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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Life these days ...and my thoughts on "Dongri to Dubai" by S.Hussain Zaidi

To the best of my knowledge and as the book itself claims, something like this has never been done before. Biographies by themselves are awesome, but a complete history text book with mini-biographies of many persons? - Wow!

Anyway, I'm blogging about a book after a long, long time and in fact, blogging about life itself I guess :)....Let me rant about my life a bit :P ..before getting to the book....

If you wanna read about the book ...please scroll down ...

Life these days ....Some rambling and ranting :P

Hope you all are doing good! I hardly get time ..actually...time isn't the factor...One will always make time for things he really wants to do, so let me just admit plainly that I've kinda lost the inclination for blogging these days :) Almost all my time goes into The UnReal Times...and its newly launched Tamil counterpart...

Plus, call it as me growing up...or maturing or whatever that's supposed to mean :P ...I'm hardly the emotional, freely expressing extrovert that I used to be, anymore :)...In fact, I've more or less completely lost the urge to express my inner self online...I use Facebook and Twitter these days mainly to share my UnReal articles ..that's it :)...I dunno what's happened to me of late :) ..Let me admit unabashedly that earlier, I did subconsciously aim at becoming popular...and a lukewarm response to anything I did, be it writing, or songs, or scoring music for a short movie...or my own friends not even bothering to take a look at it ....did upset me a bit....but these days, I guess I've come to realize that there's A LOT more to life than just popularity, fame, admiration, FB-likes and so on....Of course, there's nothing like being admired and encouraged :)...but thankfully, these days, the lack of it doesn't put me down like it once used to ...But I'm glad about one thing - be it then or now - I've always abstained from requesting people to like or share my stuff :) ...Anyone who's done so, has done it on their own will ...

I've got a bunch of pretty good admirers and honest critics ...so even if anything I do is a washout, I just don't get impacted by it :)...People who've known me for a while know me as someone who does not hesitate to scream at the top of his voice and become the Danny Morrison of the blogging world, when it comes to expressing happiness ...The last time I did that was as recent as Jan 8th, 2013...when I met Harris Jayaraj, someone I idolize :)...It isn't that my life has become boring and unhappy these days...It's just devoid of the high emotion one usually associates with a youngster :D...My life couldn't have been better :)...I'm as happy and content as I can be....

There's one thing I CRAVE for though :- real-world, face to face interaction :)..That's one of the few things I miss from my early twenties days..There is NOTHING like it :) ...Some of the best days are the ones I get to physically meet friends and spend time with them in the real world - something which now happens around 2-3 times a year, at best :)...That's perhaps the ONLY time I'm shut off from the online world and still don't feel restless :) ...I'm a net addict...but that's really because of the lack of options in the real world :)....Forget meeting in person, I hardly make / receive even phone calls these days :) ...It's all chat / Whatsapp ...The only phone calls I receive now are from HDFC Bank :D ...

People who know me for a while know that for a long time, I used to be this very emotional guy ( a lot like Sreesanth, minus the match-fixing part :P )...and friendship meant the world to me ...I've had A LOT of fights with friends...I've cut off a lot of them...I used to be emotional those days :D ....Their apathy, lack of concern, affection etc sometimes left me wondering how people could be SO into their own lives...without caring a damn for others....

But then it was only a matter of time before I realized ..they grew up faster than I did :D ...These days, I hardly feel any emotion ..no extreme joy, no extreme anger, no extreme sadness ...just a constant, calm, happiness about the way my life is going :) ...I dunno if I should feel good or bad about it :D...It's not like I care a damn for others though ...I care about whoever cares about me :) ..as simple as that ...

These days, the concept of real close friendship is more or less non-existent ...by a real close friend, I mean ..someone you talk to everyday, someone who knows every single happening about your life, someone you can talk to about anything and everything under the sun :) ...Such friendship is more or less extinct these days...but I'm thankful to God, I'm blessed with a couple of them who're always available to me and help  me keep myself sane & not a depressed loner :D :D

Anyway, I'm happy I grew up when real-world interaction was still around!! :)...I pity the following generations...they're gonna find it really awkward talking to people in person!

I NEVER EVER watch movies on the computer ...I just love going to the theater alone to watch a movie, even if it is one with bad reviews...Simply because, going to the theater and sitting there is a calming influence and a mental deviation, for my brain which is otherwise submerged in the virtual world :)...Same with the gym - it is another place where my mind is away from the online world and soaking in the loud music...

So yes...life goes on :) ...I'm exploiting the advantages of being single, to the best possible extent :D ...and freely doing whatever I love doing, before and IF some foolish girl agrees to marry me, of all people :P :D.....Anyway, that's good enough a rant for now :P ..let me get to the book!

THE BOOK:



Well, I've read this book mostly outside on the road, sitting on my bike ...while waiting for my mom to be done with her shopping ...OR in the bathroom :D....I've hardly ever read it anywhere else, because if whenever I'm at home in my room, I'm almost always on the laptop :) ...Net addict, told you! 

Anyway, I didn't order this book as a conscious choice :) ...I had Rs.250 left in a Flipkart gift voucher which my brother and SIL gifted to me for my birthday in 2012 :P ...I decided to buy some book ...and this one was there on the bestseller list ...the others were Amish's trilogy...but despite being appreciated world over,  it somehow doesn't appeal to me :) I just don't feel like going ahead and reading it! Yeah, there are some things like that which I just don't get inclined to do even if the whole world around me adores them to death - car driving, watching Vijay Sethupathi movies, some of AR Rahman's songs and so on...

But this one seemed interesting ...I've mentioned this in my previous blog posts - I usually don't read serious books, but when I do, I almost always keenly read only real-life stories, biographies and autobiographies are my favorite sets of books....Otherwise, for regular entertainment, I only read Chetan Bhagat and other Indian fiction just to while away time and give my brains some rest :P....I decided to go ahead and order this one...Facebook friends of mine said that it was an amazing book too! 

My mind is almost always at work, generating ideas for The UnReal Times :P ...and I read books mainly to while away time by keeping my brain shut ....this is why I love Chetan Bhagat books, no matter how ridiculous they are :D ....It is the best way to kill time despite giving your brains a complete rest....

But sometimes, as a change from constantly thinking satire & humour, some serious books help too :) ...The writing style of this book just caught me on to it ...It was merely a collection of facts and a detailing of true incidents....It could've been as boring and soporific as my history text books in school....But the way it was presented was refreshingly racy, chilling, thrilling, stunning and mind-boggling :) ...The book wonderfully takes you back in time...and makes you watch in your mind, the lives of Mumbai's biggest dons ...one after the other wreaking havoc on the city, nation and the world ...

It starts off with Dawood's last-ever interview to a journalist....then describes Mumbai's famous dons, one after the other ...before proceeding to converge into a biography of the absolute BAAP of them all, Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar...

Like always, I will not talk about the book's story....I sincerely believe it has to be read, felt and experienced :)....I will just say this much: Whenever I read the book, I felt as if I was standing next to Dawood Ibrahim and observing whatever he was doing ...and at the end of it all, felt thankful to be alive :D 

I will tell you guys some of the real eye-opening things for me though ...things which were enlightening to me and provided a new perspective :) ...

1. Fear:

Indians have been and are a bunch of scared chaps...and I'm not talking about the normal, middle-class chaps ...I'm talking about even those in power :) ...Thanks to the rot that is so engraved and so deeply rooted in the system, people give up too easily and accept reality...The greatest of optimistic voices come out loud only on social media....and thanks to 66A, even the volume of that is reducing by the day...

2. The positive side of the Emergency:

This is one of those rare books which provides the positive side of the Emergency...Everyone is generally critical of this period, enforced by Indira Gandhi...and why wouldn't they be? Complete suspension of fundamental rights obviously does not mean that we're a democracy in any sense...

But there was a positive: Law and Order was in control, with all the underworld elements behind bars and jails running out of space to accommodate the miscreants. I didn't know about this till date :) 

3. The concept of the "underworld":

When one says "the underworld", it almost always comes across as a different universe, present underground, invisible to the common man....We, as the normal middle class folks ...think we're detached and far away from all this action ...It looks like the underworld comprises Dubai and Pakistan....

But one read of this book ...and it chills your spine ...it clearly demonstrates...that the underworld is not another world, but this very world which you are in :) ...the underworld is all around you ...you will not realize it directly, but you are very much in this underworld :) ...the underworld is the real world!

You're somehow connected to the underworld indirectly, if not directly ...it may be the possibly underworld-built apartment you are living in...it may be the possibly underworld-constructed office space you're working in ...it may be the possibly underworld agent MLA you've voted for! It may be the possibly underworld-linked cop who has verified your passport ...It may be the possibly underworld operated water tanker which provides you with water :) ...Whether you like it or not, you are unavoidably a part of this world :) ...That realization which you get, while reading this book, chills your spine like none other! :)

4. Piracy:

Everyone loves pirated stuff! Who doesn't? With the prices of multiplex tickets soaring up to literally a month's salary these days, who wouldn't want to get the same movie from the footpath for just 20-30 bucks? 

Call me ignorant, but this is one thing I really didn't know ...how the pirated CD business is a MASSIVELY huge source of funds, which is pumped into Pakistan terrorist organizations, funding their cause...even by paying a mere 20 bucks, you're funding terrorism, which might claim your own life tomorrow! 

I can't do much about this, except resolve to myself never to buy pirated stuff again!

5. Poverty - the root cause:

One thing is super obvious after reading this book: Lack of education and poverty alone are the reasons why people get attracted to this life of crime, lawlessness and fast money...

Tackling poverty and ensuring education (moral) for everyone is the first step towards this ...and with the kinda politicians India has, by the time this happens, may be the human race would've ended :) ...who knows! :)

Anyway, all in all, this was a mind-boggling, phenomenal book...taking me to a world and making me feel as if I'm physically present there in the midst of it all...despite not actually being so :) ...this is an ABSOLUTE must-read! :)

Nothing less than 5 stars for this! :) 

Also, I'd like to compliment the makers of the cover of the book ..it looks very attractive and it was one of the factors which lured me into buying this book :D ...Sometimes, it is right to judge a book by its cover :D

I've now ordered Black Friday, by the same author :) ..that's next on the reading list! 
Following that will mostly be the biography of Ram Jethmalani :) ...I'm super curious to know all about one of India's most eccentric, controversial, amusing and daring lawyers...

Until then,
Cheers!
Signing off,
Ashwin.




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