Archive for May 2013

Image Someone like you

I am a Durjoy Datta fan .. and  couldn’t stop myself from picking this book when I saw that he had co-authored this book with Nikita Singh. Was I disappointed? Not really 🙂 It’s a regular college life story book; an easy 6 – 8 hrs read. What I really liked about this book was Karthik – the lead character in this story. The plot is simple and easy to imagine. The second half of this book is far better than the first half. It has all the elements of a cool masala college flick. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would like to give it 3.5 stars.


I stepped out of my house with a million questions. I was to meet and interview Mr. Bhojwani as a part of my Partition stories project. Had a bag of mixed feelings. Was apprehensive and excited at the same time.

 I was to meet him at 5.30pm, so I picked some flowers for him on my way to Koregaon park where he lived with his family.

I was already 10 mins late for my meeting, I reached Popular heights, I was still on my bike. I saw an old gentleman standing in his road-facing balcony that overlooked the road that connected to North Main road at KP.  I asked the watchman if this was where Mr. Bhojwani lived; he pointed out to the balcony where the old gentleman was now watching me.

His daughter joined him in the balcony almost instantly and she asked, “Beena??” to which I responded “Kajal”? I had chatted with her to get Mr. Bhojwani’s appointment.

Mr Bhojwani was now smiling, we exchanged our pleasantries, what I noticed instantly were his sharp eyes, he must have been in his late 70’s but he had the eyes of a thinking mind. I introduced myself, we spoke, he talked about old times and he seemed really contented with life.

He had done his post graduation in an era when people barely finished school or even reached college.
He retired from Larsen and Turbo 12 years ago as an Administrative Manager, he had joined this company as daily contract worker. He had worked his way up the ladder and was immensely successful.

This is his story ….
They were 3 brothers and 1 sister

 He doesn’t remember how old he was when he had to leave Lakkhi (a place in Sindh, now in Pakistan), the place of his birth, and where his ancestral house was. He said he was in his third standard when they had to leave. He was approximately 9 yrs old then. He also said that he started going to school when he was 6 yrs old. He had lost his mother when he was very young and was raised by his grandmother, father and his extended family.

They had a big house in Sindh in which Mr. Bhojwani’s father lived with his 3 brothers and their families.
They were a well-to-do family until the time that they had to leave, during partition.
He has vague memories of all of them leaving with very little necessities and boarding a train to India.
The train was crowded with people of all strata wanting to leave Sindh in hope of safety. He and their family assumed that they would return after a few months when things settled. This never really happened.

He remembers arriving at Satara where there was a refugee camp that was set up by the Govt. of India, and where he, with his family and hundreds of other families were accommodated. As children, they used to play around, and though they knew that they were far away from their homes, it didnt really matter because their family was together.

After the initial few weeks, their family moved to Ulhasnagar in Mumbai. Upon reaching here, they didn’t find proper accomodation. The families in the train refused to get off from the trains until they were given a decent place to stay. They continued to stay in the train for another 20 days after which they were given some decent accommodation.

With the passage of time, their family eventually moved to Pune, things never really got back to normal in Sindh, India and PAkistan had by now attained Independance, but peace never really prevailed between the two nations. The Sindhis who has now made India their new home started searching and doing jobs that would help them and their families sustain the financial crisis. Most of these Sindhis were wealthy, but the partition had made them leave all their wealth back home, hidden inside fake walls and ceilings.

He remembers how during their financial crisis, one of his uncles became a hajaam, the other became a dhobi. He also remembers a couple of families where one of the men would sell snacks in moving trains, one such gentleman used to sell combs, and small articles in trains. Whatever said and done, Sindhis, he said, never begged for money. They always maintained their pride and dignity and didnt hesitate to do odd jobs that would help them sustain.

Mr. Bhojwani, as a child, also had to do odd jobs to sustain. As a child, he also worked in a hotel, he cleaned the tables and also served food.  He was a bright student and did well at school as well. He continued doing various odd jobs while studying and he said he never missed a day at work for studying. He worked hard and studied harder. He was a bright student all through school. He studied in the nights by the footpath under the street lights because they did not have electricity back then.

His grandmother was his pillar of strength and passed away when she was 78years old.

He joined Larsen and Turbo as a daily wage contractor in Pune, he was extremely hard working and he also completed his post graduation by then. He eventually got married, had children, life started getting better. In the years ahead, he grew up the ladder to become the Administrative officer.

Today, when I ask him if he misses Sindh or if he would like to go back, he says, he sometimes does feel the urge to go back and see the place of his birth, but his friends and family believe that there is nothing left there that he will be able to connect with. He may not even be able to identify where he lived or who his neighbors were. He, like many other families that moved borders have moved on.

When I asked him if he regrets having come to India, he says he’s glad they came here.
“Pakistan is an unsafe place to be in”.. One of their distant relatives who lives in Pakistan was recently kidnapped for a ransom. Kajal added “People cannot live in peace, they are afraid to paint their houses or spend money on buying a new vehicle for fear of being robbed or kidnapped.”

He believes in destiny and says, whatever happens in your life, no matter how good or bad, always is for your best.

The one thing I liked the most about Mr. Bhojwani was his sense of humor and his passion and his positive outlook towards life. Life to him is a journey.

I left his house with a warm and tingling feeling inside me. This sometimes makes me wonder how our generation differs from his generation. Where we want everything fast and everything “right now”; are we missing out on the lessons of life?

Love never dies, I’d like to believe that!! Its eternal – it just transforms itself from one form to another with the passage of time

I believe each one of us is capable of loving just as easily as we believe we can hate somebody.

Its strange when we try to put boundaries to this feeling or try to confine it; love is something that cannot be defined or confined. The more you try to resist it, the more you are drawn to it, the more you try to chase it, the more it evades. The more you try to imprison it, the more it eludes.

Is it abnormal to be in love ? Heck; no !!  Is it normal to be in love with more than one person at the same time?
There cannot be a definite answer to that; or so, I would like to believe. If its not forever, its not love.
Times change, and so do peoople, but when you love somebody inspite of all of that, you know it has to be true love and something really strong.

Sometimes its insanity that drives love, sometimes its the other way round 🙂

While love may thrill, and it may kill, it is definitely one force that breaks all barriers and truly heals..


“Till the last breath” by Durjoy Datta..

I picked up this book because it was by Durjoy.. it did not disappoint.

This book, for a change did not talk about Deb and Avantika (the 2 characters that have stayed constant in some of his books) – the book revolves around Dushyant Roy and Pihu Malhotra – both of whom are dying and share a room in a hospital. Dushyant, a drug addict who has done everything to kill himself is dying a slow death due to multiple organ failure. Pihu, on the other hand, is a young medical student, full of life and exuberance who is diagnosed with a life threatening disease and wants to do everything that can keep her alive. Its a story of hate, love and an intriguing friendship.

The characterization is brilliant, the pace of events is just perfect.

It has all the elements of soul stirring story, it makes you smile, it breaks your heart.

It gives you hope, and more than all, it somehow makes you realize how fragile life can be.

This, according to me is by far one of Durjoy’s best books. I would to rate this book 4 / 5.

It was the year 2002, I had just finished college and was out job-hunting.

I remember walking in into this IT company somewhere in Pune, I was interviewed by this gentleman named mmmmmnnn, I’d prefer calling him Mr. P, he was a middle aged man, fat, short and almost bald. He had arrogance written all over his face. He had this medium sized cabin stacked with a lot of fat books, all technical stuff.

This was my first interview, and I was truly nervous.

I remember answering almost all his questions correctly but he was not impressed. He said ‘Though your answer is correct, it sounds very layman, I needed to sound technical too’ and there I was 🙂

I walked out perplexed; I was still a fresher and didn’t know what exactly he meant by it.

But I’m glad I didn’t get this job then, life was calling and I relocated to Bangalore, joined another technical company, earned, learned and discovered myself.

2 years later when I was hired by the same company in Pune; I bumped into Mr P and he still remembered me 🙂

I have often wondered why some people endorse the usage of jargon when it comes to expressing anything technical and sometimes non-technical stuff too.

I have a friend Jaggu, he is intelligent, but totally incomprehensible. When he speaks, he is okay, but he writes, I need I need to have a dictionary open to understand what he is trying to say. Not that I don’t want to increase my vocab, but sometimes, simplicity is so much easier to comprehend.

I think some people think that speaking jargon makes them sound intelligent; but could that be true ?
When somebody starts that crap, just ask them to cut the jazz and say “KISS”, if they take that literally, slap them hard; if they are zapped, just tell them (Keep It Simple Silly)