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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.

The time is ten am. There is no one in the house. Ravi is all alone. His mind is wandering here and there. All through the previous night he couldn’t sleep a wink. His mind is busy thinking thoughts that can get him lynched if, by mistake also, he ends up sharing with anyone.

He is restless. He is helpless. He is powerless and has no clue as to how he should get rid of those ideas that have been tormenting him since past twelve hours.

Deepa is someone whom he cannot put out of his mind. Deepa is always in his thoughts no matter where he is and what he is doing. She has become such an infatuation that has, of late, begun to border on the obsession.

She is a sweet girl of twenty-five with an extraordinary smile that can light up the entire world. Her sparkling eyes are so beautiful that they can make you forget all your worries in an instant. Her voice is so sweet that it can heal any wounds without applying any ointment. She has all that a young guy like Ravi expects a modern girl to possess.

Killer looks with intelligence. Sense of humour with innocence. Sense of fashion with a touch of modernity. And much more.

The only unfortunate part of Ravi-Deepa saga is Deepa has no feelings for Ravi whatsoever. However, she is aware of Ravi’s feelings for her who, once upon a time, had tried his best to bring her around in vain.

The entire episode had ended up with a lot of heart burns and there is no way Ravi can seek redemption from whatever his persuasive skills had inflicted in a distant past.

Though Ravi pretends to have forgotten her, in his heart of hearts he still thinks her thoughts and firmly believes that the day is not far when Deepa is going to be in his arms. How that turn around can happen is one question the answer to which Ravi hopes to get through some mysterious way while he is fast asleep.

He has a firm belief whereas Deepa has stubborn nature.

After five years, previous evening Ravi and Deepa come face to face with each other in the most unexpected way. At a shopping mall, Ravi has gone to pick up some grocery items. To her surprise, he finds Deepa also there whom he fails to recognise initially as she has gained a little weight.

Ravi thinks that his memory is playing tricks on his mind and tries to dismiss the thought from his mind when Deepa’s phone blares out the ring tone “Mere mun yeah bata de tu, kis aur chala hai tu…”, she presses the answer button and whispers a sweet hello into her cell phone. Both the ring tone and that hello convince him that it is indeed Deepa whom he is seeing. The moment he realizes who is inches away from him, he loses the sense of time and place.

Ravi cannot recall what else she speaks into the phone as the sound of her soft hello transports him to a dream land where only Deepa and he live and for a living they do nothing. To while away their time they make love round the clock. And to quench their hunger and thirst they eat fruits and drink water from a stream flowing in their garden. When they grow bored, Ravi writes poems and romantic stories and reads them out to her. This is all they do in that dream land.

The dream lasts only a few minutes as he soon relises that he is in the way blocking movement of shoppers in the grocery section.

From the toiletry shelves, Deepa picks up soaps and shampoo bottle and heads to the billing counter. While walking past Ravi – whom she has noticed at last and is showing no signs of recognition let alone surprise – she hums sweetly “Thoda sa pyaar hua hai… thoda hai baaki……”

Ravi is losing his mind. He cannot believe what he hears. Is the song a covert message that she is ready for him now? Ravi gets a dull ache in his forehead and presses it with his fingers. He gets so overcome by what has happened just then that without shopping for anything he saunters out of the mall hoping to catch a glimpse of Deepa who too may be on her way out after paying.

There is no such thing waiting to happen as Ravi throws nervous glances around desperately searching for Deepa who is nowhere to be seen.

He gives up and goes home unable to get rid of the mini storm that unexpected run-in with Deepa rages on in his mind. She has changed completely. She has become more dignified with the passage of time. She is dressed up also so fashionably. Those white leggings and printed frock are making her look that way or has she really gained weight? All these thoughts keep racing across his mind as “thoda sa pyaar hua hai..thoda hai baaki” keeps reverberating in his head.

He cannot sleep however hard he tries. His mind keeps going back and forth to Deepa and her song. What does it mean? Who called her? Why that ring tone? Is she into some relationship? Has she found someone nice at last? Is she going to be happy  with him? What will happen to him? What will happen to his dreams? Will they remain merely dreams?

He keeps raking up his brains thinking all such torturous thoughts. He doesn’t know when he falls asleep.

In his sleep, he sees a dream. The ocean waves are rising and falling. The sun is burning into the sea. The beach is deserted. But somewhere far away there is a ship that looks like a tiny dot from the distance. Deepa and he are walking slowly in the direction where the ship is anchored.

She is wearing pink leggings with a black embroidered top. They are walking hand in hand. Their fingers are intertwined. The sweat beads keep appearing on Deepa’s forehead. From time to time Ravi wipes them with his handkerchief and kisses her forehead as they keep walking. In the background, “thoda sa pyaar hua hai….thoda hai baaki” is playing as the ocean waves rise and fall in perfect synchrony.

They both look content and perfectly at peach with each other. They are going away somewhere. The ship is waiting to take them on board. Once they climb into the ship, it will set sailing and transport them to a land where the pure love gets celebrated day in and day out.

Finally they reach where the ship is anchored. They look into each others’  eyes before climbing up into the ship. They smile and say I love you simultaneously to each other. When they realize what has happened, they laugh and start kissing each others’ lips. Now “thoda sa pyaar hua hai… thoda hai baaki…”. is playing at full volume.

At this juncture, Ravi’s dream comes to an end as he wakes up from the sleep sweating profusely. He looks at the time on his cell phone. It is four am. What is she doing right now? Is she also seeing the same dream as I saw just now? Has she also woken up sweating the way I did? He has no answers and only questions. Feeling frustrated he types out an email on his cell phone addressed to Deepa. It reads.

 Hello Deepa,

     I am extremely sorry for what happened five years ago. Can we bury the past and start talking once again? I promise to behave respectfully with you. Please trust me.

     Ravi.

He doesn’t have the courage to send that email so he discards the draft.  He tries to return to sleep.

Next day it is five minutes past ten am as he sits at a plastic chair in the living room staring at the TV screen that is not turned on. He doesn’t know how to get rid of that mental state. He hopes secretly that it will leave him alone soon so that he can get up and go to the duty.

He has lost appetite. He just wants to sit in silence as the words “thoda sa pyaar hua hai….thoda hai baaki” keep playing somewhere in the background.

The door bell rings. He gets up unwillingly to open the door expecting the milk man. When he opens the door, he cannot believe what he sees.

Deepa is standing and smiling that powerful smile capable of melting the whole snow mountain. Before Ravi can pull himself together, she says, “Hello, good morning. Can I step in for a minute?”

Ravi steps aside to let her in without speaking a word. The same brand of perfume from five years ago she is wearing. Her choice has remained unchanged.

Ravi closes the door behind and turns around to see Deepa already seated on his plastic chair. He walks past her to the refrigerator to fetch her water. While pouring the water into a glass from the bottle, he nervously looks in the direction of Deepa who is staring at the screen of the switched off TV with a remote in her hand. She is wearing those pink leggings and black embroidered top from the dream.

Ravi’s heart is beating fast. The whole situation feels surreal.

Finally he is standing in front of her holding the glass of water. He wants to smile at her but cannot bring himself to smile. He is way too nervous for that.

She holds his hand that is holding the glass of water and says, “Ravi, now I realize that how much you love me.” She goes on after blinking at him naughtily,  “I cannot live without you. I want to be your friend, soul-mate and take a long walk down some sunny beach. You can text message and call me any time and become my friend on FB. You can even talk to me in private. I won’t breathe one word about it to anyone. Now come on. Stop having that far away look on your face and smile at me.”

The time comes to a standstill as these words strike against Ravi’s ear drums and then go on to reverberate in his head. She takes the glass from his hand, gulps the water down. While handing him back the glass, she closes his eyes and starts singing softly, “Thoda sa pyaar hua hai….. thoda hai baaki…..”

The End.

 

 

There are many talented heroines around. The show business is one such cruel business that demands one’s pound of flesh day in and day out. Nowadays it is becoming increasingly difficult for the celebs to remain in the limelight with so many juicy stories making their way into the Breaking News category.

Considering all the challenges apart from pros and cons of being a public figure, there is one celebrity who has managed to keep her head above the water. She is the very bold and beautiful, one and only Bhairavi Goswami. Recently she has been in the news following the release of her latest erotic thriller “Hate Story”. My respect for her is growing by day as I go through the retweets after retweets admiring her boldness complete with the references to the certain parts of the female anatomy.

Bhairavi Goswami has what it takes to be. She has the looks to kill and the loads of attitude – enough to convince anybody that she is a down to earth sex bomb who won’t turn her  nose up at the mention of the unmentionable body parts. She has no double standards or holier-than-thou approach when it comes to the oomph factor. Therefore it is not surprising to see the list of her admirers growing by the day.

The most outstanding quality of Bhairavi Goswami’s charisma is her ability to connect to the masses without coming across as someone who is fake and does what she’s doing for the sake of publicity. There’s pure sincerity in whatever she does be it rewarding the fans by retweeting their tweets or sharing her pictures to create excitement. At no point of time one gets the impression that she is promoting herself or her upcoming films.

The reason for such positive vibes is she believes in entertaining the masses without any artificial barriers. She reaches out to the fans in a more direct way so as to leave them delighted beyond words. All her contemporaries should learn a few tricks from her book with respect to the PR vis-a-vis the subtle art of self-promotion.

Her bio reads that Bhairavi is uncut, unedited and unapologetic. Now rarely there is anybody who carries all these three attributes with as much panache as Bhairavi does. There is a very thin line between being bold and being vulgar. Bhairavi knows not to cross that line with the caution of a seasoned professional. There have been many heroines in the past who had earned the sobriquets like “Sex Bomb” and “Sex Symbol”. But none of them has been able to carry them off so well as Bhairavi does.

She has become the hottie with a golden heart within no time. After Zeenat Aman and Mandakini, India had been in search of a genuine sex symbol. In between the likes of Bipashas and Mallikas came and went. None of them could capture the imagination of the entire nation for a long time. For a brief period of time, Rakhi Sawant tried to flirt her way into the nation’s consciousness. But the fans could see through her cheap gimmicks and soon she ended up as the butt of ridicule.

But Bhairavi Goswami is here to stay. What makes her tick (apart from her killer looks) is her pragmatic approach to handle her stardom in a balanced manner. She is always well-behaved. Hardly you come across fans complaining about her tantrums or mood swings. She has been gifted with a very understanding temperament that helps her keep her  feet on the ground. She knows the fame is transient. She ought to make the most of it as long as it lasts.

Perhaps this is what explains her calm and mature responses to the fans’ admiration for her body bordering on lust. She is aware of her USP and that’s why she wants to flaunt it boldly. Lest her fans should  be under the impression that their “Dream Girl” exists only on the celluloid that in turn exists in the darkness of the multiplexes or cinema halls. Once they step out, she is like the dream that evaporated when the eyes opened. She knows that she has successfully become the Dream Girl but the challenge is not to give away that coveted place to any of her competitors.

She is on the right path. India is mature enough to admire and appreciate the strategy of self-promotion Bhairavi Goswami has adopted. As long as she keeps her head on her shoulder, she will grown only from strength to strength. That’s Bhairavi Goswami for you – the uncut, unedited and unapologetic.

Ninety-nine out of hundred men desire women. But when any man is asked whether he has any idea of what the women want, he may scratch his head to come out with the correct answers. There are few men who have successfully figured out as to what the women want and they are a big hit with the women. At any given point of time they have women falling all over them. But not all the men have this gift of charming the fairer sex. Blessed are those who have this important and essential gift of sweeping women off their feet.

A woman is really complicated to understand. This is what most of the men are told in their childhood. How far it is true nobody can say. However the above mentioned statement is not completely without its merits. Some people struggle throughout their lives dealing with women. They just cannot understand what the women want and how they should behave with them. They curse god for making women so complicated.

But if we try and think from a woman’s point of view, it doesn’t sound all that complicated. Any intelligent man can decode the enigma called woman since there are plenty of tell-tale signs. As a young child, a girl wants to be cared for, pampered and well-looked after. So does the male child. Basically the  children are children and we adults have to look after them irrespective of their sexes.

As a mother, the woman wants dignity in the society. She wants to feel proud of her achievements. She wants her children to do well in their careers and nothing pleases her more than her grown-up children’s success. She wants to be pampered as a mother. She wants her children to ask for her opinions before they take any important decision. In other words, she wants to be at the helm of affairs in her family.

As a girl-friend, she wants her boy-friend to take her out. She loves the long rides on his stylish and trendy bike. She loves the sound of “I love you”. The more he tells her how much he loves her, the deeper she falls in love with him. She wants him to please her, be loyal to her and make her feel secure. She likes all types of surprises. She wants him to remember her birthday, her favourite colour, her favourite ice-cream flavour and her favourite chocolate. She hates any kind of ego in her man. She wants spontaneity in her man and not some in-front-of-the-mirror rehearsed lines. She can spot the difference between the spontaneous feelings and the rehearsed ones faster than he can tell her favourite ice-cream flavour. She wants her man to smell nice (Bad breath and stinking socks are a strict no-no. Ironically nobody blames these two when the break-ups happen).

As a wife, this is a different ball game altogether. She makes him realise that now he is a grown up man who is going to become a father soon. And not only he has to look after himself,  but also he has to look after her. After marriage, many men seem to take their wives for granted. This malaise can prove dangerously fatal. She wants affection, respect, genuine words of praise and in twenty-four hours as many declarations of passionate “I-Love-Yous”. She trusts her man but the trust gets built over a period of time.

The heroes of 80’s and 90’s in the Hindi films had it very easy. All they needed to do to woo their women was to rescue her from the bad men. They knew how to throw punches in the air and kick the bad men out of sight. Then the girls were quick to slide into their arms. The reality is a different cattle of fish. Which man can fight a dozen well-built baddies on his own? If only women were easy to please. If only the men knew what the women really want, then the life would be without any mysteries, excitement and thrill.

 

So the cupid has struck once again. People are used to the film stars calling off their marriages to be with their soul-mates. When such a news story breaks out, nobody gives a rat’s ass dismissing it as some gimmick to remain in the news. For the film stars any publicity is good publicity. This is another thing that people have learnt to see through their impulsive tantrums.

But when the news of a young high-profile politician involved in a romantic dalliance breaks out, the people’s curiosity knows no bounds. Media too plays to the gallery and the alleged lady love  gets hounded out within no time with all sorts of theories floating around right from the couple having tied a secret knot to who’s who of India’s elite attended their wedding reception to who blessed the couple. Adding to the gist of rumour mills are those anonymous sources supposedly close to the couple ready to give sound bytes on the conditions of anonymity.  Welcome to the vibrant media of our country.

The recent examples are Chaand-Fiza and Shashi Tharoor-Sunanda Pushkar. While the latter couple is happily married and now away from the media glare, the former has been going through a rough patch with many flip-flops and bucketful of tears. Public interest in both the above-mentioned stories have waned. The latest romantic scandal doing the round involves a very dapper Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and drop-dead gorgeous NDTV news anchor Nidhi Razdan. Their alleged romantic affair has put the cyberspace on fire and people don’t seem to have had enough of the juicy tit-bits of both these high profile individuals’ private lives.

Is it fair or unfair to indulge in the gossiping of the private lives of the high and mighty? There cannot be smoke without fire. Who leaked the stories of this juicy affair to the media? The question assumes more importance for the simple reason that one of them is a high-profile anchor belonging to a powerful and well-connected media house. Who had the inside information? What is the motive behind leaking this story? Personal and professional rivalries always play a great role in such murky affairs. Detractors are always lurking in shadows to strike behind the back when the proper opportunity presents itself. The whole saga smacks of some rival trying to settle the scores or get even.

Omar Abdullah has been denying these rumours of his involvement with the news anchor. However, in a statement released to the media he has admitted that his marriage with his wife of 17 years has been on the rocks fuelling the speculation that the rumours doing the round might be true. Omar Abdullah is going through a delicate phase in his private life. He has a right to privacy. He has been urging media to respect his privacy and leave him and his family alone until he successfully sorts out the differences and puts his house back in order.

How naïve he is in assuming that his privacy has any chances of getting the respect he has been demanding so vehemently. His friends have come to his rescue by asking the Chief Minister to show restraint by ignoring the rumours. Nidhi Razdan’s colleagues too have taken umbrage at the foul language being used about her in the cyberspace. Will this help in stopping the menace that is galloping at a threatening space? This affair is bound to raise many passions. Love is blind. It knows no religion, caste, creed and boundary. Unfortunately, this holds true for those in love as their love has transcended the above mentioned obstacles and has brought them together. But people opposed to them are bound to play up the divisive issues to create hurdles in the paths of the lovers.

Here are a few words of caution (however unsolicited). When the passions are running as high as this, it’s better to lie low for a while and ignore them. Paying attention to them will only add fuel to the fire. Denying the rumours (if they are true) will not help nor rumours will die down. Instead flashing the wedding invitation with the wedding date embossed in gold letters will set those looking to inflict the maximum damage on back foot. If the enemy is cleverer, the only way to beat him is to keep him guessing by staying one step ahead.

Make love and not war. Keep the flame of love burning and let it rise so high and spread so wide that the entire nation should start falling in love. When everybody in this country is in love, nobody will have time to let off the gossip that will leave our high profile politicians and anchors embarrassed. No denial will be required because the love will be in the air and it will be reigning supreme. So come fall in love. Please don’t oppose those who are in love. They are blessed. We need more people in love than people out of love.


@GheTa

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

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