Monthly Archives: February 2014

Knowledge is great

Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.

William Shakespeare

london_2423609b

It was the year 1992 when I was rushing to school after the school had reopened after the pre board exams . Few days back when we had preparation classes for the board one of our instructor who has been specially called for taking classes in English literature has mentioned that Roll number 25 has got the highest marks in English . Everybody was looking at me with Aahs and Oohs , once again Sweta has done it . My friend Ritu remarked, ” Yay You topped again ” . But I yelled, ” Hello , I am not Roll number 25 but 26. ”    Everybody started thinking in the reverse order , ” Who is it after all? ” and it does not take Sherlock Holmes to think that before S come R . So , all the eyes were fixed on Ritesh Bhadani, the demure and lanky boy, who is always very courteous and attentive in the class .And not to forget his damn good looks . Everybody was looking at him as if he is the dark horse. In between our English teacher , Mrs. Shukla Chakraborty walks in , she is a charming lady with a gravity that  made the most notorious boys bend their knees . So , she raises her voice and with authoritative voice she addresses , ” I met Mr Rao in the morning and he has conveyed that roll number 25 has scored the highest ” “who is roll number 25 ?” ? Ritesh stands up and Mrs shukla remarks I knew you always  have the potential . See this time you worked hard and you have got the highest . Next day when Mr Rao comes in the class , there is a pin drop silence as everybody wants to know who has scored how much . When it is my turn to come, Mr Rao announces , ” Sweta has got highest in English ” And everybody looks confused as it was Ritesh who had got the highest marks . But it seems Mr. Rao got confused with the roll numbers .  And I was elated that I had got the highest marks .

When I took my answer sheet , Mr Rao remarked , ” I was very impressed with the essay you wrote ” “Have you prepared it before ? ” I replied , ” No , Sir , I never knew what topics will come in the exam” And he smiled back . Because he was the one who had prepared our question paper . He asked me to come and meet him next day .

Next day I was nervous as I don’t know what to expect. When I arrived to the huge teacher’s room which was just next to the principal’s office , my heart was beating faster . As soon as I arrived to the teacher’s room , I asked for his permission and he signaled me to come inside . He started asking me what I want to become . And I replied , “Sir I want to study engineering ” And later I want to appear for Civil Services . He smiled and said “Why not literature , you write so well ? ” Your essay has so much depth .I did not expect this from a 15 year old girl ” For the essay part we had been given four topics and I had chosen to write on ” My favorite book ” . And the book which I had written was “Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. ” He again said , ” Sweta do what you wish to do but I will advice you to study literature as I feel that you will excel in it ”

Many years passed and I chose to study engineering and later became an IT consultant and an entrepreneur . To this day whenever I look back and reflect I feel that his words were so true . He had recognized that potential in me long back . And if given a chance to again relive those days I would have studied literature in one of the reputed colleges in England . It would have been dream fulfilled to study in Oxford or Cambridge . England which has been home to the world ‘s top novelist , poets and dramatist. And what anyone more can ask if he/she gets an opportunity to study in a place which has been birthplace of Charles Dickens , Geoffery Chaucer , William Shakspeare , William blake , Robert Browning . The list is endless.

England with its rich history , castles , beautiful landscape , countryside , meadows and lakes makes a perfect amalgamation for a creative person who want to bask and get enriched through the numerous avenues it offers . England has been the cradle of literature and the evolution of literature dates back  to as old as 4th century . And then through its evolution from English renaissance , neo classical period , romanticism , Victorian literature and to the present day literature England has contributed immensely through its philosophers , poets and authors . When we want to worship we go to temples  , if we are hungry we go to a restaurant , so when one wants to study literature , there is no better place than Great Britain.

This entry is written for Knowledge is great  in association with Indiblogger

Advertisements

Life ,Odds and Ends.

Today I am in conversation with Anvita Bajpai , a fellow blogger and alumnus of IIMB . She is the author of Life , Odds and Ends , a collection of   four short stories  ( soon to be available in leading bookstore ) by LIFI Publications.  I had great time conversing with the versatile author . Hope you have great time too reading this conversation ( Also My first interview in the “Books and Authors” Series )

anvita

life_one

1)    What was the inspiration behind the book ? And how did you come up with an idea to write a book?

I think I am a natural writer. I had been writing for quite some time for technical papers , presentations, journals etc. . My work and my penchant for writing germinated an idea in my mind which has come up in the form of Life, Odds and Ends.

The inspiration behind the stories come from fact that in urban scenario we face different kind of challenges like work -life balance , shifting and overlapping of roles between man and woman . For a working women balancing motherhood and an active career is always challenging . Also the recent  rape incidents and child abuse has helped me to come up with Soul-mates , one of the stories in LOE

2)    Tell me something about the book ? Do you think that you have evolved too while writing this book?

The book is a collection of four short stories . These stories are the reflection of us and the challenges which we face in an urban life . I don’t think that I have evolved as a person while writing this book but definitely I have  transited from my technical writing to fiction world through this book.

 3)   How have you researched for the plot and the characters?

I have always been a keen observant and my technical work also involves observing people behavior in the urban scenarios with the advent of so many social networking applications . The plots and characters are inspired by my imagination , observation and the happening which surround one’s existence

4)    What attracted you to writing ? Is there any routine you follow , any interesting thing you would like to share with the readers?

Writing comes naturally to me. In past, I was more focused on technology work and so was writing more papers, articles etc based on research and understanding of technology and business, and used to have non-technical discussions/conversations during in-person conversations or e-mails. However, as I work in understanding human behavior based on the data available across domains (retail, banking, internet, social data etc). Hence, probably this overlap of understanding human behavior, the inclination of writing, and also a keen observation of people and things around me results into a little more non-technical writing. After all we all live a life – just that a few observe in more details and are able to articulate it. Mostly I write in a silent environment, but given a deadline I have written otherwise too – provided I had already had a thought-out outline for the story.

5)    What is the hardest and easiest thing about writing? Did you ever encounter writer’s block  while writing your first book?

Not faced the ‘writer’s block’ as such. However, at times I write story with long breaks in between to attend to other professional-personal activities and then it took some time for me to get back to context – as there was a long break in between. First self-editing also was time costuming for these sections of book.

6)    Who are your favorite authors and why ? Any recent book which touched you ?

I read various authors, and subjects – so not one favorite. Recently, I read ‘The difficulty of being good’ by Gurcharan Das, and ‘The holy cow and other Indian stories’ by Tarun Chopra.

7)    Do you proofread/edit your books ? The book cover looks interesting . How did you come up with the design ?

First two iterations, I have done rest were done by editors from publisher’s side. The cover, I worked on the idea of scattered pictures, the final images were selected and placed by the designer though. I have also designed the trailer for the book using my own collection of photographs taken @ http://youtube/7i485G11B3g

8)    Nowadays lot of Indian authors are coming up with their work ? What do you think about this trend ?

People are finding more opportunities for being expressive. Its good as we see the Indian expressions though the people who closely observe it.

9)    What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

There may be things which may be exceptionally good or bad. Otherwise most of the time reviews may also be based on the perceptions of the reviewer. For example, the movie “Paheli” did run just for a week in PVR in Bangalore – was not rated very high commercial success, but I and many I know like it very much. So, obviously there is an assessment, and rating – but it is relative than being the absolute.

10) Any message you will like to share with your readers ?

Just the following quote that I wrote a few weeks ago.

” Life has four important pulls – live, evolve, create and nurture. The struggle lies in figuring out a way to balance these pulls – that’s what is the common and of interest between all of us – and that’s what is LIFE.”

 Thank you Anvita for your time . It was lovely talking to you. Anvita can be contacted through her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LifeOddsEnds . She also blogs at  http://anvitabajpailoe.blogspot.in/

The hide and seek game !

mother

The earliest memories of my childhood center around the palatial home which my grandparents had built painstakingly using their hard-earned money in the heart of Dhanbad. A home which was filled with laughter, sudden guests coming unannounced and sharing a meal with us, different smells emanating from the kitchen when food was still cooked using coal and wood. My father was working in SAIL, Bokaro and I used to stay with my mother, grandparents, uncles, aunts and my cousins in Dhanbad. Dhanbad and Bokaro are twin cities and separated by 48 kilometers. And, since my father had just started working, he felt that my mother and me still need the care of a family. So, he used to visit us in the weekends while we can enjoy the company of everyone in the family.

I was the first girl born after two generations in the family. My father is four brothers and my grandfather has six brothers, so you can fathom the joy when I was born, and I was pampered a lot. I was the doll of the house. They loved me unconditionally so whenever an uncle, grandfather goes out for some business  they will look forward to buying something for me. My aunt will dress me up, put little bit of makeup and all doled up, I would be ready for my evening walk with my granny. But somehow all these love and adulation had made me stubborn and a fussy eater.

Ours was a joint family and my mother will be really busy in the kitchen as almost 15-16 people used to stay together and though all my aunts and my mom will cook all the meals but, it was a lot of different chores both inside and outside the kitchen . In the evening dinner would be ready by  6  or 7 . I think I was around 4 years old that time when my mother will take me to the terrace . Being a big house , the terrace too was quite big . She will also take my toys and my dinner with her . And she will hide pleading me to search and find her . And I will search for her running all around looking into the nooks and corners . And if locate her I will be squealing with joy and in that joy I will gobble a piece of roti which she will dip in the curry/dal which was made that day. And the game will continue for almost an hour when sometimes I will not be able to find her, she will come and give me a dhappa. The laughter that followed when I would locate her and my mother’s mellifluous voice when she will plead me to eat my dinner added a divine beauty to the whole game. This was the ritual which mother will perform every day so that I can eat my dinner. She will be working hard all day, being the eldest she will be managing the house , looking after the guests , cooking for so many people. But still will take out time to play with me in the evening so I sleep with full stomach . Those memories still rushes me when I go to my home . I can still see my mother running behind me so that I can eat a piece , the memories  lie perched in that house , the approaching footsteps still gives goose bumps,  the laughter still rings like bells chiming in the temple.

Sharing with Write Tribe