By Manju Gupta
A Saint in a Boardroom, R Durgadoss & B Yerram Raju, Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd, Pp 382, Rs 295.00
Some battles are fought outside, maybe in the boardroom but some are fought in the inner chambers of the mind and this is the story of one man who fights one such battle. The protagonist is a man named Arjun, CEO, Heyman Bank, London which was one of the most successful banks in the history of the world five years ago. He graduates from Harvard Business School, has a decade-long experience in the banking industry, is one among the most visible CEOs of the corporate world and is voted as the ‘Best CEO of Banks in Europe and USA’. His name is synonymous with success.
Arjun’s father tells him of a set of values called core values, “which are nothing but our strong desires which we will not yield to. They are the bedrock of one’s life.” They are amongst the strongest desires of a person on which other values rest.
In a similar manner, the father lists eleven different mantras to help Arjun emerge successfully from the jaws of defeat. This story provides answers to many daunting questions in the minds of today’s generation, while unravelling the secrets of ‘winning without sinning’.
(Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd, 206 First Floor, Peacock Lane, Shahput Jat, New Delhi -110049; www.knonarkpublishers.com)
Stories of human emotions from Tibet
By Manju Gupta
The Mad Tibetan: Stories from Then and Now, Deepti Naval, Amaryllis, Pp 159
This is a collection of stories which deals with relationships between men and women to show mutual attraction, tension and feelings which are one-sided and that man is not always correct.
The first story is ‘The piano Tuner’ about an old man in Bombay who once played the piano but is now reduced due to Parkinson’s disease to tune pianos with unsteady fingers. An 11-year old girl from Bandra waits for him every evening, her manuscript book on her lap, so that she could play for him what he had taught her the day before. She has set her heart on music and “One day I’m going to be a great pianist,” she would tell him. That’s all she ever wanted from life – music! But in the summer of 1986, she begins to feel tired for no obvious reason and she is diagnosed with a disease that is fatal. The music has died out for her as she is in the last stage of her illness. He tells her parents to let him play the piano for a few more weeks but they want the money for her medicine and so they sell the piano. She gives him four white candles with her moist yes and three months after the piano is sold, she dies in a hospital. Right after that his hands begin to tremble.
‘Sisters’ is the story of two sisters, Bunny 13 and Ginny 12, who live in Joginder Nagar in Himachal Pradesh. Their mother leaves them after she is sick and tired of her husband’s drinking habit and for whom ironically, “they had to take turns tending to, rather than it being the other way around.” Both the sisters have long tresses but they develop lice in them and so their drunkard father takes them to a barber and gets their heads tonsured. They try to escape from their father’s discipline and run away from home to reach the railway station. Bunny scrambles on to a train going out but Ginny dissuades her, saying, “What if Mummy comes back?” Bunny climbs down and the old flagman notices “under the lamppost, huddled on a bench, two bald heads shine dimly in the foggy night.”
The story titled ‘Premonition’ makes no bones about Vas’s attraction for the woman on the bus. She’s a bit older than him but she has noticed him and seems to like him. Vas’s premonition of what is going to happen stays in the background and distracts one from Vas’s pursuit of the woman. The story is so described that it shows no signs of the usual harassment.
‘Birds’ shows hope and happiness, admiration and anger, sorrow disgust, irritation and helplessness.
‘Bombay Central’ has Jatin who is young and new to Bombay and when the man who befriends him on the train offers him a place for the night, he does not suspect much. Even Jatin’s first impressions on meeting the wife do not arouse suspicion about what will follow.
‘The Morning After’ has Lily make a trip to Ghuggar to meet Dolma who seems to have a bad reputation in the town. Dolma is dead, but lives through her son Manu. Lily seems to be a total stranger to Dolma’s household but when she leaves Ghuggar, Manu goes with her and fittingly so.
The title story ‘The Mad Tibetan’ is about a bitter old man who is fierce and wild, but when he smiles, he is like a child. Like the other stories, the ending is neither of happiness nor sadness.
‘D’ describes an incident which can happen with any adult who runs into a school friend after a very long time. It could happen to anyone whose memory fails every now and then.
‘Thulli’ is a true story of how Deepti makes an expedition to a red light district in Mumbai to meet a real prostitute or two before she plays the role of a prostitute in a movie. It all goes well till she comes face to face with a dreaded pimp, one whom every woman in the brothel is scared of. The pimp is drunk and he mistakes Deepti for a new girl in his keep. The two male friends who accompany Deepti are not at hand and she is in real trouble with Thulli, the madam, she has been talking to. Strangely enough, Thulli draws the pimp off Deepti. Deepti describes her plight as follows: “I stood at the door, unable to move and choked by scenario before my eyes. The man, ferocious a while ago, was now crumbling in Thulli’s arms. I can never forget her face, the last that I saw of Thulli that night…”
‘Balraj Sahni’ is the story of a senior Bollywood actor who is admired by a very young Deepti, who wants his autograph. She sees him in flesh and blood, wide-eyed and gapes at him. He takes the autograph book from her hand, and without looking at her says, “If I keep signing autographs my dear, I’ll miss my train!” and Deepti finds that “looking into my eyes, he smiled.”
‘Ruth Mayberry’ is the last story in the compilation and presents an interpretation of the life of a dear friend of Deepti’s.
(Amaryllis, J-39 Ground Floor, Jor Bagh Lane, New Delhi–110 003; www.amaryllis.co.in)