Archive for the ‘Notes to Self’ Category

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.


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?

The holy month of Ramzan is here. This is ninth month of Islamic Calendar. The month of Ramzan is special to the followers of Islam worldwide in more ways than one. Whenever the month of Ramzan arrives, people think that during this month Muslims observe fasts. In other words, a person who is observing fast doesn’t take food and drink water from the sun rise until the sun set.

In theory this is true. During fast, the observer of fast must neither eat nor drink anything. But there’s still more. The Arabic word for “fasting” is “sawm.” The literal meaning of this word is “to refrain.” To elaborate further, fasting is not only refrain from food and drink but also refraining from evil actions, thoughts and words.

The person who is observing fast must offer prayers five times a day. He must not look at unlawful things. His hands must stay from committing unlawful activities. He must not indulge in gossiping or bad mouthing others. Since this month is a time of enhanced devotion and prayers, one is supposed to refrain from sexual relations and behaviour. In a nutshell, the entire body (not just mouth) must observe the fast.

The purpose of this holy month is to redirect the heart away from the worldly activities and reevaluate one’s life vis-a-vis the teachings of Islam, and thereby achieve cleansing or purification of the soul.

This holy month teaches Muslims self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and empathy for the underprivileged. This month encourages acts of generosity and compulsory charity known as Zaka’at.

Why is Ramzan the most sacred month in Islamic Calendar? It was during this month that the prophet Mohammed received revelations of the holy Quran. And this is precisely why the repeated reciting of the Quran during Ramzan is highly recommended.

Ramzan Mubarak.

We live in stranger times. Socializing on the social networking sites has sadly become all about poking fun at politicians, leaders, film-actors, cricketers, journalists and certain communities.

There’s a parallel universe called Twitter. The inhabitants of this universe are fondly known as tweeple or tweeps. What do these tweeps do? Most of the times they express their ideas on the current affairs. For example:-

  • Narendra Modi should be the next prime minister of India.
  • MMS is taking the country back to the stone age.
  • Team Anna is misguided and its intentions are not noble.
  • Satyameva Jayate is a money making exercise for the actor-turned-crusader Aamir Khan.
  • Shah Rukh Khan is a drug addict who has got an attitude problem.
  • Jr. Mallya is a rich brat with shaky morals who has no right to lecture how the future wives should behave.
  • Sachin Tendulkar should not become the Rajya Sabha MP under this corrupt government.

The list is endless. Hankering after the number of followers, Re-tweets and celebrity bashing are the main objectives. Everyday some or other famous personality becomes the butt of ridicule and victim of endless silly jokes lampooning him or her.

What does all this mean? What do these tweeps gain? Except a few new followers, Re-tweets and ego satisfaction there’s hardly anything else that they may gain.

The more intriguing aspect of this parallel universe is almost every famous person is a villain. It is as if we forget the fact that in the first place it is we the people who have made that person famous. Then why should we have any ill-will feelings towards that famous person aka celebrity?

Today Twitter verified Sagarika Ghose’s account and the entire twitterverse rose up in arms against her. Soon all kinds of jokes lampooning poor Sagarika began to do the rounds on twitter.

What happens when Twitter verifies your account? It is a sign of the fact that you’ve arrived on Twitter. The symbol that one’s Twitter account is verified is something akin to the MP’s car with a red beacon atop. It signifies that you are a VIP on Twitter, and nothing else.

Sagarika Ghose is one of the high profile journalists with quite a good number of followers on Twitter. If Twitter has deemed it fit to verify her account and bless it with that prestigious symbol of verified next to her name on her Twitter page, what’s the big deal?

What will happen when the favourite whipping boy of Twitter Kamaal R Khan’s account gets verified? Will the humour cross all the limits? How will tweeps deal with the not-so-politically-correct tweets emanating from the verified account of Kamaal R Khan?

One also shudders at the thought what will happen when Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister of India? How will the Modi brigade celebrate that occasion on Twitter? Maybe by blocking every anti-Modi tweeple?

There’s a clear cut divide along the caste and religion lines in the country. Some people object to the very term ‘secular’ which according to them has come to mean the appeasement of minorities. There are many people who  don’t like Muslims.

In this age of social media what is scarier is the fact that now people are spiting venom against Muslims openly. Nobody can see their faces since they’re tweeting from the safe cocoons of their houses and therefore they don’t mind expressing their hatred against Muslims without any reservations.

Is so much freedom of expression vis-a-vis Twitter or Facebook a bane or a boon? Another recent example that comes to mind is a tweet from someone whom I’ve come to hugely admire and respect on Twitter.

Mr. Kanchan Gupta is a well-known media personality and when he tweeted, “Mumbaikars: How tough is it for Muslims to find flats? True or part of fake victimhood narrative?” He was referring to an article published in The Hindu dated 03/06/2012. This tweet drew a sharp response from Mrs. Atiya Zaidi and soon there were heated arguments between the two idols whose tweets I immensely enjoy.

The Twitter is a perfect barometer to know which way the wind is blowing. It’s depressing to know that the Muslims are disliked so much and even more depressing is to know that nowadays people are expressing it on public forums. Why and how has the gulf between the two communities become so wide all of a sudden?

When the members of intelligentsia become so vocal about their dislike of a particular community, what hopes or expectations can one have from the common men? Twitter opens our eyes to a scary reality if not addressed properly on time, nobody can complain that there were no warning signals.

May the peace prevail forever. Amen.







Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has achieved everything at such a young age. Many of his achievements are so rare and extraordinary in nature that most of us cannot even think of achieving them in our dreams. He has not only broken all the records on the cricket ground but  also set many new records. In every sense of the word he is the God of cricket.

Then why this outrage against someone upon whom we have bestowed the sobriquet of God so adoringly? Sachin Tendulkar is an extremely smart icon of the contemporary India. He is one of those rare living legends who has never courted any controversies in his career spanning across a couple of decades. His integrity is beyond reproach. His level of commitment speaks for itself. If he wants to become the Rajya Sabha MP, let him become. It is a matter of his personal choice.



Quite surprisingly those who claim to be the fans of Sachin Tendulkar have gone on a rampage in the cyberspace with a cry of their idol being used as a pawn in the great game of politics. The problem is it is the Congress which has nominated him as the Rajya Sabha MP. In the recent times, the Congress-led UPA government has been at the receiving end for almost everything under the sun. The government has been battling against the corruption charges. The leaders are often seen squabbling in public and to the party’s embarrassment coming out with the contradictory statements.

Many blame this government for muzzling Team Anna’s anti-corruption movement that had the massive popular support and was promising to root out the corruption completely by introducing the Jan Lokapal. The devil lies in these details here. According to those who are protesting the master blaster has committed a grave sin by accepting the nomination as the Rajya Sabha PM from such a corrupt government. And this is why many fans have begun to paint him with the same brush as they paint this corrupt government.

His former colleagues too have expressed concern over such a move the God of cricket seems determined to make. The path that he is contemplating is fraught with many dangers and this may harm his status and popularity adversely. There’s nothing wrong in what they are saying publicly. Even Sachin Tendulkar knows that the politics is a dirty game and the politicians are hated by one and all in our country although we cannot do without them.

Sachin Tendulkar knows what he is doing. He has always known what he has done in the past. When he completed his hundredth hundred, rumours were rife that he was going to hang his boots. But he surprised everyone by saying that there was still a lot of cricket left in him and the retirement was the last thing on his mind. This goes to show how well the world knows Sachin Tendulkar.

All said and done, every cricket lover has followed Sachin’s on and off field heroics closely ever since he made his debut. But nobody can claim to know Sachin Tendulkar fully. He is one person who holds his cards close to his chest. Politics is one field that tends to attract every celebrity in some way after he or she has achieved everything and the popularity is all time high.

Sachin Tendulkar rarely does anything without thinking the matter thoroughly. His decision to join the Rajya Sabha as an MP too must have undergone vigorous thinking before the final call. Who knows he has got some grand vision for the sporting fraternity? Who knows he has some plans up his sleeve that he wants to share with his countrymen as an MP? He has not joined the Congress or any other political party for the sake of becoming a CM or PM. Nor he has vowed to support or campaign for any political outfit in the upcoming elections.

Then what has got his fans’ knickers in a twist? Why are they suddenly turning into foes with the hashtag #UnfollowSachin on twitter and other forms of venomous abuses against him? Instead of wishing him all the best for the new career he has chosen for himself, why subject him to unnecessary character assassination? He is not some retired and out-of-work cricketer who has  nothing else to do and therefore he has decided to  join politics.

He deserves a lot of praise for becoming the MP when he is still playing and looks forward to taking an active part in the next World Cup too. When I think of his desire to serve the people of this country selflessly after entertaining them for so many years, the admiration grows for him by leaps and bounds. He is surely going to do justice to what he has taken up and won’t merely end up as an ornamental MP as some are suggesting.

As far as the controversies go, he has got years of experience behind him and he knows how to steer clear of them. All year round he is busy playing cricket and how he is going to be able to attend the sessions of parliament and take part in the proceedings to share his vision. Well, to this hypothetical theory nobody can give convincing answer until the man is seen in action inside the parliament.

This stint as the Rajya Sabha MP he fully deserves and moreover going by his track record, the God is going to come out smelling of roses in this endeavour as well. All the best, Sachin.



The Bangaloreans are in for a treat today. It has been raining in Bangalore. What a pleasant weather the rains have brought along with them! Can it get any better than this? Perhaps no. Till yesterday it had been hot and humid. The sun was harsh. But today it has gone missing somewhere behind the dark clouds that have been looming large above Bangalore.

To add to the charm further, the cool wind is blowing. The tiny drops of rains are feeling so cold against the body that there’s a palpable relief on the face of every Bangalorean who has been braving the heat and humidity for over past month now. Every Bangalorean is expressing joy at the unexpected yet much needed rains and are doing whatever they can to welcome them with open arms.

Nobody is ruing the fact that the rains may not allow the game between RCB and CSK at Chinnaswamy Stadium. The happiness that is pouring through the rains is far greater than fours and sixes a Gayle innings might induce. There are puddles everywhere. Everybody wants a slice of this perfect weather. This is why one can see people out on the roads and streets.

The traffic is at its peak as usual. But the cold weather has miraculously calmed down the hot tempers the motorists usually subject themselves to. There is smile everywhere. The relief is in the air as the Bangaloreans bite into the the tempting looking ice-cream cups or sip the smoking hot cups of coffee while exchanging familiar nudge-nudge wink-wink glances at one another.

Everybody wants the rains to stay as long as they want to so that the earth reeling under the brutal sun can quench her thirst. The household fans are taking much needed break with their blades having grown tired of manufacturing air for their masters. The ACs have fallen silent as the windows are open and they are attracting cool breeze along with untamed drops of rains.

The rains, the dark clouds and the wind – if put together – can be a deadly combination for those who want to relax and have a good time. Their combined effect has never felt so enchanting as this before. Long live Bangalore weather for having cheered us up with these heavenly drops of rains.

Poor Shah Rukh Khan gets detained in the US airport and back home our publicity hungry politicians get their knickers in a twist. Whenever this happens, there is this huge media uproar that follows. The kind of prime time this story grabs in the media is an eyesore to these media savvy politicians who think it’s their birthright to be “live” on every news channels simultaneously especially during the prime time.

This is why Rahul Gandhi borrowed Shah Rukh Khan’s epic line “My Name Is Khan and I am not a terrorist” to grab some eye balls for himself. This time he didn’t consult his script writer and went hammer and tongue with the line “My name is Rahul Gandhi and I am a Brahmin” daring his detractors to oppose him. Sure enough the main opposition party of India took the bait and added fuel to the fire by trying to take potshots at this Brahmin remark of the young(?) scion of the ruling party. As soon as that happened, Rahul Gandhi began to smile to himself for luring the enemy to fall into the pit dug exclusively for them.

While the Brahmin controversy was brewing, Mamata Banerjee did her bit to take her revenge on the US authorities for having detained the Poschim Bongla Brand Ambassador Shah Rukh Khan. She did so in style. She had a cartoonist arrest for mocking at her. It was surely a case of mistaken identity. She thought the cartoonist was the cousin of the immigrant officer from the US who had detained Shah Rukh Khan. Didi was certainly looking forward to killing two birds with one stone. But the media would have none of it and insisted on reporting the arrest of the cartoonist purely on the basis of poor professor having shown disrespect to Didi in his cartoons.

Right from Shah Rukh Khan to Rahul Gandhi to Mamata Banerjee to the cartoonist received their fair share of publicity. Nobody is complaining at the way these publicity stunts turned out to be. Shah Rukh Khan keeps saying that the police of twelve countries have been on a look-out for him. Therefore, it was natural for him to get detained at the USA Airport. The students of Yale University where he was due to give a speech can certainly wait for the King Khan to appear albeit a few hours late.

Rahul Gandhi’s charisma has gone to Karishma Kapoor for brushing up. It will only come back to him before the general elections of 2014. Till such time poor scion is left with whatever famous lines from legends his mother has written in a note-book and handed him over to learn by heart. He can make a few situational changes in those lines to manufacture a controversy as this is the only way media is going to take note of him.

Mamata Banerjee has  been talking about a change for quite some time. Now the people of her state has realised what change she has been talking about. There’s nobody who can say anything slightly displeasing to Didi and get away. The law will soon catch up. Not only the police will arrest the offenders but Didi’s personal army of supporters will also rough up the offenders before the police whisk away the culprits. Keeping all these things in mind some writers and filmmakers have got busy making an epic that depicts Didi as the empress of Asia so that no harm can come their way in case she were to become the PM or the President.

Shah Rukh Khan doesn’t need any controversy to become the bigger star than he already is. It is quite unfortunate that people manufacture controversies using the King Khan’s name for their own personal gains. Last heard, SRK was contemplating applying for the patent law on controversies that are going to be generated using his own name. He and he alone will have exclusive rights on all those controversies in which the name Shah Rukh Khan appears.

The only solution to avoid publicity hungry film actors and politicians is to stay away from all this by watching IPL5 that lacks any excitement with all geriatric players participating in it. Since people take vicarious pleasure in manufacturing controversies and cracking jokes on the so-called successful people, the most sensible thing to do is forget all these controversies because we can never know which new controversy is going to pop up after every one hour.


Dear Twitter,

Today everybody is congratulating you for turning a six years old baby. I too want to congratulate you. But I don’t want to do so in 140 characters since I have a lot to say to you. I don’t know whether you will read what I write for you. There’s no harm in trying, is there? Who knows you might sit up and take notice?

You are six years old but my love-affair with you is only two years old. Let me tell you (I know many people have told you before what I’m going to say now) that you are a great place to be. You brought me face to face with countless people I admire and long to be with. I had never imagined in my wildest dream that one day I would meet them. So what if I can’t see their faces? Reading what they share on you is more than enough for me since it gives me a fair idea about their personalities.

I spend time on you to feel good. There are lots of funny people whose tweets lift my mood and make my day. I am sure you know them. In case you don’t know them, they are Gabbar Singh, Ramesh Srivat, Fake IPL Player, Satan Bhagat, Faking News, Namrata Joshi, Ghanta Guy, Joydas, Sarcasan and how can I forget Kamal R Khan? Their perky tweets leave a goofy smile although I envy their fan following on you and always lament the fact that I don’t have as many followers as they have. More on this later.

I enjoy reading the tweets of high profile media personalities like Rajdeep Sardesai, Sachin Kalbag, Nikhil Waghle, Kanchan Gupta, B Dutt, Sagarika Ghose, Bhupendra Chaubey, Dibang, Diptosh Majumdar, Ayaz Memon and supremely talented Pritish Nandy a lot. They always inform their followers on the latest news doing the round and leave them with some or other food for thoughts. The whole nation waits for Rajdeep Sardesai’s good night tweets. It is only after he wishes good night to his followers, the nation heaves a sigh of relief and goes to bed.

Please don’t ask me to comment on the film industry wallahs. They are on you to promote their upcoming flicks without giving much thought about their crazy followers with the sole exceptions of Gul Panag and Anupam Kher who are kind enough to mention their fans in their replies. But they are all big people. Talking about them is like spitting on the sky. The less said abut them, the better it is.

You know what else? You are always teaching me new expressions. One example is “that awkward moment”. I love “that awkward moment”. Thank you for this one expression as it describes the mood or situation aptly if used appropriately. What to say about your list of trending topics! I mean I am speechless. Had there been no list of trending topics on you, this blog would have been dead by now. It’s only thanks to the list of trending topics, I have managed to write sixty plus posts.

Having given you the gist of all the positive qualities you have, let me bring to your notice some of the drawbacks and challenges I encounter on you. Well, it so happens that those who have followers on you indeed have extremely good time. Their TL is always overflowing with the mentions they receive from their followers. But those who don’t have followers begin to feel like in no man’s land after sometime. They heavily rely upon someone with good number of followers to retweet their tweets to spread the information. Not everybody is kind enough to retweet. If you ask someone to follow you or retweet your tweets, you are bound to become a butt of joke.

I would like to suggest that you should come out with a set of guidelines to follow certain twitter etiquette so that tweeple with relatively unknown background don’t feel that lonely. Another thing is when you disagree with some tweets and express your disagreement, you get labeled as troll. Isn’t it unfair? Ultimately who should have the right to decide who is a troll and who is a decent tweeple?

On your sixth birthday I am giving you some food for thought.  Please ponder over the suggestions I have given and see if you can come out with something useful. Meanwhile have a rocking birthday. Once again thanking you for being there for me. Whenever I’ve looked up to you in melancholic times, you’ve brought me smiles within no time.

I wish I can thank you enough.

Love as always,

Yours Truly,

A Twitter Fan From India.


Wow....!!! This Much Love.....!!!!

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