Saturday, November 17, 2012

Of Godavari and Grandma...

It has been so long since I made a proper blog post that it feels weird now, typing away like this as I try to organize the thoughts in my head. I wonder why I haven't been writing lately. As in, writing nothing at all. Maybe it is the loss of my notebook which had a new un-posted story in it. So new that I didn't even read it  after I wrote it, so I don't really remember what went into it. Or maybe it is because I have been talking a lot and observing very less lately- I am not blaming anything but college and hostel seemed to have got into my way of pouring my heart through words.

Whatever be the reason, I decided that I would write today. Good or bad, happy or sad, I would write today and not because it was an obligation of some sort, but because I felt like writing (read ranting) and hence I did.

I stop here now, mentally picturing what I really want to say; but no such image springs up... It is as if I am looking at a really blurred photograph. That is what my mind seems like these days, a confusing blend of so many things thrown together that I am breathless trying to figure out each entity and in the end, I just stop trying and start talking to get myself distracted. Talking about what? Seemingly pointless and stupid stuff.
I really wish someone would just come over and tell me to stop blabbering but no one does that; I guess I would be very hurt if someone really does but it would be better than seeing people faking interest in what you say. I may be wrong, but thats what it feels like to me anyways.

I guess I am really upset over not having my brother back home like he said. Postponed exams and practicals really do screw up a student's life. We talk on the phone everyday but it isn't enough for me. And strangely it seems vacant. Because I know that in person my brother doesn't talk that much. I have to squeeze things out of him but its fun that way. I remember Uma didi's mother telling me that this is how things would be like from now on. Dates wouldn't match for you to be together and I remember feeling really sad about it- its never kind to be reminded that the things have changed.

To think of what we do when my brother comes home, I would say that its nothing special really. We talk- rather I talk and he listens; laughing at something I say. And I feel happy at that because its a good feeling to have someone you love very much smile at something you say. So I just go on saying stuff, making them more interesting than they really are but I dont feel hollow or empty like I do these days when I talk because it amuses my brother and that is the way I like it.

So apart from talking a bit, discussing about books and stuff, him cooking and me eating, watching movies , we dont do anything specific together. But its just the presence. The presence of having him around that is so comforting. And I am very bad at expressing things physically so I dont hug him or hold his hand or say something about how much I appreciate the fact that he is my brother. So , many things go unsaid. But I hope he understand it. I really do.

Talking about presences, I am being all gloomy remembering stuff unwillingly and missing the presence of my grandmother around. Sometimes I think I could never totally accept her death . Because I didn't cry as much as I should have; considering the fact that I cry at verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry small things-so small that my mother gets exasperated with me. And it scared me then, how everyone were gathered around her body and saying shallow things about her being such a great woman and all, crying , and I didnt even shed a tear. It scared me how my mother noticed this even in all her pain and told me repeatedly to sit beside them but I didnt... I just couldnt.

All I could think of was that butter hadn't been churned in our house that day and then it hit me that my grandmother would never do that anymore. Never make me wait patiently by her side as I admired her soft wrinkled hands deftly and neatly take out the white, delicious butter, pat it in the steel utensil which already had mounds from the previous days, take out a lump and put it in my hand. I wouldn't go away even after that; at first it was because I was purely greedy but later it became a habit, to have her  give another lump lovingly. The mounds in the steel utensil had her fingerprints on them; ones that got imprinted as she patted the butter. They still have them now, but it isn't the same is it? My mother's hands aren't the same.

That is what I could think of that day. That is what I said to my uncle when he came searching for me in the garden. Not in a crying, whimpering way; I said it very matter of factly and I still dont understand why that made him cry.

I was made to stand beside my brother after that; he wouldn't go near her body too and it was then that I slipped my hand into his. I dont know why I did that, being a very non-physical person and all (I could count the times I have hugged people. That too my friends. Girls) but it felt nice. His hand is very big and soft and warm and he has beautiful nails... Not like mine, small and ugly and I remember feeling happy then but sad at the same time too. Sad because it took the death of someone I love to make me hold my big brother's hand.

I felt proud when I saw so many of my relatives and family friends come as far as Rajamundry to pay their last respects to my grandmother. So proud that I didn't mind them crying either. And I feel proud now again, because the same people, and many more are planning to come there again this coming Feb for her first death anniversary where my family has to perform the required rites.
I told my mother about this last day and she looked at me very softly and said that my grandmother was so good to so many people that they are all willing to take break from their busy lives and pay their tribute. And that means a lot to me; having known someone who is so good and is so respected. It also makes me wonder how many people would be broken over MY death. I am not that good to everyone I feel but I would like to be. I would like to be good like my grandmother was so that people remember me lovingly too.

This makes me feel sad again somehow, because I dont think I ever really expressed to her how much I love her. But this never came into my mind before. My grandmother was a part of my life that I had taken for granted. So much that even now after 9 months since she passed away, I have a hard time accepting that she is truly gone. I dream about her sometimes- dreams about very normal stuff. Like she is asking me to do something or telling me something and I wake up in the darkness finding it hard to believe that she isn't there anymore. I look at her empty bed beside me and I think that maybe she has gone to the bathroom but she doesnt come back and I end up feeling sad and eventually fall asleep.

I will tell you why I miss her so much today. It is some sort of festival today (we are not supposed to celebrate it but my mother asked me follow some rites all the same) and it is required to wash your hair today. So usually, it is my grandmother who puts oil on our heads and blesses us saying a very interesting thing which I wont say here as no one would understand but it ends with her blessing a 100 years of life. When I was little I remember enjoying the brief massage on my head very much so I used to beg her to do it once again and she would repeat the whole thing. My brother would joke about how I would live for 200 years after this and there was a time when I used to believe him.

But now I think this stuff doesnt really hold (yes, I knew it before this also, but its just fun imagining some things up. like my kids going to Hogwarts) Because when my grandmother wasnt the eldest in the family then someone would have put oil on her head on special occasions, wishing the same thing for her and maybe she had also begged her grandmother to do it twice, but she didnt live for a 100 years did she? She died at a mere 75.

God... what rubbish I am talking!! Ignore the last two paras will you? Rather, ignore this whole rant altogether. I have no idea what had gotten into me today!
Talking about the coming Feb, I am very excited to go back to Rajamundry. My parents could have easily done everything here in Kgp- the easy way out, but my father chose to go back there again... end everything properly. I think its very decent of my parents to do that but then, I am not the only one who loved my grandmother, is it?

Excited about going to Rajamundry because of the Godavari. It is strange how I never mentioned it on my blog... but maybe its because I can never properly say in words what it felt like to be there.
That was the first time I fell in love I think, and not while talking to someone over phone who seems like a total stranger now. I know its weird of me talking about love and a river but no normal person would write something silly like this post. So I AM weird. Admit it. Accept it.

Anyways, I cant describe what I felt like the first time I saw the river (well the first time was years ago when we went to a marriage. By first time I mean seeing it for REAL) It was as if little things dont matter anymore.. all that matters is that you are alive. All that matters is the sand beneath your feet that slips with every step you take... all that matters is the stretch of blue around you and you are just a speck of life in it... so small but yet a part of something big... something whole.
And when we left the dirty banks of the river behind us and went a bit into the middle, you could see the bed, all you could see was blue... the sky and the water seem to be a single entity in total harmony, in total unison... just like you and the parts of your body that are your true soul mates. And the pure, white spray that hit my face suddenly then couldnt have been more fresh, more alive...

Godavari is beautiful and I simply love it... I feel at peace when I am anywhere near it. Godavari is so beautiful that despite I feel sad that my Grandmother's living  presence wont be felt anymore, I cant help feeling happy that she is a part of it now...

Sorry for being such a bore,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Bankster- A book review

Its really strange how my mind gives instructions to me to jump at anything that says 'thriller'. Thanks to Blogadda, I got another wonderful opportunity to review a thriller, The Bankster by Ravi Subramanian.
The cover page is excellent and definitely hooks a reader's interest from the start. The grey, blue and black color combination along with the sinister looking man deliver the title extremely well.

The synopsis speaks of a series of murders that threaten to destroy the reputation of Greater Boston Global Bank(GB2) and as Karan Punjabi, press reporter and ex-banker digs deeper, he finds that the matter has roots into a global conspiracy of greater dimensions- something that could not only destroy the bank but also cast a shadow on the entire nation.

The story revolves around the corporate lives of the bankers of GB2 and describes some jaw dropping, cunning exploits of the senior level executives. The dirty games, manipulations taking place in the inner circles of the bank were a highlight for someone like me who has no prior knowledge about banking(expect for depositing pocket money savings in an account from which I cant WITHDRAW :-/) Simultaneously, the plot is woven with the one man struggle of Krishna Menon against the commissioning of a nuclear power plant that had the safety and lives of the people from his neighborhood at stake.
An attempt to give power to his struggle triggers greater evils of dirty politics, deceit and treachery and eventually the bigger picture of the entire scam comes up.

The author takes the readers to many locations- from Angola to Vienna to Mumbai and Kerala and I really like the detailed description of the site, its geography etc. The characters are well sketched; they are realistic and imaginable. Not knowing much about banking wasn't a minus as I had feared from the title and the tagline that says 'Meet the John Grisham of banking' because the author briefs in about everything related to it and gave me lesser Google searches to run.

The plot line is good; it has its moments that makes you apprehend over what will happen next but it wasn't gripping enough at times. The murders were predictable, and a few characters were suspicious right from the beginning so it didn't come as a surprise to see them hauled over coals at the end.
The best part I think was the totally unpredictable culprit and the interesting way the various incidents that had no relation in the beginning were woven up in one thread at the end. Another plus would be the decent writing style and good narration.

The story I felt, was a bit slow at the start. It took too long to move over the background detailing for all the conspiracies hatching, the intricate character backgrounds and come to the point when things start boiling.
The conversations too seemed a bit halted and it was confusing at first to understand the relations between the GB2 employees. I found the entry of Karan Punjabi, the supposed lead character a bit late and the chemistry between him and Kavya wasn't much of my interest either.

Something I loved the best and want to give the author kudos on is the page turning excerpt on The Big News Debate. I simply loved the pacey debate and the way everything shifts in the blink of an eye!!

Overall, the book is good; it hits off the unpredictability prerequisite for a thriller quite well and I would rate it a 7/10.
Thriller lovers definitely have something to treasure in their book collections like I do(a SIGNED copy too by the way :D) and if you havent read it yet, go grab it!!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books!