Karthika Villaku : What I missed this time.

Every year around this time, in the shade of the full moon we keralites ( not all, some) celebrate the festival of  Karthika. I cant tell you why we celebrate this particular festival because I do not know why. But every year we embellish our houses with a million a lighted lamps and let it simmer the golden glow of the burning oil flame.  I do remember the times mother, me and my brother lighted the whole house up in such fiery splendor. That was only last year by the way. When it was in my ancestral house it was something even more spectacular. The entire family would rush to the top of the house at sun down and start lighting up the lamps one by one till every possible place in the house is basking in its glow. 
But this year, it was different. I did not even know that the festival was over until a day past. My mother used to remember it always and I used to be at home always when it happened. But this time she is not here neither am I. I suppose then the family thought nay this time around. There happened the first time that our dear house stood in solemn silence and darkness when the whole neighborhood erupted in the golden glow. 
I guess next time its different, may be one more time i would get to enjoy these simple pleasures again. 

The Indian Moral Victory

The lady of Justice


To kill someone can never be demeaned as civil, but this statement stands in stark contradiction to what India has done. India has killed someone and yet she has managed to remain morally clean and ideologically pristine. The hanging of Kasab can be considered nothing less than a clean  example of the prevailing sense of justice in India. India has showcased to the world its adherence to justice and its ability to provide a fair trial to all alike.


Before we start off on our analysis of what had happened its better we know a little background of the things. The Kasab we talk about here is the lone terrorist who has been captured alive after the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. The one terrorist strike that has made the whole nation stand on its toes for over a couple of days. Such was the magnanimity of the attacks that the nation was never the same again. After four years of intense judicial procedures he was sent to the gallows yesterday, signalling the end of one India’s most awaited trials.


The fact that he was send to the gallows is not what matters, any nation would have did the same may be even sooner. But India did something very few of the nations would ever ensure, India did that what can only be provided by a superior nation. India gave its supreme criminal, the one that deserved no mercy a chance to defend himself and plead innocence. India gave Kazab a lawyer and open for him all the avenues of its legal system. India made no haste and spared no expense, it did no mock trials and it made no hasty judgements. It let the case go as any other case of the same would go on this soil. It preserved the interest of the defaulter, treated him as a human and hence ensured that after its all over it shall rise high and mighty. 


As a citizen of India, I ma well aware of the feelings of its people, I have at first hand understood and empathised with there anger and angst. They wanted it over fast, they wanted him hanged and were tired of waiting. They were desperate for justice and this is easier to understand. The fact that the nation showed much will power in ensuring that justice shall take its turn is praise worthy especially considering that the other option was for many a reason far more attractive and hassle free. But then again a nation has to stand for its ideals, A nation is not the barb wires that separate it, but it is the ideas , ideals and the morality its determined to uphold.

Bon Voyage, Cousin!

Cousins


I got a call a few minutes ago, it is impossible to call it a call, all it was a monologue of half a sentence long. A string of words from him and an uneasy silence on my part, that’s what our conversation was. Can I call it a conversation I am not sure, but one thing I am sure of is that the feeling were genuine, even though my response was brutal and highly prejudiced.


Before I divulge what he spoke and what its implications are, I must tell you who he is and what he meant to me in another era. He is my cousin that much I am sure you would have guessed and here is more about my cousin that you would need to know to understand our relationship and its prejudices. I am willing to write about him only because I know he will never read it and even my stupid family will never stumble upon this, it will be buried deep in my archives waiting for an occasional visit and will eventually be forgotten. I guess when it comes to my cousin my ungratefulness extends to such a level that I could not even remember his name. May be its true that when relationships are forgotten through time and when they gets buried for so long in memory even blood shall lose its flavor.


He is cousin or nephew I know not which, I suppose I never got hold of their distinctions and I sure am not in a mood to look it up now. The fact it makes no difference what so ever to anything that I have to say or what I feel. His name is Vaishak and he is the son of fathers only sister. My father comes from not a wealthy family and he climbed up the social ladder (so he claims) on his own through much hard work and perseverance, hence his crude mannerisms. His love for book is perhaps the only personality trait I inherited from him or all I want to inherit form him. But nevertheless unlike him his family was not so lucky, I am not pretty sure whether “lucky” is the right word to use.

Bon Voyage

His sister’s marriage though happy is not with someone whose second nature is to have a rainy day account. This nature of his always left them at a state of perpetual poverty, never too rich never too poor either, kind of in the in between. This though in contemporary society is regarded as unfortunate, this has preserved in them a sense of innocence that is seldom seen among the corporate animals that roam the concrete jungles. They have simple taste and even simpler lives, something to envy I guess. 


My mother has instilled in me prejudices so coarse that it took me 21 years of my life to clear the soot and look at it with any clarity of mind. Such has been the extend of the prejudices that I forgot that my father actually had a family. It was like things in a fairy tales that are too good to exist. But I must Say my mother is not a bad person but pride and ego can do terrible things even to the amiable of angels. Don’t hate my mother I beg you, she doesn’t deserve that, She was only protecting me from what she had convinced herself was bad. Nonetheless her actions deprived me from understanding life as it is in its raw form. Alienating me from people who were earthly and volatile the same. I had to learn the art of being contended at the smallest of things on my own, to cherish the wet mud that molds my feet and the sight of the rare blue butterfly or even the smell of the virgin earth being touched by the mighty rains hands. But I ended up spending one third of my life learning these things when I could have readily understood it all, It was all there just outside.


I still remember the time I had spent with my cousin, the times we bathed together when we were children in the small open bathroom with mulberry bush hanging from one side, Splashing water from the little tank that use to store the water from the well. The little garden with all the beautiful flowers and the tasty mulberry bushes. The many a wonderful evening spend playing in the faint stream that ran by the green paddy fields. I still remember the small aquarium he had, a small one, with so many little fishes in it. Nothing too fancy, no expensive fishes just the ones he had caught form the nearby stream. He had even taught me how to catch a fish with nothing but a plain piece of cloth, Alas! I had forgotten it, I had forgotten it long ago I suppose along with the sweet memories of that era.


It surprises me how much there is to tell, I never knew the faded photographs in my father’s old photo album had so much history, so many memories in it. I never knew that the characters in those pictures had a life and they were more than their innocent smiles and that they were ones very much alive. Strange what one phone call, a few minutes of someone’s voice can accomplish. I don’t want to tell anything, may be another time when I feel I am much more ready to face the truth of life.


He had called me now to tell me that he is going to Qatar, in search of a job. I am sure he got a job in there where his other uncle works, I did not so much are bother to ask what he is doing and what job he got. I did not tell him anything but I did pray for him, pray that all that is good shall only befall him and I prayed him Bon Voyage.

The Search for Love


I believe every one of us at one time or the other starts searching for love. Some go through their whole life ignoring their hearts desire just to search feverishly for what is it that matters on their death beds. Some others are truly lucky, Love finds them. Love presents itself in front of them in such lovely ways that it is impossible for anyone to ignore. Lucky Bastards. But many of us are not that fortunate yet we don’t give up, we are not undermined, we search for it with all our vigor.


Why do I love the silence of the moon,

The paradisal distance of the dawn,


I believe myself lucky when it comes to love. No, love did not show itself in front of me and knock on my door but I did not had to search much to find it an I was luckier still that I knew it when I found it. It really is true that when true love blossoms its hard to ignore and impossible to notice. It feels like the whole and everything in it comes to be revolving around that special someone. What you do and what you think, everything starts and ends with that someone.


The depth of eve mysteriously withdrawn,

Better than all the roses of late June,



One can always force oneself to love a person but that is not the true nature of love. At all times such love shall feel empty and its abysmal absence felt upon mankind? One cam always adjust, analyze and feel secure in love. Love is inherently volatile, unyielding and never shape. It is as chaotic as the moments of genesis was and so is it just as tranquil and serene as the midnight lakes. Love takes no prisoners nor ever call for peace, yet it is never the war nor the clandestine blood splatter.



The garden’s breath, the orchard’s golden boon,

The burning brightness of the new-mown lawn,

I had my heart broken not once, not twice nor thrice but many more a times. It has been bruised and it has been violated beyond healing, yet my heart could not stop itself from the vindictive search for love. Then came the absence, the abstinence and the stale doldrums and after all of the hells ailments came the light and came the peace.


The mossy forest-floor with beech-mast strawn,

And green trees waving in the depth of noon.

It was a smile at first and then a giggle, It was a hello at first and then serene silence, a touch then its prolonged absence, an emptiness and then the feeling of universal belonging and then the feeling of weightlessness sans hunger sans thirst. Like the vagabond clouds in the heaven his mighty and afterwards the freshness of the virgin earth at the first touch of the mighty rain.

Night hath her dreams and the lone heart its tears;

Silence and longing weep themselves to rest


Then one day in the autumnal bliss of the solitary morning, in her lovely poster resembling much mighty artists’ works and in the absence of time, space and reason I knew, I knew what is it that I held in my heart and unknowingly sans reason and logic I drew her near and sealed us with a kiss. Not a long prolonged slobbering of lust but the lightest brushing my trembling lips on her snow like cheek.



Each on the other’s mild and maiden breast;

The seeking spirit sighs, the dim star hears;


Oh Bliss Eternal. This was the moment of great love that had extended many a millennia, time was not in any hurry and reason had not one bit of sand to stand upon. This was our moment and our alone and the all the earth and the heavens above were ours and ours alone. This was my moment of enlightening   and my moment of atonement. The final act of supreme love and from it came love and love only.

Distance and high devotion suit the best,

And deep as thy deep eyes the dawn appears.

The Book Review : The Bankster – Ravi Subramanian

An insidious sequence of events, twists and turns set beautifully to trap and engage the reader from the start to the very end. Ravi has managed to make sure that the element of surprise and anxiety never settles in the readers mind till the very last and ensured that predictability is abolished entirely. The Bankster is a true mystery in all its completeness and essence that can be set apart from the rest as a resonating example of what a mystery must and should be. 

Synopsis :

Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to destroy the reputation that the Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2) has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? When Karan Panjabi, press reporter and ex-banker, digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled upon a global conspiracy with far reaching ramifications a secret that could not only destroy the bank but also cast a shadow on the entire nation. With only thirty-six hours at his disposal, he must fight the clock and trust no one if he is to stay alive and uncover the truth.
The story ensues from the diamond mines of Angola driven by a covert CIA agent and it passes hands to Vikram Bahl and comes Home to Mumbai where most of it is set. It later wanders off to the Europe pursuing a series of unfortunate yet seemingly unrelated events. The story set amongst the employees in the upper echelons of the Greater Boston Global Bank passes on suspicion as if in a relay race, making it almost impossible for the reader to arrive at a preconceived guess of the mystery man. Something that most mystery writes miss now a days is where Ravi Subramanian scores tons.


The story though extremely realistic has some minor flaws never the less, The story does lack a true protagonist  Karan Panjabi, the Banker turned reporter who is supposedly the hero of the tale come way after the middle of the story and almost to the end. His entrance is so feeble and uncared for that no one knows he is the protagonist till he solves the mystery. No character sketch, no intensity of feeling, no nothing of our protagonist is given anywhere. All on a sudden he drops in with a girl and takes charge of the story leaving the readers feeling lost and somewhat deprived. He could have done much good by introducing Karan in the start and channeling the story through him than from various unambiguous sources.


This particular defect extends to all of the characters and is the single most disastrous the writer made with the book. Almost all of his characters are uncharted and lacks depth. The only person whose character has been examined would be Vikram bahl that to as a consequence of certain events and not as part of a dedicated interpretation of the character by the author. 


Setting that apart the story is magnificently chartered and beautifully distributed across, Mumbai, Vienna and the Middle-East and a handful of well-placed characters. The highest point for the story is its unpredictability which is well supplemented and supported by Ravi’s characters. The Bankster is a recommended read by me and is much more than just a financial thriller, the mystery and action adds flavour to the whole story.

I give The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian a rating of : 3 out of 5
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com . Participate now to get free books! 

The Human Comedy

If one starts thinking about our live then we realize the utter foolishness that we live through every single day. Almost all of our routine actions are worth a hefty laugh and nothing more. Still funnier is the host of seemingly clever excuses that we come up with in the desperate attempt to cover our fallacies. When we look at this world from outside the oyster of our merry life, without pride nor prejudice, sans all preconceptions then we really can see that the world and all its worldly activities are nothing but one elaborate joke. A poignant one yet a joke nevertheless.

“Unless a man has pity he is not truly a man. If a man has not wept at the worlds pain he is only half a man, 

The words and deeds may seem too tall but it is not, for the comedy that our life is does not run in some elusive theater but inside the very space that we consider our sanctum sanctorum and protect with thick mortar walls and iron latches. Coming to think of it I find it in itself to be a bloody joke. 


and there will always be pain in the world, knowing this does not mean that a man shall despair. 



Just Looking around is more than enough to realize this foolhardiness, I believe this realization is what enlightenment is, and that is why Buddha laughed when he attained it. Of course this is but a speculation on my part irrespective of the fact that it would easily explain why this realization is so hard. After all enlightenment is supposedly omnipresent and yet impossibly hard to attain.


A good man will seek to take pain out of things.



May it be the silliness of belligerent driver who tries all the cards up his sleeve just to get ahead and yet ends up playing catch up with the same at the next red light. Or on a more serious note be it the general greedy who spends all their health in gaining his wealth and then spends all his wealth in re-instituting the same health he lost in making the wealth. I do believe in the story of Alexander the great who had conquered all of the known world and yet on his final ascend took nothing but good will and good deeds with him. The conqueror and the conquered, the king and the peasant would walk that path as equals, bearing no embellishments but deeds and their sanctity. It reminds us of the foolishness of worldly ranks and beings at large.


A foolish man will not even notice it, except in himself, 



It is just as sad as it is hilarious, the life an average man lives. So full of gluttony and vainglory that his visions are tainted, his passions sacrificed. Living a full life is not gauged by the magnanimity of the deeds but by the heart and the will that set out to do what had to be done. He alone can live a life that is not to be laughed at but, smiled at with much envy and pride.  In this mad, mad world it takes much lunacy to laugh at it and yet greater amount to live a life of conviction that is confined not by social reasoning. 


 and the poor unfortunate evil man will drive pain deeper into things and spread it about wherever he goes.” 

― William Saroyan