The Queen of Attolia : Review

Book : The Queen Of Attolia
Author : Megan Whalen Turner
Genre` : Fantasy
Published by:Collins Voyager
Year: 2000
Cover : Nice
Ratings : 3/5
Rotting in the Attolian prison the Thief awaits his fate.For Eugenide has taunted the Queen of Attolia one time too many. And now he must pay.
The book opens with The Thief in the prison of a Mountain Kingdom Attolia and then takes the reader to deep ravines, steep cliff and  treacherous rocks of the three kingdoms of EDDIS, ATTOLIA and SOUNIS .
These three along with others are constantly entangled in a tug of power and supremacy over land,water and trade routes. Amid this politico-geographical war The Thief is the most valued piece .... and its Eddis who has him.What misfortune befell him and howhis loyalties got shifted and why(if shifted at all) is the climax of the book. 
The book is the second part of  a trilogy -  The Thief
                                                                     The Queen Of Attolia
                                                                     The King Of Attolia
Despite starting from the middle one I found the book interesting if not gripping.
The positive points are -
The author had finely carved her characters .. remote,strange yet, familiar.Being of fantasy genre`the customs, the titles and the settings are foreign yet,strangely enough, its the predictability of characters, to know how they feel and will emote,which  made a connect and made me like the book !
I loved the romance.(Even if it was the faintest possible!!)
The rest, is just a prelude and interlude to the climax and my liking has more to do with the narration then the story.I really liked the way the author made the Thief fell in love...
The negative point is- 
Its more of a narration of the events occurring, after the first and before the third part.So, don't have much to offer except the gloomy Thief and bleak situations he has to face due to loss of his hand.It lacks the thrill,adventure and witty remarks of the first book -'The Thief '
THE COVER- is nice with bright green and dark jade specially in the tiles of the prison. Its better then the others like the above a bit crude one with the Queen of Attolia with thief's prosthetic hook shaped hand accessory.
Read It.You might Like it for that a whiff of a romance...
You can buy it HERE


Inexplicable Happiness!

This is hardly a picture of happiness. 
The child lying down on a bare rock on a seemingly sunny day. Hola!the day  was perfectly lit but was far from sunny and on the top of that rock, it's cold and windy.
Happy Day 98
My precious little daughter was so happy by the gusts of wind that her little heart welled up with emotion and she lied down to kiss the rock... 'mother nature' she called it. 

I clicked pictures fearing the moment may pass soon but, was mildly surprised to see her lying there as if sleeping. I hovered uncertainly for a minute then left her on her own and sat a little away from her. She was still. Her brother explored the whole area making as much noise as one kid can manage on his own but, she was there unperturbed... standing up only when it was time for us to leave.

Later in the car, when I asked her what she was doing lying there on the rock? She said, "I was 'loving' the rock mother nature for making me so happy"
"Did you feel sleepy?" I prompted
"No, just chain (calm). But, the next time, I'll take a pillow and sleep" she smiled. 
It was her way to express gratitude for the 'rocky mother nature' as it had provided her with a wonderful experience. What was wonderful exactly, she could not put in words and I stopped probing afraid to spoil her moment.

 I was overwhelmed with an inexplicable gratitude and it made the image right for the Happy day.

Am I happy ?

          I heard a thousand blended notes,
          While in a grove I sate reclined,
          In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
          Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

          To her fair works did Nature link
          The human soul that through me ran;
          And much it grieved my heart to think
          What man has made of man.
 A hibiscus in our balcony :Happy day 96
          Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
          The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;                         
          And 'tis my faith that every flower
          Enjoys the air it breathes.

          The birds around me hopped and played,
          Their thoughts I cannot measure:--
          But the least motion which they made
          It seemed a thrill of pleasure.          
Anindy sprayed a flower with water and told me to keep the flash on ! Happy Day 97

          The budding twigs spread out their fan,
          To catch the breezy air;
          And I must think, do all I can,
          That there was pleasure there.                              

          If this belief from heaven be sent,
          If such be Nature's holy plan,
          Have I not reason to lament
          What man has made of man?            

                                                               - Wordsworth

The images are for some happy moments but the 
lines here are produced as a protest and lamentation 
how man is destroying everything  good , cursing 
his every blessing - 
environment, happiness, calm, equilibrium of nature,
 humanity and now childhood and  innocence! 


Dakota Warrior : Non- Fiction

The Book : Source
IndiBlogger Badge
Book   : Dakota Warrior (The Story Of                                                    J.R. Weddell)
Author : Gloria Mattioni with Daniele Bolelli
Genre`: Biographical
First Published By : Sensibili Alle Foglie in 1995
This edition : After 2013
Ratings : NA (?)

The books is my first review of a non-fiction biographical work.

And I am starting with a person who belonged to a proud tribe of hunters and warriors-the Yankton Sioux tribe from South Dakota America, a tribe who hunted and prayed for the buffalo ,who believed in the power of Wankan Tanka, the energy of the Universe and in a God Tunkashila ,whose rituals include the Sun Dance and the Ghost dance and who consider Eagle as the most sacred of all animals!
So, I can certainly Not review it.Only speak about it - its warrior.
And this is not only about but is written by a warrior as well, a white woman defending goodness and honesty with courage,fortitude and recklessness of a true Indian warrior!
So its two warriors!
What's In it
Its about James R. Weddell, a Yankton Sioux native who in 1986 had been charged with a crime he didn't commit and sent to prison with an eighty-years sentence.
He spent 16 years in prison and 2 years on run, was featured in America's Most Wanted and had a bounty on his head.All this because he was a minority caught in the web of the racist face of America which the world never knew about. 

The book if you ask is simply an in depth narration of the above four lines.

What makes it compelling is, each alphabet of the above four lines is drenched in repressed feelings of disarrayed youth,wastage of precious blood and lives, hurt pride and helplessness, a burning shame for weaknesses of fellow tribesmen and a kindling desire for justice for one's tribe... drama and turmoil enough for four lives!

It deals with Weddell's hard and seemingly hopeless struggle to find justice,his misadventures with law,the apathy of family n friends in time of his need,his resilience and despite all, his faith in wakan, the Great Spirit.

The hatred he and his tribe has to bear from authorities and people in higher positions just because of his tribe being Natives....
The deceit done to them by the Government regarding Paha Sapa, their sacred land... 
The shame and humiliation he felt as his simple and needy people gave in to temptation..
The weakness which he, a proud warrior, had to witness seeping in the blood and soul of his people... all this was enough to make him furious, miserable and erratic but he remained unbroken,unbent, forgiving and helping.

Then through divine intervention he received help from unlikely quarters in form of the author Gloria and friends from across the oceans who, after reading about him started a movement in form of a steady torrent of letters and faxes forcing the State machinery to give him a fair trial resulting in his victory against the Goliath of racism and corruption and walking free after 18 years of harrowing darkness.

Gloria with James on the day 
he walked free:Source

The electronic edition which I received has an additional chapter on the history of struggle for the Black Hills by Daniele Bolelli which was insightful for making me understand the nuances of the matter   as well as helped in establishing a better connect with the plight of Wmaka Og'naka Icante,the sacred land of Weddell and his tribe.
The book makes a compelling read as despite the torture,cruelty and injustice the dominant feeling through out the narrative is compassion and gratitude!
The deer guiding him out of the prison, the dream and visions, the dance and whistles of the mocking bird was the signary of a divine language.... my eyes were full of tears and heart of an inexplicable warmth.All I could muster was wishing James,the Wanblee Ista peace.May his courage finds place in hearts of generations to come.
It also explains my  filling the rating of the book as NA (not applicable) as its the life and blood of a brave warrior and courage can neither be rated nor reviewed!! 

A personal connection
I am forever indebted to Gloria for choosing me to review this book and thus, providing me an opportunity to experience the power of faith,courage and hope in the deepest darkness.
A firm believer in the philosophy of Karma, I feel this reading as an omen,for me to stay unchanged, unbent in my life as I deal with my own demons.It has been send to me at this time of my life when I desperately need an anchor,a wakan to help me out...  
.... and  I can see the mocking bird dancing!   


The Baker Street Boys : Children's Read

Book   :         Baker Street Boys
  The Case Of The Ranjipur Ruby
 Author:       Anthony Read
Genre` :        Detective Fiction 
Publication:  Walker Books
Year    :         2006
 Cover :         Fantastic 
Ratings :         4/5

The book is extremely well written with simple narration,lucid language and a story, adventurous enough to hold an adult!

The Blurb says 
"Ravi, son of a real Raja of Ranjipur, is on the run from a pair of murderous Thugs. Enter the Baker Street boys! But can they solve the string of mysterious deaths that surround the Indian prince? And where does the infamous ruby fits in ? if only Sherlock Holmes were here !"

The story seems simple enough with an Indian Maharaja  coming to England with his entourage of servants,a brother and his son,to present a precious heirloom to Queen Victoria.
The Illustrious Address : Source
A Madame Dupont is all set to exhibit her magnificent waxworks for Her Majesty's Jubilee and the infamous Professor Moriarity is back, lurking behind the shadows.The story takes another turn when two people die under mysterious circumstances, a clear threat is perceived to abduct the ruby and life of the young Prince is in grave danger!
Among all this mayhem and hullabaloo, a chance meeting of the Prince with the Baker Street Boys turned out to be his only relief. 

Some sparkles-
One,this is one of those rare books, where the content exceeds the promise of the blurb! No matter how interesting I have found a book ,almost every time, the content was little less interesting then what the blurb had so enthusiastically portrayed.
 Or we can say that this time the blurb is not well written ! :P
The Baker street irregulars : SOURCE

Two, it is a sort of a Sherlock Holmes's series as this gang had actually featured in few of the classic Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle helping the great detective in solving cases.That Mr. Anthony Read, got inspired by the boys and created this series, is solely our benefit. 
Three, the book offers incidents where I, a grown-up felt  my heart beats race faster and my hands moist! So chills and thrills guaranteed.
Four, the cover is awesome ! Running,black silhouettes,against a fierce crimson background, their eastern clothes flying in wind, towering Victorian gabled buildings, a lamp and a piece of a violet grey says volumes about the adventure and thrill one can expect between the covers.
AND not to forget the small black illustrations at the start of each new chapter depicting the essence of it, are marvelous. Unlike the black and white illustration of 'Northern Lights' (a beauty in their own right) these are black silhouettes. Done by David Frankland these are completely breathtaking!
A little Extra Info -
This gang of children called as Baker Street Irregulars by Mr. Holmes is here called as 'Boys' though three of its members Queenie, Rosy and Gertie are girls !

If you are interested in the ways of street urchins during Victorian times in London,along with a dash of mystery, a sprinkling of murders and garnishing of some oriental ways,this is the one for you.
Beside this particular case-book the whole series describes the mansions,houses, shacks,cellars,tunnels and bazaars of that era including the illustrious address 221B BakerStreet and its famous tenants !

A good book for children as well as grown-ups. 

Buy at Amazon  Here.


Blog Award !!

Blog Award! Another one!Heart gladdening. 
Thanks to the beautiful Pratikshya from Magic Moments to shower her love as Liebster. But,before accepting it, there are certain things I like to me and to the readers. 
We all differ in opinions regarding awards and I respect the views  of  some of my fellow blogger friends who don't have to do anything with such labels.But then I Love Awards and am always pleased to have one without pining or coveting.
Vividhta mein samrasta is India's forte`so its going to be peace all the way in my little blogger family... 
'A thing of beauty is joy forever'                                                                                                                          - John Keats
Blog awards are a thing of beauty for me... 
Its not as if these are some Oscar or Golden Peacock ,by accepting which my blog will become a hot-shot, culture-meets-couture and real-meets-popular. 
Its simply a way to express the love and warmth one might be feeling for a blog. It does not say that because your Blog is THE BEST or your content is the BEST that's why you are getting it... instead its a way to spread smile and affection among bloggers.
 Its a network, a chain which binds the donor and the receptor and is solely based on 'liking enough' to forward it.

TAKE AN EXAMPLE -  Consider there is a certain blog which I feel has a great content,a huge fan following ,the blogger writes in a matter-of fact-way and replies nicely to every comment.Well, I might appreciate the content,the style..... BUT it is NOT ENOUGH for me to like it ! I might not forward the award to it instead I'll choose some one with whom I feel an 'emotional connect'some silly liking ,a common passion or a shared whim...
The awards based on content are the ones  where you are evaluated by a panel of judges on certain basis. Its not that people blog simply to please others and lure awards!Likes for likes.Yikes!  

These awards for me holds a sentimental value that I am being perceived as a non-judgemental and warm blogger.And I forward these by keeping the same lines in mind.These are like ribbons of rainbow in my sunny skies.... pleasant,mysterious and beautiful. And who knows I might actually stumble upon a pot of gold at the other end !

So I hereby accept this award with all the grace and aplomb I can manage :)Thanks again and here are the answers - 

How has blogging affected or changed your life?
        It has made me less social and more virtual  :) 

2.      Whom do you draw inspiration from?
      My Mother. Besides each and every little thing can fire my inspiration
3.      Suggest one of your favorite books and why it is close to your heart.
      Tough to set on one but Manjari Opera will do

4.      Which era, or culture or country would you like to belong and why?
      I am much happy in present era meaning right from my growing up. As for       why, because in this era I have such a vast wealth of history and literature to look back and learn from,an internet connected present to live in and a promising future to rectify past mistakes and beautify the future.

5.      Do you think being anonymous has its advantages? Why?
      If your society is judgemental then Yes like in "A WEDNESDAY" otherwise its  liberating to be yourself.

6.      If you would want to have a pseudoname(pen name), what would it be?
       I have thought long and hard.... No PEN Names For me! 
      On compulsion it will be on the lines of Ranbir Kapoor's song in YJHD  'Ilaahi....Kabira...Sufi...Fakira...Banjaarey... ' :P

7.      What would be the title of the story of your life?
       How Not to be successful !

8.      Make a confession.
       I don't like cooking...regularly,three times a day. 

9.      Describe yourself in three words.
       Honest,Observant, ....last one word,so many  qualities....well Gifted! :D

10.  Mention a wish from your wishlist.
     Run a Library ..and travel around the world -each single nation and divide sections on the basis of places.

11.   A few words for me and my blog. Gracias! Merci!
    You are beautiful,engineer in making with crystal clear views and seems to me a mix of intellect and heart,a person able to enjoy calm and clamour alike...much like your blog :) All the best wishes to you and your blog :)

I in my turn am passing this award to some of my wonderful blogger friends who had make blogging  worth while. 
These are Ranita Sinha , Deepa Gopal SunilUppalji, Maniparna Sengupta Majumdar ,Nimi AroraNeha Gupta and Nagini :) Hope you will like it as Liebster means Sweetheart!

The questions for my friends are -
1.Why you choose your blog name this?
2.Which is your favourite  heroine  in literature?WHY?
3.Which is the one book you was mesmerised by and WHY?
4.What is that one idea (crazy/mysterious... ) on which you want a book/movie to be made?
5.What according to you is a classic?
6.Which is the best mystery/Thriller you have come across?
7.Which country/culture other then yours attracts you most and you want to know more about ?
8.What will you ask for if you are granted 3 wishes?
9.Make a confession.
10.What are your few words for me and my blog ?
Kindly make sure to link it back to me... Gracias!Merci! Thanks!


Happy days Again!

Sunshine after a bleak day, silver lining in thunder clouds, cool raindrops on parched earth... such are the happy moments, working wonders when you are feeling blue and low. When you are going through the phase of 'Why me?, what went wrong?'  these are the moments which light up your soul to let you see how fortunate you are to experience the beauty of life. 


Little Chick : Russian Picture Book

'Little Chick' is a beautiful book perfect to be read aloud for babies and to read along with the kindergarten children.

The Little chick is little,sweet,pudgy and bright yellow. He is living fine when one day he imitated the BIG cock. He crowed with all his might and fell into a puddle. The frog was amused and Mother hen came running to his aid.
She took him under her wing and comforted him.

The little chick has learnt his lesson.

The books was gift from my mother when I was young - one of the many other Russian Books.
Its a hardboard book good not only in the story but is capable to bear the 'love' of babies and kids alike. 
The excess love of young kids as liking the book so much as to chew it and devour it forever is one major concern for any book reading parent. 
Being hard board but round edged it is safe from and for kids.
The story is by Kornoei Chukovsky and the beautifully bright illustrations are by Tamara Shevaryova. 
And it has the beautiful illustration generally of flowers and plant life, found mostly on the back of Russian books.


Winnie the Witch : Children's Picture Book

Kindly note Note The Vertebrae frill !
IndiBlogger BadgeThe book offers a charming story and astoundingly intricate illustrations. First thing to strike is the colour palette or the lack of it or a bit of both.. Ugh!I am at loss to decide.Witch Magic,I Guess.

Winnie the Witch, a rather clumsy witch, lived in a black house.
The house was black from inside and outside.
The carpets were black.The chairs were black. 
The bed,sheets, blankets, even the bath was black.Obviously,Wilbur the cat was also black. 
But the problem is Winnie could not see him in this much blackness.
 So,if his luminescent eyes were close,Winnie the Witch just could not find him.And he did take a nap causing Winnie the Witch to sit on him once, trip over him the another day and one day, taking a nasty fall from the stairs!
It was time for witch-work!
And Wilbur turned bright  green .But then he got mixed up in the grass even with his eyes open, and caused Winnie to trip over him again and land in the bushes!!

Winnie got really angry and painted him in Technicolour .
Hmm.... it was good but...but embarrassing for Wilbur!Poor Cat felt miserable and climbed on the top of the tallest tree but even there ...the birds laughed at him. He felt ridiculous. 

Now Winnie loved him too much to let him suffer so she turned him black again.

Then she waved her wand again, and again, and again,and again. 

Each wave made a splash of colour! Green and Pink, Red and Orange, Yellow and Blue and white....

Now the Black House had been decked up in beautiful colours and instead of black house now she had a yellow house with red roof, red door,blue bed, pink n white sheets, pink blankets,shiny white bath,white chairs, red n white cushions,green carpet with Pink roses and a coal black cat- Wilbur.
Now, Winnie can see Wilbur ,where ever  he sits.

An amusing story with amazing illustrations .The beauty of the concept is witch facing a genuine(old age)problem and finds solution by trial and error.
Also how our rash decisions can sometimes make an adverse impact on the life of others/loved ones.
The beauty of illustrations is as always, in detail.The clothes line on the roof, the TV antenna, and the broom stick decoration crisscross like swords  in the drawing room.And don't miss the frill of vertebrae at the hem of Winnie's dress!!  A cute story with a visual treat of antics.  

The book is written by Valerie Thomas and illustrated by Korky Paul. And is the winner of The Children's Book Award.

The Incompetent Dragon : Children's Read

'The Incompetent Dragon' is a Picture book for children about a desolate boy and a Dragon who lacks grace, fire and fierce splendour of a dragon! Casting mixed up spells the way it does,the dragon is almost human. People are not terrified of it.There's no fire-spitting and it is not found sleeping in some dungeon but on a stormy night it slipped rather awkwardly down the chimney into the boy's room ! 
Aunt Pen's dreary black house in a stormy night.
Christopher Magnifico's, mother is a dancer and father an acrobat.So, when his parents are off to far lands for shows, he,to his dislike, has to live with his Aunt Pen.
Aunt Pen lives in a black house on a black cliff near a grey sea. She has a flowerless garden full of concrete so that no children can come for picking flowers.
Christopher's parents going to perform their show.
Sitting in his black room with grey bed sheets Christopher detests holidays because it means coming to Aunt Pen's house.He felt dejected and  was crying when with a loud Thump! a large, scaly creature covered in soot and dust fell right down the chimney and out of the fireplace in a disgraceful manner!
From here life changes .
It was a dragon! A Real One. Minus the grace and aplomb.Its a little slow and fire-less and does muddled-up magic but its good.
It shares room with Christopher but to its embarrassment got scared by Aunt pen's Black cat.
Later both went for a walk down the beach but nobody was surprised to see a dragon!
The Dragon took him to the North pole!
Christopher enjoyed its company and turned Aunt Pen into a frog and the Black cat into a Black Dog.Then the Dragon took him all the way to the north pole for a hearty supper. 
On returning Christopher felt ashamed of his meanness and asked the Dragon to turn Aunt Pen and her cat back.The short experience changed their heart and made them them a jolly Aunt and a nice, purry, polite cat respectively !
Now the jolly Aunt wished for a beautiful house and blooming garden which dragon fulfilled though the mixed up magic made sunflowers blue and Narcissi red! But who cares as long as all is sunny and cheerful ?
The now colourful, cheery house with Blue sunflowers in the garden 
 Finally it did its last magic of bringing back Christopher's parents who came to take their son for a real holiday.
Before that a gala party was organised with tons of food and Dragon's favourite cucumber sandwiches .
The Dragon bid adieus and took-off ... first,in an unbecoming and bumpy way but soon swaying away looking  splendid against the sunset. 
My WoRd
The book is good.The author had created a book for children but had put nuggets of wisdom in it to find and explore.
For young readers its simple and cheery and for little grown up ones provides food for thought. It also presents some new and slightly complex words and offers points to be pondered upon and discuss such as -
When Christopher asked "What's mythological? 
The dragon answered,' Myth is something which is true if you believe in it."
And when walking down the beach nobody was surprised to see a dragon,it made Christopher surprised.People commented casually such as- 
The postman said"Funny dog you've go there"
'Well, well that's a big lizard,'said the lady in the sweet shop.
Then the dragon said, 'People see what they expect to see'

So though the dragon was not much of a success as a dragon but it was wise and good natured. And irrespective of casting mixed-up spells for the boy,he's a saviour and a hero.
The book written By Janice Elliot and Illustrated beautifully by Phileppe Dupasquier.  

Best buy at Amazon

The Monochrome Madonna : Review

IndiBlogger Badge
Book    : The Monochrome Madonna
Author  : Kalpana Swaminathan
Genre`  :  Detective Fiction
Published by : Penguin India
Year     :  2010
Cover   :  Bland 

The book promises to be a brisk thriller of deceit and intrigue with Lalli , the detective, at her most astute as she interprets the nuances of a murder without  motive. 

...and, it turns out to be anything but brisk! 
What started off as a promising story with Raphael's Madonna as an interwoven theme with a puzzling hint, ended completely damp and unfaithful to its title and the opening lines.

The Plot
 Sitara called Lalli's niece Sita whispering "I think I am going to die"... Sita rushed to Sitara's aid only to found a burly stranger sprawled on Sitara's dining room floor with blood oozing from his head. Sitara was drugged and hazy, her wimpy husband at office and Lalli out of station.Now it's up to Sita to observe the scene and make the most of this mystery.
The development is too elaborate, maddeningly tangled and twisted and, the solution is not at all satisfying. 

Sitara's character is way too quirky with a twisted psyche. It's not that such people don't exist but she was neither believable, nor understandable. If readers can believe in beautiful witches flying on pine branches,then Sitara is just another lady-next-door. So, a little more effort from the author's part could have turned her character as a layered and rich one instead of a confusing and tangled mass of idiosyncrasies.
Besides Sitara, Lalli and Sita, Vinay(Sitara's husband), Savio (Lalli's partner), Ramona (Lalli's friend)Parikshit (Ramona's boyfriend) , the victim (Sanat Verma)............are aimless people sleep-walking in and out of chapters with Lalli the smartest, knowing the culprit right away from the start aka Miss Marple style (who is 100 times better) and keeping it till end aka Hercule Poirot style. (eyes rolling)

Writing Style
Ms.Swaminathan has a flair for words,razor sharp and nuanced. An example -
"I would have said mean but cruel would do'.
'Are you sure?" There's more here then semantics.Meanness provokes contempt.Cruelty baffles.Which was it?"

"Rashmi had a grudging note of admiration in her voice when she spoke about him. It was admiration, not tenderness. There was no  sentiment, no memory of a shared life in Rashmi's manner or in her words. Her admiration for him was purely- intellectual. "

The chapter about the roses of Sita's parents is bee..autiful  but hinders the story. The writer has a graceful and lyrical style of writing making prose flow like poetry balmy, velvety and soft. It has an ephemeral quality to it.
Despite having many blissful moments as some one who gobbles words, I found  the narration tedious and confusing at places. 

1. No plot at all - Ought to be more structured and tight.
2.Tedious Narration - length does not matters if we like what we read.
3.Sitara too quirky : Lalli too smart- which she certainly is not.
5.The Monochrome Madonna - I rue and cry for the wastage of it. Either I am still in dark and have not grasped something too cerebrally and hence slippery for me, or the Madonna provided no clue other then Sitara's stone face and  heart.

Read if you wish to experience a kaleidoscope of words, phrases and ideas. 
But remember the dominating colour will be monochrome. Ouch!


Has Reading Reduced ?

IndiBlogger Badge       Reading books has reduced dramatically in today's youth. Kids who read books are treated as socially incapable nerds. What is your take on this topic?                  Greetings and kudos to you Madhura for posting this thought which was in my mind  but  I expressed it rather badly HERE                                                            Now for the topic.Yes, I strongly feel that reading has reduced but not dramatically AS our society was already an almost non-reading society!See for yourself all images here are of foreign ladies..their Indian sisters at most, manage a love lorn letter to piya-ji.And that too sometimes - blank! 'Virah-vikal binu hi likhi pati diyo pathay..' In present times the scenario is same as the the paati or the letter is e-mailed and poor piyaji is henpecked 24*7.

In olden times preventing reading meant preventing thoughts. Without seeds even the most fertile soil remain barren.But then there were and are people ,who always choose the road less travelled.If they are called nerds,(vichitra then)its just a way of ignorant's defense mechanism to cope with the reader's knowledge,contentment and bliss !                                                                                                                     If a kid is a reader by choice and not by force then he/she will not give two cents  for the title . 'Happy to hear Nerd again, rather then  being a Bird-brain.'                                                       Calling incapable ? Aw.. you can do better Bird-brains!  ow to focus on the first line of the topic.The answers is"YES " and HOW?                                                                                         Reading reduced when after Independence majority of people were struggling to get hold of a decent livelihood and it was only roti-kapda-makan which ruled the Indian conscious.Cinema for 5 cents, a book for a dozen. Most were illitrate.                                                                            Reading turned into a luxury. Scorned by contractors of religion, it was nowhere in the list of the common man struggling to make ends meet.Only erotica and Religion fared well.It took off peoples' mind from harsh realities.                                                                                                               One gave pleasure; The other, hope.

Then came the age when education read employment became essential.Gone was the Great Indian initial shock and scorn towards job in some company and the pride in 'khud ka kaam' i.e toiling on own land/business. Education converted into marks and degrees and reading got maddeningly synonyms with studies. Otherwise how come children of reading parents became non- readers? 
Its because the lohe-wale (Iron merchant) had just returned from Mauritius and his Bahu is updating snaps on FB !
The first generation readers experienced Life's Little Ironies and forced their children not to read but study only.Add Izzat (prestige)and the proverbial char log(society) to the  roti-kapda-makan (basic needs)and you have the Sabhya Middle class muddling reading and/with studies.
Today everybody who is anybody watches Star World. Or Ftv/AXN/MTV/...
Teens,youngsters ape celebrities AND not a single TV/celluloid Diva ever touched a book on-screen just for the joy of reading. though she reads Ram-Charit Manas resulting in a surge of Aastha, Sanskar viewerships and making Karva Chauth, Chath puja and Rakhi a Diwali for business.
TINA homely foreign, traditionally Modern
but Reading ? Naaa
Solitaire for Karva-chauth and nakshatra for Rakhi. Less then it is blasphemous. Bhaiyya or saiyyan as per occasion don't love me enf ! :(
Hence the Gucci-ed, Lancome-d and Dior-ed Alia Bhatt will fast on somvar and keep both, the Gods and Humpty happy 
Who needs reading?
 I vividly remember  Rajesh Khanna's character in 'Aap Ki Kasam' reading a Harold Robbins. It was no Shakespeare but still the character was reading for the sake of reading and not to top the IAS mains as the hero now does.

Gadgets and Social Media
The Angry Birds are in Temple RUN mode vying for likes.Its great to be on social media but worth while only if you actually read the substance and share thoughts rather then plain likes.Yikes!
 And Lastly -Money
 Good books are costly.Its a good time for writers but as their royalty and fee has increased the salary of an ordinary Indian has not!He reads from the available stock rather then from what he pines for.
A Real Example of Moving Backwards
The 1970s - Due to my family and their circle of educators, poets, laureates and writers I was surrounded by books.When I was born in the late 70's (exact year will give away my age dears!) a book was the first gift my father put in my crib.It was the first object I held as a toddler and put straight in my mouth.He told Mom," Don't bother.Let her chew this one.... I want her to be familiar with the sound and smell of paper"(Perhaps he meant taste too !)
Enters 2005
I did the same for my 2 day old son by putting a bright blue and golden prayer book near his pillow ... only to be snubbed .
Pulling the veil tightly !
Later when he was 5 months old I got the lightest cardboard book for him to hold, just feel and get habitual to it as a routine thing.I was instantly told in the coldest of tones "abhi se padhaegi! Dimaag chala degi iska.Dekh lena, bada hokar khak padhega" (Teaching from right now!You'll make him insane.You just wait n watch,how he'll trouble you in studies later.)
Ignorance Is Bliss? Naaa..
  Nevertheless I started ASAP and am glad that Anindy has found the joy of reading.

Though he yet don't believe in this-
"I find television to be very educating.Every time somebody turns on the set,  I go in the other room and read a book."
 - Groucho Marx
But he definitely thinks that -Books take you to places where Dad's credit card can not.
 A silver lining in grey clouds.. enough for me to be pleased. 
Reading has reduced but its an ebb before the swell .This is my belief. Amen.

ग़ुलाब- The Rose

                 ग़ुलाब एक...                                    डॉयरी के पन्नों में,                                     कोयल ने फिर कुह...