Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Shield

Just a few days back I'd written something about the benefit of hindsight. But, the prominence of that phrase has started sinking in only now as it is going to be a fortnight since my dad passed away and to get over the grief and to soak up my  tears I am making futile attempts to remember the tiffs, fights, grudges etc. that I had with or against him, but somehow they do not sustain beyond a few seconds and soon they are overlapped by happy and positive memories that make the other things look frivolous.

One incident that comes to my mind happened when I went to write my Final year B. Com exam in a college as a private student (i.e. someone who studies sitting at home or attending private classes and goes to college just to write the final exams). That year the college had appointed a new person as the in-charge of Examination, who obviously wasn't familiar with my needs. So, when he saw my dad carry me inside followed by my scribe, he refused to make me sit in my usual seat in the library or any other place on the ground floor saying that the other students writing exams will get disturbed or they would write whatever I dictated to my scribe. He made dad carry me up to the second floor searching for an empty classroom. I could sense that he was panting and sweating profusely, this made me upset and I told him if they make you carry me any further I don't want to write the exam. He was in an unusually upbeat mood that day and told me just to think of the paper that I was going to write and leave the rest to him, adding that he had the strength to carry me to the terrace of the building.

Luckily things cooled down and from the next day I was provided a seat in a corner in the library.  Now, if I think about it I feel that I wouldn't have graduated if my dad had mentioned he was tired or fed up of the circus that he was made to do with me.

There are many more such incidents where dad proved to be my shield or saviour when the whole world seemed to be against me, yet he never boasted about the greatness of his action or made me feel that he had done something extraordinary for my sake.

PS: you can read more about my dad here,  here,  and see his one more picture here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cadbury Shots – for Pappa

I miss the Cadbury Shots and other assorted candies
that you popped into my mouth as soon as I settled in the auto
after work.

You for me were never the celebrated hero that people make you out be;
just because you made a man out of a son like me.
Never ever you indicated that it was something out of the ordinary.

As Preachers say Life must go on
and I promise you that I'll do my best to cope without you.

But, wherever you are, be sure that you're missed here Pappa.

Friday, February 07, 2014

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

I haven't updated this space for a long while now. There are not many reasons or excuses for that except for lethargy or laziness. Some posts die in my head while in formation stage itself and a few die after I have jotted ('typed' would be the right term here) down a few lines or even words. And, as I'm thinking about it now I feel that writing about life when it is happening, it is better to write about something with the benefit of hindsight.

But, this post isn't about any happening or an event in my life, it is just about a book that I recently read (I may be wrong as 'reading' also can be a happening or an event), One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf. It is a book for anyone who loves fast paced books with some depth and multi-dimensional characters, and also for those interested in creative writing as such. It shows you how to structure a narrative interestingly by revealing a mystery on every page, peeling off a layer from the characters to show the motive behind their action.

An unidentified assailant with a gun enters a school in a fictitious small town called Broken Branch, Iowa State, USA and makes a classroom full of third graders hostage along with their teacher. The story goes on to show how the school, police, parents and the town in general reacts to the situation. The tale is weaved from the perspective of five characters directly effected by the incident; Holly, a burn victim recuperating in a hospital in Arizona. Her two children Augie and P. J are under the care of her father and are the students of the ill-fated school. Augie, a teenager, who had to shift school mid-term because of her mother's accident. Mrs. Oliver, the teacher in the class that is taken hostage. Meg, a single mother and police officer in Broken Branch, whose child Maria is the student of the same school, but, has taken a day off before the spring vacation to spend some time with her dad Tim. And, finally Will, a farmer and the grandfather of Augie and P. J.

As this intricate and intense story moves forward from character to character and from first person to third person format we get to see how interconnected small communities are and an untoward incident effects every single person in the locality.

For me, the vividly etched mind-scape of Mrs. Oliver and teenager Augie worked wonderfully as it showed how two persons of different ages and different mentality act similarly in a given situation. And, I'm sure Mrs. Oliver will remind you of your best loved teachers.

A line from this book that will stay with me is: “the easiest way to save face is to keep the lower half shut”.

PS. With this I shun the romantic notion that you need to smell the paper to enjoy a book. For me e-books are convenient to handle physically as I don't have to hold them and turn the pages. I doubt if I'd have finished reading this book it was in physical form.