Inaugural Issue of 'The Literary Jewels'

Dear Friends
I feel elated to announce the launch of the inaugural issue of 'The Literary Jewels', an online journal of Art, Culture and Education. I do hope the journal finds favour with  you. I will be looking forward to your feedback, suggestions and brickbats on that.
I am sure you will all support the cause of 'The Literary Jewels' by sending in your contributions in the form of an article, story, poem, drama, a photograph clicked by you, a work of digital art or anything that comes within the purview of the fields of Art, Culture and Education.
Have a look at the cover of the inaugural issue and read its contents.Click Here

Book Review: 'Revolution 2020' by Chetan Bhagat

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Release of Chetan Bhagat's 'Revolution 2020'

Chetan Bhagat
Chetan Bhagat's much talked about book 'Revolution 2020', his fifth one, was released in New Delhi on 8 October, 2011 by Yuvraj Singh, the cricketer. On the release Yuvraj jokingly related the title of the book to the concept of 20:20 cricket. Calling Yuvraj Singh for the book release was a nice publicity stunt! The book is already set to create a record of sorts. According to Rupa Publications, this book release could very well go down in history as the biggest one because they said that they have already shipped 5,00,000 (five lakhs) copies ordered in advance. Now the challenge before them is to see to it that the print is able to meet the demand.
The full title of the book is 'Revolution 2020: Love, Corruption,Ambition'. The story in the novel happens in the city of Varanasi. Against the backdrop of corruption, the novel narrates a love triangle. That's perfect bollywood masala again!
In Chetan Bhagat's own words, "The book is dedicated to 'the' Indian student and captures the dilemmas and pressures a student goes through in the corrupt and ruthless world of competitive exams."

Here's excerpt from the book 'Revolution 2020: Love, Corruption, Ambition':

“And I hope not just you but our whole country will keep that spark alive. For there is
something cool about saying – I come from the land of a billion sparks. Thank you,” I said,
ending my motivational speech at Tilak Hall, Varanasi.
The claps and whistles were my cue to leave. Security volunteers formed a human barricade
and soon I managed a neat exit from the hall.
“Thank you so much, sir,” someone said right behind me.
I turned around to face my host.
“Mr Mishra,” I said, “I was looking for you.”
“Please call me Gopal,” he said. “The car is over there.”
I walked out with the young director of GangaTech College, Gopal Mishra. His black Mercedes
whisked us away from the crowded Vidyapath Road.
“Any more temples you want to see?” Gopal asked. “That’s all Varanasi has, anyway. You saw
the ghats, right?”
“Yeah, I went to the Vishwanath temple and Dasaswamedh ghat at five in the morning,” I said.
“The aarti was out of the world.”
Gopal frowned.
“What?” I said. “You must be used to the aarti by now. I was seeing it for the first time, all
those diyas floating at dawn.”
“It is not that,” he said, but did not elaborate.
“You will drop me at Ramada hotel?” I said.
“Your flight is only tomorrow morning,” Gopal said. “Why don’t you come home for dinner?”
“Don’t be formal…” I began.
“You have to come home. We must have a drink together. I have the finest whiskey in the
world,” he said.
I smiled as I shook my head. “Thanks, Gopal, but I don’t drink much.”
“Chetan sir, one drink? I can tell people I had a drink with ‘the’ Chetan Bhagat.”
I laughed. “That’s nothing to brag about. Still, say it if you want. You don’t actually have to drink with me.”
“Not like that, sir. I actually want to have a drink with you.”
I saw his intense eyes. He had sent me twenty invites in the last six months, until I agreed to come. I knew he could persist.
“Okay, one drink!” I said, hoping I wouldn’t regret this later.
“Excellent,” Gopal said.
We drove ten kilometers outside the city on the Lucknow Highway to reach GangaTech. The guards saluted as the campus gates opened up. The car came to a halt at a gray bungalow. It had a stone exterior that matched the main college and hostel buildings. We sat in the living room on the ground floor. It opened out to a badminton court-sized lawn.
“Nice house,” I said as I sat on an extra-soft brown velvet sofa. I noticed the extra-high elevated ceiling.
“Thanks. I made it myself. The contractor built it, but I supervised everything,” Gopal said. He proceeded to the bar counter at the other end of the room. “It’s the bungalow of an engineering college director. You and your friends raided one, right?”
“How do you know?” I said.
“Everyone knows. We’ve read the book. Seen the movie.”
We laughed. He handed me a crystal glass filled with a generous amount of Irish whisky.
“Thank you.” I took my drink.
“Single malt, 12 years old,” he said.
“It’s the director’s bungalow, but you don’t have a daughter,” I said. “You aren’t even married.
The youngest director I’ve ever seen.” He smiled.
“How old are you?” I was curious.
“Twenty-six,” Gopal said, a hint of pride in his voice. “Not just the youngest, but also the most
uneducated director you’ve met.”
“I never went to college.”
“What?” I said as I twirled the ice-cubes in my glass and wondered how potent this drink was.
“Well, I did do a joke of a correspondence degree.”
“Wow!” I said. “It isn’t a joke to open such a big college.”
“Sixteen hundred students now, ji, across all batches. Each paying one lakh a year. We already have a sixteen-crore turnover. And you inaugurated the MBA coaching today. That’s another new business.”
I took a sip. The smooth whiskey burnt my throat. “Do you have beer? Or wine?” I coughed.
Gopal’s face fell. Not only had I ignored his impressive business statistics, I had rejected his whiskey.
“Not good?” Gopal asked. “It’s Glenfiddich, four thousand a bottle. I’ll open Blue Label? That’s ten thousand a bottle.”
It is not a price issue, I wanted to tell him but didn’t. “I don’t drink whiskey. Too strong for me,” I said instead.
Gopal laughed. “Live life. Start having fine whiskey. You will develop a taste.”
I attempted another sip and winced. He smiled and poured more water in my drink to dilute it.
It ruined the scotch, but saved my sanity.
“Life is to be enjoyed. Look at me, I will make four crores this year. What is the point if I don’t
enjoy it?”
In most parts of the world, speaking about your income is taboo. In India, you share the figures
like your zodiac sign, especially if you have lots.
He seemed to have put the question more to himself than me. His dark eyes continued to bore into me. His eyes demanded attention. The rest of him – wheatish complexion, modest fivefeet-seven-inch height, side-parted hair – was reassuringly nondescript.
“Yeah, of course. One should enjoy,” I said as he cut me.
“Next year I will make five crores.”
I realised he would keep forecasting his salary until I demonstrated suitable awe.
“Five crores!” I said, my voice loud and fake.
Gopal grinned. ‘Baby, eat this, for I have made it,’ is probably the T-shirt slogan he would choose.
“That’s incredible,” I murmured, wondering how I could switch the topic. I noticed stairs winding up. “What’s upstairs?” I said.
“Bedrooms and a terrace. Come, I will show you.”
We climbed up the steps. We walked past a room with a luxurious king-sized bed. From the terrace I took in the panoramic view.
“This was a wasteland, all of it. My grandfather’s old agricultural land,” Gopal said.
“Ten acres?” I made a guess.
“Fifteen. We had fifteen acres more,” Gopal said, “but we sold it to fund the construction.”
He pointed to a small array of lights towards the eastern wall of the floodlit campus. “Right there, see. There is a mall coming up.”
“Every Indian city is building malls now,” I said.
“India shining, Chetan-ji,” he said and clinked his glass with mine.
Gopal drank more than four times my pace. I hadn’t finished my first when he poured his fifth.
“You big-city types. Drinking for style,” he teased when I refused a refill.
“I don’t drink much. Really,” I said. I checked the time; 10:00 p.m.
“When do you eat dinner?” he asked.
“Up to you,” I said, though I wished he’d decide to eat right away.
“What is the big hurry? Two men, one educated, one uneducated. Having a good time,” Gopal said and raised his glass in the air.
I nodded out of courtesy. My stomach rumbled for food. We came downstairs to sit down in the living room again.
“Did you really go to the professor’s daughter’s house?” Gopal said.
I smiled. “Love makes us do stupid things.”
Gopal laughed out loud. He chugged his drink bottoms-up, then grabbed the half-empty bottle to make his sixth tipple.
“Love? Forget stupid things. Love fucks you,” Gopal said.
“That’s harsh,” I said. “Is that why there is no Mrs Director yet?”
Gopal’s hand trembled as he continued to pour his drink. I wondered if I should stop him from drinking more.
“Mrs Director!” Gopal smirked. He gripped the whiskey bottle tight.
“Easy, Gopal, you are drinking too fast. It’s dangerous.”
Gopal plonked the bottle on the coffee table. “Why dangerous? Who is going to fucking cry for me? If I live, I want to enjoy. If I die, who cares?”
“Your parents?”
Gopal shook his head.
“Successful people don’t have friends,” Gopal demurred. “It’s true, no?”
His lavish house felt cold and isolated. I took the whiskey bottle and placed it back in the bar.
“Pessimist, eh?” I said. “Surprising, given you are doing so well.”
“What well, Chetan-ji?” Gopal said, now completely drunk and, presumably, completely honest.
He pointed to the huge TV, stereo system and the silk carpet under our feet in quick succession.
“What does all this mean? I’ve lived with nothing…”
Our conversation had become serious. I patted his back to cheer him up. “So you read about my girlfriend in the book. How about you? You ever had one?”
Gopal didn’t respond, but looked distraught. He placed his glass on the coffee table. Touchy topic, I figured too late. He retched.
“Are you okay?” I said.
He ran to the restroom. I heard him throw up. I browsed the display shelves to pass time. I saw framed news stories about GangaTech, trophies, pictures of Gopal with guests who had visited the college. I wondered if my picture would also be there soon. When he hadn’t returned in twenty minutes I called for the maid. She took me to the bathroom. I knocked at the door. No answer. I banged my fists on the door. Nothing.
“Looks like we have to break the door,” the maid said.
I wondered how I, who had come as a chief guest for a college orientation programme, became involved with forcing open random toilets in Varanasi....

To read ahead you will have to grab your own copy...Do share your views about the book once you get over with it.

Tomas Transtromer Wins 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature

Tomas Transtromer
The latest news from Stockholm is that the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to a Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer. He is the one whose surrealistic poetry won him accolades as a very important Scandinavian writer since the time of Second World War. His works revolved around the mysteries of the human mind. According to the Swedish Academy, the works of this poet were recognized “because through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality.” Transtromer has continued to writer despite his odds. In the year 1990, he suffered from a stroke because of which he was half-paralyzed and was unable to speak. Continuing to write after that, Transtromer got his collection of poems published ‘The Great Enigma’. ‘Windows and Stones’, published in the year 1966, which depicts the themes drawn from his various travels and ‘Baltics’, published in the year 1974 are considered his most famous works. Till now his works have been translated into more than fifty languages across the globe and he has influenced poets far and wide, especially in North America.

 Apart from being a poet, he is also a psychologist, having earned his degree in psychology from Stockholm University. He was born in Stockholm in 1931. His childhood was spent with his mother, who was a teacher. She had divorced his father, who was a journalist. Transtromer started writing poetry when he was in school and brought out his first collection ‘Seventeen Poems’ at the age of twenty-three.

Nobel Prize in Literature 2011: Top 4 Contenders

Less than twenty four hours before the final announcement of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2011 there were a lot of ups and downs in the chances of the finalists winning the most-coveted literary honour. Bob Dylan was being considered the surprise dark horse, who had beaten the odds 100/1 to reach the odds 10/1 and finally to 5/1. He was among the four top candidates for 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature.

#1 BOB DYLAN: He is an American singer-songwriter, poet and a musician. Within the span of 24 hours he reached the top position in the final choices for the Nobel Prize for Literature 2011. His rising to this position may have been surprising for many but he had many feathers in his cap that recommended him for this prize. He has to his credit many published book including ‘Chronicles Volume One’, ‘Tarantula’ and ‘Lyrics: 1962-2001’. Many of his songs like ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, ‘The Times they are a-changin’, ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ reached the level of becoming anthems for civil right and anti-war movement in the United States.

#2 ADONIS: The real name of Adonis is Ali Ahmad Said Asbar, an 81-year-old Syrian poet. Although his position was second, yet he is the most favoured one. One of the reasons for his being a favourite is that he writes in Arabic, a language that in underrepresented because we have only one other Nobel Prize winner, Naguib Mahfouz, who wrote in Arabic.

#3 HARUKI MURAKAMI: Haruki Murakami is a Japanese novelist. Till date only two Japanese writers have won the Nobel Prize in Literature: Kenzaburo Oe in the year 1994 and Yasunari Kawabata in the year 1968. Murakami’s novels are based on characters who defy the group mentality that dominates the Japanese culture.

#4 TOMAS TRANSTROMER: He is one of the leading poets of Sweden. This 80-year old poet is famous for his multi-faceted poetry that is characterised by subtlety.
Let us wait and watch who wins the race!!!

Another prize for Rohinton Mistry's 'A Fine Balance'

Rohinton Mistry
Rohinton Mistry's much talked about novel 'A Fine Balance' is in news once again. The book has won the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. The Indo-Canadian author, Rohinton Mistry had earlier won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for the same book. 'A Fine Balance' was also chosen for Oprah’s Book Club in 2001. Mistry's novel 'Family Matters' received the Timothy Findley Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. 'Such a Long Journey', Rohinton Mistry's first novel had won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Governor General’s Award. Three of the writer's novels have also been nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

'A Fine Balance' has been called 'a masterpiece of illumination and grace'. It 'like all great fiction, transforms our understanding of life', according to Guardian.
I had reviewed this book for 'Literary Jewels' in the year 2007. You can read the review here: 'A FINE BALANCE'.

Winners of Nobel Prize for Literature

The winner of the much awaited Nobel Prize for Literature 2011 will be announced on Thursday 6 October, 1:00 p.m. CET. The list of the previous winners of Nobel Prize for Literature from 1901 to 2010 is as follows:

2010 Mario Vargas Llosa
2009 Herta Müller
2008 Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
2007 Doris Lessing
2006 Orhan Pamuk
2005 Harold Pinter
2004 Elfriede Jelinek
2003 John M. Coetzee
2002 Imre Kertész
2001 Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
2000 Gao Xingjian
1999 Günter Grass
1998 José Saramago
1997 Dario Fo
1996 Wislawa Szymborska
1995 Seamus Heaney
1994 Kenzaburo Oe
1993 Toni Morrison
1992 Derek Walcott
1991 Nadine Gordimer
1990 Octavio Paz
1989 Camilo José Cela
1988 Naguib Mahfouz
1987 Joseph Brodsky
1986 Wole Soyinka
1985 Claude Simon
1984 Jaroslav Seifert
1983 William Golding
1982 Gabriel García Márquez
1981 Elias Canetti
1980 Czeslaw Milosz
1979 Odysseus Elytis
1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer
1977 Vicente Aleixandre
1976 Saul Bellow
1975 Eugenio Montale
1974 Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinson
1973 Patrick White
1972 Heinrich Böll
1971 Pablo Neruda
1970 Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
1969 Samuel Beckett
1968 Yasunari Kawabata
1967 Miguel Angel Asturias
1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs
1965 Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov
1964 Jean-Paul Sartre
1963 Giorgos Seferis
1962 John Steinbeck
1961 Ivo Andric
1960 Saint-John Perse
1959 Salvatore Quasimodo
1958 Boris Leonidovich Pasternak
1957 Albert Camus
1956 Juan Ramón Jiménez
1955 Halldór Kiljan Laxness
1954 Ernest Miller Hemingway
1953 Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
1952 François Mauriac
1951 Pär Fabian Lagerkvist
1950 Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell
1949 William Faulkner
1948 Thomas Stearns Eliot
1947 André Paul Guillaume Gide
1946 Hermann Hesse
1945 Gabriela Mistral
1944 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
1943 No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1942 No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1941 No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1940 No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1939 Frans Eemil Sillanpää
1938 Pearl Buck
1937 Roger Martin du Gard
1936 Eugene Gladstone O'Neill
1935 No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1934 Luigi Pirandello
1933 Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin
1932 John Galsworthy
1931 Erik Axel Karlfeldt
1930 Sinclair Lewis
1929 Thomas Mann
1928 Sigrid Undset
1927 Henri Bergson
1926 Grazia Deledda
1925 George Bernard Shaw
1924 Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont
1923 William Butler Yeats
1922 Jacinto Benavente
1921 Anatole France
1920 Knut Pedersen Hamsun
1919 Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler
1918 No Nobel Prize was awarded in the year 1918 as the prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1917 Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan
1916 Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam
1915 Romain Rolland
1914 No Nobel Prize was awarded in the year 1914 as the prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.
1913 Rabindranath Tagore
1912 Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann
1911 Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck
1910 Paul Johann Ludwig Heyse
1909 Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf
1908 Rudolf Christoph Eucken
1907 Rudyard Kipling
1906 Giosuè Carducci
1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz
1904 Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray y Eizaguirre
1903 Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson
1902 Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen
1901 Sully Prudhomme


Harry S. Truman, the former American President, once remarked: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first.”
With a view to inculcate a sense of self-discipline the authority must be in some or the other way invested in the students. This will help to serve many purposes – it makes the child more responsible towards his duties, makes the process of administration a bit more democratic and also inculcates a sense of pride among the students in their being able to contribute towards the management of the institution. Self discipline is something we all need because it is a vital characteristic of successful people. Why? Because nothing is as easy as it seems. There are always unforeseen challenges and problems on the path to success and achievement. To beat these you must persevere and be strong. Likewise eating disorders or other problems associated with excess (such as smoking or alcoholism) require will power.
Excessive habits foster low self esteem and lack of self confidence. If you suffer from an obsession and cannot control it you may blame or punish yourself. Likewise the reverse is also true low self esteem may cause some of these problems (eating too much, too little, binging or other damaging disorders), this is a vicious circle.
Self discipline helps you control your actions and make sure you stay on track. It is helpful if you suffer disorders like those above and need to break out and cure yourself. Please make use of help from friends or counsellors as this will support you in your efforts. Going it alone is very difficult!

I wish...

Some days I wish not to wish for anything but the other days I just do. That's how it is after all. Isn't it? We have all known wh...