Monthly Archives: February, 2013

About Saraswatichandra – Episode 2

saraswatichandra-mainleads

It is said that eyes talk. Kumud found out in today’s episode that indeed they did, or at least Saraswatichandra’s eyes spoke to her. They spoke to her of his solitude, his pain, himself. And just like that- she fell in love with them. Whether she is in love with Saraswatichandra himself, remains to be seen.

What this is that she feels she is not sure, but she is surely intrigued by the idea of Saraswatichandra as her bridegroom, her life partner. So much so that she has already started dreaming of him. It was just yesterday when she had said there was no man that she would say yes to, no one who would be worthy in her eyes. She was cut above everyone else. She wanted the man to prove himself before she gave him any regard. And yet, we find Kumud’s heart melting just at the sight of his eyes. She dreams of him- of his eyes but can’t see the rest of him and wakes up with a jerk. Her heart is beating frantically in her chest, busy anticipating the time when she would see him in person.

Saraswatichandra, on the other hand is in a tussle of his own. He has promised his late mother that he would always accept and obey his father’s wishes. But this one wish goes against everything he wants- peace, solitude, spiritual awakening, etc.

How can he live the life of a monk, how can he attain peace for his tormented soul, if he is bound tightly to this material life? How will get away from it all if he commits his life to another soul’s wellbeing? Desperation and frustration run amok in his veins. He runs in the vast expanse of the Dubai desert and declares that he will not marry that girl. To me, he is like a child who knows in his heart that it is right but won’t accept it.

The character of stepmother Ghuman, played by Monica Bedi is shaping up quite nicely I’d say. After being in the limelight for lots of wrong reasons, finally Monica has hit jackpot with Sc. She is portraying the stepmother of Saraswatichandra. She has risen from the low rungs of the society to riches, by seducing a rich tycoon Laxminandan, whose son Saraswatichandra is. All she wants now, is to remove Sc from the road to complete her goal. Her son studies away from home and she is soothing his path to becoming sole heir.

We’d seen yesterday that she doesn’t want her stepson to get married. Today it became clear why. She wants him to take the path of a Sanyasi- to leave everything behind and becoming a monk. She wants him out so that her son becomes the only heir of her husband. I shall wait to see what she does to stop Sc from marrying Kumud.

 

part 1

Part 2

Saraswatichandra- First impressions

saraswatichandra-tv-series

 

Finally the waiting ends and Saraswatichandra comes into plain view. The first episode ends and I know that I’m going to be occupied on weekdays from 1930 to 2000 hours, with my eyes glued to the TV. J

After watching all the promos of the show, I am hoping that this show is going to bring a revolution in the field of Television.  At least in the show, I hope I won’t complain about the sets or the make-up being garish, as it is in the other TV soaps. It already looks as if it will be a “no expenses spared” kind of show.

Through the first episode, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has lived up to the name he made in the world of Cinema, as a man who does not do things by half. Both the settings in Dubai as well as in India are grand and the introduction of the characters just as powerful. The music quite reminded me of “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”. I’m also reminded a little bit of the movie “Saraswatichandra” made in 1968, starring beautiful Nutan and its songs. The songs of this movie are evergreen in my memory.

SLB is known as a romantic who wishes for the stories to have a happy ending but is unable to do so. Not that one can blame him for the way this story will unfold, of course since the original is a tragic love story.

The original Gujarati novel “Saraswatichandra”, written & set by Govardhanram Tripathi in 19th-century feudalism in India,  from which Sanjay Leela Bhansali has adapted his screenplay, is divided into four parts. The first is a love story between Saraswatichandra and Kumud Kumari. The second encompasses the life of an ideal housewife; the martyr, in the form of Gunsundari. The third part focuses on the displays of political nature in the lives of the characters, whilst the fourth is dedicated to the sadhus of Sundargiri, who talk about 18 ways of being an active Sanyasi while living in the material world.

It is said that the entire novel; all four parts of it covers 150 characters in total, with the inclusion of kings, ministers, Englishmen who ruled over the country at that time, as well as middle and lower class families. The novel is all about these characters and their life experiences/struggles.

If Mr. B goes as per the novel, he will show the mental and physical struggles that all characters go through, along with the third kind of struggle that two main characters; Saras and Kumud have to go through- struggle against the rules and norms of the society. The question of what is right and what is wrong will persist endlessly during the entire story. One will be reminded of Shakespeare and his women characters while watching the female characters of the story.

I am hoping to see and discuss the glaring and subtle differences that will pop up in the show with the readers and viewers of the show. Of course the show is set in the modern world, modern surroundings. The male lead, Saraswatichandra is living in Dubai but holds on to his old country culture- the way he prays to the Sun and touches the feet of his late mother and step mother- they are all quite right in characters, as is his defiance in small matters. The suit that he wishes to wear for the party is just as dashing but without the mark of richness that his step mother would prefer him to wear. These subtle games of mind and differences, I’m hoping to see more.

Then there is Kumud- the lively, emotionally strong and already matured character. Kumud is what an ideal daughter would be- smart, beautiful, engaging, lovely voice, intelligent, obedient of her parents’ wishes (most times) and well aware of her responsibility as a daughter of the house. Yet, one sees her small act of rebellion when she says no to the proposal without hearing much about it.

In a way, both Saras and Kumud are similar. Bound by their manners and yet giving out hints of their stubborn nature and their internal strength. They will consider it all but in the end, do what they think is right.

With the end of the first episode, the stage has been set for the first meeting of Kumud and Saras who have no interest in each other and very different views of life. Let us wait and see what happens in the next episode.

 

Good luck to you Stephanie and many congratulations on the release of this book. I’m sure it’s going to be a blast, just as the previous ones were. 🙂

Stephanie Hurt - Romance Author

Image Oh yeah, if you’re wondering, yes I lived through the IRS audit on my client. It took 6 hours and ten years off my life 🙂 I did manage a compliment by the auditor on my accounting and my thoroughness. But it’s over and done. Found nothing to complain about. YESSSSSS.

Now to more important matters at hand. Monday, February 25th my novel “Rekindled Flames” the 2nd in the Flames of Love series is finally officially going to be released. I’m super duper excited 🙂 Life has really gotten in the way of this release, not to mention those pesky other books that just kept vying for my attention :0

So to all my blog friends, if anyone would like to help with the promotion of my newest release just let me know and I’d be very appreciative. I do return the favor by the way.

As always, good writing…

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Help is not given to those who are not local, says Karnataka villager

Wise men say, it’s best to know the defects of the life you’re living, slowly & gradually, so that you can take in the experiences and learn from them, to avoid future mistakes.  But I say, there are some experiences that don’t teach you much. They only leave you with grave thoughts and despair. I say this because I went through one such experience last Saturday.

Last Saturday, we were on our way to Coorg, Karnataka. My husband surprised me with this trip on Friday when he asked me to pack. It was our second wedding anniversary on Monday, eighteenth February. He wanted to take me into the place I love the most- mountains. He’d reserved a room- a home stay that are famous in Coorg, to give one a taste of the State’s culture, family lifestyle and food. It would have been a wonderful experience- HAD we been able to reach there.

We left the house at 5 AM, to avoid traffic on the way. While the roads may be bad, the route was really scenic. By 10:00 AM, we were only 80 kilometres away from Coorg. The roads in the State of Karnataka are in pitiable state, but that never bothered my husband. He’s a capable driver and knows how to avoid idiots who drive without any regard for traffic rules. He missed out on counting criminal stupidity this time.

We were on Highway 88, driving at the dictated speed, when the car driver ahead of us braked suddenly. My husband let out a muffled curse, trying to avert the car and pulled the brakes, but we were too late. Our car banged into the car ahead of us, jarring our senses and shocking our system.

My husband quickly regained his wits, while I was still getting over the moment and checked us both for injuries. Miraculously, we were unharmed. Getting out of the car, he met the other car’s driver, a man into his adulthood. He was a hired driver, carrying an old sick lady and another woman, who started shouting and ranting, blaming us. She was a local, on her way to Coorg with her mother. In the meanwhile, I got out and tried to find out how the sick woman was.  I held her for a few moments while she got over her crying bout and consoled her.  After all, she was old and sick, in shock and would need consoling more than I do, I told myself.

Soon a crowd gathered and being locals, everyone stuck together. The woman from the other car, while shouting on my husband incited the crowd and blamed my husband entirely instead of her own driver.

We come from the North of India, where Hindi and English are two major languages spoken by all. We’d been told by many of our known acquaintances that in the South of India, not many speak Hindi and despite knowing, prefer not to speak English.  All this while, I’d thought this information to be load of rubbish. Why would anyone be unfriendly or rude? Why would they not help? After all, India is all about hospitality! I now realised they were right. We were in trouble. We did not know their local language called Kannada. We spoke to them in English and Hindi, asking them to help us out. Instead we found ourselves being cornered, with people coming upon us, demanding money and threatening physical harm.

Their car’s back bumper was broken and the  backside of the car only dented, while our car was much worse.  At least they knew their car was in a working condition.  The front bonnet of our car was completely damaged, right side lights broken,  and we had no idea what kind of internal damages the car had suffered. We weren’t sure if our car would start since when we opened the car bonnet, we saw lots of spilled liquid. We asked the locals to help but they were too busy in talking to the other woman in their local language. The other car’s driver knew Hindi, but he absolutely refused to help us find out about the damage to our car, and he said that in Hindi!!!

My husband called up Ford road service. I must say, had it been for another car, we may have suffered severe physical damage, but the Ford “Figo” has proved its worth to me by this incident. The impact of the accident had been absorbed by the car’s solid front. After all the parts were checked by my husband as per the directions given by the service guy,  he told us we were really lucky and would be able to drive the car back to Bangalore and hand it in at the Ford service and repair station.

While the old sick lady sat in the car, calm and composed now, her daughter called her husband on the phone and started crying. Rush of adrenalin was fierce in my veins. While they started gathering up on my husband, I asked them to leave him alone. (I fear I had been having hysterics.) I told the other woman to gather her wits, she was not the only injured party here, we were much worse and all due to the fault of her driver. She was giving a fine example of how people in Karnataka are- unhelpful to strangers and absolutely insensitive. I repeatedly asked the others to leave us alone in English and Hindi; after all it was the business of two parties, what had they to do with it?

But would they listen? NOPE. Instead, they started coming close, talking and making threatening gestures. I will not deny it. I had started becoming scared. India is not a safe place any more. The memory of New Delhi victim was fresh in my mind, when back in December the entire world had learned of the shameful episode of gang-rape, abuse and finally the death of a woman who had protested against men, trying to protect herself. My husband asked me to go sit in the car while he settled the issue with them. With reluctance, I got in.

A guy from the crowd emerged while my husband spoke to the other woman’s husband over the phone. He spoke English & Hindi. There as no police station for many kilometres.  (My husband later explained that he would not have preferred police any way since every one knows how corrupt police is. He pacifies me by saying that we got away lightly by only paying 30,000. Had police been involved, we’d have had to pay the police their share too!! ) He also very bluntly declared that the crowd would remain upon his head. My husband looked at him incredulously as he said, since the other car held two helpless women, all votes were on their side, regardless of whose fault it may have been. He asked my husband to pay for damages for the other car.

The woman had called her local friends who had come in other cars. Apparently they had been deciding upon the sum they could demand from us, for after a while, she asserted the same demand, repeated by her husband on the phone. My husband proposed to give them our insurance details and take the car into the nearest service station, about 180 kilometres away. He said he’d pay if they left us alone, once the damages were calculated. But his offer was rejected, with the other party demanding instant cash of 50,000 Indian rupees!!

Our mind boggled. Obviously, we weren’t carrying such cash, even if we wanted to pay them and get ourselves away from the threatening public. The man who spoke English said, he knew of an ATM 10 kilometres away. Finally, my husband gave in to their demand, negotiated and paid them 30,000 Indian rupees. We had the foresight to ask them to sign a receipt that said, we had paid them in full for the damages and that they wouldn’t ask for anything more and would let us be on our way unharmed. After all, who knew what they’d be up to the next?

We came back to Bangalore and handed in our car at the service station. Thankfully insurance would cover the cost and we may be without transport for two weeks, but I’ve learned my lesson. Do not expect any help from locals in Karnataka. I had heard that it was one of the most corrupt States of India, but this experience has just proved it. I am still very upset and perhaps not able to think selflessly. All I know is that, we could have died out there, and no one would’ve helped us and saying THAT would be no exaggeration.

The more I look at things happening around me, the more I despair for my motherland. India is no more a secular country. India has been divided by its own people into small States and even smaller frame of mind. Now we have become the unhelpful lot. There’s nothing in the world that can make me sadder than this knowledge that my country has literally gone to the dogs.

Some scenic images from before the accident and after the incident itself (two pics on the left).The man in Purple shirt is my husband, trying to keep everyone away, while I sat in the car and clicked pics with shaking hands.P1040354P1040364P1040367P1040371

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