His Steadfast Love - A Moving Tale

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Vishaal 0 Comments

Amanda Belle is a lady of Southern upbringing, charged with caring for younger
siblings after losing her mother. Kent Littlefield is a Union army officer, quickly rising in rank. The two meet just before the Civil War and quickly fall in love. However, when the war starts, Kent must take his place in the Northern army - taking him away from the woman he loves. Amanda's own brother soon joins the Southern Rebel army - tearing her allegiances: family and slavery; or true love and freedom? When the war ends, will Kent come for Amanda and win the blessings of both families for marriage? What will become of Amanda's brother, her siblings, and her convictions?


Max on Life: The Book Review

Saturday, November 19, 2011 Vishaal 0 Comments

If you've read Max Lucado before, you know he has a unique, simplistic and descriptive style of writing. This helped to keep my attention as I read, but I still felt like the format got monotonous. It was difficult for me to keep jumping from question to question, topic to topic. My suggestion is to not read it straight through, but read "popcorn style" - jump around throughout the book sampling his thoughts on a variety of topics. There is also a handy topic and Scripture index to help you find direct help when you know what you're looking for.

The questions are very relatable. I have asked many of them myself. You probably have too. Sometimes I was satisfied with Max's answer but other times I felt like the answers were round-a-bout or politically indirect.

Here are a few sample questions:
#62. Why should we pray for help when God already has a plan? He's going to do His will anyway, so what difference does it make when we ask for healing for a friend, family member, or pet? Does prayer really change anything, or was the outcome already in God's plan?

#100. Some people say that being gay is a sin, and others say that it's okay if the person loves God. So does God hate homosexuals? Also, are the commandments in the Bible archaic, speaking more of the culture of that time and not necessarily ours today?

#128. Our family is exhausted. We run from one event to the next. How do we slow down?

#167. What of the people who never heard of God? How can God judge them for what they do not know?

Max On Life - Mr. Lucado takes the time to answers letters he has received over the years. He gives the reader insight on many problems they may be dealing with in their lives. I think it is a great book to have in your collection. Sometimes life problems can send us scrambling for answers... Max Lucado shows us GOD words are all the COMFORT we need.

What shines through each page is how pastoral these answers are. They are not the discourses of one theologian to another, nor are they simply feel-good self-help mantras. They are ordinary answers targeted to ordinary people, gentle, kind, soaked in Biblical wisdom, always looking to God's love & grace. Even though you probably will think, "Yes, I knew that..." at each answer, Lucado's way with words will cause you to pause, reflect, and see the truth just a bit more clearly.


The Final Summit - Not Quite the Finale

Saturday, November 19, 2011 Vishaal 0 Comments

Summary: Mankind has become a quickly corrupted society and they are on the verge of complete annihilation. They have veered from being a productive, successful society and God has decided that if they do not change they will be destroyed. David Ponder, our hero, is one of the Travelers, a group of people selected to travel through time, many guided by archangel Gabriel, and he is selected along with the other Travelers to meet at the final summit, where a solution must be reached that will bring humanity back to being a successful civilization. What's the catch? They only have five tries.

Truth is, I did not find this work "great" or "classic". I did find it basically entertaining and a quick read. It's not heady or confounding; unfortunately it's not particularly deep, subtle, or complex either. Whereas it did offer an invitation to reflect, the content was not what I personally would consider meaty or profound. I have to believe that it was intended to be an every-man's book of inspiration...and I do mean every MAN. It has a decidedly masculine take on the world. Lots of warriors, football coaches, and politicians among his "wise" assemblage.


A Year with God - Seems a long time

Saturday, November 19, 2011 Vishaal 0 Comments

This book is a daily Bible devotional based on the words of God from the Old
Testament. It is organized into sections such as Hope & Fear, Love & Hate, and Faith & Doubt. Each day lists a section of scripture that includes God's words to his people followed by a short reflection on this passage from the author.

As far as content, however, this book was only okay. The author uses many different Bible translations throughout the book, and I felt as if he/she was picking and choosing translations to what would fit his/her musings the best. I also thought that many of the contemplations about the scriptures fell rather flat and were not very thought-provoking.


Prakriti Ki Prayogshala - Hindi Book

Saturday, November 19, 2011 Vishaal 0 Comments

Title: Prakriti Ki Prayogshala (in Hindi).
Authors: Nikhil Mohan Patnayak and Pushpshri Patnayak.
Publishers: Vigyan Prasar, A-50, Institutional Area, Sector-62, Noida 201 307.
Year: 2008.
119 pp.
Price: Rs 85.

This book is a Hindi translation of the original book Exploring Nature in English. It has been translated and edited by B. K. Tyagi, Anurag Sharma and Navneet K. Gupta. This little treatise supplements the school education about nature, by training students in an informal setting.


Falling is Learning

Thursday, February 24, 2011 Vishaal 5 Comments

I stared at the twisted piece of the metal that my dad placed in front of me. The object was magnificent. Never in my life had I ever seen a bright blue bike with white washed tyres accessorized with a tooting horn.

I ran my small hands over it in awe until I looked down at the tyres. At that instant, fear gripped my heart. There weren’t any training wheels on the bike.

I shot a questioning look at my dad. He smiled encouragingly and said, “Today is your first lesson
without training wheels.” He wrapped me up in a hug and whispered. “ You can do it. I know you can.” My dad had confidence in me even though I had slammed shut the door of faith.I knew I would fall and the reflection of this truth was clear in my dad’s eyes. However he was silent from pessimism. He encouragingly helped me onto the two-wheeled monster. I struggled to face my fear as my mind wandered to instances in the past when my dad was there for me.He placed an immense trust in me and I didn’t want to let him down. My dad’s patience, confidence and experience in riding a bike himself convinced me to sit in the black seat.

He stood there holding the bike, guiding me patiently over the rough pavement in the park. As he stood
beside me, I felt assured as he carefully let go of the bike. The wind whipped past me and I felt free and
happy to ride as an overwhelming sense of independence took over me. My dad’s encouraging words helped
me to appreciate the joys of riding a bike. The more I peddled the more I loved it.

I pictured my dad’s smiling face as he whispered, “ You can do it”. I peddled faster and faster , I was going to do it for him. My dad made it easier for me to thrust my fear aside because of his belief in me. His
optimistic side helped me to strive towards my goal of learning to ride a bike. I trust my dad to lead me down
the right road because as my parent, he loves me and he will do the best for me. My fear ceased because of my dad’s kind words and gentle nature. His experience and passion for living pushed me onward down the path.

As I sat on the asphalt examining my cut, my dad bent down and kissed the bleeding wound and said, “Falling is a part of learning”.


At last she cried................

Saturday, January 22, 2011 Vishaal 2 Comments

The beeps of the buzzer were driving her crazy all over again as the platform gently and steadily entered the portal (as it seemed) of the giant Siemens spiral CT. It was her fourth time and she was well aware of the procedures. But each time felt like another battle. An eerie chill would run up her spine every time the
red beam ran across her body, head to toe, scanning for the secondaries as they called it.

Being a science graduate with zoology as a subject she could understand quite a bit of what the Doctors used to say to her or about her illness to her parents. A tumour, neoplastic tissue, spread to liver and sorts of stuff. She knew that she had not been as lucky as other people. Her parents would break down every time she had a follow-up of endless procedures. She knew she had to be strong.

Her in-laws would rarely visit her. Even if they did, after talking about everything, they would eventually
enquire about the pension she was receiving and what she’s doing about it. The meagre amount was in return for the supreme sacrifice her husband had made at the front. The body had arrived four days after his passage. She recalled how she stood at the door step watching other men bringing down the casket from the truck. Men in uniforms , honourary fire, slogans and women grieving “Oh! the poor thing!” etc. She still smelt the fire destroy his last remains and turn them to dry ash.

Adamant she was, to accept what fate had in store for then. She had stood all night in front of the pyre and even had thought of jumping in the same fire and ending it all. But the cuddles of the little life she had in her arms forced her to stand in front of mean fate and look into the eyes of death and say “not now ; not
now “.

“You may go, its done” said the technician. “It’s still under control. We hope to decrease its vascularity further. You’ll have to start another regimen of drugs and frequent radiotherapy.” Said the doctor after a long observation of the CT prints held against the white tube lit box. Another set of killer drugs. ‘Hell’ she said to herself.

Back home, heaven was 5 years old now, Already toddling away to school down the street. The little girl was the only hope, only ray of light in her miserably painful life. Hence, she had taken a vow, an oath, never to make her cry, never leave her alone, never utter a single word of hate, ill fate, disease or sorrow in her life. She had dreamt of her daughter as a graduate, able to stand on her own. She had got a teachers job in the
same school to make the ends meet. To provide for almost anything her daughter ever needed. Her in laws were not so kind now. They would take away all the pension and she was not prepared to try them at court as she knew her ailing body would not allow her to move around for years in search of justice.

Her day began with her daughter and ended with her. She took all the care a mother could take and much more. Her favourite part of the day was grooming the little one and tying the two little ponies with red ribbon, It just got her day going !! She would walk along as the tiny thing, jumped, ran ,tripped, stumbled but
never fell. Get her to school and after school again walk back or sometimes carry her. All the way, why is sky blue? Why do birds sing? Why is rose red? Why do boys in class pull my hair ? Why does the wind blow……?

‘Pleasure’ was not the word to define the feeling as she patiently tried to answer the kid’s questions. Try to fit them in her tiny world. Some times she would sit up all night just watching her love’s last sign, sleeping, peacefully.

The days were not so bright now. Her hair began to fall off. She would bleed bad from minor cuts. Bowel
movement was uncontrolled. Diarrhoea, vomiting and host of other messengers came reminding her of the inevitable. Never did she complain of her life to her daughter. Always cheering her up. Turning the topic.

24 years had passed since she was tested cancerous. And the armchair in the verandah had been there for 6 years now. She sat in it all the time, pleading to death, to wait. "Some more time, just a little more, Hang on" she would tell herself. "Let her come, then I will go with you" she’d say and when her daughter returned,

Death could not separate them.  He stood there silently unable to break the determination to live, the will to
survive. Not for her sake but for the sake of the only purpose in her life – her daughter. Even today she lay in the armchair eyes closed but mind towards the gate. Waiting for what she had dreamt of all her life.
The gate creaked, and she struggled to open her eyes. Weak, and down trodden couldn’t see much.

She could see a faint figure in black, running with arms wide open towards her and shouting in joy. Her daughter was a graduate and she knelt down to touch the feet of her mother. Buckling up all the last bits of energy in her arms and back she somehow managed to lift her right hand to rest it on her daughter head – warmth from her daughter’s scalp. Life, lives on, my life lives on………..

A strange grippy sensation caught her feet and then spread to her kness, hip, trunk, chest, head. She felt a sense of relief..., she took in one deep breath. Put an immense effort, leaned forward. Her pupils dilated as if in a bid to see her daughters face in totality, once and forever. …..

She closed her eyes gently…….

A tear rolled down her left cheek,

Then there was silence.

Eternal silence………..


Lost Childhood

Saturday, January 22, 2011 Vishaal 2 Comments

They played, they enjoyed at his age
They were free birds with no woes,
He wished he could be like them,
But fate was one of his worst foes

They got what they wanted
Without a second thought
He wished he could get something too.
But it was life with which he fought

The rich kids broke away what they had
Without any doubt or guilt
He wished he had owned something
But for him castles in air were built

He sat in a quarry and broke boulders
While they laughed and chattered
He thought what he broke was stones
But I saw his childhood shattered.