Book Review: A Turbulent Tale of Love

Being from the Teachers’ fraternity that too a language teacher, when ever reading a piece, a forwarded message, an article or even a book, the teacher in me just doesn’t let me go with the flow. Of course I enjoy reading, but then I cant stop myself from picking the errors or analysing it critically.

I faced the similar situation when I was reading my latest book, “A Turbulent Tale of Love”, written by Shalu Thakur Dhillon. But I am happy to share that I really did enjoy the book, rather enjoyed it so much that as I reached the last few chapters of the book, I was carrying it everywhere with me.

The opening of the book itself grasps your attention. Nihal, the leading man, makes you fall in love with him in the beginning itself. You relate to the leading lady, the typical ‘girl’ Rabani. She is a loving daughter, a protected little sister and of course a smart, sweet but head-strong girlfriend. All the other characters too, seem real and relatable.

The authoress, from chapter to chapter builds elements of mystery, which continue for a while, but then she solves them gradually. But then she adds more of mystery and then slowly deals with that, so that it doesn’t bother the readers much.

What I like the most about the author is that she doesn’t try too hard to impress. Her story is simple yet engrossing and it stays on the track. The diction and writing style are uncomplicated, which allow a reader to enjoy the text rather than be intimidated by it. She doesn’t try to show off her knowledge of the language, and keeps her vocabulary subtle and easy. The short chapters make the reading fast-paced. Unlike many first time authors, she doesn’t try to build a story within a story or be too preachy.

Generally when reading a book, after the first few chapters, to speed up the reading, a reader tends to skip a few paragraphs or a page or two, I felt like doing the same, but “A Turbulent Tale of Love”, didn’t let me do that. I was enjoying the mushiness of the lovers, the bromance of the guys and the drama within the families. The ‘happy-ending’ of course is a little predictable, but then isn’t that the reason we read and enjoy love-stories!!

Sumity Sahi
English Teacher and a Freelance Writer.

The Future of Renewable Energy in India.

India seems to be forever growing. The last few decades have seen so many ups-and-downs, but the one thing that has constantly been up has been the population. Being the second most populous country, the demands are ever rising, and one of the biggest demands of a growing country is Energy! And with the current scenario, renewable energy, is the only workable solution to our numerous problems!

It might come as a surprise that India is one of the largest producers of renewable energy in the world, thanks to the abundance of sunlight, wind and biomass. We are the only country that has an entire Ministry dedicated to the cause, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Just like the other countries, India too is an energy-based economy and the potential of renewable energy resources is immeasurable as they are to be the way to meet the ever-increasing energy demands.

The Sun is the direct or indirect source of most renewable resources. Solar Energy has been extended over the past few years, with more and more people, groups and companies understanding it’s importance. India has many things going its way, it stands 6th in solar power capacity in the world and 4th in wind power capacity. Not just that India is the proud ground base for the largest solar power and largest rooftop solar panel. There are almost 100 smart city projects that possess a huge scope of being backed up Renewable Energy. The future of Renewable Energy in India appears to be rather bright.

The challenge, however, remains that we are to fulfil our requirements without compromising or disturbing the ecological balance. The danger of climate change also looms over us. Despite the developments and innovations in the area of renewable energy, with about 300 million people without electricity, we are still electronically poor. This further forces the masses to make use of cheaper alternatives like fuel, biomass such as dung and agricultural waste, coal and wood to manage their everyday needs.

So how do we move ahead?

Making full use of the Renewable Energy resources is the only route through which we can end our energy poverty. It is imperative to understand that non-stop renewable electricity generation is going to be a slow and steady process. Rather than a centralised generation and grid-based distribution of power, the future of renewable electricity can be decentralised. Sunlight and wind go everywhere, and so electricity must be generated everywhere as well. Taking an inspiration from Germany, we too can encourage electricity generation at household, businesses and other such smaller levels. Let us talk about Watts and Kilowatts and not Megawatts and Gigawatts. Renewable electricity has to be made affordable to all the people and accessible to even the ones living in the remotest areas of the country. There is an urgent need to Revolutionise the entire energy sector!




When a Forwarded Message touched my heart!

By Sumity Sahi

No matter how much we deny it, but WhatsApp messages do make up a very important part of our daily lives. And why not, they have become such a convenient and comfortable way to communicate that parting with the phone is as difficult as Rakhi parting with Karan Arjun.

Agreed that sometimes reading the same message from ten different people, in ten different groups, is indeed a little bugging. My uncles and aunts go a step further, the message that they send in the family group are then also sent to everyone in their contact list Individually as well. Its like they are hell bent that you learn the text of the message by heart. I still remember, when I first installed WhatsApp in my mother’s phone, she would send me a message, then call me up to confirm if I had received it, discuss the contents on phone and then before putting the phone down tell me, “Chal ab tu mere message ka reply kar”. I often promised myself that the next time my mother wishes to play ‘WhatsApp whatsApp’ , I’m gonna delete my account. But  then , who was I kidding, I could never really delete it!

The other reason why we feel so emotionally attached to our phones is that many a times we come across messages, images, quotes or videos which touch our hearts in the most beautiful way, I often find myself smiling, reminiscing or even shedding a few tears.

Especially on days,when nothing seems to make any sense. You start to feel that all the decisions that you’ve made in the past are just Big mistakes. The same house that you’ve spent hours, days, months setting up seems like a boundary, difficult to cross. But then, thankfully good sense soon prevails, and it doesn’t require a therapist, sometimes just watching a good movie, listening to your favourite songs, standing in the balcony or just talking to an old friend after long, helps you come back on track and once again see the world with Happy Glasses.

I too had a few gloom days for no reason what so ever, call it challenges of motherhood, those days of the month, unemployability, something was just not right. Thats when a WhatsApp forward caught my attention. It was about how a house wife today, is not just a house wife,, and to be a successful one there are some minimum qualifications. In the simplest way it showcased how complex the life of todays mother’s is. It really came as a pleasant surprise that I too qualified in most areas. Felt proud of myself, after a long long time I guess!

From knowing how to cook in American, Italian, Chinese and Tandoori style, you’ve got to know it all. And then, knowing how to drive is an absolute necessity, to pickup and drop off kids at school, yoga or dance class. And of course to run to the market as your child just had a eureka about the stuff needed next day at school. One must have experience to cut, copy n paste info from the internet to make those horrendous school projects. Some times you have to advise professionally and also be as professional as the maid who does household chores. Looking after the kids is just a small section in your charter of duties, you Must keep the house clean as a museum you Must be modern and slim for the husband, not forgetting, take care of his parents. Then there are different role-plays that have to be done, sometimes two or more at the same time. Being a warm and loving host to ten fifteen people when your child has a test the next morning. Sometimes be auspicious with kumkum on the forehead, flowers adorning hair, looking no less than Rekha in a silk saree, and sometimes look fabulous in jeans and t-shirt.

And then, after doing all the work, with a big sigh, if you pick up the phone in your hand… you must know how to be patient when people comment “You are so lucky, that you are not working, you are enjoying life, You’re always online” . “Not working, Are you kidding, Working is all I do”.  Well…. Let them say what they wish to say !! I’m feeling really Proud to be a House Wife.

Jab I met Stress!!!

By Sumity Sahi.

Once upon a time, about a hundred years ago, I used to be in college. One day we were told to attend a Lecture on Stress Management, by a renowned Sociologist, Ms Reema Gupta. A ‘lecture’ that too on ‘Stress’ was stressful indeed for all my friends. But for me, it was yet another opportunity to sit in the dark corners of the auditorium, munch on chips and catch up on the masaledaar gossips sessions! The lecture soon began and the saree clad, plump like a butterball, Ms.Gupta, started speaking. There was just one thought in my mind, “I should have got the American onion rather than this Plain salted”! Well, just as she turned to the projector screen behind her,, it was our turn to talk about the most recent link ups, break-ups etc etc.

The lecture was on in full swing, and Ms. Gupta, with all the voice modulation techniques she knew, was enjoying all the attention she was getting. She had swayed most of the crowd to believe that stress was unavoidable. Fortunately or unfortunately, a few words went into my ears as well. She went on and on about how the stress in our lives is way more than what our grandparents ever had in theirs. “Grandparents and stress” I was like ‘give me a break’, the only Stress my grandmother ever had was “What should I cook”!

Well, her lecture was about to end, and so was my super saver pack of plain salted chips, but by the time she gave rest to her mouth, my mind was under a lot of unrest. The thing that worried me most that she had facts and figures to prove that college going people were one of the most stressed section of the society, she went ahead and gave a long list of reasons for the same. From fear of unemployment, to growing responsibility, managing studies and part time jobs, some were under pressure because they were getting married while some were stressed because they weren’t. so basically everyone was Stressed and had to master the art called ‘Stress Management’. As the lecture ended it was time for “Clear your Queries”, and though she spent an hour and about twenty slides on ways and means to deal with stress, I saw many hands go up to ask for more way outs.

Another half an hour went by, at the end of which she asked, “Any body else?” quite meekly, I raised my hand, stood up, asked for the mic, cleared my throat and asked her, “what if somebody has no stress in life,  is that normal?” “By somebody do you mean yourself?” she smiled and asked me. I nodded and said “Yes”,but before she could answer me, my HOD, who was sitting in the front row, turned around, lowered her glasses, looked at me and said, “Get Married”, the whole auditorium burst into laughter!  It took me a while to realize what had happened. My question was completely honest and I was genuinely looking for an answer. The relationship between getting married and stress was something I just wasn’t able to comprehend. I would have kept standing, but my friends who were laughing out loud started patting my back! I just smirked a little and sat down.

After that for the next many years, I was known as the “No Stress Girl”! What happened after that, you might ask, well I got married. I’ll soon be celebrating my eleventh anniversary, and very often, rather sometimes everyday, I think of what my HOD said. The ‘relationship between getting married and stress’ is now absolutely clear to me. How wise was she, I sometimes think, that she understood how your life, your attitude, even You change! Well if she was wise, then I guess everyone who is married, irrespective of caste, class, religion, country, is!

My Dog Died Today!

Isn’t the title too sad! Yes it is indeed, but you know whats sadder, that he died today and I’ve lost him forever. A big dog, with a bigger and braver heart, he was named Caesar. I knew him since the last eleven years, but now it seems it wasn’t enough.

I’d always been fond of dogs. Not ‘let the dog lick your face’ kind of fond but ‘lets keep a little distance between us’ kind of fond. So when I got married I was quite happy about the fact that my in-laws had a four month old German Shepherd. He had to learn to be a guard dog and was being trained accordingly. With an intelligent linage and a super strong physique he was feared in the neighbourhood. His trainer was strict with him and stricter with me. “Ma’am please don’t spoil him”, he would often tell me.

But how could I not! When that cute fur ball heard me in the kitchen, he would come running to the window, jump hard to look at me and I would quietly throw a biscuit or a small treat. It was our little secret, which we both never shared with anyone, until now. Time went by but the only thing that changed was that the little puppy who would jump so desperately to draw my attention, soon grew so big that he could just stand at the window and would wait for me to treat him. Indeed he was intelligent, he would come there only if he heard Me! And if he saw someone else standing with me, he would sheepishly get down, as if he came there by mistake.

Caesar was more of an outdoor dog, happily circling around the house, rolling himself in the freshly mowed lawns and basking in the winter sun. We didn’t share many cuddly moments, but he loved it when I patted his back or rubbed his neck. When I came back from work, I would find him sitting at the gate waiting, and he would jump at me as if we’d been away since long. He loved playing ‘fetch’, so quick he was to grab the ball, but would never want to let go of it. Once he caught it, he would come to me but not drop the ball. I used to follow him around to make him drop it, but he didn’t unless I raised my voice. But then, what’s the point of playing if you get angry. Soon I had the brightest idea, we now played the same game, but with two balls. I would throw one, Caesar would run, catch it and come to me, with the ball clutched tightly in his big, sharp teeth. Then as soon as I showed him the other ball, he would drop the first one, with all his attention now focussed greedily on the ball in my hand, he would jump on me, trying to get hold of it. And when I threw it, he would run swiftly to catch it giving me time to grab he first one. That was our way to play fetch!

But our playing fetch had to be put on hold when I was expecting. I don’t how, but there was something, something that changed this hyper active dog. He had suddenly stopped jumping at me. I had heard that animals, especially dogs, can sense things, but I didn’t really believe it, until then. In the evenings when I would go out to sit in my flower rich lawn, he would calmly come and sit right in front of me and place his head in my lap, as if requesting me to rub his neck. And if I stopped even for a millisecond, or talk to someone, he would keep nudging me with his paw.

When you have kids, your priorities change. You get extra cautious about everything. When my son started walking and exploring the outside corners of the house, I used to worry how Caesar would react. He wasn’t used to seeing little people around, especially the ones who could poke his eye or would try sitting on him. But then Caesar taught me how easy it was to trust him. One day I came out to answer the doorbell, my son who was with me, in those two minutes vanished. I looked around and panicked. I ran towards the kennel and saw him sitting leaning on Caesar with both his hands in Caesar’s food bowl. I was benumbed, Caesar hated it when someone came near his food, he would growl even at his trainer. I just couldn’t understand what had happened to the muscular and stormy dog! It was the beginning of a new friendship.

Well, in a few years, my husband got relocated, and my son and I moved with him. Caesar was now getting old, it was very visible, but when ever we visited he welcomed us with the same vigour. His mind was still young but I guess his body was slowly giving up. He was a brave brave dog. Towards the end, his condition worsened. My exuberant and irrepressible Caesar would be lying in his kennel. The last time saw him, he was so happy to see me. He tried very hard, he couldn’t get up, he could only wag his tail. The question that now haunted us was ‘Is euthanasia the answer to stop his suffering?’. But I guess Caesar didn’t want us to carry that burden of guilt, today morning he himself went to sleep, never to wake up again.

“Dogs’ lives are too short, and thats their only fault.”— Anges Sligh Turnbull.