Remembering Stephen Hawking (8th Jan 1942 – 14th March 2018)

‘If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” – Stephen Hawking

World has lost a great genius in Stephen Hawking. His theories in field of cosmology are way ahead of times. Despite physically disabled, Stephen Hawking has proved that it takes a strong will to succeed regardless of the adversities and odds that paralyze our life. To the world, Stephen Hawking is a superhero, a role-model who created wonders in world of physics only on the strength of hope. With just a speech generating machine and a hand held switch, he gave the world his futuristic ideas on cosmology, global warming and artificial intelligence. Had it been any other person in his place, he would have crumbled down with dejection. It was Stephen Hawking who emerged unscratched despite undergoing the heartbreaking phases in his life. This article is homage to the undying spirit of hope that Stephen Hawking imbibed in every person including me.

There is not a single reader who hasn’t read ‘A brief history of time’ which was based on his lectures and notes. Recently a Hollywood movie – The Theory of everything captured the life of Stephen Hawking with his wife Jane. I was stunned with the performance of actor Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in the movie. It was not just the physical similarity to Stephen Hawking, but the sincerity, conviction and trauma that the genius underwent while suffering from motor neuron disease was portrayed realistically by actor Eddie Redmayne. Felicity Jones’ heart-touching portrayal of Jane Hawking is one more selling point which makes the movie a compelling watch.

traveling to infinity is based on Stephen hawking’s relationship with his wife Jane

The movie – The theory of everything was based on Jane Hawking’s book – Traveling to Infinity: My life with Stephen. In this book, Jane Hawking wrote about her relationship with Stephen Hawking and the tough times she faced after Stephen was paralyzed. Despite taking care of Stephen Hawking for over a decade during his times of disability, Stephen divorced Jane to start a new life with his nurse Elaine Mason. It just remains a question that why Stephen Hawking left his wife who had stood like a pillar of strength with him in his difficult times. Though Stephen Hawking and Jane reconciled later as good friends, the growing popularity of Hawking and the constant interference of people took a toll on their relationship.

The movie – theory of everything is based on Stephen hawking

Despite facing so many heartbreaking trials in life, Stephen Hawking continued his contribution towards cosmology. He had even predicted that artificial intelligence could be a threat to human race. This blog post is a just a small piece of write up, reminiscing the great genius through books, news articles, movies that were based on him. I am definitely keen to read ‘A brief history of time’ and ‘Traveling to infinity: My life with Stephen’ which will help me to get familiar with the man behind the genius.

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Remembering Chandni – A tribute to the eternal Diva

Some actresses create a generation, style, trend in their era that the world is swept in their charisma. Very few manage to achieve that cult status of ‘Diva’. One such actress was the legendary Sri Devi. Her unexpected demise sent waves of shock to Indian cinema and her fans worldwide on 25th Feb 2018. Her daughter Jhanvi Kapoor will be making her debut in Karan Johar’s upcoming movie – Dhadak which is a remake of Marathi blockbuster movie – Sairat. Sadly her mother’s dream to see her debut movie will remain a dream. I remember same situation happened with Sanjay Dutt during his first movie – Rocky. His mother, the popular actress Nargis had aspirations to see Sanjay Dutt on silver screen. Sadly, she died due to cancer before the release of Rocky. A seat was left vacant at premiere of Rocky in memory of late Nargis Dutt. I hope there will be seat left vacant in memory of Sri Devi in cinema hall at the screening of her daughter’s debut movie.

I recollect the memories of watching Yashraj Films – 1989 movie ‘Chandni’ a romantic yet woman-centric movie. I was too kiddie to watch that heart-warming romantic movie about a woman torn between two men. It was an author-backed, matured performance that won her lot of accolades and appreciation for role of Chandni. From that time, Chandni became synonymous of Sridevi. People began identifying her as Chandni. As Amitabh became popular for his onscreen name ‘Vijay’, Chandni stuck to her persona for a lifetime. Chandni means a cool moonlight in Hindi. Chandni was memorable for one more actor – The legendary star Vinod Khanna. He played the role of a charming businessman who loses his heart to Chandni. Though his role comes post-interval, he made a memorable presence in his limited screen time. Chandni was released in 1989, a year when action movies were in demand. It was a break-through movie that rekindled the romance genre again.

Sridevi made her comeback in 2012 movie – English Vinglish, a refreshing movie on a housewife’s goal to learn English in the corporate world. Even her last movie ‘Mom’ was a vengeance story of a mother. From ‘Solava Saawan’, Sadma to Himmatwala, Chaalbaaz and countless movies, her role was an inspiration for aspiring actresses in Bollywood as well as South Indian cinema. From Karishma Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Kajal Aggarwal to Alia Bhatt, every actress looks towards her as their inspiration. A legacy has ended. As far as Indian cinema is alive, Sridevi will never be forgotten.

why writing is similar to cooking? – A recipe on writing a delectable story

Writing and cooking are two different chores. While writing, all you need is pen, paper or laptop and an imaginative mind, cooking is more detailed work that requires a fine study of taste and aroma to make a delicious dish. Writing just need a little space – a writing desk and a lamp while cooking needs an enormous space – the whole kitchen that is scattered with onions, spices, flour, salt, black pepper, cooking essentials – chopping board, chopper, knives, mixer etc. To cook an interesting story, you need to be a creative foodie. A writer can’t bring flavor to a story if he hasn’t explored the outside world. More a writer travels more delicacy he can bring to a story. Imagine smelling the hot, spicy smoke emerging from a road-side Pav-Bhaji stall. It not only visually enticing, but the aroma too tantalizes the stomach.

From Dhoklas, Dosas, Tandoori Chicken to Hyderabadi Biryani, each food has its own flavor and bonds people over it. Love blossoms over a cup of coffee to progress over a candle light dinner and finally ties up in a relationship on a marriage reception. Even the writing process begins over a cup of coffee 🙂

A creative foodie is the one who not only has a taste for aromatic delicacies, but also a sense for refreshing ideas. What happens when a creative person gulps down a cup of coffee? Ideas start brewing in his mind. A writer needs to organize his thoughts like a homemaker. A homemaker gathers all the ingredients that are needed before cooking. She peels down the onion layers, chops the tomatoes, crushes the spices, adds salt and the essential elements needed to cook the food.

Right from thinking about the theme of the plot to creating characters, backdrops, situations, turning points to the grand climax, a writer has to make sure that his cooked up story is delicious enough to serve his reader. It is not necessary that a writer’s story become a best-seller. Sometimes it may turn tasteless. In case of homemaker, her food is appreciated by her family members even if there is less salt.

Additional salt can be placed in the food to balance the taste. Too much salt can ruin the taste. If you have added too many irrelevant sub-plots in your story, your reader may find the story boring. Writing and cooking both require patience. As a writer, if you have the right ingredients of ideas, you can serve a good, delectable story to your readers. What entices a reader is a good story with sensible sub-plots, memorable characters, engaging situations and a happy climax.

A story is like a dish – sweet like a dessert (ice-cream, gulab-jamun) lip-smacking like……It is up to the writer to prepare his story by keeping his favorite dish in his mind. Are you a creative foodie? What tantalizes your creative senses? Please share your ideas and tips on writing a perfect best-selling story.

(Disclaimer – The author of this article is not a celebrated Chef or possesses any skills in cooking. All the thoughts written in this article are product of author’s creative imagination. The cups of tea gulped during the pre-writing process helped him write this article. The visual imagination of the delicious ‘Pav-Bhaji’ helped him complete this article on Cooking and writing)

The unsung story of Batman’s real creator

Do you know who gave the title ‘The dark knight’ to Batman? It was Bill Finger the un-credited co-creator who breathed life into Batman comics through his engaging storylines and engrossing artwork. Majority of DC comics readers know that it was Bob Kane who is credited for creating Batman. Even in the Batman movies, Bob Kane is acknowledged. The fact is that Bob Kane never gave credit to Bill Finger for the creation and massive success of Batman comics. He stole the limelight and recognition that Bill really deserved for. Sadly Bill Finger died anonymous and penniless in 1974.

It was Bill who wrote the first Batman story and the next Batman adventures for 25 years. Right from designing the Bat costume to creating Gotham city, bat vehicle & other characters like Robin and the iconic villain – Joker, Bill was the sole creator of Batman series. Despite putting so much effort, Bill Finger was just reduced to remain a ghost-writer of Batman comics. Bob Kane cunningly sidelined Bill Finger and labeled himself as the sole creator of Batman comics. After the death of Bill Finger, all the monetary privileges were given to a far off partner of Bill Finger’s son.

It was Marc Tyler Nobleman, a writer who brought the tragic story of Bill Finger in light and gave him the deserved fame he truly owed. Marc even traced the granddaughter of Bill Finger and helped her get the monetary rights of her grandfather’s work.

Front cover of the graphic novel based on Bill Finger

To know more about Bill Finger, do read the graphic novel – Bill the boy wonder: the secret co-creator of Batman. This graphic novel has been penned by Marc Tyler Nobleman. I applaud the efforts of Marc Tyler Nobleman to bring the story of Bill Finger in light. It was Bill Finger who gave wings to Batman but sadly he remained an anonymous creator. Though Bob Kane had recognized Bill Finger as a major contributor behind Batman comics in his official autobiography – Batman and me, it is surprising that why Bill Finger was never given the recognition as the co-creator in Batman movies.

I had read this story about Bill Finger in Chicken Soup series on writers. This short article by Marc Tyler Nobleman on Bill Finger inspired me to write this blog post on the brainchild behind the Batman. I empathized with this story because I know what a writer feels when his work is featured without giving him any written acknowledgement. I too have written articles for which I never got any credit I truly deserved for. Bill Finger’s story is not only heart-breaking, tragic but also eye-opening for those thousands of creative people who remain anonymous behind the greatest works.

Till the clouds roll by – A delightful memoir by Ruskin Bond

Book Title: Till the clouds roll by – Beginning again
Author – Ruskin Bond
Publishers – Puffin Books (Penguin Publications)

‘Most of us grow in our teens or twenties. I think I grew up when I was ten’ – Ruskin Bond

The visual of a puffing train running in the midst of mountains is such a delightful treat to the eyes. Memoirs with scenic descriptions of mountain trains, lichee trees, birds, tigers and hill side life can be found only in Ruskin Bond’s books. In his new memoir – ‘Till the clouds roll by’ Ruskin takes readers backwards in yester years Dehradun. In this latest memoir, Ruskin recounts the holidays he spent with his mother, stepfather, siblings and new friends in Dehra.

The opening scene of this memoir begins with a puffing train heading to Dehra. Seated in this train is little Ruskin reminiscing his departed father, the stamp collection and the joyful days spent in Delhi. After reaching Dehra, Ruskin has to adjust with his estranged mother, a new Punjabi father and step siblings. Here little Ruskin discovers books of P.G. Wodehouse, Louisa May Alcott and many new authors who would inspire him to become a celebrated writer in later years. In this short holiday to Dehra, little Ruskin goes on hunting expeditions, encounters a leopard, makes new acquaintances, watches cinema and explores the sleepy town of Dehra which would be described later in several of his memoirs, novels and short stories.

This short illustrated memoir by Ruskin Bond is a must read book for those who cherish nostalgia. Illustrator Mihir Joglekar has breathed life in storytelling with the lively pictures which makes the book an engrossing read for kids. ‘Till the clouds roll by’ is the sequel to Ruskin Bond’s book – Looking for the rainbow which was a tribute to his late father – Aubrey Bond.

If you love memoirs, ‘Till the clouds roll by’ by Ruskin Bond is definitely a treat.

New theme on my WordPress Blog!!

How truly said – variety is the spice of life. Nothing stays constant in nature. After summer, there is monsoon, autumn and winter. Each season brings with it a new ambience. So when I was reworking on a new story, somewhere I was feeling that my imagination is not taking the flight as I had expected. Something was missing in my efforts. What was it? After brainstorming I realized that it was the look and feel of my blog that was old and needed some new colors, layouts, visuals and texture. It took me a few minutes to decide on my theme. I zeroed on the theme: 2017. It appealed my creative aesthetics.

After a long span of 3 years, my wordpress blog is ready to tell you a story in a new avatar. I had been facing a slack in my story-telling for a while. Hopefully, my friends and readers will like this new look on Prashant’s Blogworld. Along with the theme, I have also changed the tagline of my blog which says ‘And when the war is over, a butterfly will still be beautiful’. I picked this quote from Ruskin Bond’s book.

Along with writing an engrossing article, it is equally challenging to hold your audience and keep them treating with new, refreshing stories backed by a capturing blog theme. What captures the reader first is the look and feel of the blog. So, the storytelling will be more interesting, unique on my newly decorated blog.

Welcome again to my blog!! World’s best stories are here!!

The Motorcycle Diaries – A Che Guevera Memoir

‘A revolutionary Bestseller’ – Guardian

Frankly speaking I am not a travel freak. After reading 80 pages of ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ by Ernesto Guevera, I can’t wait to travel the world on my bike. This is the impact I had while going through the travel diaries of Cuban Revolutionary Che Guevera.

A rare pic of Che Guevera in his travelogue book – The Motorcycle Diaries

‘The Motorcycle diaries’ is not a fast-paced, high-octane adventure trip where you will witness car chases, fight sequences, damsels in distress type stuff you see in a Hollywood movie. If you are expecting such stuff, better switch to some action packed novel. ‘The Motorcycle diaries’ is a travel journal that later became a sensation in world of literature. During his trip to Latin America, Guevera recorded his events in a diary that became an inspiration for every youngster to follow his heart.

What distinguishes these diaries is that they reveal a human side to El Che which historians have successfully managed to suppress….a joy to read from start to finish’ – Financial times

The iconic pic of Che Guevera

The photographs of Che Guevera on casual T-shirts are a craze. Youngsters love to wear the T-shirts with the image of Guevera printed on it. It is a sad irony that youngsters love his pic on their casual attires, but hardly know about him. It was this curiosity that took me to research on the man behind the iconic pic. Ernesto Che Guevera’s personal diary records his observations, feelings, joy, sympathy he felt while traveling through the bike. The sufferings, misery, political corruption, tyranny all changed Guevera during his trip and what came back from the trip was a revolutionary in making. Despite facing so much road side skids, falls on their bike, Ernesto and Alberto witness a life changing journey during their trip. Even hunger, thirst and fatigue can’t break their resolve to roam Latin America.

‘A Latin American James Dean or Jack Kerouac’ – Washington Post

The motorcycle trip that begins from Buenos Aires takes them to Chile, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Miami and finally to Argentina. Accompanying Guevera on his trip was his friend Alberto Grenado, a medical practitioner. Even Ernesto Guevera was a medical student specializing in ‘Leprology’ (curing Leprosy) before he embarked on the path of revolution. Guevera’s transition from a medical student to a revolutionary is really surprising. Hadn’t Guevera gone on a road trip, he wouldn’t have become ‘Che’ the Cuban patriot.

The 2004 movie adaptation – The Spanish 2004 movie based on the book captured the spirit of Che Guevera’s lyrical observations during his motorcycle trip to Latin America. Directed by Walter Salles, the movie featured Gael Garcia Bernal as the young Ernesto Guevera. The movie is equally enjoyable as the book.

Scene from the 2004 movie – The Motorcycle Diaries

There is not a single reader in the world who hasn’t read Guevera’s ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’. It is not just a travelogue of two youngsters; it is a trip of self-discovery that changed their perception towards life.

You don’t need to be a travel lover to enjoy this book. This book is a trip to the one moment that gives one the joy of a lifetime. Go, take this trip!!