Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Young Woman





*    Hi Friends, 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.
Part of the crowd, I chattered with my friends. The sprawling, manicured lawn was filled with people, who stood or sat in the chairs in several groups of varying numbers. Some were pure groups of men and women, and some were mixed groups. The VIP moved around, chatting for a few minutes in every group. I watched people and their expressions as they talked among themselves. A young woman, wearing light blue chiffon saree and dark blue sleeveless blouse, moved around anxiously. Sometimes she talked with the ladies and sometimes with the officers, though she didn’t look interested any conversation. Her roving gaze showed that her mind was on something else. As she passed by me, we exchanged a quick glance and when she turned her head away from me I caught a piece of smile on her left cheek. Intrigued, I followed her nervous mannerism for a while and then lost interest.
High on drinks many officers told and retold tales, shared experiences, jokes and anecdotes with one another. The senior officers in every group talked non-stop while the juniors, with glass in hand, dutifully nodded. While some of them seemed to enjoy those talks, the others prayed for an early end to their torture. Then the master of ceremony (MC), a young major announced the name of a lady and requested her for a song. Suddenly the noise subsided and all eyes turned towards the stage where the band had stopped playing and waited for the singer. In the crowd a woman, in early forties, stood up, adjusted her saree and walked to the stage, escorted by a young officer. Dressed in a silk saree and backless blouse, she on her supple shoulders carried the beauty of a young mother and an air of authority. Before she could reach the stage and hold the microphone, the most men had resumed drinking and chatting.
Sadly, the poor song choice made her effort lackluster. With a better song her voice could have been passable. But when she finished the audience broke into rapturous applause that went on until she was escorted back to her seat where she received personal compliments that gave her a heady feeling that she had sung very well. A little later she and other ladies settled down to listen to the next singer.
Around me I heard a male voice say that she was the commandant’s wife. Further, I needed no enquiry about such enthusiastic clapping. ‘My wife can sing a thousand times better than her’, the words escaped my lips. My friends expressed disappointment as they wouldn’t get to hear my wife. We all were alone on a temporary duty to that military station. My hope of listening to some good songs soon died down when a few colonels caught hold of the mike and started singing public school song in their raucous voices. With large pegs down their throats suddenly they had discovered that they too could sing. It was a free for all among them, with the band playing bizarre tunes. Mischievous cheers and claps by some officers encouraged the singers whose chorus grew louder. It seemed we all were to suffer their torture for some more time. Soon voices of discontent reached the general officer who sent the deputy commandant to call them back.
          Suddenly I saw the young woman speak with the MC in a pleading tone. Her gestures said so. Now my gaze settled on her in renewed curiosity. With a satisfied look she walked back to the crowd and stood alone, with her gaze fixed at the band party in the centre. A male singer came forward and belted out a song with insipid melody, and deservedly got a tired response. As he walked back, I saw the young woman rush to the stage. My gaze followed her restless gait. And before her name was announced she had the microphone in her hand. I didn’t get her name. I didn’t wish to. A name would have confined her innocent and anxious beauty to a few words. I wished her youthful charm to retain its radiance wrapped in anonymity.
          She turned back and whispered to the band master the name of the song she was going to sing. As the musicians began and she hummed, I knew it was going to be the best soulful song of the evening. Then in her magical voice she sang, ‘Tinka, tinka……’, a famous Hindi number sung in husky voice by the famous singer, Alisha Chinoy. There was a pin-drop silence. All eyes and ears were turned to the stage. The moving breeze carried her soulful voice all around and far beyond the mess boundaries. In the interlude she closed her eyes and drew inspiration from the innermost depths of her heart. The vibrations in her voice had the right mix of melody, huskiness and loneliness, and she used all three with aplomb. In particular the depth of loneliness in her voice made the song far better than that of the original singer. She got a good applause.
When she walked back I caught a glimpse of her face. Our eyes met. She smiled. Her smile, broader this time, seemed to say, ‘I can sing better……..’ Had she heard me what I’d confided in my friend’s a few minutes ago. I gave her a puzzled glance. She looked at me for the last time and then walked away, with a flush of satisfaction on her face and a tinge of sadness in her eyes. As a young Army wife she knew this harsh fact that the greater accolades were reserved for the senior ladies. 
Thereafter she was lost in the gathering. I curbed my urge of finding her name and complimenting her for a wonderful song. Then I dropped the idea, had dinner and returned to my room. But the song stayed in my mind and so did the singer. I never thought I’d write a story about the young woman and her poignant song. But I did. Perhaps she herself had written this tale on that lovely October evening five years ago. I simply put words to it.
                                                                             -    SP Singh 

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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