March 29, 2014

Short Story: The Walk

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
— Albert Camus

Gariahat, Kolkata
Image Courtesy: Google Images 


Akriti was bored out of her mind. She was sitting up propelled against the pillows on her bed, busy texting her friends. None of them were willing to leave the comfort of their homes and come out to meet her.
It was six o’clock in the evening and Kolkata had come to its most humid best. Even after sundown, it felt like someone (God, perhaps) wanted to grill the helpless creatures alive. Akriti moodily thought about what the weather had been like two days ago: it was raining so heavily, and the cool, sweet breeze…. She sighed heavily.
Why couldn’t that amazing weather continue for the rest of summer?
“If I stay one more minute in this house, I’ll go crazy,” she muttered to herself as she messaged the only friend who was still texting her: Shweta. The only problem was this friend lived in another state altogether.
I want to have phuckas.
She typed a fresh message and hit send.
Laughing to herself, confident that a reply would not arrive until the next morning, she continued the conversation with Shweta.
1 message received.
Piyush: Do you want to go out and have phuckas? Let’s go out then.
Akriti almost fell out of her bed in shock. Here was the laziest person in the face of the planet up for a random outing with her. Well, she never was the one to say ‘no’ – especially when the outing would involve having phuckas.
One and an half hour later, Piyush and Akriti finally met up in Rashbehari. They had met almost two months ago, when the girl had to literally drag her friend out of his house.
“This is a first,” she commented, as soon as he was in earshot, “you being up for plans made at this short a notice.”
“It is only because I’ve been roaming all over the country for the past few days,” he confessed, “I just got back home this morning. If I stay at home much longer, I’ll become that lazy Piyush again.”
“I know, lazy goose,” Akriti laughed, “by the way, I got your text as I was getting up on the auto. So I couldn’t reply then. What do you need help with in Gariahat?”
“Umm…well,” Piyush said, as they walked towards the auto stand to get to Gariahat, “I need help buying junk jewelry.”
“You need help buying what?” shrieked Akriti and immediately dissolved into convulsions of laughter.
“Laugh all you want,” a disgruntled Piyush replied, “I’ll just wait for you to stop…are you done yet?”
The girl shook her head, still chortling merrily to herself. Passer bys threw them looks of both annoyance and amusement.
“Are you done now?” asked Piyush, pointedly, after a couple of minutes.
“Yes, I am done. So…junk jewelry, huh?” his friend said with just a trace of amusement in her voice.
“It’s not for me. It’s for a friend who wanted it…and well, I forgot to get it on my trip,” he admitted, “Oh c’mon…I ran out of cash,” he defended himself when he saw the disbelieving look on Akriti’s face, “Will you help me or not?” then after a moment’s pause he added, “You do buy junk jewelry, don’t you?”
That stopped Akriti from laughing completely. She narrowed her eyes at him, “Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean?”
“I have never seen you wear junk jewelry,” he said with a shrug.
“Then you must be blind,” muttered Akriti. In a louder voice she said, “I’ll have you know I buy a lot of junk jewelry from Gariahat. I just don’t get around to wearing all of them.”
They found an auto heading to Gariahat from the stand and boarded. As was Akriti’s custom, she became silent as the vehicle drove them to their destination, observing the roads she was passing by.
“Why are you silent?” Piyush asked her, a little annoyed. He clearly didn’t like sitting in silence.
“Err…I am listening to you. You’re the one who went on a trip. Tell me about it?” she said, sweetly. Mentally she added, and I am better at listening to people anyway, rather than talking.
“My trip was amazing. I went to such lovely places, and took pictures with this phone of mine!” he said, with the excitement of child who had been handed a whole box of chocolates.
“I did see the pictures,” said Akriti, still watching the shops that were flashing past. She caught glimpses of the people walking by, people waiting for buses, autos, taxis – people trying to get back home after a long, tiring day at work. “You posted them in Facebook.”
“Yes,” Piyush said. He looked at his smart phone sadly and showed it to Akriti, “look – it fell from my hand!”
There was a crack over the screen of the phone. His new phone had met with an accident. Butter fingers, Akriti thought but she didn’t say it out loud.
“Maybe you can get it repaired? Take to one of the mobile repair centers?” she suggested.
“Gariahat,” the auto driver announced putting an end to their conversation. The auto took an almost U-turn and dropped off his passengers in the middle of the road.
They paid their fare before getting off. As the stood at the crossroads of Gariahat, Piyush looked at Akriti, “Now, what?”
Throughout her college life, Akriti had tried having phuckas from all the stalls she’d come across in Kolkata. She knew three stalls in Gariahat-Golpark itself. Out of these three, there was one which was her favorite and most inconveniently located.
“Ta-da!” she announced happily as they approached the phucka stall located at the end of the Golpark auto stand. People had queued up to get back home. The line of shops which adorned either side of the streets had last minute customers, and impatient owners trying to hurry them up.
“Of all the phucka stalls in the world,” muttered Piyush, rolling his eyes, “this was the one you had to choose?”
Akriti merely shook her head. At least the phuckas had been worth meeting up this randomly so late in the evening. But the stifling heat of the evening refused to go away.
“Oh it’s such a nice pleasant weather in Kolkata, she said. It is much better here, she said,” said Piyush sarcastically, “where is the nice, pleasant weather?”
“It was amazing for the last two days,” said Akriti, “Maybe this is how Kolkata welcomed you back, Piyush Banerjee.” She added wickedly.
“Oh please,” said Piyush, rolling his eyes. He paused for a minute, “wouldn’t it be wonderful if I was called Bruce Wayne?”
“Huh?” asked Akriti, confused. They were walking aimlessly around Golpark now, a little further away from the phucka stall, “You want to be called what?”
“Imagine if I was called Bruce Wayne,” her friend continued, “That would be so cool.”
“Do you know where we are going?” she asked.
“No,” he replied, “but that’s the fun of walking aimlessly. You never know where you’ll land up.”
“You’ll land up near the Café Coffee Day of Golpark,” Akriti informed him, rolling her eyes.
“Hey get up on the sidewalk,” he said.
“Because you’re the one terrified of cars?”
“I am not terrified of cars,” snarled Akriti, though she got up on the sidewalk, “besides, that car was stationary.” She pointed towards the black car parked on the side.
A honk from another car approaching them proved her wrong. Piyush shook his head, “I think you need my glasses.”
They came up near CCD, and peering through the window found a fair few seats empty. In Akriti’s opinion that was definitely a first. She had always found the place to be very crowded.
“Let’s go in,” Piyush said.
“No,” replied Akriti. She never liked this place. It had way too many twisted memories for her. Including one of her friend’s once breaking an ashtray there.
“Why not? There’s a hot girl inside! Let’s go!” said Piyush.
“That is exactly why not,” said Akriti, “Don’t you have a girlfriend?”
“Why do you keep reminding me of the fact that I have a girlfriend, when even my girlfriend doesn’t do that?” he asked, exasperatedly.
Akriti didn’t know how to argue that point. She simply said, “Let’s just go to the other CCD? Please?”
“You and your bright ideas!” growled Piyush.
The other CCD was overflowing with people on a Tuesday evening. Akriti wanted to kick her luck, she was that annoyed. The only seats remaining were the one on the patio. But it was too hot to sit outside.
“How was I to know that this CCD suddenly gained popularity?” she asked, feeling completely lost.
“Wait,” Piyush said, pulling out his smart phone from his pocket. He typed something but a minute later he laughed.
“What is it?” asked Akriti, wondering what could possibly make her friend laugh at a moment like this.
“Google Maps, look!” he said, shoving the phone right under her nose, “We’re here in Gariahat, and the nearest CCD being shown on my phone is in Lake Town.”
Akriti laughed too. She smiled slowly remembering all the other cafés she’d often come to with her other friends.
“Okay, there are other places too, Piyush. Take your pick: Mrs. Magpie, Wise Owl, Just Baked, Byloom Café.”
“What? My room café?” echoed Piyush, startled.
“My room?” repeated Akriti, blankly, “Huh?”
“You just said: my room café!”
“My room? Why would I take you to my room?” asked Akriti, shocked, “And how is my room a café?”
“I thought you’d take me to your house and cook for me.”
“Dream on,” said Akriti, “Anyway, I know where to go…come on…”
They were walking to length of Gariahat again with Akriti, confidently navigating the way through the throng of people and Piyush, doubtfully walking beside her.
“Umm…Akriti,” he said, slowly, “Please look into my eyes.”
“Excuse me?”
“No seriously…I need you to look right into my eyes and tell me something?”
“And that is?” she said, looking directly into his eyes.
“Tell me you know where we are going?”
“Yes, Piyush, I know exactly where we are going.” Akriti said, with a toss of her head, breaking eye contact with him. She walked a step ahead and turning her head slight to the right said, “What rubbish!”
“Who are you talking to you?” asked a voice from her left.
Akriti almost jumped out of her skin when she realized Piyush was walking with her on her left. She was horrified to realize she must have spat those words at some random stranger.
“Who did you just ‘what rubbish’, Akriti?” laughed Piyush.
“Never mind,” she said, shaking her head, “We’re almost there.”
Finally, the two of them had reached Upper Crust.
“You are not tired from your trip, Piyush?” the boy mimicked Akriti, “wait…let me come up with an ingenious plan to make you very tired.”
“Hey it’s not my fault!” Akriti said, “How was I to know that CCD would become such a crowded place on a Tuesday evening?”
They ended up having chocolate pyramid cake with a couple of soft drinks. As they ate, they spoke nineteen to the dozen, about the time Piyush had not been in Kolkata. How Kolkata had been for Akriti the last few days…and the future.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” said Piyush, slowly, “I am about to leave Kolkata – for a long, long time. And I don’t feel anything. I am not even sad. Is that weird?”
“Why would it be weird?” asked Akriti, “You have been dreaming of leaving for a long time now. You’re just too happy to leave. Besides, no one becomes sad this early. Give it a few more weeks.”
“Damn!” he said, as realization dawned on him, “I won’t be home for at least five years.”
“I think I’ll be married by then,” joked Akriti, biting into her chocolate pyramid. She stopped when she caught the look on her friend’s face, “What?”
“Married? Don’t get married!” he said.
“Ummm…I will be thirty in five year’s time,” she smiled, “it’s kind of obvious to get married by that age.”
“But you really want to be married? Why?” he asked, incredulously.
“Why don’t you want me to get married?” Akriti asked, “Is it because you’re going to miss the food at my wedding?”
“No! No…well that is one of the reasons. But married? Seriously?”
“Get over it,” she said, shaking her head, “Who knows what will happen in five years? I might just go away.”
“Yes! Why don’t you come too?” he asked.
“Because I already am doing something here,” she explained, “I can’t leave this life halfway now, can I?”
“Do you need anything else?” asked the shopkeeper.
“No, we’re fine.” Akriti replied.
“I’ll be closing in five minutes,” he informed.
“We’re about to leave,” Piyush told him.
“Lookout!” shrieked Akriti, pulling Piyush by his t-shirt sleeve, towards the sidewalk. There was bus turning sharply and heading towards the road they’d been standing on.
“Relax, we wouldn’t have died. The bus was too far away,” said Piyush. “You are the kind of person who might worry about a bus falling off the flyover and killing me.”
“Just like they show in the movies?” Akriti joked.
“Yes,” he agreed, “but in those movies, the hero always gets to know when the bus is going to fall off. So I wouldn’t be dying.” Piyush said, confidently.
“I hear you, Bruce Wayne,” the girl said, smiling to herself. “But you really shouldn’t cross the street like you do. You can get yourself killed.”
“Never,” he said, confidently, “I was at the tail end of the crowd. I wouldn’t be the one dying, in case something does happen.”
“Sure. Just get me killed instead,” his friend said, a little mad at him.
“Of course not! I had pulled you away from there too. I wouldn’t let you die, Akriti. What a thing to say.” He pretended to be hurt.
Akriti groaned and then started laughing, “You’re an annoying person. But you’re a fun annoying person.”
“Say it again,” he said, suddenly very happy. “I need to record you saying this. Usually people get mad at me for annoying them so much.”
Akriti laughed at his honest confession.
“But that makes them love me even more.”
She smiled at him, “Oh well. You’re hard not to love.”
“Now that, I definitely need to record.” They laughed again. “But no, honestly…that’s a huge compliment. Thank you.” Piyush said, smiling at her.
She smiled back. Then she raised her hand to hail an empty auto, “hey look! Auto.”
The auto ride back to their meet point was just as pleasant as their whole evening had been. It really was nice to have friends who would be up for last minute random plans.
“I hope you find someone,” Piyush said, “You’re a good person.”
“Thank you. I’ll definitely introduce you guys, if there ever is a person I find.”
“Well I can always kiss her and tell you if she is a good kisser…”
“Wait, why do I have a female lover?”
“Because it’s my convenience over yours…”
“Not funny…but hey, if it’s a guy, you’re free to kiss him too!”
“Shut up, Akriti!” he said, shoving her slightly with shoulder.
“You started it!” Akriti defended herself.
And so they bickered all the way till the both reached Rashbehari and said goodbye to each other.
“This was fun.” Akriti said. “See you soon, Piyush.”
“Yes…we’ll definitely meet up soon. Go home, safely.”
Akriti rolled her eyes at her friend. He smiled, waved at her and went off. She boarded the auto and came back home.
1 Message Received
Piyush: Thanks for making me walk so much!!! -_-
She laughed, and replied: Just you wait for the next time we meet! ;-)


Author's Note: This story is dedicated to a friend of mine :-)) and to the little boy, Piyush, who I met during my time as a volunteer for Hope Foundation. 

March 28, 2014

Book Review: It's Never Too Late by Priyanka Baranwal

Details About the Book:

Book Cover

PublisherSrishti Publishers & Distributors
No. Of Pages192
Date of Publication2013-12-26
ISBN 139789382665083
ISBN 109382665080
Year Of Publication2013
AuthorPrice: Rs 150 (I got mine as a review copy)

About the Book:

In a nation where most women are taught to be submissive atevery stage in life, Maya stands out. In a society that finds fault in women for heinous crimes like rape, Maya stands up.Maya and Rajat fall in love while they study at IIT Kanpur;their daughter Sejal only makes the bond stronger even after years of marriage. Life is almost perfect when two petty criminals decide to make her fairytale life a tale of horror and fear with their intention of molesting her.Will she be able to fight her fate while Rajat is away and save herself and her five-year-old? Will she be able to undo all stereotypes and face the male-dominated society after that fateful night?Will Rajat stand up with her as she decides to battle her fears and take the culprits to their just punishment?It’s Never Too Late is a story of every woman who decides to fight her fears and even destiny; of every human who chooses the right over the easy; of every wife who shoulders all responsibilities of the house; and of every mother who is unwavering in her resolve to ensure that her daughter grows up in a safer world.

About the Author:

Priyanka Baranwal
Image Courtesy: Google Images

Priyanka Baranwal is a freelance writer, poet and blogger. She is a science graduate anda diploma holder in Teacher Training and Textile Designing. She has been awell-appreciated teacher and has also worked with an NGO in Bangalore. She lovesmusic, literature, writing, and travelling.
Originally from Mirzapur (U.P.), Priyanka now lives with her husband Sumit andson Ashmit in Bangalore. It’s Never Too Late is her debut novel.
 You can connect with her on Twitter (@AuthorPriyanka),Facebook (/AuthorPriyankaBaranwal;/PriyankaItsNeverTooLate),or her blog

The Review:

Debutante writer, Priyanka Baranwal chose a theme that the nation seems to be feeding off right now. With countless unresolved rape cases and molestation cases coming into the limelight thanks to the media coverage and shows like Satyamev Jayate, the safety of the Indian women in their own country has become questionable. 

I still remember what Aamir Khan said at the end of the episode, "the ones committing these heinous crimes in our country is less than 1%...then how can they get away with it?" That question has been haunting me ever since...that particular episode instilled so much of fear in my mother, that when I went out that day, she kept on texting me and asking me where I was, every half an hour. Something she has never done before. And something which made me wonder why I have to be the one living in fear of something bad happening to me, when this is MY city! But that's a personal musing...

Coming to Priyanka Baranwal's story I want to make a confession first. When the book had arrived, I read the back blurb right before falling asleep. That night I had dreamed that I was the one being chased by goons, and I was being harassed....and of course I woke up, because I'd broken into cold sweat. I saw the book lying next to my pillow and had the mad urge to fling the book across my room. I kept wondering if the blurb could affect me so much, what would the rest of the story do?

Nevertheless I braved the book and I read it. The story is realistically written, and I do appreciate the fact Maya's story begins from the time she is in college and goes on from there to one night, when her life turned upside down. The twists and turns are well written... But I will admit to having nightmares. And it only goes to show how well Baranwal can write, to instill such emotions in her readers. 

Being fiction, the necessary end of the story is found. I do say kudos to the writer for tackling such an issue in her book. I sincerely hope it gives women who have been wronged in any way to stand up to the ones who've wronged them. It is unfortunate that even today our society leans towards patriarchy. Women are just as good as men, and a hell lot stronger too, just as Maya proves to be in Priyanka Baranwal's debut novel. 

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to see justice being served albeit in fiction, and has a record of having dreamless sleeps. 

This review was written for Writers Melon.

March 27, 2014

Book Review: I am Life by Shraddha Soni

Details of the Book:

Front Cover of the Book 

PublisherEbury Press/ Random House India
No. Of Pages192
Date of Publication2013-12-15
ISBN 139788184003581
ISBN 108184003587
Year Of Publication2013

: Rs 250 (I got mine as a review copy)

About the Book:

An edgy modern-day fable that takes you on a mystical journey with life.

‘You are from India—the land of three hundred and thirty million Gods, andyou say you don’t believe in even one of them? I think it’s time to go home, Sid.’

Andrea’s words have been echoing in my head since last night when she pouredanother round of scotch. I entered God in the Google search bar and of all theplaces, it directed me to India—a place where I had buried my childhood dreameleven years ago, and moved to New York. I waived God away when I got toNew York, and, to be honest, I didn’t need Him either. Until now...

Life’s always been a bitch but this time it’s gone too far. I want my money andmy company back, and I will find God one way or the other to get my answers.

I’ve boarded the flight. Hop on...and yes...carry some scotch along.
See you on the other side.
Sid—Siddharth Khanna

About the Author:

Shraddha Soni 

Shraddha Soni is born to life. Having been raised in Mumbai with humble yet firm roots, she has breathed life into life with every passing moment: be it joyous, indifferent or otherwise. Bold and a bit of a brat, very little can get past this petite author’s eye. It comes as no wonder then that she has been able to develop a story with so much force and flow that you are barely able to prevent it from taking you with it.

Her life is a tale in its own, call it what you may: romance, adrenaline, entwinement, her tryst with the Higher Power gets stronger with every passing day. 
Shraddha is known to unlock people before they even know it. She sees through the cloud, and cuts through the jargon with a simplicity you would not expect. She will narrate the blueprint of your life and its purpose like a movie, cutting it clear in black and white. She travels through life as much as across cities, spreading her gift through workshops, inspirational talks and sessions - all to connect people back to their soul’s journey.

The Review: 

This review has been long overdue. One, because I couldn't wrap my head around the book with the very first read. And two, because when I finally sat down to write the review, I wondered what a twenty four year old with a mad love for romance and young adult fiction possibly say about a genre that's gained popularity through the works of Paulo Coelho. 

Despite India being the land of three hundred and thirty million Gods, this is a genre that most people don't really tread on. For various reasons. Our books are mostly religious, not spiritual. And being a student of Comparative Literature, I had a fair few number of religious texts forced down my throat. 

While I love quoting Paulo Coelho, I have never had the patience to go through most famed works. Because I found it to be heavily didactic and there's about enough preaching I can handle at one go. Shraddha Soni's writing is not preachy. 

Sid is a confused person. His world has fallen apart because he is going through a messy divorce, he has lost his money and his company...he is left with literally nothing. So Soni basically uses the concept of everything falling apart so that it can be put together again in the most perfect way possible...just like it was supposed to be from the beginning. 

It took me quite sometime to go through the book because, well, I don't like slow moving plots. But I understand why the plot moves slowly...because there are so many questions raised and when you get the answers, it only raises more questions. 

The book definitely deserves more attention that it has been given. Despite all the glam and the book launch, it failed to gain a hold over the market. While I partly blame the genre being very new to Indian audiences, people who are familiar with the concept of the Law of Attraction, will pick this up without a single thought.... 

In it's own way, I am Life, is a beautiful read. She is right - "I AM" are the two most powerful words in the Universe. 

This review is written on behalf of Writers Melon 

March 21, 2014

Musing: Twenty Four Candles

January 2013 
Suhasini and I had been friends since the time we both were in school - Dolna Day School that is. She changed schools when we were in class seven...more like changed cities. And even though my thirteen year old self believed we'd become each other's long lost memories in due course of time, our contact never broke...

That was mainly thanks to Suhasini. I must admit she was the one who made regular calls. I was more of the forgetful kind in my teenage years and even though I didn't realize it, I seemed to follow the "out of sight, out of mind policy."

She finally shifted back to Kolkata when we were in class eleven...and since then there has been no looking back.

We'd meet up often, discuss life and talk about "growing up" one day. When I got into Jadavpur University, I can safely say I ended up at her place on most evenings when I didn't like being in college or going back home... One of the reasons which made us meet up as often as we did was "Arjun". No, it isn't some random guy we both developed a crush on. It was the phuckawallah, who made (and still makes) the most amazing phuckas to be found at least here in Kolkata.

Suhasini has always been in love with Bangalore. So much so, that she actually dragged me with her to Eden Gardens to watch a Royal Challengers Bangalore versus Kolkata Knight Riders cricket match. (Oh damn! I still owe you for that ticket, Su! :P Take the money the next time we meet, okay? ;)) What I clearly remember about that day was Suha's red RCB jersey and the dirty looks almost every citizen threw us as we braved the streets of Kolkata. KKR lost that day. And I can only thank my lucky stars that we didn't get beaten up by the crazy crowd...

March 2014
Eventually she shifted to Bangalore for her Masters, and it took quite awhile for the knowledge to come home, that my best friend had actually gone off to chase her dreams. We had already entered the phase of growing up.

I realized we were grown up the day Suhasini called up and announced her decision to pursue a career there in Bangalore. A part of me had always believed she would come back. But another part new, the kind of work she wanted to pursue isn't available here. (Suhasini currently works for PlayRight and she's neck deep into the sports world, just like she always wanted to be.)

Every time she would come down to Kolkata, a night stay at her place would be mandatory. Because even though we'd meet up quite early in the day - our stories just wouldn't stop. Of course these days neither of us have much happening in our lives...but oh yeah, she did manage to develop an on and off crush on her bus conductor. I must say she's really lucky too. Where else would you find a conductor who makes the bus wait until his beloved passenger gets on board?

I hear he even wished her and shook her hand on her birthday. Ahh! Suhasini, I think your life is one happening fairy tale.

Happy Birthday, Suhasini <3
We rarely speak over the phone these days. And it's not because we don't want to...but because in the whole drama of life, sometimes it is a bit too much to pick up the phone and talk about every single detail...sometimes we learn not to take offence to the "last seen at...." update on whatsapp and sometimes we simply spam each other's timelines in order to grab their attention. 

Best friends really do not need to talk to each other every minute of every day. But when they talk to one another, it's like the conversation never ended. That's exactly how I feel about Suhasini and my friendship. 

It's honestly one of a kind. Where lots of people wonder how can these two girls be best friends, when they hardly mention each other in their daily lives? Oh well, truly special things don't need to be flaunted in front of the world, you see! 

I still remember all the conversations we have had about growing up, moving out of the city, finding our calling, settling down...make fun of each other's crushes, saying truly wicked things about each other to each other's faces. Talking about mutual friends and having a laugh about the days gone past... And your massive crush on Sasha! Dude, how did THAT happen?!?! O_o

I didn't know what to get you for your birthday and so in order to be truly unique, this blog post is dedicated to you. You're not just my friend from Bangalore, you idiot. You're more. Much much more. You are the best friend every girl dreams of having. And I'm just lucky to have found you... (Don't let this go to your head, by the way. I'm still going to annoy you about your Shiooooo and your misadventures!) :D 

March 2014 - Happiness is being best friends with you :)
I realized today, we have already grown up so much. The age we kept talking about, has already arrived. Here's wishing you all the best in life and may we always be friends. Love you! <3

P.S. And a song to celebrate us!!! Happy Birthday once again, Suhasini... :D

March 13, 2014

Book Review: Aisle Be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya

About the Book

The Book Cover 




This book provides invaluable perspectives on some of the most common situations encountered by fliers.
  • Awesome icebreakers to start conversations with attractive co-passengers
  • Getting seamlessly upgraded to Business Class
  • Sure shot strategies for winning the affections of flight attendants
  • How a water bottle dramatically improves flight safety
  • How smart executives deal with the “Walk of Shame” to the economy section
  • Action plans to counter the airline’s “technical snag” routine
  • The hows and whys of micro-managing the pilots
  • Breezing through immigration, customs and always making your flight connections
  • And a whole lot more…
  • Rest assured, your flying experience will never be the same again. A must read as you prepare for, or take your next flight!

Price: Rs 250  (I got mine as a review copy)
Pages: 214 

About the Author:

RISHI PIPARAIYA is an over-worked and overtravelled corporate executive based in the skies, 38,000 feet over India.

The Review:                               

Firstly, I'd like to apologize for posting this very, very, very late book review. While the main reason this review got delayed was because of a family emergency - there is no excuse for not remembering to put up a review for this wonderfully witty book about air travel. 

The subtitle of the book reads, "Swaying hips, praying lips and flying tips". I don't think I read the summary of the book well enough before hitting the "apply for review" button on Tales Penseive's website. In my head, I had already dreamed up that this book was probably going to be about some dude who has to take an agonizing long trip in some distant place and he's going to talk us all through that long, hard and tiresome journey. 

Not being a huge fan of boarding flights myself (the landing has always scared me - don't ask why!), I found myself getting deeply immersed in this well-written book which deals with all the troubles one face right from the ground staff to the time they're on the flight....and until the time they have reached their destination and are trying their best to get to the specific places they are meant to be in. 

I remember chuckling quietly to myself as I identified with most of the problems that Rishi Piparaiya has faced. It reminded me rather painfully of everyone else whose profession has made them take the airplane like taxis. :-/ Some life that must be. Here we are breaking into sweat if asked to take a flight every once awhile...

This book clearly tells you what you should expect from the airport to the flight, and how you can handle many of the situations which clearly require thinking on your feet. I loved the way Piparaiya narrates all the incidents...especially the one about him being sloshed out of his mind and convinced completely there was another Rishi Piparaiya who was being paged continuously to board his flight. 

While Piparaiya has been criticized for making light a lot of the true horrors of flying, it was this humor that I appreciated. Having been on a plane where the passengers were convinced they were going to die, I know fear spreads faster than any other epidemic. The only way to curb that is through laughter! And our author does exactly that. 

Pick up this book if you too are disgusted at the very thought of having to board flights every other day of your life. You'd begin to enjoy your tiresome journeys. And in case you are worried about boarding that first flight, go right ahead - this book is exactly what you need to give you a push in that direction. 

Overall, this was a very entertaining read. I personally look forward to more such books. 

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

March 2, 2014

Musing: A Piece of My Childhood

This is going to be my 180th blog post, and since it's the 180th one...I thought tonight, I could revisit my childhood for a bit. What started this wave of nostalgia was of because of Sudeshna calling me, "Poochie". I remembered suddenly who Poochie had been and what he'd meant to be all through my childhood and teenage life, stopping short only during the time I entered the Masters' level in University.

My Beloved Poochie 
My Poochie was a stuffed teddy bear I'd got as a present from a distant relative when I was around 6 years old. I'd received a slew of teddy bears, all of whom, I had named Poochie before this darling arrived. All of them had been discarded, one for another...until this handsome dude you see in the picture above came into my life. Somehow, no matter how many stuffed toys came into my life, Poochie had captured my heart forever. 

Me with Poochie, My Sister and My Brother 
I used to be a very scared child. And for some reason I thought the ghosts, the monsters, the devil and the demons could never get to me, as long as I held on tightly to Poochie. I had a family of bears arranged neatly, throughout the day, next to my pillow...and when I went to sleep, they'd all be lying down too. But Poochie would always be cuddled up right next to me. There were nights I would be only able to sleep properly, because I was holding on tight to Poochie's paw.

Even when I turned 18, I didn't outgrow the habit of not having Poochie in my arms at night. My mother never said anything...knowing I found comfort in the teddy bear. My brother and my sister had always found it amusing.... so much so that my sister even found something for Poochie and posted it to my timeline way back in 2008, when she'd first moved to Singapore. 

I bet this is what the people who have soft toys next to their pillow feel like!!! 

Honestly...who knows if the monsters under the bed do come alive when we are fast asleep. For all I could know, Poochie could've been saving my life all along. 

I didn't like traveling without everywhere we went, Poochie went with me. Even in 2010, when I went to visit Pondicherry, one of the first things I had put inside my bag was Poochie:

2010, I knew I would only take Poochie along with me to Pondicherry 
The first trip I couldn't fit Poochie into my bag was during the time I packed for Singapore. My sister called up impatiently wanting to know if I'd started for the airport yet.

I still remember wailing to her, "Didi!! I cannot fit Poochie into my am I going to sleep at night now?" 

"Uff!!! I have lots of stuffed animals here...just cuddle one and sleep when you get here!" she'd said, exasperatedly. I guess it wasn't so cute when your twenty one year old sister begins sniffling about unfitting soft toys... 

When I did go to Singapore, I borrowed the donkey they had. But I missed the familiarity of the paws which had kept me sane through so many years...the first night, I missed Poochie terribly. From the second on wards, Donkey and I had become each other's best friend. 

Poor Poochie was completely forgotten when two years ago, a live soft toy simply walked into my life and has yet to show signs of wanting to move on from me. 

Pippo....the live soft toy!!!
For some reason, Pippo didn't like Poochie. I had caught him way too many times trying to nibble my old savior's paws and tail. Or Pippo trying to strike him with his own paws... -_- That was when I was forced to make Poochie retire...he too became one of the stuffed animals I simply displayed. I even forgot the countless nights, Poochie had seen me I cried myself to sleep after bad results, a horrible fight, realizing a best friend is jealous, being angry about circumstances...etc...

I had forgotten how much a soft toy had once meant to me. Not just during the time I was a kid but even after I'd grown up... The funny little cat had simply head butted my old favorite toy out of the picture.

1997, 2005, 2008 - The Poochie Factor
Sitting on Didi's Lap, with Poochie on Mine :D

When Sudeshna called me Poochie, I looked over to where my Poochie had been sitting for so long, and thought that he looked rather sad. I picked him up, gave him a hug and decided, I'm never going to grow too old to have him lying right next to me. 

He had been my bestest friend during my darkest hours. Call me kiddish, but some sentiments do get attached to inanimate objects. Pippo will just have to deal with the fact Poochie is there on his sister's bed despite his immense dislike for my helpless stuffed toy. 

Poochie is, after all, a piece of my childhood. And teenagehood. And oh well, more or less adulthood. :D

My Savior, My Protector