Category Archives: integrity

Book review – Have a Safe Journey

If walking on the roads wasn’t scary enough with increasing traffic, people following their own rules and the dismal law and order situation should be enough to scare you. It is the ugly truth. I think it is very commendable that such a book has been published. Nitin Gadkari played an integral role in bringing out the book. He has also written the foreward for Have A Safe Journey. The book is divided into two sections. The first section has stories by established writers and the second section contains stories by people who participated in the Have A Safe Journey (HASJ) contest.

Anand Neelakantan’s story Hit and Run was disappointing, an old fashioned fable on truth and morality. It was followed by Ashwin Sanghi’s story Something About Mary which is an account of the first accident. The way the story was presented makes the reader care about the character and the outcome. I really enjoyed it and wouldn’t have minded reading more about her. Kiran Manral’s story Sudden Break will speak to you and leave you thinking long after the story ends.

In Car Pool by Pankaj Dubey easygoing  Avni with a disregard for rules and Suryash, a stickler for rules, carpool to Goa. Opposites attract and they bond with each other to the extent of falling for each other. I really enjoyed the story. Written in lucid prose and very believable, you are in for the ride with them. It effectively makes a point about wearing seat belts without an ounce of preachiness.

Priyanka Sinha Jha’s Rush Hour is interesting because the victim is rescued by the one who caused the accident. He got her admitted, checked her progress and later on told her the truth. But left the decision to go to the police entirely to her. She got a new lease of life because of him. What would you have done?

I felt Why We Don’t Talk by Shinie Anthony didn’t quite belong in the collection. It was murky and a bit spooky. But the unexpected makes the story enjoyable.

The Level Crossing by Vikram Kapur is about a driver who hasn’t  slept three nights in a row and continues to be on the road. He is working round the clock because he needs the money for his sister’s wedding. Without sleep he’s a sitting duck. A disaster waiting to happen. As passengers all we care about is our comfort and reaching our destination on time. Do we ever care or think about the driver’s comfort? After reading this story you will think about your driver and be more alert on the road.

Now moving on to the amateurs’ stories. Most stories are good as quick reads which has to do with the format of the short story contest (1500 was the upper word limit). These stories present themselves completely, mostly. Some of these stories are predictable because you know someone will die or be gravely injured in a road mishap of some kind. But having said that many stories are unpredictable and those are the ones I enjoyed.

In Ambalika’s An End I Did Not See competitions are being held on the occasion of Road Safety Week at NEHU. In a debate for Safety Ideation Contest, a literature student talks about creating a mobile signal jammer for vehicles to reduce the number of road accidents. One of the panelists is eager to turn her idea into reality. Talking and driving has become more common than drinking and driving.The story is well narrated and the surprising twist will break your heart.

In Anukriti Verma’s Safety First Alex and Rick were inseparable like Jai and Veeru from Sholay until death played spoilsport. The story gives a strong message about drinking and driving is strong but it gets preachy towards the end.

In Arvind Passey’s The Street Photographer a street photographer who captures gritty images meets a grisly end. The way things played out was unexpected yet real.

In The Perilous Eve by Aritri Chatterjee the life of carefree youngsters drinking and speeding on a bike to celebrate the New Year’s eve collides with death. I don’t understand parents gifting their underage offspring bikes and cars. They have had so many years of practice but they still don’t know how to adult.

Misplaced Dreams written by Barnali Ray Shukla was one of my favourites.  Bus driver is casually drinking and risking so many lives. And there is no one to stop him. Three old friends are on a pleasure trip but they don’t know it would their last trip together. It is gut wrenching listening to their thoughts as they hurtle towards death. Even Gods can’t save you, if you drink and drive. Another clear message it delivers is that life is lived in the moment and does not come with any guarantees. Continue reading Book review – Have a Safe Journey

Advertisements

Living it

“Listen. I don’t like to preach, but here’s some advice. You’ll meet a lot of jerks in life. If they hurt you, remember it’s because they’re stupid. Don’t react to their cruelty. There’s nothing worse than bitterness and revenge. Keep your dignity and be true to yourself.” ― Marjane SatrapiPersepolis: The Story of a Childhood

“We can only feel sorry for ourselves when our misfortunes are still supportable. Once this limit is crossed, the only way to bear the unbearable is to laugh at it.” ― Marjane SatrapiPersepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Stupid is as stupid does – Forrest Gump

OK so here I am. Back after ages ! It feels that way even though it hasn’t been quite that long (Theory of relativity anyone?). Either way does it really matter? It’s just enough that I’m back. So the question is what I have been doing with my time? I have two lovely excuses- one, I was ill. Two, I was depressed because of it, which, literally made me unfit of even thinking coherently. Though that’s stretching it a bit (I am not known as a drama queen without reason but that’s also where I get my sensitivity from and also microanalysing stuff!) it’s the honest truth. I can hear my friends scream psychosomatic disorder because of the things going on in the department which I admit was a blow to my self esteem and ego. It doesn’t help one bit when one feels useless on top being close to being an invalid(that’s an exaggeration). There’s no use talking about dignity, not now at least. One thing I do have is a clear conscience. Ergo, sleeping isn’t a problem , which is a relief.

I have been ill for quite a while now. Should I say I am on the path to recovery? Hell no, I don’t want to jinx myself. Oh laugh all you can. I never believed that either but the words have a strange way of getting right back at you, so in this fragile state I am not going to risk it. Although I’m no stranger to chronic illnesses one never does get quite used to it, the tragedy and the monotony of it.  I really wish I could put “it” at the back of my mind (like it’s nothing but a walk in the park with some lovely shoes on to protect my feet) and live unchanged, unscathed by battle scars so timidly fought. I so wish I had been gallant but don’t expect knightly behaviour from me, not when I am at my lowest ebb (really lousy explanation I know). Every little thing changes you and shapes you into being who you are and the process is never-ending and compelling and directional. You learn, you live and you grow and that’s that.

 Illness compels me to think more deeply than usual and I tend to get philosophical (more than the usual craziness). All the big questions start haunting(or is it hunting) me (since I can’t employ my usual devices and run away) and I almost suffocate with the need to answer them. This time it’s time, the final time to GROW UP. There won’t be another call. Either I’m on it fully or dangling off the edges, holding on for dear life or the plane leaves without me. Childhood has long passed and so have the teenage years. And I’m about to be done with university and step into the REAL WORLD (as people keep reminding me every single day). Gee am I that dumb and naïve? Seems that is what most people think( I wish I could care a flying fig about what they thought about me). Yes I’m stupid (at least the blog title is justified now).

What are the questions ,you ask? Nothing, just basic stuff.How far have I come? What have I achieved? What is my contribution to the world? Am I good at something?  What is the meaning of my life? What is my role? What does it all mean? Where does it all lead ,if it leads anywhere in the first place?  What is the connecting link? Is this supposed to make sense in the end, all the strings tied up neatly and knots removed?
I did try to write but who the hell wants to read all this, a mass of jumbled intangible thoughts? Hence, no post for months and add to that I have taken to meandering more than is usual (read acceptable). I start somewhere and end up completely different and in between touch some points which become the fodder of many other independent posts (or so I would like to believe so please humour me). So in the end there’s a lot of mish- mash and I end up not that satisfied with “the treatment of the matter and the way it is presented” and so it stays ( read languishes )in the drafts folder and pending till I decide it should be worked upon so that it sees the light of the day, which it seldom does.
Doesn’t make any sense, does it?
P.S. The drafts folder is overflowing so I have taken up the gargantuan and arduous task of emptying it in this life time. Alas, readers bear with me.
P.P.S.- If you don’t already know, the quote “stupid is as stupid does” is from Forrest Gump.

I am what I am (am i really?)

Does anyone really like you for who you are?Naah. 
If you could change your attitude to became a bit cooler…morph your personality and you know, become more optimistic,pragmatic…if you change this a bit…tweak that a bit…it would be perfect.The list is never ending !
Is it possible to be just who we are without any masks,shedding all layers, inhibitions and just be simply who we are without any adornments?Can we dare to be who we are both on the inside and the outside?
Of course there are people who live and behave as they choose all the time and it takes guts and oodles of self confidence to stand against the wind and stand for what you believe in.Some  are their own people no matter what.They will not give up on their principles come what may.
But what about those people who are constantly in between personas, moulding things,   situations and people(as they see fit) with their chameleon(sorry you got dragged in between) like character so that they have the better end of the deal.I’m not even going to go into the whole questionable morals and flexible principles part.
How do they sleep at night?Beats me ! I have trouble sleeping even while playing slave to my conscience most of the time,I shudder at the thought of avoiding it or blocking it completely. The answer is not sleeping pills though for some it does work.
There is a probable explanation for that.I think their  weary conscience has finally shut down after being ignored for ages.That niggling voice in the head telling you to do the right thing has fled and for good after being silenced many a time ,even reprimanded for speaking out of turn and not bowing down to your whims and fancies. Chances are it might come into its own again and resurface when it is really needed.