Sharmistha Shenoy, the author of the Vikram Rana series is back with her new book Murder in The Chaudhary Palace. The book is Durga’s story. Orphaned in her childhood, Durga … Continue reading Cover Reveal: Murder In The Chowdhary Palace
Fiction is defined as an inventive construction of an imaginative world. Fiction books are what most of us read and enjoy. They lead us into imaginary worlds and lives, where … Continue reading On My Fiction Bookshelf
Being a bookworm has a lot of perks, people ask for your opinion and recommendation for books, author or genres. The hidden perk of being asked for recommendations is, of course, making you feel very important. One fine day, however, I was asked by a friend about my Kindle which led to a discussion on whether to buy a Kindle or not. This post had always been on the back burner but the discussion of the pros and cons acted like a catalyst for finally putting pen to paper. This post might also be helpful for those friends of mine who are wavering and as yet undecided on whether to go ahead and buy Kindle or not. My trusted Kindle Paperwhite is my only point of reference and I do not read on any other digital platform, though I did install Kobo on iPad at some point in time. I have tried to compare Kindle and physical books on the points which I think matter the most while reading. Again, at the risk of sounding politically correct, the views expressed in this post are my own.
- Size. One of the biggest selling points of Kindle is its size. It is small, sleek and easy to carry which means your one month worth of holiday reading and more can be carried around in your handbag. I, in fact, even carry my kindle to the salon, better to read a novel than a filmy rag. Books, on the other hand, can be heavy and cumbersome, think Tolstoy’s War and Peace, more than a thousand pages long weighing more than one kg in paperback format. You might need a separate suitcase to carry it if you want to read it during the holidays!
- Space. A slim kindle can hold many books without any corresponding increase in its size. You can keep buying books on Kindle without needing to buy more bookshelves. With physical books, the main issue for a bibliophile becomes the place to keep books. I have a bookcase filled with books; the boys have their book cupboard, again full; books kept in all the rooms; I think you get the drift. Having a Kindle means you can easily download books without having to worry which bookshelf can you adjust the book in.
- Money. Kindle books are on the whole cheaper than physical books (as compared on Amazon Prime, India). Quite a few books, especially the older classics, are available for free download. Amazon Prime reading also has books free for downloading though searching for a specific book in it might take some time. Subscription based service like Kindle Unlimited can also save you bags of money.
- Battery Life. I had received a joke in which a Kindle and a book are talking to each other, Kindle is bragging about its advantages and the book just leans over and switches it off. This, in my opinion, is the biggest drawback of Kindle. Being a digital device Kindle needs charging and an internet connection for downloading books. If you are like me who keeps forgetting to charge their Kindle, well then, believe me, Kindle is liable to go dark at the most inopportune moment.
- Eye Strain. Kindle has the option of adjusting the font size of the book you are reading. It also has a light adjustment, whether you want the background lighter or darker depending on your environment. It allows you to adjust everything according to your convenience and to the environment around you, making for an easier reading experience. In physical books, the main drawback is the print size. Books with a very fine print can be very difficult to read, and as the years are passing by, print size has become a factor in picking up books.
- In-depth reading. Physical books, for me, give an immersive experience. I register the words more, can rifle through the pages, go back to the pages/passages I like and sometimes even sneak and read the ending first. Even though you can highlight passages/bookmark pages in Kindle, rifling through the pages is pretty hard!
- Notes. I have a confession to make, recently I have gotten this habit of making notes in the margin of non-fiction books. Of course, the purists will be horrified at defacing of the book. It, however, feels more intuitive to me. When something strikes a chord or I have a thought while reading, I write it in the margin. I sometimes even underline lines/phrases. This also makes my life simpler if I am planning to write a book review later on. Note feature is available on Kindle as well but it somehow doesn’t feel as personal as scribbling on the margin.
- Memories. Physical books are a treasure trove of memories, you remember if you bought the book or if it was gifted. Bought books remind of when/where/how/why you selected the books. If you got the books signed then they get the pride of place, like a couple of my Ruskin Bond’s. Gifted books remind you of the person who gifted it to you whenever you pick them up. Forgotten Bookmarks and postcards in books take you back to the times and places that have gone by. Pressed flowers (especially roses) in books bring back memories of dates and make you reminisce the days of the past. Somehow there is nothing more romantic than a pressed rose falling out of a book.
So which one do you think comes out on top? Kindle or Physical book? As I said, it is a personal preference. I read non-fiction and more serious books as physical books while saving fiction for my Kindle. If I want to read in-depth then I always pick a physical book as I think then the words register more for me. There is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I close a book after reading it. Somehow giving the rating of a book on Goodreads immediately after reading, like in Kindle, doesn’t cut it for me.
Buying books on Kindle is very easy, you can sit on your sofa, browse through the online website, enter your card details and lo behold, the book is on your Kindle in a few minutes. Of course, you do need a wi-fi connection to buy the book, but once it is on your Kindle you can read it anywhere/anytime. For buying a physical book you need to go to the bookstore. There you will browse the shelves, pick up the books whose covers catch your eyes, read the blurbs and see if any intrigues you, maybe read the starting few lines of the book. While picking up a book you rifle through the book, inhale the new book smell, somehow it all gives a sensory element to buying a book, making reading more personal. This is where for me physical books edge out Kindle, the pleasure of holding a book, feel of the texture of pages on the fingers, inhaling its smell is not found when holding a Kindle and looking at words on its screen.
At the end of the day remember whether you pick a book or a Kindle you are still reading and I guess that is the whole point, isn’t it?
You might wonder why suddenly I am fixated on reading for children, the answer to this is quite simple. Reading opens up a world of magic and imagination; the fact that comprehension, vocabulary, sentence structure, spellings are also helped is icing on the cake. This post is about my perspective as a parent as to what books, will entertain children as well as instill in them a love of reading.My only qualification for writing this post is that I have been in love with books all my life. So in order to get some credibility, I decided to take some help and advice from Ms.Richa Prakash, an academician. She gladly recommended some books and also shared her viewpoints to solve some of my doubts.
So here goes……
Tinkle/Amar Chitra Katha (Ages 5 onwards): Tinkle was one of the first names Ms.Richa recommended. Tinkle is something which almost all of us have grown up with. The characters are endearing (Shikari Shambu anyone??), there is humour and they teach us good morals as well. Amar Chitra Katha or ACK is one of the easiest ways to introduce children to Indian mythology and Indian heroes. The fact that Kush has rated Great Freedom Fighters as one of his top ten books and Rishabh is reading Paramvir Chakra drives home the universal appeal of these books. As both of them are comic books they are colourful and easy to read. (Trivia: For Bahubali fans, even the director was inspired by ACK in designing his city)
Abridged Classics (Ages 7 onwards): Abridged classics are highly recommended by Ms.Richa and I agree. Abridged classics are a great way to introduce great works in an easier format to the children. I had specifically asked Ms.Richa why these books are important and her answer was pretty clear, good vocabulary and great stories. Even in this day and age, when English has become the main language for communication, these books help in showing children the beauty of the written language as well as in making them more confident readers. Some of my favourite abridged classics include Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island and Oliver Twist (we bought a lovely abridged one for Kush last year making it easier for him to read).
I will add a note of caution here, there are too many cheap imitations of the abridged classics in the market you even get them in the dollar stores, so do go through it once before handing it over to the child, else you might do more harm than good. Another point to take care is that the print is easy for the child to read plus please do not rush the child, if the child is not understanding the book or finding it a difficult read, let the child give up and come back to it later.
Harry Potter (Ages 10 upwards): To quote Stephen King “Books are a uniquely portable magic”. No other series comes even closer to Harry Potter books in opening up a world of magic for children. According to Ms.Richa, this book opens up a world of imagination as well teaches them about empathy and acceptance of something which is not the norm. J.K.Rowling has created a believable, alternate magical world, which co-exists with our world. Her descriptions of Hogwarts/Quidditch are so enthralling that the child actually wants to attend Hogwarts, even though the child might be a muggle!
You must be wondering why I have kept the age group for this book as ten upwards. My reasoning for this is that once a child reads the first book in the series, the child wants to keep reading the series. While there is nothing wrong in that, with Harry Potter each progressive book is darker, making books 6 and 7, in my opinion, unsuitable for children younger than 12.
Geronimo Stilton (Ages 6 upwards): Another series highly recommended by Ms.Richa is Geronimo/Thea Stilton which is quite popular with children. The main reason for recommending is that these books introduce the children to the world as well as entertain them.
Indian Authors (Ages 8 onwards): As an expat parent one of the worries I face is how my children will learn more about Indian history and culture( and love India the way I do). Thankfully there are excellent books written by Indian writers which bring India alive for children. Authors like Sudha Murthy, Ruskin Bond and R.K.Narayan bring alive the small villages and towns of India for children. Another favourite Subhadra Sen Gupta’s “Let’s Go Time Travelling” is one of the best books I have come across about Indian History written in a very breezy manner. Some more books on my favourite list include Fun In Devlok- Devdutt Pattanaik(about Indian Mythology);We, The People of India -Leila Seth ( about the constitution of India); A Flag , A Song and A Pinch Of Salt – Subhadra Sen Gupta ( About the freedom heroes of India);The Gita For Children – Roopa Pai ( highly recommended to introduce The Gita to children,click on the link for my review https://undecidedindubai.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/the-conversation/)
Enid Blyton (Ages 5 upwards): One might think that the simple stories of Enid Blyton might be obsolete in this day and age of digital media, however, I beg to differ. The stories have a timeless appeal and teach children imagination (Enchanted Woods), teamwork (Five Find-Outers) as well as getting along in whatever the circumstances (Mallory Towers, St.Clares).
David Walliams/Andy Griffiths (Ages 7 onwards): These books resonate with children as they have loads of humour and are illustrated making the books more approachable. In Andy Griffith’s books, the boys build and keep expanding the tree house, opening up a world of imagination for children. David Walliams, on the other hand, introduces seemingly mundane topics, like a boring granny, but there is the wisdom of life in his books. The children get exposed to the facts of life, for example in Billionaire Boy, children in a subtle way realise that money can buy you everything but a friend.
Roald Dahl (Ages 7 upwards): BFG anyone?? Roald Dahl is one of the most endearing children’s author and my personal favourite as well. His books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG, Fantastic Mr.Fox have all been made into a movie, which does not mean that the child should watch the movie instead of reading the book. Better do both, read the book and watch the movie, and then compare! The characters introduced by Mr.Dahl are timeless, Oompa Loompa’s, Willy Wonka, BFG are all oddballs who enthrall the children. The stories have a timeless appeal, BFG’s story of being a misfit who overcomes the odds with Sophie’s help can be in any year or any place.
Dr.Suess (Ages 4 upwards): You cannot write a blog post about children’s authors and not write about Dr.Suess. When my younger one was not interested in books, it was “There’s a Wocket in my pocket” which came to the rescue. If you read any of his books on the thing which stands out is the ridiculous rhyming of words that he uses. So there is jertain rhyming with curtain, wocket with pocket …..This is what the children, especially the beginner readers love. In this particular book if you want to go to a deeper level you would realise it is celebrating the imagination of a child, what all creatures the child thinks are hidden around the house.
These are just suggestions based on my personal preferences, what the child finally reads depends on the child’s taste and reading capability. This list also does not include series like Percy Jackson /Lord Of the Rings/ Narnia/Lemony Snickets etc, the reason being I have tried to keep the list for years ten and younger. I would like to, however, emphasize the point to take the children to a bookstore/library. When children handle and pick out books for themselves they are much more likely to read the book.
I would like to express my gratitude to Ms.Richa Prakash for taking out time and recommending books to me and for clarifying my doubts. It is always gratifying when your choices as a mother are validated by someone with so many years of experience in the educational field.
On World Book Day 2017, Khaled Hosseini wrote: “ Books always have been and always will be our most effective devices of empathy- a virtue urgently needed nowadays”.
Let’s make our children more empathetic.
It is not a state secret that I love to read books. It is a wonderful solitary pursuit which gives immense satisfaction to me. Recently, however, parents have been asking me to recommend books for their children. While one reads according to personal interests when you ask the same person to recommend a book you are laying a huge responsibility on the person’s shoulder, even more so when you have to recommend a book for a child. The book that you suggest should be interesting enough for the child to finish reading and not scare the child away from reading for a lifetime. Ideally, it should also be informative enough to keep the parents happy. The good part about people asking me to recommend books for their children (apart from me puffing up with pride) was that it gave me the idea for this blog post.
I am planning to write two parts to this post. I decided to do find out as to what the children really liked reading nowadays (we are just not up to date as to what is “in” these days). For the second part of the blog post, I will be writing more from a parent’s point of view. My helpers were my two adorable boys and I decided to take their viewpoint as to what they really liked to read and why ( I am a homemaker, don’t have time to ask too many children, I have loads of laundry to do!!!).
My first subject was my younger son, Rishabh, who is a few months shy of his eighth birthday. Contrary to fifty-percent of his genetic makeup, he does not like to read. Still on being asked he did come up with a list of ten books that he had read plus he liked them a lot. Since some of the books were part of the series so I decided to cull them down to five.
So here are top five favorite books of Rishabh.
Dinosaurs (Miles Kelley):
Well no surprises here, the boy has been fascinated by dinosaurs ever since he was a baby. According to Rishabh, there are lots of interesting facts about dinosaurs in the book and his favorite chapter in the book is all about T-Rex.
Tree House Series (Andy Griffith):
For a boy who doesn’t like to read Rishabh has finished all the five books in the series and is now waiting for the next one to be published. I guess that is recommendation enough.
Again a book read cover to cover by my boy. According to Rishabh, it gives loads of cool facts about a variety of topics, the chapter on the universe being his favorite.
Geronimo Stilton(Elisabetta Dami):
He had included The Haunted Castle, Giant Diamond Robbery and The Gold Medal Mystery in his top ten books. The series are his favorite as the books are funny, the characters have great adventures around the world plus solve mysteries. In all, a very interesting read.
We have to give the boy’s father credit for introducing this character in the boy’s literary world. Rishabh finds all the stories very funny and his favorite one is “Painting The Town Red”.
Currently, Rishabh is reading ParamVir Chakra (Amar Chitra Katha).
Kush is my elder son, just about ten and has taken after me, which in other words means he is an avid reader. For him to pick out ten of his favorite books was a slightly tougher task but he did manage to whittle them down.
So here are top ten favorite books of Kush.
Well, no surprises there right? I was pretty strict about him not reading them till he turned ten and luckily he received the first two as gifts just a month shy of his birthday. Kush likes the character of Harry best, even more than Ron, as Harry has glasses (just like Kush!). Hagrid is another favorite character as he loves Harry unconditionally.
Gangsta Granny(David Williams):
Kush likes this book about a boy who discovers new things about his grandmother. It is a funny book but also sad as the granny has cancer!
Geronimo Stilton(Elisabetta Dami):
So this series seems like a winner as it pops up on the list of both the boys. Kush was more forthcoming about what he really likes about these series. Again the common point with both of them being lots of solving mysteries in these books.
Wimpy Kid(Jeff Kinney):
Ok, confession time, I used to absolutely dislike the sight of Kush reading these books. He, however, has read almost all of them, so I guess I was wrong somewhere. Kush’s reason for liking these books is the relatability with the character. So the wimpy kid likes video games, sleeping in late etc…..all the stuff that Kush loves too!
Treehouse Series (Andy Griffiths):
Another series which pops up in both the lists. Kush’s reasons for liking these series is Andy and Terry’s imagination in building the tree house. They also get to meet new people and have adventures…..plus the books are really funny.
Great Freedom Fighters (Amar Chitra Katha):
This ACK tells about five freedom fighters from India: Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Veer Savarkar, Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh’s story was the most inspiring for Kush.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl):
This story is about a young poor boy Charlie who gets lucky on his birthday. He then manages to win over Mr.Wonka with his honesty and compassion.
Mystery Of The Strange Messages (Enid Blyton):
Well, Enid Blyton had to come in the list somewhere. The five find outers seem to have a lot of fun in solving mysteries and finding clues. Fatty seems to be most intelligent of the lot according to Kush.
Rusty And The Misty Mountains(Ruskin Bond):
As a Ruskin Bond fan myself, I was very happy to find one of his books on my son’s list too. He likes the story as it is about the adventures of a boy who climbs up the mountain.
Grandma’s Bag Of Stories(Sudha Murthy):
This is a book of stories narrated by a grandmother when the children visit their grandparents in holidays (brings back memories doesn’t it?). Kush likes this book as the stories are simple to understand and teach good morals too.
Currently, Kush is reading Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling.
Now as you can see the lists are varied and different, suiting to each of the boy’s personality. In my next post, I will give you my take on their choices as well as some book recommendations which I think the children would like, plus keep their parents happy.
There are two questions which I get asked a lot as soon as people hear that I love reading, the first is when do I get the time to read and the second , what types of books do I read (I think the second question is asked to whosoever says that they love reading ).
When do I get the time to read is simple to answer, I read even if I get five minutes free, like waiting for my children’s bus and if I start reading around my bedtime then I usually say good bye to my sleep.
What type of books I read is more complex to answer as there is no particular genre or author that I stick too. I am not a literary snob and do try and read different things( though I doubt I will be reading a Chetan Bhagat or Ravinder Singh soon). I find sticking to a particular genre very restrictive, though there is usually a pattern in what I pick up to read. I have been fond of reading from a very young age and this fondness has not diminished over time, though the favorite genres and author keep changing (I am hoping with my maturity level).
There are however a few authors and genres who are evergreen for me and I can read and re-read them umpteen number of times (in fact have done so too). I have made a combined list with both the authors and genres as there a few authors who stand alone like Olympus and even if they write/wrote in any other genres I would still read the book. (Plus to keep the list to a manageable length!)
So here goes my list of my favorite authors/genres. This list in no particular order though Jane Austen will have the top rank in any list made by me.
- Jane Austen: I think she would be on the list of any convent educated girl from India. There is something about Jane Austen books that are still so relevant today about two hundred years after she wrote them. Maybe it is the simplicity or the universal theme of love in her books. All her books are my favorites (indeed a cherished gift was when I received the hard bound set of all six of her books). Pride and Prejudice has been read so many times that I have actually lost count , although I do remember that the first time I read it, I was in seventh grade.( and yes Colin Firth is the incarnation of Mr.Darcy ).
- Chitra Banerjee: The first book written by her that I read was “Mistress of Spices” and I can credit her for introducing me to the wonderful world of Indian authors. Up until that point I was more into thrillers and romances, and only after reading her I realized how deep, rich and vibrant Indian writing is. Her “Palace of Illusions” is a stand out book as it forays into the mythological fiction realm but is also strongly feminist.
- Nora Roberts: There was a time when I would devour three to four books written by her in a week! Though they are inherently romance books, her books have humor, magic, family, a full masala book in Bollywood parlance.
- Indian mythological fiction/thriller: This is a genre which has become quite popular recently specially after author Amish burst on the scene with his “Immortals of Meluha”. These books are familiar as their characters are the god and goddesses whom we have grown up revering and suddenly they are much accessible and relocatable in a book. Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi stand out from the crowd, many of whom who just seem to be riding the wave.
- Devdutt Pattanaik/Sanjeev Sanyal: These two authors actually write two very different genres. Devdutt writes about mythology, predominantly Indian, and his interpretation of it (by putting such a disclaimer he also keeps himself safe from the Hindu hardliners!) . He tries to simplify the complex Hindu religious thought so that a layman can understand. Sanjeev Sanyal is an amateur historian who has somehow managed to capture my imagination. There is an interesting mix of history, geography and humor ( yes its there) in his books. The reason why I clubbed them together is that if I see a book written by either of them I will buy it without hesitation .
- Biographies: Now usually I do not read non-fiction as I find it too dry but have recently started reading biographies. These are usually not the biographies of very well known people, in fact when I start reading about them I usually never finish it (I was never able to finish reading the biography of Jinnah or Benazir Bhutto). I like reading about those people who may not be very well known but have still left their mark on the world. My favorite books in this genre include Fatima Bhutto’s Song of Blood and Sword ( a Biography of her father Mir Murtaza) , and Ismat Chugtai’s Life in Words.
- Authors from Indian sub-continent: This is a very interesting group as this includes authors from Pakistan ,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Again, I was unaware that the writing from the sub-continent could be so rich and diverse without following the stereotypes. Somehow the stature of Indian authors hides the gems from the rest of the region. My favorites in this include Kamila Shamsi and Hanif Qureshi.
- Historical fiction: I love history, that was my favorite subject in school and even now anything to do with history is immediately attractive to me. It is not limited to India’s history only, but of the whole wide world. The logic behind including this genre is same as with Mythological fiction, the familiar characters are suddenly more accessible.
- Elif Shafak : A brilliant , brilliant authoress. Even though “Forty Rules of Love” is her most famous book, my personal favorite is “Honor”. There is a Middle Eastern flavor in her writings along with a streak of feminism which strikes a chord.
- Regency Romances: Ah well, don’t we all women secretly love the regency romances. There is something about the description of a waltz that makes you swoon! Georgette Heyer leads the genre with her gentle tongue in cheek humor (remember the devil’s cub?) And Julia Quinn’s Lady Whistledown is an unforgettable character.
I had promised myself I would write only ten on the list so had to pick and choose, there are of course many, many more who actually should be on the list like P.G.Woodehouse( stiff upper lip humor), James Herriot ( the travails of a poor country vet), Ruskin Bond ( I am from the hills, he HAS to be on my list) , Ken Follet (story teller extraordinaire) , Anuja Chauhan (goddess of desi chick-lit) , Amitav Ghosh and Rohinton Mistry. I would however need another list to include all of them!
If you have any favorites among these or would like to add some more from your side then please do comment.
Another year is gone. People all over the world are making elaborate plans to usher in the New Year, to-do lists and resolutions are ready. People are going on a binge as they can easily say “Next year, pukka!” Facebook news feed is full of friend’s review of the year, their smiling faces showing how much fun they had in 2015.
Recently I had gone for a Hindi cultural festival in my son’s school. One of the parent’s had spoken a poem about the joy with which we welcome the New Year and how eager we are to discard the old year behind. The poem made me ponder.
How true it is!
When we welcome the New Year we forget to give thanks for the old one for making us wiser, for making us stronger. When we see someone’s year in review we just see their smiling, happy faces. We don’t see the difficulties they faced in the year, what challenges they overcame. We just see the smile and not the emotion behind. We forget the happiness and the sorrows and the challenges that the old year brought made us beautiful memories. Memories that we cherish and polish that make us remember the places and people. Memories which make us who we really are.
Millions of dirhams are going to be spent in Dubai (and rest of the world) to bring in the New Year, all for a few hours of dinner and to have a ring side view of the world famous fireworks. Even a small café is asking for astronomical sums if it can offer a glimpse of the fireworks. And people are paying for it. And do you know why? It’s all because of bragging rights!!!! You are going to brag on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, snapchat and in your office that “I WAS THERE”!!!
Though of course when finally after a few hours wait when the fireworks do happen you will be too busy recording them rather than enjoying their wonder. Quite understandably since you spent so much of time and money to see/record the fireworks and the only proof of that will be the video that you will shoot and circulate immediately rather than wishing the person or the wait staff happy new year.
Resolutions and inspirational quotes will be shared for the first few weeks and soon forgotten when life goes back to its humdrum routine.
Why is it? Why do we do it over and over again, year after year? I remember the times when 31st was supposed to be spent sitting huddled in the razai and watching whatever program doordarshan had decided to put up for us non-metro people (I am a small town girl, what else were we supposed to do?). It’s only significance in my life at that time was that I could stay up late to watch television, 1st January was life as usual. Now not having a “happening” plan is a taboo! If I want to stay at home in my pj’s and watch Television the whole night people will ask me if I am ok. The whole point seems to be about going out, even though you would rather be at home and read a book instead.
Maybe I am just getting old, or maybe I am just getting wiser. The New Year is going to be just like the old year. It is going to have its set of challenges and ups and down and next year on the same day you are again going to be planning what to do for the New Year.
Oh well….here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year! be productive and and happy in the coming year.
Today after weeks of inactivity and indecisiveness I decided to publish my post. To my frustration I found out that though I could type in the heading for the note on facebook, I just couldn’t type in my note. After struggling with it for sometime and even publishing my post twice without any body , I decided on giving up the idea. I decided I will now become a professional and publish it as a blog……..easier said than done!
I went to wordpress.com and made my login. I thought that was it but soon realised that it was the first step on the long and winding staircase to your own personal blog.
It first objected to my password for being too simple…… smart, smart wordpress.com and no, I am not revealing my password here. Anyhow then came the realization that I could create my own website and publish my post there.
Then came the major decision as to what to call my page. It should sound cool, a bit pretentious and should project my image as a literary giant. Sadly all the names I could come up with were already taken (not much of a literary then huh!). So the name was actually my state of mind at that point of time.(Its only now when I am writing this I realise that its very ,very similar to the name of a book I have read!). Oh well! what else to do but soldier on!!!
And soldier on we did and how!
I wish someone had told me its easier to write than to post it. After I zeroed in on the name , I then had to pick a style for the site out of god knows how many. After seeing the demo for 2 to 3 styles and actually not really understanding much about the feature of each , just decided to go with the one which I found visually most appealing. And then began the fun, I could now “CUSTOMIZE” it! The cover image, the font , the header, the footer, the display image …..all in all my head started spinning.
I closed the laptop and rushed back to my trusty notebook and pen. There i could just concentrate on writing and not bother about the font size or where the button for subscribing to the blog should be (hint! hint!).
My post is ready, now I just have to figure out how it get it on my site now so that it can reach readers like you (again hint!hint! subscribe button!) ……and yes Rahul Sharma makes my pen fly!!!
It was Ganesh Chaturthi on the 31st of August. Fervor and religious devotion marked the day.
The visarjan or the symbolic immersion of the idols started from the 1st of September. The Facebook posts changed from the status’s of “Ganapati Bappa Maurya” to photos of idols lying on the beaches after the visarjan. It’s the same story year after year. I have been blessed by invited to quite a few Ganapati Celebrations this year. In almost all the houses I saw resplendent Lord Ganesha smiling benevolently at us. None of the idols were less than a foot big and they were all going to be immersed. Even if they were all made of clay (which I do doubt) the amount of paint itself that each idol had would cause quite a bit of pollution.
Every year thousands of Idols are bought and immersed in the name of religion. Interesting point is that the concept of big pandals and community worship was introduced by Lokmanya Tilak to ignite the nationalistic fervor against the British rule. Until that time it was inherently a private family function.
Now each year every family wants to have a better, fancier Ganapati than the year before. The question is why? Why is there a need to get a big fancy idol each year? Why can’t there be a symbolic immersion? Why can’t little bit of creativity be used to make idols of clay and decorations made of flowers.
God doesn’t see the size of the idol or the fancy decorations or how many days you keep it. God has the ability to see beneath the surface and looks into your heart.
And that is all that matters!