Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Broken Window




Thirteen hours of back-breaking journey brought him to the New Delhi Airport. He had flown over one ocean and two continents and landed in the third. Most passengers, a mixed group, had slept during the flight. However, his co-passenger, a young man in thirties, was awake throughout. The brief interaction with him was uninspiring. As the young man immersed himself in his iPad, he closed his eyes and chose to walk down the memory lane, running in twenty long years. In mind the images moved faster than the heart could digest. It was tough for him to follow the pace of his memories.
            Twenty years ago, as an undergraduate, he had come to the United States to do his masters in the civil engineering. He was one of the luckiest few chosen for the scholarship by the institute. A sense of bewilderment had struck him when he had landed at the JFK International Airport. A village boy from a backward region in the central India had entered the El Dorado. It was a kind of fairytale journey, about which thousands of Indian youth dreamed each year but only a couple of hundreds realized it.
            In two years he toiled hard to achieve the top honors in the master’s degree. Since his father could hardly afford his pocket expenses, he did odd jobs to meet them. During the campus placement a reputed company offered him a well-paying job, which he couldn't refuse and thus he made an alien land as his second home. The memories of his homeland slowly folded up into nostalgia. A year later he met with Meira, a Mexican who worked in the same company. Both fell in love and after a year’s courtship married, riding roughshod over differences in religion and culture. She came from a large family, half of which lived in a small town eighty miles east of Mexico City and another half lived scattered over in dozen cities in the States. He had met only his in-laws during the marriage. Would he ever be able to meet Meira’s large family? he wasn't sure.
            Back home in India, his relatives remembered him at their convenience. And he hardly had left behind any friends. Once a while his brothers did call him up to inquire whether he intended to return to India. And once they heard what they wanted to they would hang up. Never in formality did they ask about his life. Those few minutes were always his life’s most tormenting moments.  Mercifully, that occurrence was a yearly phenomenon.
             A broken destiny he inherited, a broken destiny he lived.
           Carrying the burden of broken dreams, with a heavy heart he alighted the Dreamliner.  As he did the immigration formalities, suddenly it occurred to him that he had an official name that faded into the memory as soon as he moved ahead. To get rid of mild headache he walked into the cafeteria and ordered a cappuccino. It gave some respite to his aching limbs but little comfort to his troubled mind. His village was still miles away and he had to undertake several journeys to reach there.
         As he moved out of the exit, he walked past several taxis. Some drivers chose to ignore a middle class Indian passenger, while the others showed no interest fearing haggling. A few taxis away, he found a disinterested driver.
            “Will you take me to the Railway Station?”
            “Which one, Sahib?”
            “New Delhi.”
          The driver picked up his suitcase and put it in the dickie. Closing the door, he asked, “Sahib, have you come to visit the Taj Mahal?”
            “Why?
            “You’re traveling light.”
            “Oh,” he smiled. “I’m on an urgent visit.”
         The driver continued, “I've heard there are no poor people in America. Even sweepers and maids drive in cars to their work. My acquaintance, a taxi driver, came to India last year and told us that he lived in a huge bungalow there and earned more than an IAS officer.”
          He smiled at the man’s simplicity. The taxi driver wasn't alone mesmerized by those myths. Almost every Indian believed that America was like a heaven.
          “Passengers coming from abroad carry large suitcases with gifts for their entire family,” the driver continued.
 “You’re right,” He spoke, looking at the man, “but I’m here to look up my ailing mother.” He wished his positive choice of words could change the condition of his mother who actually was on the deathbed.
             It made the driver quiet for some time. 
            Five years ago his mother had visited him in San Antonio. Initial inhibitions had kept him on tenterhooks and he feared the meeting between the two most important women in his life. His mother was pleasantly surprised to meet Meira, whose name sounded Indian, who looked like an Indian and who behaved better than an Indian woman. In his mother’s mind a foreign woman was a white skinned, bereft of culture. But Meira had broken that myth. Like a typical Indian bahu, she had touched his mother’s feet and ushered her inside the house in traditional Indian style. It had surprise him too. It occurred to him then that Meira was friends with a few Indian women in the neighborhood.
            In the first week itself Meira had won his mother’s heart with her broken Hindi. One night his mother spoke with a wink, “Munna, my bahu will speak better Hindi than me before I leave.” Thereafter, she diligently started teaching Meira Hindi. Their after dinner Hindi classes were the funniest moments of his life. The women learned less, laughed more. He had never found his mother so happy after his father’s death.
 In the evenings when he chatted with his mother alone, she heaped praise on Meira drawing comparison to her Indian daughters-in-law. It made him proud that his Mexican wife had won the title of the best bahu.
For three months that his mother stayed with him, Meira was extra polite with him and took his special care too. Almost every day he had to call up his brothers with whom his mother chatted and gleefully told them that her Munna lived like a king in America. With every call the list of demand of goodies; mobile phones, laptops, clothes, etc, increased and she assured them to bring everything with her.
Meira and he saved to fulfill his family’s demands so that her mother returned home with her head held high. As the day of her departure came close, both the women talked more and more. Both tried to prepare for the day of parting. And that day arrived sooner than they had prayed for. The evening before the old woman called them both to her room and took out an old gold necklace. Putting it around Meira’s neck, she spoke, with tears in her eyes, “This is my mother’s necklace and I’m glad it has found its rightful owner.”
 “But, Amma, how can I accept this? I’m your youngest daughter-in-law,” Meira protested.
 “Chup,” she brushed aside her objection, “Don’t doubt your mother-in-law’s judgment.”
 She looked at him and relented. 
 “Munna, next time when you come to India I want you to bring her along. I’ll organize a huge function in her honor and invite the entire village,” she commanded.
 He nodded.
 Before departing he hugged his Amma for a long time. “We’ll meet soon,” she consoled him. His teary eyes followed her until she vanished in the crowd. With heavy heart he returned home.
“Sahib, station,” the taxi driver broke his thoughts.
He paid up and walked in. An hour later the train arrived and he got in. It was the penultimate journey to his village. The cold dinner and hot tea satisfied his hunger. Stretching on the upper berth, he was reminded of his childhood. In the village his grandpa owned the biggest house, which had a large living room, baithak. In the central wall facing the road was a large window with glass panes, which no house within fifty miles had. After the servant had cleaned the room and the window, the grandpa, he recollected, would get up and wipe the glasses again. And then the old man would sit by the window and keenly watch every human being and animal pass by, raise his hand and bless them all.
During the British rule, in the baithak the grandpa held meeting with his friends and planned several mini-mutinies. After independence in his old days he narrated stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to anyone and everyone who had time to listen to him. But most of his time was spent with his old friends, who like autumn leaves, fell each year. The grandpa was the last to leave.
Munna was the old man’s favourite grandchild. Why was he the favourite? Neither the great patriarch ever told him, nor did Munna understand that secret. He was neither the eldest, nor the youngest. Nonetheless, he enjoyed the adulation. Of all the stories, he remembered several but one that had profound impact on his mind was the one relating to the glass window. One evening the old man told the grandchildren that the window must be shut at dusk because during nights the evil spirits wander around our world and through broken doors and windows sneak into our houses, poison our minds and destroy our families. So, he always insisted that the window be shut before the nightfall. And we dutifully did it.
In his last few days the grandpa painfully had watched the glass develop bubbles and become hazy. With heavy heart the old man sat near the window and wavered at the blurred images passing by the house. And one day the unthinkable happened. A storm struck the village at midnight and tore two glass panes apart. In the morning when the grandpa woke up he found two large holes in his favourite window.
Then for next few months his pleas for repair of broken glasses went unheard by his four sons. And it took a hunger strike by the old man to get the window repaired. His failing health had scared the eldest son and he had brought the villager carpenter, who had nailed coarse wooden pieces onto the window. Every nail hammered hurt the grandpa.
The repaired window had further blurred the vision and hastened the demise the old man. In last moments, Munna was by his grandpa’s side and noticed sadness in those old eyes. Finally the village’s grand banyan tree too fell. He had vivid memories of his last days with grandpa.
The mother before departure from San Antonio and urged him to come to the village and repair the broken window. It had pained him to hear from her that none of his brothers had bothered to repair that. What mother had hidden from him was that all his brothers ran separate kitchens and mother cooked her food in hers. Living with three sons the mothers lived a lonely life. Had he known that he would have prevailed upon her to stay with him. But it was too late.
Burdened by thoughts he fell asleep.
The morning brought him one step closer to his village. Alighting from the train he came out of the platform and expected Tangas lined up. Auto-rickshaws came as a pleasant surprise. He caught the auto and an hour later reached the village. Alas! No further surprises awaited him. The parental house despite some damages still held its magnificence. The broken window caught his attention. It pained him to see that the window had suffered further damages. All glass panes were missing. Four of the eight panes had been replaced with wood and other four hadn't been repaired.
Suddenly his nephews and nieces ran towards him in the hope of getting gifts but were rather disappointed when their Munna Chacha handed them chocolates that he had picked up at the railway station. Tearing through the restive crowd, he entered the baithak where his mother lay on the bed. He bent down, took her hands in his. The touch brought a spark in those old eyes. She kissed his forehead and spoke in faltering voice, “Munna, I’m so happy you came……” And she couldn't complete the rest. He felt her leave his world. It seemed as if she had been waiting for him.
The news of his mother’s death flashed across the village. In minutes people rushed in from every direction. In the melee he answered some questions, felt several piercing eyes and felt few sympathetic gazes. After cremation, they all returned home. In the night his bed was laid out in the baithak where his grandpa, his father and then his mother had spent their old days. Nobody was willing to offer their bedroom to him. Suddenly he felt an outsider.
In the night the cold moonlight, through the broken window, fell on the bed and kept him awake. Memories of yesteryears came back to torment him.
Next morning he told the family that he would return to America after a couple of days. Hurriedly ‘Shanti Path’ was organized the same day. In the evening at the behest of the eldest brother they collected in the baithak.
“Amma told us that Munna lives like a king in pardes (foreign),” the first sister-in-law spoke lifting her veil.
“He hasn't invited anyone of us to his palace,” complained the second sister-in-law.
“Wish we were as lucky as Munna’s wife,” lamented the third sister-in-law.
An admonishing gaze by the eldest brother made them all to take a step back.
Even in the mourning period, the women had no qualms in displaying their jealousies. However, his brothers, particularly the eldest, had always loved him and during childhood pampered him their share of sweetmeats as he was the youngest sibling.
In anticipation, he waited.
“Munna, we know you earn well there and you don’t intend to return. For us it’s a hand-to-mouth existence in the village. Cultivating land has become costly. Farm laborers after MNREGA are hard to find. It’s no more profitable to till lands now. I know it’s not the right occasion to discuss all this but since you don’t have time, we thought it prudent to settle the matter before you leave,” the eldest brother spoke choosing his words carefully.
“Our children need to go to schools in the town and for this we need money,” said the second brother, as his wife looked on, expecting more from him.
“We brothers have decided to divide the land, the house, the barn, the mango orchards and the animals equally between three of us,” spoke third brother in a judge-like tone.
In rapt attention he listened to those voices. Collectively they all were uprooting him from his roots. So, the decision had been arrived at long back, it was only being conveyed to him now. The broken window’s sadistic smile drew his attention. Over the years the evil spirits through the broken window had entered the house and destroyed his grandpa’s family.
After a moment’s thought he signed the papers abdicating his share of the properties. What a price to pay for those childhood sweetmeats? He smiled. Later he went around the village and caught hold of a carpenter. Standing outside the house, he instructed him to pull out the broken window and put a new wooden window in its place. The work lasted over an hour. The carpenter was glad to get more than he had asked for.
At dusk he closed the window and slept peacefully that night. In the morning he woke up, got ready and had one last look at the new wooden window. Assured, the evil spirits now wouldn't be able to destroy whatever little was left of his grandpa’s large family, he left.


*           *          *




Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Parrot Under the Pine Tree




*   The story is set in the beautiful town of Kausani in the Himalayas...........




*  For more, buy the book on amazon. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Parrot Under the Pine Tree




*  Hi Guys,

    Enjoy some beautiful passages from my novel, "Parrot Under the Pine Tree"



   ............. And a poem.....



....... For more, please buy the book from the nearest bookstore. The book is  also available on amazon worldwide and barnesandnoble. 


Monday, 4 September 2017

The Young Woman..........




*     This is my latest short story…


The Young Woman

     It was an endurable October evening that had acquired some amiability due to the forenoon rains, which had smothered humidity to a large extent and added a bit of chill to the lazy wind. The officers with their wives were rejoicing in the Army Mess. The get-together was organized in the honour of the visiting general officer. The crowd was smartly turned-out. The women in multi-coloured sarees, back-showing blouses and jewellery dazzled. Each one of them was dressed to outshine the other. The fairer sex added grace and beauty to the gathering. Among the officers only a handful had taken care to dress well, otherwise most of them had worn clothes as required by the occasion, without bothering to match the colour of shirt and pant. They were out there to enjoy some good whisky, good conversation and good food with their friends and comrades.
A wide range of perfumes wafted across the lawn. In the corners pungent smell of the anti-mosquito coil struggled to spread. An hour later the smell of liquor, mostly rum and whisky, overpowered every other smell in the air, barring the smell of the tobacco. The jazz band was playing tunes. In between a singer sang new Hindi numbers in which anybody hardly seemed interested. The cacophony drowned the dull music. 
(for complete story, please go to the short stories section)

Saturday, 5 August 2017

A Soldier's Loneliness




*     I composed this poem after watching, "Dunkirk". It's my humble tribute to the soldiers on the battlefield. 


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Dunkirk....................... A Masterpiece.




* "Dunkirk" ....... Awesome, Amazing, Incredible !!!!!!!!! One of the finest (War) movies of all times. It's a captivating tale of the Allied soldiers (British, French, Belgian and Dutch) trapped by the German soldiers in the French seaside town of Dunkirk in May 1940. 

* A must watch for all film makers and writers. It captures the pain, anguish and loneliness of thousands of hearts without saying many words. Christopher Nolan as a writer and director has surely won millions of hearts, in particular of soldiers.

* A small sea town in France until 21 Jul 2017 remained consigned to the dustbin of history of the World War II. In May 1940 Germany had advanced into France and trapped about 3,30,000 allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Until then the Unites States had not joined the war.

*  If you are a writer, soldier and film maker, watch this movie alone in the theatre to feel the immensity of sufferings a soldier goes through on the battlefield. Under constant fear of death a soldier fights the enemy, weather, and most importantly, the loneliness (that only a soldier can understand).  As a soldier I've fought all the above in some measure. Who knows the movie night inspire me to write a book.






Monday, 3 July 2017




*    Quotes from the Book................. 







*   To enjoy such beautiful passages read "Parrot Under the Pine Tree". 



Friday, 16 June 2017

Quotes from Parrot Under the Pine Tree





* Dear All,

   From inside pages of my book, "Parrot Under the Pine Tree".........




*      To enjoy more such passages please buy the book, available on amazon throughout the world. 

Thanks


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Flamenco Dancer........




*    The Flamenco Dancer...........


*    My latest painting........acrylic on canvas. 


Thursday, 25 May 2017

Parrot Under the Pine Tree........Among Amazon Bestsellers in India




Hi Friends,

My book, "Parrot Under the Pine Tree" is among AMAZON BESTSELLERS IN INDIA. My heartfelt gratitude to all those who have bought the Book and made it possible. The Book is now available all over the world on Amazon.

May I request you to buy the Book and post your honest review on the site.

Many thanks,







Thursday, 4 May 2017

Look Inside the "Parrot under the Pine Tree."









Chapter One


From the pagans of the pre-Vedic period to the faithfuls of the post-Vedic era, only the Sun God hasn’t lost its eminence in the daily lives of the human beings. Both the believers and the atheists hold it in reverence. Heliolatry has persisted from the prehistoric times. No natural phenomenon has captured the imagination of so many people as the sunrise, which has provided intellectual nourishment to the educated for generations. 

        And it was the sunrise of a divine kind that drew thousands of enthusiasts to a lesser- known place in the Himalayas. These were pre-dawn hours. From behind the snow-capped mountains, hidden under the veil of brume, the sun prepared to rise. It took time to climb those lofty peaks with precipitous gradients. In the valley below lay a sleepy little town. 

        The dawn here was long, the day longer and the night the longest. Here the Gods controlled everything and eternized tranquillity. It was their land. The local folks in reverence called it as the ‘Devbhumi’. In this land, time was its own master and not a slave to some conceited man.

         Like any other day, Kausani with every passing minute emerged out of the darkness, tree by tree, house by house, street by street. Every rooftop was filled with folks, the locals and the visitors. The prospect of a good sunny day had driven the native women to carry grain, chillies and clothes on the roofs for drying. But the tourists’ worries were of a different kind. For some, it was their last day in Kausani and hence they prayed for a great sunrise so that they could, for posterity, capture the divine spectacle in their cameras, in their hearts. 

           Also, in that motley crowd love stories, born in a short span of time, faced a bleak future as the reckless lovers readied to leave to different destinations. In spite of the uncertain future of their whirlwind romances, the lovers gave last-minute promises to one another and exchanged addresses, phone numbers and email IDs. Parting hugs and kisses filled their eyes. But misgivings remained in many a heart. For some, though, the love in such fleeting moments had been what it often was: a quick physical liaison to be had and forgotten. 

            As the darkness dissipated fast, the crowd rushed pell-mell on the rooftops, filling every inch of the space. Attired in colourful clothes, people with cameras—still and video—hung around their necks paced left and right, forward and backward in needless anxiety. Some women, smelling of cheap perfume that stifled the fresh mountain air, fidgeted in low quality, ill-fitting jeans that they had worn for the first time. Those in Indian dresses moved around without any constraints. 

          In a corner veiled in grey mist sat a young couple waiting for the dawn. The man had a quick glance around and then kissed his wife on the lips. A stunned woman hugged her man with a question in her eyes. Back home in the orthodox land where the men walked a yard ahead of their wives and where holding of hand in public drew snide comments and disapproving glances, a public kiss like this could have created a mini-riot. In their five years of marriage this had been his most chivalrous act in public. It made her heart pound faster with thrill expecting gallant actions in the privacy of the bedroom. The sound of footsteps forced them to break off their embrace. 

           On the next roof stood a young mother who post childbirth a year ago could not shed as much weight as she had wished for, though she had got rid of her face fat. With a sweater tied around her waist, she tried to cover her less attractive behind. She was a single female traveller. Many nosy parkers indulged in bizarre, unwarranted guesses. Unconcerned, she soaked her soul in those salubrious climes. 

          On the adjoining parapet sat a young woman, dangling her feet over the side and gazing at the misty mountains. The freshness and freedom of the place inspired her to hum a love song. Back at home covered in black from head to toe when she moved in the company of other women, she felt her beauty go unappreciated, her smile unreciprocated. And when furtive glances presuming her an old woman slipped past her face, the beauty beneath the black sheath struggled to unshackle itself. Her heart suffered a sharp pang of regret for marrying into an orthodox family when she had a choice not to.

          A stone’s throw from that crowd, a few makeshift teashops had come up in the wee hours. Their owners did a brisk business. Amongst them sat a middle-aged Kumauni man under a plastic lean-to that neither protected him from the rain, nor the wind. The tea seller with a freckled face and sunken cheeks looked older than his age. Poverty had stolen several of his youthful years. A worn out shirt and pant, and a faded sweater did not diminish his pride. Out of a faded cap hiding his bald pate blew out his scraggy, grizzled hair in every possible direction. From the grey-white stubble it looked the man cared little for his looks. The man smiled with cracked lips whenever a customer came to him. 

        Beside him sat his sari-clad wife, the mother of two children, in a diligent supporting role. The ten-year younger woman had big blue eyes, thick lips and a sharp nose with a large circular ring. Bright lipstick, dark kajal, face powder and perfume were proof enough that she, unlike her husband, she took pains to look attractive. Her brocaded blouse, designed to cover the bosom and cleavage, failed once a while in its duty. As more customers thronged to the shop the woman, unable to handle the rush, panted and light beads of sweat dripped down between the cleavage of her perky breasts. Every time she bent down to pour tea in the glass, her cleavage flashed, attracting glances; some abashed, some unabashed. A few elders were sympathetic to her present existence but indignant that such a good-looking woman deserved a better fate. Unmindful of this, she went about her job as usual. 

        Hours of hard work under the sun had weathered her skin so much that her normal eyes looked bigger and enticing. And whenever they fell on a man, even the strongest couldn’t escape its magical spell. Some men at the teashop had had more than one cup in the hope of getting her tempting glance. While the others were contend with spending a few minutes more in her warm presence. 

        To read the complete story, please buy the book.
         

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Parrot under the Pine Tree




Hi Friends,




Please watch the book trailer of above novel on youtube.

Book Trailer

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mist, Dew and Raindrops




Dear Friends, 

*    Paperback edition of my book, "Mist, Dew and Raindrops"- a
collection of short stories is available on the following sites:-                                   

and
and
and
and



 *      May I request you to buy the book and post your honest review on the amazon sites.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Mist, Dew and Raindrops




Dear Friends,

This book of mine is available for free for 5 days from 13 Apr to 17 Apr 2017 on amazon.in, amazon.com, .........etc.

May I request you all to download the free book and post your honest review on the site

https://www.amazon.in/Mist-Dew-Raindrops-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B06WVN2683?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=mist%2C%20dew%20and%20raindrops&qid=1492068237&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1


Mist, Dew and Raindrops: (Short Stories) by [Singh, Surendra Pratap]

Sunday, 2 April 2017

EVM..........Electronic Voting Machines ???





*      After recent assembly elections in India, EVMs have become suspect in the eyes of the losing political parties and people like me who don't belong to any party. Suddenly a question mark has been put on the democratic process. Several developed countries in the world don't rely on the EVMs and continue with the paper ballots. 

*       Every citizen must ask these questions himself:-
         -  Can EVMs be tampered with?             Yes, no electronic gadget is 
                                                                          tamper proof.
         -  Which is easier to tamper?                   Software.

*  If some parties and people raise a question, it's the duty of the election commission to hold a sample election in any constituency both by the EVM and then by the ballot papers. The result will clear the fog surrounding efficacy of the machines. 

*    In a mad race to digitalize everything in our lives, we forget that machines too can make mistakes, which can prove very costly to any democracy. 


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Village Gong





*       I was lucky to spend six years in Mizoram, India. It gave me the opportunity to travel across the length and breadth of the state. Both in the cities and the remote villages, I saw this Gong, known as Darkhuang in Mizo Language. It’s a large brass drum used as part of every cultural festival of the locals. 

*   In the ancient times, it was an important musical instrument used to convey or exchange messages: both of celebration and mourning. This drum is considered precious by people who keep it safely in the basket and take it out only on special occasions for use.

*      It's my way of paying respect to the folks and culture of Mizoram. 

Sunday, 12 March 2017

My New Paintings............




*     In a series of trying to paint the works of Von Gogh, I've taken the liberty of painting two more of the master's creations. 





*      It has been a humbling experience. 


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Mist, Dew and Raindrops.




Dear Friends,

I've penned down a collection of ten fascinating short stories. E book edition of the Book, "Mist, Dew and Raindrops" is available on amazon.in, amazon.com, .........etc.

Now I plan to focus my energies in getting my short stories and novels published. Towards this endeavor, this is my first small step. I need your blessings and good wishes to succeed in this. May I request you all to buy a copy each and give your honest opinion to me personally and on the site as well as.

Many Thanks,

Link is as given below:-

https://www.amazon.in/Mist-Dew-Raindrops-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B06WVN2683?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=mist%2C+deo+and+raindrops&qid=1487773185&ref_=sr_1_fkmr1_1&sr=8-1-fkmr1


It's a collection of ten thought-provoking and sensitive short stories, encompassing various hues and shades of human emotions.





Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Parrot under the Pine Tree







Hi Friends,

* After a long struggle, Kindle edition of my book, "Parrot under the Pine Tree," is being published by Amazon on 09 Feb 2017. It will be available on Amazon site all over the world. I'm indeed very grateful to you all for visiting my blog regularly and encouraging me to post on a variety of subjects. Writing fiction remains my first passion; the other being painting. You all have read excerpts from the books many times in the past. Finally, the book will be out in the digital market on 09 Feb 2017. 

* The first few paragraphs:

From the pagans of the pre-Vedic period to the faithful of the post-Vedic era, only the Sun God hasn’t lost its eminence in the daily lives of the human beings. It’s held in reverence by both the believers and the atheists. The heliolatry has persisted from the prehistoric times. No natural phenomenon has captured the imagination of so many people as the sunrise, which has provided intellectual nourishment to the educated for generations. 

        And it was the sunrise of a divine kind that drew thousands of enthusiasts to a lesser known place in the Himalayas. These were pre-dawn hours. From behind the snow-capped mountains, hidden under the veil of brume, the sun prepared to rise. It was taking time to climb those lofty peaks with precipitous gradients. In the valley below lay a sleepy little town. 

       A long road winding through effulgent valleys, dotted with huts and fields, approached Kausani, a quaint hamlet perched atop the ridgeline. Thereafter it cut through the place splitting it in two unequal halves and then vanished into the Katyuri Valley, overlooking the white sentries. The two ridges-halves spread like the wings of a gigantic dragon. More huts adored the forward slopes. For centuries Kausani had loved and revelled in its aloofness. Throughout the year it covered itself in a blanket of obscurity, as if it hated civilisation. Of late, the hotels and resorts like pockmarks had sprung up all over on the forward slopes and destroyed its beauty and tranquillity. Kausani resented their presence on its soil and often shed tears in the calm, dark hours, but each morning with a smile awaited the day’s arrival for itself, its inhabitants and its guests.


https://www.amazon.com/Parrot-under-Pine-Surendra-Singh-ebook/dp/B01N9SP1UQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484752989&sr=8-1&keywords=parrot+under+the+pine+tree







Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Some Indian Generals Refuse to fade Away !!!!!!





Gen MacArthur during his farewell address, part of which is given below, said: Old soldiers never die, they just fade away...


          “When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that ‘old soldiers never die, they just fade away.’ And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Good-bye.”

*         It's one of the greatest addresses by any general of any army. Sadly, in India more lt generals and generals lately after retirement are refusing to fade away and joining politics, as MP or MLA. Though it's their individual decision and but in the eyes of majority of soldiers and civilians, it's a big climbdown. After being the Chief of the Army Staff, one of the biggest armies in the world, the man donning a politician's garb is something that doesn't go down well with the men in uniform. 

*       The Army is the only secular organization left in the country and largely remains insulated from the social ills that affect people on the streets. A general joining one party or the other casts doubt over his ideological moorings when he was in the service. And it surely affects the morale of the troops on ground.

*       To safeguard the interests of the army it's imperative that general officers after retirement learn to fade away.

Monday, 2 January 2017

My Latest Painting.........






*        There's something about Von Gogh's paintings that fascinates an art lover in many different ways. Street in Auver-sur-oise by him is one such painting.

*         It's been a humbling experience for me to attempt to copy it. I guess I can't say more than that.

 
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