Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Absolute Truth

Khuswant Singh, the grandfather of Indian journalism, has never been so candid. In his latest book-'Absolute Khuswant' he has delved deeper into his life and  has revealed some more facts. He is 95. He confessed that he didn't enjoy a happy married life. He says that from the beginning of his married life his wife was not into him. Although it was a love marriage she had regrets that she choose Khuswant over other more 'successful' suitors. He says that she even had an affair with a particular man for over twenty years. This was painful to Khuswant. He never had any emotional affairs himself, but had some affairs for short period where he was more into lust than love. He also reveals that he has bedded women from various nationalities- 'they all are same in bed'. He wears proudly  the title of 'dirty old man'.

He has expressed his political views with frankness, calling Manmohan Singh the best Prime Minister India ever had. He laments the anti-Sikh riots that took place in Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi could have been prevented had Rajiv Gandhi, instead of receiving guests at his residence to mourn the death of his mother, taken some hard actions to prevent it.

His life has been solitary-'I get impatience with people. Writing is a solitary task and I am more comfortable being alone.'  He doesn't have much regrets but that he started writing very late in his life. 'Had I started earlier, I would have written more books.' He admires Mother Teresa, Manmohan Singh and Nirad.C. Chaudhury. The book has been written with journalist Humra Quraishi. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Are What Your Luck Is

 Last week I read two books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb-'Fooled By Randomness' and 'The Black Swan.' Both are great books. Whatever humans have achieved the credit goes to chance or what he calls randomness. Most of the inventions are matter of chance and not fruit of planned activities. Bills Gates is not a genius, but a man of average intelligence who is not best in the business, but he is the luckiest of all. Nassim says that there are events which is hard to explain like discovery of a black swan. Harry Potter is a black swan. There are many better books written for children that are bitting the dust. There are phenomenon you can not explain the reason of their occurrence. Hard work, intelligence and risk taking can be attributed to many great successes but they are also the qualities of the losers. 

I immensely enjoyed reading the book. It has changed the way I look at the world. 

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Blind Gets Phd

There is a well-know story about the six blind men who when encountered by an elephant, defined the creature according to their own sensory perception. They all were right, and wrong.  Stories apart, visual impairment could not be an obstacle in the path of acquiring knowledge for a motivated soul. Sanjay Jain, a blind man from Nagpur has been awarded PhD in law by the Nagpur University. Interestingly, Jain's guide was head of law department Shirish Deshpande, who is also blind.

Where there is will, there is a way, even for a blind man. More.  

Path To Prosperity.

What makes you rich, by the way? Is it hard work, Good luck, Financial Intelligence, Shrewdness? The answer could be 'yes' or 'no'. It appears, there could be several paths leading to material prosperity. It could be any factor cited above. Some are blessed to receive riches in easier way, and some work hard to earn it. Indra Tamang,  from Nepal received it in a unique way. He worked as an errand boy in a hotel in Kathmandu for Charlie Ford and his sister, Ruth Ford. He earned the trust of this brother and sister duo, serving them loyally for almost 4 decades, and ended up inheriting Ruth Ford’s apartments in Central Park in NY.
Indra is now a millionaire. So the question remains, what exactly is the precise way to riches? Read his story from the link above.  

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Vampires Aren't That Blood-Sucking..

I think it was Salman Rushdie who had said that it is the book that chooses their authors. Justin Cronin, who  besides teaching English at Rice University, wrote books like Mary and O'Neil and The Summer Guest and won awards like the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Stephen Crane Prize, and the Whiting Writer's Award has written a new novel - 'The Passage'.  The book is about vampires who run in packs and savagely kill people in night. There is also an FBI agent in the book. The book is selling like anything, and have been hyped by the publishing industry as going to be the hottest book of the year. The book is coming out on 24th June. 

There has always been a craze among the people to read about paranormals. People do like stories about Dracula, Zombie, and kids in magic school performing extraordinary feats. Such books takes the readers on a flight of imagination and are not too demanding on their brain. Justin Cronin has received millions of dollars for the book. He is laughing all the way to bank. Vampires or no vampires, people do love a good story, no doubt about that.          

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Dreams, Oh Dreams...They Have Mighty Wings

You can never be sure about dreams. Realized or unrealized, they keep up popping. Some, like bubbles in a poodle go phut the instant they are born, and some others, like a dart hit the bull's eye. Two teen-aged boys from the remote corners of Uttar Pradesh, one a son of a truck driver and another who worked as a construction worker, had nurtured dreams of making it into the world of sports. They wanted to throw javelin. That was what they were practicing. They never knew where their dreams would take them.

They win a contest 'Million Dollar Arm', flown to Los Angles, trained with University of Southern California, signed with Pittsburg Pirates, and meet the President Obama! They are the first India born athletes to sign American major league baseball contracts. The contest was organized by the American sports agent JB Bernstein to find an individual in India who could hurl effectively for baseball. More

Monday, May 31, 2010

Dreams Die Young

Summer vacation brings spring of joy among the kids. Two kids from Kolkata were very excited as their parents have planned to visit Mumbai. They were looking forward, with excitement, to spend their summer vacation visiting Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Juhu beach and lots of other exciting places in Mumbai. 5 years old, they have never visited Mumbai or any other big city for that matter. They would see the pictures of Mumbai in magazines and would cry, 'hey, look this is Mumbai!' . Whole neighborhood knew that they were visiting Mumbai.

But their parents choose Gyaneshwari Express. The ill-fated train that on 28 May become victim of the sabotage on the way to Mumbai. More than hundred people lost their lives. Bodies of both the kids were found by the rescue team. They were in tight embrace. Tears rolled down the eyes of the rescuer separating each other. Both their parents too had died. We learn the story from their surviving grandmother. Some dreams die young, very young!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Matter Of Taste

Jeffrey Archer in his blog has recommended reading R.K. Narayan. A great Indian writer who wrote in simple English. Most of us living in India have read R.K. Narayan in our school syllabus. But he was made famous by the TV serials 'Malgudi Days'. We know most of his stories through the TV serials. His decision to write in English was fraught with difficulties. He was very disappointed in not getting a publisher for his writings in England. It was the great English writer Graham Green that recognized his talent and helped him finding a publisher. Critics in India have rubbished his writings but some have compared him with the great Russian writer Chekhov for simplicity of plots.

But like foods, books too are a matter of taste. People do discover what appeal to their intellectual buds. Eat what you like, read what you like. Overall, have a nice time!