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21 November, 2010

Friends

This post was originally written for Gingerchai.com and it is written in exactly 300 words





Having lost his wife to atrocities of poverty five years back; he was the loneliest person on earth. He had such a zilch of presence that his demise would not have mattered to anyone. Anyone, except one or two occasional pedestrians passing by the traffic signal, opposite the big shopping mall; where he pestered them for alms. If not begging, he would while away his time seated on the pavement and watching the mannequin day and night. The lifeless wooden doll replied with equal intensity staring back. It would communicate silently with eyes, breaking away the contact only when one of the storekeepers changed its position or when it was being dressed or undressed. Every time, the dresses changed, it would seek the approval of the beggar and he would nod his compliments in return; his lips, a tad parted as if in exclamation and awe of the dress. In truth, he was happy to have some company. It was comforting enough to know that there was someone aware of his existence. By now, he was sure that the doll would scan the roads and miss him, once he was gone. It was comforting enough to know that his existence mattered to something.

Fortunes changed when a frustrated passerby dropped a lottery ticket in his bowl and the ticket won him amounts he can never define. He was rich overnight. Mansions, servants, cars, women – he could have bought anything with his newly found riches but, all he did was to barge into the shopping mall and bargain for the mannequin, buying it for himself and himself alone. It was the only companion and the only friend he needed to live. Some friendships are simply invaluable. They were friends when he was indigent and they will be friends in riches too. 

14 November, 2010

RTI act,2005: An Introduction




No democracy is literally complete until people are given the participating power and imparted knowledge of the  day to day governance. India took one step in this direction on 15th July 2005 when Right to Information Act was passed by the parliament which came into full force on 12th October 2005.

Hitherto, Information disclosure in India was restricted by the Official Secrets Act 1923 and various other special laws, which the new RTI Act now relaxes.

The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI) is a law enacted by the Parliament of India "to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens." The Act applies to all States and Union Territories of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir - which is covered under a State-level law. Under the provisions of the Act, any citizen (excluding the citizens within J&K) may request information from a "public authority" (a body of Government or "instrumentality of State") which is required to reply expeditiously or within thirty days. The Act also requires every public authority to computerise their records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information so that the citizens need minimum recourse to request for information formally.

This is by far, the only act that has been passed in a period of 3 working days. It was chaired and passed by Loksabha on 12th July 2005, Rajsabha passed this act on 13th July 2005. It was approved by the President of India on 15th July 2005.This act is a very powerful tool for people’s governance; proved by the tacit understanding that bureaucrats do not very much support this act as it brings their erratic modus operandi to light and thus exposing all their malpractices.

As the citizens of this country, it is right to know the nitty gritty stuff pertaining to this all powerful act. Also it’s our imminent duty and responsibility to make use of this act and help bring in good governance to realize the true democracy.

I am going to do my part by writing a series of articles on this topic and help spread the awareness about this act. When and how are you going to play yours?

10 November, 2010

Promise Me by Harlan Coben

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Author: Harlan Coben

Genre: Covert operations, thriller, adventure, action

Original Title: Promise Me (Myron Bolitar, #8)

Series: Myron Bolitar #8

Setting: United States
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 This book was a random pick and it was my First Harlan Coben book and what a book it was. Like a chocolate that melts when placed in your mouth and the taste grows on you.
 
Meet Myron Bolitar, the very famous basket ball player from Livingston High school who made to NBA and due to knee injury could get the fame he deserved. There is another side to Myron, a Vigilante, batman like but he doesn’t have the gadgets ,the super hero costume or the batmobile. But what he has is the moral dilemma as akin to Batmans’s (ofcourse not as melodramatic as batman), a will to safe guard the innocent and a psychic, rich, well-trained and well-connected friend Win.

The book begins with the spotting of a missing gal, a 18 year old adult from Livingston high and then goes on to Myron love life, his new found Love’s daughter and her friend, the daughter of one his school days friend. The school year is almost over and the college Hysteria has taken over. Parents and children alike are anxiously trying to get their destinies fixed, get into respected and high profile colleges and obviously kids under pressure commit mistakes, drink, get junkied, drive in such semi-concious state and few end up in tragic accidents.

But Myron is determined to help keep his friends’ children safe, and so he makes two neighborhood girls promise him: If they are ever in a bind but are afraid to call their parents, they must call him. The call comes on a fateful night and he helps one of these girls to the safety of her friend’s house . Thinks change, Myron’s world goes topsy-turvy. The girl goes missing and he is held responsible. TO fight his moral guilt and to keep his promise of safe guarding the girl he brings out his heroics along with this friend Wind to find the girl and there on unfolds the thrilling and fast paced plot.

This is the eight book in the Myron series and facts say that this series has been brought to life after a break of six years. Yes, this is one of the best page turners I have read in last few months and yes, I am going to begin from the start, read all the seven prior adventures of Myron Bolitar and also read other stand alone novels by Harlan Coben.

I suggest you do the same. Hurry, get started.
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Paperback, 489 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Signet (first published 2006)
ISBN 0451219244 (ISBN13: 9780451219244)
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06 November, 2010

Celebrations


  • This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 16; the sixteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.





    Chandrabhanu was the son of a marine officer staying in the apartments. Deepavali for him meant a great deal, the biggest and greatest festival. Ofcourse everything translated to the season of splurging, shopping clothes, food, parties, sweetmeats and loads of crackers.

    Jayadeva or jappi stayed along with his granny at the thatched make-shift roofing shelter just behind the apartments.  Granny was his only living relative. She was an old withered woman who wasn’t suitable for the labour work. She’d find some odd jobs of cleaning at functions and parties that helped them earn a living; Otherwise water was their regular bread and butter with a meal or two in few weeks.To use the term Poverty or Below Poverty will be to describe riches in comparison to Jappi’s life

    Deepavali meant a great deal to Jappi too. It was celebration time.
    Celebration is a relative term, contextual to be precise. For Chandrabhanu it meant exuberance and riches beyond measure. Mouth watering delicacies, exotic food and party at a pricey restaurant and high priced clothes to match the ambience. Not to forget, the best of the best crackers.

    On the other hand, for Jappi, celebration meant expectation. Expectation, to put a temporary pause to ever lasting hunger. Expectation-not about the taste of food but about tasting the food, the leftovers. To feast on the leftovers and remnants(after the party), either handed to them by the rich or at times, even the food thrown out of the high windows of  multi-storeyed mammoth apartments. The expectation- not to choose and buy classy clothes, but to wear clothes that are not torn from a hundred corners. They may be used or cheap quality new clothes, thanks to mercy of the likes of Chandrabhanu’s parents who donate on the eve of the festival. The expectation – not to burn the crackers but to watch them burst and then scavenge the paper pieces for the unburnt or failed crackers . To pick them and try to burn them when the rich are dozing off, to save his embarrassment of not being able to buy his own.

    Jappi's is a true story from my childhood. There are hundreds of such children who taste food only during Festivals, millions who do not have clothes. This festival lets pledge to celebrate along with Jappi and his likes. Think twice (before splurging and wasting), that we can help them have a memorable festival by spending a little less on ourselves and share the resrt with them. This Deepavali, let us bring light and happiness to these poor people and be a part of their CELEBRATIONS. This Deepavali lets share some light to make lives.

    Happy Deepavali        



    The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

      03 November, 2010

      Otiose Dreams Part 2


      This is second post in the Series Otiose Dreams. To read Otiose Dreams Part1 click here



      This event takes place somewhere after the end of 6th book and before the beginning of 7th book of Harry Potter Series.

      Dumbledore is dead and Harry says Snape killed him. But, the Ministry of magic wants an official confirmation and hence a bench is commissioned to investigate Dumbledore’s murder. Tenders are received from across the globe and through all ages of human existence. The tenders from 21st Century India are kept aside because of the super corrupt reputation they carry along. After much deliberation the most famous fiction detective Mr. Sherlock Holmes is hired for the job.

      Sherlock has been busy time travelling, helping the Time traveller’s wife decipher an Enigma called her husband. During this period he has travelled to forbidden places and got mixed up with issues he had no right to meddle with and a result is simultaneously investigating multiple cases.

      He has arrived at Hogwarts along with his faithful friend Dr Watson and they are working at the crime scene.

      Holmes: It seemed to me that a careful examination of the room and the lawn might possibly reveal some traces of this mysterious individual. You know my methods, Watson. There was not one of them which I did not apply to the inquiry. And it ended by my discovering traces, but very different ones from those which I had expected.

      Watson: I think I have heard it before *retrospecting*

      Holmes: Yes. It is from one of my stories. You see Watson, the folks around here know not much about us, we can reuse most of our conversations.

      And then there was this sound “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure”.

      Watson: Where is this coming from?

      *Holmes ignores the echoes as well as Watson’s frivolous thoughts*

      Holmes: Come here I see a board here, over this door. Can you help me read it Watson?

      Me: I have surely heard this before. But where? Ah just if I had google to help me here.

      Holmes: Watson, come here. I have found it, I have done it again. I have resolved the case. * jumping as never before, his exultant dance would have embarrassed Chris tucker from Rush hour movie*

      Watson: Excellent!! Who is the murderer?

      Holmes: *annoyed and complacent* what murderer? I have found out where Keanu Reeves, the Neo is lost. Quick quick, lets dispatch a message to the Oracle, but make sure it is addressed as “ To the Oracle, third movie In matrix trilogy

      Watson: *confused and irritated* what the hell are you talking about? You have gone bonkers dude, get some rest .

      Me: You are right Watson, I think he has had an overdose of the dog medicine he was trying the other day.

      Holmes: Comrade, listen to me first. During one of travels with the time traveller’s wife, we landed in the oracle’s house in matrix part-3, Neo is locked somewhere. Look at this, it is room of requirements, I can get Neo here and I will take him back to Oracle . Hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrray

      Watson: That’s great. We can come back here often to find answers to most of our questions *winks*

      The echo is heard again “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure”. This time a bit louder

      Watson: I am sure I know this from the past, I think I read it in one of the books.

      Me: concentrate hard, where have u read it. Come on Muddassir, you know have read this before. But Where?

      The echo grows louder and sharper “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure”.

      Out of nowhere appear the trolls, so do the spiders. Watson and Sherlock standing back to back, spiders surrounding them.

      Me: Wait! That is supposed to be Harry and Ron with Spiders, isn’t it? Whatever, but why are my hands tied to the flag posts? And who is so pathetically singing ‘Haath mujhe dedeThakur’? * I look around* Is it really Gabbar Singh? 20 feet tall? Since when, does Gabbar have four heads??Woah, hang on!! why is he holding those huge monstrous barbarian axes over my shoulders? Is he going to chop off my shoulders? Does he think I am the Thakur? I don’t even have a single strand of white hair forget a streak of white hair. Mummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmy!!!! save me!

      All three of us are sweating. We may be dead any moment now. This is not the death I wanted, not so soon. And then, a loud voice announces

      “Welcome to Joker’s maze, this is Riddler speaking. Solve these riddles and save your head, Shy away and you shall be dead. Now, now, tell me how, you will make the ghosts fall in love?”

      Me: Now that is a difficult one. Er, make them watch ShahRukh- Kajol Movies?

      Holmes: Apply one can of Axe deodorant on the male Ghost, specifically, the chocolate flavor.

      Me: What? The ‘AXE-EFFECT’ ? It doesn’t work with humans, you think it will work with ghosts? Believe me, my friend Deepak tried it. Instead of being wooed he was shooed away. In fact he is planning to sue the company now.

      Riddler: Wonderful, Wonderful.To you I raise a toast, now tell me, tell me; how will you kill a ghost??

      Me: That is very easy. 1. Contract the Ghost Rider to kill them 2. Make them watch Chandni Chowk to China and RGV Ki Aag    3. Ask them to work with Suresh Kalmadi to organize the next Olympics in India. You see, the options go on and on.

      The Riddler begins to laugh sonorously. Multiple things happen the next instant.

      A lion jumps in front of me and The four headed monstrous and lamenting Gabbar raises his 200 pound axes, the spiders pounce on Holmes and Watson.I take a step back to stay away from the lion and fall in a pit.

      A loud shrieking voice says“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure”.

      I hit the ground ,hurt my head and back. I wake up startled. I am breathing heavily and sweating profusely. I take a minute or two to return back to senses and understand what is going on.

      That is when I realize that I fell down my cot, hit the floor, hurt myself and it was my alarm shrieking in Dumbledore’s voice “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure”. I push a hand forward and shut the alarm. Sit back and take a heavy deep and long breath.

      Phew!!! Me and my dreams.



      This post has been written for Blogeshwar 5.0 and Anubhooti