses, Essays on the Kargil war’ is just what it claims. The anthology of ten essays, penned by eminent journalists and writers, covers a wide horizon of versions of what happened at Kargil during those crucial days. What I found interesting were the varied perceptions that either matched or clashed between different groups – the people of Kashmir, the political honchos and the Indian army. Also, the powers that be, political or otherwise, who weave their influence into the happenings of the countries involved, while at war or at peace, is showcased with no holds barred.

Also, the photographs included in each of the pieces add a wholesome feel to the comprehension of the topics discussed by the authors.

The Essays

The first piece by Sankarshan Thakur is heartrending. ‘Journeys without Maps’ traces the beauty of the  landscape that morphs into a warzone, and thus gives the book its title. The changing scenarios and the interviews within the army camps make for an engrossing read. The plight of foot-soldiers who perhaps become scapegoats to the whims or lapses of those in power, cuts into the sensitive readers’ psyche.

Although all the tales have their own impact, ‘It Was Not Our War’ by Muzamil Jaleel is compelling in the questions it raises.

‘The people of Kargil bore the worst 

and most direct brunt of the border conflict. 

Pakistan shelled their homes 

and drove them off their lands. 

India failed to provide shelter for them 

and ignored warnings of the coming invasion’

The author delves into the reasons for support or resentment towards both the countries, by the local populace of Kashmir. The struggles of refugees are iterated well.

The Kargil war was fought, won and lost…

But in Kashmir, both sides seem to have lost’

Rahul Bedi’s piece ‘A Dismal Failure’ showcases the inability of the over-complacent Indian officials to take the obvious threat seriously until it had aggravated to grim levels is an eye-opener.

‘The responsibility of the higher command 

is not to lead men into battle 

but to make accurate assessments 

and to act on them professionally.’

The essay by Bharat Bhushan namely 'In the Enemy Country' was captivating as well. The journalist echoes the words of the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the conflict with the then PM of Pakistan, Nawaz Shariff. The scenes of the Lashkar rally in lslamabad gives readers goosebumps. The processes of internationalization of the Kashmir issue and the misinformation of the press is explained well in the essay.

However, the last one which is Suketu Mehta’s piece, ‘A Fatal Love’, seems grossly out of place, almost an afterthought addition that need not have been there. Yes, love conquers borders and is all encompassing, but the book on the whole is a narrative on the war aspects of the conflict situation in Kargil.

Hence the inclusion of the theme of Mehta's essay – a contemplation of Bhai Bhai brotherhood or blossoming of love between couples of the two countries, a la-Refugee Bollywood movie style - is akin to forcibly sticking a rose at the end of an ambush rifle. 

Conclusion

Highly unapologetic, concise and with no remorse, the book presents the inside stories as they are. There is a lot for clueless civilians to learn from this book. One conclusion that can definitely be drawn at the end of it is that the said issues are inconclusive – there is no single right or wrong answer to the problems that plague the region. The book leaves the reader somewhat frustrated, given that the lack of clear-cut solutions is distinct, despite all the analyses and contemplation.

Did you find my review useful? Follow my blog for more. Happy reading, readers! 

***

 


Book Review of 'Year of the Tiger' by Stephen Swartz

This is by far the best book of this author. I had saved it for last because I knew that the book is set in India and the plot seemed intriguing in the blurb. I absolutely enjoyed the vivid descriptions of Indian jungle, old temples and crowded marketplaces as perceived by the characters.

I believe that humans are absolutely the worst things to happen to this planet. Reading this story seemed like a reiteration of the same theory.

It starts off as a simple story of a disturbed man in an asylum, with an understanding nurse who assists him in ways far beyond her duties. His narrow escape from a murder attempt and the consequent chase across half the world is just one facet of the story.

The other dimension is the one which adds a surreal thrill to the plot. The simultaneous flashes of a tiger living his life in Bengal projected into Karl’s mind make him go more insane. The result is Karl and Althea ending up chasing the tiger across the landscape of India. Add to this the crazed murderer baying for his blood, plus a narcissistic hunter baying for the tiger’s blood and we have the perfect recipe for an unusual thriller.

The theme of magical realism has been used to heighten the effect of the conservation of wildlife to the plot and add a surreal twist to the tale.

The Tiger is the most endearing character of them all. And Swartz brings out the real danger of extinction of the striped mammal in a classic characterization that delves into the mind of the tiger himself. The portrayal of love between the tiger and his beloved mate is convincing, endearing , adorable and heart-wrenching.

What I found most interesting was the depiction of the man-eater as harmless, if left alone. It is highly convincing as well, especially since the prevalent theory of man-eaters being irreversibly harmful to humans has sanctioned the slaughter of beasts perceived as dangerous.

If the objective of the author was to showcase the character of man for what he is – in all his cruelty, sadism, foolishness and arrogance of false entitlement over the earth – he has succeeded with aplomb. And the human characters fighting to kill one another even as the tigers wait to attack them is a classic showcase of man in all his shameful way of existence. 

Overall, an entertaining read. I rate it 4.8 out of 5. Extra points are for the juxtaposition of two seemingly different themes with smooth finesse.

Did you enjoy my review? Do follow my blog to find more reviews, and for poetry, quotes and nature photography too.

***

Sunday 4 July 2021

Soldier : A Poem

faceless, he is 
just another rank 
amid the millions 
in service registry

voiceless, he lives 
until his battle cries 
strike thunderous terror into hearts of his enemy




relentless, he fights 
until his lifeblood drains 
with his last breath 
in undisclosed bravery

nameless, he buries 
trillions of untold stories unsung, undone years 
into abysses of history


***

images: pinterest



Worthwhile : A Quote


Your life is

worthwhile,

even if you think

that you add

only a little value

to the world

around you.


#Oleander Blooms

Trimurtis : A Quote


When the Sun wishes
a Good morning to
the Trimurtis.

Mornings are times
when we are reminded
to be grateful that we are alive -
to wake up, smell the flowers
and live another blessed day.

***


Living Between Rainbows: A Poem

Living between rainbows you painted in my skies 
I find smiles in weary woes & laughter in teary sighs 

Living between tomorrows you penned into my life 
I find solace, despite sorrows 
in chapters of solemn strife.

***

image:pinterest

Living Again: A Poem

living between rainbows has made me blind no reality blues or hilly horizons to find living without sorrows no clouds or rain mere vibgyor hues no feelings or pain living without tomorrows no learning to gain let me pay my dues with monochromes again.

***

image:pinterest

Verve : A Poem

Enjoy her fat & curvy till you possibly can your gal's gone crazy to lose 'em one by one Here a twist There a turn weights & belts tussle Watch her work See her burn your gal's buildin' muscle Toned firm verve lifts to match her man let your lips curve in pride: That's My woman!

***

image:pinterest 

Breathe : A Quote


Enjoy each new day
each morning
- new opportunities,
new learnings beckon.

Breathe deeply, live fully.

 

Sorcery : A Poem

And I dance, to soulful melody no one else can hear what is this skillful sorcery? And I prance in memory of magical music of just your voice Why do I glow in such glee? In a trance of a recharged zombie I rejoice & replay wisdom of your words 

what have you done to me?

***

image:pinterest

Find Your Tribe: A Quote


Find your tribe
and stick to them.

They are the
support system
in your life.

Be there for them,
when they need you.





Life is too short
to waste with those
who don't vibe
with who you are
and what you give
to the world.  

#PlumbagoAuriculata  

Wild : A Quote

The best thing
about being wild
is that
there is beauty
blooming
in the unlikeliest
of places.


The worst thing
about being wild
is that very few
notice or
appreciate it,
for what it's worth.  

#ThunbergiaFragrans 

Meet Me There : A Poem

meet me there where summer breeze caresses tingling skin & sound of water teases our ears where wildest beauty beckons in pastures of lushness under stunning clouds & divinity soothes in starlit skies where undone years are dispelled by only a moment breathing by your side

where it rains without warning or preamble & drenching together is a spontaneous joy where ample chances arise to steal the thundering of yet another wet kiss where we burn & freeze while dancing with the danger they call love meet me there

***

images:pinterest

Bowers of Healing: A Quote


There are always bowers of healing available in abundance in the world, for those who have the eyes to look for them.  




#PandoreaJasminoides

or #bowerplant