5 Ways To Say "Wah Taj!"

7 min read | About India, Travel

People like to flaunt. And no different am I! I, fortunately, possess many things worth boasting about. Like my wife’s PhD, her research work. Like my blog. The latest addition to this list is this cheeky question: “Have you visited the Taj?” Shockingly, a lot Indians who otherwise have an easy access to this spectacular Wonder of the World are oblivious to its exquisiteness. If you have also been humiliated by this pinching question, here is your calling! It is never too late to say “वाह, ताज!

Assuming you have taken the first clue to visit the Taj, you may start your planning with this article. Like any other vacation, this too requires planning. (Vacations, when planned, often yield more fun. Learnt by experience. Unplanned vacations can be more fun for that matter. Let’s just ignore this whole point.) When it comes to travelling in India, some amount of research and a significant amount of advanced planning can make your life exponentially easier. Point being, before you scoot off, do some homework! Based on my wife’s and my first-hand experiences, here is Chapter 1: “Where Do You Start From?”

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The Tragic Story Of Partition

7 min read | About History, India, Book, Politics, Pakistan, Review

Author: H V Seshadri/ Publisher: Sahitya Sindhu Prakashana/ ISBN: 9788186595077

The only reason for India-Pakistan partition was Congress - few Congress leaders who were old, tired, not ready to fight anymore and having a deep political desire of getting power at the earliest. All this made them accept partition without much protest and fight.

One of the most important chapters in the Indian history (and equally so for Pakistan) is the partition of the nation in 1947. This article is H V Sheshadri's book “The Tragic Story Of Partition” reviewed by Dr Bharat M Desai.

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Delhi 6

3 min read | About City, India, People, Delhi, Bollywood, Review, Movie

Director(s): Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra/ Acto(s): Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Om Puri, Waheeda Rahman, Rishi Kapoor, Divya Dutta

I finally started living in my new (rented) apartment in Bangalore, with no great movie to look for on TV (not sure if I should blame TataSky for that). The only option was to re-explore my old DVD collection. No rewards for guessing, I picked Delhi 6 – one of my all-time favorite movies (as most of my closest people already know). I loved it so much the first time I watched it, I immediately bought its DVD and happen to have watched it more than once (being modest).


While I’m about to watch it (n+1) th time today, the only question running through my mind is – why would anyone not like Delhi 6? That’s a question for those to answer who can’t appreciate this phenomenal creation. I belong to the proud-others, who’re sane enough to understand and digest its perfection.

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Train To Pakistan

2 min read | About Fiction, India, Book, Romance, Pakistan, Review

Author: Khushwant Singh/ Publisher: Grove Press/ ISBN: 9780802132215

Arthi is back to pen her thoughts down and so is Train to Pakistan - one of my long-loved books. Here's a guest post, the book review of Train to Pakistan. 

Although I have read a lot of books since I was 10, this is my first book review. Thanks to Rahul who inspired (read as forced) me into this one ;)

Train to Pakistan is a book based on the partition of India Pakistan right after India's independence. It takes us to the summer of 1947 to Mano Majra, a tiny village in Punjab.

The partition means almost nothing to the local villagers and all is well between the Sikh farmers and Muslim tenants of the village until the local money lender Ram Lal is murdered. Jugga and the England-returned social activist become the prey of Punjab police. The heavy drama shifts drastically when an eastbound train makes an unplanned stop at Mano Majra, coaches full of corpses. The flabbergasted villagers have not yet accepted the truth when reality slaps them once again when Sutlej floods from neighbouring village. Action paces on as the magistrate, Jugga, Iqbal (the social activist) and village heads try to tackle the revolting violence. Also, the attitude of local police and niggling government officials is very nicely portrayed. The end, however, leaves a lot of open threads. Once I was about 4 - 5 pages away from the end, I was keen to know how will he end the series of misfortunes in the village. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed since I was expecting something out of Mr Iqbal as well. But to sum it up, Mr Singh's eye to detail makes it a total page-turner. Train to Pakistan gets a "Must Read" tag.

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2 States (The Story Of My Marriage)

2 min read | About Culture, Fiction, India, Book, Humour, Romance, Review

Author: Chetan Bhagat/ Publisher: Rupa & Co/ ISBN: 9788129115300

Just finished reading Two States and thought of sharing its review. Two States is fourth in line from Chetan Bhagat after blockbusters Five point someone, One night at call centre and Three mistakes of my life. (What’s with the numbers here? Chetan Bhagat really seems to be a superstitious, as all his books start with numbers.)

Statutory Note: If you are thinking that this book is going to be different from his previous writings, then don’t buy it - instead, borrow it from a friend. ;-)

The story goes like this: There is a girl and a boy; they meet as classmates; become friends; fall in love and decide to get married. Here is where they hit a roadblock - the boy is a Punjabi and girl is a Tamilian and this is where the book gets its name from: Two States (of India?). What follows is a long drama of how the boy and girl struggle to convince each other’s family and the hard fact that an average Indian was, is and will always be (I hope not) against inter-caste marriages.

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To The Himalayas - The Great Indian Quest For Peace (Part I of Many)

4 min read | About India, Adventure, Travel

To Himalayas, via McDonald’s at Lonavala: Just like all my previous whacky trips, this too had to start on an odd note. For the flight at 6 AM from Bombay, I was still at work in Pune at 1 AM. With the grace of God (and pressure/torture from Nirav and Kaushal), we hit the highway by 1:40 AM, reaching Khapoli Highway Foodmall by 2:50 AM. Deadly ‘Tum Tum’ tea with some fries, pizza-puff and a few egg-do’s, we suddenly realized we only had an hour and a half and crouching Bombay-traffic before reaching the airport. Kaushal and Nirav were already sleeping on the rear seats; I didn’t have anyone I could confess to – that my situation was no better. We still made it to the airport by 4:30 AM. I’m good! So far, no pictures – we actually didn’t have any time for that. 

Torture: As direct customer-facing representatives, what could possibly be the toughest ‘handling’ situation for the onboard staff? An irate customer crying for a seat-change (for a completely unreasonable reason); or a group of terrorists politely disclosing their ‘goodwill’ to hijack the plane? The onboard crew is trained to handle such situations. But how about a kid bursting into a ‘loud’ cry every time the airplane is in motion? Can you beat that – that kid had a problem with the airplane moving? (“It” probably belonged to the airport and NOT the airplane.)

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Slumdog Millionaire

1 min read | About India, Bollywood, Review, Movie

Director(s): Danny Boyle/ Acto(s): Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?". He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

Great movie with amazing background (and foreground) score, I still feel this movie is fairly overrated. It closely touches the bitter reality and the aspects of 'Real' India unknown to many. However I'm not sure if I would want to highlight it too much.

Global recognition for A R Rahman's music is a step ahead in marking the Indian Art industry presence in the world media. Otherwise, A R Rahman has done far superior compositions many of which are sadly ignored.

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