Monthly Archives

June 2018

I am divinity

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The divine Tulsi is incomparable.

One that gives pleasure to the Gods: Devadundubhi

My devotees swear by my powerful presence. They have heard about what transpired in the Heavens several centuries ago.

One day, when Lord Krishna’s youngest queen Satyabhama decided to weigh her husband in gold, all her wealth and ornaments could not tilt the scale. But then his older queen Rukmini Devi arrived with a plateful of my leaves. Older and wiser, she placed just a single leaf on the pan and the scale tilted—much to Satyabhama’s astonishment!

Satyabhama questioned how could I be so precious and Rukmini Devi answered, “Because Lord Krishna so desired.”

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession available on


Movie Review: Race 3 is so absurd that it is cathartic

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Film: Race 3

Date: 15 June 2018

Director: Remo D’Souza

Writer: Shiraz Ahmed

Cast: Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Jacqueline D’Souza, Daisy Shah, Bobby Deol, Saqib Saleem, Freddy Daruwala


For those who have not watched 2008 Race shot in South Africa and 2013 Race 2 shot in Turkey Race 3 showcases a new hero/ writer/ director and location but the plot is once again the family and their quest for power.

Once again there are opulent mansions, magnificent cars, dance, drama, full on parties and daredevil stunts that never stop.

Helicopters appear in the sky faster than taxis on roads and at the click of a trigger, men, buildings and vehicles are blown into fireballs.

The minus of the film is the unusually drab music and the incomprehensible lyrics. Granted it is a thriller but the screenplay could have been more imaginative. The narrative, in this case, unfolds like a school play where every character tells his story.

Unfortunately, in their bid to make it larger than life everything – action and emotions are exaggerated and over the top.

There are major continuity flaws: Shamsher Singh/ Anil Kapoor in a chase sequence breaks his car door and uses it as a shield, post the fight however he locks the same door and speeds away.

Sanjana/ Daisy Shah performs a major action sequence wrapped in a tight dress and high heels, when she gets uncomfortable Daisy picks a knife and skillfully slits her costume for more leg movement. That’s not all, in a jump sequence the pencil heels conveniently transform into sandals.

There is no explanation for Yash/ Bobby Deol’s character, who arrives out of the blue and becomes a major player in the game. There is no explanation why Sikander/ Salman Khan and later Jacqueline Fernandes are blessed with extra-ordinary powers to fly in the sky a la Batman.

The plus of the film is the scale, pace, locations, cinematography, production values and the twists and turns in the characters which are the USP of the Race franchise.

Should you watch Race 3? Absolutely, because sometimes, it is important to give your heart and mind some rest and once in a while comes a film that is so crazy. Race 3 is so absurd that it is  cathartic, so stretch your legs and relish the exotic locations made memorable by Anil Kapoor’s marvelous performance.

One more thing, this time it is not just Salman Khan but also Bobby Deol who goes topless so wait for the whistle moment in the climax when the heroes fling their shirts out to fight together.

I rate the unpretentious and thoroughly entertaining Race 3 with 3 stars.



Useful in kitchen

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I am Kamala.

I am useful in the kitchen as well. My seeds, Phool Makhana are popular in Indian cuisine.

Some ancient families dry and store me for longer use like pickles.

My leaves and stalk are eaten as a vegetable in many regions in India.

My tubers taste like sweet potato.

My petals are used for garnish and my fan like leaves serve as wraps for fillings.

My seeds, my leaves, and rhizomes are all edible.

My stem is eaten in all parts of India, and pickled too

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

Next week I introduce to a new character of the book


Symbol of bhakti

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I am Ambuja.

I represent the sacred place, the heart and my unfolding petals are an expansion of my soul.

I am a symbol of bhakti or love for God or Paramatma or the super soul who resides in our heart.

I am privileged that the holy Ganga is strewn with my petals, overwhelmed that I am the chosen one to be offered in devotion. There are stories within stories and all of them have a precious message.

The unopened Lotus bud is representative of a folded soul that has the ability to uplift and elevate above the muddy surroundings and aspire for the divine truth.

My ancestors symbolised the ten prime virtues requisite in worship to the Lord, namely: purity, beauty, majesty, grace, fertility, wealth, richness, knowledge, serenity, and eternity and the tradition continues after all these years.

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:


I symbolise resurrection

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The seers say my birth is for a reason, to impart a message. I emerge from the muddy water and blossom into a flower. The human being also, on its path to enlightenment fades away impurities before coming into soul consciousness.

I am Surya Kamal.

I break away from my entangled weeds and float above water without a trace of mud, so does the balance of life.

I am the flower of the golden age, associated with Lord Krishna and other deities always holding my stem in their hand. If not in their hand I am always found placed at the feet of the deities.

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:


I am Ambala

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I have many colours.

When I am white I am described as Pundarika… I symbolise spiritual perfection and mental purity and this comes from the celestial stars. My petals spread and absorb the natural beauty of the shining stars in the sky.

When I am pink I am addressed as Padma… the supreme lotus reserved for the highest deity.

When I am red I am referred to as Kamala… it signifies purity of the heart. Then, I am the lotus of love, of passion, the flower of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

When I am blue I am called Utpala…I am a symbol of victory of spirit over senses, symbol of wisdom of knowledge and the flower of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:


I rise in water

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I am Kamala.
Some call me Sacred Water Lily; some call me Bean of India but most know me as Kamala. I rise in the water and I am recognised by my broad floating leaves and my characteristic fragrance.
I stand on long and firm stems and my many petals overlap each other in a symmetrical pattern.
My roots are deep and spread out through the muddy soil of the pond or river bottom. My large circular leaves often dressed in dew drops float on top of the water surface.
I have many names, many references and all of them have myriad interpretations.

In India I am called Ambal, Thamarai, Suriya Kamal, Padma, Ambuja, and Pankaja.

I grow in different shapes and sizes in different seasons, and different countries refer to me by different titles.

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

I am Lamarckia

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In the coming years, the scientists discovered that my leaves are edible for cattle. I did not tell them that Kaanha’s wish-fulfilling cow Kamadhenu had all along fed on my leaves and slept peacefully while his master played the flute.


In present times my utility is manifold. I am exploited for timber and paper, for plywood, for light construction, for pulp, for boxes and crates, for dug-out canoes, and for furniture components. I am also used to create perfume and my leaves serve as a mouth wash.


My bark is bitter so purposeful in inflammatory diseases, a decoction of my leaves cures ulcers. My fruits cure gastric irritability and fever.


Many preserve my fallen leaves as a book mark and some use them for decomposition. I improve the physical and chemical properties of soil under its canopy.


I am Kadamba.


I preserve secrets and also nature.


Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

Next week I introduce to a new character of the book


I am Katambu

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I am Karam.

I am mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana.

While every tree associated with Lord Krishna is precious and documented as some art form, I am fortunate that poets like Jaydeva’s Geet Govinda have dedicated verses to me. I am fortunate that many performing artistess have paid tributes in immortal images to me.

In North India, I am synonymous with Lord Krishna, some address me as my Lord’s sakha, while others describe me as his avatar.

Down South I am referred to as the Parvati’s tree and in some regions as Rohini’s tree. While the Radha-Krishna romance beneath Kadamba is legendary, it is believed that in the Sangam period of Tamil NaduMurugan of Tirupparankundram Hill of Madurai was referred to as a centre of nature worship because Murugan in the form of a spear is placed under me, a Kadamba tree.

So many stories, so many interpretations…

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

To be continued


I am tall and luscious

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The orchard and the forest blossomed every time they walked the path hand in hand and when they dispersed, my leaves wilted and withered away.

I grow fast and transform colour according to seasons.

Sometimes I feel I am symbolic of Radha Rani’s volatile moods. I reflect her fire and her passion. She blushes pink when Kaanha is beside her, when he touches her and turns green with envy when he shifts attention to the gopikas.  She is red-eyed when furious and ash-faced when it came to parting with her beloved…

They spend long, silent hours seated beneath my foliage resembling a canopy. I have guarded them from atop and my long branches coiled together have gently rocked them to sleep.

Moments of utter bliss…

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

To be continued