Sunday, July 22, 2012


I have been reading Eldest by Christopher Paolini for quite some time now. I have not finished the book yet but I am drawing close to the end and I feel appropriate to comment now as I feel I’ve arrived at one of the most interesting twists in the tale so far. Now I’m at the point where Roran meets Jeod and together they are planning to escape to Surda. Well before I go farther I would like to mention what journeying through this book has been so far and what captivates my interest.
I must say the very beginning of the book is like Bang on. You see Ahjihad’s no more, Murtagh disappeared without any knowledge whether he’s dead or alive (but somewhere deep beneath the mechanism of your thoughts you know that he can’t just go away, not like this and that feeling keeps tickling you throughout), a scarred Eragon suffering from the blight inflicted on him by the Shade Durza, the politics of the Council of Elders regarding Nasuada’s coronation, the upheaval in Carvahall with the appearance of the Ra’zac and what becomes of Roran from then on and last but not the least the mystery surrounding Togira Ikonoka. Beginning the book with these cycles of events is phenomenal.
Though sometimes I felt the book to be quite a drag with rumblings of unwanted mentions, I cannot defy the fact that it manages to hold the readers interest with its dramatic and engaging plot and twists. The eventful beginning itself makes sure you have the readers hooked. As you travel further you find some of the chapters to possess exquisite beauty and a strong emotional appeal which eventually connects with the reader. With a purpose to illustrate, in the chapter ‘On the Crags of Tel’naeir’, Eragon and Sapphira meet face to face with the Mourning Sage Oromis and his Golden Dragon Glaedr. This chapter represents a revival of the hope of the young Rider Eragon that all is not lost and what he beholds is far more greater than he would have ever expected. One of the strongest forte possessed by Master Paolini is his ability to describe events, situations, people and their feelings with an admirable aesthetic grace weaving verbs and adjectives perfectly in the fabric of eloquent metaphors. He also seems to possess the gift of gentle and effortless flow of language. I insist yet again some of the chapters are beautifully described such as Diamonds in the Night, Under the Menoa Tree and especially those beginning from Broken Egg and Scattered Nest to An Unexpected Ally. The insights that one comes across in Why do we fight? and Eragon’s other lessons with Oromis are nourished with wisdom and rich knowledge that are relevant even to reality. While the most captivating chapters and twists are embedded in ‘His Enemies Face’ when the Ra’zac ambush Horst’s house and kidnap Katrina and later the shocking revelation of the treachery of Sloan and the appearance of the Ra’zac’s fearsome, supernatural steeds in the sky followed by their flight into the dark of the vast expanse, the presence of Oromis and Glaedr in ‘On the Crags of Tel’naeir’, Eragon’s healing to wholeness in ‘The Gift of Dragons’ during the blood-oath celebration, Revelation of the child Sapphira and Eragon blessed in Farthen Dur in ‘Elva’ and unveiling of the pretenses and disclosure of the true identities of Roran and the refugees from Carvahall to Jeod in ‘Jeod Longshanks’ and thereafter the exchange of tales between Roran and Jeod and inception of a vicious, brilliant and adventurous plan in Jeod’s mind to flee Teirm in ‘An unexpected Ally’. I say with all my pride so far, so brilliant.
What primarily captivates my interest though in this book is Roran. Yes Roran and not Eragon. Roran’s arrival in Carvahall and all the events thereafter have taken to my fancy. Roran’s transition from a farm boy who is deeply in love with Katrina to a Man who takes up the leadership and responsibility to protect his entire village is truly remarkable. Roran is utterly doomed, abandoned to the will of his enemies but he makes a choice to rise from the shackles of calamity with zeal and fortitude. Unlike Eragon, he possess no magical powers, neither a Dragon to protect him if he happens to fall in the pit of perils which he alone is not strong enough to overcome. Roran is nothing but an ordinary man. Yet Roran with all the strength left in him, with all the will he can muster makes the valiant, uncertain yet significant decision to oppose the Empire and leave Carvahall for good. With his charismatic speech he motivates the entire village to follow him, convincing them into believing that they ought to fight for their right to live as free men and oppose an exploitative ruler. Roran gives Carvahall hope. He becomes their Leader, their Shepherd, their Provider, their decision-maker and if I may say so the Author of their destinies. Roran possess several qualities such as determination, cleverness and the will to act when others would resist. His circumstances and goals have made him fearless and wild yet with all the internal and external conflict he faces, he has not forsaken his principles and holds on to kindness like before. For example, when he enters Teirm despite his situation and needs he considers thieving innocent farmers to satisfy his own provisions an act of murder. Roran also has great endurance and all his hardships only seem to makes his will to accomplish his ambition grow stronger. Even when he has lost so much in life, Garrow, his Father, Katrina, his love, Eragon, his cousin and his Farm in Carvahall, all that meant the most to him all his life, Roran ignoring his own sorrows is determined to protect his village come what may. There is a world of difference between Roran Garrowsson and Roran Stronghammer. I also want to mention that one cannot understate the role of the villagers in supporting Roran. Their trust in his leadership and obedience of his word comfort Roran and inturn motivate him.
Eragon and Roran, being brothers in blood share the similar fate, but the ways in which each one tackles the challenges lying ahead of him are as interesting as their contrasting natures. All I can say is Long Live Eragon Shadeslayer and Long Live Roran Stronghammer.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dancing forever...

“Dance is a meditation. It’s everything to me. It makes me happy…,”says Rajeev Surti, the 36 year old Bollywood Choreographer who has made stars like Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and those in their realms groove to his choreography and has hits like Aaj ki Raat, Moriya re and Love me to his claim. After tedious two days of work, the Hip-hopper relaxes on a comfortable black couch in his cool and cosy Oshiwara office, stretches his legs and gives us an insight into his world.

Ask him about his journey from being a Zoology Graduate to climbing the ladder of success as a master of dance and he takes you down the memory lane sharing his childhood, prodigious teenage years of following and fulfilling his passion, excelling with every move, endless victories, an adulthood of ups and downs and finally the Big break in Farhan Akhtar’s Don. Life at the other side of Don has been booming with multiple offers from the film industry, keeping the man immersed and engrossed in his art. His day begins at 5.30 engaging in some workout followed by a proper diet. Past 9 am he attends meetings or goes to his office or leaves for his rehearsals as according to his schedule. If he is ever back early from his work, say at 6 or 7 pm he catches up for a movie with his family. Time on the sets or at rehearsals is spent working hard, perfecting every line and step, taking breaks, laughing, sharing and resuming back the job. When you question him about when he usually gets back from work he gently replies, it’s unpredictable. “I remember once I was rehearsing from 7 in the morning and it went on till 7.30 the next morning,” explains Rajeev emphasizing the labour and dedication with an expression of utmost sincerity.

Trying to explore further into the artist’s world, it soothes his heart and those dimples go deeper as he expresses his fondness to perform on stage. “I love that feeling when the lights are all over me and I see thousands of tiny faces all looking at me. I love to perform on stage. I feel very good.” What makes him most happy about stage performance is the fact that it is three to five minutes of thrill and then it’s over. For him his joy lies in that tiny span, in those few moments. He also includes that it doesn’t works you up as much as reality shows and Film choreography do. As a performer he enjoys the stage, as a choreographer the film. When asked what a performer must do when he or she does a mistake on stage. He replies calmly saying “Mistakes happen on stage. The performer must bounce back and dance graciously. And that is real art.”

Desiring to close on a personal note, making those finishing touches as a painter with brushstrokes one is keen to hear the final words which reveal the aspirations of the self-made choreographer. Rajeev playfully replies, “I never plan anything. It just happens. I want to make a good film. Till I can dance I will.” The dimples go still deeper with a tinge of pink on the cheek augmenting his beauty.

A Floral Escapade:Colours, Scents and Smiles

Before sunrise when the streak of light hits the grave, dark skies, Dadar flower market is abuzz with the cacophony of flower vendors, customers, trucks and taxis. Dadar flower market is Mumbai’s largest and cheapest wholesale flower market which comes alive at 4 in the morning. Truckloads of flowers are emptied every day which come from Satara, Sangli, Nagpur and various parts of Maharashtra. As soon as one proceeds towards Dadar west in the early hours of dawn, the fragrance of fresh, sweet-smelling flowers fills ones nostrils and the eyes are captivated by the beauty of a multitude of colours.

Majority of flowers are available at the Dadar flower market which include roses of every kind, lotus, marigolds, champa, jasmine, orchids, chrysanthemums, gladioli, asters, lilies, gardenias, gerberas, carnations and many more. In addition to this there are delicate and beautifully hand-made gajras made from mogra, crossandra and jasmine. Garlands are another fascination of this floral paradise and make for a highly profitable business. Flowers from here are picked and transported in plenty all over the city to prominent florists as well as those with small businesses purchase their share from the market. It is extremely difficult to walk without dashing against someone and it’s impossible to save your feet from landing into muck.

The street is crammed with vendors who are bidding at the top of their voices in interesting ways in order to attract attention to them. It’s usually the loudest and cheapest selling vendor who triumphs in this challenge. The florists display amazing skill and within seconds make bouquets selecting the perfect combination of flowers, ribbons, glitters and other decorative substances. One can buy a bunch of flowers at nearly half the price as compared to anywhere else in the city. A basketful of marigolds can be bought as less as Rs. 20 and a bunch of roses at Rs. 10.

It is not just the flowers that are captivating about this place. The simple attitude, beaming faces and polite nature of the ladies and gentlemen selling flowers add a beauty to this place that cannot be taken away. The little boy with the basket, the shy lady weaving gajras, the youngster making the bouquet and the old man requesting and calling out to come, see and purchase his garlands and a couple of flowers etch pleasant moments in one’s mind. The atmosphere makes one happy and it is one place to come if one wishes to break the monotony of an early morning in Mumbai. For once abandon the honking train and the jammed compartments, immerse in the delightful aura of the Dadar flower market.

Review: Crawford Market

Crawford Market in Mumbai is a wholesale market and provides one with variety of things. Just think of what you want and it is available here. This huge market houses fruit market, vegetable market, meat market, pet market and other retail products.

The fruits are in rich variety which includes apples, mangoes, bananas, and all kinds of berries, plums, papayas, watermelons, muskmelons, custard apples and many more. The beauty of this place is that you can find any fruit here even if it is off season. Vegetables are also found in great variety and it will not be an exaggeration to say that all kinds of vegetables are found here.

The meat market provides a huge amount of poultry meat to famous hotels in Mumbai. It is quite affordable to buy meat here in bulk. Other variety of meat is also sold here including those which are rare such as rabbit and turkey.

The pet market offers you a variety of pets to choose and purchase. Prices are a bit expensive but compared to other pet shops in the city are quite reasonable. One can find different breeds of dogs here. The pug and pomeranian are the breeds that are sold the most. Apart from that, one can find a variety of birds such as pigeons, lovebirds and parrots of various kinds. Cats and mice are the other pets found in here.

Speaking of retail products, one can find soaps and perfumes of almost every brand. Also there is a huge sale of dry fruits such as almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, raisins, figs and apricots. Crawford is a huge market and can easily entertain someone who loves to shop for a long time. One must definitely visit this place at least once in a lifetime and purchase any thing they desire at prices which give them a reason to smile.