Dream

A first time BJP MP from Nawada, Bihar Giriraj Singh shot to fame last year during the run-up to the General Election when he had declared that the Modi critics would find themselves across the border after the 2014 election. Mr. Narendra Modi is now the most popular prime minister of India. Regardless of his larger-than-life popularity, Mr. Modi’s critics not only criticise him but they also continue to live in India. 

  

Back then the mainstream media infamous for its visceral hatred for Mr. Narendra Modi had played up this remark of Giriraj Singh to the hilt to prove that the future for the minorities was going to be scary if Mr. Modi came to power. The Modi-led NDA Government is on the cusp of completing one glorious year in the office. Sadly, for media its prophecy of apocalypse is yet to come true. This is mainly because people of India continue to live as amicably and peacefully as ever.

So much for scaremongering. 

Having said this, today Giriraj Singh who is now a Union minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises in the Modi-led NDA Government  is back in the news. This time around he finds himself in a controversy for calling the Congress president Sonia Gandhi white-skinned. In Hajipur, Giriraj Singh asked an innocent question that has earned him the wrath of the senior Congress leaders, mainstream media, the Nigerian High Commissioner based in India and the Gandhi sycophants (not necessarily in the same order). 

Poor Giriraj Singh’s crime is he has told the bitter truth. If the late Rajiv Gandhi had married a Nigerian woman, would Congress have accepted her as its chief after Rajiv Gandhi’s death? Just because she is a white woman, she has been able to retain her iron like hold on the party that is dying a slow and painful death.

We all know this for a fact that Sonia Gandhi’s skin colour has played an important role in her political journey thanks to the deshi fascination for gori chamadi.  The mainstream media has, as usual, termed this remark as sexist and racist. The Congress leaders have left no stone unturned to slam Giriraj Singh who has soon shown both the courage and grace to express regret over his ill-fated remark if they have caused hurt to the Madam Sonia Gandhi or her son Rahul Gandhi. 

But the Congress Party would like to have none of it. It wants the prime minister himself to apologise for his colleague’s remark for which the regret has already been expressed. There’s no doubt that the mainstream media has smelt blood and the controversy is likely to receive a fresh lease of life much to the chagrin of Giriraj Singh who is being made the fall guy once again.

Did what Giriraj Singh say is wrong? Did he cross the line in uttering the bitter truth no matter how grave the provocation was? Should the prime minister offer an apology and show Giriraj Singh the door? These and many more questions are likely to dominate the TV debates until new controversy pops up. 

Be that as it may, political leaders cannot speak the politically correct things all the time especially when they happen to be surrounded by their cheering supporters. Sonia Gandhi’s maut ke saudagar remark is still fresh in the collective memory of the nation. The SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had raised many eyebrows over his rape remark stating that boys will always be boys. The NCP leader Ajit Singh’s urinating into dams remark is the best example of how political leaders tend to go overboard when the supporters are lustily cheering at every word uttered by their leaders.

But none of the above mentioned leaders has come under the same harsh scrutiny as poor Giriraj Singh. These leaders have pure secular credentials. They don’t pose any threat to the idea of India and they don’t divide the societies along the religious lines to win elections. This is the narrative that mainstream media gleefully offers to defend leaders of its choice every time they pass sexist, racist, anti-women and misogynist remarks.

Whereas Giriraj Singh deserves no mercy from the kangaroo courts run by the mainstream media and pronounced guilty ad nauseaum until proven innocent because he is from the BJP and represents Mr. Narendra Modi. This twisted narrative has got stuck in a serious time warp but the mainstream media has failed to read the writing on the wall. 

Giriraj Singh may not get the clean chit from the biased mainstream media who loves to sing the hosannas of Madam Sonia. But the common man can clearly see through the mainstream media’s game-plan to target Mr. Modi’s Ministers to sully the image of his government that is winning more and more people’s confidence with each passing day. This is precisely why Giriraj Singh has received a clean chit from the common man without betting an eyelid.

Mainstream media will do well to stop playing the racist and anti-women cards every time Madam Sonia is under the line of fire because these cards have no takers now especially when the nation is headed in the direction of development, unity and communal harmony. 

  

 

For the Indian cricket fans the cricket World Cup is over. India are out of the tournament. The blame game has been going great guns even as the players struggle to come to terms with the magnitude of their loss against the mighty Aussies. 

It is the famous Hindi Film Actor Anushka Sharma’s fault that India are out of the World Cup reckoning. If you are following cricket and cricketers’ personal lives excite you, you know what the aforementioned statement means. For all those who don’t know the connection between Anushka Sharma and Team India, it is sufficient to say that Anushka is India’s vice-captain Virat The Middle Finger Kohli’s girl friend.

She flew all the way to Australia yesterday to provide moral support to Virat Kohli and cheer for team India. As the luck would have it, Virat Kohli fell cheaply after scoring only one run much to the dismay of Anushka and India lost. The angry fans soon started slamming Anushka for having brought bad luck to Team India that was undefeated in the tournament until yesterday’s fiasco.

The scheming and hyperventilating tv anchors like Arnab Goswami were ready to tear into Team India with an eye on TRPs. Soon Arnab launched a scathing attack on team India using his (in)famous Times Now. The hashtag #ShamedInSydney that Times Now tried to trend on Twitter became the turning point as far as the fans’ collecting anger was concerned. Soon the joke was on Arnab and his holier-than-thou Times Now. 

The twitterrati wanted to know why Arnab was so anti-national and was overlooking the fact that Team India had done all it could do to retain the World Cup. In the blink of an eye, the hashtag #ShameOnTimesNow became the top most trending hashtag on Twitter. Sympathies for Anushka Sharma too began to pour in. 

She was a brave girl who had chosen to be with her soul mate at a time when he was in need of all the support in the world. For an entire team’s failure how could people be insensitive enough to blame one girl who was sitting in the stands praying for her home team to win?  

The captain cool MS Dhoni had tears in his eyes. The passions were running high. But Arnab Goswami managed to wrestle the limelight from men in blue’s defeat to his sanctimonious self sparing the players the agony and trauma of having to go through the vandalisations of their homes or cars at the hands of angry fans.

(There were indeed reports of angry fans smashing their TV sets but that must have been because of Arnab’s diatribe on Times Now and not because of India’s poor performance nudging it out of the tournament.)

Be that as it may the fact remains that the fans from subcontinent always tend to focus upon the non-cricketing reasons for their respective teams’ defeats. For example, when Bangladesh was knocked out of the tournament, the angry fans had went on rampage on the streets baying for the blood of their national team.

It took the premier of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina to come out and restore sanity by blaming the organisers of the tournament that according to her wanted India to reach the semi final and that was why, in her expert opinion, the umpiring was of such pathetic standards. As soon as Sheikh Hasina blamed the umpiring decisions responsible for Bangladesh’s loss against India the sulking fans calmed down. 

Back home in India too, the prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi ji tweeted in solidarity with Team India that played great cricket right through the tournament and made all countrymen proud. 

All said and done, there are many takeaways from the 2015 World Cup. Australia are a tough side to beat on home turf. Secondly, Anushka Sharma is a real brave girl with steely determination to wear her heart on her sleeves. And lastly, nobody can claim to have his or her finger on the pulse of the nation especially when cricket is concerned.

An average Indian fan will worship his cricketing icon. He will express his fury too when team doesn’t perform. But he has not sold his soul to the devil yet. If any sanctimonious tv anchor tries to insult cricketers who have undergone a gruelling overseas tour, he will ensure that both anchor and TV channel are taught a lesson and cricketers are protected from further humiliation and embarrassment. 

This is what makes cricket such a fanatic religion in India. Three cheers for the Indian cricket fan.   



Ujjwal Nikam is back in news. Who doesn’t know the fearless and brave public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam who earned a lot of fame for having successfully got India justice for the 26/11 attacks by the Pakistan sponsored terrorists? 

Ujjwal Nikam became a household name during the trial of Ajmal Kasab the lone surviving terrorist who was captured alive while spreading mayhem in and around the famous landmarks of Mumbai – India’s financial capital way back in 2008.

Ujjwal Nikam is the man responsible for putting the famous Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt behind bars.  It is thanks to him that the trial of the 1993 Bombay Bomb Blasts was completed fast much to the relief of entire country.

Ujjwal Nikam – with his impeccable integrity and patriotism – was a go-to-man when the decision to try Ajmal Kasab in the Indian court of law was taken. True to his reputation of a fearless and go-getter public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam left no stone unturned to ensure that Ajmal Kasab got the punishment befitting his monumental crime of waging a war against India so that the justice was delivered to the dear and near ones of the innocents who had fallen prey to the bullets from Ajmal Kasab’s automatic machine gun.

There is no denying the fact that Ujjwal Nikam is a great hero whose larger-than-life contribution to the global fight against terrorism is immensely valuable to say the least. Having said this, the reason for Ujjwal Nikam to have managed to grab the headlines once again after all these years is he has revealed an inconvenient truth. 

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on counter-terrorism held in Jaipur, Ujjwal Nikam known for keeping a low profile has made a statement that is likely to get the knickers of Adarsh Liberals in a twist. Every time the issues pertaining to the Pak sponsored terrorism surface, there’s an inevitable mention of Biriyani being the staple diet of terrorists.

Biriyani is a popular cuisine relished by mainly Muslims. A social function cannot be said to be complete without serving delicious Biriyani. If you ever wondered how, why and since when terror and Biriyani became inseparable partners in crime, look no further. The credit for creating this image of Biriyani hogging, trigger happy terrorist goes to none other than Ujjwal Nikam who has revealed that Ajmal Kasab was a hard core terrorist trained not only in using automatic weapons but also in media management.

While the trial was underway, Ajmal Kasab paid a lot of attention to his body language before the cameras and one day he was found wiping tears while looking gloom. That image of him triggered off tv channel debates of how repentant he was and as a result an atmosphere of sympathy began to gain the ground.

To neutralise this sympathy wave in favour of cold blooded terrorist, Ujjwal Nikam floated the story in the media that Ajmal Kasab wanted to eat mutton Biriyani in jail. This declaration soon set off another round of tv channel debates. This time around the tone and tenure of debate had changed dramatically and the consensus was why to feed Biriyani to terrorists who killed the innocents mercilessly. 

Ujjwal Nikam deserves all the kudos for managing the media so brilliantly that loves to hold the kangaroo courts routinely and pronounce its victims guilty until proven innocent. Be that as it may, the cat is finally out of the bag. Ajmal Kasab had neither asked for Biriyani in jail nor he was served Biriyani. 

As it turns out now, mutton Biriyani for Ajmal Kasab was a clever spin to keep the focus on the bloody issue of terrorism and publishing the guilty who indulge in it. Ajmal Kasab has already met the fate that he so well deserved. Had Ujjwal Nikam not let out this Biriyani secret, it would have remained a secret forever. 

For letting out this secret, he is in the eye of storm. The social media enthusiasts are taking him to task. The Adarsh Liberals are creating so much of ruckus as if Ujjwal Nikam had suggested all Biriyani eaters are cold-blooded terrorists. They fail to see that this revelation cannot make any difference whatsoever now.

It is pertinent to note that Biriyani has till now not suffered any setback or dip in its popularity on account of Ujjwal Nikam’s cooked up story. Nor Government of the day has contemplated to move any motion to ban the cooking, eating, selling and serving of Biriyani in India. Then what the fuss is all about? 

Ujjwal Nikam also deserves fair share of credit for having seen the trial of Ajmal Kasab to its logical end. The country should have celebrated his contribution with more fervour. But alas when the news of hanging of Ajmal Kasab was broken, it was the then Home Minister Shinde hogging all the limelight before the TV cameras telling whoever cared to listen to him that even Madam Soniaji was not kept in the loop. As if the world believed him!

Well done, Ujjwal Nikam. You’ve shown that you were firm in your commitment to get justice to the nation and were always on high alert to fight vested interests who were rearing their ugly heads to deflect attention from the crimes of terrorists hellbent upon destabilising the country.

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In September this year when the prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi was on a visit to Japan, he had gifted the Bhagwad Gita to the Japanese Emperor. He had chosen to do so because he firmly believes that there’s no other valuable gift in the world to give than the Bhagwad Gita. He was well aware of the fact that this seemingly innocent move could earn him the wrath of the so-called secular brigade back home and there would be usual debates and panel discussions in the tv studios to criticise this symbolic move.

Nearly after three months this prediction of the PM Narendra Modi has come true. The Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has triggered a controversy by declaring that the Srimad Bhagwad Gita should be declared as Rashtriya Granth. The occasion was to celebrate Gita Prerana Mahotsav to mark the 5,151 years of this religious book at the Red Fort Maidan in the Capital yesterday.

Sushma Swaraj is a devout Gita reader. She finds the teachings of the Bhagwad Gita useful in dealing with the day to day challenges as External Affairs Minister. While addressing the gathering that was attended by the VHP President Ashok Singhal, she urged the people to recite 2 shlokas of the Bhagwad Gita every day. The Holy Book has as many as 700 shlokas and if one recites two shlokas everyday, in one year the recitation of the entire Bhagwad Gita can be completed.

The recitation of the Bhagwad Gita provides an opportunity to be in perfect sync with one’s inner self. This is precisely why the psychiatric illness like depression will never bother those who recite the Bhagwad Gita every day without fail. All she said was declaring the Bhagwad Gita as the national book was only a formality especially after the prime minister Narendra Modi gave the Bhagwad Gita to the U.S. President Barack Obama as a gift.

Needless to say that the utterances of the poor minister have drawn widespread flak from the secularists. As it is nowadays customary to accuse the NDA ministers of pushing the RSS agenda when they do or say something that threatens to challenge the status quo, there was no dearth of intellectuals from the secular brigade to attack Sushma Swaraj without wasting a moment.

Soon Twitter was abuzz with tweets criticising Swaraj for upholding and promoting the time tested teachings of the Bhagwad Gita. Here are a few samples of the kind of diatribe she invited from the left liberals.

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This type of fear mongering finds very few takers. The Modi-led NDA has completed six months in power. The way Narendra Modi has kicked the lethargic bureaucracy into action has won him many admirers who have now realised Modi means business. As was feared in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections March-April this year that if Modi came to power, the minorities would not feel both comfortable and safe under him.

But all these claims have proved to be bogus. People of India have got an active government at the Centre that is busy round the clock. People’s faith in governance in particular and political leaders in general is restored after the prime minister Modi’s large hearted approach to address his countrymen on regular occasions has touched all the right chords. Oblivious of the Opposition’s criticism, the Government has been busy fulfilling pre-poll promises.

But when his cabinet ministers speak in public, their statements come under harsh scrutiny. Attempts are made to create controversies by twisting those statements around to suit particular agendas. Last week Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti was under attack for her statement for which the PM Modi has censured her while urging the Opposition to allow the parliament to function. This week the guns are trained on Sushma Swaraj for praising the Bhagwad Gita even though she has made no controversial statements.

The Bhagwad Gita’s teachings are relevant in today’s stress-filled and cut-throat world. If the recitation of the Bhagwad Gita can help people fight modern ailments and provide inner peace, what’s the harm in suggesting that more and more people should recite the Gita? The Congress leader Manish Tewari claims that essence of the Gita lies in its substance and not in its symbolism. This is exactly what Sushma Swaraj has tried to articulate while holding forth on the ever relevant messages that the Srimad Bhagwad Gita contains.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that the PM Narendra Modi holds the Bhagwad Gita close to his heart as the most valuable gift in the world. That Mahatma Gandhi famously referred the Bhagwad Gita as his “spiritual dictionary”. When such great men hold the Bhagwad Gita in high esteem because they’ve deeply studied the essence of the teachings of the Gita, it makes little sense to oppose the Bhagwad Gita as our Rashtriya Granth. The sooner the Bhagwad Gita’s importance is realised and its recitation is encouraged, the better. The chase after materialism is alright as long as the nourishment to souls is taken care of. The Bhagwad Gita can provide that perfect balance.

Twitter is a happening place nowadays. Twitter is a barometer of the pulse of the nation. Many observers have compared Twitter to that famous tea shop in a typical village square where people gather to exchange the latest gossip. You can either love Twitter or hate Twitter but you cannot ignore Twitter.

The year 2013 saw many remarkable incidents happening on Twitter. There are a few tweeps who are decent, follow good manners and have strong views and opinions on almost everything under the sun. What’s even more interesting is these tweeps air their views on Twitter fearlessly and relentlessly. And knowingly or unknowingly they entertain or inform you through their witty tweets day in and day out.

Noopur is that tweep who enjoys to express her opinions on Twitter. She has got a lot of funny ideas too. She always makes it a point to interact with her followers. She is fearless. She is highly opinionated. She is fun but she knows her limits too. She is the most entertaining Twitter personality of 2013. Here’s my detailed interview with her. Read her insightful answers and follow her. She has nearly 1,500 followers but refuses to call herself a Twitter Celebrity.

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1. You’ve completed around three years on Twitter. And let me congratulate you for successfully transforming yourself from a girl next door to a Twitter celebrity whose tweets get retweets and responses in double digit, how does it feel?

Ans. I opened my account 3 years back, but i started tweeting only from July 2012, as i wanted to congratulate and wish good luck to our Indian team for London Olympics. I have never joined twitter to transform myself into a celebrity but only to lighten my mood and put my views on a social networking platform. I would like to believe that I am still the GIRL NEXT DOOR. I started my journey from zero followers and by playing twitter contests. For the first time I strongly expressed my opinion on #DelhiGangRape, the incident which – I feel – almost shattered the people of country. Post that it was India-Pakistan match and my tweets got recognised by many and I liked the way I got RT’s and responses from tweeps. My journey started from there.

2. As you’ve experienced so often that no longer TV is needed to know the breaking news. Twitter is where all big stories break regularly. Do you see this phenomenon growing in the years to come? Will more and more sensational stories break on Twitter first before capturing the imagination of the TV news anchors? If yes, is this good for the traditional reporting or journalism or does it have a serious competition and this is precisely it should reinvent itself?

Ans. Sometimes breaking of a big story on twitter might mislead people and spread rumours. I don’t consider Twitter as a source of breaking news. Also, few times strong stories fail. Twitter outrage is a fad. I am on Twitter but I still listen to DD News and read The Hindu newspaper in the morning. Now you can only judge how much competition it gives to the traditional source of news.

3. I have many a times noticed your tweets which are critical of cellular service providers or are creating awareness about some bad product or service or are questioning film critics for giving biased reviews of the just released flicks. Why do you like to speak up? Is the crusader in you angry all the time? Or is it because you know that Twitter will get you desired attention? People will hear you and those who are trying to spread misinformation will know that they cannot fool people as easily as that? Please tell my readers about Noopur the crusader.

Ans. I feel very disappointed with the customer service we get in India, not only in cellular service but also pizza delivery, poor quality of products and customer care person not speaking and responding properly. It is just annoying that we buy products trusting them and then chase the brand to help us out. Customer service in India is very rude and I think its only social media where we can reach the brand directly and can tell them where they are going wrong.

Coming to film reviews, yes I oppose biased reviews. I am not angry all the time neither I criticize everything. I liked Lootera, Bullett Raja, Lunchbox, Madras Cafe, etc a lot and wrote about them too. Whatever is the truth, it should be spoken out. And I’m of the opinion that every individual has her own views. I don’t do anything just to gain attention. In fact, to tell you the truth, I have regretted a lot many times when I had tweeted something insane and got noticed instantly.

4. On Twitter you seem to love 140 characters. Do you ever wish that tweets should not have this limit of 140 characters?

Ans. I love expressing myself through the written words. Apart from composing tweets, I have also written poems and articles. Getting yourself limited to 140 characters and airing your views accordingly is an art by itself to me.

5. When you are in a good mood, you have a lot of fun by tagging celebrities in your tweets asking them seemingly harmless but humorous question. Is it a technique to lift your mood or to make your followers smile? Or are you trying to figure out whether these celebrities handle their accounts on their own or outsource this job to their PRs? What’s your view?

Ans. I love getting replies from celebrities, who else wouldn’t love it? I remember getting reply from Amitabh Bachchan. When that had happened, the whole day I had been in the paradise. Asking funny and humorous questions – though looks stupid – lifts my mood. It may sound insane but honestly speaking I laugh at my own jokes sometimes after tweeting them. I like giving compliments to people. And if being funny makes others smile there is nothing wrong in it. It is indeed an honour that I made someone smile. I do sometimes try to figure out whether the handle is outsourced to the PR’s, but if a celebrity really want to connect with their fans and followers, they should take out sometime and spend that time with us. Not all of us are rude contrary to what they may like to believe.

6. What’s the secret formula to get followers? When tweeps ask for a follow back, what’s your strategy to say no?

Ans. Haha. I have never joined twitter to gain followers. Also my followers count has increased slowly but steadily. That said, I am happy that those who follow me and interact with me and support my views. There are many tweeps who ask for a follow back. If someone does so, I keep a check on their tweets and with the passage of time if i like their tweets, I do oblige them by following back.

7. With the general election round the corner, so many politicians and their supporters are joining Twitter. Do you think it will have any impact on the final outcome of the election?

Ans. No. All educated people are on twitter and are wise enough to understand what is right and what is wrong. Connecting to people is one thing and promoting politics is another.

8. Do you come across abusive trolls? How do you keep them in check? How do you keep your calm and don’t allow online abuse to affect you in any way?

Ans. Frankly, I don’t get many but if I get, I tend to ignore them. You cannot control abusive trolls. I don’t lose my temper but take it in a funny way. Sometimes this approach annoys the trolls more. Also, If you can’t handle the trolls, don’t troll and comment on others. Whats goes around comes around.

9. Being a Twitter celebrity, what’s your advice to people out there who want to join Twitter?

Ans. Join twitter to air your views and read what others tweet in a sporting way. And refrain from abusing others by masking your true self under the guise of anonymity.

10. Every day so many hashtags trend. Any favourite hashtags of yours? Any favourite tweets of yours would you like to share that received so many retweets and you would pick it up as the tweet of 2013?

Ans. #LetterToMyHair was one of the best hashtags of 2013. Two of my tweets are my personal favourites.

1. Actually in reality Pillow is your life partner.

2. In UP, bijli appears only in Bhojpuri songs. Rest is a myth there.

11. Finally, many tweeps accuse you of being a boy under the guise of a girl. What would you like to tell them? Would you also like to clarify something else or give some message to your followers?

Ans. I don’t want to give any explanation. I always feel astonished to see how others are interested in your personal life on social media. I enjoy reading whatever people infer about me.

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Title :- Prodigy Of Errors

Author :- Manisha Gupta

Publisher :- Partridge India (Penguin)

Pages :- 240

To tell the readers right at the beginning of this review of ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ that its writer Manisha Gupta is a hugely gifted and talented writer and you will enjoy reading her first work of fiction titled ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ will be akin to serving desert before the main course.

But such is the lucidity of Manisha Gupta’s prose that much as I hate, I’m complled to admit that this novel leaves the reader marvelling at the deft use of language and uncanny word plays that are ready to seduce the reader into the make believe world Manisha Gupta has created so masterfully between the pages of ‘Prodigy Of Errors’.

This novel tells the story of a girl next door Nitya. Nitya herself is the narrator and she is successful in grabbing her reader’s undivided attention in the first few pages only which is a huge achievement for any story-teller. Nitya is not a super woman. She is way below an average woman. Her life is full of goofy misunderaventures told through 28 chapters in a style that evokes both laughter and sadness in equal measure.

We find ourselves laughing at Nitya because the mistakes she committs are so silly. At the same time, we feel a twinge of sadness for this girl next door who somehow finds herself in no man’s land for no fault of hers most of the times. ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ has 240 pages and all these pages are full of funny and cantankerous characters but the heroine is unarguably Nitya whose life interests the reader the most almost at once.

I found this chapter 19 ‘In Exile with Daniel Sir’ the most hilarious. It describes Nitya’s first crush with her music teacher who doesn’t give her second glance and whose yearning for some other woman leaves Nutya hallucinating much to the amazement of the reader.

The strict father, moody husband, cunning roommates at the hostel, prankster friends, loneliness, assassination of a famous political leader followed by a retaliatory communal bloodbath and not to mention an overseas trip are what make ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ such a forceful and racy read. The punch at the end of each and every chapter makes the reader want to finish this novel as fast as possible.

Manisha Gupta comes across as a bold and unique novelist who has the guts to choose this type of subject and story line for her debut novel. Normally, when we are writing our first work of fiction, we tend to portray central characters as having all super natural powers to overcome any tough challenges. But Manisha Gupta surprises her reader by her simple yet in-your-face portrayal of not so larger-than-life Nitya who begins to tug at your heart strings by the time you reach the last page of ‘Prodigy Of Errors’. Do pick up this book. It’s worth going for.

The verdict is ‘Prodigy Of Errors’ is a highly recommended book to read and savour forever.

So the much awaited Bangalore Literature Festival is over. After attending it in December last year, I have been waiting for this year’s edition with my breath held. And now that it has come and gone in the blink of an eye, I want to ruminate over the power packed literature festival spread across three days.

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As a struggling writer, I learnt many things out of this edition of literature festival in my city. The organisers had done an absolutely fantastic job of putting together sessions ranging from poetry to cinema to theatres to best selling author phenomenon to history to erotica. So many speakers well-known as well as wannabes were a part of this special event. It was also heartening to see young, enthusiastic and highly energetic volunteers who were all the time on their toes to meet with any demands.

The venue is lush green Crowne Plaza at Electronic City far from the hustles and bustles of the city. As many as three wide stages (Mysore Park, Lawn Bagh and Makkala Koota) are awaiting the footfalls of famous writers, poets, poetesses, film makers, historians, TV news anchors and best selling writers. There is a food court dishing out South Indian delicacies at quite reasonable rates. The last kiosk sells chilled beer in mugs and there are funky looking youngsters at a stall before KingFisher who keep whispering waffles waffles to passers by in some strange voice. Till the last moment I cannot understand what the fuss over waffles is all about.

What attracts me the most is a tent with a table and chair in the middle overlooking a lake behind Mysore Park. This tent is called Author Interaction Desk where you can interact (pose for photographs) with authors while they sign your copies of their books. The books are available with Oxford Book Stores tucked away in a large hall and to go there you should take a wooden bridge over the lake. The settings are surreal.

After all, great minds are supposed to meet and interact and engage the audience in stimulating discussions. Suffice it to say that the atmosphere is electrifying with the city’s glitterati out in full force right from T Mohandas Pai to Kiran Shaw.

I am very much interested in listening to wannabe best selling authors. I want to know how they promote their books and become best selling authors. I want to pick up a few tricks of trade from them so that I can promote my e-novella Fatal Admiration successfully and maybe become a best selling writer like them.

Keeping this sole aim in mind, I arrive in Literature Festival without any company. A single young man like me is seen as a potential trouble maker. So wherever I go and sit, I notice the guy or girl sitting next to me snigger in disgust.

To get over this, I decide to live tweet the proceedings using my phone. Little do I know that the decision to live tweet all these happenings would cost me as many as fifteen precious followers. Having said that I did live tweet as much as I could. Now coming to the learnings that I can proudly boast of. They are as follow:-

A fiction writer is a specially gifted person who can imagine things vividly and put them down on a piece of paper in a convincing manner. This self belief is extremely essential to survive as a writer in this age of cut throat competition.

You should be a rich person. Only rich people can write and produce quality prose and their books have better chances of making it to the best seller’s list.

You should greet strangers as if you’ve known them since donkey’s years and pose with them for photographs beaming at the cameras. This gesture is essential to increase the visibility of both writer and his/her books. This also indicates that you are this approachable writer who loves people and like to be surrounded by them.

Who is a best selling writer? What’s a best selling book?

What I notice is every writer believes that he/she is a best selling writer and the book that he/she has written is exceptionally good and it has every chance of making it to the best seller’s list. I know the secret behind this firm belief. I’m not talking about Chetan Bhagats, Amish Tripathis, Ashwin Sanghis and Shobhaa Des. I’m talking about relatively unknown writers like yours truly.

There’s a somewhat intricate process to become a published writer. A hitherto unknown writer’s book has reached the book stores because the publisher has seen a lot of potential in that book. But it so happens that economy is slow and the budget to launch new writers is under severe constraints. Since the book is very special and it has the potential to break all the records, the publisher doesn’t want to disappoint the writer only if the writer can bear or share the cost of printing his/her baby.

The publisher is smart enough to convince the writer that the book will make a huge profit from which the writer will easily recover the cost of printing. The writer falls for it because he believes in what he has written. The book comes out and is available at all major book stores across the country.

It is only available. It is not moving. The publisher happens to be busy with other book launches. There’s no time to promote or market this particular book. So again it is the writer’s duty to take his special book to the readers out there and make it a best selling book.

The writer has a never say die attitude. He cannot accept the defeat without putting up a fight so he decides to go all out to promote his book. He organises book launches in two or three major cities hoping readers will throng the venue to catch a glimpse of him. He will be sitting on a table next to a pile of his books behind which there will be a long queue of readers holding their copies of his book in their hands waiting for him to sign them for them.

Then the writer decides to visit lit fests where he is a part of a panel comprising of three or four writers like him. Before the panel discussion there is a book launch in front of bored audience. After the book launch the discussion starts where the agenda is to sneak in the title of the special book as many times as possible.

If the writer is lucky enough, he or she gets to read a chapter or two from his/her book before the audience. If not so, then bravado is the greatest weapon. For example, I heard one best selling writer say on the stage that in between he had some unexpected break from his routine assignment. It was during this break he chanced upon an idea to write this best selling book. The wife and friends suggested that he sent the manuscript to publishers. He did that and bingo within next two weeks as many as three publishers were ready to publish that book. Oh really?

If only it was that easy.

Then some best selling writers make it a point to tell people from that platform that they are in such a such a big position in such a such a big MNC. The publishing of best selling books have made them humble. Their senior position was making them arrogant. Now thanks to this success in the publishing industry, they are back to being humble. What’s the underlying message? Only people working in the senior positions at MNCs can write best selling books. Simple.

And you know what? The book that they’ve written is of completely different genre and they have invented that particular genre. Now I am neither at a senior position with an MNC nor I know to pronounce genre properly, so I decide to get a life.

Then there’s the panel discussion of erotic writers. Whenever there’s a mention of Cs and Ps and Fs, they giggle erotically before proceeding to read the next verse or sentence. It’s getting hotter by the minute so I decide to stretch my feet and notice this smartly dressed wannabe best selling writer who has read steamy hot chapter from his novel in the previous session standing by the paav bhaaji kiosk waiting for paav bhaaji to arrive with a question mark on his face. That question mark tells me that after his session nobody had approached poor writer in that tent down there for autographs and he was wondering why what had happened had happened.

Feeling sorry for him, I take a U turn and I notice my favourite columnist who is smartly dressed for the occasion standing under a tree on a path leading to Mysore Park locked in conversation with some important person. I’m overwhelmed by a strong desire to say hi and shake hands with me. So I go and stand a little away from him trying to catch his eye without interrupting their conversation.

But he doesn’t notice me. I refuse to budge. Minutes pass and then a beautiful lady happens to walk past looking at them. Suddenly that important man turns around and tells her, “look who is here. Remember you like to read a column from so and so magazine? He is the sub editor of that magazine.” The lady goes, “Oh my god, really? I cannot believe.”

Seeing their warmth, I edge away and suddenly remember where my sons are. It is the Sunday final day of this literary extravaganza and they’ve joined me and I haven’t seen them last in a coupe of hours. I head out to Makkala Koota only to find them hunched over a piece of paper with pencils in their hands. They are drawing the pictures of ghosts and trying to write a story with dreams in their eyes.

My feet are wobbly. I don’t want them to notice me standing around so I back out wiping tears from my eyes hoping that their stories will find takers if and when they become writers. Maybe yes, who knows?

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