Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wonder Cement Saath7 Cricket Mahotsav 2017 - World's Largest Consumer Engagement

I do believe this truly was a wonderful event. Simply because of the scale and the amount of joy the event spread. For the uninitiated, Udaipur based Wonder Cement, arguably one of the the fastest growing cement company in India, pulled off what could well be the biggest consumer engagement program in the world by hosting Saath7, 2017. The scale and numbers support the claim.
Saath7 2017 Winner SC Club, Jaipur with Kapil Dev, Vivek Patni and Mr. Shrikhand Kripalani
Saath 7 Cricket Mahotsav
Saath7 is a cricket Mahotsav that invites people across classes, communities, region and any other division to form a team of 7 and register and play. Saath7 is a modified cricket game of 7 overs, played by a team of 7, which includes any person over the age of 15, includes women in teams, has no other bar and gives bonus runs to teams that have a woman player.

The first version was held successfully across 248 tehsils in Rajasthan in 2015 and was a roaring success. Wonder Cement held the tournament across 3 states (Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh). The logistics for this edition - 5000 matches, 48,000 participants, 60 women teams and over 1000 women participating. The total prize money awarded was Rs. 40 lakhs.

Held over four weekends in December 2017, the tournament progressed from tehsil level to district level to zonal level and then the state level. From pitches to player registrations to umpires to clothes to prize moneys, everything was organised without a hitch.
Kapil Dev at a press conference
The Final of Saath7 2017
The final  was held on 24th December 2017 at the scenic DPS School ground in Udaipur. SSC Club Jaipur won this year's edition defeating PCA11 Ahmedabad by 23 runs. In the women's category, Pace Maker, Udaipur defeated SS Jain Subodh Girls PG College of Jaipur by 5 wickets. A large number of spectators watched the match at the ground and lakhs of viewers watched this amateur tournament on TV,  telecast live on NEO Sports.  

The winning team in the men's category won Rs. 3.5 lakhs and the runner up were awarded prizes of Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 70,000 respectively.The Women champion team won a prize money of Rs. 1.4 lakh and the runner up team earned Rs. 70,000. Each player was also provided with a sports kit.

The Man of the Match was Lakhan of SSC Club, Jaipur, best batsman was Sushil Meena of SSC Club, best fielder was Sanjay Bhadania of PCA 11, and best bowler was Kunal Kaushik of Friends Club, Rajasthan. Each was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 7000. In the women's category Divya from Pace Maker was declared Player of the Match and Player of the series (won Rs. 3500 and Rs. 14000 respectively)

Well Done Wonder Cement
I enjoyed watching the games on TV. There is more fun sometimes in the amateur sport than the shine and glitz and even boredom of professional players (watch the Ranji final now between Vidarbha and Delhi and you know what I mean).  My good friend Tarun Singh Chauhan conceived and made this almost dream like tournament happen and I am amazed at what the company and the tournament has done and proud of Tarun for what he has done with such a sensible and seemingly idealistic idea.

Achieved Objectives
Wonder Cement held its beliefs of wanting to achieve a few objectives through the tournament. Apart from engaging with the consumers, the tournament unites people and brings them together. It encourages women to participate and thereby aims to give them the respect and dignity they deserve, it provides employment opportunities and it uncovers and encourages new talent through the exposure, kits and coaching facilities.

Kapil Dev Gives a prize of Rs. 1 Lakh from His Pocket
Kapil Dev, who kicked off the launch on November 1, 2017, in a wonderful program in Delhi (I attended that) was also present at the concluding day. He was so impressed by what the tournament has done to cricket (something that state cricket associations should be doing) that he even gave away a prize of Rs. 1 lakh from his pocket to the best player of the tournament, Sushil Meena of SSC Club Jaipur. It must have been a thrilling moment for the young cricketers to meet the legend, arguably the best cricketer India produced ever.

I am sure that Wonder Cement would take this initiative further and bring more joy to the interiors of India. It is wonderful that they chose a popular game and have been able to involve people of all classes, communities, genders and ages. A pat on the back for Wonder Cement and its team for making this happen.

The Year in Books - 2017

80 books!
It is the most books I ever read in one year in my life so a pat on the back for that. I also tried to be conscious about the ones I chose to read. The top 10 would be - Zen, The Beginner's Mind, The Inner Game of Tennis, The Sentimental Spy, Are You Experienced, Open, Autobiography of a Yogi, Sons and Lovers, The Heart of a Woman, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and Heat and Dust. Stanley Kramer's biography by Daniel Spoto was a lesson in how to write one. Two books that left an impact - How I Raised Myself from Success to Failure and Dying to Be Me. Suresh, Sagar (gifted me close to 30 books this year), Vinod (selected ones, all lovely), Jayant and Suhita, Ramesh, Rajesh (all the sports and business books I get to read in Bangalore), Gauri Dange, Mythily, Shobha and Anjali who shares all the books she likes with me by keeping them on my table after she reads.

1. Deer Hunter - EM Corder
2. Hotel - Arthur Hailey
3. The Last lecture - Randy Pausch
4. You'll See it When you Believe It - Wayne Dwyer
5. The Art of Creative Thinking - Rud Jenkins
6. Cal - Bernard MacLaughly
7. Pygmalion - George Bernard Shaw
8. The Wild Boys - William Burrrough
9. Trimalchio's Feast - Petroniuis
10. The Saga of Guunlag-Serpent Tongue - Viking Epic
11. A Hippo Banquet - Mary Kingsley
12. Who Says Elephants Can't Dance - Louis V Gerstner
13. The Unquiet Ones - Osman Samiuddin
14. Thank and Grow Rich - Pam Grout
15.Sadgurus' Bestowal - Ratnakar Nargundkar
16. How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success - Frank Bettgar
17. Inner Engineering - Sadhguru
18. Jason and Medea - Appollonius of Rhodes
19. The Sentimental Spy- Krishna Shastri Devulapally
20. Something Happened on the Way to heaven - Sudha Murthy
21.Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence
22. The Wisdom of Gibran - Joseph Sheldon
23. Working with EMotional Intelligence - Daniel Goleman
24. A Noble Queen - Meadows Taylor
25. Ghachar Ghochar - Vivek Shanbhag
26. Mehboob, India's Melville - Bunny Reuben
27. Khullam Khulla - Meena Iyer
28. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre - VN Dutta and S. Settar
29. Physiotherapy, a New Mode of rejuvenation - Dr. Jyotsna Nangad
30. The 100 Year old Man Who Climbed Our of the Window and Disappeared - Jona Johansson
31. Open - Andre Agassi
32. Ace Against Odds - Sania Mirza
33. AB - AB de Villiers
34. Scaling Up Excellence - Robert Sutton, Huggy Rao
35. Playing to Win - Saina Nehwal
36. My Life - Brett Lee
37. The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
38. 7 Spiritual Laws of Success - Deepak Chopra
39. Top Driver - Naresh Raghavan
40. Madras on My Mind - Chitra Raghavan
41. The Pleasure Principle - Sampath
42. An Area of Darkness - V.S. Naipaul
43. Anusual - Anu Agarwal
44. Three Dog Night - Gauri Dange
45. Lady Chatterly's Lover - DH Lawrence
46. The Adventures of Stoob - Samit Basu
47. The Butcher of Amritsar - Nigel Collett
48. When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi
49. Are You Experienced - William Sutcliffe
50. Lie Dow WIth the Lions - Ken Follett
51 Being Mortal - Atul Gawande
52. Selected Stories - Nikolay Gogol
53.Ravelstein - Saul Bellows
54. A House at Pooh Corner - A A Milne
55. Autobiography of a Yogi - Yogananda
56. Greatest Short Stories of Leo Tolstoy - Leo Tolstoy
57. The Royal Bengal Mystery - Satyajit Ray
58. Escape from Java and Other Tales of Danger - Ruskin Bond
59. Gotama the Buddha - Vipassana
60. The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
61. Stanley Kramer - Donald Spoto
62. Trust Me Not - Ankita Verma Dutta
63. Zen Mind, The Beginner's Mind - Shunryu Suzuki
64. Daring Greatly - Brene Brown
65. The Heart of a Woman - Maya Angelou
66. The Inner Game of Tennis - Tim Gallwey
67. Project Management - Prasanna Kumar
68.Wings of Fire - APJ Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari
69. Right Ho Jeeves - PG Wodehouse
70. Magic Drum and Other Stories - Sudha Murthy
71. Awaken the Giant Within - Anthony Robbins
72. Heat and Dust - Ruth Prawer Jhabwala
73. Magic of the Lost Temple - Sudha Murthy
74. Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu
75. I Take This Woman - Rajinder Singh Bedi (Translated by Khushwant Singh)
76. A Faceless Evening - Gangadhar Gadgil (Translated by Keerti Ramachandra)
77. Six Machine - Chris Gayle
78. Beneath the Surface - Michael Phelps
79. Voices in the City - Anita Desai
80.  Dying to be Me - Anita Moorjani

Anjali - Mimicry Class

Sandhya aunty is Anjali's teacher and she has several innovative ways to engage children. For example, she used to give them lots of riddles early on and kept them on their toes. Recently she had a class when everyone was asked to mimic something.Anjali came home and mimicked a few including hers which was the Metro train announcer.

"Namaskar. Agla station baye taraf aayega. Sambhal ke utariye. Dhanyavad.'
Or something like that. She does a good job of it.

She imitated Harsh who mimicked Virat Kohli on the field and it was pretty funny.

But what makes me laugh every time I hear is the one that Suvan, Kartiikeya and team did. It was a train announcement in Telugu.
"Namskaram. Train no 12345 ippudu platform number 1 meedaki vastundi. Meerandaru rail pattila paine nilchondi. Train zup mani mee meeda vellipotindi. Mee souls haayiga heaven ki vellipothayi. Dhanyavadamu.'

Translated in English it goes like
"Namaste. Train no 12345 is shortly going to come on platform no 1. You are all requested to stand on the railway tracks. The train will come zup and run over you all. Your souls will proceed happily heaven ward. Thank you.'

I cannot stop laughing both at the content and the way she says it. I wish I could listen to the actual team. Sometime soon hopefully.

I envy them. They seem to be having a lot of fun!  

Knife in the Water - Movie Review

This is a 1962 Polish film and a Roman Polanski classic recommended by Sagar. A well-to-do couple is driving to go sailing when they almost hit a young hitchhiker. The older man, who is a bit of a perfectionist and who prides himself on knowing many things, finds in the young hitchhiker a good person to taunt and takes him sailing. The young man does not know sailing so the older man bosses him around which the younger man does not like.

There is growing tension between the two men and it is clear that the older man is trying to show off before the woman without much luck. It turns out that the young man is no fool either. He scales the mast in minutes, is strong, and though he says he cannot swim, has several other talents, Like making up poetry. He also has a knife in his rucksack which the older man removes, worrying about a showdown. The younger man says he does not need a knife to handle himself. In the skirmish, the knife falls into the water. Then the younger man falls overboard. When he does not surface, the woman tells the older man that he has murdered the boy - he cannot swim. After much taunting the older man goes to report to the police and then the younger man who was hiding near the buoy comes to the boat. He and the woman feel the sexual tension between them and one thing leads to another. The boy jumps off the boat before the older man comes on board. The older man is clearly afraid to go to the police and the woman establishes it first before telling him that the boy had come on board and that she had been unfaithful to him. The older man does not want to believe her - he says that she is saying that to save him from the police. But deep inside he knows. The movie ends with the car stranded on a fork in the road.

It's simply brilliant. The way the ending is conceived where the woman uses the information she has to put the man in the spot and all of human nature comes out to play is simply outstanding. Three characters, a boat, and the water. That's it. Roman Polanski's first full length feature film and what a film. Must watch.

Dying To Be Me - Anita Moorjani

Anita Moorjani is a name that often comes up when there is talk of Near-Death- Experiences. She is the most famous face of NDE (that I know of) and gave many theories and ideas of what happens after life etc a clear perspective from someone who has been there. Born in Singapore in a Sindhi family, Anita experienced typical dilemmas of all young girls in the subcontinent - be this way, dress this way, get married, cannot study abroad etc. She had the temerity to break off an engagement and almost died of guilt but then she found her love, David Moorjani and they settled down to a happy life. Next social pressure - have children. After six years of married life, Anita, who lost her father and her best friend Soni to cancer, got lymphoma. 'I think I was so scared of cancer, that I think willed it almost,' she says.
Hay House

What happens next is the interesting part. Anita does everything to fight cancer. Yoga, hypnotherapy, meditation, forgiveness and every single alternative therapy she could find. She spent time with BKS Iyengar in Pune and actually got better. Then she went back and got worse. As the cancer spread she slipped into coma and died. For all practical purposes. Or so the doctors thought.

But Anita remembers everything clearly. Her painless, ecstatic state as she could see everything happen around her simultaneously. She felt an expansion she says, could feel oneness, bliss, love. She could see things far away - like her brother who was on a flight to see her, like the doctor speaking to her husband in some faraway corner, a paramedic giving up on her. Then she crossed over and heard her dead father speak to her, as did Soni. And they spoke to her with no judgment, only unconditional love. They told her that they have always been there for her, for everyone in the family and it was all perfect.
"I'm loved unconditionally for no other reason than simply because I exist."

"God isn't a being but a state of being."

"I became aware that we are all connected."

Anita was given a choice - to go back to her life, or move ahead and join her father in the other world. Anita obviously wanted that painless, ecstatic state but when asked again by her father at a point where she could not return from, Anita decided to come back.

"Cancer was not punishment for anything I'd done wrong, nor was I experiencing negative karma as a result of any of my actions. My many fears and my great pains had manifested in this disease."

"Dad, I feel like I have come home.
You always were home. Remember that."

"Our communications weren't verbal but a complete melding of mutual comprehension. It wasn't that I understood my father - it was as though I became him."

"I was aware that he'd been with my entire family all through the years after he passed."

By now she knew everything would be alright including her cancer and even if it was not, it was ok. That was a beautiful thought. Also that her life had a purpose.

Then the magic happens. Within five days after coming out of coma, Anita recovers fully. Biopsies show no trace of cancer. It's a medical miracle. Anita simply says she knew. If she chose to die, the reports would have shown accordingly and if she wanted a different outcome, the reports went that way. All possibilities were okay with her.

"I discovered that since  realised who I really was and understood the magnificence of my true self, if I chose to go back to life, my body would heal rapidly - in days. Doctors wouldn't find a trace of cancer in my body."

"My body is only a reflection of my internal state."

"If my inner self were aware of its greatness and connection with all that is my body would reflect that and heal rapidly."

"To access this state of allowing the only thing I had to do was to be myself (without judgment or feeling that I was flawed."

"We are pure love. Realising this meant never being afraid of who we are. Love and true self are the same thing."

"Being the love I am, I can heal."

"The reports changed depending on my choices."

Anita's key thoughts (as I remember) are of how we are all made of unconditional love. And when we choose to be that love, she says we will stop living out of fear. Our lives are not meant to be lived fearfully she says, and says that was why she probably contracted cancer, because her body could not express itself any other way. She talks of not being attached to any outcome, to any belief, and instead to trust and be open to all possibilities. She speak of surrender. Of enjoying life. She says that it is all going as per plan, so don't fret and worry.

Some quotes
"I just had to be myself, fearlessly. In that way I'd be allowing myself to be an instrument of love."

"I knew that there wasn't going to be any judgment waiting for me in the after life if I chose not to follow religion or cultural dogmas that didn't feel right."

"My life and time here are much more valuable to us."

"We are all one, we are love at our core, we are magnificent."

"If things seemed challenging, instead of trying to change them physically, I began checking with my internal world. When the internal changed, the external changed."

"Centered is experiencing being at the centre of my cosmic web, being aware of my position. It's important to feel our centrality at the core of it."

"I wouldn't have to do anything. It would just unfold as long as I allowed it to happen."

"We already are what we spend our lives trying to attain."

"Everything - tests, biopsies - were being done to satisfy everyone."

"I am strongest when  let go, when I suspend all beliefs and leave myself open to all possibilities.
I surrender."

"I am most powerful when I flow with life, not against it."

"The only thing that keeps me from being aware of the Universal Energy is my mind - my thought, my self-limiting thoughts."

"Life was not supposed to be such a struggle - we're supposed to enjoy it and have fun! I wish I'd known this. Oh, so my body created the cancer because of all my dumb thoughts, judgments about myself, limiting beliefs, all of which caused me so much internal turmoil. Boy, if only I'd known that we're just supposed to come here and feel good about ourselves and about life - just express ourselves and have fun with it!"

"Why did something so big - like this terminal cancer thing-happen to me just for not realising my own magnificence?"

"Ohh, I see- it didn't happen to me because in truth, I'm never a victim. The cancer is just my own unexpressed power and energy! It turned inward against my body, rather than outward. I knew it wasn't punishment or anything like that. It was just my own life force expressing itself as cancer because I did not allow it to manifest as the magnificent, powerful force of Anita."

"From my point of view, strongly held ideas actually work against me. Having concrete beliefs limits my life experiences because they keep me locked into only what i know, and my knowledge in this world is limited by my physical senses. Being comfortable with uncertainty on the other hand, opens me up to all possibilities. Ambiguity is wide open to infinite possibilities."

"Needing certainty shackles my potential for the unexpected. Feeling I don't know, or Let's see what happens, allows my expanded self to provide answers and solutions that may be completely serendipitious and outrageously synchronistic. When I step into the realm of my ambiguity I'm really at my most powerful. Letting go of all my previous beliefs, disbeliefs, dogma, and doctrines puts the infinite universe at my disposal and works to give me the best possible outcome for my life. This siw here I receive my most internal clarity. It's where magic happens."

"When something comes from the center of our being, it's no longer an action - it becomes who we are. We don't need to think about it or work at it. We become an instrument for service to manifest on this planet. This is the difference between being of service and performing a service."


I loved the book and her story. She has two books and I would like to read the other one. She is a speaker too. But all that she says resonated profoundly.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Voices in the City - Anita Desai

Published in 1965, 'Voices in the City' is about a loose-cannon character Nirode (for some reason, I kept thinking of Nirodh). Nirode is the kind who will irritate the hell out of me with his bombastic talk and no action (a lot like me so I simply detest the fellow). He is a loser (his brother Arun is smarter, and more successful), works as a journalist before starting a journal which will make him out to be an artist. Once you made up your mind to be a loser, you choose the best way to be it. So you struggle hard with a journal that will not work (or like me, choose writing!) and end up the glorious loser. The one who tried but failed.
Orient Paperbacks, P 257, Rs. 35
Nirode goes about it very boringly and there can be no other way to go about something that is deemed to be a failure for the word go. He has some friends like Jit Nair who is married to some voluptuous babe (cannot recall her name), Sonny who has a car, Prof Bose who is a bigger loser than Nirode, Dharma, an old artist and his wife Gita Devi. All messed up characters made even more messier with tons and tons of boring and affected dialogue - no one can speak like that. Or if they do one must remove oneself from their midst. (I think I speak like that sometimes...no wonder I cannot hold audiences!) Anyway some rum and some big talk and no action.

Nirode has a mother who lives in Kalimpong and writes even more boring letters about her garden etc. She has a Major Chadha as her admirer and Nirode feels that Major Chadha is peeking into her cleavage which he fells his mother is more than happy showing. His two sisters, Monisha (the only sane character in the story) and young Amla flit into the story. In the end Monisha dies, possibly of boredom, which I would have done if I was a character in this story. I don't know what happens after that - in the end it ends. What of Nirode and his love, his sex life..nothing.

I got a hang of the way things might have been in Calcutta then - mostly about self obsessed, weak and scared people acting big and bombastic. I knew some people like this too who spoke in a language only they knew and no one ever understood. But those endless descriptions and metaphors slowed things down unbearably, and I could not wait to get done with it. The people came across as real. But the writing, impeccable as it is for the Sahitya Akademi winner and three times Booker Prize nominee, was too packed with writing and too little story. So goes down as one of the most boring books ever read.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Fury of a Patient Man - Movie Review

It's a Spanish film about a man who loses his girl friend and his father in a botched up jewellery heist. He waits for the one person in the gang who is caught, the driver of the getaway car, to be released after his sentence of eight years. He befriends his family, his girl friend and finally finds out who were the real killers and kills them.

It's full of holes. Why wait so long? Why be so sure that the fellow will tell him all the information which he did not tell the cops? Why do the criminals play along like some pussies with this patient man? Also, for all his patience, he kind of loses it when he kills them. Pretty disappointing. But if you don't analyse, it is quite entertaining.

Cricketing Memories Over the Years 1982-1998

It's been a nice journey. I met many people thanks to cricket. Some winning teams from the years 1982 - 1998. I love the fact that we won all age groups for Hyderabad - Under 15, Under 19, Under 22, Under 25 (no pic), Buchi Babu, Subbiah Pillai, Ranji Trophy, South Zone varsities. There is a case there to say that almost the same bunch played all through. Among the zonal championships - Under 22 at Guwahati, Vizzy Trophy for All India Universities at Varanasi.

Equally special was winning the league championship for MCC with a bunch of party-loving guys and the odd tournament here and there. The one runners up I am proud of was making the final of the Inter Collegiate with the OUCCBM team - we had four or five cricketers and the rest consisted of two shuttle internationals, one taekwondo champion, one table tennis champion and several other large hearted gentlemen.

Hyderabad Under 15 team 1982 for the Pattabhiraman Trophy in Bangalore
Kishenlal Yadav, Sanjay, Vidyuth Jaisimha, D Srinivas, Prahlad, Masood, Abdullah, Vijay Kumar, Hari Mohan
Aijaz, Affeef, Chetan Joshi, Srinivas Chakravarthy, Muzaffar, Mallikarjun, Fazal Abbas 
Winner of the Pattabhiraman Trophy defeating Karnataka in the final
Seven of us went to play for South Zone - Masood, Vidyuth, Srinivas Chakravarthy, Chetan Joshi, Hari Mohan, Fazal Abbas, D Srinivas
Winners of the Under 19 South Zone Col C.K. Nayudu Trophy in Vizianagaram beating Karnataka in the final
Sanjay, D. Suresh, Hari Mohan, Ehtesham, Chalapathi (M), Abhijit Chatterjee, Abdul Rub, Vidyuth Jaisinha, Srinivas Chakravarthy
Siddhartha Basu, Satish, Venkatapathy Raju, D. Srinivas, Mujtaba Askari, Rajesh Yadav



All Saints Old Boys vs Rest of Hyderabad 1984- All Saints won a thriller
Azeem, Arshad Ayub, Vidyuth Jaisimha, Khalid, Azhar, Bro Joseph, Hari Mohan, Siraj Benjamin, Ehtesham, Osman
Clement Michael, Abrar, Srinivas Chakravarthy, D. Suresh, Venkatapathy Raju, Masood, Noel David
Hyderabad U 22 team winner of South Zone tournament at Bangalore beating Karnataka, 7 of us played for South Zone that year and we won the One Day trophy in Guwahati too
Masood, Rajesh Yadav, Hari Mohan, Vidyuth Jaisimha, Ehtesham, Chandran, D. Suresh, Jaideep Dhar, Swaroop, Abhijit Chatterjee, Srinivas Chakravarthy
Zakir Hussain, Vijay Kumar, Venkatapathy Raju, Abdul Rub, Mohd Affan 

Hyderabad Under 22 at Trichur, Runners up to Tamil Nadu 1984
Khaja Moinuddin, Vasant, Vivek Jaisimha, Kaleel Ul Haq, Dayanand, Hariprasad, Ehtesham, DTS Prasad, Hari Mohan, Asif,
Hafiz, Chetan Joshi, Ramana Murthy, Zakir Hussain, D. Suresh, Anwar 

Ranji Trophy team before the match at Tellicherry 1985-86
Anil Mittal, Rajesh Yadav, Kanwaljeet Singh, Hari Mohan, Arun Paul, Abdul Azeem,
Khalid, Narasimha Rao, Vijay Mohan Raj, Vivek Jaisimha, Vijay Paul
Venkatapathy Raju, Ehtesham, D. Suresh, Jai Kumar

Hyderabad team winners Buchi Babu tournament 1986-87
Hari Mohan, Vidyuth, Vijay Mohan Raj, Arun Paul, Vivk Jaisimha, Shivlal Yadav, Khalid, Arshad Ayub, Sitaram
D. Suresh, Rajesh Yadav, Swaroop,

Hyderabad Ranji Trophy team - Winners 1986-87 with the Chief Minister NT Rama Rao
Shivlal Yadav, Chetan Joshi, Vivek Jaisimha, Rajesh Yadav, Ramana, Ehtesham, Affan, Venkatapathy, Arshad, Arun Paul, Manohar, Swaroop, Hari Mohan
Narasimha Rao, Sri N.T. Rama Rao, P.S. Ram Mohan Rao

Osmania University Cricket team winners of the South Zone Under Universities championship after 10 years at Vishakhapatnam, my final year at the University

South Zone Universities Cricket team, winners of the All India Vizzy Trophy, I was highest wicket taker with 12 wickets
Aravind, Srinidhi, Vivekanand, Madhu, Harikrishna, Rajesh Kamath, Srikanth Iyendar, Akram Quadri
Rashid Mohsin, Hari Mohan, Deepak Kini, Amit Pathak, Pavan Kumar 

Winners of the Arjun Memorial tournament, Lovely boy who died young in an accident, lots of good friends in the pic
Kumar, Timothy Paul, Vijji, X, Y, Bansi, Hari Mohan, Narsing Rao, B. Srinivas, Jagjit Singh,Raj Kumar,
Dinesh, Vijay, Chetan Anand, Sanjay, z, Satish Nelluri 

Osmania University College of Commerce and Business Management, Unlikely Runners up in the Inter Collegiate Ranga Reddy tournament
Hari Rao, Sunil J, Subban, Vivekanand, Pankaj, Sunnie, Ramanand,
Arjun, Prabhakar, Chandu, BGR, Srinivas Babu, Hari Mohan, Vijay

Marredpally Cricket Club, Winners of the A2 League Championships 1994
Chandrasekharan, Raju, Pavan, Sai Murlidhar, Yasin, Suri, Ram, Subbu
Raghavaiah, Raj Kumar, Vivek Jaisimha, M.L. Jaisimha, Hari Mohan, Sanjay, Srinivas Babu
Marredpally Cricket Club Winners of the A2 League Championship 1998
Yasin, Dinesh, Anil, Maheshwar, Raju, Sai, Chandra, Ganesh, Srinu
Subbu, Vidyuth, Hari Mohan, M.L. Jaisimha, Aravind Rao, Vivek Jaisimha
Suri, Swaroop, Rajan, Somayajulu, Anil, Pavan 
Missed a few - Subbaiah Pillai tournament, South Zone Under 22 and a few more interesting campaigns. Great fun. I had some critical contributions in most, small but important, which I will try and pen down next.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Honoring Our Very Own Cricket Brother K.M. Joseph

It happened over a few rapid WhatApp messages. It was detected that Brother Joseph was to be in town around Christmas time (he is now stationed in Rome). Joseph Fernandes offered to host a get together. Suresh took over said he would host the party. 23rd was decided as the date. Joseph, Joel. Percy, Rajesh, me, Preetam, Venkatapathy confirmed. Farruk, Rahi, Swaroop, Balig joined us. Could have easily been more but for the time constraint, but this was good enough.

Rajesh, Ashfaq, Swaroop, Bro Joseph, Joseph Fernandez, Venkatapathy Raju, D. Suresh, Balig, Joel, Preetam, Percy and me
Vijay (kneeling) 
And then there came a small twist to what would have been a general get-together. Suresh called me on the 21st evening and said - Harry, I thought we should honour Bro Joseph. Why don't we give him a plaque? Could you write something? I can get it engraved. But I need it by tomorrow morning.
I sat and wrote out a few lines. They will never do justice to what Bro Joseph means to us and what he is but that's the best I could put together.
Rahi, Rajesh, me, Venkatapathy Raju, Joseph Fernandez, Percy, Joel, Suresh, Bro Joseph, Vijay, Swaroop, Preetam and Farrukh
For the uninitiated Bro Joseph was known famously as the Cricket Brother of All Saints. Though we from All Saints try to appropriate him, he belongs to all cricketers, having been the manager and one of the early proponents of school cricket in Hyderabad. He was our Principal at All Saints High School and was a much loved teacher at all Montfort Institutions across India. He has done great work on tough institutions like Boys Town where he built a cricketing culture. Boys Town admits only the poorest of the poor and trains them with vocational skills and about 40% of them are speech and hearing disabled. One of his great contributions was that he developed teams and cricketers every place he went and made better people of us all. I for one, would have been half the man, but not for what cricket gave me and made me. In fact much of the cricketing culture that All Saints has can be traced back to Bro Joseph. An excellent cricketer, a hard hitting left handed batsman and a slow left arm spin bowler, Bro Joseph, cajoled great performances from all of us. He was indeed a great teacher, coach and mentor.
Some of the cricketers who owe it to him are Azharuddin, Venkatapathy Raju, Noel David, Khalid Abdul Quayyum, Abdul Azeem, Shahid Akbar, MV. Sridhar, Suresh, Ehtesham and on and on. But cricket was not everything with Bro Joseph, he used it as a medium to make better people of us. He was a great teacher and like he said that evening 'I loved all my children and that's all I did'. Spoken like a true teacher, parent. Also shows why we all  love him so much.
The plaque
There was the usual catching up. Suresh, now a busy IAS Officer in Haryana, is someone we meet rarely. I met Percy Vowles who commanded a warship in the Navy and retired after 30 years - he was a wily off spinner and our senior in school. Joseph Fernandes knows everyone on the planet and its no wonder he was a popular head boy at school, one year senior to us. Rajesh Chetty, fast bowler and my class mate runs a paints manufacturing business. Farrukh Ali Khan, handsome and debonair, fast bowler and another class mate runs a very successful interiors business and we caught up after so many years. We used to share the same bench and were good friends. Rahi Prakash was studious and is a senior executive in Microsoft and another one from the fast bowlers club of our batch. Only Michael was missing. He is apparently in Vizag now.
Suresh gifting Bro Joseph his painting
Venkatapathy was the star of the evening, affable as ever, the one who played successfully for the country and two World Cups to boot. Swaroop played for Hyderabad and Baroda and West Zone and we played much junior and senior cricket together. Vijay played for Little Flower and we played a lot of cricket together and he was the successful captain of the University team when we won in 1990-91. Balig came late. Preetam still plays in Chicago, probably the only one amongst us who continues to play. Joel is the happy go lucky off spinner from B section.
Venkat giving the plaque to Bro Joseph
As with all of Suresh's parties, everything was well taken care of. There was wonderful karaoke singing by Joseph who sings like Kishore Kumar, Suresh who sings wonderfully too and Swaroop. I sung my one song and got off. Lots of catching up and laughing. Suresh gifted a lovely painting to Bro Joseph after speaking of how he influenced him to do a lot of work for the poor and downtrodden. I read out what I wrote from the plaque and revealed an old secret - that I decided to play for the school after seeing a Sportstar picture of the Hyderabad Under 15 team that won in 1981 under the captaincy of Hariprasad. Swaroop, Doc, Chatterjee, Ehtesham, Subba Rao, Sanjay Bhatnagar, Mohan Nataraj were some of the players I remember from that team. Bro Joseph spoke from the heart and we were all moved by his emotion. Venkatapathy gave the plaque over to Bro Joseph and in a touching gesture touched his feet in the age old guru shishya tradition. Lovely.
We stopped our revelry and stood in a moment's silence for Doc M.V.Sridhar who was an old pal and mate for all of us and who will be sorely missed. Also in memory of Chandu, Flyin, Suresh's older brother who played with all of us and more so with Sridhar because both of them studied in Little Flowers and then at Osmania Medical College. Chandu was a wonderfully gifted person, arm and affectionate, great dancer and entertainer with lots of energy. He was a fine fast bowler and all rounder.
Post dinner pic - Rahi, Vijay, Bro Joseph, Venkatapathy and me
Everyone spoke by the end of the evening. It was one of those evenings when everything is clapped for and applauded, hugs are tight and long, and no one wanted to leave really. We finally wound up at 1 am. Suresh said we should make it an annual affair. I am all for it. Thanks Bro Joseph, Suresh and Joseph for putting it together.

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem - Movie Review

The Israel-French movie starts and ends in the courtroom and at best - moves to a room outside the court room. In that closed space and with just seven characters, director and lead actress Ronit Elkabitz packs a punch and proves that nothing can beat the drama of human relationships, more so, those between husband and wife. It is apparently the third in a trilogy - the first being 'To Take a Wife' and the second being 'Shiva'. Gett is divorce in Hebrew.

The first scene starts with the rabbanic judges panel of three addressing the woman who wants a divorce from her husband and her lawyer. They find that the husband does not honour his commitments to the court but are helpless to grant divorce. Then on starts a long legal battle where the husband tries every trick not to grant her a divorce. She is adamant she wants one. They are unable to prove any cruelty on the part of the husband and there are no grounds except that she does not want to live with him. They cannot prove that she has been unfaithful either. But the judges cannot grant divorce, he has to do it. He finally agrees after five years of the court room battle and stalls when he has to say words to the effect that she is now free to live with any other man. Only after he makes her promise that she will not be with another man doe she grant her a divorce.

People are cruel. Relationships are a great place to exercise this cruelty. Though there is seemingly nothing wrong with the way the husband treats his wife or the way she treats him, you know everything is wrong. The divorce will hurt and not giving the divorce will condemn her forever. Society looks modern but laws are so archaic and lopsided.

Taut. Cannot take your eyes off the screen for moment though seemingly nothing is happening but the lawyers and the husband and wife trying to get their points across. Brilliant stuff.

Ferdinand - Movie Review

Ferdinand is a bull - a flower bull as the other young bulls taunt him. He loves flowers and all things gentle, abhors fights and conflict, and is generally seen as a sissy while all other young bulls aspire to go to the bull fight and defeat a matador. All bulls are bred in the famed Casa Del Toro and well, the young bulls see their fathers go to the bull fight (and not return). Ferdinand, who sees his father not returning from the fight runs away from the bull farm and lands up in a farm where he is raised by a friendly family - a young girl, her father and a dog. Ferdinand loves life on the farm and grows into one of the mightiest bulls strength-wise, but retains its gentle approach to life.

On one visit to the farmer's market Ferdinand's behavior is mistaken for aggressive behavior and he is sent back to guess where - Casa Del Toro. He meets his old pals and some new ones. They make fun of his peaceful ways and tell him that the bulls must fight and compete. Ferdinand does not agree. He in fact arranges for all the bulls to run away from the place telling them there is no way they will ever win a bull fight. The bulls run, Ferdinand is captured and chosen for the bull fight. He does not fight and actually makes the matador attack him while he side steps - it becomes a role reversal for a while - in a cleverly written scene. In the end the crowd falls in love with the bull and ask the matador to spare his life and all's well and it ends well with flowers being thrown into the ring. Ferdinand takes all the bulls back to the farm and they live happily ever after.

Moral of the story - you can be the way you want and not get stuck in roles and labels. Nice movie and very watchable indeed. Especially with some caramel popcorn. Ferdinand reminded me of a Hollywood actor but these days all animation characters remind us of some character or the other. How subliminal.

Heat and Dust - Ruth Prawer Jhabwala

Ruth Prawer Jhabwala is the only writer who won an Oscar and a Booker. 'Heat and Dust' won her the Booker for 1975. Her two Oscars came for 'Howard's End' and 'A Room with a View'. 'Heat and Dust' was also made into a movie starring Shashi Kapoor and Julie Andrews..
Penguin, 181 p
It's a slim book. A classic. A young girl comes to India to learn more about her great grand aunt Olivia who lived in India in the 1920s. Olivia lived in a town called Satipur (named after the practice of Sati) which was then a part of the kingdom of Khatm ruled by the charming Nawab of Khatm. Olivia, married to an English bureaucrat Douglas, finds life in the heat and dust of India extremely boring, and avoids the boring meetings of the English people. She prefers the company of the Nawab (who takes a liking for her) and his gay English partner Harry. The three of them meet in the Nawab's palace and Olivia is picked up almost every day by the Nawab's car. It seems that they are just friends. But Douglas understands that there is more to it than that. Olivia tries halfheartedly to restart her dream of making a family - only Douglas seems incapable of making her pregnant. Olivia does become pregnant thanks to the Nawab who seems to use her pregnancy as a way of getting back at the British for treating him so badly. Olivia goes to the palace to abort her child, does not return to Douglas and lives in an unknown place taken care of by the Nawab who is fast losing all access to his money.

The narrator, living in the 1970s, finds herself a room for rent in Satipur. Her landlord is an Indian government officer with a troubled family life. She explores the region to find out more about Olivia. She meets a whole bunch of people, an English man who is trying to be an Indian monk (with whom she has an affair), her house owner Inder Pal (with whom she has an affair and gets pregnant and goes to a midwife for an abortion), and finally decides against it and has her baby in the same town that Olivia lived out her life.

It's after the story moves a considerable distance that I realised that the life of the narrator was shared a pattern with that of Olivia's - the Indian lover, the weak gay partner (Harry and the monk), the pregnancy and the abortion. Only the narrator decides against it and changes the pattern.

Ruth Prawer Jhabwala tells the story so tightly and with such a deep understanding of the landscape that you feel she lived one of the roles. The boredom of the British officers and their wives, their own class segregations, their relationship with the Indian nawabs, the lives of the Indian nawabs and how it changed in those years when the British slowly gained control over them and their kingdoms, the food, the relationships, the love, the hate, it moves so slickly and so tautly that you are completely transported into that world. Ruth Prawer Jhabwala never describes a scene of intimacy nor does she indicate what the relationships are about. So one wonders what Harry is to the Nawab, what Olivia means to her and how far it will go, what the relationship between Olivia and Douglas is until you sense correctly that the Nawab and Harry are gay partners, that Olivia and the Nawab had an affair and that Douglas and she do not share much love. Similarly the narrator is extremely casual about the sexual needs of the monk when he lives with her and even the way she enters into a liaison with Inder Pal. There is no judgment or even a thought given in that direction of the relationships - it could well have been that they ate dinner together or listened to some favorite music together. I am impressed with the way she structured the book, the way the two stories merge and share a similar pattern with similar relationships. Without saying anything she says so much about how each of the relationships still means a lot for each of them - how many dimensions they traverse. It's an extraordinarily told story about ordinary people.

My Article in the Sunday HANS - What's Up

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Faceless Evening and Other Stories - Ramachandra Gadgil in Marathi, Translated by Keerti Ramachandra

Gangadhar Gadgil has written hundreds of short stories in Marathi. 'A Faceless Evening' selects fourteen of his stories translated into English by one of India's better known translators, Keerti Ramachandra. The one thing that struck me most was that the stories are written in different styles - there is no one style you can point out and say this is his. And then, the author's deep understanding of human nature and its madnesses and limitations stands out. Not since DH Lawrence got it into my head that love and hate are present in the same measure in any relationship did another writer convey the same. And it is Gangadhar Gadgil's eye for detail that gets you - one gesture, one thought and it explains it all. There are so many of those fine thoughts that I could not help wondering that he must have written them all down and filed them. Keerti Ramachandra captures stories that must have been hard to translate because they are such subtle and internal stories that say one thing and mean so much more.
Ratna Sagar Publishers, Rs. 299

In 'Thirst' the author's uncanny ability to see through a complex relationship stands out clearly - the ageing actress and her husband, manager and lover - are stuck together in a loveless, exploitative relationship. Even more symbolically they are cooped up in a train that is traversing an arid land. She wants to break free but cannot. She enjoys the pain of her imprisonment and the pleasure in her helpless situation. How often are we happier being the victim? The human mind is masochistic and we know she will never sign her own release as she cosies up to her repulsive husband after a couple of drinks. In 'Bandu and his Umbrellas', Bandu keeps losing his umbrellas. But that is a backdrop to show his situation, his wife, his family, his likes and dislikes - explained so well through the stuff he finds in his loft. Bandu goes through the drama of buying himself new umbrellas or repairing old ones, gives away the new umbrella to the Christian girls, until the drama stops when he buys himself another new umbrella. That is when the monsoon stops for the year. Surely the story will repeat the next monsoon.

'A Man, A Fairy and a Tortoise', is about a fairy that flits past a tortoise, focussed on its own work at its own pace, a poor boy who cannot see beyond something to eat, a wealthy man who cannot see beyond accumulating more, a salaried man who cannot see beyond his pay scale, a leader who cannot see beyond the power of ruling over people. It's a unique story that takes an irreverent and narrow view of our lives - like we normally do. It makes sense from the fairies view point and it also appears that the tortoise has it all figured out. 'Bittersweet', is a classic story about the petty politics that go on in every household - the love and intimacy perfectly balanced by hatred and resentment - bittersweet. It's told in a lyrical, sunny voice and one gets the mischievous nature of the narrator, the daughter-in-law, that overrides everything, including an allegation of theft,

'A Faceless Evening', is about the facelessness of the Bombay city. The chasing of dreams, of entertainment, the loss of humanity in the midst of death, love, politics, Perhaps his distress at the urban life. 'Multiplication' is a wonderful story of the human mind and how it deceives itself. Petty school teacher Damu is jealous of Balasaheb, another teacher who seems to have everything that Damu does not have - integrity, money and a beautiful wife. In his dreams Damu sees himself doing Balasaheb many favours but in reality it is the other way around. But Damu sticks to the safety of his dreams despite his intense resentment of Balasaheb and so do his bunch of cronies.

'Before I go' is a touching tale of a dying mother talking to her older son first about her husband, the one she loved so much and whose memory was slowly fading away, her younger son, her grand daughter and its delicately told with so many beautiful moments. One such is the end when the older brother decides to take care of his younger brother in a climax to this finely built tale which suddenly gets poisoned with one word from the older son's wife who brings it all down a petty level. 'Vishwakarma and Sadanand', another finely woven tale of a clerk with an ordinary life, an ordinary wife and a disabled child. He cannot be faulted for feeling that he has been singled out for this punishment even more so when he visits his neighbour's beautiful and happy home one evening. He remembers being like that, wanting a life like that. Back home after that happy time he realises that his reality is back - his wife and child return from the temple - and he accepts them in an overflowing of love. They are his after all.

'My Ajji', is a brilliant story about the narrator recalling his days with his ajji who was the most patient, most loving and most trusting person in the world. Her traditions and customs, their little skirmishes and her ways of doing things without bothering others come across right till the very end when she is ill and he sees her tears, and when he says you will be ok, she smiles and says she is worried about him for not eating well in the hostel and not for herself. How often have we seen such selflessness! 'The Two', is an erotic story built up so beautifully. The narrator, single and older, is traveling with an old couple Mudaliar's and their young medico daughter Padma. Padma is full of life and mischief and keeps goading the driver to go faster or irreverently cuts into the older people's conversations. Things get interesting at the Mahabalipuram temple when she decides to flirt with the narrator and leaves him hanging like all erotic stories do with the promise of a kiss, if only...

'Our Teacher leaves School', is about the day when the bai is leaving school and how the young child saves up tamarind to give to her bai in appreciation. The way the young ones in class grow so fond of the kind bai shows when they all cry when they know she will not return, and the girl protagonist braves punishment to run out of class to give her tamarind to bai. Told in that disconnected way that a child thinks, its beautiful in its understanding of a child's nature. 'All for You', is another haunting tale of an old couple, the wife almost blind and the husband, quiet and introspective. It's been years since they had thrown their son and daughter-in-law out of their house for her disrespect of the father-in-law. But in advancing years the old lady wants her family around. The old man has made his peace but she has not and she puts them in situations which are not very pleasant and in the end justifies it saying its 'all for you'. Brilliant understanding of the dynamics of human relationships, more so between husband and wife. One can empathise with the old lady's dilemma - her self respect on one hand and her desire to be with her family and get their love, affection and respect on another.

'Gopal Padhye: The Man', is a suspicious, critical, lecherous fellow who lusts after women in the bazaar and occasionally gets hit by someone who sees through his moves. At home he exerts all the power he does not have on the women outside, on his wife. The man. Again a wonderful story that shows how a man's mind works. 'Fleeting Reflections', is the narrative of a man who is reflecting on his love story - again one of manipulation and love, hate and resentment. But it does end in hope and a tender beginning - his wife is pregnant and they are expecting their child now.

The playful manner in which the actress asks her husband not to beat her in front of that imaginary other woman, the grand child playing with her grand mother's hair in a caring manner, the 'decision' that the older son takes, the trembling fingers of a cancer ridden old lady, the way the child's thoughts move from an intense sadness and then back to the present the next...the storehouse of gestures, emotions and thoughts that Gangadhar Gadgil has collected makes each story come alive. Fabulous insights into people and relationships. Keerti Ramachandra brings these complex tales to life through her translation. I have no doubt that she did complete justice to the work having read her translation of Vishwas Patil's book into 'Dirge of the Damned' which is a wonderful work. This was probably even more difficult. I am so glad that they translated Gangadhar Gadgil's works into English so I could read them and enter a world I would not have known otherwise.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Anjali-Wonder(Book)

August Pullman isn't the most normal face you see at a school. He has had 27 surgeries on his face.He feels like a normal kid but knows he doesn't look like one.






 He finds it real hard to make friends at school.He is a brave boy. He understands that people freak out and he deals with it. This book will put you t o tears. People can really judge from the outside.Life for August is hard because he has a weird face? Isnt that stupid? But thats how they judge him.

A heart touching novel by R.J. Palacio

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Big Deal on Madonna Street - Movie Review

1958 vintage. Funny movie. Gang of thieves tries to pull off a robbery. Lots of twists and turns, some love, some conflict. All losers so, very likeable.

The movie starts with a car robbery gone wrong. The thief goes to jail. In jail he schemes to get himself out by having someone tell the judge that he was the car thief and not he, for a sum of course. So we have a whole lot of small crooks lining up for the job but with their own problems. One is taking care of his baby because his wife is in jail, one has locked up his sister whom he wants to get married to someone respectable, one is very old and perpetually hungry, one is a boxer who loses more than he wins etc. Anyway boxer goes to relieve the thief but the judge sees through and sentences them both to jail. In jail the boxer learns of a way to crack a pawn shop through the car thief and somehow gets parole before him. So he rounds up the losers bunch and they try to crack the safe. Of course nothing can be expected from them - they bungle everything. Boxer falls in love with a maid in the house. One of the others falls for the sister. Car thief comes out of prison but dies in a road accident. Well, nothing much changes in their life but for some drama and some love. In an ironic twist, the two main robbers, the old man and the robber, get stuck in a line of people looking for work while escaping the police - something that is the worst fate for them - worse than jail.

Complex story but lovely. I loved every single character and their mannerisms, especially the master thief who comes as their consultant for the robbery and gives them the master plan. Super stuff.

Clueless - Movie Review

Loosely based on 'Emma' by Jane Austen (I read that!), it's about a young, bored, rich girl who wants to improve people around her - all of them are projects to her. In the process she realises that she is the one who needs taking care of, who needs some improvement too. Some of her projects actually go beyond her - and she pulls back just in time.

But in the end all's well and that ends well. Funny. Alicia Silverstone is perfect. The girl who played Tia, her project, died of pneumonia when she was 32. Her husband died of pneumonia six months later. Life!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Eateries List - Nine to Go

Nice list!
Flury's, ShriSagar, MTR, Buhari, Leopold done. 7 to go.
http://eattreat.in/oldest-restaurants-in-india/?campaign=DailyPostBoosting

I Take This Woman - Rajinder Singh Bedi in Punjabi, translated by Khushwant Singh

This book, originally an Urdu novel 'Ek Chadar Maili Si' is the 1966 Sahitya Akademi Award winner for the writer Rajinder Singh Bedi, acknowledged as a writer with rare talent. Rajinder Singh Bedi finally settled down in Mumbai and wrote for films. Notable films are - Ek Chadar Maili Si, Abhimaan, Anupama, Satyakam, Madhumati. He directed a few films as well.

The story is about Rano, who is married to an ekka (tonga) wala Tiloka. She has four children. Tiloka drinks and beats her and is known to transport young girls to the Chaudhary's house in exchange for the heap orange liquor. They live with Tiloka's old parents, and his younger brother Manglu. Rano treats Manglu like her own son and when there was no milk at home suckles him. Rano has no one but them as her parents left her and went away.

One fine day a young boy kills Tiloka and injuries Chaudhry. His younger sister was taken to Chaudhary. The survivors go to jail. Rano is told by her mother in law to get out of the house. Her oldest daughter is now old enough to get married. In all this comes a suggestion from the village women that if Rano marries her husband's brother it would be fine. Manglu was old enough to be married and he was already lusting after Salamat, the young Muslim girl. Against their wishes the village elders and community get the two married. They live quietly in confusion, not accepting their fate. But the girl has to be married off too and they finally find someone who is willing to marry her and only her - turns out it is the boy who murdered Tiloka. After some confusion they agree and everything settles down.

Lovely twist in the end. Beautiful story. Fabulous translation by Khushwant Singh. One can imagine the richness in Urdu.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

This Way Is Easier Dad - The Bangalore Launch

This was completely Keerti's show. I broached the topic to her and told her that I was contemplating a book event in Bangalore in December and could she think of a suitable guest. We looked around at some celebrity guests and decided against it (too stressful). Keerti came up with Prof. Malavika Kapur, eminent child psychologist and an author to boot. Also daughter of the famous Kannada novelist Shivrama Karanth for those interested. I asked Keerti to moderate - she knows me, my writing, has edited TWIED, knows writing and editing - what else. Sheetal helped by booking Sapna Book Store. All was set for the 16th of December, Sapna Book Store, Residency Road, Bangalore.
The all important pic
Anjali and Shobha were free and said they would come. Anjali wanted to travel by bus so we booked ourselves on a bus on the return journey. Jabbar Travels! We got adventurous and booked ourselves in the Rajdhani on the way to Bangalore. I started delving into my phone book to invite all those whom I knew. Some were around. Some were not. Some promised to come. Some did not reply. For a chance I invited many of my friends on Linkedin, a medium I hardly use thanks to its clunky ways.
The audience - an appreciative Gazala who was the MC in the foregorund
We actually got even more adventurous after we got off the Rajdhani in the 15ht.Vandana suggested we take the Metro from Majestic and we were suitably fired by the idea and took it. Its packed like crazy but it was worth it.
Ramesh, me and Diwakar sharing a light moment after the event
What would have been an hours journey was done in 20. We got off at Vivekananda Marg and took an auto to her house.
Making some point
A late breakfast and I attended a first - a ladies book club meeting I was invited to. I was the only guy there. Mansee of Lahe Lahe hosted the meeting and the lunch thereafter. I tried the desserts which were yummy.
Anjali reading 'Crime and Punishment' 
That evening we headed to Nisha's place. The next day went in the usual - chatting with Rajesh, reading books. Kaushik had invited me to the SWAB awards function but I could not go. In the evening Rajesh, Nisha, Akshar, Shobhs, Anjali and I headed to Sapna.
Pooja, me, Anjali, Rao and Mrs Rao
Prof Malavika Kapur was already there. Keerti joined us in a bit. Soumyashree, a keen blogger, came with a friend. PV's daughter Sriya came with her friends Chetana and Trisha came from Mount Carmel and interviewed me before the event started. Dev Prasad, author of three books came with his son Sanjay.
Dev Prasad and me with the book - writers do stick together
Rao, came with his wife and eleven year old Pooja. Indira came with Parvati and her mother.
Dev Prasad me and Preeti
Diya came with her father and younger brother and I think Sapna joined later. Prajwal Hegde of ToI came - very sweet. She left before I could meet her. Sunil came with his SLR and a cousin. Diwakar came.
Diwakar - So good to meet, Babu in the background
Priya Mhatre came - again so very sweet - despite Laya not being too well. Giri came with Rahel. Murli came with three IDBI colleagues - Abhishek was one. Vandana, Ramesh, Seshu, Ratna and Madhu aunty came. Babu and Puppy came.
Puppy saying something nice - as always
Unnathi came with her friend Preeti.
Unnathi
Naveen Arigapudi came - again very sweet indeed. Overall a crowd of almost 50. I missed a few surely. SR Mohan of Jaico was there and even bought a copy for himself - very sweet! No cricketers.
The session abou to start - Gazala holding fort
The discussion was wonderful Keerti came well prepared with her questions. Prof Malavika was a delight with her insights into children and their psychology. She spoke about the book 'Scientist in the Crib' and shared many relevant examples. I plan to buy some of her books.
Audience shot again
Anjali read 'Crime and Punishment' and I almost cried at the injustice of it all.
Anjali reading 'Crime and Punishment'
Diya read about Michael Jackson and Black and White wonderfully. Vandana read a chapter and very well too.
Vandana reading
We signed a few copies, met all my old pals and hung about a bit.
Signing copies
It was by far the longest book event I had done at close to 90 minutes before we ended the discussion - the discussion was excellent and everyone liked it. I loved it.
Diya reading - lovely job!
Fabulous event. Thanks Jaico. Thanks Sapna. Thanks Keerti.. Thanks Prof Malavika Kapur. Thanks everyone for coming and supporting me. Completely humbled and thrilled.
On the way back we stopped at this heavenly joint called Mangalore Pearl and ate what goes down in my life as one of the top 5 meals - superb fish, sol kadi, cghee roast chicken, neer dosa and stuff. Ah heaven.

Some more pics of the event.