A Walk to Remember…

 

 

 

A captain abandons his sinking ship. He is court-martialed. Stripped of his badges and captaincy. His father disowns him, ashamed to have a coward for a son. The captain is mobbed; abuses hurled at him as he walks down the street. The captain is Amitabh Bachhan. The movie – Kala Patthar.

I saw this movie when I was little. But that walk of shame has haunted me ever since. And then, just last week, another actor walked into my drawing room in a similar fashion and reminded me of that scene…

 

Click here - The Walk


Here’s what Riit, a diehard fan has to say – “The walk in the rain – silent, yet saying so much… I almost thought; felt I was watching a Hollywood classic! The furious calm – only KKK can manage it.”

I ought to be grateful to Sunny Leone. I think it was December 2011. Everyone seemed to be talking about her, so I switched on my TV to watch Big Boss. During the break there was a promo. A carefree young lad, dressed casually, with a dhinchak ringtone on his mobile, talking to a widow, the mother of two giggly kids. Ah ha! So finally a daily that was different from all the Saas, Bahu aur Bakwaas. A soap that was reminiscent of shows like Malgudi Days – known for their simplicity and touch with reality.

 

 

I was definitely going to watch Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha, I decided. I loved the actress, Akanksha Singh – so simple and yet so elegant and beautiful and the two adorable munchkins. I wasn’t too sure about the actor though. Well, to be fair, he was playing the boy next door or rather – the boy across the street and he looked the part.

Ahh. Little did I know then, that the actor playing the ordinary-looking Mohan Bhatnagar was not so ordinary after all. In the months to come, he was not only going to play his role with aplomb, but go on to win the ITA award for the best actor.

KUNAL KARAN KAPOOR. So what is it about him that makes his fans so fond of him?

Is it his eyes that speak volumes? In their depths the viewers have seen the love and desires of a passionate young man in ssn1 and the anguish of a tortured soul in ssn2. In a show where the language of the eyes and nuances are more important than dialogues, Sudhir Sharma could not have made a better choice.

 


Is it because he emotes so well? Because he gives 100 – nay, 200% to his role? Because he has the vision, the focus – like Arjun, to nail every scene, every nuance, every single shot?

Or is it his humility? The fact that he’s so down-to-earth? So unassuming?

Is it because he’s a source of inspiration? The type of person a lot of us aspire to be?

The list is endless. Here’s what some of his fans have to say -

“What I like the most about him is that he is genuine and totally comfortable with himself…  his vulnerability coupled with his guarding his own space – a weird combination that somehow is very endearing…and most of all, his honesty, acting genius, and dedication to his profession ..How can you not love such a person?” – Asmi.

“I luv everything about him…everything…as a person i luv ppl who give their heart and soul to their work…he inspires me as a person…he has taught me to be patient…he’s been a part of this industry so long…and after so many years he got what he actually deserves the most…YES KKK…U R THE KING..NOT JUST AS AN ACTOR BUT AS A HUMAN BEING TOO…” – Sakshi.

 


“I love his honesty, modesty, simplicity, his worship towards work n giving cent percent in each n every scene and movement – that’s dedication; the way he thinks that he’s not perfect or best, even though he is.” – Sah.

“He has taught us to have patience & work hard. No short-cut & it will be recognized.” – Raji.

“I just love the fact that he erases from memory any shortcoming I have or any unpleasantness I am encountering  …by his mere presence on screen, his acting … the endearing manner he just enters rightfully into our hearts and warms it  …nothing compares to it…” – Jay.

“For me, KKK is a complete package – I find everything abt him fascinating & interesting – on screen as well as off-screen and that’s a killer combo.” - Ishani.

 

Pictures – Sabsfathima

 

But the one quality that endears him to all of us lies in his own answer, given in a recent radio interview. When asked about the dissimilarities between him and Mohan, the character he portrays in NBT, he replied – “Mohan never gives up hope. And me being human, I do at times.”

Yes, that’s what makes us so fond of him – that he’s human, he’s one of us. Not an unapproachable star, shining from afar. Rather, the boy next door, close to our hearts.

 

 

A few of my favourite…

 

 

 

I have to admit, I was blown away by most of the entries that were submitted for The World Beyond... through your lens competition.

I have already shared and blogged about the winning entry. Here are some of my other favourites:




Notice how beautifully the handmade rangolis have been placed – it seems as though the motif on the book is continuing onto the rangoli.

 


I bet you didn’t know that The World Beyond has its own personal little model, did ya? ;)

 


There is a scene in the book where Rachael is taking care of the sick and wounded at night. And for some reason, this beautiful picture conjures up that scene for me.

 


And this one here, has set my book ablaze. Love the play of sunlight and shadows.

 


Here’s an artist reaching out for my book.

 


The piano plays an important role in the book and has a special place in Rachael’s and Salim’s hearts. Hence this picture holds a special place in my heart :)

 

 

Now what is so special about this one, you ask. Take a look at what’s written above the book. That’s right – Western Railway. That’s the reason. There’s something deeply satisfying in the knowledge that someone somewhere was reading your book in the train :)


To see the rest of the pictures, click here –

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.379221048826023.93483.126663367415127&type=3

The World Beyond is available worldwide – in bookshops as well as online, in paperback format as well as an e-book. Click on Books to learn more.

 

 



And the Winner is…

 

 

Hello everyone. Before I announce the winner, let me give you a piece of good news. All those who have been asking me about Letters to my Baby – my book on pregnancy and baby care, will be pleased to know that it is now available online on Flipkart as well as Amazon.co.uk. To know more, click on the Books tab above.

A big thank you and a round of applause to each and everyone who participated in this competition. I am touched as well as amazed at the talent, creativity and originality we have here. Each and every picture that was sent, will always be very special for me.

Now to announce the winner of The World Beyond… Through your lens Competition….

Ladies and gentlemen…

Drum roll please… ;)

And the picture that won the competition hands down with the maximum number of votes is – Entry 17 – sent in by Vimla Khawani.


Winning Entry

 

Congratulations Vimla. You will soon be receiving a signed copy of After the Storm.

I have to admit, I was personally moved when I saw this picture. Notice how beautifully she has re-created a scene from the book. Yes, that is indeed Rachael and Salim and his horse. Anyone remember its name? ;)

I will be sharing some of the other pictures in my next post. Until then Khuda hafiz, adieu, Rab rakha :) And once again, a big thank you to all those who participated – either by sending in the pictures, or by voting. I hope all of you enjoyed the competition as much as I did :)


The World Beyond – through YOUR lens…

 

 

 

Hello friends. How are you today? In high spirits I hope, what with Diwali round the corner and Christmas less than two months away :) Come, let’s usher in the festive season with a competition, shall we?

Okay, so here’s what you do. To enter this competition, send me your picture of my book, The World Beyond. That’s all. As simple as that.

The Prize:

The picture that gets the maximum votes will win a signed hardback copy of After the Storm - UK edition (worth £ 20.00/ Rs. 1800.00).


 

Rules:

You can send me as many entries as you wish. Just make sure the picture is in jpg or a similar format, so that it can be uploaded on facebook.

You can use props, people, animals… whatever background you choose, but The World Beyond should be the lead heroine in the picture ;)

Where to send:

You can post your entries on Sangeeta Bhargava facebook page, The World Beyond page or even the wall on my personal profile page. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can email your entries to – sangeeta.bhargava@gmail.com

Last Date:

The competition will close at the end of November. But don’t wait until the last date and start clicking right away. If you haven’t yet got your copy of The World Beyond, order it now. It is not too late ;)

Who wins:

Voting will take place sometime in December. The picture that wins the maximum votes will win a signed hardback copy of After the Storm, as mentioned earlier.

The winning entry will also be used as the cover picture of The World Beyond facebook page and the runners up picture will be used as the cover picture for the Book Pulse page.

So be as creative and original as you can. Ready? … set… go… :)


 

Smiles are Forever…

 

 

 

In the last 2-3 years, I’ve put up many a status about my dental woes:


I thought I was saving for my old age, but my dentist had other plans.


Am going to say my final farewell to Chintu Molar. Please pray his soul rests in peace.


Want to lose weight without dieting or working out? Get a couple of teeth extracted. Weight loss within two weeks guaranteed. Else your money back.


But the fact is, I have much to thank my dentists and orthodontist for. As a kid, my front two teeth were humongous. And they used to jut out – worse than a squirrel’s. I used to look like the donkey in Shrek whenever I smiled. I stopped smiling. And I refused to let anyone take my pictures.


When I was in class eight, my parents took me to an orthodontist. Four teeth would have to be pulled out, he declared. “What? 4 teeth!” I squawked. That was going to hurt as hell. No way was I going to endure all that pain.  I left the clinic in a flood of tears.


The next morning I went to see the orthodontist for one last time. He smiled and pointed to a red plastic strip on the table in front of me. On it were the words – BRACES ARE NOT FOREVER BUT SMILES ARE…


So I ended up getting those grotesque braces after all. And a couple of years later, I was smiling again. So as we celebrate WORLD SMILES DAY on Friday, 5th October, here’s a big cheer for all the dentists and orthodontists out there, for giving a lot of us our smiles back.

KEEP SMILING PEOPLE… LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL :)

 

Upcoming Events:

 

 

 

 

9th October: Q&A Session with members of a Reading Group in Ruislip, London.


20th September: History in the Court – an informal gathering for history fans at 23-25 Cecil Court, London from 6.30 to 9.30 pm.


14th July: Launch Party for After the Storm at Waterstones, 60-62 St. Ann’s Road, Harrow, from 6:15 to 8:15 pm.


12th July: Reading and signing at Summer Literary Evening at St John Fisher Hall, North Harrow, London, at 7.30 pm.


2nd July: Q&A session at a Book Club in London.


23rd June: Book reading and signing along with Shahida and two other writers at Idea Store, Whitechapel, London, at 2:00 pm.

 

 


The Last Nawab

 

 

 

It was exactly on this day – 13th March 1856, that the last Nawab of Avadh, Wajid Ali Shah, left Lucknow, after the wrongful annexation of his kingdom by the East India Company.

The English were afraid that his deposition might spark a revolt and insisted he leave in the quiet of the night. They did the same later, with Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Moghul emperor of India.

A heart-broken Wajid Ali Shah, who was also a fine poet, wrote these lines as he left the city that he so loved, never to return:

Babul mora naihar chuto hi jaye

Char kahar mil mori doliya sajave

Mora apna begana chuto jaye

(O father, I’m leaving my home behind,

four men have gathered to lift my palanquin.

My near and dear ones will soon become strangers, my home unreachable…)

These lines were later immortalised by K.L. Saigal who sang them in the Bollywood movie, Street Singer – Babul mora… The song became so popular that it was sung at most Indian weddings.

(You can read more about the last nawab, his last days in Avadh and how his beloved Lucknow, which was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in India during his rule, was annihilated in the space of just 3 years, in my novel – The World Beyond.)


 

And then there was snow…

 

Preparations were on for the Valentine’s Day book signing. Posters had been designed and printed. All I needed to do now was to go to my website and get the ISBN number and other such details for the fliers. So I typed – www.sangeetabhargava.com and pressed enter. Then I stared at the screen. And stared, my mouth falling open.

Instead of the familiar homepage designed by Harmeet and his team, all I could see were some green flags and banners and some nonsense about Kashmir. And it even declared ever so proudly that my website had been hacked by so and so. I was outraged. I literally felt as though I had been robbed; my personal space defiled.

Anyway, the reason why I mention this is to apologise to all those who saw the link to my website on the leaflets and posters and tried to check it out but were unable to do so. I can assure you that the hackers have been vanquished and my website is now up and running.

Alas, the hacking was not the end of my woes. Just two nights before the signing, the snow came. Thick and fast. I looked out of the window, woebegone. Usually the sight of snow makes me shout yahoo like Shammi Kapoor or wax lyrical like Kajol in Gupt, sans the gyrations ;) (mere khwabon mein tu, meri sasoon mein tu…). But all I could manage this time was a whisper – “You too Mother Nature?” :(

But my husband, the eternal optimist, reassured me – “It’s just 2 days away from Valentine’s day. Blokes are sure to come.”

And they did… and the signing went off pretty well. They came in spite of the freezing weather. One came even though it was the death anniversary of her husband; a fellow writer skipped lunch and stood there in the cold for three hours, just to help me out. Then there were the online friends, whom I had never met before, but recognised the moment they stepped into the shop – such is the power of the internet. A school friend whom I had not met ever since I passed out of school – all smiles and encouragement. Even if I hadn’t sold a single copy that day – my day would still be memorable because of them and many more.

I was also touched by the help extended to me by the local community, whether it was in the form of distributing the fliers, putting up posters in their shop windows or spreading word about the book as well as the signing. I truly feel humbled by the response and help received.

Thank you – each and everyone of you for your love and support. I feel truly blessed :) Together we managed to conquer the hackers as well as Mother Nature! Yaayy!!! :)

 

 

 

Why this Inbox Dilemma di?

 

Made any new year resolutions? Still going strong or broken them already? Ah well…

I resolved, as on many other years previously, to follow the RDF principal with regard to my inbox. What’s RDF, you ask. It’s – Reply Delete File. So starting 1st January 2012, every single day I will reply to every message in my inbox, then either delete it or file it. Which basically means that each night before I hit the pillow, my inbox will be empty. Simple.

So I started. I replied to the first ten messages in no time. Voila. However, it was when I was about to reply to the 11th message that disaster struck. I got back the reply to the 1st message. Now remember, I need to RDF every single message that I receive that day, so I re-replied the first message and went back to the 11th one.

Ting ting ting – replies to the first, second and third messages have arrived. My, aren’t all my friends efficient! I re-re-reply to the first, re-reply the second and third and go back to the 11th message.

Ting ting ting ting. Okay, now I’m on a treadmill. My sweaty clammy fingers are jogging faster and faster on the keyboard. I no longer know whether I’m replying to the 7th, re-replying the 3rd or re-re-re-replying the 1st :O

I glance at the clock. It’s almost midnight. And I haven’t yet got past the 11th message. Oh what the heck! Tomorrow is another day… ;)

But as I hit the pillow, all I can think is – why this, why this, inbox dilemma di??

 

From a World Beyond to the Eye of a Storm

 

Hello friends. Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here’s hoping the new year will take us to a world beyond pain and suffering and one where only love and happiness dwell :)

Was it just me or didn’t the year 2011 just whoosh past? There I was, sweating it out over my second novel, with the deadline looming large. No sooner had I finished it, than I was whisked to the book launch of The World Beyond. Thanks to everyone who came along, it went on to become the #1 bestselling novel in some areas.

Some good reviews and features followed; I even got over my stage fright and gave a couple of radio interviews back to back. And I have just received the news that The World Beyond had been trending on Flipkart as well as Indiaplaza.

And it is thanks to you – my readers and my dear friends. We don’t have thanksgiving here, so I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you – for reading my book, for giving me your feedback, for sharing and recommending it, for writing reviews and above all – for giving me so much love and support. I feel truly blessed that so many of you – talented, wonderful people have touched my life. God bless you all. A special thanks to those who have never read a novel or a historical novel in their entire life, but have read The World Beyond and loved it.

As this year draws to a close, I can see my diary for 2012 already getting full – book signings, readings, festivals, judging competitions, book clubs, trip to India and the launch of my next novel – After the Storm.

What are your plans for 2012? The comment button on this blog is finally working (yaayy), so do share. Would love to know.

And once again, may God give each one of us the courage to follow our dreams in the year ahead :) My special prayers go out to all those who suffered some personal loss this year. May the new year be better for all of us in every way :)