Happy Diwali

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Here on this auspicious kingdom of honor lived a prince,
The place of joy, euphony, and happiness it was where nobody winced,
Not a day, decades but hundreds of centuries ago,
“Prince well be our ruler”, “long live the prince”, the kingdom roared so.

The fate looked sealed but destiny had other things in mind,
Of course the love for her own real son made her blind,
When the queen and the tantrum bind the king with a promise,
14 years of exile for the step son she asked and led to the king’s nemesis.

The prince went to the forest to keep the father’s bind,
Along with brother and wife, leaving the kingdom behind,
The evil demon had his eye on the prince’s wife,
He laid his vicious plans to fly away, leaving the prince in a plight.

The prince gathered an army determined to end the evil,
He crossed the oceans, with his quiver of arrows and sword waiting for the kill,
War was ferocious the evil demon finally fell,
The prince finally won, and there was a tale to tell.

The wife re-united with the prince and the celebrations galore,
The victory of the good over evil was the folklore,
The conquest was done and the years of exile has passed,
The time to return to his kingdom came at last.

The subjects were overjoyed to welcome their victorious prince,
Lights, decoration, and celebration all it was since,
The prince who conquered evil was back to be the king,
In his praise the victory song they sing.

And the Amavsya of the Kartik month was marked as happy one for ages to come by,
The day to be celebrated by rich or poor, extroverts or shy,
Everyone just forgets their troubles and worries,
Just fold their hands in unison to greet every one A Very Happy Diwali!!!

Wishing a very happy and prosperous Diwali to all my readers.
For those not from India, Diwali is a major Indian festival celebrated every year on Amavasya(No Moon Night) of the Kartik month (Indian Calendar)to mark the return of Lord Ram back in Ayodhya after killing the viscious Ravana. Its celebrated all across the country with lights, candles and fireworks. For more details check the wiki link here.

Posted by Prats at 5:58 PM  

Thank you for Smoking

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Until recently I was having a discussion with some of my friends and I expressed my views about one of the discussed topics, the recently imposed ban on smoking at public places. I had some different views from the group which thought ban was a progressive step taken by the government. That is what Sumeet has quoted here in his blog. I thought it would be justified to the audience when I should explain why exactly I am against the ban.

To start with let’s get to the core of the subject, what exactly is the purpose of the ban? What can be defined as the Public place? First of all let us understand the meaning of ban, a ban is a very strict decree which entails a prohibition of certain activity by making it illegal. If you intentionally or unintentionally commit the mentioned activity you become a criminal and can be prosecuted for the same. So when government has put up a ban on smoking in public places. The basic intention I believe behind this ban is; the final enlightenment of the government that smoking is injurious to health and is a probable cause of cancer and other respiratory conditions. So the ban should be instituted to protect all the people who might die of the diseases caused by smoking. Now for the government as an institution all the subjects should be equal, so the attempt to protect all citizens should be equal. A person who is a citizen of India should not be allowed to consume cigarettes invariably something like Marijuana, Cocaine or Heroine. A lot of you would say that these are drugs and they are harmful; but the crude fact is all these drugs and cigarettes are addictive and harmful for health. Cigarette might be a slower addiction and the harmful affects show in a bit longer run; now I mean it is similar to say consumption of potassium cyanide on will is disallowed; but for suicide a relatively slower poison available for consumption. If the intent of protecting people is so genuine and honest; then shouldn’t government go ahead and ban the sale of all kinds of cigarette across India; that would serve a purpose effectively. I mean this would immediately and most effectively reduce the ill-effects of cigarettes across the country. But the government wouldn’t do so, because they do not want the high taxes coming from the tobacco going down.

Second argument which would come would be the idea of free will; that a person is allowed to smoke but not in public spaces where it might harm others. Now the basic idea is that if a person is allowed to smoke in private; then let us first define what public is and what is private and how would this equation affect people. Now for the sake of discussion let us take a definition of public as something which is not completely owned or leased or habitat for the person. So a person is allowed to smoke in the locations which are not above which more or less leaves the homes. Now here comes my major concern if the government is so concerned then why this bias against the family members of the same person. For a government since all its subjects are equal why risk the heath of the family members of the smoker. Interestingly the guy who always used to go out of the house to puff a cigarette (he smoked because he couldn’t quit) so that it doesn’t harms his family. He used to walk to a solitary corner on the road near the Pan Shop and used to smoke. Such an amicable solution; now the same guy when indulges himself with his tobacco becomes a criminal as he violates the ban. So to be a non-criminal he is supposed to suffocate his children and family. Now if the government wanted the people to be healthy and in good spirit wouldn’t it would have been more simpler just to say no one is allowed to cell cigarettes in India.

But here is the catch government when constituted this law is neither interested in the health of the public in general. Nor it has to be in any concerns of its positive effects. What would actually happen which we all know including our honorable health minister-

1- The poor labor class for whom the source of entertainment is derived from smoking a 5 paise bidi would continue to smoke in public. They anyways cannot afford to pay fine; so might be on some rough days constables would chase them for pure fun may be struck a couple of whacks and leave the smokers with their sticks

2- The so called common man, the middle class who is not strikingly rich but still have a wallet and some money to pay to the cops would be troubled by the police.

3- The illegal smoking places would pop up here and there which would pay hafta to the police to let people smoke in their premises.

4- The minister being a highly knowledgeable man would be able to fool the public like every time but this time all educated public to enhance is public image and vote bank.

So I am totally against the ban of smoking in public places. So Minister sir my humble request to you is before you come with these awesome ideas of yours why don’t you direct the tax income for cigarettes to the health and come out one day and say that in India no one would die because there wasn’t proper beds, medicine, equipment available in the “SARKARI HOSPITAL”. When you have done this ban cigarettes, ban alcohol, ban cheese or oil if you want to for heath reason and I will campaign for you. But before you breach the free will of the people; earn the right to do it apart from elections.

Posted by Prats at 12:07 AM  

SMS Channel from Google

Friday, October 10, 2008


For all those who have always cribbed that they do not get time to read my blog online or through the feed/newsletter. You can the Google SMS Channel. This thing seems to be awesome though it works only with the Indian mobiles. It's still a beta version or in labs stage so try this one out right here.

Click here to subscribe through SMS


G & C

Posted by Prats at 3:05 PM  


A new Story on the Story blog. You can read it here or through the link on the top menu.

Posted by Prats at 3:03 PM  


Monday, October 06, 2008

It feels really good to be in Pune, especially when I spent two awesome years of my life here in this city. The best part of the student life is that it attaches you big time to the city. You leave a part of yours when you move out, Pune is same to me. Irrespective of 1001 complaints you will receive about it whether the traffic which never seems to be in order, or the potholes which seem to outnumber the number of roads in the city or the rains which show a deep influence from Jim Carrey’s Mast yelling all the time ‘Somebody Stop Me!!!’ or now the latest politician on the block Mr. Raj Thackrey and his lingual biases. Despite all this my love for this city is something which is constant, you can attribute it to weather, the crowd anything but for sake of my comfort I would say I have spent two best years of my life right here. A few days ago I was actually contemplating where to have dinner, was not really sure where I wanted to have my dinner and what I wanted to eat. When me & Sumeet passed what used to be our college building one and a half years ago. I saw the NCC canteen was still open and I immediately pulled over.

As I climbed down the stairs of the canteen, a feeling of Nostalgia hit me. Nothing had changed there. The seats were the same, the students were scattered and the conversations regarding tests, subjects, movies were going amidst thick layers of cigarette smoke (yes I know the sticks are banned, but you can’t stop the kids. Not in their college canteen, absolutely not. More coming on the ban in my next post) It just seemed that we have moved further away. A realization that the places don’t change we are the ones who change; I saw this was the place where I used to have my daily lunch for two years. I actually relished the canteen food after the long lectures and hardships of deadlines and assignments, today I would not think of visiting a place like this. Yes, I am quite a snob when it comes to places to eat and watching movies I do not like any place which lacks proper ambience. But the college canteen despite nowhere close to the places I prefer to eat in was something made me feel home. The surprises came in the form of people, Ganesh Anna the manager & cashier of the place, Chandu and other waiters and chefs recognizing us immediately. Coming up to us talking being concerned how we are doing. We ordered our food and as soon as we did and the waiter narrated the order to the Chef. The manager shouted back at the chef “Ache se banana, Bhai ka khana hai” (prepare the food well, it is for our brother). A feeling swept in that how respect worthy & important we were for this guy. How we sat in the place like we owned it, no formalities, nothing doing absolutely like a king. No 5 star in this world could match that, having eaten in best of the places but the kind of treatment was irreplaceable.

Now I fully understand when DJ (Amir Khan) says in Rang De Basanti “Mujhe University main hi rehna hai. University main apni ek aukaat hai. Log kehte hai DJ main badi baat hai kuch karega DJ. Universtiy ke gate ke is paar hum life ko nachate hai aur gate ke us par life humko nachati hai” (I want to remain in the university only. Inside the University I have a standing, people say DJ has something special about him, they know me who I am. They say I will achieve one day. On the insides of the gates we make the life dance on our tunes on the other side of the gate life makes us dance on her tunes).

I have had parties which have amounted more than my entire expenses at the NNC canteen for months. But still those restaurant people won’t even know what my name is. But is NCC canteen main, ithe to apni kuch aukaat hai. Log Jaante hai mainnu yahan par. (in this NCC canteen I have my own standings people know me here). NCC rocks!!!

Posted by Prats at 1:25 PM  

34 Bubblegums & Candies Launch

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ever since I have developed a fascination for books authors have been a part of conversations around me. Until today my perception of an author used to be of some kind of celebrity, some what like the Katrinas and Shahrukhs of the world. We all know they exist and in real, but they seem to live in a different world. When I got an opportunity to attend the book launch (for the first time in my life) in form of an invite for the launch of 34 Bubblegums and Candies, the first book from the author Preeti Shenoy, I grabbed it with both the hands.

My excitement to meet live with an author, who I used to follow through her blog, took me to the destined place well one and a half hours in advance to ensure I didn’t even a single minute of it. I walked in the crosswords and saw her books being displayed on the showcase. I picked the book in my hands and felt the cover page and the back page details which I had been seeing on the website on actual paper as a book. I kept the book down as I didn’t want to read it before the launch actually happened. I wanted to hear the author and her feelings for her first book before diluting her reactions with my own perception of the book.

The launch started at the predetermined time and in came the person who was very much a normal human being and changed my perception of authors. I was expecting someone with a somewhat stylish Brit accent indicating the flawless English usage and pronunciations. A minute of conversation dawned on me the realities of an author. The launch was triggered by her introduction and a welcome note by the crosswords team.  

The launch was presided by Anuja, sharing the dais with Preeti, who in words of Preeti herself is one of the most energy spreading people she knew and also fostered a passion for Preeti’s writings. She started her address with the answer to the question which was haunting everyone’s mind, what made her traverse the journey from being a blogger to becoming an author. She talked about how a sudden and unfortunate turn of events made her realize the value of every days in her life and more the value of our life being lost every day because we fail to live up to it. She also added how the snippets or experiences of our lives are perfect analogies with bubblegums and cadies and helped her derive the name and concept of her book 34 Bubblegums and Candies.  

Preeti concluded with reading an excerpt from the book. After which another excerpt was read by Anuja and her experience with the author and how she could correlate with the book and could swan how the every bubblegum and candy in the book has come out straight from the heart of the author. The ceremony was drawn towards the end with some games and an interactive question answer session with the author herself. The ceremony marked it closure with the signing of the books by the author.

What stole the entire show and made it so special for the guests and the author herself was the gesture by Atul & Purvi, for whom the author is a full-time devoted mother of two. They made very cute little bookmarks for the guests present in the launch and personalizing them for each one of them. You can read about the entire effort put in by the kids here, by Preeti herself. I being the lucky one got one of the bookmarks, which says “Dear Prateek, Thanks for buying my mom’s Book.  By Atul and Purvi”

@ Atul & Purvi: The bookmark is awesome. I will always keep it with me to remind me of you two.

Attending this book launch was an amazing experience for me specially to realize how the heart of an author goes in every page of the book to actually make it happen. How some unfortunate incidents can be changed by a person’s outlook to create something positive and meaningful out of them.  There were lot of moments where I could actually connect with the author and also feel the inspiration and inhalation out of the book. The most engaging part of the ceremony was when Preeti read a chapter on Radiators & Drains. She talked on glimpses of people around us, how there are radiators who emit constant positive energy spreading a feel good around us and then there are drains which actually feed on our own energy and exist only to pull us down. The chapter concluded on how one should surround himself with Radiators and avoid drains. This one was a certainly the bubble gum for me, I have been thinking of it since the moment I have heard it and read it and then re-read it.

Two questions which actually float my mind are not about radiators and drains around me. The question is about me am I a radiator or a drain? If I need can I change myself to be one or the other by efforts or being a radiator or drain is imbibed through our genes? And more importantly is a radiator emitting energy at all points of time in all moods and in all situations? I have my own perceptions to these questions but no definite answers. I am not sure if there are any.

P.S.: I have read the whole book cover to cover already within 2 hours of the launch. Initial feedback is if you like non fiction without any storyline; this one is worth reading and every word of it. A detailed review will come later after chewing the multiple bubblegums & digesting the sweet candies.


Posted by Prats at 2:03 AM