The Victim and the Perpetrator

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He came to me with eyes seething in anger and hatred. He wanted to hurt me with some modern weapon in his hand. The night was dark as the skin of a cobra, hissing through the sounds of winds. 

My baby was sleeping peacefully in my arms. He gave a look to us and something changed in his eyes. I could see it was compassion. Yes, it could not have been anything different. His hand lowered for a second and then came a voice, “They didn’t show pity on our women and kids”. His love suddenly vanished and the anger came surging back. In a flash I heard the blast and two holes pierced in our bodies. My baby died quietly in my arms but I died with my eyes on him. There was no anger or hatred in his gaze, but pain lot of pain. Pain that connected me to him in my final breath and I forgave him.

I wish our deaths soothed his pain but I knew it only got increased. He’ll understand that but it will be too late. Until he meets me again in some other world!

To be kind to everyone..

"Bhikkhus, it is not easy to find a being who has not formerly been your mother...your father...your sister...your son...your daughter..."

If the above words of Buddha are true, then how can we be unkind to anyone? I came across this story while searching for some answers. Buddhism, though I am no Buddhist, is full of subtle powerful teachings that can be imbibed without following any rituals. I am in the stage of life where burdened by responsibilities, I might ignore my elders, parents, and in-laws, their advices, might find their habits irksome and might hurt them. This story teaches me filial piety. I understand now that we may have differences with people including our elders but that doesn't mean that we should stop being polite, kind, caring or dutiful towards them. And also that we can never repay the debt of kindness of our parents, all of them :)

Here is the abridged version of the story:

At one time, Buddha led a great assembly of bhikshus and boddhistavas on a walk toward the south. Suddenly they came upon a pile of bones beside the road. Buddha turned to face them, and bowed respectfully.
Ananda asked him in reverence, “What is the reason that the Great Teacher of the Triple Realm now bows to a pile of dried bones?
The Buddha told Ananda, "Although all of you are my foremost disciples, you still have not achieved far-reaching understanding. This pile of bones could have belonged to my ancestors from former lives. They could have been my parents in many past lives. That is the reason I now bow to them." The Buddha continued speaking to Ananda, "These bones we are looking at can be divided into two groups. One group is composed of the bones of men, which are heavy and white in color. The other group is composed of the bones of women, which are light and black in color."
Ananda said to the Buddha, "Once man and women die, all that is left are their bones. Please teach us how you are able to distinguish them."
The Buddha answered, "When men are in the world, they enter temples, listen to explanations of religious texts, make obeisance to the Triple Gem, and recite the Buddha's names, then when they die, their bones will be heavy and white in color. Most women in the world are saturated with emotion. They give birth to and raise children, feeling that this is their duty. Each child relies on its mother's milk for life and nourishment, and that milk is a transformation of the mother's blood. Each child can drink up to one thousand two hundred gallons of its mother's milk. Because of this drain on the mother's body whereby the child takes milk for its nourishment, the mother becomes worn and haggard and so her bones turn black in color and are light in weight."

And then the Buddha went on speaking about the kindness parents bestow over their growing children and how in return many children, on reaching adulthood, become ungrateful, defiant or hateful towards their parents and how such children suffer with horrible punishments in their afterlife.

At that time, upon hearing the Buddha speak about the depth of one's parent’s kindness, everyone in the Great Assembly threw themselves on the ground and began beating their breasts. Some fell unconscious to the ground, while others stamped their feet in grief. It was a long time before they could control themselves. With loud voices they lamented, "Such suffering! How painful! How painful! We are all offenders. We are criminals who have never awakened, like those who travel in a dark night. We have just now understood our offenses and our very insides are torn to bits. Please tell us how we can repay the deep kindness of our parents!"
The Tathagata used profoundly deep and pure sounds to speak to the assembly. "All of you should know this - If there were a person who carries his father on his left shoulder and his mother on his right shoulder until his bones were ground to powder by their weight as they bore through to the marrow, and if that person were to circumambulate Mount Sumeru for a hundred thousand kalpas until the blood that flowed out covered his ankles, that person would still not have repaid the deep kindness of his parents."

They reflected deeply, and said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, how can we repay the deep kindness of our parents?"
The Buddha replied, "Disciples of the Buddha, if you wish to repay your parents' kindness, repent of transgressions and offenses on their behalf. For the sake of your parents, make offerings to the Triple Gem. For the sake of your parents, hold the precept of pure eating. For the sake of your parents, practice giving and cultivate blessings. If you are able to do these things, you are being a filial child or else you are a person destined for the hells."

At that time, the Great Assembly, the gods, humans, asuras, and the others, hearing what the Buddha has said, were completely delighted. They believed the Buddha's teaching, received it, and offered up their conduct in accord with it.

All these teachings of the Buddha are recorded in a sutra called THE SUTRA ABOUT THE DEEP KINDNESS OF PARENTS AND THE DIFFICULTY OF REPAYING IT

Note: This is the abridged version of the story from here.

Private India - Book Review

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Private India, latest in the Private series by James Patterson, co-authored with Ashwin Sanghi, is a story set in amchi Mumbai. Those familiar with the Private series might find it at home, those not - this probably is not one of the best introduction to the concept. The fundamental requirement of any story is a plot. And when a story grows to be a novel, it requires some sub plots. And then the craft of the writer comes into picture to tether the sub plots together with the underlying plot, taking the reader through ups and downs, twists and turns and a satisfying climax. Though the coming together of names like James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi would set the expectation of a crisp thriller baked to perfection of style and genre. Sadly, this one falls short. It is apparent that Ashwin wanted to try out something different from his usual mythological thriller genre. This one is a fairly straightforward serial killer story, with a small twist about terrorism, which does not work.


(*Spoiler Alert)
Protagonist is Santosh Wagh, head of Private India headquarted at Mumbai. With a team comprised of an attractive lady investigator, a forensic expert & a tech wizard - Santosh sets out to solve serial killings happening all over the city which are apparently very connected and yet not at the same time. Throw in a politician with a murky past, a god man, terrorist involvement and sprinkle a dash of erotica - there you have the standard mish mash of thriller plots.

What works?

Few things. Story is a no brainer, easy to read and follow, in spite of a new character being thrown every now and then. It appears that there is deliberate attempt to keep the language simple and
fluid. That is why in spite of running over 450 pages, it is a relatively quick read. The sub plot of terrorism, though a bit predictable in the end is an interesting twist.

What does not work?

 The use of F* word seems forced at places. Many a times, writers have attempted too hard to divert reader’s attention, ironically, making the twist extremely obvious in the process.
The attempt to throw in an extra fact which if correlated can actually make story unpredictable - actually falls short each time, making the reader actually rightly guess what will happen next.
 Erotica is mainstream these days and the love making scene in the story looks a forced attempt to keep the story racy - a trait of a lot of mainstream contemporary writing. There does not seem to be any need for it from the perspective of the plot progression. But then what’s the need of a song sequence in a thriller, nonetheless it is there in our movies!
The protagonist character is absolutely clich├ęd. A former hero with a glorified past who suffered a personal loss losing his charisma in the process and landing up as a liquor wielding, bad tempered person. He cares about his team, but is not a man of many words. And even gets lucky, when nothing else works!

I was expecting a page turner, a tale which keeps my attention from the opening scene, keeps me guessing, closing all possibilities each time - thus frustrating me a bit who could have dunnit? This
is a far simpler story. If you are on a long train ride, this could be used to kill time. Sadly that is exactly what it does.


Plot - 2/5
Language - 2/5
Pace - 3.5/5
Hype - 4/5
Overall - 2.5/5

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! 

Karma and Fate

Corporate world or any world as I see closely can be very harsh with ego clashes among people to win the rat race. Hope these lines written by Piyush and me will show some way through the maze.

When someone tries to boggle you down
smile and giggle and take him as a clown.
When someone races and push you hard
let him go ahead, while you take a stand guard.

When someone tries to cross your path
and make credits even for your part.
Do not fret and bear any grudge
for destiny give its own clever nudge.

Wish everyone with blessings and love
Forgive the devil, embrace the dove.
Pity those who do things wrong 
as they dig their own grave all along.

And who are we to judge error or right
whose robe has no stain and all white?
For there is nothing which goes unseen
Howsoever sublime may be the sheen

Fruits of actions has strange ways
Failures can be rejoicing days
Successes it can make hollow
It is our heart, that we must follow

The circle of life leaves no one satiate
Law of karma decides everyone's fate.
Love as "life is long in grudge and sorrow
But very small in each tomorrow..
O, so very small in each tomorrow..."

                                                         - RuhiPiyush

Art Blend Cafe - An artist's wonderland

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One fine weekend Piyush took me to this wonderful place for coffee. I love him for such pleasant, cute surprises as this cafe has the uniqueness of being a one stop point of great coffee, snacks, art gallery and art workshops. Did I like it? Oh, I simply loved it and visited it again today :)

Art Blend Cafe - Coffee with a Hobby, is a venture by two lovely ladies - Archana and Prateeti. The former is an artist from Lucknow while the latter is a ex-IT professional and the brain behind the cafe business. Being in HSR layout gives it a leverage to be constantly buzzed by IT and other professional crowd during day time and couples, families in the evening. Opened on 14th Feb this year, the cafe has already made its mark by being on the list of  "11 cafe with Character in Bangalore" in

Every month ABC exhibit paintings from different artists, most of them non-professionals. As per Prateeti, it brings the whiff of art into the life of people who otherwise have no time or inclination to visit a mature art gallery or exhibitions. They also do various other activities like silent reading sessions, live paintings, art and craft classes apart from celebrating events and festivals in full vigor. The first time I went there, the Cafe was showcasing the paintings of professional artist Babun Ghosh who also conducted some live painting sessions.

  As an amateur artist myself, I was immediately mesmerized by the beautiful paintings in all the rooms. "Rooms", ah, I forgot to mention another beauty of the cafe. HSR boasts of many eating joints set up in rented mansions. This gives them with enough prospects of having different kinds of seating arrangement. In case of ABC, each area is decorated with different artistic flavors, one with book shelves, one on a terrace, one being the art workshop. 

But there is no good cafe without good coffee? We ordered both hot as well as cold coffee and were more than satisfied by both. Unlike the heavy caffeine laden coffee of CCD, here you get the perfect mix. I guess everybody knows how to prepare good coffee except CCD ;) Along with coffee the snacks surprised us. We were confused for what to order as they have wide variety in their menu. We couldn't resist ordering Italian which turned out to be delicious. These guys have done their homework pretty well. Recipes are really good. One thing they can improve is background music. Last time there was no music, this time they were playing some but not very memorable tunes. 

All in all, it is one place where great minds can discuss ideas. I am looking forward to spend some quiet, quality time while Pihu can be busy doing some art experiments in the workshop area. Of course, she needs to grow little older and less destructive (I mean playful :P). Till then, I am better holding my naughty girl from breaking stuffs while managing to sip my coffee in between. ABC reminds me that I too am a person with arts as a hobby till the time I paint my next. Keep yourself posted about the updates from ABC by liking their FB page!!