Tag Archives: love

Nurjahan’s Daughter: Tanushree Podder

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If my history textbooks were anywhere as interesting as the historical fiction written nowadays, I would have done fairly well in my exams. History which already has a ‘story’ in it never held my interest due to the way its presented. The pile of facts and dates, rather than a narration of the events in story style. Many would agree with me that our history books do not make us delve deeper, rather we sink deep into slumber. The intrigues and betrayals are reported in dull and monotonous reporting style which adds no glamour to the otherwise colorful history of India. So when I picked this book for reading it was after I did some background reading.  And surprisingly, I found that not much is mentioned about the daughter of one of the most powerful and illustrious queens in Mughal history. Needless to say, this is owing to the fact that the daughter basically lived in the shadows of her mother. Thus, when I held the book in my hands I was more than excited to discover the girl for myself. The book left me with mixed reactions, disappointed, intrigued and least to say enthusiastic about unraveling more of the Mughal empire and the harem.

The title though is misgiving. The book revolves more around Nur Jahan than her daughter, who comes into scene briefly as a flying mention. The girl still remains to be as elusive as she is in history.

Plot: Podder has woven a  fascinating tapestry of a young, sensitive girl caught amidst the coils of her ambitious and ruthless mother’s schemes.

Mughal India was a man’s world and few women left a lasting impression. There aren’t many who are given any mention. Mumtaz Mahal is remembered because of the monument built in her memory , that too courtesy of  Shah Jahan and his love for her. But Nur Jahan’s left her imprints or rather seal on history by her deeds as well as her personality. Nur Jahan’s Daughter is a story that shows how Mughal women played an important role in governance. They were experts at intrigues and political maneuvering. Battles raged all the time as the women took one side or the other in their male relatives’ battles for the throne. Marriages were mostly political in nature, with the aim to strengthen the rule and build up allies, thereby squashing any attempt at overthrowing the throne.

The whole book really revolves around Nur Jahan, who uses her power over the love-smitten emperor in her court strategem and then ruthlessly manouveres her daughter’s life as well. She is portrayed as an ambitious, scheming woman, who maliciously forces her own daughter to get married to good -or-nothing prince Shahriyar . She is a woman who sacrificed much for her love, one who set her sights on being the empress of India and worked towards it with single-minded focus.  Yet there are times when your heart reaches out to her since beneath the facade one have a sneak peek at the girl who fell in love with prince Salim, but was married off against will. And in the race to the throne feels left out because she has no male heir to lead.

The tale supposedly narrates the graph of Laadli’s life. But it is not through Laadli, as led by the title, rather through Meherunnisa’s (Nur Jahan) rise to the throne. Laadli is a mere pawn, embroiled in the machinations of an ambitious mother. For Laadli, the crown or the empire held no charm or lure. She was a rather simple girl who was content living in the shadows, unnoticed and anonymous. Her mother had other plans, with no male heir, she saw her daughter as means of getting to the throne. So Nur Jahan forces Laadli to woo either of the princes, Khusrau and Khurram. The only time she happens to stand against her mother’s wishes is in her love affair with her music teacher Imraan, who suffers the impudence of loving an empress’ daughter and pays for this ‘sin’ with his life. Nurjahan marries her off under the influence of opium-laced drink, to Shahriyar, a drug-addict, drunkard and a gay, whom the empress intended saw as means of reaching the throne. But he is murdered in cold blood brother Shah Jahan’s bidding. Laadli then slips into a life in oblivion. With unflinching devotion to her mother, she acted as a crutch that provided the empress the security to plod through the rough patches during the last years of her life. The mother and daughter never see eye-to-eye on matters, but finally the meek and self-deprecating daughter becomes her trusted advisor.

It is only after NurJahan’s death that Laadli finds some peace and can live life on her own terms. A emeorable mother-daughter scnene is when on her death bed Nur Jahan piteously asks her daughter if she hates her and Laadli replies, “Is it possible for anyone to hate her mother? How can I hate someone who carried me in her womb for nine months? Nothing you did can alter the fact that you are my mother.” After which tears of remorse roll down Nur Jahan’s cheeks.

I had slight problems with the writing as at times, since many pages were wasted in describing the architecture and the elaborate ritual of harem ladies. Equally irritating was the detailed description of the jewelry and dressing of Nur Jahan and Laadli, as also the desgns Nur Jahan later designs. Instead of marveling at these details, more time should have been spent on Laadli, as a person rather than an offshoot of Nur Jahan. The eloquently written passages on Mughal architecture, dressing, jewelry could have been better handled had they been sparsely mentioned, with more effect to the girl about who the book is intended to be.

All in all, a fascinating read for history buffs, and those interested in reading about court intrigues, battles, betrayal and amidst this background a simple tale of a rather ordinary girl with an extraordinary mother.

 

 

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All that could have been: Mahesh Bhatt, Suhrita Sengupta

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“All that could have Been” is a 142 page turner that leaves you asking for more.It does not beat round the bush and the tight plot makes it a delightful read. The book is about unrequited love. Yet at the same time it is about love that surpasses all odds and does not follow the injunctions of the world.

The book raises many questions for the discerning reader and forces you to question the norms and dictates that govern our society. He questions through the story that why women alone are tied down by traditions and customs. And the men are free from the shackles that otherwise suffocate the lives of women. It is in this very strain that the story unfolds. The novel questions the restrain society places on emotions and passions. And why passion is a taboo, a word which only creates dirty images and is treated only with sexual connotations. But for a mature person passion withholds in itself several layers of meaning and depends on the people.

Vasudha Prasad is a single mother though married she raises her son single handedly. . She keeps the memory of his father alive for him by writing notes to him and giving gifts in his name. The father in question, Hari Prasad is missing all this while. In the midst of her sheltered life enters Aarav Ruparel, a rich hotelier who has no fixed address. He has lived out of a suitcase and is amongst one of the richest men alive. Fate plays its cards, Vasudha and Aarav’s path cross and the rest that follows is not something they could predict or control.

This is a story of love and sacrifice. Its about all encompassing love that makes existence worthwhile even if lived short. Vasudha’s story tugs strongly at your heart, making you cry between your tears. The connection between Vasudha and Aarav will make you hold your breath and their love will make you feel light. A book that takes you on a ride of emotions, took a piece of me when I finished it. Left me asking for more.

Mahesh Bhatt is truly skilled in narration with never a dull moment. The story grips you from the start since you cannot predict the turn of events. Just when you think you know what will happen in the next page, your thoughts are overthrown by the author in his signature style.

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Peace Day Celebrations: 21st September

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I know its been a while that I posted something. But the past one month has been hectic leaving me in a frenzy. But nevertheless here I am posting about all the latest happenings from the library.

The school celebrated Peace Day on 21st September, and we too celebrated the or rather observed the day in our own special way. The display board was done and we prepared some activity sheets for students to express their opinion about Peace. And the response was very deep felt and mature. They expressed themselves through drawings and writings. We also had a discussion as to why peace is so importance in our troubled times. Their opinion clearly echoed how the young minds are disturbed by all the violence and hatred. It was heartening to see that they understand the impact of violence and why peace and tolerance is the need of the hour.

To know more about Peace Day please visit :http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

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The Notebook:Nicholas Sparks

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SUMMARY

A man with a faded, well-worn notebook open in his lap. A woman experiencing a morning ritual she doesn’t understand. Until he begins to read to her.  The Notebook is an achingly tender story about the enduring power of love, a story of miracles that will stay with you forever. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina in 1946, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner returned home from World War II. Noah, thirty-one, is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other.

 

 

I am left speechless. I finished re reading this book, and what do I say I am lost for words to describe the emotions each sentence evoked in me. Each and every line resonates with life, love and passion .  We all dream of soulmates, of finding that perfect partner who would give you wings to fly. But how many of us succeed in doing so? Well, this book is just the perfect story of two completely different people, poles apart from each other, who come together and fall in love despite their differences. It reiterates the fact that true love overcomes differences. Love isn’t about finding someone who is like you, rather accepting differences and making that difference work as magic. Differences should make us like the perfect halves of an orange.

 

Even after years of no communication between and Noah and Allie, their love survives. Its victory of love. Love does not need words to describe, like its said in the book: “…The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.”

 

Love does not need words. I have grown seeing my parents completing each other’s sentences, of understanding each other through just looks. That is love where the hearts are thus combined that they speak one language. Love transcends all human barriers. Another such example is the movie “BARFI” where a deaf and mute boy and an autistic girl fall in love. Their love is pure and based on acceptance for each other. They complete each other. Love is a strong feeling which differs from person to person. Each experiences it in a way quite unlike another, and that is what makes love so special.

 

Go read this notebook if you believe in soulmates and the power of love to perform miracles. A must read for all who have seen love perform miracles.