A Tale Of Two Brothers – R.K.Narayan And R.K.Laxman

NOTE: I know you all must be confused as to why I am posting old posts now? Well, these are posts from my erstwhile blog (sounds so royal) and I have had people read them last year. But to my new readers, these are fresh posts and I don’t want them to miss out on any book related posts 🙂 So I will be re-posting random blogs, which some of you might have already read.


Today, 10th October happens to be the birthday of one of the most prominent literary figures in India – R.K.NarayanI am pretty sure that if you grew up studying in an English medium school, you couldn’t  possibly have escaped his stories in the curriculum. Or at the very least, you couldn’t have missed watching Malgudi days on TV and going through stories so wonderfully penned by him.

I can also proudly say that Indian literature in English would be incomplete without his contributions. From what I have read of his works and remember, his prose was simple. I think he was a keen observer and this very fact reflected in his characters. Even a small character in his stories or novel, left an impression on you. His books were my constant companions and I borrowed and re-borrowed them from my school library, hiding them in between my textbooks and reading them voraciously. It was compulsory to write book reviews of any book borrowed and I gleefully penned my thoughts in immature style, thinking of stepping into his shoes one fine day! 😉

If what I am writing doesn’t make any sense to you, read his Malgudi Days and Swami and Friends. Highly recommended. This will give you the hang of his writing style and you can then proceed to pick up his other works from the nearest bookstore. Here is a video of Malgudi Days, which was aired on TV. The music gives me goosebumps because of the high nostalgia content!!!

The house that R.K.Narayan was born in, also saw another genius (albeit of a different kind) in his younger brother – R.K.Laxman. He will be celebrating his 93rd birthday on 24th October. This powerhouse of talent is one of the most popular cartoonists in India. Long back, I read an interview about him. I remember that he likes the Ambassador car and the crow is his favourite bird. Many of his doodles have crows and brilliantly portrayed at that! Read more about his fascination with the bird here. He also doodled illustrations for his brother’s books. Talk about collaboration 😀

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

His creation of The Common Man gave a glimpse of political satire and political humor or simply humor in general. A common feature in the national daily, the creation was also a part of a current tele-series. Here is the YouTube video of the series based on his Common Man.

The day I began reading the newspaper, I started with the Common Man cartoon ‘You Said It’ printed on the very first page. Only then did I proceed to read the headlines and the inner pages. At first, I couldn’t make the heads and tails of what is this guy trying to convey! Gradually, the satires started making sense. In brief, I have grown up with his creation and got my lessons in politics from the same. Because the topics depicted in them were all based on the current issues, my G.K. was also quite up to date. Thankyou Mr. Laxman! 🙂

Wishing these two geniuses a very happy birthday 🙂

Coffee Love

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Coffee and I do not go a long way back.

I must have had my first cup of instant coffee at a friend’s home in 1999-2000, when I was erm…not even a teenager. To me, it tasted like a regular malt drink mix like Cadbury’s Bournvita or Boost only a little less on the sweet quotient. It was frothy, milky and back then, I did not share the imaginary lactose intolerance. That is how, I found coffee or rather coffee found me.

The second, third and consecutive cups I have no memories of. All that I know and remember is that when I was in grade 9, I had a lot of study pressure. To score the best marks, to be ahead of everyone in the class in every subject. That is when I took to coffee seriously.

We have instant coffee variants here in India, which are easy to get from local shops and easier to make. So, we would get packets of Sunrise, Nescafe and later on, Bru. I would sit and do my homework or study for the toughest tests sipping my way to the bottom of the cup. To be honest, it was mom who made the coffee for me. I couldn’t even boil water to save my life back then.


Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Grade 10-12, I was a certified coffee drinker. When asked for my choice of beverage at people’s homes, I would always raise my hands for a cup of coffee. It was coffee or nothing. I also developed a liking for a particular brand of coffee – Bru. It was milder, yummier and nothing tasted better than a hot steaming cup of Bru coffee right on my study table. I would often drink coffee with my favourite Tomato grilled sandwich.

However, I was not addicted to the drink. It just refreshed me, gave me energy to sustain the tough level of studies. Since I had a full on acrimonious relationship with milk, my coffee would be less milk and more water. I also had this method of preparing instant coffee – beat the sugar, coffee and little milk to a creamy paste and then pouring the piping hot mix of milk and water right into it. It formed a beautiful color and froth at the surface of the cup, which I looked at in awe every single time.

My tryst with coffee continued for a better part of my college life as well. I would drink it to stay awake for my project work and for my exams. I didn’t drink it in the mornings though, being a Breakfast Skipper. I needed my cuppa at night. Coffee also kept me company when I went through pages of my books.

It was college, time on hand and friends, which led me to Cafe culture, which was blooming in India and in my town. I was introduced to Capuccino, Mocha, Late, Frappe and the likes. But what really did impact me was cold coffee. I would love to have it day in and night out. I learnt how to make it at home and the hot coffee cup was now, only for winters or rainy days. I had met my soulmate in the cold version of coffee.

Quick fact: I also love every possible coffee flavored ice cream. Om nom nom.


Today, there are a lot of cafes that serve lovely coffee of my choice. These are the places where I have held many a meeting for work and hanged out with friends. Yes, they are bit overpriced. But then, you get to loiter around in the cafes for as many hours as you want, with the price of one cup or maybe two.

Also, I went to Chennai last year and for the first time in life, I was in a place that had more coffee drinkers than tea. I happily had their very famous Filter Kaapi served piping hot in stainless steel tumblers. I wish the culture finds its way to Western part of India too, where I reside.

Recently, I have taken a liking to iced tea. Still, it is coffee that creates magic in my life. ❤

How I Evaded my Homework!!

I have a confession to make. On a public platform, yes.

You might have already guessed it by the spoilery headline and here I go.

I was always a good student. The one who got the great grades, tried to obey teachers and toe the line. Tried to stay away from mischief (but mischief would always come running towards me with open arms). Gave all the answers in class like Hermione. Apart from getting chided from the teachers, my only unforgivable sin was – Not completing my homework.

Having been a teacher in the early part of my career, I know and I understand the importance of revising lessons at home. But try telling that to a student and he/she will look like you are taking away their basic rights!

Me for instance, hated opening my books as soon as I reached home. My mother used to help me study till I was in grade 1. Grade 2 onwards, I was completely independent and that is when I started taking liberties with my homework.


Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Well, it is not like I had no inclination towards studies. I loved school. I wanted to go to a school as soon as I started speaking. Other children packed in school vans and buses in neat uniforms and bags made me green with envy. The day I joined school was the best day of my life. But then, the monster called Homework ruined it for me.

While I loved doing my English homework and to an extent my Science homework, I loathed other subjects especially Maths. I somehow managed to wrap it all up before going to play with my buddies. But then, not everyone had the same schedule. They all were more lazy bums and took longer time to complete theirs. As such, I got very less time to spend playing outdoors with them.

I also hated the fact that every year, with a new academic session, the pile of homework seemed to increase steeply. I could literally feel myself sweating with all the pressure. Homework did not allow me to enjoy my summer, autumn and winter holidays, which I would usually spend at my relatives’. Homework kept me exercising my grey matter when all I wanted was to play and read my story books and novels. Homework made me cut down my TV timings and it cut down the time I could spend in the company of guests, who frequented my home.

Homework was Voldemort to me. Homework was The White Walkers. Homework was the Disease. I hated it with all my might.


Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

I had a nice study table. With drawers of course. The drawers had comics, children’s magazines and my beloved novels and drawing supplies. So all the while I was supposed to be sitting and completing my homework, I was having a whale of time procrastinating with reading. Cheating on my textbooks with fictional tales of weird looking comic characters or learning who was Elizabeth Bennett interested in.

By grade 7th, I was a pro in procrastinating. I was a pro in not doing my homework. Or doing maybe the half of it and completing the other half in between all the lectures I had the next day at school. I would do my Maths homework in English class, Social Science in Hindi and Sanskrit in Social Science. Wasn’t I a great multitasker? I was indeed. And an ace actress!!  And Friday was my favorite day of the week. Because – NO HOMEWORK for two days at a stretch.

By 9th grade, I had a whale of time evading all the homework. I had a best friend who would be my partner in crime. We hated the same subjects and loved the same ones. So we would roll up our sleeves and utilize the time before morning assembly to rapidly finish the homework. It was the last moment thing and completing it in time gave us an adrenaline rush.

Many a times, we were bold and did not complete the homework. But because we were the class toppers, teachers were very lenient with us. Also, because our names started with an alphabet that falls way behind other names, we escaped the first batch of ‘notebook corrections’ and that bought us more time and more relief. Also, we were pro in English and good with words. That made us experts in elaborating what could have been written in 3 lines to 7 lines and shortening 7 lines to 3 lines. Such bliss.

We did get punished sometimes- when the teachers were atrocious and vile and just couldn’t understand why we didn’t submit our work dot on time, even though our classwork was the best in the history of the entire school.

A very funny incident that I ought to share here is that we were always ahead of the class in English. Our English work shone and sparkled bright. Neat handwriting and all that. The teacher knew us well and was very fond of us both. He was strict with homework, but we didn’t have to worry. We were super duper efficient. Always completed the homework before the bell rang for the school to get over. He used to smack others on hand with wooden ruler (not very hard, just as a punishment). Once the entire class got the punishment except us two. The very next week, we both genuinely forgot our English homework for some valid reason. The whole class was shocked! The teacher was shocked too.

He knew ours was a genuine reason and asked the whole class, should he forgo our mistake for once? The classmates knew us and we were popular, so they said No in unison. There was giggles…and we couldn’t stop giggling ourselves. The teacher said, rules are rules and punishment is the same for one and for all. We accepted it as well. But what was more hilarious is that he was shaking with laughter as the ruler came down on my palm and my friend’s the next. It was as if we had won a prize or something. We had smiles on our face 😛


This was the core of my homework story. Have a similar experience to share? I would love to listen 🙂