Book Review: Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto


It’s a book dealing with a scary subject, mental illness. The narrator of the book lives in a one bedroom house with his depressed, beedhi smoking mother, Em, who is frequently rushed to the hospital because of her repeated suicide attempts, dependable father, the Big Hoom, who tries to hold the family together as best as he can, and quite elder sister, Susan. This books paints a painful picture of the lives of a depressed person and her dysfunctional family. 

This is one of those books that touch you so profoundly that you just sit there, staring at the last words and gently caressing the page, everything else forgotten. 

At times it was so difficult to believe that this is fiction, not a memoir, for the emotions were so deep and so real. This books twists your insides and forms lumps in your throat, but leaves a warm glow in your heart when you finally finish it. 

It is going to take some time to recover from the hangover this book has given me.

Everyone should read this!

Monsters

Don’t be afraid of the dark, child
It does not harbour monsters.
There are no spirits lurking in the shadows,
No ghosts beneath your bed.
You will find no monsters there;
The monsters roam in the daylight.
They laugh with you, they sing with you,
They even say they love you.
They look nothing like the monsters you heard about,
They are so gentle and sweet.
You believe their sincere smiles
You befriend those monsters, child.
But you don’t see it coming,
You are taken by surprise
The knife comes leisurely out and finds your heart.
Darling, sleep well for your bed is safe,
No demon will grab your foot from below.
Oh, but beware the people you meet,
They’ll tell you they wish well
And smilingly push you down the cliff.
Beware them, O child,
Beware the monsters who walk beside you.

Believe

Fight, my dear;
For you have fire inside you,
The fire that once burned in a star.

Heads up, my dear;
For you have strenght inside you,
The strength of the mountain standing tall.

Fly, my dear;
For you have dreams inside you
Your dreams – the wind beneath your wings.

Laugh, my dear;
For you have mirth inside you,
The mirth of a river skipping towards the sea.

Dance, my dear;
For you have rhythm inside you
The rhythm of the rain falling on the ground.

Believe, my dear;
For you have light inside you
The light of the stars that burned up to become you.

Ocean

It’s hilarious, I think

The way you claim to know me

I am an ocean fathoms deep,

You only dipped your toes in my water.

You have watched my surfacefrom the shore,

And once in a while, a gust of wind,

Might have brought my droplets to you.

You know me from my surfaces,

You know not the roaring depths.

In the deep waters of my soul will you find me,

You’ll discover me then, my dear

Drop by drop, as you plunge deeper

But would you have the strength?

The strength to hold your breath that long?

My waters are not hostile,

You’re welcome to witness the calm and the storm.

But do you dare, dear?

Do you dare to dive?

Library

My soul is a library that screams out me.
Within its caring, loving shelves,
It holds the story that is me.
There are books old and yellowing;
There are books unwritten, waiting to be opened;
There are books I read over for old time’s sake.
These hold stories unspoken,
The things they make me.
Would you read through me
Or would you leave the pages half read?
Oh, but hold these books with tender hands,
For they hold treasures within;
These books hold memories,
They hold people in them.
Some people are simply sentences,
Others own complete books.
They all make me, shape me;
Their inky marks adore my soul.
Would you roam into the darkest corners of my library?
Would you blow the dust off and read?
I sure am writing you down, my friend,
But my dear, would you write down me?

My India, My Dream

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; 

Where knowledge is free […]

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake 

 

There is so much to dream about India; so much to love; so much to despair; so much to cheer about and so much to work for.

India is almost a five thousand years old civilization. And ever since its inception, various streams of immigrants, from different ethnic strains and linguistic families, have merged into India to contribute to its diversity, richness and vitality. Several levels of social evolution coexist in India and its composite identity has won her the often quoted cliche, ‘Unity in Diversity’.

Even as we should be proud of our roots, we need to be worried about the future of our country. Still plagued by numerous problems, India has failed to find the stature that it deserves in this world. Instead of treating the problems like an ostrich and ignoring them, it’s time we took the bull by its horn and tackled each and every malady analytically and thoroughly.  

Step out onto the roads of India, and you will undoubtedly see countless pairs of sweat-drenched hands begging for food. Uncombed hair, tattered clothes, unwashed and malnourished bodies are sure to greet your eyes at every traffic signal. The first thing that I wish for India of the future, is that these people are economically protected and they have a home, a job to go to, a happy life and no longer depend on the mercy of those driving shiny big black cars. Economic disparities prevalent in India should be bridged. India of my dreams is a nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, peaceful and happy, and continues on a sustainable growth path.

Corruption has become a blood-sucking vampire and is draining out the life force of India. People openly blackmail us, burn holes into our pockets and we oblige. Honest and visionary politicians, supported by a dedicated bureaucracy, in the India of my dreams will have stronger anti-corruption laws and even tougher implementation to root out this parasite. It will be a nation where governance is responsive, transparent and corruption-free.

India, as of today, is, sadly, a society of hypocrites, sexists, and racists. Casteism is still prevalent. Women and elders are still discriminated against. Lawlessness is still rampant and we are still haunted by local goons and mafias. The common man is afraid to step out of his home for fear of his life and security. No more discrimination and insecurities in the India of my dreams! A nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed, crime against women and children is absent, and no one in the society feels alienated.

India is home to a rich diversity of religions and religious beliefs, and yet, they live in disharmony and treat each other with distaste and suspicion. The Hindu-Muslim riots are still prevalent in almost every part of the country.  I dream of an India where Shabad Kirtan from Gurudwaras, Azan from Mosques, Bhajans from Temples and chiming of the bells from churches blend together into a harmonious medley of beautiful music. Imagine waking up in a future India and listening to all these different spiritual strains merge and mingle and produce a melodious tune of brotherhood and love. Imagine all the people living life in peace.    

India has become a soft target for terrorism, even though it is a worldwide phenomenon. The humane and pacific image of India in international relations is often taken for sheepishness. This is because we only react to threats and lack strategic planning. India needs to be tougher and more aggressive in its own defense.

We need to skill-enable and knowledge-enable our youth by fostering private sector initiatives. It is essential to develop sustainable systems in every domain, so that fluctuations in the world economy do not have a direct impact on the Indian economy.

With its run of recent accomplishments, India has earned international acclaim for its ambitious space programmes and science missions, which will fill any Indian’s heart with pride. I dream for India to become a world leader in science and technology.

 

“Dream; Dream; Dream. Dreams transform into thoughts. And thoughts result in action.”

I dream of a shining India, a vibrant democracy and a secular nation taking center-stage in the comity of nations. To say the least, we will have a new heaven on earth. People will be mentally, morally, spiritually and physically better. The common man in India will feel the glow of freedom.

 

WORLD –A GLOBAL VILLAGE  

 

The internet has brought us close,

It’s just a click away; the entire world’s grandiose.

The world is now a global village,

We’re ready to provide each other with anchorage.

It’s no longer us and them,

We are one; we are the same.

On this tiny speck of dust suspended in sunlight,

No help will ever come from outside,

To save us from ourselves.

This is our own battle; so arm yourselves,

With love, empathy and kindness

Come, let’s fill our lives with warmth and tenderness.

This world is your family,

So be as affectionate as you could be,

We’re all here together, can’t you see?

The one thing that I wish to invent…

tardis_leaving_by_guile93-d5rb6wxThe one thing that I wish to invent is a machine like the T.A.R.D.I.S. which can instantly teleport us to all of time and space, anywhere and everywhere we might want to go.

The universe is big.  It’s vast and complicated, and ridiculous.

And believe me, somewhere, something INCREDIBLE is waiting to be known.

We spend all our lives living in one corner in one country, in one continent in one planet that is a corner of a galaxy that is a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying and never remaining the same for a single millisecond. And this is so much, SO MUCH to see.

And I truly believe that we’d be collectively less stupid as a species if we all travelled more.

And just imagine if we could also travel through time as well? We could witness all the great events that ever occurred in the history of the Earth! We could even go and witness the Big Bang itself; see how it all began; how we came into existence and solve the mysteries regarding the birth of our Universe. Oh, wouldn’t it be great!

So I wish to invent something like the TARDIS and travel away to my heart’s content! ❤ ❤

THE JOYS AND SORROWS OF CHILDHOOD

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It is well said that childhood is the golden period of a person’s life. It is the most beautiful of all life seasons. It is a time that once gone never comes back. Thus we should live this time of fun and laughter to the full extent.

I feel that we children have more of joys than sorrows. Childhood is, after all, about finding joy in every little moment. And this is, in my opinion, the greatest opinion of childhood : Finding a smile in every tear. Another joy of childhood is that we are carefree and don’t have any responsibility of earning money and running the household. Children are also honest and innocent. Once they become adults, they turn into strange creatures. Grown-ups are quirky and have secrets. Childhood is about living every moment to the fullest extent and laughing off the problems of life.

Children are open-minded and are able to make friends with everyone easily. adults grow to become more conserved and less social. Childhood is surrounded with love and protection. This is a joy but can converted into sorrow for some. Some children feel that they have been locked up in some sort of a cage and that their uniqueness and personality has been taken away. This happens when the parents and guardians become over-protective. Children are free birds but when they are forced to follow strict rules they feel their childhood to be full of sorrows. They look up to the independent life of adults and become eager to grow up and lead an independent life. In this, they completely ignore their childhood… and when they realize this it is already too late.

I don’t find any great sorrow in childhood. Dependence is probably the only sorrow. But what I dislike is that children, in their eagerness to grow up, forget to enjoy childhood. Their eagerness  will not make them grow up faster but only make them miss the most treasured of life’s times. I would like to tell them that ‘Childhood is a journey not a race.

Because Pablo Neruda said, “Everything is ceremony in the wild garden of childhood” , so let’s celebrate chilhood!!!

LOVE. LIVE. LAUGH.

THE DAIRY OF A YOUNG GIRL

I spoke about this book for  our English Activity for FA 2. The topic was A PERSON/INCIDENT/BOOK THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE

When I first picked up this book, about a year ago, I really had no idea of the horror and despair it contained within.

Anne Frank was a thirteen year old German Jew. She was just about my age when she went into hiding from the Nazis and started writing this diary and penning down her dreadful experiences. She wrote about all the sufferings and how her family were all isolated in their “Secret Annexe” for 2-3 years.

The diary was full of dreadful facts but the most shocking thing I found was the amount of support that Hitler had managed to gather. I was astonished at the fact that so many people believed that Hitler would restore Germany’s lost glory and bring prosperity by eliminating the Jews and other “undesirables”.

Anne’s Secret Annexe was finally found out and they were deported off to concentration camp where Anne, her mother and her sister Margot died. However her father Otto Frank survived and he published his daughter’s secret diary.

This book affected my thinking so much that I was unable to get it out of mind after days.

Nowadays we enjoy so many rights whereas there where this communities who were denied even the right to life. I felt grateful and blessed to have such a life. This book shows the importance of a democratic society and a society free of discrimination.

🙂 🙂 🙂