Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Horseshoe Garage-Review

First reactions first. When the book arrived, looking at its size I said to myself-This should be fun! Because, having read her previous novel I already knew that Hitesha is an awesome writer.
Coming to the Horseshoe Garage, the cover page will set your expectations really high with its overall feel.

I was also excited to read the book which, obviously talks about a story revolving around cars, races etc. but,written by a lady. I know I would come across as a sexist, when I say that women and automobiles/tech stuff  is one pairing which the world has never/rarely seen. But the techy stuff Hitesha rolls out page after page just... made me eat my words.
The story is absolutely gripping. The combination of girls and cars, friendship, competition, drama, love is very well balanced. Just the right amount of everything. I specially loved the way each character was portrayed. They sort of come alive when you read the novel and you get a feeling that you are somewhere in the garage when the car is being made or in Sav's home when they are conceiving the designs. Such is the detailing.
Naaz is definitely the character who carries the entire book on her shoulders. You would be mad not loving her! She is every bit of the girl of your dreams. But the character which I liked was of Sav. A confident and not so confident guy, passionate about his dream, a silent lover, and the one who moves out from playing a second fiddle to becoming a winner( of both-the race as well as Naaz!).
The book will keep your eyes glued to it, till you finish it. An amazing roller coaster of a story which makes you laugh, smile, squeal and curse as well! At the end of it you will feel a solid urge of reading more, but then the ending is just perfect. Leaving the readers gasping for more.
Its a bold risk taken by the author to write about something which was never tried by any Indian author before. And she nailed it! Definitely much better than the usual run-of-the-mill love stories usually written by those who don't even know how to write.
Now coming to the important question-Should this book make way to your books collection?
You seriously asking me that question after ALL that I've written? Seriously??

Rating- 7.5
Happy Reading!!

P.S: If now you come across ladies talking about turbines, mass-speed ratio, chassis etc you would know now which book they have been reading ;)

Friday, October 28, 2011

PS-7 Operation AKS

Finally it was Diwali.I was waiting for it for many reasons. The day progressed very quickly to my surprise and the moment of reckoning had arrived finally. Two of my best friends and I went to AKS's house. To greet him of course ;)
I had taken along my best friends for two reasons-
1. They were my best friends, so would help me out with anything without asking a question.
2. They too were bullied by AKS many times. (No. Their parents were not teachers or something!)

We reached the building where he stayed. Everything was ready. The crackers, the extra long wick of the crackers which was my friends' idea and the escape route. So that we don't get caught if something doesn't work. 

As planned, one of us will go to ring his doorbell. Once he is sure that AKS is on his way to open the door, we would light the wick and then enjoy the fireworks.
(AKS was alone in his house that day, we made sure that he was before executing the operation AKS. Decent fellas we were)
Doorbell rung and my friend came down jumping the whole length of the staircase!
We lit the wick and off we went into the bushes and watched from a safe distance.
Then began the bursting of crackers. It was wicked fun!! We could hear him yelling. The crackers were just awesome. It felt as if the frustration of the entire student community had for him was powering those crackers to perform better! 
We hi 5ed each other and  proceeded to continue our Diwali celebrations. Though I felt a bit sorry later, but then we were at same level now. 
After that incident, he never messed with us. Though I could feel that he was planning something big for us. And my worst nightmares came true after our final examination results were out.
I had scored excellent marks in every subject. But my Hindi marks read-36
JUST PASS, later I came to know that, since I had scored heavily in other subjects, they couldn't fail me.
Otherwise God knows what could have happened. 
But I would not get any chance to get back at him. My father got transferred to another city and we had to move out. I would miss all of my friends, the wonderful time I had with them and alos that one chance...
But I knew that the nature was a great leveler. And I would bide my time till I am presented with an opportunity.

To the present...
"Wow! You both go back a long way. And you think that this is your opportunity to get back to him?"Exclaimed Sameera.
"Let be na. It's been ages since those things happened. I don't think he would remember them now."
"Are you crazy? I know him better. And didn't you observe the cunningness in his voice when he was talking with me?"
"No. But I don't think you should do anything to hurt him."
"Who's saying anything of hurting him?"
"You wouldn't?"
"Why would I?"
"Ok. But I will be with you to make sure you wouldn't do anything stupid."
"Sure. But only on one condition."
"What?" I just loved the way she said that. Her eyes full of enthusiasm, yet her body language feigning nonchalance.
"Can I call this our first date?"
Her eyes became wide with shock. She didn't see that coming. Obviously! The only way that works with a girl is 'Shock and awe'. Saying no would mean that she would miss the action for sure. 
Then her lips curved into a lovely smile and the twinkle in her eyes was back.
"Ok. I am not taking you then. It's either a yes or a no. No whatever or ok." I said.
"But what kind of date would this be? I was hoping of a much elaborate one." She said sheepishly.
"What did you just say? You were HOPING of an elaborate date??".
I couldn't believe my ears. She wanted to go on a date with me!!
I had to thank AKS for this ;)

To be continued...

PS -6

I did not want to watch any competitions from the sidelines as we lost to our arch rivals in poster making competition. Next in line were skit, extempore, debate and group dance competitions. My favourites. I had made up my mind to apologize to AKS. 
He was sitting in the staff room taking some other student to task. So typical of him. My friends had made an apt parody for him, tweaking the lyrics of a popular song that goes..'karde mushkil jeena ishq kamina.'
The rest you can guess!
I waited for the right moment.
"Sir. Please forgive me. I won't behave so badly ever again."
"Mujhe tum par yakeen nahi hai. Aaj maafi maangoge kal fir masti shuru. Aur vaise bhi ek do competitions me tumhara house haar jaye tho mera house first ajaega. Fir tumhe me maaf karunga."
OKAY!! So that was the reason? Man! chanakya would have been pleased with his shrewdness! 
He had planned all of this. Even punishing me in a lecture which was just before Mrs. Singh's. Wow!
"No sir. You are wrong. Mrs. Singh has debarred me from all competitions. But I sincerely came here to apologize to you. Both my parents are into teaching, I wouldn't want their students to behave in such a way with them. I am very sorry sir."
"Theek hai, par agli bar aisa vaisa kuch kiya tho dekh lena. Sirf mere hi class me nahi, kisi aur ke class me bhi masti nahi. Nahi tho tumhare papa ke paas me hi le jaunga tumhe. Vaise ye nibandh tumne kafi acchi likhi hai, par content zyada likho."
And so, he finally softened his stand. I thought there was no need of any revenge. He was elder to me. I was happy that things were normal. I was relieved more than anything else.
When I went home, my father confronted me. 
"I heard that you misbehaved with your hindi teacher in the classroom.? Is that true?"
If I had missed mentioning it earlier, my father was the Principal of the school where I was studying.
Now it would be easier to understand why AKS was threatening me to go to my father.

"No dad, who told you all this?"
"Mr. Singh himself told me."
That AKS! He told me that he wouldn't say anything to my father!! I am so not leaving him!
But I told my dad everything that took place in the class, albeit some changes, obviously!

But then, Diwali was round the corner. I planned to buy some special crackers for a special person.
He asked for it.

PS-5 The Flashback

Location-Class room

I never had any special interest for Hindi subject. And a particularly horrid teacher didn't help my case either. Add to that the timing of Hindi lecture, after the lunch break. I hope you understand my problem. I was seated in a special place by my teacher. Yes. Meet Mr. A.K.Singh aka AKS ( we had named him after a movie which was as horrible as him). He always wanted me in a place from where he could keep an eye on me. He had a reason for that. I was, if not the most, but one of the trouble makers of my class.
On a particular day AKS didn't turn up (that's what we thought). I was at my super active best cracking jokes and laughing at top of my voice. My back was towards the door. Suddenly the whole class fell silent. And I was the only one who was making a 'little' noise with my laughter. I turned back. There he was, standing with his hands on his hips and menacing eyes. My mouth remained wide opened but the laughter ceased. As if someone had pressed a mute button.
"Ye kya tamasha banake rakha hai? Sabhyata naam ki cheez nahi hai aap me?....."
And so went his lecture in his pure hindi..oops my bad 'Bhashan'.
I sincerely couldn't understand some words which he was using, which made me smirk. And before I could stop myself I started laughing. Watching me laugh, whole class joined me in the laughter. It looked like a laughing club for a few seconds!
Some one shouted from behind," Arey khatarnaak sir! Shatrughan Sinha!!"
And I was on the floor rolling, holding my stomach! It was a perfect ROFL moment.
Then came a hand. Caught hold of my shirt collar and hauled me up.
" Battameezi karte ho? Maa baap ne kuch sikhaya nahi kya?"
"Sir. Please. Don't bring my parents into this. You have no right."
"Humko mat sikhao hamara right ka hai. Sab jaante hain aapke baare mei.
Neeche let ke haste ho, itni hasi arahi thi?"
" No sir. It's not like that sir. I tripped on the bench edge and my leg got cramped so I couldn't get up."
"Bas bahot ho gaya. Ab aisa saja denge ke yaad reh jaye saalon tak. Jao, deewar ke paas jaake khade ho aur murga bano."
"Sir murga?! But why? What did I do? Is laughing a crime?"
"Don't argue with me, or else I will complain it to your phather." He said in a typical U.P lingo.
"Complain it to who sir?"
"Oh! You mean father?!"
"Hosiyari dikha rahe ho?"
"Hosiyari?? No sir why should I act smart? I already am!"
"Jao jaake murga bano."
Just 5 minutes were left for the lecture to end. So I thought why make such a fuss. There was my mistake in it too. But Murga??! 
"Sir please forgive me. It was not my intention to hurt you. "Mujhe maaf kar dijiye sir, agli bar se aapko shikayat ka mauka nahi dunga." Wow! Did I just say that?! 
"Nahi. Jaake murga bano!"
I was about to give into his demand, when finally the bell rang.
I was so relieved. I began my walk towards my seat when he grabbed my elbow.
"Kaha ja rahe ho? Murga bano. me teacher se baat kar leta hu ke tumhe pura period murga banke khada kare."
I was so shocked. I didn't know till then how much hatred he had for me. I tried to put some sense into his head to consider his decision but to no avail. To make the issues worse, the next lecture was Science, the teacher being my favourite as well as my house mistress, Mrs. Singh. I had a little hope that she might not listen to him.
"Arey madam agaye aap? Dekhiye aapke house ke star performer ki asliyat. Me kitni bar aapko kehne ki koshish ki ke yeah aapki prashansa ka layak nahi hai, par aapne tho isko sir pe chada ke rakhti hain."
I had tears in my eyes. I never expected him to talk about me this way. All this only because I laughed at him?
You should have seen him adding all spices that grew on Earth, to what had happened in the class. He gave an award winning performance. Mrs. Singh was very angry. She told him that she would continue the punishment given by him throughout the lecture and also, as a bonus, will not allow me to represent my house in all the future competitions until I mend my ways..
I was broken. I used to live for participating in the competitions. I did not know what to do but become a 'murga'.
"Akash. I never expected such behaviour from you. I am very disappointed. You have to apologize to him, else I will see to it that you don't get to represent our school in the upcoming inter-school dance competition."
Ask for forgiveness alright, but I had planned out my vengeance on him already. Diwali was approaching.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Perfect Stranger(PS)-4. AKS

Meet Mr. A.K. Singh. The teacher I hated the most during my school days. Not only me. Others hated him too. So you might think that it is normal to hate a teacher right? I mean everyone hates ATLEAST one teacher at some point of his/her student life. No one is a saint! But with me. Things are always extravagant. Liking and hatred. Both.
And he, was on the darker side of the spectrum for me. And he held the same regard for me too.
Never ever had I imagined that I would be meeting him some day. In fact I prayed I never meet him.
But such was fate.
I mean the timing couldn't have been any worse. Especially NOW?? When I was talking to this girl, who could be THE girl?
GOD! I was thinking about how to avoid him when he pulled me into an embrace.
"Hamare students ko dekh ke dil bagh bagh hota hai." He exclaimed still holding me in the embrace.
Bagh bagh my stinking sock!
I somehow managed to push him away, decently.
"Sir how are you? It's been really long time."
"Haan haan. Ajao chai peethe baat karte hain."
I just felt like shouting on the top of my voice just to, may be, scare him out of his wits. I so did not want to talk to him and lose my precious little time.
Then I suddenly realized that this could be the chance I had been praying for. You do get a chance to level things out. And this could so be my day for some pay back!! I had a master plan. And the wickedness was back. BIG TIME...
"Sir. This is my cousin. Sameera. Sameera, he was my hindi teacher in my school Mr. A.K.S(ingh).
Sir I hope you won't mind if she joins us right?" Sameera was mighty confused with the turn of events. Her eyes were demanding a lot of answers.
Mr. AKS was a little confused too. Hell. He should be. I was not going to take it lying down this time!
"Nahi beta. Woh bhi asakti hain bilkul. Unko bhi pata lage ke tum kitne talented istudent thei."
"Ji sir. Sir, I will just be back. I need to properly place my luggage. It's just lying near my berth.
 I will be back within 15 minutes."
"Haan ji. Bilkul. Vaise bhi hum delhi tak saath me hi jaane wale hain na?"
'No way on Earth is that going to happen', I told my self.
"Yes sir. Obviously."
Now it was my turn to fill in the gaps for Sameera. Things were definitely not going the way I wanted to be.
Thanks to the mighty surprise I received. But, this chance I was not going to lose. It could still be an exciting and entertaining journey! You never know ;)
"Who was this guy? And why does he want to have tea with you? Seems more to me than just catching up!" Said Sameera folding her hands. Full interrogative mode.
" Sameera. For you to understand this entire situation. You need to listen to me for more than the 2 minutes I had initially promised."
" Is the story interesting?"
"You bet!"
"With a a little drama in it?"
Girls and the dramas. They are so made for each other! No wonder they both can't stay without each other!
"You just can't imagine."
"Then what the hell are you waiting for??!"

Friday, October 14, 2011

Perfect Stranger-3

There was a concern in her eyes, for sure. But I had seriously taken the 'she blowing air onto my wound' a bit too far! But I realized that someone definitely blew air over the burnt spot. The realization was such a shock that it literally left me dumbstruck and paralyzed my sense.
It was the HAWKER!!!
I took a moment to realize that my hand was in his and he was cajoling it.
Such event would never even be cast upon a look had it taken place between a guy and a girl or a girl and a girl.
But a guy and a guy?!!! NIGHTMARE. I was the cynosure of all eyes. Most eyes carried confusion or indifference, but a certain pair of eyes showed celebration.. I will leave it for you to guess, to whom those eyes belonged.
I swiftly pulled away my arms from the (loving)grip of the hawker. Mumbled. Grumbled. Sent him away and then grumbled some more.
All this while the madam was smiling. Excuse me?? Do you find the event so entertaining??
"So. You okay?"
"Are you sure?" With a wink.

I seriously don't understand the problem with most of the girls. When a guy winks at a girl, hell breaks loose and questions are raised about his upbringing. And when a girl does that why doesn't anyone say anything??!
And a boy is almost every time confused about what could be going through a girl's mind. When she explodes another bomb(read wink). What the hell is that supposed to mean?? How should we take it?
I replied the only way I knew, which wouldn't display the psychological battle raging within you.
With a smile. (minus the wink!)
"Yes. I 'm fine."
" So. Tell me. For whom did you write those sentences?"
Now we are talking!
"Just like that. Casually." What the hell did I do that for?!
God. The way she said that word. Only then had I realized that how beautiful even a 'Uhuh' could sound.
I turned around. And I found myself looking into very very very angry pair of eyes. Our Hero's.
( The protector of womankind of the country. The saviour!!)
Then I felt how disgusting can the same words sound when spoken by some.
I had completely forgotten that I was threatened into submission by that guy few minutes ago!!
I smiled sheepishly and started seeing at every other place apart from her face. I admit that I was not intimidated by him at all. But as a co-passenger, it was my duty to see to it that he doesn't undergo a confidence breaking phase due to me. And he had already into the character of a hero, so someone had to be the villian according to him right?!
He was very satisfied by my realization. You should have seen his expression. As if he had taught his pet dog a new instruction to follow.
"What happened? Why you acting so weird so suddenly?" She asked, puzzled.
I had opened a newspaper to cut his view and spoke in a whisper to her.
"I can't say that now. If you don't mind can we talk somewhere else? In other compartment? I will explain everything there."
" Why should I come?" She said with the usual air that only a girl can possess.
Here was my chance to blackmail.
"You read my diary without my permission. You owe me for that."
"Ok. But where?"
I smiled at my ingenuity and new born intelligence!!
"Two coaches away. Don't Just leave now. Meet me there after a couple minutes."
I said in a very military precision type voice.
 I got up and was followed by those prying eyes of Mr. Saviour Swamy. I raised my little finger to indicate what was on my mind. Even a stone heart would understand such feelings! He gave a short nod as if he is providing me a new lease of life by giving that nod.
I thanked him profusely folding my both hands and headed towards the other coach.
After a few minutes, she arrived. For some reason the attendant had opened the door of the coach.
It blew her hair onto her face. And she, so gracefully pulled them back behind her ear.
Ghosh. It was as if every element in the nature was so determined to make her look beautiful.
It again had brought alive the poet in me..

For so long I had been tied back.
For so long have I been ignored.
Allow me to blow across your face.
Only to be touched upon and feel graced...

"WOW!! You are just amazing!"
My imagination is so strong that I can even hear people's voice in it. Yeah. Cool isn't it?
"Oye! open your eyes Mr. Poet!"
Excuse me? Why those words not seem to be from my imagination?
I had opened my eyes to see her clasp her hands over her mouth and her eyes wide with excitement.
Had I just blurt those words for heaven's sake?!!!
" You are so amazing!"
"What? What are you saying?" I asked with nervousness.
"You just sort of went into a trance and smiled and said those words dude!!!"
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!!! This is not happening. NO NO NO.
Whatever the hell happened to my self control. I was seriously beginning to feel as if a control less freak!
I had never felt so helpless and also elated at the same time before. May be because I had never met such a girl before..
"Sorry. I was out of mind. Didn't know what I was doing. Please forgive me?"
"Forgive me my FOOT!!"
"Excuse me?"
"You are making me fall head over heels by your words. You are impressive."
"Trust me, I was not trying to impress you. I swear. It's just happening without my understanding!!."
"It's Okay. You need not provide any explanations."
I had a hand tap on my shoulder again. Not again! Not now PLEASE?!!
"What the hell...?" My speech broke, I lost my sense of speaking. My mouth was moving but no words were coming out. As if someone had pressed a mute button.
"Arey beta. Kaise ho? Yaha kya kar rhe ho? Delhi ja rahe ho? Ghar me sab badhiya hain?"
That was my teacher from one of the schools I had studied. If I loathed any person in my entire life, it was him. Standing in front of me with an extra wide grin and the same cunningness in his eye. And with him there..Mr. Saviour Swamy was the least of my worries...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Perfect Stranger-The story chugs along...

Was this some dream?! How come every bit of my wishes was coming true?? There has to be some catch dude. Thing’s just can’t go so lovey-dovey for so long! But who cares?! Today, I might be the destiny’s child! Fingers crossed..
“That’s a classic. You believe in love stories?”
As soon as those words left my mouth I swear I was kicking myself very hard. She gave me such an expression that closely bordered ‘ who the f&^@# you think you are and how typical boy are you; over smart and cheap’.
She was about to say something when I cut her short.
“You need not answer that at all. That was so silly of me to have asked such question. Hehe hehe.” Blurted out the overcautious and guilt filled me with a sheepish laugh. I didn’t want to get insulted in front of everyone!!
She just shrugged her shoulders and went back to reading her novel. ‘There goes my chance of having an interesting encounter.’ I plucked out my diary from my bag, a pen and my Sennheiser headphone. Hooked it onto iPod and started scribbling. And the moment a song started playing, I felt like my heart and the iPod were syncing as the song thudded softly in my ears reching all the way to my heart…

Mann yeh sahib ji
Jane hai sab ji
Phir bhi banaye bahane
Naina nawabi ji
Dekhe hai sab ji
Phir bhi na samjhe ishare
Mann yeh sahib ji
Haan karta bahane
Naina nawabi ji
Na samjhe ishare
Samjhe ishare
Dheere dheere..

Sang my favourite singer and I couldn't help myself from looking over to her side. Bollywood songs are becoming so meaningful and pure these days..!
Only then had I realized that I was looking at the one of the god's best ever creation. I understood the beauty of feminity! Those mascara lined eyes with a strand of hair hovering in front of them. As if fighting to get the attention of those beautiful eyes. And with a book, trying to protect those eyes from constant stares of others.( Read 'me'!) The song was written for the occasion I felt, seemed like the lyricist himself might have been in my current position which inspired such beautiful lines!
It was so magical...Thanks to the Indian Railways for providing those perfect seats! 
The side berths.
As it happens usually with me when I see or feel something very beautiful and mersmerizing, my hands started working up something. I had entered sub-conscious state.
Never had it felt so pure,
ever did it happen before.
Never wanted to look away,
from the eyes that could inspire a folklore...

I saw those eyes staring back at me. I was at peace with myself..Those eyes. Staring. The intensity in those eyes..filled with romance? Ermm.. confusion? Can't be. Those eyes staring..STARING!! With ANGER n DISGUST!!!!
HOLY $H!T!!! She's staring at me! How long had I been staring at her?! 
Or how long has she been observing this?!!! no no no no..this is not happening to me..and I had realized that the song too had changed!!
Bhaag bhaag dk bose dk bose... yeah my heart and my iPod were truly in sync...
I couldn't afford to stay there anymore if I wanted to reach Delhi alive! I threw my diary on the seat and my headphone and bolted towards the wash basin. It is generally my place ofwhoosaah(remember the chief from the movie Bad Boys?!)
I looked myself in the mirror and observed that I was sweating as if I had a nightmare! Whoa..I didn't expect from myself to react in such a way! 
As I was washing my face with the cool soothing water.. A hand tapped me on my shoulder. I jumped with surprise thinking that my nightmare had followed me to the wash basin, my place of whoosaah. But it was a young man, my other co passenger? He was the dude. Thin lanky frame with a shirt 3 sizes over him, long hair pasted to each other with some glue(oil) which smelled of jasmine!!!( I recalled later, it was parachute jasmine ROFL!!) and square shaped glasses. No sooner I placed him to be a south Indian, he came closer to me and whispered in a threatening tone..
"Dude. I was looking at the way you were looking at that girl. You pervert." He said in a typical South Indian accent.
"EXCUSE ME!!". Who are you? Her bhrata shree?"
"Her cousin?"
"Her uncle?!!"
"Her neighbour?"
"Bodyguard?!!What are you to her?"
"No. I am an Indian man who cares for other women's safety and self respect. It was I who told her the way you were looking at her. "
YOU GOTTA BE KIDDIN' ME DUDE!!!! What the hell are you?!! 
A super hero?! Waiting to tear apart his clothes to flash that red underwear over blue leggings?!!!! And he didn't stop at that..
"If you look at her EVER (brandishing his index finger as if the sword of Tipu Sultan) EVER till Delhi, I am going to thrrow you aaut of the window. You get me?
Waatt? Waatt are you looking at?"  
"Dude you cant throw me out of the window, windows don't open in AC compartments do they?"
"You feel that I am joking? Look at my face. YOU THINK I AM JOKING?!!"
Yeah dude. Typical problem of most of the males of our country. They feel as if they were God sent to protect the female race...
"Ok sir, I won't look at the girl from now on. Mother promise!"( Having stayed in South India for most part of my life I learnt, that phrase was the most respected one there!)
I was shocked at his confidence, rather than anything. I mean I was much more healthier and had athletic built than him. Wondered what the love for respect of girls makes a man to do. 
Still reeling from that shock, I went back to my seat to find Sameera reading a diary. Thank God. She didn't look at me..Wait wait wait. A diary?!! A DIARY!!?!!
MY DIARY?!!!! I am so DEAD now!! Was this the beginning of the end before the beginning?!
She realized my presence. Lifted her head up. There was a slight hint of smile playing at the corner of her glossy lips and a major twinkle in her eye. She suddenly went red!! Was it a rash?! Were my writings so bad that created a rash?!! 
Before my mind could think of anything else..
"You are a fantastic writer. I loved those few lines which you had written, about me??"
COME AGAIN?!So was she blushing?!!!
 A hawker who was selling tea in the compartment was walking by my side. I nudged that hot steel tin with my hand to check it if I was dreaming.
"AAARRGGHHHH!!!" No. I was definitely not!
"What happened?!!"
"Nothing!! It was the hot can." I said half in trance, and a lot in pain! looking at my reddened hand which was in her hand as she was blowing cool air from her lovely lips onto the wound. There was a little concern in her mascara lined eyes..
And I wondered if it was the beginning of a new beginning ;)
To be continued...