Sunday, 16 April 2017

Instant Raw Mango Launji / Aam ki launji

I confess, I am a lazy cook! 

Like all good Indian wives and mothers, I too love to whip up delicacies for my husband and child. 

The reality - Juggling between a demanding job, house and a toddler in his terrible two's, my passion for cooking is limited to something simple and quick that helps me save "me time" yet bring a smile of satisfaction on the faces of my loved ones.

My fondest memories of summers from my childhood are related to mangoes. Since we weren't a typical small nuclear family (we are 4 siblings!), mom would make frequent trips to the wholesale fruit and veggie market (called Mandi in Hindi) and come home with Aam ki peti! (wooden cartons used in wholesale markets, containing anywhere between 5-10kg mangoes). The mangoes would be welcomed with a lavish dip in bucket of water from where they would be carefully picked by each one of us at our own wish. 

Mom would also get the most amazing ambi/raw mangoes/kairi. While most would be used for the annual mango pickle ritual, a sizeable lot was saved for the aam panna. Another delightful side dish mom prepared was the ambi/raw mango launji - a raw mango chutney. Mom would make lot of it at one go and we would eat it with our morning paranthas.

I had been craving for mango launji since the time mangoes announced the arrival of summers. But the very thought of standing in front of the gas for long would make me chicken out!

Finally, my mom in law came to my rescue and taught me to prepare instant raw mango launji. At first, I was apprehensive, but believe me, the moment I took a bite of launji with parantha, it tasted just like the raw mango chutney I once ordered from Kitchens Of India.

Sharing the recipe.

Preparation time - 10-15min

Ingredients (for one bowl chutney)

  • Raw mango - 1 large, peeled and shredded/diced into mouthful pieces      

  • Salt - to taste
  • Black pepper - to taste
  • Water - 2 cup
  • Jaggery - 1 cup chopped (you can increase/decrease the quantity to alter the sweetness)
  • Desi ghee - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch

Method -

1. Heat ghee in a kadai, add asafoetida and cumin seeds and allow the cumin seeds to crackle.

2. Once the cumin seeds crackle, add the shredded raw mango.

3. Add salt and pepper and mix. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes.

4. Add 2 cup water. Cover and allow the water to boil

5. When the raw mango becomes tender, Add the chopped jaggery. Cover and cook on low flame for  5 minutes.

6. Check the consistency. Once the chutney thickens to a chutney like consistency and the jaggery gives it a beautiful brown colour, the chutney is ready! 

7. Transfer to a bowl and serve chilled with paranthas.

The chutney has a shelf life of 3-4 days when stored in refrigerator. However, it tastes so awesome that you will most likely finish it on the first day itself!

While it is the perfect accompaniment for paranthas, it can also add zing to an otherwise boring meal.

Simple na! 

While we used to have many varieties of mangoes in the North - Safeda (tastes best in mango shake), saroli, chausa, langda, dussehri, totapuri, my favourite ones were the langda and the chausa, simply for their sweetness and abundant pulp! I could have anywhere between 3-4 chausa at a time! However, Mumbai boasts of Alphonsos (though I am yet to learn to identify the authentic ones) and Kesar and our palates are slowly getting conditioned to them.

Which is your favourite mango variety? Do you have an interesting mango recipe to share? Do let me know in the comments section.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Movie - Chandni (1989)

Genre – Drama, Musical, Romance
Director – Yash Chopra
Duration – 3 hours 6 minutes
Cast – Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Anupam Kher, Wahida Rahman, Sushma Seth 
Music – Shiv-Hari

My View
I must have been five when Chandni was released. Though I have faint memory of watching this movie with my family in theatre, all I remembered about the movie was Sridevi's "Safedi ki chamkaar" white clothes and the song, "Mere haathon mein nah nau choodiyan hain" 

The song was a rage among girls and I remember, no ladies sangeet function or birthday party would be complete without girls dancing to match Sridevi's steps. So impressed was I with the song that I made mom buy similar combination glass bangles for me!

Those were the times when I would go to theatre not for movies, but for Campa Cola! Yes, you heard me right. A bottle of chilled Campa Cola would be my reward for being sensible throughout the movie! 

While I am sure the movie would have been broadcasted many a times on TV all these years, I never got a chance to watch it. Tried searching on Youtube few years back, but the trailer and paid version was not a motivation enough. 

So, after 20 something years, I finally chanced upon Chandni being broadcasted by Max2. Not wasting the chance, I announced my veto over remote control as I really wanted to know what was the rage all about!

Right from the first scene, the movie presents flavour of typical Yash Chopra movies, as we see a big fat Indian wedding in full swing! The bubbly and vivacious Chandni (Sridevi) makes a heartwarming entry into the viewers' hearts as she arrives for her cousin sister's wedding. Simple girl with a zest for life, this girl next door of the 80s had no frills or air about her. So, when Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) spots Chandni dancing to Mere Hathon Mein Nau Nau Choodiyan, it is love at first site. When Rohit stops Chandni's way and proposes to her, somehow I was reminded of the latest buzz around anti romeo squads! Jokes apart, the romance of 80s was simple and a lot about communication with mere  expressions. So, when Chandni agrees to stay back for a few days after the wedding, Rohit understands that his feras (hovering) around his dream girl were finally paying off!

But, like all Bollywood movies, there would be no spice if all went smooth. Hence, comes the great economic divide! While Chandni comes from a typical middle class background, Rohit belongs to an affluent family that views his true love with a jaundiced eye. However, Ramesh (Anupam Kher), Rohit's brother-in-law and surprisingly, the selfless and sensible Ghar Jamai, mediates and convinces the family to accept Rohit's choice. Though, as the movie progresses, one realises the acceptance is only namesake, for the family shows no visible signs of affection for Chandni or her family, even post engagement. 

Life seems like a fairytale with Rohit and Chandni romancing in the Alps (For a moment, I thought the director decided to give the wedding sequence a miss and jumped straight to the honeymoon shot!). Just when you think the remaining story would be about the sweet Chandni struggling to achieve "Hriday Parivartan" (Change of heart) in her in-laws, the smart director leaves your expectations far behind and proves his mettle by dropping another bombshell. In an effort to pamper Chandni by showering her with flowers from a helicopter, Rohit hurts himself and is declared paralysed and bed ridden for the rest of his life. While the middle class values in Chandni transform her from a fiancé to a caregiver, the family grabs this opportunity to insult her by calling her unlucky for their son. Gradually, to Chandni's horror, Rohit's attitude too changes and he rebukes her care in the name of sympathy. Now, one thing about Bollywood movies is that the hero can never be shown in bad light. Hence, immediately after, a sad Rohit is seen confessing to Ramesh that he did all this to save Chandni from spoiling her life with a paralytic. 

Anyway, a heart broken Chandni is forced to move away from Rohit's life to Mumbai, where she tries to gather her life and move on. She finds shelter in her friend's house and begins her job hunt. As luck would have it, on her way to an interview, she bumps into Lalit (Vinod Khanna) who, incidentally happens to be her prospective boss. While all this may have been sounded as a surprise back then, the tactic was used later by directors to display smartness of ambitious girls. 

For a moment, life seems to be giving Chandni and Lalit a second chance as a lonely and heartbroken Lalit gets drawn towards Chandni. But, then the story can't just move on leaving Rohit behind. So, one fine day, the volcano of Rohit's love erupts and he decides to get on his feet to win back his lady love! 

As luck would have it, Rohit and Lalit bump into each other in Switzerland (Yes, how can be a Yash Chopra movie be complete without Switzerland!) and get on like brothers lost in Kumbh Mela! Though I am sure if they knew they shared a common love interest, we would witness a duel in the Alps!

For Chandni, who had been trying to move on, the typical emotional dilemma of a Bollywood heroine begins, with both her lovers trying to win her love. Though she had half heartedly committed to Lalit's proposal to honour his emotions and his mom (Wahida Rahman)'s love, would she be able to forget her first love?

While most of you would definitely know the answer, let me leave this puzzle unanswered for those who are yet to catch up on this popular movie. 

I ain't sure that in 2017, how much would you be able to resonate with the story. But, would definitely recommend this movie as a one time watch for feel of 80's romance, when handwritten letters, romancing around trees, wearing full clothes and no kissing scenes too could express love beautifully!

You will remember the movie for
  • Shiv Hari music. One can't ignore the background score and generous use of Santoor and Flute (with music coming from the maestros Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia)

  • Mere Haathon mein nau nau choodiyan

  • Mitwa (The song still enjoys presence in romantic playlists)

  • The song that is still played by radio stations each time it rains - "Lagi Aaj Sawan Ki"

  • The beautiful Sridevi's mascara eyes and vibrant 80's dressing, especially her white suits and bangles, epitomising the title.

  • Lots of red roses (remind me of Silsila)

  • Switzerland locations, though my home sick eyes found happiness to see India Gate, Dandi March statue and ridge.

What kept me wondering...

  • Why would someone sing a song like "Main Sasural Nahi Jaungi" (notice the complete lyrics) at her own engagement, that too knowing the hostile nature of her in-laws?

  • Why would a shy Chandni wear a Chiffon saree and dance in the rain in her boss's lawn, that too when she hardly knew him! (Lol!)

  • Sridevi is shown to share accommodation with her friend when she lands up in Mumbai. However, once she finds job as a secretary in Vinod Khanna's company, we see her graduating from a paying guest accommodation to a swanky duplex bungalow!

  • In one sequence, both Lalit and Rohit are seen trying to reach Chandni on her landline. In the age of letters, when social media and internet were non existent, how come Rohit knew Chandni's Mumbai address and contact number, especially when he had lost touch with her?
Did You Know?
Chandni was the first movie in which Sridevi dubbed her own dialogues. She even sang the popular number "Chandni, O Meri Chandni"


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Teething Chronicles - Attention Please!

Indian Bloggers

This post was written when my li'l one was 9 months old and his teething phase was the hot topic of discussion in our house. Teething is one time that really tests your patience, especially if you are a working mom. The fact that I had to leave this post  as a draft midway to attend to my cranky, teething baby is a testimony to the fact that the best way to deal with a teething baby is to drop everything aside and shower him with love and attention. But just before you think this is just a phase, let me tell you from my experience that the demand for attention keeps on growing until you just surrender to his highness Mr. Teething. Even though my son has graduated from being an infant to a toddler with a mind of his own, the demand for mumma's attention sees an exponential increase each day....

Found this post an year later in my drafts. Dedicated to all the moms for whom the  teething chronicles have  just begun!

I am becoming more tech savvy these days, thanks to S's increasing understanding of his surroundings. Parenting makes us do things we never expected to do. I had made an impressive pitch on "blogging on the go" to Mr. Hubby when I wanted to buy a tab, but stuck to my good old laptop for blogging even after the tab arrived to simplify my life. Call it motivation or need of the hour, motherhood has finally got me blogging via the tab, albeit for a different reason altogether!

As most parents would agree, teething is one of the most challenging phases. In fact in the last couple of months, almost every change in S's behaviour and health is being attributed to teething. Makes me often wonder if teething is the micro version of adolescence, for both the stages are an easy way of justifying odd changes in our otherwise angelic children.

Found the comparison weird? Well, yuo see I too am the mother of a hyper cranky teething baby. Like son, like mother!

Of the many changes teething has brought in S, the one that's bugging me big time is his constant desire for attention. Like all moms, I too dreamt of spending quality time with my child. But when the child cries even if you move away to go to the loo, it is time to pull your hair (if any left post delivering a baby!). All he wants is mumma to sit and play with him, take him wherever he wants for as long as he desires, even if it means mumma does nothing of her own or the house the whole day.

Little one has discovered the tool of crying and having his wishes fulfilled. In fact nowadays, he doesn't have to make that much of an effort to have his way. All he has to do is to make a crying face and make some cranky sounds, and within seconds, mumma  n papa are dancing around with objects of his desire, just like the snakes dancing to the tune of snake charmer.

Looking at his cute face, I have no doubt that at all of 9 months, he is nothing short of a charmer. Trying to go out of the house in his notice, or making him sit when he wants to play is as good as trying to explore a snake hole with bare hands.

For all those showering sympathy for little S and judging me as a bad mom, nobody is more pained to see S in trouble than me. I know that in times of discomfort and illness, the ultimate relief a troubled child gets is in his mom's lap. So I tried all possible ways to involve him in my activities. Taking him along in the pram to the kitchen, singing aloud to him from the bathroom to assure him I am around (yes, I do it however weird it sounds!). But a child's greed for attention seems no bound. Epecially when there is a doting dad available at his beck and call, leaving no opportunity to shower advise upon the exhausted mother!

Alas! All that a poor mom can do is to grind her teeth as she waits for the remaining teeth to pop up and give her back the non grumpy smiling baby!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Book Review - My Father Is A Hero

Author - Nishant Kaushik
Publisher - Srishti
Genre - Fiction
Pages - 199
Price - Rs. 195

First Impressions

True to its title, the book's cover welcomes readers with a humble picture of a father taking her daughter to school. Just like our fathers try to bear all our burdens on themselves, the father on the cover too, is seen carrying his daughter's school bag. Our parents are the guiding lights in our life, who hold our hands and show us the path...just like the father on the cover.

Since for me, my father is indeed my hero, I knew the book would be an emotionally enriching experience.

My View
Ask any girl about her picture of an ideal man, and she would often end up describing her father. It has often been observed that women often draw parallels between their fathers and partners, looking for positive qualities they have grown up witnessing. If there is one man who influences a girl the most in her life, he is her father. The sacrifices, the care, nurturing, guidance all make fathers role models for their daughters. After all, haven't we all heard phrases like "My Daddy strongest"; "My Daddy is the best"?

My Father Is A Hero is a touching story of Vaibhav and his daughter Nisha and the bond they share. Circumstances force Vaibhav into being a single parent. But the love for his daughter overpowers every other aspect of his life. For Vaibhav, fatherhood is not just a responsibility, it is his badge of honour; a role that empowers him to face any obstacle in life. Like all parents, Vaibhav too puts his daughter's happiness before his own. While we often witness kids being ignored by overambitious parents, here is a sacrificing father, who doesn't think twice before risking his professional growth for his daughter's career.

As one progresses through the story, one is touched by the simplicity and sacrificing nature of Vaibhav. A man of simple means, he foregoes his comforts and desires to ensure his daughter has a comfortable life and a bright future. With his own dreams long buried in the past, Vaibhav now has only one aim in his life - to make his daughter a successful singer. His obsession for fulfilling his daughter's makes him go to extremes

While destiny has been cruel to Vaibhav in terms of his profession and marriage, his daughter Nisha is the saving grace in his life. As they say in Hindi, "Doobte ko tinke ka sahara". A bright kid, Nisha too never ceases to acknowledge her father's sacrifices and tries to do everything to make him proud. Vaibhav fills her life with so much love that Nisha never feels her mother's absence.

It is not a story one reads to know the end, but a beautiful tribute to all the fathers who live for their children. While we all read various stories of sacrificing mothers, this is a unique story of a father who goes beyond than being a parent to being his child's role model. Being very close to my father, the book made me very emotional since for me too, My Father Is My Hero!

  • Simple yet impactful narration
  • The story strikes the right emotional cord without going overboard
I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Monday, 13 March 2017


If there is one childhood memory each one of us have in common, it is stories. Yes, no matter where we come from, all of us have fond memories of story time. I still recall the many wonderful bedtime stories my sister used to tell me every night and how I would be lost in each story. While those days, fairies, kings and queens dominated the stories, the scenario is very different now a days. With each child having access to technology pretty early in life, getting a new yet interesting story each day is a challenge for the parents. Still, story telling is one skill parenting teaches you, whether you like it or not. Thankfully, internet and picture books have come to the rescue of parents like me.

Few days ago, I was approached to participate in the #ColgateMagicalStories contest. 

Since my son is in the stage where new characters, pictures and colours interest him a lot, I decided to weave him a small Sci-fi story which also gave a message. 

So, presenting the story of Alpha and Beta which my son enjoyed a lot...

Not only were Alpha and Beta intelligent, they were also known for their presence of mind, which made them popular for the toughest of assignments. Their father, Gamma too had been a successful astronaught, who had been a part of the Mars mission, the mission to discover more about the Red Planet.

This time, Alpha and Beta were out to know more about a certain Comet, which was detected by scientists of the Hubble space station. Uncertain about how to change the course of the comet, the senior astronaughts decided to send Alpha and Beta to find out a possible solution to change the direction of the Comet.

Cheered by their colleagues, friends and well wishers, Alpha and Beta set out on the mission. 

They hadn't yet completed their study, when one fine day, Beta sighted a UFO (Unidentified Fyong Object) passing by their spaceship. As soon as the UFO came near their ship, Beta began to receive SOS signals on his Radio. "There seems to be some trouble out there." Beta remarked. However, Alpha was suspicious. "What if they are some bad aliens trying to harm our planet?" Alpha warned. However, by that time, Beta had already left the space station towards the UFO. 

When Beta reached the UFO, he was surprised to see an alien. The alien introduced himself as Pluto, an astronaught from Mars who had set out on a mission however, had been attacked by a strange bacteria. The bacteria had made way into his dental system by making cavities and the teeth and gums were beginning to damage.  

Beta asked Pluto not to worry as he would soon give him a solution to his problem. He went to his space ship and returned with a pack of Colgate from his kit. "What is this?"asked Pluto. "This is Colgate...the answer to all your dental problems. At our planet, we swear by Colgate for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Just use it twice a day, once you wake up and again before bedtime and I promise you will even forget who that bacteria ever was!

Pluto seemed relieved now. "But what brings you here?" he asked Beta. "Me and my sister Alpha are on this mission to find a way to change course of a Comet that is approaching our planet. Our research is on, but we are yet to find a solution." Pluto smiled, "I think I can help you there my friend.   This is a special Hydrogen gun that will impact the Comet with such force that it will change its direction." Pluto handed over the gun to Beta. 

Alpha and Beta were now hopeful of finding a solution to their problem. As instructed by Pluto, when the Comet came in the right Orbit, Alpha fired the Hydrogen gun at the Comet. As if struck by a lightening, the Comet halted for a minute and changed the course. The Comet was now heading towards Mercury, a planet that was closest to the Sun and where no traces of life had bee discovered.

Alpha and Beta were given a grand welcome by their colleagues at Earth. A new example of friendship had been set between Earth and Mars and Beta was already ready to plan his next trip to Mars, but not without several packs of Colgate for is dear friend Pluto.

“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Book Review - Lanka's Princess

Author - Kavita Kane
Publisher - Rupa
Genre - Fiction
Pages - 296
Price - Rs. 295

First Impressions
Ugly, evil face, with eyes that reflect the devil - that was the impression of Surpanakha I expected to see on the cover. However, the dusky beauty displaying innocence in her eyes made her seem anyone but Surpanakha. Perhaps her long, devilish nails were the only sign of her identity. My focus quickly shifted to the burning golden city of Lanka in the backdrop. Clearly, the book had a vey strong story to tell and I just couldn't contain my curiosity!

My View
Ramayana is one epic we have all grown up on. While the story reinforced in our minds revolves around the Ayodhya princes, their wives, the war and of course, the mighty Ravan, we fail to notice one character without whom perhaps the story would have been different. That character is Surpanakha, Ravan's sister and the root cause behind the war between Ram and Ravan.

The very mention of Surpanakha reminds us of the asura lady who, attracted by Ram and Laxman proposed them marriage. However, upon facing rejection when she attempted to attack Sita, Laxman cut her nose and ears with his sword. An injured Surpanakha rushed to her brother and not only did she complain to him about the two brothers, but also manipulated the incident to describe how the two brothers disrespected Ravan's status and how beautiful Sita was. Agitated, the short tempered Ravan decided to teach the trio a lesson, and the rest we know is history.

While we all conveniently shift focus to the others characters hereon, we never bother about who Surpanakha was and why did she instigate her own brother when she very well knew the outcome won't be a pleasant one.

Well, it is here that the book attempts to answer many questions about Surpanakha. It is a very different version of Ramayana than the ones we all know, one from the eyes of Surpanakha, who always got overshadowed by her powerful brothers, particularly Ravan.

The story has a wonderful prologue wherein one is surprised to know that Surpanakha was reborn as Kubja and Lord Krishna himself lands up at her door to release her of her suffering. The story then rushes into flashback unraveling aspects of Surpanakha's life that we never cared about before.

The story underscores the fact that an evil mind is not born. Sometimes, circumstances cruelly bring the worst out of a person. Sadly, Surpanakha was such a victim of neglect and deceit. Born to Rishi Vishrava and Kaikesi as Meenakshi, Surpanakha was just like any ordinary girl with dreams, hopes, desires and affection. However, the goodness inside her falls prey to neglect by her own family. Overshadowed by Ravan, she struggles for her parents' attention, but gets nothing but rejection. Her feelings are trampled by her mother's ambitions. The only people who she finds solace in are her maternal grandparents however, unfortunately they end up misguiding her more than doing good.

She finally finds the love she had been looking for in the Kalkeya prince Vidyuvijaya. Just when life seems perfect, tragedy strikes her. Enraged by the death of her husband and son, Surpanakha decides to take revenge for her loss from her very own brother Ravan and eventually becomes responsible for his doom. 

At times, one feels sympathetic for her pain as she suffers for no fault of hers; while at times, one hates her for her wickedness and wonders how can someone be so blinded and manipulative to meet one's selfish interests. Throughout the story, one gets to see various shades of Surpanakha's personality - compassionate, rebellious, revengeful, dejected, guilty and forgiving. I feel the book is a lesson to all parents that neglect and undue criticism can turn even the best of child to the worst person.

Overall, a well researched and beautifully penned book which you just can't miss!

  • Well researched book
  • Mythology is not an easy genre, considering one has to consider the religious sentiments of masses and there is no scope to play around with the facts. However, the author does full justice to the story and proves that mythology is indeed her forte. Impressed by her attention to details and sensitivity in narration, I am enticed to read her other books. 
  • Powerful narration. In no time, one starts imagining herself in the era of Pushpak Vimans and rishis.
The book is available at Flipkart and Amazon.

received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

HR Diaries - Harminder Singh

ऐच् आर डायरीज़ 

लेखक - हरमिंदर सिंह
पब्लिशर - ओपन क्रेयॉन्स
पृष्ठ - १८१

प्रथम प्रभाव -
"कुछ नौजवान जिन्होनें नयी दुनिया में कदम रखा, उलझ गए दौड़ भाग के पाटों में. ज़िन्दगी की पेचीदगियों को उन्होनें अपनी तरह से हल करने की कोशिश की. अनेक रोचक मोड़ आते गए. वे हँसे, रोये,घबराये, लेकिन रुके  नहीं। आखिर में उन्होनें पाया की नौकरी करना कोई बच्चों का खेल नहीं. उनकी ज़िन्दगी का एक हिस्सा उनसे हर बार सवाल करता है की यह दौड़ यूँ ही क्यों चल रही है?  हमें क्यों लगता है की हम एक जगह बंधे हुए हैं? क्या यह हमारी नियति है?"

सूट बूट में ऑफिस एग्जीक्यूटिव को पुस्तक के कवर पे देख समझ आ रहा था की कहानी कारपोरेट जग  से प्रभावित है. किन्तु  मेरी  उत्सुकता तब बढ़ गयी जब कवर पे पढ़ा "मानव संसाधन विभाग की अनकही।" चाहे आपने किसी भी विभाग में काम किया हो, परंतु मानव संसाधन विभाग से कोई अछूता नहीं रहा. अनुभव कभी मीठे कभी कड़वे अवश्य रहते हैं, किन्तु इस विभाग  के अंदर का सच जानने को कोई भी व्यक्ति उत्सुक होगा।

मेरी नज़र से 
कहानी की शुरुआत में ही ये अनुभूति हो जाती है की ये हम में से किसी की भी कथा हो सकती है. आफिस का वह पहला दिन, वो झिझक, वो उत्सुकता - ये ऐसे अनुभव होते हैं जो आजीवन आपकी स्मृतियों में अपनी छाप बनाये रखते हैं. कुछ ऐसा ही अनुभव रहता है कथानक का, जिन्होंने अपने अनुभव इस कहानी के  माध्यम से व्यक्त किये हैं.

कहानी के शुरुआत का भाग और रोचक हो सकता था. जहां कथानक के पहले दिन का अनुभव कुछ फीका सा रहता है, वहीँ पाठक भी कहानी के साथ चलने का प्रयास करता है. उम्मीदों की गठरी बांधे जब कथानक अपने दफ्तर में दाखिल होता है, तो वहां का परिवेश उसे किसी अनजान शहर में होने की अनुभूति दिलाता है. कहानी की धीमी गति की तरह ही कस्थानक का उबाऊ कार्यक्तिक जीवसं भी गति पकड़ता है. जो चेहरे उसे अनजान और खडूस से प्रतीत होते थे, धीरे धीरे उन्ही के बीच उसका दिन कैसे बीत जाता है, उसे पता नहीं चलता. नौकरी करना बच्चों का कआ खेल नहीं, और कथानक बार बार ये सन्देश पाठकों तक पहुंचाता है.

मानव संसाधन विभाग मेंकथानक का अनुभव किसी आम कर्मचारी की भांति ही रहता है. जहाँ एक तरफ उन्हें विजय और तारा जैसे सच्चे मित्र मिलते हैं, वहीँ विभाग में कई रोचक, कई टेढ़े पात्र भी टकराते हैं. खडूस बॉस, चाटुकार कर्मचारी, और कुछ ऐसे लोग जो ऑफिस के गरम माहौल को अपनी हंसी मज़ाक से हल्का फुल्का रखते हैं.  कहानी में रोज़ मर्रा का कार्यकारी जीवन झलकता है. रोज़ के हलके फुल्के किस्से, चाय पे  चर्चा,मित्रों के साथ घूमना,चुगलियां,ठहाके और मौज मस्ती पाठक की रूचि बढ़ाते हैं. यदि आप कार्यारित हैं, तो आप अपने कार्यकारिक जीवन की झलकियां कहानी में देख पाएंगे. ऑफिस के वो छोटे छोटे किस्से, पिकनिक, गहमा गहमी, डेड्लाइंस  - लेखक ने मनो अपने सारे कार्यकारिक अनुभव पुस्तक में उड़ेल दिए हों.

जैसे जैसे कहानी गति पकड़ती है, पाठक एक रोचक लेखन शैली देखना चाहते हैं. किन्तु ऐसा लगता है की लेखक ने अपने चर्चित ब्लॉग वृद्धग्राम की तरह ही लेखन शैली संजीदा और धीमी रखी है.

कहानी में जहाँ हंसी के पल हैं, वहीँ रुला देने वाले भाग भी हैं. अपने साथ कार्यारित कर्मचारियों से हमारा एक पारिवारिक नाता सा बांध जाता है. सब सुख और दुःख फिर साझे प्रतीत होते हैं. तारा की बीमारी और देहांत कथा के कुछ ऐसे ही भाग हैं. अंत  बेहद भावुक है. कथानक के समक्ष कई सवाल हैं जो पाठक के मन में भी  घर बना लेते हैं. नौकरी  का असली उद्देश्य क्या है? कार्यकारी जीवन में संतोष किसे कहते हैं? ये ऐसे सवाल हैं जो कथानक के ही नहीं, अपितु हर पाठक के मनन में आएंगे.

परंतु एक सवाल मेरे मन में प्रायः उथल पुथल मचा  रहा था. ये कहानी मानव संसाधन की अनदेखी  कहाँ से प्रतीत होती है? ये तो एक तरह से कथानक के कार्यकारी अनुभवों की एक दैन्द्विनी सी जान पड़ती है. शायद इसलिए शुरू के कुछ पृष्ठ पाठक का ध्यान बाँधने को जूझते हैं.

यदि आप मानव संसाधन का जीवन जानने के उत्सुक हैं तो शायद निराश हाथ लगे. किन्तु यदि आप इसे एक साधारण कॉर्पोरेट जीवन के अनुभवों से भरी एक कथा के  रूप में पढ़ेंगे तो पुस्तक का मज़ा ले पाएंगे.

ये समीक्षा ब्लोगअड्डा के लिए है.