Thursday, February 23, 2012

Togetherness

Feb 24, 2012

Today, its four years since we took the most impulsive, life changing decision of our lives. 4 years since both our lives changed.  Four years since I learnt humility and you learnt to be stronger person. Four years since the Sharma and the Mukherjee families were destined to join hands, hug and live happily ever after. 

Our decision was on impulse, we were asked to rethink it umpteen times. The age difference, or lack of it ... the opposite backgrounds, the small courtship period, the fact that other than our love for each other, we didn't have anything in common. We should have listened to them. But we didn't :) We didn't give it a second thought, we never fought against odds, we never fought against family -- we let the pain of uncertainty simmer within us. And we prayed. 

Of course, love was inexpensive -- calls from and to each our phones were free. But the distance killed it. In between, we went through personal hell. You almost lost your eyesight, I almost stopped breathing. Hundreds of kilometres away, each was hospitalised. Who does one pray for in such conditions - self or the other? But, God was kind and the doctors were experts, we both got a second lease. Still, our being together was uncertain. 

At times, its best to leave things on fate and sit back to enjoy life. We did precisely that. Yet again, God was kind. And we are together. 

At times, we forget. We forget the pain, the trauma, the emptiness and the uncertainty we went through. So involved do we get in our today, that the past seems far away. Today's frustrations and the challenges lead us to bickering and arguing about an unhappy present, forgetting what all we endure to have this very present. 

We forget how lucky we have been. Our families had met and fallen in love with each other. How often does that happen, amidst people of completely opposite values, roots and upbringing? Our decision to marry was never questioned ... maybe a little bit resisted, but never questioned. My mother can't see beyond you and your family has accepted me for who and what I am. We lead a happy and wholesome life, doing well in our individual careers. Yes, we don't get enough time to spend with each other, but that can be adjusted.
While we had made the decision on impulse, our families took our decision seriously and had our dreams fulfilled in just a year!

Today, its four years since we accepted each other's presence in our lives. And in 10 days, it would be three years we have been married. As you sleep next to me right now, I hold back the need to spoon you right away, and make a promise to self -- I'l make up for whatever together time we have lost on. I'l ensure 10 years from today, Sharleen, Akanksha and Bijoy can STILL say -- "You are our inspiration." :)

Love you, Shona. 

-- Shveta

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Haunted: A review



Author: Douglas Misquita
Format: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN: 9789380154954
Pages: 372
Price: 350.00


Synopsis: FBI Special Agent Kirk Ingram's life is torn apart when his family is brutally murdered before his eyes. Devastated physically and psychologically, he vows to destroy organised crime in all forms. Across the globe, an international trade house brings terrorist activities and organised crime together in a deadly nexus that threatens to bring the world-order to the point of anarchy. And only one man stands in the way of global terror and paranoia-one man seeking redemption, and waging a personal battle against the demons of his past...


Review: Superb!! And I am putting it mildly, believe me! When I got this book, I was already reading something else, but did a sneak peak of the first couple of pages, and I was hooked. 
You read this book, and you will feel its a best seller by a seasoned author! But no! Douglas is a new boy in the Indian literary scene and I am still wondering why there still hasnt been enough hype heard about him and his book. Move over CB and the host of writers who think they can write, Douglas is a star story teller. I was so impressed by the book, that I feel my praises might sound like a paid review! Try reading it one, you will thank me! 
Story of an FBI agent who loses his wife and daughter, the story spans around continents. Very fresh, yet the writing style is polished and well practiced. Excellent editing, and superb story-telling. This is not a book you can read 2 pages a time and then forget about it. You need to give it time, coz the plot will grip you. so keep aside some slid time for good reading :)


Rating: 4/5

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Main tenu love kardi .... bematlab kar di



I am an economist

You are an engineer

I write for a living
You sell for yours

I live on sarcasm
You'd never be rude

I read
You don't

I am practical
You are emotional

I am social
You are shy

I love international cuisines
You prefer Indian

I am a snob
You are humble

I keep others before self
You love yourself a bit too much

I am imaginative
You are always blank

I live on adventure
You prefer being safe

I cry a lot
Yet, you are the drama queen

I have a sweet tooth
You love everything spicy and fried

But,
I Love you
And, You Love Me.

"As long as we are together, everything will fall in place, eh?" :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teri meri, meri teri, prem kahaani hai mushkil ...

It’s going to be 3 years since we finally got married. While the story of our getting married was hasty and almost unplanned, so was our honeymoon. Considering so much went into making it, it’s only fair that I make a souvenir of what all happened. Who knows, we might want to read it a decade later … or the next generation might? Of course, to a random reader, this tale of love, (un)compromises, some sacrifices and lots of arguments cannot be interesting at all. And of course, I will refrain from divulging certain events … 


Note: Apart from being a souvenir of sorts for us, this is also for Divyanshu and Bijoy :) I knew you will identify with it!


Oct 22, 2006.


Those were the Orkut days. So, I get a tweet. No, what was it called? A scrap? Yeah, so I get a scrap from a random person saying something I don’t remember. The reason I didn’t delete the scrap and actually read it, was because of his name. Since mine is rare and supposedly, meaningful … I get a little turned off by the Ajays and the Vijays (no offence meant to anyone, I swear!). So the name was Sankalp Sharma. Hmmm. I click on his name and go to check his account. Before I could see much, I saw like 5 common friends. Hain? I only had close friends in my acc…so 5 common friends was not a coincidence. So I look left towards his profile pic and say to myself, “OK! Not bad!”


Before I replied to him, I checked out if any of the common friends was online. Yes, Jatin … who back in junior school used to go by the name of Abhishek, was. So I ping him on Yahoo Messenger and ask, “Who is Sankalp?” Turns out all these common friends, who went to school with me, went to engg college with him! OKAY! So, I continue poking questions about this fellow, to Jatin … and after a while, I ask, “He’s messaged me on Orkut, is it OK if I reply?” <Please do not raise any eyebrows, I am a VIRGO. Being cautious is my absolute priority!> With Jatin’s go ahead, I replied. But this dude had logged off for lunch, having waited for my reply for almost 30 minutes. I too logged off after some time, and went to have lunch.


Later that night, I found an offline message from him and replied. For the next two days, we were never online at the same time and kept leaving offline messages. I was visiting my grandmother in Calcutta and he was at him mom’s in Bhopal. Coincidently, we both used to work in Mumbai back then. 
So, as does happen in some cases, we moved on to IM and our conversations became longer. Phone numbers were exchanged, me giving it to him thinking, “Naaah! He won’t call!” 


But he called! And I was shit scared! But we spoke, and it was nice. It was really nice. Henceforth, he started calling me every 3-4 days, sometimes from work, sometimes at night, from home. He was at Andheri and I was at Goregaon. 


After speaking to him for a few times, I realized we were poles apart. Like seriously, even now, we are poles apart. There is NOTHING similar. Yet, at that stage, what struck was he was a hopeless emotional and I, practical to a fault. Back then, I didn’t appreciate when he said, “I was missing you so I called you.” I found that sissy. Every time he would say something emotional, I’ll say to myself, “C’mon, be a man!” I had recently come out of a relationship in which I had cried and waited and cried for 2 years, hoping for long term commitment. But that hadn’t happened, and I definitely wasn’t looking for mush ever again in this lifetime. Either, mom finds me a guy I can tolerate, or I stay alone – I had made up my mind. But, I was not going to fall in love. No way!


But when do things go as planned. I started feeling the mush. Not as much as he did, but somewhat. He became a good friend. His call would put me to sleep, and wake up in the morning. His number was on my speed dial. Every time Johnson, my boss gave me tears, his was the number I would call. I used to do night shifts back then, but his were day shifts. Still, I would call him in tears at 2/3/4am and he would answer my calls, listen patiently and be there for me until I was better and ready to hang up. For a man who cannot d without his 9 hours of beauty sleep, doing this … I should have guessed how much he loves me. But, I didn’t. He was my “rescue” friend. He was always there for me. Me…I don’t know if he needed me, I never bothered to know.
We decided to meet a couple of times, but the plans fell flat. Now when I think back, I wonder, if I really wanted to meet, I would have made it anyhow, wouldn’t I?


January 2007.


He tells me he’s changing industry and moving into banking. Posting: Indore.
This pisses me off completely. What kind of Engg/MBA ends up in banking? Does he have no ambition? Is living close to home the only ambition he had? Well whatever, so he went and I let him.


Then continued a long distance friendship. He had confessed his love for me and had an idea I too had some mush for him … but I hadn’t accepted as much in words. <Yup, Virgo!> Over the next few month, phone bills increased and so did our understanding of each other. To me our difference became more obvious. So much that I decided it’s silly to go on further and we being in a relationship will only end in heart break for both of us. <Yes, Virgo … I took the decision for him too.>


So, very typically, I cut all ties. I changed my number and until that happened, my then roomie, Gauri, would answer all calls from and around Indore. I am not particularly proud about how I behaved at this time, but in a way I am glad it happened. I realized what a gentleman Sankalp is. I snubbed him, refused to speak to him, sent rude replies to his sweet emails and basically asked him to shut the fuck up and get lost. I am kicking myself till even today for such a behavior, what if he hadn’t come back to me? But, then he is an archer (a saggi). He has to hunt. Despite me changing numbers and cities, he traced me down. He found me and how! 


Dec 29, 2007.


Gauri and I had gone drinking. Pop Tate’s Malad. Yup, we were celebrating .. celebrating God only knows what. But I remember, we had JDs and were totally sloshed. While on the rick back home, my best friend from school, Gautam <name changed> called from the US. He gf, who was in India, had broken up for some real stupid reason. He’d called me for sympathy and some ego rubbing, which I normally deliver. But, kehte hain na, jo hona hai who hi hoga? I was slightly drunk and in my defense, this gf <who is long gone> was one hell of a psycho. So I told him, “Good riddance!” He took offence, hung up and blocked me from his life until his anger subsided. No calls, no scraps. I was even blocked on gtalk! I was angry, he was hurt. And I was shocked. No one, no one I loved, had ever cut me off like this before. This is when I realized what a bitch I had been to Sankalp. He loved me, and he was such a gentleman! I had no business cutting him off w/o any explanation. None. I was convinced, what happened between  Gautam and me, was God’s way of punishing me for being such a bitch. So, I lost both of them. 
Did I? Nooooo! :-D
I was lucky!  Gautam's anger calmed and he came back in my life, and is still my bestest buddy ever. As for Sankalp, he pinged me on gtalk one day in early Jan, 2008. I replied and we spoke. 


This time he asked, “Can I call you sometime?” 


I said, “Sure.”


He called that evening and we spoke for 35 minutes. It was a normal conversation, he didn’t try to be overbearing and I was sure not to be rude. 
Next evening, same time, I waited for his call. Waited and waited. Gauri asked me to call him myself. But I didn’t. What if the change I saw in him was only temporary and if I call him, he gets all emotional like he used to be?
The weekend went by.


Monday morning we chatted on gtalk from work and I told him, “I’d thought you will call on Friday night!” 


His reply was, “I wasn’t sure you would be comfortable.”


Oh! Where did that overbearing, over the top emotional guy go? Who was this? No seriously! This guy had actually taken my criticism of him as a challenge and changed his ways. He was not a softy any more … now, he was slightly heartless, like me.


I came home and told Gauri; showed her a print of the conversation. She said, “He changed himself for you. Now you decide.”


Well, what was there to decide? He was in another state altogether and long distance relationships never work. It always ends up with either one person losing interest or one person cheating. Not interested. Nada.


Feb 2008.


“We have a meeting in Pune, and we’ll be returning via Mumbai. You want to meet?”


“Ok!”


“Are you sure? Every time we planned, either something has happened or you had backed off!”


“Ya! Ya! We’ll meet this time.”


“Where?”


“CCD, Dadar?”


“OK”


So we met. And jab we met, our hearts actually beat like the bells that clang in temples, in scenes from Hindi television soaps. Seriously. He’d thought I’l take the train, so was waiting at the exit of Dadar station. But, I’d taken the cab <always a snob>. So, outside CCD, I see no one. And the men I see sitting inside, sort of scare me. So I call him. He says, “I am coming,” and reaches where I am in a couple of minutes. And then?


He extends his hand to shake mine. WTF! Did I break all my rules, come to meet a stranger, put my faith in you and right now, stand straight with my knees shaking, to shake your hands? I needed something to hold on to. I was shaking from inside. Why? Yes, I knew he was a handsome man, I knew that from his pics. But I saw a man with the most genuine smile and the kindest heart stand in front of me and instead of trying to act smart, he wants to shake my hand? Lol … to hell with it … I took one step and hugged him. Hugged him tight, to never let go. People take important decisions like who to marry, after loads of thought. We both took it in that very moment.
Five minutes, we were in cab, en route to Sundance. He picks his phone, calls his bro and actually says, “Mummy ko bolna mere liye ladki nahin dekhe. Baaki ghar aakar batata hoon.” <He was to reach Bhopal the next morning>
So that was it. No proposal. No speculation. No discussion.


We spent the rest of the day together watching movie and getting drunk. Dropped him at Churchgate later in the evening and I came back home. Happy. Content. Called Ma and told her I need to speak to her when I am home next, gave her a gist of what it was.  She told me to come home, I went after a couple of weeks.


Before I went home, the bomb had been dropped on the Sharma household and sides had been taken. His sis and mom were against getting a bangali at home, his dad, bhai and bhabhi were neutral. He held on to his case. A lot of drama followed. I knew, being the only child, I would have convinced my family. Moreover, my family was always broad minded, the boy mattered to them, not what the boy ate. So while I had told Ma, I’d also told her let’s wait and see, first. Some unpleasantness happened on his side of the family, of which Sankalp would tell me, but its best not spoken about in public. 


June 2008.


Both of us went through hospitalisation. He had almost lost his eye sight in one eye and I got a second lease on life, literally. 


August 2008.


Sankalp went to Shirdi with his parents. And from there he came to Nagpur to meet my mom. His confidence unnerved me. It also won mom’s appreciation. After a long chat, my ma told him, “I have nothing against this relationship, but, I will not go beg your parents to accept my daughter. She is worth a lot more than they now know. It’s up to you to convince them, when I speak to them, they need to have accepted this relationship.”
He said, “Ok,” and left.


Oct 2008.


Diwali. He called. I was in Calcutta. My nani had passed away earlier that month and our spirits were low. He said his mother wants to speak to my mother. I tensed. When I told Ma, she tensed. But … surprise! Surprise! His mom spoke to me first and then to Ma … very nicely to both. Her words to Ma, “Aap toh jaante hi hain bachchon ko shaadi karni hai. Toh milte hain, aap hamare yahan aa jaaiye.”


Nov 29, 2008.


We travel the 5 hours from Nagpur to Bhopal, to meet the family. His mom had wanted us go to their place first, coz she wanted my Ma to have a fair idea about where I was going. Fair enough! So while we are in the train, Sankalp calls and say, “Arre guess what! Papa and bhaiyya are deciding the dates!”


“What dates?”


“Shaadi ke dates! Apni!”


Oh! Shaadi! I’d thought we were going for them to see me and then reject me! This was moving a little too fast! I was panicking. At the station, I met his bro, bhabhi and their baby and fell in love with all three of them instantly <more with the baby, he is my special jaan>


Met his parents the next morning. They are so nice and cultured, that seriously, the struggle of the last few months felt like a nightmare and in a few minutes, it disappeared. In this very visit, the families met, loved each other, decided on the wedding date, and booked the venue! What a venue! It was all moving so fast, it was like a dream. Neither of us had thought we’d be getting married in 3 months, we’d thought we will convince the parents first and then take a year or so to get married. But, why crib now! What we wanted was happening. We were thrilled beyond comprehension.


So finally, on March 5, 2009 … mazzak mazzak mein, we got married. The 3 days of marriage and the 3 months of preps before that … are another episode altogether! Maybe another blog entry for that ;)


But here is a sneak peak of what the venues were, first for the sangeet and the second pic is of the venue for the reception and fere :)


.


Yes, it was a fairy tale wedding :)
Here is the e-invite I had made. It says we have been married 1069 days :)
http://www.momentville.com/sankalp_samarpita/welcome

And, here are we, when love conquered all!








P.S. -> Jatin and  Gautam, both have absolutely no idea how critical they have been in our love story!


This was selected for BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Picks



Friday, February 3, 2012

Overland by Mark Stephen Levy

I'd bought OVERLAND last Diwali, had read a couple of pages and then one thing leading to another, the book was set aside for a later read. Finally, I picked it up and finished reading it in the last couple of days.

Now, personally I had been hearing about OVERLAND since a while before it was available on stands, all thanks to FB. I used to wonder, if Mark had travelled across Asia all those years ago, what would he have written in his book? About the third world aspect or something nice? When I read the book, I was in for a couple of surprises!

1. Mark is an awesome story teller. He had me glued to the book. Last night my husband had a slight fever and this was the first time he had ever been this unwell. I was nervous and didn’t want to fall asleep. I wanted to stay awake and monitor his body temp from time to time, but kept dozing off. This was when I picked up OVERLAND’s half read copy, and believe me, I was wide awake, reading and checking on my husband, till 5:30 in the morning! Now, that should speak a lot about the story teller’s skill, shouldn’t it?

2. Another surprise was not a good one, and made me feel bad Mark. The book had many grammatical and proof reading errors. This needed to have been taken care of by the publisher I guess. While most people wouldn’t mind, as the plot is great …. A few finicky editors and grammar Nazis like me would find this uncomfortable. 

Still, the story telling was so awesome, towards the end, I had started ignoring these flaws.

So the story kind of flips between 2010 and 1979-80, and two generations of Bensons. 

Here is the synopsis from http://www.overlandthebook.com/:
“Overland is an action/adventure love story set against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Graduating medical student Danny Benson proposes to his long time girlfriend Heather Matheson on a beach in Santa Barbara so they can start their lives together, only to reject his proposal. On the day of his last exam, he receives a Dear John letter from Heather telling him she is in London and about to take off on the Magic Bus ride of her life to...”


My review:
The story begins in Afghanistan and ends in Nepal and in between, the protagonists travel all over from US to Asia. Danny, a doctor travels from US to Asia, all because the love of his life had left him and gone on the trip. The story becomes fascinating to me right from the moment the “Magic Bus” is mentioned. Having always wanted the adventure of picking my backpack and travelling all over the horizon, but being too cautious and scared to ignore the problems that I might face … Danny’s journey through the Magic Bus was my fantasy relived!

Another great thing about OVERLAND was that almost all of us can identify with it. I’d say almost all of us have done infinite foolish things to win the love of someone we thought we loved, and then we lost and finally found our true love! I have! And so did Danny! All through the period when he embarks on the journey to find Heather, I keep asking myself, “What about Emily? Hadn’t he fallen in love with her when they were younger? They HAVE to meet again!”

And they did! And how!! Every chapter had a new revelation and as I said, I simply had to finish the book overnight. Moreover, a snob like me decided to stop fussing about the proof-check mistakes and concentrate on the story!

OVERLAND is a book I will definitely recommend to new as well as regular readers, and as for Mark’s next … hell yeah! This time I am not gonna keep the book aside for3 months before reading it!

Rating: 4/5 for superb story telling


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jaishree Misra: Secrets and Lies, A Review

Synopsis:
Anita, Zeba, Bubbles and Sam have a friendship that spans over 20 years, born out of their years at a private girls’ school in Delhi in the early Nineties. They were the top clique - until the arrival of a newcomer to the school - the beautiful, gifted 16-year-old Lily D'Souza, who ithreatens their superiority.
Called back to India for a reunion by their beloved school principal, the women must now confront a secret that has haunted their adult lives. Lily's body was found on the night of their leaving party and, for twenty years, the open verdict has shielded the fact that they may have had a hand in her death. As they reunite in Delhi to find out the truth about what really happened that night, will their friendship stand the strain?

Review

The book takes the reader through lives of four school friends over the span of 15 years. You will get faint hints of Blyton's influence, as in words like "quarantine". What kept me glued to the book was it took me to the past, got me engrossed and then just threw me at the present. While reading about the present, my mind itched to know what had happened in the past, and vice versa. 
Every character was well defined and not for once will you wonder why they behaved in a certain way. The characters are seen to evolve over the book. Misra seems to have this uncanny way of mentioning something from the past which will keep you wondering what happened next, and move on to the present for the next 10 pages.

A page-turner, one is left wondering if there is a sequel to the book, considering the point at which the book ends. To summarise, the book can be called a chick-lit cum thriller cum suspense novel cum teenage romance which makes it a definite readable fare and a gripping page turner.

To get your books reviewed, you can contact me at sharma050309@gmail.com as well as @TequillaWife on Twitter.

#BookBlast: Lean Into Relationships by Rishabh Jhol

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