twenty-ninth – the ekstra day!

Thirty days has September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
But February, which is fun:
With twenty-eight, it does just fine
‘Til Leap Year makes it twenty-nine!

Remember the rhyme?  Yeah, this is one such ‘Leap’ year and has 29 days in February. While I have always wondered what it is like to have your birthday on 29th, I didn’t know the day is so special. All the news channels and media are telling me that it’s an extra day. They have news coverage on all the 29 Feb ‘Babies’ and people are wondering what everybody is going to do with an Xxxtra day.

Back in the school days, somewhere in something like Science, we read the year actually consists of 365.25 days, so we have 365 days in a year and account for the .25 day by having 366 days in a year once every 4 years. What did the fools back then know it is celebration time. Look at the offers today. Isn’t it a miracle that we have an extra day. 😐

Urban Shots – Book Review

Urban Shots is an anthology of short stories. Writing short stories is a tricky terrain. The writer needs to introduce the characters, tell the story, make a connection with the reader and give/imply a conclusion all within a few pages. If not written well, they just leave the reader hanging in there. Even when written nicely, it leaves you wanting for more.

Urban Shots

Urban Shots

Urban life is defined by busy mornings, chaotic traffic, bustling through the crowds, vying for space and time. This modern-day Indian urban life filled with optimism, ambitions and on the flip side a stressful life where space and time are a luxury, lends itself perfectly to the short story format. The tales here are written by multiple authors, from multiple cities and from multiple perspectives giving you a peek into urban relationships, bringing you all different flavors of Urban shots.

The book is compilation of 28 stories by 13 different Indian authors edited by Paritosh Uttam. This is the dĂŠbut book of Grey Oak Publications India. The authors are from various backgrounds including Kainaz Motivala of ‘Wake Up Sid’ fame. These tales are very much relate-able. After all it is about relationships, love, friendship, pain, marriage and infidelity. The stories are put into sections Relationships, Love, Friendship, Angst and Longing giving the set of stories a sort of flow.

My top favorites tales were “Apple Pie and Grey Sweater” by Prateek Gupta, “Replay” by Paritosh Uttam and Malathi Jaikumar’s Liberation. Angst my fave section and the top author is clearly Paritosh Uttam.

Apple pie and Grey Sweater is a story about two friends Prayas and Purvi who are friends from their college  time and have a thing for each other but haven’t confessed to each other or probably don’t even know that they love each other. Now after college, Prayas lives in Pune and Purvi in Bangalore. Prayas has had a particularly tiresome day when Purvi calls up to say she’s getting married.  He is taken by surprise and just manages to congratulate her and ask if she is happy. The call brings back all the memories of how they met and all the time spent together and how much he likes her. Does he manage to confess his love for her, does she reciprocate, Do they get hitched? Read to find out.

Replay is about Lata, a gullible woman from Mumbai who trusted people, once married and then abandoned for another woman. A replay of one situation in her life helps her resolve the dilemma in another one. In an instant she knows just what to do.

Liberation is about an uneducated woman in Chennai, married with two kids and an abusive husband. How she finds a solution to put an end to her misery and comes out a liberated woman is the story.

The others that I liked reading where Serendipity, Stick figures, A cup of tea, Effacing memories, Mood for love, Trail and Error. I also liked Ahmed Faiyaz’s style of writing. The rest are ok. The only ones that let me down were ‘Women in Love’ and ‘The Enlightened One’.

If you like reading Indian authors and enjoy short stories, this one is for you. Even if you are not the kind who enjoys short stories, give it a try. A good read on the go. A small dose of fiction, every now and then will brighten up your day 🙂

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Death of a funeral

Anybody who has seen the British comedy “Death at a funeral” will know how funerals can be about anything but mourning. Here is a Indo-US version of it which is in essence the death of a funeral. This was posted by one of my friends as his FB status and I couldn’t resist borrowing it. Here it is

A family in Gujarat was puzzled when the coffin of their dead mother (Ba) arrived from the US . It was sent by one of the daughters.
The dead body was very tightly squeezed inside the coffin, with no space left in it when they opened the lid;
they found a letter on top addressed to her brothers and sisters:
Dear Chandrakantbhai, Arvindbhai, Neetaben and Varsha,
I am sending Ba’s body to you, since it was her wish that she should be cremated in the compound of our ancestral home in GUJARAT.
Sorry, I could not come along as all of my paid leave is consumed.
You will find inside the coffin, under Ba’s body, cans of cheese, 10 packets of Tobler chocolates and 8 packets of Badam (peanuts) please divide these among all of you.
On Ba’s feet you will find a new pair of Reebok shoes (size 10) for Mohan. There are also 2 pairs of shoes for Radha’s and Lakshmi’s sons. Hope the sizes are correct.
Ba is wearing 6 American T-Shirts. The large size is for Mohan.Just distribute the rest among yourselves.
The 2 new Jeans that Ba is wearing are for the boys.
The Swiss watch that Reema wanted is on Ba’s left wrist. Shanta masi, Ba is wearing the necklace,earrings and ring that you asked for. Please take them off her..
The 6 white cotton socks that Ba is wearing must be divided among my nephews.Please distribute all these fairly.
Love Neeta.
PS : If anything more required let me know soon as Bapuji is also not feeling too well nowadays…

PPS: This is not a real incident and meant for fun. No offence intended.

Utterly callous and funny!  But on a more serious note, we are already at the brink of death of marriage, death of family system and so on. Just wondering if this is the last straw “death of a funeral”! Are we about to say RIP to the funerals as well? Let the dead past be dead and move on with business as usual?

Brazil Carnival

Check out the amazing pics from the Brazil Carnival!



The Brazilian Carnival is one of the best-known celebrations today, it´s a large, festive, popular party held all over Brazil.  The world´s most famous Carnival of Rio de Janeiro has become an event of huge proportions, and the most popular party on the planet, according to The Guinness Book of World Records 2011. The country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense (day and night).
Carnival with all its excesses, celebrated as a profane event, can be considered an act of farewell to the pleasures of the flesh. It usually happens in February, the hottest month in the Southern Hemisphere, when the Rio summer is at its peak.

These pictures were taken during last year´s Samba Parade, a show, a display and competition of the Rio Samba Schools. It´s a massive two-day live show, considered one of the most…

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Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya Bekhudi Kya Cheez Hai

One lazy Sunday afternoon, I was listening to Jagjit Singh on my comp and reading a book when a friend walked into my room and exclaimed “Yaaru satt hogidaare?(kaun mar gaya? / Who died?) and I just couldn’t stop laughing at her statement.

She thought, why else would someone want to listen to those sad song and all I could say was “Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya, Bekhudi Kya Cheez Hai”.
Only the ones who could loose themselves in that mersmerizing voice understood the magic. His voice had that amazing quality that could transport you to a completely different surreal world.
An experience that would leave you wanting for more.

If my friend were to ask the same question today Alas! it is Jagjit Singh who is no more. It happens to be his birthday today, the 8th of Feb.
Of the numerous ghazals and melodious songs a few of my favorites are
‘Hoton se Chulo tum’ , ‘Tum itna jo muskura ho’, ‘Besabab baat badhaane ki zaroorat kya hai,hum khafa kab the manaane ki zaroorat kya hai’, ‘tum ko dekha toh yeh khayal aaya’, ‘Hoshwalon ko khabar kya’ and many more.

Happy Birthday Jagjit Singh!
You still live through your songs. Your magical voice will continue to keep echoing in the rooms of your innumerable fans for many many years to come.

Healthcare in India – a joke?

I remember speaking to a friend about the current state of affairs of hospitals and doctors in India and she exclaimed “healthcare is a joke in India!”.

Today, is one sad day when I realize it is indeed true. My day started with discussions of (ill-)treatment of one of my PG-mates currently admitted in one of the nearby hospitals. This when she is visually challenged and at least that I thought would be enough for warranting a better treatment. I have been falling ill quite a few times lately. When it happens I trust the near-by Pharmacist more than a doctor at a posh hospital. (uh no, this distrust is not totally baseless). The doctor at my workplace(who works with one of the biggest hospital chains in India) couldn’t diagnose a simple case of sinusitis and sent me to an eye specialist for further consultation! A doctor once told my friend she may have to undergo a surgery for a stomach upset. And I can go on and on.

And then I read about Yuvraj Singh’s cancer treatment being delayed coz one of the Indian hospitals wrongly diagnosed. When it could happen to a Cricket player in India(a demi-god) “toh hum kis khet ke mooli hai?”

Having grown up believing that being a Doctor is one of the noblest of the professions, this just feels sad, the way things have changed. While practicing medicine has indeed become more difficult in the last few years with the rising costs of maintaining the hospitals( trained staff  and equipment) we have help from technology more than ever. The number of super-specialties is so high you can’t even remember all the names: Cardio-Pulmonary Physiotherapist, neuro-radiologist, still expertise and intuition seems to be lacking . 😐 Generally, the number of doctors, hospitals and facilities have gone up multi-fold but trust level has reached an all time low.

Not to forget, most doctors would have spent a fortune to finish their studies. And more than often these people are from middle class and are looking for return on Investment. In most cases, being commercial doesn’t seem so wrong since they are one of the best brains and would have slogged almost half their life to be where they are and all the hospital facilities don’t come for free. But when did the social angle disappear? Where did the familiar family doc go? whom you could turn to anytime and who knew you so well that you didn’t even need to maintain a medical history journal.

If you are one of them, who doesn’t have good health insurance coverage/money/contacts then God save you!

Amazing Pics from Cambodia!

Stupid Ugly Foreigner

You have to like it
Through the magic of wireless internet and scheduling posts for later dates, this blog has been magically spinning out my glorious bon mots for the last two weeks. The last two weeks while I was off gallivanting in south Asia! Oh, the trickery, oh the deceit. I will certainly have a bevy of words for you to ingest and roil about in within the next week or so, but for now, my brain feels as chapped and sun-worn as my hide. I am barely capable of human speech, let alone thousands of little symbols representing human speech. Instead, I bring you, like your doddering old great great third cousin, photographs from my vacation. Bask!

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