Thursday, 24 April 2014

Banaras- Colors of India


Last month I got a chance to visit " Shiv Ki Nagari" Kashi. As I was there for only one day and have to attend GD-PI of FMS-BHU, but still I wanted to explore the city as much as I can. With just 6-7 hours in our hand, we (me and my dad) started exploring one of the oldest cities in the world.

Main Gate Of BHU

Varanasi or what locals say Banaras has many faces as a city. It is a colorful blend of religion, culture, spirituality, food and so many other things which symbolize India. Roaming in those narrow lanes, being a part of the chaos of the city made me feel real India.

Our first stop after leaving from BHU was Guru Ravidas Mandir, which is the birth place of Guru Ravidas ji. It is a small temple near BHU and it is said that Guru Ravidas used to live and do Bhakti at this place.

Guru Ravidas Mandir (that's my dad!!)

Our next destination was Kashi Vishvanath Temple and the first thing that I noticed that the whole place was swarming with devotees from all across India. Mobiles and cameras were not allowed in the temple premises. After an hour of jostling with the crowd we had our darshan and pooja. Another thing that I noticed there, the whole place was so dirty and walking barefoot in the temple for a non-religious person like me was a torture.

Main Gate of Kashi Vishvanath Mandir

Shop selling prasad near mandir

After that came the most exciting part of the whole trip The Boat Ride. After a lot of bargaining, we reserved a boat for one hour at the price of 150 per person. As we started our ride, boatmen went on with the stories and history of every ghat that we came across. Various activities were going on the ghats and it was a really captivating view.

Various Activities going on Ghats

Munshi Ghat

Such a Captivating view

Manikarnika Ghat

Tilted Shiv Mandir

Beautiful and Serene

As we had our train at 7 pm, we missed Ganga Aarti (may be some other time sad na!) and decided to roam around the market before going back.

Droolworthy Right!!

A Shop selling Brassware

Unfortunately, we were too short of time and missed many things, but I still experienced the essence of Banaras. In spite of its overcrowded temples, dirty lanes and weird traffic rules Banaras have this old world charm which didn't fail to amaze me. I wish I could spend some more time roaming in those narrow lanes and can feel real Banaras.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Book Review : ROOM By Emma Donoghue

Title: ROOM
Author: Emma Donoghue    
Genre: Literary Fiction


Goodreads Blurb:To a five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

My Views: I have heard a lot about this book and its plot and it sounded really disturbing to me. So I was not sure what to expect from this book. But from the very first page I was hooked to the book. The fact that the whole story is narrated by a five-year old makes it really different. 

The first half of the book revolves around the life of Jack and Ma and how they have created a whole world inside the room. Their daily life and the struggles for basic necessities like food, clothes and every other thing was really disturbing yet endearing. And then they escape that confinement and become free. But for little Jack it is not easy to digest the fact that they are not going back to Room which was his home till now.

 The second half of the book deals with the new life of Jack and Ma in the world. While Ma is coping up with post traumatic depression, Jack is trying to understand the place called world and how different it is from the life in Room. The book is such a compelling read that I can't put it down. But I am slightly disappointed with the end, I think its kind of abrupt. But I know that it was the most apt closure.
This is a story which will stay with you for a long time. Even with their dark and horrible circumstances, both Jack and Ma deal so beautifully with their lives. For me the whole story symbolizes hope, hope that some day everything will be alright.
    Beautiful and well paced, this a must read for everyone.

Favorite Quotes:

  • "In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time...I don't know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well...I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter all over the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there's only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.”
  • If I was made of cake I'd eat myself before somebody else could.
  • Goodbye, Room." I wave up at Skylight. "Say goodbye," I tell Ma. "Goodbye, Room."
    Ma says it but on mute.
    I look back one more time. It's like a crater, a hole where something happened. Then we go out the door.
My Ratings: 4.75 out of 5


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