Saturday, December 22, 2007

This Too Shall Pass

This Too Shall Pass is the mantra constantly flowing in my subconscious mind for the last fifteen years or so. Since I heard S. N. Goenka’s discourses on Vipassana Meditation in audio cassettes lent by one of Papa’s cousins.

I find this an effective tool not only to tide over a bad phase but also to be prepared for an abrupt end of a seemingly happy phase. It is not easy to keep ruminating this especially during the happy phase. It is only when I fall with a thud (figuratively) that I curse myself as to why I did not keep myself aware? And, the cycle continues.

What I have understood of Vipassana Meditation is that it inculcates in us an observer’s perspective in dealing with our emotions. It is particularly helpful for people who do not like to give credit to God for the good times and hold Him responsible for the bad times. For me He is just a person whom I like to call only when I get nature’s call (s) at any ungodly hour, otherwise I like to leave Him alone with his duties of running this world.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Twilight Hour

Tears rolling down your eyes,

Draining the life out of me.

Is it my pain that you share?

Or is it your pent up rage?

A pinch on your cheek with my slender fingers,

Is the only consolation I can give.

A sparkling smile spreads on your lips.

Tears and the smile giving your face the feel of the twilight hour.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Happy New Year


(This post was supposed to be uploaded on the night of 09/11/07, but…)

In the morning I’d thought of putting up a greeting here for New Year (Samvat 2064) and dedicating it to my off line friends who remain on my beck and call to make my life easier, but rarely get mentioned here (some of them do request, cringe, fight etc. with me to write about them here and make them famous, as if I’m getting 1000 hits in a week).

Thank you friends, it is not that I don’t value, cherish or respect your friendship; it is just that I feel odd to see my two worlds overlapping.

PS. The picture here of Rangoli done by Ma on the occasion of Diwali and New Year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Winning Matters

While watching Chak De India last night a thought crossed my mind that to build a strong team you have show results and guarantee a degree of success. It is a chicken or an egg kind of situation; you can say that to achieve success you need a strong team, but, the opposite may also be equally true. A strong leadership is required in both the scenarios as a power to guide the talent of the team in the right direction.

With the adulation that this film has got, I feared that I’d feel disappointed when I actually get see it. But, my fears were unfounded as I really enjoyed watching it.

But still there is a bit of disappointment because I haven’t learnt computer programming as Jaideep Sahni, which he claims has helped him being a scriptwriter. Instead I have invested money in Syd Field’s book and trying to revive a few story ideas languishing in my harddisk.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On Chesil Beach


For the past few months I’ve been reading books back to back as a result of a pep talk from a writer I respect a lot. Earlier I’d have read just one or one and half books per year, and many more lying bookmarked at various stages of completion.

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan is the latest one that I read. This book marks a couple of firsts for me. This is the first proper book that I completed in one sitting (a toilet break and a tea break not counted). This is also the first short listed book for the Booker Prize that I read before the Prize was announced.

On Chesil Beach tells the story of a virgin couple, who have been lovers for some time now. It is set in the 60s when people did not talk about sex or discuss their anxieties with their partners openly. They have come for honeymoon in a resort on the Chesil Beach and it becomes a disaster. The author weaves their tale of one night with layers that lay out the past of the protagonists and discusses the politics of that period in England (went beyond my head).

Somehow, On Chesil Beach took me back to Vikram Seth’s An Equal Music maybe because the leading ladies of both the books are musicians. And, the review of Just Married by Baradwaj Rangan kept reverberating in my head.

Here is the first chapter of book from the New Yorker.

Reviews of the book as appeared in the Guardian and the New York Times (requires free registration).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Stroll

Wish I could take a stroll alone

Mindful of not harming the wet grass below my soft feet

Unmindful of a spontaneous tear dropping from the eye

Ruminating on the words of a Gibran or a Ghalib

Today I understood that an overdose of happiness can also disturb the Buddhist equilibrium of the accepted state of physical being.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dreams Are Never Empty

“Dreams are never empty”, said the wise person ages back, “you strive to fulfil them, some you will and some you won’t. But, it is great that you have dreams”.

Today I am living few of my dreams. It is not as if I was always aware of this fact. It struck me when I went back by a few years to search the reason for my optimism and attitude to give it a try in the past. Maybe the act of dreaming is more pleasurable than realising those dreams and the effort of making them sustain forever. Attaining something that you never dared to think you could achieve but yet not being aware you are so close to your destination is funny, because it throws up the dreaded question: “What Next?” Dreaded because I know that the step is sure impossibility because it will require an Anju Bobby George kind of leap and not the ‘one step at a time’ kind of approach will not be enough.

In fact, some of the dreams, which I’m living today, seemed to be requiring the same kind of leap, but I’m not conscious of making such a leap. The way I took to reach here is very hazy when I look back. Was it a gradual process or was it the snap of someone’s fingers that did the magic I really can’t say.

Still, in insomnia induced despondency, thoughts about euthanasia flash through the brain, probably because the impossibility of achieving more is gnawing inside. The vacuum inside never gets filled. Comments like “you’d be happy with yourself, look around people like you don’t even come out of their houses”, feel like pseudo.

P. S. I have understood that to maintain a blog successfully you should have led an interesting life (like my friends Alexis or BG), when I think of my childhood or early adulthood I recollect weird things like being made to stand in life size pit dug up in the garden with my legs tied with wooden splints and made to play cricket or being a virtual scarecrow with three of my limbs plastered for months to straighten them up when I was in my early-mid teens.

I don’t even have a strong opinion on Sanjay Dutt’s jail sentence and the eventual bail. Nor I can write a long post on Dravid’s decision to bat again (though I had told pappa to pray when he went to the temple next morning that Dravid doesn’t opt to bat again after taking the last wicket) in the last test against England.

P. P. S. The reason for the odd title is that my vocabulary was nil at the time this conversation happened, I was just beginning to feel the language and forming sentences that sometimes did not make sense. By the way, some of my friends still fight that they cannot understand a thing of what I say because my language is very poor. -:)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hindi Verse

Inn Galiyon Mein Kahin Humne Apni Zindagi Kho Di

Zaherili Hawaon Mein Humne Kuch Saansey Kho Di

Rishton ko Kamayab Banane Ki Koshish Mein
Humne Thodisi Khushi Kho Di

Jeene Ki Hod Mein Humne Sari Umiden Kho Di

Zamane Ke Dar Se Shayad Usne Sari Khwahishien Kho Di

Lagta Hai Teri Judaai Ke Ghum Mein
Usne Apni Hasi Kho Di



I’d be grateful if anyone can attempt to translate this gibberish into English for my friends who don’t follow Hindi.

P.S. Thanks to my cousin Ravi whose Shayari reignited in me the wish to write something in Hindi.

Be on his friends list on Orkut to receive your dose of some soul-stirring Shayari.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Opportunity Strikes Once

Opportunity strikes only once.

Leaving you as a mere spectator as it passes by.

Disasters visit you daily.

Seeking your full involvement.

Leaving you drained.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Words

Your words should throb with Life.

The sentences should rhyme

In a cascading rhythm.

Giving solace to the broken souls

And something to ponder for the Enlightened Ones.

A difficult task to achieve

But surely a state worth aspiring for.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Failure

Even the most devastating failure shows you a glimpse of success if there was sincerity in the effort.


Yet the first thing we doubt when we face failure is our effort.

In the schizophrenic world inside our head we go through the events that lead us to failure. “Where did I go wrong?” is the question.

Was there a lack of application?

Were you more focused on the end result rather than the individual steps that would take you there?

You cannot even blame external factors because you are not generous enough to give them credit when you succeed.

Question of destiny and fate does not arise as your rational instincts can clearly see who is at fault.

So, the best option is to get up and move ahead with the awareness of all your previous endeavours in your mind, but not fearing failure.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cutting Potatoes

A spontaneous laughter or a chuckle is a rare response when I’m speaking. My supposedly witty remarks or funny observations often fall flat as I’ve to repeat them twice or thrice before they are fully understood and their charm is lost. Only a few people are alert anticipating something funny from me.

Last Sunday one of my favourite teachers and me were praising the former Principal of the Special School that I attended for a few years. The Principal was nothing short of a visionary, she not only instilled confidence in me to look for a life beyond the school, but also found me a job as a proof. And, I’ve survived there for the last ten years, just because of the confidence she showed in me. So, I told my favourite teacher: “if not for her (the Principal) I would be still cutting potatoes there (in the vocational training class of the school)”, which instantly made my teacher laugh and made me happy thinking that once in a while my one-liners do work.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Yahoo Messenger

Friends,

I've lost the password of my Yahoo id pareshpalicha@yahoo.com. So, please don't leave any offline messages (or mails) there thinking that I'll get them when I login. Meanwhile, I've created an alternative id paresh_palicha@yahoo.com. Kindly update your address books.

I'm feeling very sad as this was my first email id, created by a friend, even before I started using the computer some 12 years back (can't even retrive the password as I have no idea of the details he fed while creating the account) and, some of the most important correspondence of my life was done through this id.

Pray, I can recollect the password soon. I'll be happy even if somebody can suggest any technique to hack the id.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Trip Down The Memory Lane

My Chaddi (childhood) friend SJL, who has committed himself to improve my internet chat vocabulary for the last few years forwarded the video of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara yesterday while chatting.

SJL sometimes becomes a philosopher and a guide too – adding ghee to my Khayali Pulav (loose translation: Pulav cooked in imagination only). Once from a distant corner in US of A he said that he missed his childhood in Alleppy. I said I did not miss anything about childhood as I am happier now than I was in my childhood.

He gave me a technique: first go back ten years – you’ll know what you’re missing now. Then follow the same exercise and go back twenty years.

He proved his point by sending this video.

The memories it refreshed are:

(The person appearing in video – the memories he/she refreshed).

01) Pt. Bhim Sen Joshi – the Dharwadi maestro who ran away from home over a fight with his father for an extra spoon of ghee in the rice.

02) Narendra Hirwani – the leg-spinner whose sixteen wicket haul in the Madras test to level the series against West Indies – Viv Richards’ Only Vimal Ad – Neena Gupta – my memory is going berserk, so stop here.

03) Kamal Hasan – Michael Madan Kama Rajan & Apoorva Sahodarargal – in Galaxy Theatre my brother had a minor scuffle with a drunkard because he responded “why do you bring sick people in the theatre?” when requested to exchange seats (in a houseful theatre) so my brother could sit with me while watching MMKR – and, of course Sundari Neeum Sundaran Njanum.

04) Deepa Sahi – Hero Hiralal with Naseerudin Shah.

05) Dina Pathak – Golmaal.

06) Tanuja – Kajol in Bekhudi, it was released during that period; I was wondering why everyone was praising this loud girl, but started liking her later.

07) Waheeda Raheman – Guide, when I read the book, I was disappointed; they had given a lousy treatment to the story. It was Raju’s story in the book and they made Rosy’s film.

08) Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna – Spirit of Unity Concerts on Doordarshan.

09) Ramanathan Krishnan – Ramesh Krishnan beating Mats Wilander in the initial rounds of Australian Open once.

10) Amitabh Bachchan – Manmohan Desai’s Ganga Jamuna Saraswati & Toofan.

11) Mithun Chakravarthy – Watan Ke Rakhwale – he climbing a vertical wall like a monkey and singing I want to beat somebody with Neelam.

12) Jeetendra – a poor remake of Rajavinte Makan (don’t remember the name)

Random thoughts:

Those days listening to Prime Minister’s speech from the Red Fort on the Independence Day and repeating Jai Hind after him was the most important thing to do.

Those days Hanuman had the macho image of Dara Singh saying Jai Shri Ram and not the baby cartoon singing Hanuman Chalisa as a Rap song.

Those days watching TV serials was fun.


(The Video is of poor quality).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Enna Thavam

This video is dedicated to my friend AM, who died in a fatal bike accident three ago in the month of February. He may have been 24 years at that time. He used to come here daily to practice animation on my PC for nearly a month before the dreaded day, and the first thing he used to do after booting the system was to play a version of this song used Dileep’s film Thilakam on Winamp. It was his favourite.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Diving-Bell And The Butterfly


I felt embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated when I made my mother read one of my recent posts on this blog a couple of days back; embarrassed not because I had written something that she wasn’t meant to read, but because I found some glaring flaws in the post as she was reading it aloud. Some misplaced/missing words, some grammatical errors that made think of the people who must have read that post and chuckled (I mail my new posts to at least two dozen people), but were kind enough to reply with comments similar to “well-written” and some even posted comments on the blog. It took me a couple of hours to correct the post, but took me the whole night to get over the shame; making me think of excuses for such a lapse; my mind working faster than the two fingers of my right hand or maybe I should’ve read it aloud before posting it and many such things. The worse I feared was that I won’t be able to get back to blogging for a few months until this event remained fresh in my mind.

But as you can see that it was not to happen and I am back here writing. Things changed when I got a courier with a book titled The Diving-Bell And The Butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby yesterday.

I was explaining the speciality of the book to my father; “it is the autobiography of the French editor of Elle, who dictated it just by batting his left eyelid after suffering a paralytic stroke”, and here I’m sulking about my two stiff fingers of my right hand that won’t move at the speed of my thoughts.

The book is a remarkable memoir of the author’s life in hospital after he suffered the stroke or locked-in syndrome. It is anecdotal and describes how he feels being in the cocoon of his body. It isn’t all that gloomy as I make it sound; there are a few really hilarious passages where he talks about hospital staff, some rude, some indifferent and some being a nuisance.

Somewhere before the end of the book Bauby tells us that he wishes to write a play where the hero suffers from locked-in syndrome and goes through all that he has experienced, in the climax he gets up from his bed and exclaims something like; “Shit! It was just a dream”.

A slim book (133 pages) with large fonts, this is the first book that I could finish in matter of hours.

If you are interested in knowing where I got to know about this book, just read the first comment on this post by Jai Arjun Singh

A detailed review of the book from The New York Times. (Free registration required).

And, thank you HCP for getting the book for me.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Short Story

I wrote this story in the same period when I wrote these poems. So, the same introduction will fit here.

Radical Parenting


The cigarette between his fingers was burnt upto its butt. His hands were stretched on the railing as if balancing his body. He was looking down from his second floor flat, but seeing nothing. The soft wind blowing made his Kurta stick to his chest. He looked like a creative person with black square framed glasses, the balding head with grey and black hair made him look experienced and mature.

Chhagan bhai (as he is known) seemed to be tense and nervous in this posture, the cigarette in his hand was a fair indication of his state, he always puffed at a high frequency, but now it was burnt out without being touched by his lips.

The problem occupying Chhagan bhai’s mind was his daughter.

Parul Ved, a final year B. Com student in a local college, a 20 year old girl with average height and beauty.

For Chhagan bhai his daughter is a semi-modern girl, who is not mature enough for her age. It was she who was bothering him from a few days.

Precisely five days ago Parul had told something that hit him like a thunder.

They were enjoying their dinner when she suddenly spoke disturbing the silence of the room. “Pappa”, she said; she had this peculiar habit of calling him that in an odd tune, and he loved it. He looked up. Surprise, confusion and concern showing on his face. “What is it?” he asked. He didn‘t remember once his daughter stopping for him to answer after calling, she went on talking even if he was not listening. Now she had stopped to get his full attention. “Pappa I want to tell you something”, she told. “Don’t you think I’m listening”, Chhagan bhai said; “see my ears, they are standing erect as a dog’s to listen to you”, he continued mockingly.

Parul smiled, her face showed that something was bothering her, she was searching for words, Chhagan bhai's patience was being tested, he was keeping the grin intact on his face despite of himself, He sensed something, somewhere was wrong.

“I’ve a friend”, Parul said, “He wants to meet you”.

“So”, Chhagan bhai asked, his face was still pleasant, his eyes soft, but the smile had disappeared from his lips. “ I think I know all your friends and I have met them all”, “You don’t know him”, Parul replied .She was searching for words again then she spoke after a while, “Pappa, he wants to marry me”.

“Oh, so tell me that he is your boyfriend”, Chhagan bhai quipped, the smile returning to his lips.

“What?” Parul’s mother almost shouted as the expression on her face was of utter shock; her eyes were fixed on Parul’s face, unblinking. Parul was frightened as hell when she saw her eye .She thought they would never blink again.

“Listen”, Chhagan bhai said in a shrill voice, commanding their attention. Parul turned her face towards him, pushing her specs back on the bridge of her nose. His wife looked at him, her eyes still unblinking. “By the way, who is he?” he asked. “He was my senior in college”, Parul said. Her father was listening intently so she continued, “His father is a seafood exporter”. He was not satisfied by her explanation, so he asked with some irritation, “I asked about the boy, what is his name?”

Parul was getting tensed; she was finding it hard to breathe, she felt her heart turning around in her chest. She found it hard to speak and when she spoke the words came after much strain, "Pappa - his name is Shabbir Kapasi, he is a Muslim”, she said. Chhagan bhai was shocked, he had a feeling that something was churning inside his belly and his face stoned. It took him a few moments to regain his composure, “well’’, he spoke as if he was speaking in vacuum, “tomorrow is Saturday - call him, let’s see tomorrow evening”. Parul was happy but restrained her face from showing it.

For rest of the dinner there was a mist of silence hanging on the table, all three of them wanted to break it, but nobody dared to.

That night Chhagan bhai and his wife had a discussion, the crux of the discussion was Parul. His wife was wild at him for the way he handled the situation. “Then what do you think I should have done?” he asked desperately.
“You should’ve told no in the first place”, she said blankly. “Don’t be a fool, what do you think would’ve happened if I would have told no, the talk would have ended there with no result”, Chhagan bhai said with a tone of understanding.

“What do you mean?” his wife asked like a child. “See if I had said no at first, then it would have meant that we were washing our hands off from our responsibility and that she could have it in her own way”, Chhagan bhai explained.

“Yes”, she said, as if she suddenly had a clear vision after being short sighted for a long time.

The next morning at the breakfast there was an unusual muteness of the night. The morning sun was filtering into the kitchen cum dinning room therefore nullifying the need for artificial lighting.

The silence was heavy as an iron veil hanging around them. The silence, which was unheard of for last few years, was now swallowing the pleasantness of this home.

Chhagan bhai broke the ice suddenly. “Parul were you serious last night?” he was looking at her with a mixture of intensity and softness on his face. “What?’’ she asked, her face was an assortment of thoughts that were running through her head. He repeated the question.

“Yes”, she said, gaining the sureness, which she knew she lacked, “otherwise I wouldn’t have told you”.

“Well”, Chhagan bhai said, a kind of ambiguous look on his face, but it was polite and his tone was somewhat heavy, “What I meant to ask was you wanted to study future - M.B.A or CA”. “I will-“, she started to say, but Chhagan bhai cut her short, "by the way what he – Shabbir is doing? “

“Pappa, he is doing M.Com privately and he is also helping his father. He is planning to go to U.S to do a course in Management, he has got scholarship from some private concern”, she said.

“I thought you’re planning to get married immediately”, Chhagan bhai said, a surprise showing on his face, but his voice was calm.

“No Pappa”, she said, mistaking his surprise for mock she continued; “I told this early because my stomach was aching “.

“Oh”, he smiled a faint smile it vanished immediately. Parul became conscious of her mistake and she added; “Pappa, I also plan to finish my higher studies “.

“Has he talked about you to his parents? “ “No Pappa”, she answered; “He says we wait till he comes back “.

“What if he changes his mind?” “Chhagan bhai asked. “It can happen with me also Pappa “, Parul said, an odd type of confidence shone in her eyes as she spoke the words which she never expected to utter even to herself.

Chhagan bhai glanced at her as if he were a patient of amnesia, then spoke, “Parul Beta, you have grown up, really you have grown up, I thought it was only your size “.

It was at sharp five o’clock that the bell rang. Parul went and opened the door, after a slight murmur at the door she came in followed by a man-boy.
“Pappa this is Shabbir”, Parul said.

Chhagan bhai got up from his chair watching him. He had not seen such perfection in his life. What he was looking at was conceptualisation of Hindi movie star. He was tall, his complexion fair with strong black eyes, his face was soft and shining with lemon green hue on the parts of his chin, cheeks and moustache as it was clean shaved. His hair was parted in the middle; it flapped like horse’s mane when he moved his head. “Hello sir “, he said.

“You being Parul’s friend should call me uncle “, Chhagan bhai said.

“Yes uncle “, Shabbir obeyed.

After a few stray topics Chhagan bhai confronted Shabbir with the same queries as he had made to Parul, he was surprised at the similarities in answer of both of them. Shabbir was calm and composed; he didn’t hesitate to speak out his mind. Despite of himself Chhagan bhai was impressed by this boy and so he told Parul; “he is a brilliant boy”, he had said after Shabbir had gone.

But after five days also his mind was not free, the image of what happened in the past few days struck his head in random, in his mind he had accepted it, but he was lacking the conviction, and the support of his heart to evaluate whether it was right or wrong. He had a feeling that he was growing old and was losing control over life. Somehow he wanted to tell no to Parul, but he had no justification for doing that. The image of Parul came into his eyes, a clear photographic image. A strange sensation crept into him, because the image was not of his daughter but of an individual he did not understand. It went out and again Chhagan bhai’s heart started wandering in the blacked-out alley of his doubts.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I was there…

My mother makes special effort to brighten up my Sunday mornings, it may be by making something of my liking for breakfast or promising to make something exotic for lunch that I would not eat on weekdays fearing bowel problems or just a simple thing as skimming through the newspapers to find something that would interest me before I wake up, and most probably every time I disappoint her by saying that I have already read this on the Net or on the writer’s blog.

But last Sunday was different; we were in Thiruvananthapuram at my brother’s place. She came in the room where I was sleeping with a paper in hand and my six-year-old nephew in tow; “Want to see your Tatu (a form of Kaku, which he learnt when he was a toddler) jump in the bed?” she asked him; taking out paper she wanted to show me.

In my mind I started wondering what it may be; thinking about any interesting book or a movie that I’d have mentioned to her during the previous week, nothing. I concluded it must be the review of Salaam-e-Ishq.

The image of Rajiv Menon looking out from the steam engine used in Guru stared at me as she put the paper in front of my face. I smiled and turned. “Look at his face”, Ma told Jai, my nephew. My excitement was also fuelled by the fact that I had spent a few hours with the interviewee a couple of years back during the AbilityFest 2005

I struggled to see who the interviewer was. Ah! It was Baradwaj Rangan. I was a bit disappointed to see a short lead (unlike his usual longish introductions describing the preparation, apprehensions and sometimes even the goof-ups) and the direct Q & A format. But I read it intently waiting for Rajiv to mention Fiddler on the Roof as one of his future project.

I had heard a conversation between Rajiv Menon and Jaya Bachchan during the lunch at the Park Hotel after jury meet of AbilityFest, discussing this project where names such as Javed Akthar and Rahman popped up. Rajiv Menon saying something like “we’ve to convince Javed Saab that the script is not against any community, if he backs out, Rahman won’t stay and it will not be worth making this film without both of them”. So, when he said in the interview “Now I’ve written a script based on Fiddler on the Roof, with Amitabh Bachchan in mind. I hope I get to do this once the formalities are worked out”. I could see what those formalities were.

It gives me cold sweat and Goosebumps to think back that the man sitting opposite me and who had persistently offered to help me with my lunch was the same person who had directed Kajol in Minsara Kanavu/Sapnay and had shot my all time favourite Manisha Koirala in Bombay.

Sidelight: Imagine Big B singing Agar Main Amir Aadmi Hota To in his legendary baritone as Chaim Topol sings If I were a Rich Man in the original as shown in the video below:




Here is a detailed analysis of Fiddler on the Roof by Jai Arjun Singh

Some of the recent classic interviews by Baradwaj Rangan

Gautham Menon

Aparna Sen/Govind Nihalani

TM Krishna/Aruna Sairam



Finally, thanks to my internet friends Dilip Muralidaran & Bishwanath Ghosh for teaching me how to upload a video on the blog in the dead of the night.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Black Friday

I had sourced Black Friday: The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts by S Hussain Zaidi, the crime reporter of Midday from Mumbai when Abu Salem’s extradition from Portugal was hot news and media was busy drawing up his biography. I thought this book would give me insight into this man, but my brother-in-law who had read the book before me, as he had bought it for me said that there is hardly any mention of Salem, this book is about how Tiger Memon orchestrated the blasts. So, it went into my “will read someday” stock.

I was also aware that Anurag Kashyap had made a film based on it. So, the book never left my consciousness. When the convictions in the Blast Cases began and news of film’s imminent release started floating, the urgency to read it returned. Ma had to dust up my stock to find this book.

I did not know what to expect, I just started reading and to my surprise this was one of fastest read I had (though it took nearly fifteen days, so you know how quick I read :p). Black Friday is engrossing to say the least; it starts with prologue that describes what happened to common people at various locations in the city where blast happened on March 12, 1993. Then it moves on to build up the events and preparations that happened before the blasts. The blasts take place followed by investigation, nabbing of few of the culprits and the beginning of the trail. Culminating with an epilogue that shows the suffering and the loss of common folks from diverse social strata who were on the roads on that day.

Personally for me the blast of 1993 were distant (those were the pre-news-channels days). But the 7/11 local train blasts gave me the taste of terror. Having at least dozen people I know travelling by those trains at that time of the day made me really panicky. Frantic calls and SMSing started enquiring about the well-being of relatives, friends and acquaintances, which continued for a few days. It made me wonder about the foot soldiers who may have placed the explosives on the trains for a few thousand rupees; what they may be feeling if they were watching the devastation they had caused on TV, or if one of their relatives or friends happened to be the victim of these blasts.

Black Friday brought the same upsetting questions to my mind.

P.S. The film is expected to be in the theatres on February 9th.

P.P.S. Here is an early review of the film.