Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Truth Love And A Little Malice

Truth Love And A Little Malice
Autobiography : Khushwant Singh
Edition 2002
Publisher: Viking
My Rating : 5 Stars and my best smiley :D

I started reading this book only to overcome an extreme bout of laziness that had struck me in the past few weeks. Not only was I on complete bed rest, I had begun to sleep 14 hours.. Without exaggeration my only activity in the day was perhaps, rolling my eyes (Btw, I'm pretty good at that!) I knew K.Singh primarily as a Sikh writer, and half expected this to be a long history of Sikhism and its teachings, but took it up anyway.

Am I thankful!
This book is
wait for it
dary! (Yes, I have watched 4 seasons of HIMYM in around 4 days!)

Khushwant Singh might sound provocative or controversial to many but maybe thats because he's brutally honest. And face it, truth does bite.

Khushwant Singh was born in 1915 in Hadali, Punjab; educated in Government College, Lahore and Kings College in London. He worked as a lawyer in Lahore, with the Indian Ministry Of External Affairs, as a diplomat in Paris and Canada, and even with UNESCO in Paris.
In the first few chapters of the book, he comes across as a spoilt brat, who was, to put it simply, living off his fathers wealth (They owned more than half of Delhi around the time of Partition and after. Infact, their houses and buildings are the Bhavans and abodes for our politicians and diplomats.)He never really stood out academically, completed his three year law degree in five years, and took to scotch like a fish to water. But it was perhaps his love for traveling and reading, and the brazen confidence to say anything to anyone that unflinching financial and emotional security gives you that saw him through. Also, the courage to leave a conventional profession and take a chance as a writer. But then again, I think he was lucky because he always had something to fall back upon.

The best thing, about him as a writer is that, he spoke and wrote what he really thought, irrespective of the consequences. His take on everyone, from his school friends to the Prime Minister Of India is truly his own and thats what draws one towards his writing.
As an individual, I am still to come to terms with that.. I am not very sure of just how blunt one should be. I can safely say that I don't lie about what I like or don't like, just to make some else feel better; but nor can I say that I just blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind. I have tried that and I'm telling you, its dangerous (when you try and break the 'indomitable' male ego) and potentially explosive (when talking to the 'girl-in-distress'). Either case, you're in trouble before you even think you've begun. So I tend to understand what kind of person I am talking to before I speak too much.If I sense danger, instead of lying, I keep my views to myself. In any case, its better than back-biting or handling crying girls.
Though I still don't know if that's right or wrong.

'The problem with law is that it has very little to do with justice'
I really liked this one liner.

Also, I found it very surprising that despite writing so much on Sikhism and translating parts of the Guru Granth Sahib, he is unequivocally agnostic.
He dares to question the sanctity of blind faith, and the magical powers that we vest into our religious scriptures.

In the words of Iqbal:

Dhoondta phirta hoon main, ai Iqbal, apney aap ko
aap hee goya musaafir, aap hee manzil hoon main

(O Iqbal, I go about everywhere looking for myself
As if I was the wayfarer as well as the destination)

Though I do not quite discard the basis of all religions, and confess to being hopelessly God fearing, I quite agree with the fact, unless superhuman, one cannot be a true athiest. That would be like living in a vacuum, and appears to me, as quite a sterile concept, more like an I-am-educated fad.I am also in awe of his view of incorporating more contemporary 'rituals' in our life.. Like planting a tree,on occasions of birth,death and anniversaries, instead of sprouting scotch fountains; and inculcating a work ethic in the same.

I picked up this amusing saying ascribed to the Sikh trading community from the book:

Jhooth vee aseen bolney aan,
Ghut vee aseen tolney aan,
Par Sachhey Padshaah,
Tera naa vee aseen lainey aan

We admit we tell lies,
We also give short measures,
But O true King Of Kings,
We also take your name.

I recently came across a quote by Bejamin Franklin which said that 'Either write things worth reading or do things worth writing'. I think Khushwant Singh is one of the few people who managed both, in both letter and spirit.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Varneet!

Okay,Just like every birthday, I have to tell you..
I'm not the Gifts- and- Flowers, OMG-"It's your Birthdaaaaaayyy--Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa" (Get the drift, right?) type! Nor can I be comfortably nice for a long time!
So here goes:

You hung around for four years
And then I came along
Kicked you with those big red boots
But you still sang my song.

I wailed like a wimp for years
together, and then you came along
Scared me with burly big eyes
but you still sang my song.

You always had 'the' reputation
And then I came along
Smashed to pieces whatever was left
After I rang my 'bong'.

I've always been the queen of antics
did the most 'uncool' things
As much as you tried to save the day
You still, took me in your wings.

I've been the root of major bloopers
I've been the problem kid
Though I always knew you'd pull me out
No matter what you did

And of course I always 'did my thing'
With hurdles crazily new
But I wasn't worried the least bit
For all I had to do, was,
Sit around, make a stupid face
And then look up* at you.

* Added only for correct literary effect, Shortie.

CONCLUSION: Look at you, weirdo. The quintessential Vadde Bhenji, HAHAHA! :P
Happy Birthday!
Come back, I'm telling you.. America is all bloody Moh-Maaya!

Happy Birthday again! :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
-Abraham Lincoln.

PS. Ahh, I see.
"Par, Aam Aadmi ko kya mila?!"
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