Na jaane in darazo me rakka kya hain?
Kya hain woh khilone bachpan ke,
Kuch tute kuch adhmare se,
Jinke saath ab meri khelne ki chaah nahi h.
Ya phir rakhe hain kuch khat,
Kuch yaadein simat kar rakhi gayi hain.
Magar dhool jami hain darazo par,
Kya kholta hoga inhe ab koi?
Raakhe honge kuch purani baatein,
Woh school ke medal aur scholar badge ki yaadein.
Ab engineering padhte padhte unki,
Yaad aati hain khub jamke.
Yah hain bhai ki koi shaitani,
Koi surri bamb ya koi makaude.
Yaah kuch mithai chipai hogi usne,
Chup chupke khata hoga phursat me.
Na jaane in darazo me rakha kya hain?
Inhe kholkar dekhoonga kabhi.
Magar aaj waqt hi kaha hain,
College jaane se phursat hi nahi
You get off a rickety Indian Airlines aircraft that is supposedly as old as your younger brother and walk into a quaint Jodhpur Airport that looks nothing bigger than a small-ish hotel.
You wait endlessly by the luggage belt as the IA handlers properly mis-handle your luggage and you cannot do anything as a pane of glass separates you. You could definitely go back through the entry but you may be easily mistaken for a terrorist.
You go out into the heat and find the pleasantness of the car you rented for the day. As you go towards the hotel you pass by various parts of the city. The new city, grand hotels, stone quarries, old city, barracks and then you finally reach your hotel, an oasis of green in the midst of a stone city, the majestic Bal Samand Lake Palace.
You feel almost royal; knowing that you would be the only guests during your entire stay. Yay to proper royal treatment, heck you can even treat it like your own palace. After a short afternoon siesta you head out to the gardens to absorb the abundant greenery surrounding the place. Peacocks roam around a few feet away from you, unperturbed.
Then you climb a steep set of stairs to the porch (If you can call it that. Seems more like a roof.) and the glistening reflection of the setting sun catches your eye. You’re face to face with a beautiful lake. Hills all around, not a single soul in sight, almost like your own personal lake. You order a pot of masala tea and sit down to look at the beauty whilst a flock of pigeons coo on the parapets.
Slowly the sun sets and you feel a little distant, you feel isolated from the world. The thought of being the only people in a huge castle is kind of haunting but you always find ways to cope. A little running on the treadmill and video games never hurt anyone.
The next day you head out to explore the surroundings, Mehrangarh Fort is your first stop. It almost looms over you like figurative image of mount Olympus the home of the Greek gods. You climb up all the way and through its various museums. You pick up a lot of garbled knowledge from the guide, a few overpriced souvenirs and get out of there. The next item on your itinerary is a long drive to Khimsar Fort amidst the bloody heat.
While at Khimsar you have a quiet and peaceful lunch and afterwards you head out to see deer in open jeeps, your absolutely messy long hair slapping your face. You finally reach the areas of the deer and see Neelgai, Black Bucks and the odd Chinkara. You begin to wonder how people could ever kill such wonderful animals. The camera goes click-clickkity-click-click faster than you can see them. Suddenly you look up and realize that the sun is quite low and if you don’t hurry you would miss the sunset over the Khimsar Sand Dunes.
You reach just in time but the climb to the top is akin to climbing a high peak; contribution of the horrible diet you have and your amazingly high centre of gravity. Yet you finally are up and click a beautiful sunset over a few cups of tea. Today was Diwali and you miss not being around your girlfriend, She’s back in your town and you’re in no town. Just to cheer your brother up though, you buy a few local fire crackers and explode them back at the hotel. Diwali seems joyful again, the gloomy feeling is gone.
The next morning you’re up and ready to go back home. This time around you get a better aircraft from Indian Airlines and as you land in Delhi you can see the pollution from miles high in the sky. What a wonderful way the city welcomes you back.
Quite matter of factly I started blogging just to catch attention of people, to be noticed and maybe to be even taken seriously. I never quite caught on with the phenomenon of blogging initially. I just wrote different kinds of things, poems and all and posted it. I had always fantasised about being known and renowned for my writing ability. I was a clear cut wannabe when I started out on the blogging circuit; I actually thought blogging would impress the ladies, hard luck there. I made a blog wrote some poems and forgot about it, after some time I read a blog and the spark ignited again but I had to make a new blog. And like that I was never constant with one blog. A few posts and I got bored and left. This happened over and over again. Until I struck upon the idea of the Prince of Prose blog.
I declared the blog open with a very proud and whimsical introduction. Aptly followed by a very dark poem about a beggar. It was quite a disturbing and hopeless time in my life. The 12th Board Exams had just gotten over and I was struggling with college. It suited my frame of mind and hence I made the blog. I poured all my angst into it. Sometimes creativity, sometimes thought sometimes just someone else’s Apricot. Then college began, along with the journey of fiction, I wrote two incomplete novels at 12000 words each.
I’ve missed writing in the blog for 3-4 months at a time but I’ve still stuck with it. So on the occasion of my 50th post I thank you all for sticking with my blog, my long obsessive and flowery writing and my irregularity. Thank you all, I’m very much indebted to you!
Food, Silver, Love, Worship, Moonlight all have a common synonym, Chandni Chowk. Translated to English it means Moonlit Lane. Whether it’s your first time or hundredth, Chandni Chowk will always leave you in awe. The crowd, the traffic, the rickshaws travelling at breakneck speeds almost over your head, the intoxicating amalgam of smells good and bad, that is indeed the true essence of Chandni Chowk.
Chandni Chowk is the most major street in the walled city of Old Delhi, which was originally called Shahjahanabad. The walled city, which includes the Lal Qila or Red Fort of Delhi, was established in 1650 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It was designed by his daughter Jahanara Begum Sahib, who also made significant contributions in the landscaping of her father’s new capital.
Chandni Chowk runs through the middle of the walled city, from the Lahori Darwaza (Lahore Gate) of the Red Fort to Fatehpuri Masjid. Originally, a canal ran through the middle of the street as a part of the water supply scheme. It was initially divided into three sections:
- Lahori Darwaza to Chowk Kotwali (near Gurdwara Shish Ganj): This section closest to the imperial residence, was called Urdu Bazar, i.e., the encampment market. The language Urdu got its name from this encampment. Ghalib noted the destruction of this market during the disturbances of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and its aftermath.
- Chowk Kotwali to Chandni Chowk: The term Chandni Chowk originally referred to the square that initially had a reflecting pool. It was replaced by a clock-tower (Ghantaghar) that was damaged and demolished in the 1960s. This section was originally called Johri Bazar.
- ‘Chandni Chowk’ to Fatehpuri Masjid: This was called the Fatehpuri Bazar.
Chandni Chowk is easily accessible via Car, Bus, and Metro. Situated near the Old Delhi Metro station it is also very easily accessible by Rail.
We got off at the Chandni Chowk Metro Station and walked down towards Chandni Chowk heading towards Red Fort passing by Gurudwara Sis Ganj to our right. About around 150 metres we turned towards our right, heading into Dariba Kalan, the world famous silver market. We were welcomed into Dariba Kalan by the smell of the world famous jalebis of ‘Old Famous Jalebi Wala’ who has been making them at that exact place since the 1850’s. Costing Rs. 250 per Kg they are a must have when you visit this place. The address being 1795, Dariba Corner, Chandni Chowk.
As you head into Dariba Kalan, you’ll see Silver Jewellery shops on both sides; innumerable silver trinkets hang on every wall and decorate every display window. Amidst all the shiny silver a handcart stole our attention; it had a very interesting item for sale, a speciality of Chandni Chowk known as Daulat Ki Chaat. This incredible little dish seems made up almost entirely of air, as it is essentially just milk froth. They start making it at about 2 o’clock the night before, and insist that their only contribution is to churn some creamy milk and whip up its froth – the rest is the magic of the winter dew. This whipped froth of milk is set in a large brass pan, and some khoya and finely sliced pista are sprinkled on top. The entire delicate ensemble is brought to the market in the morning on a khomcha (a cane tripod), where if you ask nicely, the man will scoop out a generous portion of the froth, powder it with bhoora (unrefined sugar) and khurchan, and hand it to you in a little leaf bowl. A spoonful of it just vanishes in the mouth, and has a very sophisticated, understated sweet taste to it. Any reasonable person would demand a princely sum for such an ethereal treat. Yet in the by-lanes of Shahjahanabad, a dona of Daulat ki Chaat sets you back by exactly 10 bucks!
Heading further down Dariba Kalan we stopped at a shop selling about 50 odd kinds of Crispies, I tried a very spicy one and having liked it I bought about 250 gms of it. (They are so spicy that 2-3 leave me teary eyed.) As the Dariba Kalan road came to a T-point we took a right turn and headed towards Jama Masjid. Even though I’ve ventured into Chandni Chowk a couple of times, I never got a chance to visit the Jama Masjid. The time was enough and the company was perfect, I had no intention of leaving with this monument still undiscovered by my lens. It cost me Rs. 200 to get my camera inside which I found extremely stupid because most monuments which only charge for video cameras but in Jama Masjid, the charge for all cameras was the same.
The majestic monument was brilliantly lit by the sun peeping through an overcast sky, the diffused light and shadow lessness made it an amazing atmosphere to click portraits. I felt blessed to have my camera around and the sound of my shutter clicking felt almost like a waterfall. We exited the Masjid complex through the Meena Bazaar side; we stopped to buy some Attar and Soorma.
All the walking had left us very hungry and we decided to head to the famous Karim’s of Chandni Chowk. We exited from the Matya Mahal side of the Jama Masjid complex and headed straight down the road to Karim’s. Very sadly there was a lot of crowd outside Karim’s and we couldn’t get a place to sit, hence we had to go to a neighbouring restaurant called Al-Jawahar. We ordered Mutton Barra, Keema Naan, Palak Paneer, Chicken Ishtew and Butter Naan. The food was not par with that of Karim’s but it did serve the need, it satiated our hunger.
We headed out with renewed zest and vigour and decided to walk the entire length of Meena Bazaar. 300 yrs ago this bazaar catered to the luxury trade of the imperial household, specialized in exquisite carpets, rugs, jajams and shatranjis; takia-namads and quilts; shahtus and pashmina shawls; costumes; velvet pardahs and chiks; embroideries with zari and brocades; and a wide variety silks, woolens, velvets and taffetas which the Mughals used in their daily life; precious stones, exotic jewellery and indigenous ornaments; gold and silver utensils, fine wood and ivory work; brass and copper wares; fine arms and armaments; coloured ganjifas and indoor games; jafran (saffron), kasturi (musk) and other spices; and innumerous other stuff which could not be had even in the adjoining Chandni Chowk market, and it was privilege of the king that this rare and precious things were available only in the ‘Fort market’ for their exclusive choice. Now all that is available at this market is merely cheap junk, third class items and other oddities. Sad.
There was so much more to see but alas we were almost out of time. We had to head back home; our everyday lives were calling out to us. With heaviness in our heart we headed back home leaving behind the glory of Chandni Chowk with a promise to surely return one day.
Hallucinations of tomorrow
A broken mind of sorrow
Guardian angel of death
A world of despicable hate
A chain of thoughts
The draw of lots
I kill, I hate, I suffer
I seek, I smote, I murder
My mind of deadly poison
A dead monk of larson
No bars hold me tight
In the dead of the night
Burning hatred, searing pain
Myriad beings and one aim
The mind of a serial killer
Sourav Chandidas Ganguly is certainly a name to be reckoned with in the field of Cricket. Born on 8th July 1972, Sourav was the son of Chandidas Ganguly, one of the richest men in the city of Kolkata. He was enrolled in a cricket coaching camp despite the dislike of his mother. As a boy he deeply admired David Gower, one of the most stylish left-handed batsmen of his era. Sourav despite right handed learnt to bat left handed so that he could use his brother’s equipment. He made his first class debut for Bengal in 1989, the same year Snehasish was dropped from the team.
Following a prolific Ranji season in 1990-91, He scored 3 runs in his ODI Debut against West Indies in 1992. He was removed from the team for being arrogant, and it was even rumoured that he refused to carry drinks for his teammates.
Due to his heavy scoring in the 93-94 and 94-95 Ranji Trophy and his 171 in the 1995-96 Duleep Trophy he was recalled into the team. He played a single ODI but was omitted from the first test. After Navjot Singh Sidhu left the tour citing ill treatment by Capt. Mohammad Azharuddin, Ganguly made his test debut against England in the 2nd test. He scored a century thus becoming only the third person to do so on their debut at Lord’s. He made another century in the 3rd test thus becoming the third person to score 2 centuries in each of his first two innings.
Weeks after his successful tour of England , Ganguly eloped with his childhood sweetheart Dona Roy due to bitter enmity between the families of the bride and the groom and this caused an uproar. However both families reconciled and a formal wedding was held in February 1997.
Same year, Ganguly scored his maiden ODI century by hitting 113. Later that year, he won four consecutive man of the match awards, in the Sahara Cup with Pakistan; the second of these was won after he took five wickets for 16 runs off 10 overs, his best bowling in an ODI. After a barren run in Test cricket his form returned at the end of the year with three centuries in four Tests all against Sri Lanka two of these involved stands with Sachin Tendulkar of over 250.
World Cup Of ’99
Ganguly was part of the Indian team that competed in the 1999 Cricket World Cup in England. During the match against Sri Lanka at Taunton, Ganguly scored 183 from 158 balls, and hit 17 fours and seven sixes. It became the second highest score in World Cup history and the highest by an Indian in the tournament. His partnership of 318 with Rahul Dravid is the highest overall score in a World Cup and is the second highest in all ODI cricket. Around the same time, allegations came that Ganguly was romantically involved with South Indian actress Nagma, something he denied.
Holding The Reigns Of The Indian Team
In 2000, after the match fixing scandal by some of the players of the team, Ganguly was named the Captain of the Indian cricket team. The decision was spurred due to Tendulkar stepping down from the position for his health, and Ganguly being the vice-captain at that time. He began well as a captain, leading India to a series win over South Africa in the five-match one day series and led the Indian team to the finals of the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy.
In Australia’s three Test and five match ODI tour of India in early 2001, Ganguly caused controversy by arriving late for the toss on four occasions, something that agitated opposing captain Steve Waugh. In the Fourth ODI, he caused further controversy by failing to wear his playing attire to the toss, something considered unusual in cricket circles. However, India won the Test series 2–1, ending Australia’s run of 16 consecutive Test match victories in the Second Test. The match saw India looking set for defeat after conceding a first innings lead of 274. Waugh chose to enforce the follow-on and V. V. S. Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) batted for the entire fourth day’s play to set Australia a target of 384 on a dusty, spinning wicket. The Australians were unable to survive and became only the third team to lose a Test after enforcing the follow-on. In November 2001, Ganguly’s wife Dona gave birth to their daughter Sana Ganguly.
During the final match of the 2002 Natwest Trophy held in Lords after a stunning performance by team mates Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif, Ganguly took off his shirt in public and brandished it in the air to celebrate India’s winning of the match. He was later strongly condemned for tarnishing the “gentleman’s game” image of cricket and disrespecting Lords protocol. Ganguly said that he was only mimicking an act performed by the British all-rounder Andrew Flintoff during a tour of India. In 2003, India reached the World Cup Final for the first time since 1983, where they lost to the Australians. Ganguly had a successful tournament personally, scoring 465 runs at an average of 58.12, including three centuries.
By 2004, he had achieved significant success as captain and was deemed as India’s most successful cricket captain by sections of the media. However, his individual performance deteriorated during his captaincy reign, especially after the World Cup, the tour of Australia in 2003 and the Pakistan series in 2004. In 2004, Australia won a Test series in India for the first time since 1969. It was speculated that Ganguly was in disagreement with the head of cricket in Nagpur over the type of pitch to be used for the Third Test. The groundsmen went against Ganguly, leaving a large amount of grass on the pitch. Some experts indicated that the reason for this was for “spite or revenge” against the Indian captain.
Following indifferent form in 2004 and poor form in 2005, he was dropped from the team in October 2005 and the captaincy was passed to Dravid, his former deputy. Ganguly decided against retiring and attempted to make a comeback to the team. Ganguly was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004, one of India’s highest awards. He was presented with the award on June 30, 2004, by then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
In September 2005, Greg Chappell became the coach for the India tour of Zimbabwe. Ganguly’s dispute with him resulted in many headlines. Chappell had emailed the Board of Control for Cricket in India, stating that Ganguly was “physically and mentally” unfit to lead India and that his “divide and rule” behaviour was damaging the team. This email was leaked to the media and resulted in huge backlash from Ganguly’s fans. Ganguly had enlisted the support from the Indian media and eventually the board had to intervene and order a truce between the pair. Consequently, due to his poor form and differences with the coach, Ganguly was dropped as the captain of the team, with Dravid taking his place.
Following India’s poor batting display in the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy and the ODI series in South Africa, in which they were whitewashed 4-0, Ganguly made his comeback to the Test team. Wasim Jaffer, Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble had earlier been selected for the one-day squad, despite their recent poor performances. Many saw this as an indictment of coach Greg Chappell’s youth-first policy. Coming in at 37/4, Ganguly scored 83 in a tour match against the rest of South Africa, modifying his original batting style and taking a middle-stump guard, resulting in India winning the match. During his first Test innings since his comeback, against South Africa in Jo’burg his score of 51 helped India to victory, marking the first Test match win for the team in South Africa. Though India lost the series, Ganguly accumulated the most runs on the scoring chart. After his successful Test comeback he was recalled for the ODI team, as India played host to West Indies and Sri Lanka in back to back ODI tournaments. In his first ODI innings in almost two years, he scored a matchwinning 98. He performed well in both series, averaging almost 70 and won the Man of the Series Award against Sri Lanka.
On 12 December 2007, Ganguly scored his maiden double century of his career while playing against Pakistan. He scored 239 runs in the first innings of the third and final Test match of the series. He was involved in a 300 run partnership for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh. Ganguly remained prolific in both Test and ODI cricket in the year 2007. He scored 1106 Test runs at an average of 61.44 (with three centuries and four fifties) in 2007 to become the second highest run-scorer in Test matches of that year after Jacques Kallis. He was also the fifth highest run-scorer in 2007 in ODIs, where he scored 1240 runs at an average of 44.28.
In February 2008, Ganguly joined as the captain of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team, owned by Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan. On 18 April 2008, Ganguly led the KKR, in the IPL Twenty20 cricket match. They had a 140 run victory over Bangalore Royal Challengers captained by Rahul Dravid and owned by Vijay Mallya. Ganguly opened the innings with Brendan McCullum and scored 10 runs while McCullum remained unbeaten, scoring 158 runs in 73 balls. On 1 May, in a game between the Knight Riders and the Rajasthan Royals, Ganguly made his second T20 half century, scoring 51 runs off of 39 balls at a strike rate of 130.76. In his innings, Ganguly hit four 4s and two sixes, topping the scorers list for the Knight Riders.
In October 2008, Ganguly announced that the Test series against Australia starting in October 2008 would be his last and stated “To be honest, I didn’t expect to be picked for this series. Before coming here, [at the conference] I spoke to my team-mates and hopefully I will go out with a winning knock.” Ganguly played in every game of the four-Test series and amassed 324 runs at an average of 54.00. While playing the second Test match of the series in Mohali, Ganguly scored his final test century. In the Fourth and final Test, with India needing one wicket to secure a victory, the Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, invited Ganguly to lead the side in the field for the final time. India regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, winning the series 2–0.
In May 2009, Ganguly was removed from the captaincy of the KKR for IPL 2009, and was replaced by McCullum. The decision was questioned by media and other players of the team, when KKR finished at the bottom of the ranking table with three wins and ten losses. He played for the Ranji cup in the Bengal team in October 2009. Ganguly scored 110 in the match against Delhi team, and was involved in a partnership of 222 runs with Wriddhiman Saha. In the third season of Indian Premier League, Ganguly was once again given the captaincy of Kolkata Knight Riders, after the team ended at the bottom in season 2. The coach John Buchanan was also replaced by new coach Dav Whatmore.
Statistics about Ganguly show that he was the seventh Indian cricketer to have played 100 Test matches, the 4th highest overall run scorer for India in Tests, and the fourth Indian to have played in more than 300 ODIs. In terms of overall runs scored in ODIs, Ganguly is the second among Indians after Sachin Tendulkar (who has the most ODI runs) and the fifth overall. He has scored 16 centuries in Test matches and 22 in ODIs. He is also one of only eight batsmen to score more than 10,000 runs in ODIs. Along with Tendulkar, Ganguly has formed the most successful opening pair in One Day Cricket, having amassed the highest number of century partnerships (26) for the first wicket. Together, they have scored more than 7000 runs at an average of 48.98, and hold the world record for creating most number of 50-run partnership in the first wicket (44 fifties). Ganguly became the fourth player to cross 11,000 ODI runs, and was the fastest player to do so in ODI cricket, after Tendulkar. As of 2006, he is the only Indian captain to win a Test series in Pakistan (although two of the three Tests of that series was led by Rahul Dravid). He is also one of the three players in the world to achieve amazing treble of 10,000 runs, 100 wickets and 100 catches in ODI cricket history, the others being Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya.
Superheroes have always been indispensable part of the Urban Fantasy. Be it superbeings from alien planets (Superman), Bug bitten masked avengers (Spiderman) or Millionaires in Body Suits (Iron Man), their fan following has always been much celebrated.
Samit Basu, fabled author of the Gameworld Trilogy is back with another fiction novel based on Urban Superheoes. The story revolves around a few main characters with lots of significant side characters thrown in, almost like an Indian Justice League.
Aman Sen, the protagonist is the one with the eerie geeky superpowers. He can manipulate networks with his mind. Even the Internet bends to his will.
Uzma Abidi is a British-Pakistani who has come to India as an aspiring Bollywood actress. Everything works out quite smoothly with her infinite charisma.
Vir, an Indian Air Force pilot has the ability to fly.
Tia, a troubled housewife from the north-east has the ability to multiply and do all the things she dreamt of.
But one thing unites them all. They were all aboard British Airlines flight 142 from London to Delhi. They were all given superpowers as a result of what they had dreaming about, all of the passengers, but now someone had been hunting and killing the passengers one by one and Aman needed to know who.
The search leads the Desi Justice League to Jai, an indestructible one-man army with an old fashioned goal – military conquest of the world. Going through the pages we encounter Shera, a conservationist turned man-tiger, Anima, a girl endowed with special powers from different animes, Zothanpuii, a north eastern woman in Delhi with ass kicking powers, Namrata, a mass manipulator and so many more. It is in totality a gripping read with some manageable dry parts in the middle. The story is quite simply put about how a nerd kicks a strong, good looking mans arse both by winning the day and getting the woman of his dreams. I sense a bit of Bollywood creeping in.
After having read the Gameworld trilogy with its twists, turns and plot changes, I find myself demanding more from this book.
The whole plane-incident giving superpowers is loosely based on the Fantastic Four saga wherein the four travellers are given superpowers almost in the same way.
Page 203 to Page 207 exactly imitates a segment of the new Artemis Fowl book titled Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex wherein Artemis develops a disease known as the Atlantis Complex which gives him a split personality who is madly in love with his colleague, Agent Holly Short. Same is the case with Aman Sen when he tries to overuse his powers. His alter ego surfaces and expresses his feeling/lust for Uzma.
And hidden in there is a classic reference to ‘The Watchmen’ which says ‘Superman exists and he’s not American!’
For people who have not read Samit Basu before I would suggest you give it a read. It is a fast paced book sure to grip you from the start to the end. For a returning Samit Basu fan, I’m sorry to say but this book is a wee bit disappointing.
Note: All views belong to the Blogger and are not intended to break copyrights or hurt the sentiments of anyone. Any hurt caused is deeply regretted.