Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Queen


The walls sing to her a symphony dry
Of life that flutters by her closed window pane
And some dim lit lamps blatantly glorify
The ageless wait for her lover in a luxurious den

She has a story to tell
The one of big halls but closed doors
Of colours and hues
And grandeur but also blues

A story of a girl full of life
But who lost herself in some vain strife
For name maybe that of a queen
But reality is grave and often unseen

Her face is now shadowed by a lull
But tearing her apart is a raging storm
What had she got in name of fortune’s call
A caged bird she was to be part of some historic form.

-Vaisakhi Mishra

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rise of the Sun Prince - Book Review


Book: Ramayana: The Game of Life - Rise of the Sun Prince
                                                               Author: Shubha Vilas
ISBN: 9788184955309
Pages: 252
Ratings: 4/5
Price: 250

Something from the Book
Sweet, genuine words of gratitude are the best welcome drinks!

Ramayana is the way of life. Haven’t we heard this line a number of times? But do we believe it? Do we really see glimpses of our lives, our day to day challenges, our reverberating thoughts of what is right and wrong, in the versions of Ramayana that we know? I don’t know about all of you but till last week Ramayana was nothing more than a mythological story for me. Then what changed in a week? It was this book - Ramayana: The Game of Life #1 - Rise of the Sun Prince by Shubha Vilas.
There have been hundreds of renditions of this ageless saga but none have come this close to making me look beyond the tale. Rise of the Sun Prince is the first of the 6 books that have knitted the story from the poetic verses of Valmiki to the veiled analogies of Kamba Ramayana. The first book mainly focuses on Bala Kand of Ramayana but with a lot of insight to various aspects of the epic.
The book starts off with a gist of Ramayana in a very fundamental form but slowly delves into the era and the circumstances of the era. Ramayana that we have read till date runs on the high emotional quotient and the theme of love and sacrifice but this book makes you look at the book from the angle of society, struggles, and “not everything is black and white along with the emotional built up. The story starts with how Rishi Valmiki came to be despite of his sinister past and then gives you the whole insight to the great king Dasharatha. Did you know Dasharatha had 350 wifes other than his Prime Queens? You don’t believe me, it is ok, I didn’t believe either. But this book not only mentions that, it also gives the reason behind it. After that starts the journey of a hero in making and the journey of a spiritual teacher to find the true sense of the spiritual realms and the strength of the Guru Sishya relationship.
The protagonist of the story might be Rama but for this book it was Vahishtha – Flawed, Strong, Famous, Respected, Lost and on the journey of finding himself. He was the guru of the Suryavanshi Princes, but the short tempered sage was also on a quest of his own, to defeat the demons that were determined to spread the negative energy everywhere. But in his journey he tends to lose himself cause of his anger and spreads some level of negativity himself. The book connects to our very own lives with that of Vashishtha and the way he learns from the young princes all while teaching them. At the same time the story of Ahilya and that of Sita talks of Fate and dedication.

Pros –
1.   Narration - Powerful yet simple and crisp narration.
2.  Perfected Rendition - Logical, bit philosophical but very apt rendition of Ramayana and not just a direct rip off of the story in different words.
3.  The chapters – The way the story is written, it makes you think clearly and connect directly to the physical and metaphysical lines of the mythology.
4.  The footnotes – The give you all that you need to know but not enough that you would have wanted to know. For example The Author started with Ravana’s story, gave just a sneak peek of his beginning but it was the footnotes about him and his brothers and sisters that made me say – I want to read more about them!

Cons –
1.   If you are not a mythology fan, I don’t think you will enjoy the book.

On the whole the Book is a sure read for every mytho-fiction fan and is a soul stirring yet a very light read and re read version of Ramayana. More that the story you will end to learn a lot out the characters, era and the life. This book is a sure 4 on 5 book and am eagerly waiting for the next part.

P.S. - This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, August 4, 2014

In The Blur


In the blur called life
I am lost for some time
With a destination unknown
Now lost in my hazy travel zone

Wondering at nature's might and beauty
Enjoying its pitter-patter symphony
Trying to gauge the clarity post the haze
To let go of some unwanted worldly craze

The race towards never ending achievements
The life that makes you question all your commitments
Is washed away in the breezy pour
Letting me see beyond a lot of closed doors

But all it is, is a moment of clarity
Soon it will be a reason lost in some busy vanity
And I will set out again on some forlorn path
Shrouded by disbelief and menacing self-doubt

- Vaisakhi Mishra


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Yes - Part 3

You can read the First Part Here
And the Second Part Here



Panting and practicing Ajay stared at the clock. It was 11:00am and he was late. Sameera laughed at her brother’s misery as Ajay turned the whole room upside down for the red tie Mishka had given him for his graduation. “You sure you want to do this today Ajay”, a worried Sameera asked. “I have waited years, I love her, I want her, and now I have a job too. She can study after we marry or maybe we can wait for her to finish her studies but I need to know she will be mine for the rest of my life” Ajay remembered the blank pain in Mishka’s eyes - the day her parents died. He had decided he would make his life’s mission to make her happy always and now he has reached a level where he could fulfill that mission, why stop now? Finally Sameera had some pity on her brother and tied the tie she had been hiding all the while and kissed her brother good luck.
On the way to Mishka’s place he kept thinking about how after her parents’ death she lived with her aunt and uncle and they had so many restrictions levied on them. They had no more late evening cycling trips, the band was shut down and they could meet every day but just in school and after his 12th only during vacations thirty minutes per day. That is when they came up with the old school letters game. Every day when they met both of them had a letter filled with not important but important stuffs that they couldn’t talk about in the half an hour mirth and blissful meets. Soon it became a habit and they wrote everything important in letters over the years.  Distance was set to test their love but his determination to get a job as soon as possible and finish the journey whose destination was this very day kept him going. He had come so far and nothing could have stopped him nothing but a word.  He reached her place and pressed the doorbell for the 1st time in his life. Uncle came up to the door and greeted him with a smile. One step inside; his eye caught the visage of his girl sitting on the dining table, smiling nervously and clenching a piece of paper tightly in her right hand. The breakfast on her table was untouched and he knew what that paper was. Without wasting any more time he started speaking as soon as chachi entered the drama room. “Sir ummm Uncle I know, I think you know this day was coming. I know it’s early, I mean very soon. But I got a job and I don’t want to… I mean it is ok if we… I want to marry Mishka. I know she has just started her graduation and is quite young but…” rest of it was all lost. Mishka kept staring at Ajay while he babbled in front of her Uncle, tears rolled down her cheeks, she didn’t even notice the muffled laugh Neha was trying so hard to control, her heart was thumping and all that kept playing in her mind were the words of that letter.

“Mishka
I dreamt of this day ages ago, when I would ask you to be mine but was scared of a “No” so the day took pretty long to come on the calendar. But now, I make a promise to keep. I’ll ride like a knight, without the armour or steed (unfortunately), Race to you place when I get a job and ask your Uncle for your hand with brimming hope. If you have no qualms getting married to me Say yes now Mishka and the year will pass in a jiffy. I respect your dreams and your aims in life, but it would be my pleasure if I could be a part of it with all rights. I love you, you know that. You love me I think. You are my saviour, my miracle, the person who made me realize my dreams and taught me to follow my heart with my responsibilities. I want you to be a part of my life forever. Please say yes.
Love you always
Ajay.”

The moment she read it she had tears in her eyes making them sparkle and with some mustered up courage she made her cracking voice say “Ajay, Yes!”
Her memory train came to a sudden halt as everyone in that room stared at a cheery elderly face bringing the moment to stand still with a delighted “Yes”. Uncle had said yes even before Ajay could finish his super unsuccessful attempt at a speech.

Neha later informed her dumb sister that she had been feeding seeds of their love coaster to their uncle and aunt regularly and they knew Ajay was coming that day. Mishka couldn’t thank her sister and Uncle enough but knew that their love had made that “Yes” the purest word of her existence now. Ajay and Mishka smiled at each other dreaming of the world that reverberating “Yes” was the door to.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Yes - Part 2

You can read the First Part HERE.



Mishka kept pacing up and down her room holding a letter in each hand while the bed sheet was veiled by 50 more letters Ajay had written to her over the years. “Mishka, clean up and stop freaking out, he must have gotten the job by now and he will come and talk to Aunt tomorrow itself”, chided Neha, her elder sister. Frustrated she threw the letter about the interview in her home made pond of letters but not the crumpled, already on the verge of tearing, eight months old one. She went over to her desk and pulled out the lavender diary Ajay had given to her 2 days after her parent’s death. Just as she touched it the past 5 years of her life flashed right in front of her eyes.
 She was singing on the compound wall of Mantra Uncle’s mango orchard while Ravi and Ajay played their guitar. Neha and Sameera stared in awe as Mishka sang the first song she ever had ever written and Ajay already seemed to know the tune to the song written for him. Mishka and Sameera were the two young ducks of the gang but the naughtiest too. Mishka always had a crush on Sameera’s tall dark and handsome brother, the best flirt in the world, but today she had decided to make him acknowledge that she was going to be his from now on. All of them indulged in their new new found hobby of shayaris and Mishka used this opportunity for her “Love Confession”.
‘Rangeen hasraton ki khawhish
Judi hai tujhse yaara
Bas yunhi aakhon aakhon mein guftagu ho
Ae khushnuma mera dildaara
Tasavur mein na ho aise khwabon ka manzaar
Jaisa hai yeh aalam aaj humare darmiyaan
Chup si baatein bas ho rahi hai
Kuch yaahan kuch wahaan’
She saw a naughty smile and a blissful blush on Ajay’s face and thought “God don’t make him think of me as a hopeless romantic or a kid with a huge crush and no idea about what love means.” They always spent hours near this orchard, at the dusk, tired from their cycling venture which made them feel like they’ve seen the world, feeding the ducks in the ever diminishing local pond. But that day they met early and decided to explore the streets till the sunlight had no speck of its shine on the azure heavens. Post the guitar session they went into the orchard to collect some green mangoes laden on the boughs of the burdened trees.  While others were busy selecting stones, she kept staring at a busy Ajay who was scribbling something on a paper. When he finally decided to join the notorious party he handed her some stones he had collected and along with them was the scribbled note.
“khwahish meri ho khwahish teri
Bas kabse thi yeh khwahish meri
Aaj hai who puri hui
Hai, he kya yeh khush naseebi meri.”
And maybe you thought so but I don’t think you are a hopeless romantic. You will always be the talented little tom boy for me.”
Nothing could wipe the smile off her face after that, nothing; but something that happened about an hour later changed everything. Neha and she came tripping and humming to their aunt’s house where they were going to spend the night as their parents were off to a wedding. “Whenever you girls come I have to cook so many things, how does your mother tolerate your tantrums. And you’ve come so late now I’ll have to heat up everything again”, complained Chachi (aunt) while Neha kept increasing the sound of the TV and Mishka pestered her dearest aunt “Only you jhelofy our tantrums chachi.” Just then the phone rang and Chachi hurried, still mumbling at the girls. The girls were giggling loudly but the whole world came to a stand still for them when it was pierced by their aunt’s uncontrollable cry.

Twenty minutes later their uncle came home and rushed the girls to a Krupanandan Hospital and their aunt had still not said anything. Uncle called over Neha first and a weepy Neha told an inconsolable Mishka their dad had died in a car accident and mom was in coma. Four hours later their mom gave up too and Mishka’s world was reduced to nothingness. Just then Ajay and his parents reached the hospital and without a word Ajay went over to Mishka and held her for dear life like he would never let go of her. Everything had changed for her but somehow Ajay’s warm embrace made her feel safe and believe this is as bad as things can get but she will survive this trauma. Hours passed worried wailing people passed up and down but all she could hear was her own sobs and feel numbness around her. God knows when she slept but she woke up in her aunt’s house to find a calm Ajay sitting across her bed. None of them said a word but that very moment she knew she lost her parents but she will never lose him. Time kind of froze in that very moment until it was externally reset by someone calling “Mishka, come down for dinner.”

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Yes - Part 1



Breathing in a tensed whiff of the panic stricken air, Ajay sat there, impatiently on the not so comfortable waiting area chair, waiting for his turn. There was a high decibel cacophony of worried people marching like hoofed horses around, all scared and nervous just like him, but not one of them had the storm of thoughts like he did. It was his first job interview and he needed the job desperately but just moments before the ‘moment of truth’ all he could think about was a day eight months back.
Inky sky donned by clouds ready to pour anytime and him, standing under the banyan tree that had been his companion for years now, not sure of whether he was trying to save himself from inevitable rain or the probable mighty sun that might defeat the clouds and take back and rule the afternoon sky again. But none of that mattered because he talked to the tree endlessly to kill time so that he could have courage to do what he wanted to do at the right moment. He had been waiting for this moment for months now. He thought of doing it during the last vacation but guess he needed six more months of prepping time. And just when he was babbling away to glory he saw her, his Mishka. Looking at her small childish face, ever smiling eyes always made his heart flutter and made his day. He still could think of a thousand reason of why he loved her every time he saw her but could never remember what made him fall head over heels for her in the first place but over the years their love grew and just grew. Mishka asked her elder sister to go ahead and she would join her later. He knew his most crucial thirty minutes of the day have started and he had to make the best of it.
Mishka talked about her 12th board chemistry paper that she had just appeared for and he kept smiling all the time. She was intelligent but never a great scorer. She loved making fun of the elite students of her class and today was no different but for Ajay it was. She went on and on, cribbing about a question she had answered correctly in the first place but changed it when it could have made a difference and he thought about what answer she would have for his question. “Ajay you are going back tonight, right?” He remembered her morphed with laughter, cracking voice and these words crystal clear. There were a hundred questions underlying that one and he could hear them all screaming silently in her glittery gaze. ‘Yes’, he had said and his voice was drowned in the quiet shatter of her heart that she meticulously covered with a smile and a teasing “great”. This was it, he had to do it, and he was running out of time. As a cool rainy zephyr brushed her hair he held out the piece of paper he was holding dearly to his heart for hours. Mishka joked, “Dude, I just gave and exam and you want me to study again”, but his heart was beating at 150 beats per minute threatening to jump out at any moment. “Just read it, it’s just like all the letters I write to you but for this one I wanted to see your reaction too.” Couple of minutes passed, he could hear the symphony of leaves rustling, birds chirping autos and cycles passing by even the Banyan tree laughing but he yearned just for her voice. Her face tensed, and sweat dripping down his forehead. “Ajay” “Mr. Ajay Sharma” you have been called inside.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

First Rain


Poinciana has set the world ablaze
And tired are now, peacocks’ gaze
Waiting for the symphony of thundering days
And a dance in the fresh build puddle craze

A kiss of the awaited first rain
Against my dusty window pane;
Skies letting go of the mantle grey,
Transcending ruthless gleaming rays.

Rising tide and a splatter of life
A breath of earth, ignited by fiery strife
Nature’s spirits floating in the air,
Laden clouds on flower care.

Crumbling am I, in this scorching sunny clamor,
Holding on to thoughts of the cold shower.
These days will pass, so will the summer pain;
And drizzling eves will rule yet again!

-Vaisakhi Mishra


Photo - Google!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Perfect Me or World


A form I see with the light of life
Running away from my approaching sight
The heat beats the will out of me
But the surreal frame pulls me like a dream

She looks familiar though I know not of her
She moves like a gazelle in the endless dirt
The sand shines; I close my eyes
There she is; I see her now, to my surprise –

She is but my own self
Battered and tired in my visions cave
And speaks to me in the voice my own
With a mock on the lips and a laugh long gone

I reached out to you in the ripples
Of the stream calm, but was crippled
I seeped in your dream to give you a clue
But the mystique night squandered all that was true

Now pay heed for I speak to you
Don’t let go of all that makes you - You
Be who you were and not a shadow self
Else a lost soul you will be with no one to help

Don’t make me your future, you are reality
Cause my voice will fall on deaf ears of vanity
Don’t give in to the devils or angels of this herd
Abandon the mirage of the perfect world!

-Vaisakhi Mishra

P.S. - Image Courtesy - Desert Wind Deviantart

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lady You're not a Man - Review


Book: Lady You're not a Man!
                                                               Author: Apurva Purohit
ISBN: 9788129129048
Pages: 184
Ratings: 3.5/5
Price: 195

Something from the Book
'I don’t think either morphing into a man or becoming a damsel in constant distress is the route to success today'

The book ‘Lady, you’re not a Man’ by Apurva Purohit was actually given to me by my office on Women’s Day and I am glad I got a chance to read this. Apurva Purohit is the CEO of Radio City 91.1 FM and the book is her insight on corporate bivouac and home life and the balance between the two. The book is divided in three parts - Accept, Adapt and Achieve with several chapters in every section with footnotes after each chapter and section. Chapters are short incidences of author’s life which I think every corporate women will surely relate to. The book is a perfect blend of comic sense and reality and in the end leaves you with a sure feel good thought.
I was going through my first Corporate Heat Phase this month and guess that is the reason I picked this book to read after a whole month of it decorating my book self. I am not a big fan of self help books but this book speaks of Work – Life balance in an unprejudiced manner and is humorous at the same time. There are times where the author makes you see husband as lazy TLT or bossy ones, to females being Sita or Geeta when time be in the work field. The book although is about females in work zone the author empathizes with male counterparts too; 3 days paternity leave – seriously?  Similarly she is blatant in stating facts about how females should not misuse the privileges given to them at work.
Pros:
1.   To the T reflection of a corporate woman – Every working woman will enjoy and relate to this book.
2.  Writing style – Self help books tend to be boring and have redundant matter while the way this book is written it won’t let you doze off even for a minute. It is witty and humorous and makes you smile at a lot of places, made me smile for sure.
3.  Unbiased view - She advocates her thoughts strongly throughout the book, urging women to fight for their working rights & amenities. But at the same time she supports male counterparts. She shows us two sides of a coin of which only one side is visible to us always.
4.  Corporate Mantras  - The end of each section, the pointers were something I totally loved about the book.
Cons:
1.   Work part is covered very well but same can’t be said about life.
2.  I still have so many issues and questions pertaining to corporate world, wish all of it was covered.
One of my managers had recently said – There is nothing called as work life balance it is just a gamble and your decision which one is more important to you when. You can’t excel in both at the same time but if we selectively excel in each, over all we would have won the battle at both ends. This book totally resonates with this thought. I would give this ‘candid excerpt of life’ a 3.5 on 5. It is a must for every working woman, working men would also get a much needed insight to their female colleagues’ issues. Not really a book for the others.



The Child of Misfortune - Review


Book: The child of Misfortune
Author: Soumitra Singh
ISBN: 9789382299929
Pages: 327
Ratings: 4/5
Price: 350

Something from the Book
‘You never ask someone to play chess Amar,’ his father called out from his side of the drawing room. ‘You challenge them to it.’

It rarely happens that I read a book, finish it and then post the review right away. But ‘The child of Misfortune’ by Soumitra Singh compelled me to do so – my way of showing the book the amount of appreciation it deserves. The Child of Misfortune is the first of his work that I came across, thanks to Blogadda and it has totally made me a fan of his words. The book is about two friends Amar and Jonah who loved the game of chess in childhood, but growing up their life also turned out to be as complicated as this age old game. The story is a geopolitical thriller that takes you on an intense journey revolving around terrorism, politics and financial dark zone, covering places from Mumbai to Kashmir to Korea to London.  The soul of the book is definitely the friend – enemy relationship between the protagonists, but it has so much more to it than that!
The book features dual protagonists, both very well sketched. The characters are smart, dark, complicated and very strong. Content of the book is fresh and rich and the author don’t flinch before crossing the grey limits. The book is also very well researched, unlike a lot of books that come up these days. From hacking to off shore account setups,  from drugs to politics the book explores each dimension carefully and gives us enough intricate insights to understand all of it. There are many characters in the book; some made me feel they were under used but in the retrospection I guess the role plays were all adequate. The book is a definite break through to thrillers by an Indian author.

Pros:
1.    The content – It is fresh and at the same time relatable. Often thrillers tend to ooze the sense of fiction aka not possible in reality; but Soumitra Singh saw to it that this 327 page roller coaster felt authentic like some real life incident, as closely as possible.
2.   The protagonists – The more I think of their brilliance the less words I get. They were just perfect. Jonah was a mixture of Tyrion Lannister and Jaime Lannister (If you know what I mean!)
3.   Well Researched – It is always a pleasure to read a well-researched work, than read a piece of fiction that isn’t make-believe  or makes you say I wish this world or these people were true atleast a 100 time.
4.   Drama not meant to be drama – The book has full scope of being made into movies, cause that is what is happening these days in India. But nowhere did I feel  that the content of the book was shaped as Bollywood desert.
5.   Pace – I finished the book in 2 days by staying up one night till 3:00 am! It is indulging and fast paced and yes – you would not want to put it down! :D

Cons :
1.    Too many characters and some I wanted to see more! *greedy me speaking but yes this was a con according to me*
2.   The end, it was a bit rushed and I wasn’t really happy. Though it did make sense, there were more feasible choices. It was like Abhishek Bachchan dying in “Dus”, if only he had heard of Auto Pilot or Dark Knight Rises had released back then. Not Author’s fault again – it was strong what happens, but I would have liked it to be different.


All and all a must read! Do not let this book slip out of your to read list. The contemporary topics and awesome characters totally get a 4 on 5 from me, 1 point out cause of the ending that left me repeating the word “Why?” It is a no nonsense page turner and will have a command over you when you start, so beware. Enjoyed it thoroughly and looking forward to more stories from the author. 

To know more about the book please visit -  www.soumitrasingh.com

P.S. - This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!