Monday, 23 March 2015

The Amazing Racist - Chhimi Tenduf-La

Date of Reading: 21/03/2015
Author: Chhimi Tenduf-La
Publisher: Hachette India
Place: Gurgaon
Year: 2015
From: BlogAdda

           It is not often we come by an amazing read which makes us wish to shout "I loved it". I didn't carter much expectation on this debut novel and was not at all amused by the pranks of Menaka and Eddie (immature love birds, I thought) in the first half of the novel. Good that I didn't give up, by the time you reach the middle there is no going back; Things have perked up and we could never resist loving Thilak Rupasinghe or Uncle Thilak as I would like to call him. By the end I really missed him along with Eddie and Kiki. No one can replace those crackling wit and a soft heart hidden behind a rough exterior and an unpredictable mouth.
         Giving the impression of a love story, the novel soon changes its direction to the deep bonding between the quiet English man and his barking father-in-law. Set in Sri Lanka, it gives a satiric insight into the aristocratic life style, their extravagance and faulty charity initiatives. But what makes it worthwhile is the character of Uncle Thilak who is scared by all but loved by his granddaughter, Kiki. Author's wife Samantha and his daughter Tara too makes a brief appearance in between which makes it all the more amusing. All in all a hilarious read for  the holidays!!! 


         Eddie Trusted, an English school teacher lands in Colombo for a teaching assignment where he falls in love with the Sri Lankan beauty Menaka Rupasinghe. Within weeks of acquaintance, they decide to marry but Thilak Rupasinghe, Menaka's scary father is set against the white man. He tries fierce and friendly manners -- treating him as a servant, making him sleep out in the verandah on their weekly trip together and offering him the job of an accountant which was illegal and would have deported him -- but Eddie stays put and succeeds in marrying Menaka with Thilak's blessings.
          While Prabhakaran gets shot, Menaka gives birth to their daughter Kiki. Soon she is off to many of her charity trips leaving Kiki in the hands of Eddie who finally resigns his teaching position to be a full time parent. Uncle Thilak, with his taunting humour turns out to be an unusual partner for him.
         
Menaka drops out of the marriage and starts a relationship with Gayan, her second cousin. Uncle Thilak and Menaka's elder brother warns him that she may battle for the custody of Kiki as there is a chance that she might inherit some of their fortune. Eddie gets absorbed with Kiki and gives blind eye to the legal proceedings and soon he finds love again with Caroline, the new teacher in school.
           As expected Menaka starts the divorce proceedings and Eddie decides to run away with the child as court in all probability will side with Menaka when it comes to the possession of the girl. On boarding the flight he is informed that Uncle Thilak is dying and is asking for Kiki. Eddie goes back and Thilak dies that night after giving instruction to him as to how to bring up Kiki.
        His will leaves half of his wealth to his eldest son and a quarter each is given to Menaka and Eddie. Nothing is left to Kiki and as Uncle Thilak expected Menaka didn't attempt to get her daughter. Eddie marries Caroline and his bond with Kiki gets even deeper.

About the Author:
       Half English, half Tibetan, Chhimi Tenduf-La grew up in Hong Kong, London, Delhi and Colombo, where he now lives with his wife, Samantha, and daughter Tara. This is his first novel.




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Sunday, 15 March 2015

#Together With You Mom

“A woman who was just dumped needs a shoulder to cry on, not a critic -- ‘It’s not your fault’, ‘He just wasn’t the right guy for you’ -- a friend who can say this”, says June, in my favorite Korean movie Seducing Mr. Perfect. Life is never smooth and when the enraged waves smash against you, we need someone to fall back on – parents, friends, pets or teachers – whose company gives a sense of assurance that we are not alone and this is not the end. And their presence fuels us with enough energy to move on or continue what we love.
It was my 12th standard board exams. Language papers are over giving us minimal trouble and then comes the turn of the terrible three – Physics, Chemistry and Biology – of which the first one gives me nightmares. There is a two days gap which I plan to devote to revisions and also to practice the question papers of previous years. Sitting on my usual spot on the staircase I started with the last years question and finished those within fifteen minutes. Woo!!! I was able to answer TWO QUESTIONS!!!
Sometimes we desire for the blessings of a coma, to sleep and escape without any qualms. I just wanted to die but that is not so. I will be eighteen soon (I reminded myself) and being an adult I am supposed to face situation in a matured way and most importantly -- no more tears. Easy to say, my eyes were already brimming, asking for the floodgates to be opened and I didn’t know what to do. My brain is swept clean and there is no sign of those twisting formulas which I have shelved with lots of hard work. And I have two days . . . only.
As usual my siblings have spied on my sad pledge and I ran to the usual refuge, Mom. Will I ever be old enough not to depend on her? I don’t know and I don’t want to be. The cozy kitchen with its familiar smells never fails to give me the confidence I need. She was wise enough to grasp my state of mind and kindly asked me to start over and that is what I did. Soon the little kitchen table got filled with my text books and notes and I began reading aloud to this silent listener. Mom took a leave from work and sat there with me patiently, listening and gently correcting when needed. And on entering the exam hall with her blessings and best wishes, I knew I will pass and I did . . . with distinction.
It’s been years now and I have crossed bigger hurdles, but I could never forget that day when my life stopped almost and I needed hope and support of a firm ground. And I could never completely thank my Mom for being there with me always.

Posted in collaboration with housing.com

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Heart Beats of a New Life

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”
-         Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)

Life begins with endless possibilities; as positive as it may seem, this creates a lot of confusion if you don’t know the way to which your brain is wired to. And this journey is all about understanding yourselves, the choices you consider being just the beginning. Constrained as it seems with its endless rules, we tread this weary path in hope to witness mysteries unfold as a result of our actions. There is always a time we meet a crossroad and hesitate.
The tenth standard exam was my first alarm bell. Inexperienced as I am it never crossed my mind that this is just the first of its kind and soon that infuriating voice will pierce my eardrums. Life ran smoothly till then with small worries concerning home works or the canings that I will have to avoid from my teachers. But this is a new hurdle (not the exam, but the choice that I need to make afterwards) and thus began my growing up.
Our institutions offer three options – science for the bright minds, commerce if you want to be competitive and humanities for the good for nothing who are not fated to become doctors or engineers, the golden and silver trophies offered to every aspiring student. Well, being a topper, I am supposed to be in the ‘bright minds’ category but where should I go to cater its growth? And thus seeking fresh pastures, I joined one of the convent schools in our esteemed corporation.
Being educated in a village school where the medium of learning was my mother tongue, for me this English medium school was a tough nut to crack. The place, with its well built infrastructure and tight necked uniforms looked and felt alien; strange tongue, strange people and strange games. Our black board showcased lines that I couldn’t fathom, which according to them represented force, mass and acceleration and what not. Spending endless nights on the rain swept verandahs by hearting the scientific names, I knew my life has changed and I could never go back.
It would be a fitting end to say I came out of that concrete jungle in flying colors; but I can’t because I didn’t.  I managed to escape with enough marks to start afresh by choosing my favorite subject in humanities. And my two years was not in vain as they created me as I am today. I learned to follow my heart and do what I love most . . . reading. It taught me to live outside the protective shell of home and not to commit the same mistakes twice. My higher secondary school life asked me to choose wisely, to chase the ignored track and not to turn back; because sometimes you can’t.
Let me conclude with Frost’s lines,
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
  
    Posted in collaboration with housing.com


               

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Optimism: The Opium that Fills our Hearts

            “A person without hope is as good as dead”, my best friend used to say. She is no longer around to push me out of my frequent lethargic states, but her words stay on, coming alive with occasional phone calls, E-mails and facebook chats. In a world filled with weariness, fret and fever, a world from which we long to escape, optimism is the last beacon of recourse; the banner that proclaims the significance of light which can’t be redeemed without the presence of darkness around. For me that beacon is . . . my home, the light house that guides my way when turbulent storms rocks the boat.
          I don’t have particular moments to recount because all elements that constitute my home are precious and they permeate hope and the strength to move on. Greeting smile of my Papa, bitter gourd curry of my Mom (my favorite), jokes and pranks of my siblings, and the little garden in the front, shade of the coconut trees, smell of jackfruit and guava in summer . . . home is an urban paradise which asks me to look up and go forward with steady steps fixed firm on the ground.
          Well, this may be the usual ramblings of any hostler. Having grown out of the nest years before, we are no longer affected by that homesickness that makes a fresher cry in her sleep but still it is the last place of refuge when your colleagues speak against you, friends betray you or when you get scared of the coming exams. I still cherish the sight of my sister's running legs coming towards me in welcoming gratitude when I get back home for the vacations. Finally this is the place where you are accepted, believed and loved.
My Home
          From the small kitchen table where we share our food to the computer room meticulously arranged near my cot, the place has our hand prints and it contains our memories under its firm shelter irrespective of the changing colours and paints it takes every five years. As stable as its base and the supporting pillars, home symbolizes for me the steadfastness I need to acquire to reach my goals and it fuels me with the optimism that “this too will pass”.
          My house which has completed its silver jubilee years ago showcases the imagination and planning of a handful of people who worked hard from its design to the collection of brick and mortar. Thanks to them and because of the timely caring of my parents it is withstanding the pressures of time, sheltering the third family who has come to live under its protection.

          Housing is a necessity, it is the hope and refuge we look for after tiring days. So meet Look Up, the new housing brand pledged to share the positive spirit of life and is driven to revolutionize real estate with their 10x mantra.
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