100 Shades of White – Good Read

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I recently finished reading 100 Shades of White, a work of fiction by Preethi Nair. When I read the back cover of the novel, I perceived it to be yet another tale of ‘East Meets West’.

However, as I read it page after page, I realised it’s a good and a captivating story about a woman who, with her determination and hard-work, upholds her and her children’s pride in a foreign land. Due to some adverse circumstances, she tells a lie to her children to protect them, but that very lie comes back to uproot their lives. The story revolves around this white lie.

Satchin and Maya enjoy a carefree life in India with their mother Nalini and father Raul who is frequently travelling on business trips. Unexpectedly, he sends for his wife and children to join him in London. However, he ruthlessly abandons them and leaves them penniless. Nalini lies to the children that their father died in an accident. Her fight to upkeep the self-respect and survival in an alien culture is the central theme of the novel. I could actually inhale the pungent aroma of the exotic pickles cooked by Nalini.

The novel takes you from the beautiful, conservative Kerala to the bustling Mumbai and then to the faraway, alien land London. In the later part of the book, Maya visits Kerala and Mumbai again and finds out the Truth, thereby completing a full circle.

The narration of the story is quite interesting. It starts with Maya’s perspective and alternates with Nalini’s. But there is a natural flow to the story.

The final chapters of the novel bring out the best in the author as with these she succeeds in leaving a lasting impression on the readers and brings out her insight into human nature.

Though I know Malayalam, I feel there should have been a glossary for the Malayalam terms so that it could leave more scope for appreciation.

Nevertheless, it is an easy book to read, and should be recommended to others. I look forward to reading some of Ms Nair’s other novels.

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Ustaad Ghulam Ali – Simply a Maestro!

I was listening to a ghazal by Ghulam Ali Tamam-e-umr tera intezaar kiya; is intezaar mein kis kis se pyaar humne kiya for the umpteenth time, and everytime I listen to it, it sounds fresh to my ears and my eyes well up. Though I don’t know how many people have listened to this, but it has become one of my favourite ghazals, apart from the popular ones like Chupke chupke and Hungama hai kyun. I first heard this when Najeem Arshad sang it in Idea Star Singer 2007. It was an amazing performance and excellent rendering of such a difficult composition.

I think this is set in Hamsanandi raagam; Raag Pooriya Dhanashri in Hindustani Classical Music. I’m not well-versed with Urdu, but the lyrics of this ghazal are so simple that anyone can understand. Whenever I listen to Ghulam Ali, I feel goosebumps; so deep is his involvement in what he is singing; forgetting the whole world yet immersing everyone in to his rendition.

Tamam-e-Umr Intezar humne Kiya
Tamam-e-Umr Intezar humne Kiya
Is intezaar mein kis kis se pyaar humne kiya
Tamamee-Umr Intezar humne Kiya

Talash-e-dosth ko ik umru chaahiye dosth
Talash-e-dosth ko ik umru chaahiye dosth
Ki ek umr tera inthazaar humne kiya
Ki ek umr tera inthazaar humne kiya

Tere khayal mein dil shaadma raha… barson
Tere khayal mein dil shaadma raha barson
Tere huzoor ise so gavaar humne kiya
Tere huzoor ise so gavaar hum…..ne kiya

Ye thishnagi hai ke unse kareeb rahekar bhi
Ye thishnagi hai ke unse kareeb rahekar bhi
Hafees yaad unhe bar bar humne kiya
Hafees yaad unhe bar bar hum…ne kiya

Is intezaar mein kis kis se pyaar humne kiya
Tamam-e-Umr Intezar hum…….ne Kiya

Here I am!

I was wandering through wordpress and it struck me that I too should have a blog. There are so many moments, instances that I always wanted to note down and look back upon sometime later in my life, but could never do that as I don’t keep a diary. I consider myself a less fortunate mortal when it comes to writing, but I want to really polish it… Let me see if I can do it the ‘blogging’ way!!! My blog will be a verbal camera that captures my likes, dislikes and various happenings in my life and around me…