Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: Urban shots (Bright Lights)

In a melodramatic life, what strikes like a ‘bright light’; some define it as hope while others will tell you its festive but selected few who could narrate a story went into the book of ‘Urban Shots : Bright Lights’. Collection of 29 stories by 21 authors and edited by Paritosh Uttam, it takes you on a ride from the streets of Agra to the plush houses of Jaipur.

Each narration is so unique and creative and it is this assortment that makes this book different from others. One also gets the pleasure of reading and relating different lifestyles and experiences. I personally could relate myself to the central character of Jo Dikhta Hai, Woh Bikta Hai ,Vikram Gupta who is a sales man at a FMCG.

The book captures different emotions and perspectives from varied angles. You will find innocence in Amul, heart warming mother’s love in Across the Seas, funny encounter and confused couples in Double Mixed, surprising plot at a saloon in Peacock Cut, straight forward retirement narration in P.K. Koshy’s daily routine, heavy rant of mid-life crisis in The Wall and much more.

The collection of short stories allows you to wear different types of shoes. You are the protagonist in Maami Menace, an antagonist in Hot Masala, confused and witty father in Father of my Son and an award winning author in Mr. Perierra.

Some narrations are casual everyday affair while others take you to places that you have never been.

All in all, this book is a ‘khichdi’ of stories with happy, sour, dreamy and sad narratives that makes the dish quite delightful.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#2 Article at shaadicafe.com (click here to read)


It would be too cliched to say that life goes through stages. Shakespeare did, poets elaborated the obvious and exaggerated the meaning. This, we were taught by rote from secondary school. A lot of things happen in this routine and every human being goes through it, lives and dies.

A vicious cycle.

When it comes to complications of romance, it has its own defined everlasting flow diagram. Like a symbiotic creature, romance moves as a part of life. Life exists because of it and it exists because of life.

We, animals with the sixth sense, are abundant in expectations. There are no boundaries to that aspect of emotion and nobody has been able to lay out the basic rules of expectation. What is too much of it or what is too less of it? We will never get the answers.
Is growing old good or bad? Expectation also ages with us and we are never too sure if it is good or bad.

When 13 years old: We can’t look at this age as a mere number. It sends alert signals to the parents and prestigious shots to the person who has reached the number. The expectations begin from the external appearance. There is an adrenaline rush when the prettiest or the cutest looks at you. Like the chemical bonds of oxygen and hydrogen to make the perfect structure of water, we want to be tagged only with the good looking person. We attempt to look the best, dress the best or simply be called ‘the best’. Call it infatuation or crush, we labelled them as love.

When 16 years old: Career and crush converge at the common road (to think of it, I wrote a perfect alliteration here). We are forced to focus on one by every elder we encounter while thoughts deviate to another. Life promises too much at this juncture and optimism is raised. We are trying to win the best of both worlds. We think we are funny and tend to assume that popularity is by doing many things at a time. We learn to multitask and somehow manage to do excel in one or two things. With chaos in oneself, this age is definitely not too sweet.

When 19 years old: We are actually bidding good bye to the adolescence. With that, we are also bidding farewell to most crushes. At this age, we make choices. The surprising fact is that, choices seem less than what we began with. This age is critical when it comes to cupidism. We seem to make intelligent decisions. Romance seem to make more sense than what we thought. We seek for long term romance and understand that strength lies in the mutual trust. Relationships are made and broken and ‘expectation bars’ are raised and lowered. This age is a period of realisation that ‘love’ at 13 was dumb.

When 22 years old: Man has been able to solve all mysteries of deep waters but never the expectations that arise out of a human being. At this age, we want to look the best, have the best of career, take the best decisions, look for a long term relationship and expect more and more. Most of the problems start here. The best part of this particular age is that we believe in love whole heartedly. We are not too stupid or too intelligent to be in love. However, this age is the mother of all expectations.

We cannot stop our ever growing and always changing expectations as it is a part and parcel of human nature. But maturity does teach us to strike realistic views with the unrealistic expectations. Learn, adjust, understand and reason out. After all, compromising is not always a bad thing!

#1 Article at shaadicafe.com (click here to read)


Our Kannmani walks in yellow-red half saree
Ghinaku ghika!
Sound of her anklets as she walks catches our hero
He turns
She gives a sly look and giggles
Scratch scratch
The chin with an eye brow lifted

War is on. It is between the world’s conglomerates manufacturing the razors and the preferences of the XY chromosomes. The clash of titans as one of them approve a clean shaven look will get you women while other are hitting like buttons on Facebook photo of unshaven George Clooney.

English is a funny language. It might just make ‘Rajini Kant’ a part of vocabulary. Who in the right mind would link an almost cut wheat or paddy field to the small facial hairs that men sport? But the name stuck while everyone famous around the street glamourized the stubble. The boys when they reach the adolescence age and see the first sign of a single hair on their chin move around with razors. Conclusion can be drawn here that hair is a sign of masculinity.

In an examination of linking maturity to the androgens, we have just three choices.
(a) Clean shaven
(b) Stubble
(c) Beard

Survey shows that clean shaven defines immaturity. Beard was considered to be too much of masculinity. Stubble, like the Goldilock’s taste of porridge, was just right. It indicated not too much of a mature person with little aggressive nature that women of today seek. It seems like they are in the borders between the two countries of India and Pakistan. One side was dangerous while other was too comfortable.

When I asked Kannmani as why she liked her guy with stubble, she simply mentioned that pricks were cute to touch and feel. Though I didn’t react much when she said this, I couldn’t help looking at an angle for fondling purposes.

Stubble is also a mechanism for chameleonic characteristics. It hides the immature baby face of many boys and gives them an older look. Thanks to it that many women don’t seem too old when compared to their men of the same age. Dhanush will sport one when he sings his ‘Why this Kolaveri di?’ and all girls in the hostel will shriek ‘how cute!’ That’s life, boys!

It makes men look serious even if they are least bothered. This includes the “long term” relationship that women want. When the woman counterpart asks him why didn’t he pick the sock which has been lying for 2 days on the sofa, all he has to do is rub his chin, frown a bit and say, ‘honey, I was caught up with office work’.

Not only this, stubble seems to be more effective than sunscreen. It magically makes the jaw line look stronger and masculine.

Trying to connect responsibility with the look; men spend more time to get that perfect small hairs on face than the clean shave. So, all you women! Next time you rub his cheek, you can be sure that it took him more time that your fragrance soap lather bath.

The mystery of these small pricks will linger as long as it is the preference of the opposite gender. Celebrities will sport it, Singers will show off, sportsmen will flaunt and our very own next door Subramani won’t be alone!

So, machan! Sport one da! The pretty Kannmani might be on shaadicafe!