Monday, 21 April 2014

The Slimming Package

Few years ago, my wife Anjali worked with a Health Care organization, which was mainly into beauty and slimming. The company was also into the business of manufacturing, marketing and export of products/services that constitute skin care, body care, hair care, dental care and many more. It had its wings spread across India. In Bangalore the company had 6 to 8 divisions and Anjali worked as a center head in one of them. She was not directly involved in sales and marketing, but had to manage the smooth functioning of the center. The company had many innovative slimming products and packages, some claimed to reduce 20 kg of weight in just three months, with their unique and effective herbal body massage. 

The ladies at the reception were very good-looking and were utterly smart. Clients were really pleased with their smooth and confident talking. One of the girls loved to communicate  more with her eyes and most of the male clients couldn’t stand her piercing glance for long. She talked with a typical Delhi accent and could easily convince the clients for taking one product or the other. Sometimes a few of the clients were not very satisfied with the service. Instead of 20 kg, they could hardly reduce 2 kg of their weight, after paying a hefty amount and after completing the course. On a few occasions, some clients even shouted at the employees, asking them to return their money. But the pretty ladies easily handled such situations. Some clients were so annoyed that they even made police complaints, but the terms and conditions to reduce weights were very tricky. 

One day a decent looking middle aged man entered the front door. He looked to be in his early fifties and was slightly overweight. The enchanting ladies at the reception greeted him and immediately his face lit up with a bright smile, and his heart filled with happiness. The man was quite soft-spoken and the ladies started to explain him about the various slimming packages. He seemed to be more interested in body massage. The girls were able to convince him for an alluring package. It was a three month’s package which included weekly two times full body massage, along with some exercises. The man looked very happy and he didn’t mind one of the ladies swapping his credit card for a transaction of Rs 50,000. The smart girls could read his mind and they were pretty sure that the man actually wasn't much bothered about reducing his weight, but he wanted to explore some of his hidden desires.

One of the girls escorted him to a room. It was a small room and the man was mesmerized with the fragrance inside. It was quite an ecstatic moment for him. He was expecting one of the enticing ladies from the reception would come and massage him. Various seductive thoughts started to flow through his head and his wait was getting impatient. Suddenly a good-looking guy entered the room. He picked a big towel that lay nearby and passed it on to him. He asked the man to get undressed and cover himself with the towel. The man was in a terrible state of shock. Totally clueless, he did exactly what the guy had asked him to do. The guy started his therapy and the man tried to relax with his heavy heart. 

‘Are you the one who’s going to massage my body for the next three months?’ the man gently asked.

The guy replied, ‘there are a few more therapists and I might not massage you every time’

 ‘Are there lady therapists as well?’ the man asked.

‘Yes, there are, but I’m afraid cross-gender massage is not done here’

The man was very disappointed and felt being cheated. Later after his therapy, he went to have a talk with the beautiful ladies at the reception. The girls already felt the sadness and dissatisfaction on his face. They were a little worried and felt the man might no longer interested in the slimming package he had already paid for. They tried to play it safe and didn’t give him enough opportunity to talk. 

‘Actually, I don’t think the package would be much of a help to me,’ the man said with utter shyness. 

‘No sir, it’s a very good one and it will definitely help you in reducing your weight’ ‘Hum log to aapke beti jaisi hai, aapse kyun jhooth bolenge?’ ‘We girls are just like you daughters and why we should lie to you?’

The poor man went speechless and the embarrassment showed on his face. After a while he simply walked away from there. He continued with his therapy and kept visiting the center. But every time he visited, he looked awkward and absolutely unsatisfied.  

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Winds of Hastinapur

The word Hastinapur is quite soothing to my ears. Well, it was a very well known city during Mahabharata period. Hastinapur was the capital of the kingdom of the Kauravas, belonging to the Kuru dynasty of kings. The throne of this city was the prize over which the Kurukshetra war of the epic Mahabharata was fought. Most of the incidents in Mahabharata have taken place in this city of Hastinapur.

During my childhood I was a big fan of Mahabharata and regularly watched it on DD. Also in our school, probably in our 8th grade, we had Mahabharata book as part of our academics. The book was part of our Hindi subject and it was really interesting when our ‘Hotilal Sir’ used to narrate the book to us. No doubt, it’s the greatest epic ever. My Mahabharata knowledge was limited to the battle between Kauravas and the Pandavas, Ekalavya cutting his thumb, Draupadi Vastraharan, Bhim fighting the Cannibal Bakasura, amongst others. When I came across the book, ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’, I was a little thrilled. The book synopsis is very interesting.

‘The Mahabharata is the story of women, even though men have focused far too much on the Great Battle. It is women who have set events in motion, guided the action and measured the men. The Winds of Hastinapur begins at the point that Ganga was cursed and sent to Earth. She lives among the mortals and bears Shantanu, the King of Hastinapur, seven children, all of whom she kills. With the eighth, she leaves. That boy, who returns to Earth, will prove to be the key to the future of Hastinapur.The story, as told through the lives of his mother Ganga and stepmother Satyavati is violent, fraught with conflict and touched with magic’

I’m sure this book is written after a lot of research. Over the years numerous writers, poets, singers, film-makers and various artists have interpreted Mahabharata in their own way. While reading ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’ I was not able to correlate it with my limited Mahabharata knowledge. I felt a little happy at one point when I read about the birth of Pandu and Dhritarashtra. The book powerfully described about two ladies, Ganga the mother of Bhisma and his step mother Satyavati. Even though there’s very less Mahabharata in the book, but readers who like mythological stories will definitely enjoy it. To be honest, I didn’t find the book very interesting. I’m not too much into mythology kind of stuff and also, I found the story to be a little disorganized. But for readers who want to know more of Indian mythology, this book is highly recommended.

Title: The Winds of Hastinapur
Author: Sharath Komarraju
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Transformation

The only newspaper I used to read earlier, was ‘Times of India’.  But few years ago, my habit of reading newspaper died out. Nowadays, I prefer browsing through online latest news, rather than reading the previous day news. The newspapers were piling up at our house, entirely unread and one early morning, I simply asked the delivery guy not to throw anymore newspaper at our terrace. But one thing I must admit, the smell of the printed newspaper along with it's typical folding sound, is truly mesmeric. While reading online, whenever I liked any news article, I also enjoyed going through various comments, below it. There used to be a Agree, Disagree, Recommend and an Offensive buttons for each comment. Sometimes even I wanted to comment, but to do so one had to register with a valid email id, first. I did the same and started to comment in some interesting news articles. Sometimes I was thrilled to see my comment being liked by so many people. That was for the first time I started to write. It was fun; also there was no transparency and quite often people posted weird comments. I remember on a few occasions, my comments were among the top, most engaging, most agreed ones. Gradually I grew in confidence, but then interesting topics were very limited in Times of India.

Later when Facebook came, I was a little worried about the kind of transparency it had. Initially I was very apprehensive and refrained myself from liking and commenting. If I like anything, all my friends would come to know, how scary is that?  But some FB posts and also some comments were so interesting that I was tempted to like and to comment. Sometimes my comments were liked by some of my friends and I felt good about it. I grew in confidence and the fear was gone. I started to press the like button whenever I found anything interesting and also started to comment more frequently. Also, somehow I dared to post my own stuff on FB. A few likes and comments made me feel satisfied. I started to post more often and also joined a few FB communities, including our college group. I started posting some of our  humorous college life, hostel incidents and my friends really enjoyed those.

Gradually I became more bolder and entered into the daring world of blogging. I really enjoy writing about some of my unforgettable moments and feel utterly delighted whenever I see a comment on my post. All those Leibster and Versatile awards really inspired me to write more. I also took part in some of the blogging competitions organized by Indiblogger and had attempted to write a few short fictions. I felt glad that many people even enjoyed my fictional stories as well. I continued blogging and then one day something sparked in me. I thought of writing a book. Well, I might have overreacted to think in that way, but I started to work on a story. It was boring initially and I didn’t have any clue how my story would move forward. But I never looked back and continued to work. Guess what? I’ve completed writing my first novel and sent my submission with the first 3 chapters to some of the publishers, today. Still a lot of editing work is pending and I would really like to thank my schoolmate Arundhati Hazarika for helping me in editing my work.

It’s a simple story, about the amazing journey of life, with a little humor, love, friendship and some emotions. It’s purely a work of fiction and is not based on my blog. But readers who enjoy my posts are definitely going to love the story. I just hope some publishers would be interested in my work. It’s a wonderful experience, writing my first novel and I’m really enjoying it.  

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