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Thursday, 3 November 2016

One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat - My Review

1. Background. My attempt to write a review of  Mr. Chetan Bhagat's latest effort is a purely personal effort to examine his work as a reader with an open mind. A few days ago, I read Revolution 2020, which kindled certain old memories in the initial chapters. but towards the end, the plot became very abrupt in the treatment of its three main protagonists. With this backdrop. I must admit that I was looking for something similar with every new chapter unravelling- given the common notion of repetitiveness that the author is often accused of.

2. Source. I read the book offline after downloading it on my Kindle Unlimited Edition priced INR 0.00. Despite the forty two chapters,given the thin volume, I managed to finish it in one sitting. The prologue and epilogue was missing this time.

3. The Main Protagonist. Radhika Mehta, a middle class Punjabi girl who has a brilliant academic background that helps her get a Vice President appointment at Goldman Sachs at a young age. Like many other previous protagonists, Radhika is also battling her inner demons and societal prejudices prevalent in the middle class milieu. But this one has a supportive father for a change.

4. The Significant Others.


 Debashish Sen, based in Newyork, is the Left leaning, anti Capitalist pseudo philosophical young man with whom the main protagonist has her first serious relationship. I cringed at the unnecessary detail that the writer went into describing their sexual intimacy- a sheer attempt to titillate, I dare say. The manner in which Radhika was ready to sacrifice her own professional success just to satisfy her man's  ego was understandable. However the brazen similarity with the plot of Revolution 2020 wherein Radhika is buying roses, an engagement ring at Tiffany's  and then visiting Debashish without prior intimation, only to find him with someone else was a pure letdown. Maybe the writer did not find a better expression to reflect the immaturity of his young protagonists.


Neel Gupta, based in Hong Kong, is Radhika's Boss'es boss. As a married, middle aged and highly successful banker, here is a man who actually helps her to mature as an individual, commensurate with her professional rise. But only till the time his own inner demons don't get better of him. The intimacy is handled much better here, thankfully.

Brajesh Gulati, the Facebook employee based in San Francisco is that balancing thread that has been common to each of Mr. Chetan Bhagat's works. In many ways, I feel that this characterisation is a reflection of the writer's self image- an attempt to shape his own existence to be what he wants to rather than what he actually is. The writer leaves Radhika's  'Relationship Status' with Brajesh open ended this time.

5. My Assessment

I somehow felt that in shaping his characters, the writer attempts to  define the various aspects of one single personality. Thereafter he makes them grow with each new relationship to achieve one ideal personality. Seen from this perspective, the characters are an image of the various aspects of the same personality.

6. My Recommendation. Let me be clear that the writer does not attempt to create literary gems. Having said that, the manner in which Mr. Bhagat connects to his readers is the only reason why I ever read his books and would continue doing so. I felt the connect, so would you. just don't be prejudiced or judgemental and read it with an open mind. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

संकीर्ण राष्ट्रवाद और जम्मु कश्मीर तथा भारत पर इसके दुष्परिणाम

संकीर्ण राष्ट्रवाद और जम्मु कश्मीर तथा भारत पर इसके दुष्परिणाम

    
 बीते कुछ समय से देश एक अजीब सी विडंबना से रूबरू हुआ है। कश्मीर घाटी हो या जवाहरलाल नेहरू विश्वविद्यालय सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता हो, विद्यार्थी हो या राजनीतिक हर कोई राष्ट्रीयता और आजादी की नई परिभाषा की खोज को आंदोलन की शक्ल दे रहा है। अपनी राष्ट्र भक्ति साबित करने के क्रम में, विरोधियों को देशद्रोही प्रमाणित करने की होड़ है और सस्ती लोकप्रियता की लालच ने मीडिया की भी पक्षपाती और गैर – जिम्मेदार बना दिया है ।

  

     इस संकीर्ण राष्ट्रवाद का दुष्परिणाम आज जलती हुई कश्मीर घाटी में दिखने लगा है। अलगाववाद तथा उग्रवाद से त्रस्त कश्मीर आज राष्ट्र की मुख्यधारा से दुर होता दिख रहा है। शोरगुल, भड़काऊ बयानबाजी और राष्ट्रभक्ति के सवालों के बीच, ये खेदपूर्ण परिस्थिति ऐसे समय में उत्पन्न हुई है जब वर्षों के सतत प्रयास के पश्चात लग रहा था की अमन – औ - चैन के फूलों से घाटी की वादियाँ फिर से गुलजार हो जाएँगी।

  


     राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर भी समाज में विभाजन तथा विघटन आ रही हैं और किसी न किसी मुद्दे को तूल देकर अल्पमत या विरोध के स्वर को दबाने में लग गई हैं। बापू ने अपने सपनों के भारत में देखा था कि सबसे कमजोर और सबसे निरीह देशवासी के स्वर को भी गणतन्त्र कि सर्वोच्च संसद में प्रातिध्वनि मिलेगी। संकीर्ण राष्ट्रवाद के इस उन्मादी दौर में हम भारत वासियों को अपनी अंतरात्मा से यह प्रश्न करना होगा कि कहीं हम बापू के सपने के भारत को और वसुदैव कुटुंबकम की विरासत को नष्ट तो नहीं कर रहे हैं।       

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Common Tailorbird

Blame it on the weather gods that led to incessant rains and the subsequent internet outages, I was not able to upload the pics of the Common Tailor bird. What I could not trace though was the famous 'sewn up' nest that gives this songbird its famous nest.

AN OLD PIC CLICKED AT HEBANHATTI IN BELGAUM
At just 13 cms, the Common Tailorbird can easily give one a miss. It has a buffy white vent. while singing, it displays a black patch at the side of the throat that often leads to it being mistaken for the Dark Necked Tailorbird.



ONE OF THE EARLIER CLICKS OF THIS BIRD
Tailorbirds are small warblers with fairly long thin graduated tails, greenish underparts, rufous crowns and wings and long thinned slightly decurved bills


THE TRICKY BIRD TRIYNG TO HIDE FROM THE INQUISITIVE SHUTTERBUG

I have had a fairly long struggle in trying to photograph thie bird. As captioned in the first picture, I spottted this bird for the first time in Belgaum, Karnataka. However, with just a Tamron 70-300mm lens and limited 'stalking' skills, I did not get any successs in obtaining a worthy photograph.

ONE OF THE BETTER CLICKS OF THIS BIRD
In pursuit of a worthy picture, I have become habituated to the lovely call of this small songbird.

MY SUBJECT MUNCHING ON AN EARLY CATCH


I would sign off now. Coming up next would be the Great Barbet.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Black Bulbul

The Black Bulbul, also called the Himalayan Black Bulbul or the Asian Black Bulbul, is a very elegant bird seen in the Northern part of India. The fully slaty/black feathers are in stark contrast to the sharp orange bill. 
THE HIMALAYAN BLACK BULBUL
Bulbuls are medium sized birds with short rounded wings. this one is upto 23 cms in length. like all Bulbuls, even this one has a distinctive crest. Interestingly, some of these birds have been known to have a white coloured head too, although, I have not been lucky enough to click one yet.
ANOTHER VIEW AND A CLEARER PICTURE
Belonging to the Passerine family, this bird is commonly seen above commonly seen at altitudes upto 3000 m and has a peculiar cat like nasal call combined with gregarious chattering.
TRUST ME, THE MANNER IN WHICH IT PLUCKS BERRIES  IS SHEER  ELEGANCE 

In an area that is chiefly dominated by the Himalayan Bulbul and the Red Vented Bulbul, I see these birds turning up in the sunny days that follow the periods of inclement weather. I must also add that this bird shows better resistance to the vagaries of cold weather than the two previously mentioned counterparts.

A MORE RECENT CLICK WITH  BETTER ZOOM 
In my moments of boredom, when the cloudy conditions do not allow better photography, this elegant bird gives me a the opportunity to observe its behavior and peculiarities. I shall be updating the same as I gain better insight. 
ANOTHER RECENT CLICK
I would end here, following up with another blog in continuation with the series on Birds seen in Jammu region of India. Since I have already covered the Black Throated Tit in a  previous blog In Pursuit Of The Bandit, hence, coming up next would be the Common Tailorbird.

Ashy Prinia

This post marks my return to blogging after a long break. I bought a new Nikon 200-500 mm f 5.6 ED VRII Lens to supercharge my bird photography. the entire month of februray was spent in clicking birds of Basai near Gurgaon and Sultanpur Bird Park on the Gurgaon-Jhajjar road. Of course, I'll share tose pictures on a seperate blog with the appropriate label. 

Today I would like to share with you the pictures of  Ashy Prinia.
 .
ASHY PRINIA ON AN APPLE BLOSSOM BRANCH

The Ashy Prinia is a fairly common bird in my surrounding.  It is commonly found near grass scrubs, crops and sparse jungles. They are primarily insectivorous. They have short rounded wings and long graduated tails often cocked and/ or loosely waved around.

THE DARK BROWN SPOTS AT THE TAIL END ARE DISTINCTIVE

The difficulty in photographing it is primarily due to its small size and rapid movements. All of 13 cms. the bird can be exceedingly difficult no notice in the first place, let alone photographing it.
NOTE THE ABSENCE OF THE SUPERCILLIUM IN THIS BIRD
  Several species are confusingly similar. Age-, season- and latitude- plumage variations add to the confusion. It is only the range, habitat and voice that can provide useful clues leading to their identification.

THE SAME BIRD PHOTOGRAPHED IN FOUR DIFFERENT POSES- ALL IN A MINUTE!
 I would sum up here, coming up next would be The Black Bulbul also known as the Himalayan Bulbul.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

In Pursuit of The Bandit

BLACK THROAT TIT- THE BIRD WITH THE BANDIT MASK

So here is the Bandit Bird- and this was the first sight. what followed was a merry cat and mouse game between me and the 'bandit'. I wanted a nice click ; he was determined to evade capture.

The bandit resorted to acrobatics to forewarn me what I was up against. He was determined to take advantage of the cover available


The manner in which the naughty bird troubled me is vividly illustrated in the accompanying photographs.







It did, however allow me to take a few good shots, before flying off in pursuit of forage.