Showing posts from August, 2014

PRIVATE INDIA: A One and Only Avatar

The location is Mumbai, home to Bollywood and business capital of India. The branch of a very influential international detective agency has taken up a case. The agency is not Interpol. The agency is not Scotland Yard. The agency you have come across here is Private, India bureau. A reluctant alcoholic named Santosh Wagh heads Private India. Inside his head, a demonic nightmare keeps playing, in which he and his family—wife Isha and son Pravir—are taking a trip to a hill station. On their return, their car smashes onto a thick peepal tree at a hairpin turn. The man loses his wife and son. The man loses himself.
“You killed them, you drunk bastard.”
His mind keeps nudging his conscience. Santosh’s only resort is liquor. But he was also grateful to a man who saved his life that was about to fall apart, with a helping hand—a job as the head of Private’s India bureau. The man’s name is Jack, Jack Morgan.
In my review of James Patterson’s first book in the series Private, I wrote, “Every d…

INDIAN SUMMER: Stories Behind Histories

I doubt reading history can make an individual wiser. I am certain that it can shock us. This shock wave takes birth at the crack between what is the perceived history and the stories behind that history. Often the stories behind history are beyond reconciliation resulting in mass violence and murders. Salman Rushdie tried that once and he faced the fatwa. Dan Brown tried to decipher Da Vinci in his rather playful quirk called The Da Vinci Code. And this book is still banned among many Christian communities. I remember one of my friends’ words that he had spoken to one of his students, “If you wrote a paper on The Da Vinci Code, you might end up in trouble.”
Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex von Tunzelmann, published in 2007, is one such book that can shake some of us from our foundational thoughts on Indian history, especially the story of Indian freedom struggle. Unlike many of the so-called groundbreaking books, Tunzelmann’s book does not relocate the…


“Matthew Thomas interview: 'I learned how to be a person writing this thing'A schoolteacher by day, the 'new Jonathan Franzen' crafted his million-dollar debut novel by night at his kitchen table.” [Courtesy: the]
The above mentioned is the title of one of the article that appeared in The Guardian newspaper’s online edition. An author read it and immediately thought to himself; ‘hmm…that author is older than I am.’ [Meaning, I could still be writing my mega-novel by the time I am his age] Thankfully, the author caught himself thinking this embarrassing thought. He was looking at the image of the author given along with the article. Perhaps, many of us had gone through the same phase of mindset. I don’t think it’s the specific case with writers alone. Taking this demeanor as a sign of jealousy would be yet another way to embarrass ourselves. So let us be frank and put it aside. As writers, we all want to write artistically brilliant and financially successfu…

INDEPENDENCE DAY: Qualms over Freedom

The college I work at has a policy of students wearing uniforms, from which they are exempted on all Wednesdays. The previous Wednesday, one girl student had donned a fancy costume, perhaps just to celebrate her newly gained freedom of college life.
The dress looked good on her. It wasn’t vulgar either. However, some senior students had problems and they reported this unwelcoming tendency in the junior girl student to the authorities. Following this step, the girl student received a statutory warning from the department. Later that day, I was asked to give a lecture on the dress code accepted by the college. I was divided about what my stand should be, especially when I did not see anything wrong with the dressing of the girl, personally. However, I must also do the job I am asked to, right? So I went to their class. Started talking about the accepted dress codes at college. That was when the girl stood up and asked me, “Sir, aren’t we living in free and independent India? Why should w…

ROBIN WILLIAMS: Peter Pan of World Cinema

On Robin Williams, Imagination, and Peter Pan
“To die would be an awfully big adventure.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan.
Sir James Matthew Barrie’s 1911 novel of the boy who never grows up portrays the magical life of a boy who, as the story goes, never grows up. His name is well known, Peter Pan. In the 1991 film Hook, directed by Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams plays the role of Peter Pan. In this movie, though, there is a slight difference from the original Barrie’s story. The Peter Pan in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation is all grown up and different. He leads a “normal” life and has a family.
At first, I thought I would write an article about the legendary Robin Williams, who is in the news the past couple of days due to his apparent suicide. They say the actor was subdued by a serious depression. Overcome by a psychological darkness many individuals have decided to obliterate their physical existence, over the years; those include famous people and ordinary ones. What else can be done when…

VAIKOM MUHAMMAD BASHEER: A Time-Travelling Experience