Scene – 1 : 2016 – India beats Pakistan on 27th February. While the match is largely remembered for Virat Kohli’s skillful 49 in a difficult situation, the true-blue fans of cricket also remember this match for a brilliant spell of blitzkrieg bowling by Mohammad Amir.

Scene – 2 : 2009 – One of the most successful captains ever for Indian cricket team – Mohammad Azharuddin gets elected as Member of Parliament from Moradabad. 

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A few years ago on a busy morning, a friend of mine walked over to my desk at work and said “Michael Jackson is no more”. I looked up at him and said “OK, good”. I did not fail to notice the instant disappointment in his face and the hurt in his eyes at the absolute lack of empathy in my response. I did apologize to him later in the day for being so insensitive and blamed it on the back-breaking task that was ruining my day. But only this morning did I truly and sincerely apologize to him when I woke up to the news of Harper Lee being no more.

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In India, if you are to die, if at all you are to die in India, and if you want the country and the media to take note of your death, you must tick the following boxes –

  1. You are a Muslim or speak/write about Muslims. (You might have in reality done nothing for them, and just be earning your bread & butter exploiting their predicament.)
  2. You are a Dalit or speak/write about Dalits. (‘Dalit’ is your favorite catchphrase, and you might be blind to all the so called Capitalists who are doing more for them and their livelihood than you but you believe that every slogan you raise for them amounts to one tukda/piece of bread in their mouth.)
  3. You are a member/sympathizer of whatever is left of the Left.
  4. You are a writer who swears by the Left and the Congress.
  5. You talk/try fragmentation of the country in the garb of high-pitched/lofty ideas of Internationalism and borderless world. (You only swear by the boundaries of castes and classes.)
  6. You are by reality or perception associated with the JNU. (This is a special case where your coughing inside the hostel room will be covered as well, so consider yourself extremely fortunate. Just know that you must cough Leninism/Marxism/Maoism. If you are from JNU and belong to one of the right-wing groups, your JNU tag is as useless as that egg that is found to be rotten after it is boiled.)

I broke a promise I made to myself, a promise I had kept for 9 long  years. I was not going to read another of Khaled Hosseini’s books after the heart-wrenching story of the Kite runner although I loved every bit of it.  I did duly skip A Thousand Splendid Suns and stayed true to the promise, until a friend, unaware of this promise of mine gifted me Hosseni’s latest bestseller And the Mountains Echoed. So I made my choice, picked the book to read during a bus journey in the night and here is how beautifully Hosseini opens the book for me.

Vishu Mishra is out in the world with his second book, named as Beauty, Youth & A Beautiful Mind: An insight into the urban blights of our age. A short, swift read that this book is, I couldn’t take my eyes off until the last drop of words had been assimilated. However, this book is not a fiction, the swiftness is the high point of the narrator and not necessarily the subject’s. The subject matter runs risks of getting prosy-dry and preachy-wry if not dealt deftly. To mull on some of the most in-our-face problems of present times powered with his skills of a master storyteller is what the author does

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If my friends were to form a circle, where would I stand? Will I stand as a point on the circumference, or will I be the center from where the circle would be drawn? Being at the center around which the friends would form the circle of life definitely sounds almost like a movie where you have been nominated in the ‘Best Actor’ category, and your friends in the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ category.