December 24, 2022

Some lovely Quotes from Shantaram Web-Series on AppleTV

I had made a separate blog-post having all the nice quotes from the Shantaram Book. But while watching the web-series (review), I came across a few more, so thought to create a separate blog-post for them. So here they are, some of the best, catchy quotes from Shantaram web-series:-

  1. Karla- "Tell her nothing Lin, in Bombay everyone's story is their own to keep, and that drives Kavvie crazy"
  2. Someone once said- the worst thing about corruption as a system of governance, is that it works so well.
  3. There is no good men or bad men. It is what they do, or refuse to do, that makes them good or evil.
  4. There is no shame is being afraid. Courage is being scared, and acting anyway.
  5. That’s because our laws concentrate on how much crime is in the sin. For me, the important thing is how much sin is in the crime.
  6. That’s why you must always ask yourself, how much sin is in the crime for you, no one else. And if it becomes too much for your soul to bear, then you must walk away.
  7.  Abdullah:- You don’t have to suffer anything, if you are strong enough to deny it.
    KaderBhai:- Well, may be true strength is suffering for others, when you don’t have to.
  8. A suffering can be a kind of anger. We rage against injustice and unfairness, and some men feel compelled to bear this suffering, no matter the consequences. Such a man is only truly happy when he is suffering for others. The Hero’s curse.
  9. Karla:- I hate love.
    Lin:- You can’t hate love, Karla.
    Karla:- Why not, it’s such an arrogance to love someone and expect it in return. I think heaven is a place where everybody is happy because nobody has to love anyone else ever again!
    Lin:- So if Love is no good, what is?
    Karla:- Power, it is the opposite of Love.
  10. The only thing stronger than love, is the hate left behind, when its gone.
  11. I believe that all of the questions and most of the answers to life, are in Shakespeare.
  12. Lin:- Karla once told me depression only happens to those who don’t know how to be sad.
    Didier:- What does that even fucking mean? If karla did less thinking and more feeling, she would be better off!
  13. A coward isn’t capable of exhibiting love. It is the prerogative of the brave.

Shantaram: Web-Series, did it live upto the Expectation?

shantaram- image source- imdb-
Shantaram Book, is probably one of the best Novel one can read, and I had already written a separate review post of the Book. So this web-series was undoubtedly one of the most awaited series for all the Book lovers. Most people who watched and reviewed, had a positive review, but a few had negative reviews too. I too, as someone who have read both of the books, have had a few critical observations, so I thought why not write a more detailed review over it.

Being a Novel, which runs in 900+ pages, and still manages to be one of the most loved Novel, it can surly be difficult to portray perfectly in a web-series, that too, when the first Season is just 12 episodes long, and the story surly seems to be shortened, changed, adapted a bit, so as to suit the shorter time period of the web series. So while the expectations of the readers were huge, the web series makers, seem to have had some limitations in front of them.

Keeping all that in mind, did the web-series live upto the expectation? To answer that, let me first note down a few of the peculiarity of the Book which had made it stand apart from other Novels and made it so loved by its readers:-

  1. All the main characters of the Book, were migrants in Bombay and had own troubled past. Their commonality had made them gravitate towards each other.
  2. Some of the relationships are beautifully portrayed in the Book; viz. Lin - Prabhu, Lin - Karla, Lin - Lisa, Lin - KhaderBhai, Didier - the group. 
  3. The Book is full of philosophical talks among these pair of people. Some of those talks, look meaningless and nonsensical too while reading. But most of the talks, which are more in the form of philosophical debates, look so profound. In my view, this was the most outstanding aspect of the Book. There were several quotes, with which one can relate to so much.
  4. Lin & Karla's relationship is what stands out in the Book. How they talk, the situation between them, the arguments and debates they have, all that is so lovely in the Book.
  5. Lin-KhaderBhai-Abdullah's story too is great, and so is Lisa's story.

So coming to the review of the web-series now, for me, what was most important was, how well did it portray the key elements of the Book. For example, Lin & Karla's love story was one key element, Lin-Prabhu, and their stay in Bombay's slum was one key element, the philosophical talks in Book was one key element, the Lin-KhaderBhai-Abdullah's story and the gang war, was one key element. 

There have been a few hits and couple of misses, but overall, I loved the web-series. 

I loved it because I loved the Lin-Karla portrayal, their relationship has been portrayed beautifully. Antonia Desplat has perfectly played the role of Karla. Her emotions, her expressions, everything looked so perfect. When Karla confides in Lin, about her past, as to how her father had committed suicide and she is still angry at her father for that (that he didn't consider her worth living for), when Karla tries to help Lin without informing her, when they have some philosophical talks, all these moments are so touching, so lovely.

Overall, in other places too, philosophical talks- usual sentences which hit so profound- are in abound. There are such talks between Lin and KhaderBhai too.

Lin's stay in slum and his brotherly/friendly relationship with Prabhu, is nicely portrayed. His urge to help others, to come out a better human being, is so relatable.

What also stands out in the web-series, and which was not so much focussed in the book, is the aspect of Lisa and her relationship with Karla. Lisa and Karla's die-hard friendship is portrayed so nicely in the Book. Lisa being so careless, and Karla being so caring about Lisa, was quite a thing to watch.

Where the web-series missed to focus, was at KhaderBhai and Didier. In the Book, Didier was shown to be central character in the group, always in picture, but here he is pushed a bit back from centerstage. KhaderBhai's role is not so prominent. First of all, the physical persona of Alexander Siddig, is completely out of place, compared to the portrayal of an imposing personality of KhaderBhai in the Book. His physical appearance, his voice, his walking style, everything just doesn't match with how a reader will imaging the KhaderBhai's character to be. So that was a big miss. Also, due to time constraint, it looks the web-series could hardly focus on the gang war aspect, so the entire Lin-KhaderBhai-Abdullah story left a lot to be told.

That said, for me, the dealbreaker aspects, as I mentioned, were the characters of Lin, Karla, Prabhu, Lisa, which are portrayed nicely. In particular, I loved the portrayal of Lin and Karla's story. In fact, contrary to how it happens in the Book's story, in the web-series, it almost ends at a positive note (except for those last few seconds! :( ). But barring those last moments, didn't it feel satisfying to finally see Karla and Lin in love with each other and not shying away confessing the same to each other :)

So keeping all that in mind, I loved the web-series. Of course, with a better cast, longer play time, higher budget, they could have created a much better web-series, but in its current duration, isn't it a nice web-series? I think it is, and I would highly recommend everyone to watch it. Here is my imdb review of the same.

February 13, 2021

Review: A man called Ove

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars. This Book easily claimed spot in my “Best Books read” list. It now remains close to my heart with few of nicest ever books I have read. And I can count them on fingers- Shantaram, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Color Purple, A man called Ove.

The peculiarity of this book lies not in its story, but its writing style. The book focuses not on story, but on subtle emotions and internal thoughts. In fact the Book has hardly any story, its story can be summarised just in a single page, may be just in a few lines! But the way it stands out, is the brilliant portrayal of emotions, and the portrayal of heart-touching love in spite of the behavioural differences among people.

There are just 3 main characters in the book, and the entire book revolves around them- Ove- an introvert, reserved man of serious thoughts, his deceased but deeply loved wife Sonja- an exact polar opposite, but chirpy, and an avid Book lover, and his Iranian neighbour Parvaneh. Parvaneh, has recently moved in the neighbourhood with her husband and two young kids. She is chirpy as bird, and keeps poking nose into Ove’s secluded life.
And the family has shifted at such a time when Ove has been planning to die by suicide.

Throughout the Book, Ove makes 4 attempts at his life, but fails all the 4 times due to one reason or the another. But the major reason of his failure at dying, remains his good heartedness. He is always reminded of something good to do, and ends up postponing the dying. The Book is neither too emotional, nor is too romantic, and that is another part where it stands out. It is a bitter sweet mix of emotions, humour, love and laughter. The Book makes you cry at times, but makes your heart fill with love and warmth at most times. It is the story of a old man having planned to die by suicide, to meet his deceased, beloved wife Sonja, but only to have all his plans thwarted by the entrance of a new lady in her life- Parvaneh, who is irritating initially, but makes a forcible but permanent place in his heart later.
It brings tears to the eyes, when Ove dies in sleep, Parvaneh comes and notices, sits beside him for long, and then whispers in his ears while letting him be taken away by ambulance crew-
“Give my love to Sonja, and thank her for the loan”. (the “loan” was Ove himself)

Some of the best quotes from the Book:-
“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”- Simple sentences, but such brilliant portrayal of emotions 😊❤️

“On the Sunday she was buried. On the Monday he went to work. But if anyone had asked, he would have told them that he never lived before he met her. And not after, either.”

“I just wanted to know what it felt like to be someone you look at.” ❤️

“She often said that all roads lead to something you were always predestined to do. And for her, perhaps, it was something. But for Ove it was someone.”

“In the end she found out how he got the scars. And when one of her girlfriends asked why she loved him she answered that most men ran away from an inferno. But men like Ove ran into it.”

“‘Loving someone is like moving into a house,' Sonja used to say. 'At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies- How to avoid getting the key caught in its locks when its cold outside....”

View all my reviews

June 16, 2019

The Kaafir Poem

Image Credit:

This lovely poem came in the Web Series - "Kaafir"- telecast on
It was termed as "The Kaafir Poem". The writer of this Poem is "Swanand Kirkire"

लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर,
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी |
जीत मिली हम दोनो को बस, बस आँसू की कमाई थी
तुम पंछी थे और मैं थी मछली,
हम दोनो की अलग थी दुनिया,
अलग सुबह और अलग जहाँ |
सब कहते थे हम दोनों का,
इस दुनिया में मेल कहाँ,
पर भूल नहीं पाऊँगी वो लम्हा,
जब तुमने दिल की धड़कने सुनायी थी
लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी

ये बिछड़ना मिलना ये तो शायद मुहब्बत है,
अपने प्यार को वो दे देना,
जिसकी उसे ज़रूरत है
हम दोनो थे क़ैद कहीं,
अपनी समझ की सलाखों में,
तुमने ऐसा रिहा किया,
ख़ुद आज़ादी शर्मायी थी;
लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी

मिलेंगे हम ये वादा है ,
रोज़ रात को चाँद के ज़रिए,
मैं भेजूँगी पैग़ाम तुम्हें,
इस बहती हुई हवा के ज़रिए,
साथ रहेंगे सोच में दोनो,
नाज़ुक नाज़ुक यादों में,
मैं कहूँगी मुझको एक मिला था, पागल,
जिसने ज़िंदगी सिखायी थी,
तुम कहना सबसे, एक ज़िद्दी पड़ोसन
अपने घर भी आयी थी|
चलो बहुत हुआअब चुप रहूँगी,
चुप्पी में मज़मून है ज़्यादा,
तुम जैसा बनना, कहूँगी सबको
बस इतना ही मेरा वादा,
इससे ज़्यादा कहूँगी कुछ तो फूट पड़ेगी रुलायी भी,
लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर,
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी |

P.S. You can read the review of "Kaafir" at my another blog-post here.

Kaafir - Movie Review

Image Credit:

Few movies are so powerful that it makes you cry with the protagonists, feel what the actors are feeling. Few movies are so well directed that it focuses at several subtle and sensitive aspects of the society in a very powerful way. Kaafir does all that, and more.
(Kaafir is a Web Series being telecast on Terming it as "movie" for sake of convenience)

There is a scene in the movie where the protagonist Kainaaz- a Pakistani woman- is sent to jail and inside the jail lockup, first, Hindu women tell her to move away sit on the Muslim women's side, and when she goes to the Muslims' side, Muslim women tell her to shift away sit in the Pakistani section of the jail lockup. The helpless, emotionless expression on Kainaaz's face, breaks your heart. 
In another scene, after a terrorist blast in J&K, some angry youngsters attacked the army officer's house where Kainaaz was staying (since she was a Pakistani). With kainaaz inside with her daughter, they set the house on fire. The two persons who came to rescue both had their relatives' killed in terrorist attacks earlier. One was Suri Uncle's wife who had lost her husband in the very terrorist blast, and another was Vedant, who had lost his army officer brother in a terrorist attacks several years earlier. The incident shows the great divide in society, the divide of blind hatred and matured conscience.
The movie is not only of a Pakistani woman stuck in Indian jails on flimsy grounds of "National security" (flimsy because there was no evidence, and no investigation) . It is also the story of the struggle in the life of a woman, who has to play the role of a daughter, a wife, and a mother in extreme circumstances of the patriarchal, misogynist world. What's more, the movie is also about a righteous man's resolve and conviction in doing the good. The movie is about the fight of good vs the bad elements of society, where ultimately the good wins, but after a lot of pain and sacrifices. 
A still from the movie, where Kainaaz, after winning her freedom from court,
falls on her feet crying, and her little daughter comes running to console her
Look at it- the woman protagonist Kainaaz played by Dia Mirza- first gets ditched by her husband in Pakistan, then she jumps into river to commit suicide, doesn't die but lands into Indian jails. There she gets served 15 months jail term, gets raped by a jailer, and has to remain under extreme circumstances in the jail, not for just 15 months, but for more than 8 yrs!
And look at the male protagonist in the movie- Vedant, played by Mohit Raina, he is from a military family- his two brothers are in army and his father is a retired Police officers. The irony in his life, is that his younger brother was killed by a terrorist, who he himself had got released from jail in capacity of lawyer, under impression that the guy was innocent and not a terrorist! And yet again, he takes up the case of a Pakistani woman Kainaaz! He also takes it up going against his father's constant opposition.

The movie touches upon several delicate issues, and focuses on many conflicting emotions in the minds of the lead protagonists. There is an angle of love and sacrifice, there is the element of guilt, and there is the depiction of great resolve and conviction in face of severe extreme circumstances. Dia Mirza does magic with her acting and expressions, she absolutely dives into the character making it to so real that you feel her pain as she faces. Mohit Raina in his role of the lead male protagonist too plays a great part. The Child actor Dikshita Jain is so cute, lovely and innocent. Several of her innocent questions bring smile on your face. The script writer of the movie has been superb. The movie is replete with several deep dialogues which touch your heart. All in all, this is one gem of a movie, one is a million kind, not to be missed at all. The director, producers and the entire team deserves a huge applaud for making a movie on such theme, with such nuance and depth.

Ending it, I would like to mention a few of the many, fabulous dialogues from the movie:-

"हम जेल वापस चलते हैं अम्मी, यहाँ बाहर मुझे अच्छा नहीं लगता है"

"कायनाज जी, हाथ खुले हो या जुड़े हो, कोई फ़र्क़ नहीं पड़ता; इबादत का तरीक़ा नहीं, नीयत मायने रखती है"

"जेल की खिड़की की सलाखों से जब मैं खुले आसमान और पहाड़ों को देखती, तो मुझे वही खुला आसमान और पहाड़ नज़र आते, जो मेरे मुल्क में भी है क़ुदरत सब के लिए एक है, इंसान ही लकीरें बनाता है"

"दुनिया को अगर नफ़रत की निगाहों से देखा जाए तो हमें नफ़रत का ही एहसास होता है। अगर हम दुनिया को प्यार की निगाहों से देखें तो, प्यार का एहसास होता है"

"मारने वालों से बचाने वाले बहुत ज़्यादा हैं, लेकिन बस बेटा वो चुप रहना सीख गए हैं"

"लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर,
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी |
जीत मिली हम दोनो को बस, बस आँसू की कमाई थी " 
(the small part of the longer "The Kaafir Poem" by Swanand Kirkire )

August 15, 2018

Understanding Partition of India: Some of the Best Books to read

So a few years back, I really got fascinated about the partition saga. I got really curious to know more about the factors leading upto partition. I had always read conflicting theories about partition through online articles and social media debates. Some used to blame Britishers for deliberately partitioning India for their own benefits, some blamed Jawahar Lal Nehru for partition, and some even used to blame Gandhi ji for the partition!! All these talks and online readings made in bits and pieces, gradually made me curious about the partition issue, and I thought to read some books on the matter. So below are some of the books I have read, and some quick review about those books:-

1) Pakistan or the Partition of India :
Written by Dr. B.R. Amdekar, I read this book first, fascinated by it's title probably. This book has looked at the partition issue from a sociological perspective. Dr. Ambedkar seems to have had an immense knowledge and awareness of historical and political struggles going on around the world, and he has put forth his arguments on that basis. Dr. Ambedkar has discussed in detail about both pro-Gandhi and anti-Gandhi factions, and interestingly he has criticized both. On one hand he has discussed V.D. Savarkar's orthodox, Hinduism related policies, and on another, he has discussed Mahatma Gandhi's policies of  trying to bridge Hindu-Muslim gap by taking steps favourable to them. He has been a fierce critic of Gandhi ji. He has pointed out that despite Mahatma Gandhi's desperate efforts towards communal harmony, there was no let down in Hindu-Muslim riots. He has discussed the concept of  "Country" and "Nation", and he has thrown light on the concept of the famous "Two Nation theory", i.e. there lived two nations in the country named India. A major part of his book is focussed on discussing the huge sociological divide between Hindus and Muslims in India. He has tried to make his point that since centuries of time, there has been a deep divide between Hindus and Muslims in India, due to several factors. All in all, he has implicitly suggested that partition was a good thing to happen, and it was bound to happen sooner or later, due to the deep, unending differences between Hindus and Muslims.

2) Freedom at Midnight:  
Probably the most famous book on partition, written by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, this book is sometimes criticized to be biased towards the Britishers. But I found this book interesting to read. The book is based on extensive interviews conducted of the last Viceroy Mountbatten, his family members, and several other people. So it does seem to be telling the story from foreign eyes, but still it has thrown great deal of light on the partition issue. It has explained how the Indian politicians (including Jinnah) could never come to an agreement, which led to prolonged discussions. The book also tells the interesting fact about why partition was declared exactly at midnight. It also explains, with how much difficulty the exact partition lines were decided between India and Pakistan by "Cyril Radcliffe". And also, interestingly, the division demarcation was never disclosed till partition day. So on 15th August 1947, no one actually knew whether they were geographically in India or in Pakistan. The book also details about the lavish lives of princes of the princely states. It explains how the individual princely states were convinced to merge into India or Pakistan, leaving their hold on power. All in all a great book to learn about partition. A more detailed review of this book can be read here.

3) India Wins Freedom
Probably the best book, and should be must read for anyone trying to learn more about partition, and pre-independence politics. Written by Abul Kalam Azad, this book is special because the author remained Congress President for almost 6 years post 1939, and was involved as a representative of Congress in most talks/negotiations with Britishers- Cripp's Mission, Simla Conference, the British Cabinet Mission resolution etc. So he has given a kind of inside view of the negotiations going on in those times. He has also been pretty impartial about discussing the policies of Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel and Gandhi ji. He has criticized several decisions of Gandhiji and has clearly written that majority of Congress politicians were with Gandhiji NOT because they believed in non-violence, but because they believed that non-violent ways of protest was the best and fastest way to get Independence. In fact there was a moment when many Congress politicians were in favour of going against Britishers taking violent path. Regarding Gandhiji's murder, he has written in very detail how the conspiracy was hatched and multiple assassination attempt were taken. He has criticized Sardar Patel (being Home Minister) for willful negligence about Gandhiji's security. A large part of the book focussed on several political negotiations with Britishers about getting Independence, and that really throws a great deal of light on what all transpired, why those negotiations failed, and why ultimately the Partition had to be conceded. The most painful part he has discussed in the book, is the betrayal done by Congress towards Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, for not supporting their plea of demanding to keep the NWFP region in India. He wrote that Khan brothers had always been loyal supporters of Congress, but Congress and Gandhiji ditched them in such an important moment. After their region went into Pakistan, both the Khan brothers were jailed and tortured in Pakistan. In short, a really great book to read. The Font and Font size/spacing in the hardcover book available, makes the book slightly painful to read, but for it's content, one must not miss it.
4) The Shadow of the Great Game : The Untold Story of India's Partition :  Again a very exhaustive book, writing about things in very detailed manner. The author "Narendra Singh Sarila" had been ADC to the last viceroy Luis Mountbatten. Being ADC to the viceroy he must have seen things from close, hence his account seem very reliable. The Bollywood movie "Partition :1947" is based on this book. In this book, the author has argued that the partition was done by Britishers as part of much larger conspiracy to maintain hold over this part of Asia. The author has discussed things from the ongoing world politics at that time, and has thrown light on the Russian Vs Britishers fight for geographical supremacy. He has also brought in the viewpoint of maintaining control over rich Oilfield regions. The author's main viewpoint has been that Britishers were willing to leave, but wanted to take back a guarantee that the new, independent country will always support Britain in it's pursuit of increasing or maintaining hold over geographical locations through violent means (if it comes to that). Indian politicians were clearly in no mood to support Britain in any of their motives post independence. But the Britishers gauged the fact the Muslim politicians led by Jinnah were willing to give them this kind of logistic support for their military pursuits. The author was also of the view that the northern parts of India (NWFP, and Gilgit regions) were really important to Britishers for strategic reasons of halting Russians advances. This book is also very important to read the Jammu and Kashmir part of the story. The author has written in detail about J&K aspect, how the state was attacked by first Pakistani military led by British army men, and how they had captured some regions of J&K initially. And how the tribal led invasion was later undertaken by Pakistanis, which forced Raja Hari Singh to write a letter giving consent to merging of the state with India, in exchange for protection from Indian Army. The author also details how India made some mistakes of going to UN at wrong time, when they could have actually taken back the area of J&K captured by Pakistanis. United Nations headed by Britishers and Americans, were clearly biased against India's interests, was what the conclusion of author.                                     

5) Guilty Men of India's Partition: This book by Mr Rammanohar Lohia is primarily a critique of the Book “India Wins Freedom” (a kind of critical review of that book). This entirely revolves around countering the facts and statements written in that book. As a result this book is very short and should be read only after reading "India Wins Freedom". After reading the book, I  couldn't stop at marvelling what a visionary Rammanohar Lohia was! Many of his views still stands true and will stand true in times to come too. In criticizing the view of Maulana Azad he wrote quite many of his own independent views/assessments too. Primarily in this book, he keeps the focus on Pandit Nehru, tries to prove that Nehru was the main person from Congress side who should take the blame for India’s partition. He also illustrates one incident where Nehru conspires through Jayaprakash Narayan to put the blame of Mahatma Gandhi’s murder on the carelessness of Sardar Patel (Lohia’s own assumption here).  Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in his book, had written the opposite. He had put the major blame of partition on Sardar Patel and towards the end he also blamed Sardar Patel's for Gandhi’s murder! So this book of Rammanohar Lohia is a must read for anyone who has read “India Wins Freedom”. It throws its own perspective on the happenings in pre-partition times, and some very interesting and enlightening ones! A few of his conclusions and presumptions seemed over the top and untrue. He hardly wrote anything about Sardar Patel, and he also skipped how/why Gandhi agreed to partition proposal, despite raising the point countering Maulana Azad’s view in his book. Comparatively, Maulana Azad in his book, had written about both Nehru and Patel, how they both had agreed to partition. His assessment had seemed more logical. Lohia’s assessments seem driven by prejudice (one sidedness) against Nehru or against the inaction of Maulana Azad for being inactive in stopping partition. All in all, I think since this book was written as a review of “India Wins Freedom”, it should be taken with a pinch of salt, with a limited purview of  a supplementary book to “India Wins Freedom”.

6) Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire:-
As the cover photo itself suggests, this book heavily focuses on Mountbatten-Edwina-Nehru’s relationships. The author goes to a great extent to prove that Edwina and Nehru were in love. A few instances have also been cited where Edwina was able to influence Nehru’s political decisions. So on that part, it did well. There is a good dedicated chapter on Kashmir issue too. All in all, a very good book with some very interesting facts. What I didn’t like about this book though, is that more than half of the book (370 pages), was dedicated to exploring personal lives and family trees of Mountbatten, Edwina and Nehru. It does it so much, that sometime I felt as if I was reading a fiction novel!! I also felt that the author’s views came a bit biased at times. Being a britisher, she seems to have looked at events and decisions from a British perspective. But that’s not a big issue I feel, every author will be supposed to have some bias which we need to filter out as a reader. But all in all, a very good book to enhance the knowledge of partition. Every new book throws a new perspective on partition, and I am sure this book too does a great job at that! 

7) Midnight's Furies:- The prologue of this book reads-
"This book aims to answer a different question- not why the subcontinent was split, or who was to blame for the massacres, but how the experience of partition carved out such a wide gulf between India and Pakistan. How did two nation with so much in common end up such inveterate enemies so quickly"
And I think the book does that task pretty well. This books stands out in the way it throws light on the India-Pakistan conflict post partition, which laid ground for such a long persisting acrimonious relationship between the two nations. Almost the whole of last 4 chapters of the Book, is focused on detailing issues and conflicts revolving around the three contentious regions- Junagadh, Hyderabad and Jammu & Kashmir. And this was the first book I read, in which their strategic inter-relation is emphasized so well. Essentially, after partition, these three were the states which were undecided ones, and it was a matter of prestige and ego, for Pakistan to have these, and a matter of security concerns for India, to have it made part of India. A lot has been written on this, as to how both countries tried to make all the three their own. Ultimately, India was able to take Junagadh and Hyderabad, and Jammu & Kashmir ended up in stalemate. The matter of Jammu and Kashmir too has been written about in great detail. So this book did this part really well. Apart from that, the Book has also written in detail how Muslim League initiated trouble with call of Direct Action Day, and also about the role played by Hindu extremist organizations like RSSS in the aftermath. The gory detail of rioting and genocide in Punjab region too has been written about in great detail. And lastly, the book has pointed out in great detail the difference between the ideology and working style of Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel. At several points it has contrasted their ideology and working style, basically showing Nehru as more liberal, idealistic person, and Patel as a bit of orthodox, religion centric person. There has been several instances mentioned where Patel had worked sneakily (as Home Minister), keeping Nehru in dark, because he understood Nehru would have never agreed with his actions. So in this aspect too, the author has written so well.    All in all, a great book to read.

remembering partition
8) Remembering Partition:- This Book is not for beginner readers of India's partition. This book focuses almost entirely on the violence surrounding partition times - starting a few months prior to partition, and onwards. The title of the Book is a bit misleading, in the sense that, it doesn't give any information about the cause of partition, or the political events and decisions surrounding partition. It could have been better titled- "Remembering the Violence around Partition". Basically, the author assumes that the reader has already enough knowledge of India's partition, why it happened, how it happened and all the political events surrounding it. And starting from that assumption, this author focuses only the violence around partition and how they have been covered in various historical Books. The author picks up several examples of violence, and mentions several interviews of people who have lived those times, and tries to analyze the sociology and mindset of people during those times. The author also tries to analyse how those violence and the statistics about them have been reported by various Books, committees. As per him, most stats were exaggerated, biased or based on hearsay, rather than based on first person accounts. He also tries to analyse how people who have lived those times, and are alive now, talk about those events. As per him, most people claim that those incidences of violences never happened in their region, and in stead in some other adjacent area! The author also analyses various claims and counter-claims by both sides, and try to analyse who tried to say what, for which reason. More detailed review of this book written by me, can be read on the Book's Goodreads page here. I found it a great Book on India's partition, giving a different and unique perspective into the violence of those times. A great book to read, but not a must read.

In Fiction
1) Train to Pakistan:- Khushwant Singh has written such a realistic fiction that one gets completely drawn into the story. It seems also quite close to reality, going by the narratives of other non-Fiction books read. Must read to realize the horror of partition through a gripping story.
2) Toba Tek Singh:- Saadat Hasan Manto writes stories so real-life and gripping, that you can relate well to it. He was much ahead of his times. This is a story book containing several short stories based on society and people of pre-partition times. Again a very nice book which gives a quick glimpse into the lives of people in pre-partition times...

Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts. Which else books you have read related to partition, and found to be good? Please let me know in comment section

October 16, 2017

The Funny online Selling Experience

So this was almost 2 yrs back when I wanted to sell my creative 2.1 speakers. The selling experience was both amusing as well as frustrating at times. I posted the ad with photos on two of the popular online websites. I installed their apps too, so that I could respond to any messages quickly. A few of the conversations with prospective buyers were so hilarious that I can still recall them vividly. One buyer had called me asking about the speakers, and after usual few questions, he asked- "Are the speakers having lengthy enough cords, so as to place them in different corners of the room". I was like, 'does this guy even know how 2.1 speakers are like!!' But I calmly replied that these are 2.1 speakers, and not meant for getting placed across the room.
Another buyer called and asked if the speakers have 3.5 mm audio jack. When I replied in affirmative, he asked if it will work with his Samsung phone which apparently didn't have 3.5mm audio output!
One caller asked me to lower the price being quoted in ad. I had already kept the selling price close to half of the current market price since it has just been 1 year for the speakers. When I told him that I don't want to sell it at any price lower than mentioned, he replied- "But several other 2.1 speakers are being sold at much lower price." I was like, "Oh, so all 2.1 speakers are same!"
There was one instance when a girl (or may be a buyer with female name) messaged me, and wrote-
"Heyy, do you want to sell this item?"
I replied- "No, I am just testing the selling feature here."
She:- "I too am new to buying here. Can you help me buy a good 2.1 speaker system?"
Me:- "Yes of course, you can buy mine."
She:- "But I actually want to buy, not just indulge in testing". I repented my first reply, and somehow brought the conversation back on track and explaining about my 2.1 speakers.

Another day, I got a message in my selling website's inbox, and started chatting with the buyer. Here is how the conversation went on:-

Buyer : "Hi, May I know why are you selling your speakers?"
Me: "Because I want to buy a better one."
Buyer: "Is it working fine?"
Me: "Yes".
Buyer: "Then why are you selling it?"
Me: "I told you, because I want to buy a better one, and I need money for that."
Buyer: "Which speakers are you thinking to buy?"
Me: "Haven't fully decided yet, but why do you want to know?"
Buyer: "May be I too will buy the same speaker, if good enough"
Me: "Do you want to buy my speakers or not?"
Buyer: "Yes, yes I do."
Somehow, we agreed on the price and then I asked for the location of exchange. 
Me: "So where do you want to meet for taking the speakers?"
Buyer: "Anywhere in Jammu city."
Me: "WHAT!! You are from Jammu?"
Buyer: "Yes, I thought you too are from Jammu."
By now, I was frustrated as hell,but somehow persevered.
Me: "Sorry, then no point discussing. I stay in Hyderabad."
Buyer: "Heyy, By any chance, can you courier the speakers?"
Me: "Yes I can, if you pay the additional courier charges"
Buyer: "Ok, please courier then. I will transfer you the money as soon as I get the courier."
This was the limit of my patience.
Me: "Good Bye", and I blocked the person.

Now, after so many months of the experience, when I came across the website, I found it to be a very promising website for selling old electronic items.

Disposing of e-waste is another big issue that can be solved by such initiatives. Many times, we don't sell our electronic items, because of the hassles involved in selling. With such hassle-free experience of selling, with no negotiations and haggling involved, I think cashify comes up with a very great initiative. #CleanUpCashOut is the mantra, i.e. you clean up your old electronic items, and you get cash out of it! You can know more about the cashify, by watching these two videos- Video1, Video2.  Use coupon CLEANCASH and get an additional Rs 250.