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Sights and Sounds of Descending Dusk Over a Mountain Resort

Sights and Sounds of Descending Dusk Over a Mountain Resort in Himalayas

I visited a hill resort deep into the Himalayas a few months back. I had arrived there late in the afternoon. After lunch, I had slept off, maybe due to the tiresome long road journey from home. The warmth under the blanket was so addictive that I had to use some willpower to wake up.

Finally, after several turning sides, when I could wake up, it was already late in the evening. So I went out and sat alone on a lawn chair placed in the manicured lawn outside. A cup of tea was served there.

Gray House With Fireplace Surrounded by Grass Under White and Gray Cloudy Sky

After nearly finishing the day’s task of giving warmth and light to earth, the tired Sun-God was saying goodbye.

The final flourish of crimson and orange hues had covered the entire Western horizon. The colours tenderly touched the sides of little heaps of feathery white clouds, making them blush like brides. 

I kept watching the still azure sky. Overhead at a moderate height, a flock of birds was rhythmically winging their way back to their nests.

One bird led the group, and the rest followed in an arrow formation. I did not wish to know the names of those birds or where they were going. The flock looked like a live black line moving away.

I watched those birds as far as my eyes could follow them. Were their dark wings moving up and down saying TA-TA to me? A faint smile crossed my lips in response.

At the far end of the lawn, small grey birds were busy finding their night shelter under the thick thorny hedge of bougainvillaea. It was funny to look at the tiny creatures hopping back and forth at the bottom of the fence to find the safest place to rest for the night.

As they moved, they made a crisp twitting sound. Within a short time, they all disappeared under the hedge.

Larger birds perched atop high pine trees were noisier. They were calling out to their mates as if taking a roll call before sleeping. One could clearly follow the query calls and answering calls. Gradually, they too went quiet. A temporary lull fell all around.

The series of Mountains surrounding the resort, was changing colours steadily. When I had arrived here in the afternoon, the thickly forested mountains close-by looked blue-green.

Wave after wave of mountains reached out to as far as the horizon. Farther they went they appeared more and more blue. It looked as if the ever-restless waves of an ocean had suddenly frozen still.

At this moment, with the gradually descending sun, the colour of the mountains was turning darker by minutes. The difference between one mountain and the other was getting increasingly blurred.

After a while, the entire cluster of cliffs looked like a dark monolith sleeping under the canopy of the star-studded sky. A blanket of grey mist crept up silently to cover the mountainsides.

For me, it appeared as if the ever affectionate mother-nature was carefully spreading a blanket over her sleeping child.  My eyes put on a faraway look. I could see the head and tail lights of cars going up and down the winding road on the mountain across the valley.

So far, crickets had remained hidden and silent; God knows where? But now, they started making their presence felt.

A sound ‘trrrrrrit’ came from the bush on my left and stopped.  Within a few seconds, a response came from the dead tree trunk on my right side ‘– crick – crick – crick – crick’ and stopped. Then from the slope beyond the fence, going down to the valley, a baritone emerged – ‘krwat.. krwat..krwat. It seemed the frogs and crickets were synchronising their instruments before starting their full-fledged nightlong orchestra.

Selective Focus Photography of Turned-on Black Metal Framed Light Sconce

Suddenly one brown, shadowy figure sprinted from one side of the hedge to the opposite undergrowth. It could be anything like a rabbit, a wild cat, or a wild boar. 

A hotel boy went around switching on the low powered lights on the porch walls in front of the row of huts. The dews had started condensing on the carpet of grass all around. It was time to go inside.

Yet I lingered on, savouring the sights and sounds of approaching night in the mountain resort. The countless blinking stars filling the inverted bowl of the dark sky above were the only witness of this episode. I wondered where all these stars remained hidden in the sky over our city.

Almost unwillingly, I rose from the chair and headed to my hut. The yellowish light on the wall had already started attracting tiny black-brown and green insects.

In one corner of that circle of light, house-lizard sat completely motionless with unblinking beady eyes. 

 I ignored the congregation of the insects and quickly entered my hut before the insects could follow me inside.

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Shakuni- The Afghan Connection in Mahabharata

Shakuni ‘The Mama’ and his Afghan Connection in Mahabharata

Indian archaeologists are bringing to light more and more pieces of evidence to confirm the existence of a great civilisation that flourished during the time of Pandavas and Kauravas. As a result, we cannot regard Mahabharata as an epic anymore, as the British would have us to believe.

Instead, we may call Mahabharata a valuable chronicle. This chronicle had documented the intricate details of the rise and fall of an empire that ruled most parts of ancient India.

We also come to know a lot about the strength, weakness, belief, life-style, social system, inheritance rules, power struggle, conspiracies and much more of the contemporary people of that time.

A hidden crack somewhere may initiate the ultimate demolition of a magnificent mansion. Similarly, Shakuni had engineered the total destruction of the entire Kuru clan most unobtrusively. He tiptoed into the royal palace, teeming with inmates, as an obscure maternal uncle of the Crown Prince Duryodhana. But working from inside, he put his sinister plan in action, ever so slowly, taking years of time, to achieve his target of the complete devastation of the mighty Kuru dynasty.

The readers of Mahabharata usually hate Shakuni as a cunning and crafty crook. But let us investigate why he did what he did? Was he solely responsible for the demolition of the Kuru dynasty? Was he inhuman like an evil monster? At the end we may not despise Shakuni any longer. We may end up admiring him.

Shakuni was a prince by birth. His father was Subal, the King of Gandhara (the present Kandahar in Afghanistan).

Gandhara was a small but independent state. King Subal, had 100 sons and 11 daughters. Gandhari, the eldest daughter, was the most beautiful, highly educated and talented princess among the rest of the sisters.

Kuru Dynasty was the largest and the most powerful in India. The Monarch of the Kuru dynasty was Dhritarashtra. He was born blind. Therefore, Bhishma, his uncle, acted as his Regent.

To expand the Kuru Kingdom, Bhishma constantly attacked and annexed one independent state after the other. After defeating those Kings in battle, he routinely abducted their daughters to get them married to Dhritarashtra. Abduction of young princesses seemed to be an obsession for Bhishma. This psychological delusion may have originated from his own promise to his father Shantanu, never to get married and produce an offspring who could ascend the throne.  

It was not surprising, that Dhritarashtra having that many wives at his disposal would become the proud father of one hundred sons. The eldest son Duryodhana and daughter Dushala were born to Queen Gandhari. It is also known that Dhritarashtra fathered a son Yuyutsu with Sugadha, the maid of Queen Gandhari. Perhaps it is mentioned nowhere that how many sons and daughters Dhritarashtra might have fathered and with who all.

With uncle Bhishma taking care of the Kingdom, the visually impaired King probably took charge of blindly producing progenies. But that is beside the point here.  

When Bhishma attacked the tiny Kingdom of Gandhara, he ran over its army with ease. During the fight he captured all the sons of King Subal and held them hostages. Then he threw a siege around Subal’s fortress to bring the King down to his knees in surrender. When King Subal heard that Bhishma fed his sons only one grain of rice per day and they were on the brink of death, he was heartbroken. He immediately offered to give out all the grains stored in his fort to get his sons released. Bhishma refused to accept his offer.

Finally, he agreed to set free only one son. Thus, Shakuni, the brightest among his brothers, was allowed to walk free out of Bhishma’s clutches.

The rest of his brothers died of starvation one by one. But, as if that was not enough – Bhishma demanded to take away Gandhari, to get married to the blind King Dhritarashtra. Ultimately, he took away all eleven daughters with him. On arrival back home he got Gandhari and her ten sisters forcibly married to Dhritarashtra.

Helpless Gandhari felt so humiliated that she never wanted to cast her eyes on Dhritarashtra. She blindfolded herself as a mark of her protest. Considering the circumstances of her marriage, it could not possibly be an act of great sacrifice for the love of her blind husband, as popularly believed.

With this background, anyone can guess how deeply tormented Shakuni would have been and how intensely he would want to take revenge on the Kuru clan for ruining his entire family, humiliating his father and robbing him of his kingdom.

However, Shakuni was so brilliant that his intelligence and tact were second to only Dwarakadhish Sri Krishna, the most talented statesman of his time. He knew that it was impossible to fight against the mighty Kuru dynasty alone. So he decided to make think out his action plan and continue refining it, while lying low for the time being. 

An Artist’s Impression of Shakuni

Ronkel MERI will change the mindset about the art of acting - Gufi Paintal  - Akela Bureau of Investigation

When Duryodhana, the eldest son of Gandhari was born, Shakuni made his entry unobtrusively into the inner core of the palace of Dhritarashtra and stayed put there as the loving maternal uncle of infant Duryodhana. No one could suspect his real intention. 

As Duryodhana started growing up, Shakuni became his mentor and made him entirely dependent on him for advice and guidance. Gradually, through Duryodhana, he secured a berth in King Dhritarashtra’s court to keep track of all political developments taking place in the Kingdom.

Shakuni ensured that he never came to the forefront. But he made Duryodhana follow his biddings unquestioningly, ignoring all others. By utilising his nephew’s mercurial temper as a tool, Shakuni launched his malevolent plan.

He got some dice manufactured out of the bones of his dead brothers and influenced Duryodhana to challenge the prosperous Pandavas to play a game of dice (a type of gamble).

Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers had to accept the challenge. Yudhishthira and Duryodhana started playing.

Shakuni - villain behind the battle of Mahabharata # 2 - Taazakhabar News

Shakuni throwing dice on behalf of Duryodhana (An Artist’s Impression)

The spirits of Shakuni’s dead brothers ensured that the dice, when thrown by Shakuni, came up with the numbers that favoured only Duryodhana.

Consequently, the Pandava‘s lost everything they possessed. They were subjected to severe insult in front of everyone in the court and finally forced to go on exile for thirteen long years.

During their exile, Shakuni through his intelligence network, kept a track of the Pandavas. He tried to burn Pandavas alive, when they were supposed to be fast asleep in a house made of highly inflammable materials.

Only a timely secret message sent by Vidura, the biological father of Yudhisthira, saved their lives. (Pandu, the legal father of the Pandavas, was a born weakling and impotent man).

After their exile term was over, the Pandavas returned to Hastinapur and claimed their part of the Kingdom. On the advice of Shakuni, Duryodhana stubbornly refused to return their Kingdom.

Instead, he compelled the Pandavas to fight a war, of course under the instigation of Shakuni. In the epic battle of Kurukshetra, the entire Kuru clan got killed in a matter of only eighteen days. Thus Shakuni took his revenge most successfully, though he too lost his life in that battle.

Shakuni had a tender, affectionate side too. Occasionally we have a glimpse of this human face. He loved his sister Gandhari very dearly and knew that she was mortally scared of darkness right from her early childhood. He was extremely pained to see her blindfolded and remain in perpetual darkness.

On many occasions in Mahabharata, Shakuni pleaded with Gandhari to remove the cover from her eyes. Even at the advanced stage of the battle, he did come back from the battlefield, only to urge his sister to remove the blindfold and watch Bhishma, their tormentor, lying on the bed of arrows, painfully awaiting death. 

Blue Leaf on Twitter: "I find this picture wich i drew years ago.  Gandhari&Shakuni #mahabharat #shakuni #gandhari" /  Twitter

 Gandhari and Shakuni (An Artist’s Impression)

Though Shakuni made use of the short tempered and probably less intelligent Duryodhana as a tool, he was as affectionate to him as any other doting maternal uncle. He was so loyal to his nephew that, instead of deserting him after the doomed battle of Kurukshetra started, he stuck the battlefield with his nephew till he got killed. 

Shakuni brought down the mighty Kuru Kingdom to bite the dust single-handed. It is difficult to deny a grudging admiration due for him.

Like an efficient and super intelligent one-man army, he went about working on his single targeted mission, with the calm composure, unshakable confidence. Ultimately he succeeded to destroy the most powerful empire of his time. 

In my personal opinion, Shakuni was a great Kshatriya (Royal fighter class). He was a master strategist of his time. He had the patience to take baby steps spanning decades until his plan to destroy the Kuru dynasty succeeded.

He never lost his clarity of purpose, and he never mixed up personal emotions with the task he had to do dispassionately. His deception as a courtier in King Dhritarashtra‘s court was perfect. His cover never got blown.

His love for his sister was most tender, and his loyalty to his nephew was genuine. He succeeded to take his revenge for his father’s humiliation, murder of his ninety-nine brothers and forcible marriage of all his sisters to a blind man – all wilfully and cruelly mated out by Bhishma.

Considering the injustice he suffered in life, he was justified to take his revenge. After all, he was a human being.

The way he planned and executed the plan, was nothing less than heroic. I strongly feel that, not Shakuni, but the cruelty of Bhishma was the genesis of the battle of Kurukshetra that led to the bloody end of the Kuru dynasty. 

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Romance in the Sunset Years

Romance in the Sunset Years

Mr Pathak had retired as a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Border Security Force (BSF) about 10 years back. He was now well settled in life. But the boredom of complete order and perpetual silence in their three-bedroomed flat kept him ill at ease. He would often think wistfully how this very flat would be chaotic but full of lively sounds of laughter, when his children were young.

The children have gone their own way, leaving behind him and his wife to spend the rest of their lives.

After the long forty-five years of togetherness, not many words were needed to be spoken between him and his wife. Mr Pathak knew that his wife did not like to be disturbed when she watched her favourite TV serials for four hours every evening. So he ensured that she was not disturbed.

Mrs Pathak knew all about his food habits, personal likings and the timings of his regular medicines like the back of her palm. She could keep his blood pressure and diabetes under control by giving his medicines with robot-like regularity.  

The topics of common interest had almost vanished from their lives since they had achieved whatever they wanted in life. There was nothing more to look forward to. So, now they would only wait through the year for their grandchildren to come home for a fortnight every year-end. But still there was a small problem. Their grandchildren would giggle at their pure Indian accent.

The grandparents, in turn, could hardly follow what the grandchildren would say in fluent American English. 

The only time some spark would return to their lives was when they went for a yearly get together outstation with Mr Pathak’s batch-mates. They were all retired senior BSF Officers. Last year they had visited Renukaji in Himachal Pradesh.

5,912 Pedal Boat Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

The central attraction of that place was its beautiful long lake nestling between two waves of tall mountains on both sides. 

They could really let their hair down during such trips. They behaved as if they were still under-trainee officers in a hostel during such meets. One afternoon when everyone else was enjoying their afternoon snooze post-lunch, Mr and Mrs Pathak sneaked out of their hotel room and headed to the lake. They sat side by side in a small pedal boat that they hired for one hour and pedalled leisurely. When they reached the centre of the lake, they stopped pedalling. Their arthritic knees felt too tired to go any further. Their knees needed rest. At that mid-afternoon, youthful holiday-revellers were not around in other boats to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the lake. Pathaks sat quietly and allowed the gentle breeze to take their boat adrift. 

The water, just under the lake’s bank, on both sides of the lake, looked dark green by reflecting the dense forest on the mountain face. The water in the centre mirrored the azure sky, punctuated by white pieces of fluffy cloud lazily floating away to some unknown destination.

The crests of gentle ripples sparkled like diamonds in the mild winter sunlight. The tiny waves, coaxed by the playful breeze, kept rhythmically hitting the sides of the stationary boat…whish….splash ….whish…..splash…whish…. 

Showing off its bright orange beak, a milk-white solitary seagull pedalled past smoothly with its webbed orange feet, almost at a touching distance. It did not even care to look at the couple. It was looking for small fishes to surface.

Renukaji Lake, Himachal Pradesh India

At a distance, a deep dark water crow with its long snake-like neck continued to dive time and again underwater – as long as it could hold its breath. A blood-red dragonfly hovered around the boat for some time and finally sat on the bow (the front tip) of the boat. When no one disturbed it, it slowly lowered its pair of double wings. It started cleaning its huge pale blue composite eyes with its two forelegs.

After half a minute, the cleaning was done. It took off again to join three other greenish-yellow dragonflies, frolicking just a foot above the water surface. Gradually, the nature’s magic started casting its spell over the elderly couple.

Sitting side by side on the boat, they watched the opposite banks with a far-away look in their eyes. Their minds were busy reminiscing olden days. The naughty wind was trying to ruffle their salt and pepper receding hair.   

Mrs Pathak remembered how dashing her husband looked in his uniform those days. Yet how awkward and nervous he was when he approached her to propose. She used to be mortally afraid of ghosts. She unmindfully smiled a little, thinking of how he would suddenly jump out of a dark corner putting on a white bed-sheet over his head and make her scream. He would try to cook one odd dish on some Sundays and completely mess up the kitchen. She would feel upset. Yet, she had to appreciate the preparation. They often used to go for family picnics when Rohit and Rini were toddlers. Those were such fun days! 

Mr Pathak lost in his daydream, could almost visualise how young and beautiful Mrs Pathak would melt in his powerful arms. Then she would slowly lift her face, eyes closed, to meet his eager lips.

The wide-eyed new bride would admire whatever he did. She would appreciate his little jokes, and her spontaneous sparkling laughter would sound like a cascading spring.

He loved to watch her, applying vermillion on her centre parting of the hair, standing in front of the dressing table mirror. Then she would come and ask how she was looking. Those were the days!

After a long while, their eyes gradually turned and met. The trace of a smile crossed their brown lips wrinkled with age. No words were spoken; their eyes said it all. But both understood what the other felt.  

3,257 Pedal Boat Stock Photos and Images - 123RF

Mr Pathak looked at his watch. The one hour he rented the boat for, was about to be over. He said with a sigh, ‘Let us go’. They headed back to the jetty.

The rotating wheels splashing under the boat’s bilge (the bottom portion of a boat) did all the talking – all the way on their return journey.

For More Stories of Couples Read Now: Batter Half Vs Battered Half

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Defenceless Creatures with Great Compassion

It was tea time. By mistake, my hand hit my cup and very little tea split out of it on the table. But that was good enough to trigger my wife’s tongue into full action.

Along with the words pouring like monsoon rain, her hands were moving threateningly like a giant windmill.. I was sitting across quietly like a frog in a hailstorm; unsuccessfully trying to take shelter under a tiny mushroom. 

One such hand movement toppled her full cup of tea on the tabletop and the liquid rolled everywhere with lightning speed.

The brown liquid dripped on her lap as well even before she could react. I fixed my gaze to the ceiling fan above, pretending as if I could not see anything.

Then suddenly her facial expression changed. She had a broad smile on her face as if something very funny had happened. 

She asked me, “I wonder why such accidents happen?”

I replied, “God sitting above watches everything. Sometimes he dispenses justice to defenceless creatures with great compassion.”


Dis-satisfaction is a part of human nature. Amid the best times, many people experience a craving for something more, something better or something else. But he remains unsure of what exactly he wants.

Some other people spend a lifetime perpetually unhappy inside. He yarns to break free and find his sojourn amidst the quietness of nature where he can have a conversation with his soul. But he remains bogged down with the humdrum of mundane family responsibilities; the compulsions of practical life do not allow him to escape. His heart appears bound in a tight knot of barbed wire with many spikes piercing it cruelly from all angles.

The biography of poet Tagore shows that his life was full of extreme pain tormenting him time and again. Intense mental suffering transcended him to a very high level of spirituality.

He wrote “Geetanjali”. He noted that if the incense stick does not burn, it cannot emit fragrance. If the fire is not set to the wick of an earthen lamp, it will never be able to spread light in the darkness. The world appreciated what he said and honoured him with a Nobel Prize.

 We admire Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose for his unparalleled leadership and immense personal sacrifice for our country’s freedom. He felt deeply insulted to watch the subjugation of India by the British and injustice mated out by them.

It catapulted him to be a rebel and fight for India’s independence. 

The ultimate pain was suffered by Guru Govind Singh Sahib when he sacrificed his beloved sons for righteousness and humanity. In comparison, our sufferings seem to be nothing at all.

If we try hard enough, we can convert our sufferings into creations. It is said, “No Pains – No Gains”.

The deep pains can destroy a lesser human being. But if someone can divert his so-called agony to the positive direction, he can achieve great heights in the fields wherever his heart takes him.


Some people spend their life doing nothing but dreaming. However, those people can not save themselves from the torrent that life brings. Either they drown or land up at places where nobody wants to go. Therefore one must have his feet firmly rooted on mother earth and be practical.
But dreams, too, have their importance in life. Even animals dream. I have seen sleeping dogs and cats moving their paws. But their dreams must be related to food, fight or flight for survival and nothing more.

Human dreams are more complicated. We usually dream while falling asleep or before waking up. This is so because that is the time when we can access our subconscious mind. Mostly such dreams reflect whatever is going on in our subconscious mind. Therefore, dreamless sleep is said to be abnormal.

There are conscious dreams or wakeful dreams too. Before an architect builds a mansion, he creates the building in his mind like visualisation or wakeful dream. And then, he tries to give his visualisation a shape. Wright Brothers dreamt of flying like birds. With dogged efforts, they ultimately built the first aeroplane. It was their dream come true. Similarly, we all have dreams called ambition, and we try to realise them

.Rohnda Byrne, the author of a best seller book, “The Secret”, has taken dreams to even a higher level. She claims with adequate proof that dreams, particularly wakeful dreams, have the power to attract. For example, suppose one can dream intensely to visualise their object of desire; it automatically gets attracted and comes to him miraculously.

Therefore, I conclude that one must be practical but not devoid of dreams. Actually, if one knows how to dream, he can make use of dreams positively.

Ethnic woman with curly hair dreaming

Timeless Time


I was still lazing on the bed when my friend asked me not what the time was but what I thought about time. I thought and thought. Then I concluded that it is the time that is actually timeless.

It was there before the Earth evolved, and it will be there long after the Earth gets destroyed.                                         

Time has been Ticking since the Immemorial past; it helps if managed well, but it is emotionless. 

Time has witnessed the rise and fall of the mighty Roman Empire, watched the magnificent Himalayas rising from the ocean bed to touch the sky. It has also seen the prosperous Indus Valley Civilization getting into its grave – it has seen it all.

 We age with time, but time does not. Its strides remain brisk forever. We say Good time and Bad time. But good or bad – all times pass.

Time is indifferent about whatever happens to an individual or society as a whole. We cannot expedite birth or delay death. But it is the best healer of hurt by losing dear ones. Perhaps, this emotionlessness and agelessness were conceptualised by the ancient Indians as “Mahakaal”.

Time could not be invented. It was discovered by ancient Egyptians when they designed the Sun Dial. It gave only the daytime. Timekeeping by Hour-Glass was invented by Greeks in 325 B.C. The Romans used to tell the time by Water Clock. But what today we understand by time was discovered by Scottish Geologist James Hutton, who measured the age of the Earth.  

The clock was invented in Netherland by Christian Huygens in 1656. Since then, it has become a part of human life. But the universe has its own clock. The Sun, Moon and Stars rise and set in time. Seasons come and go in time, giving us fruits, crops and flowers. Even living beings have a body clock. Birth, childhood, adolescence, youth, maturity, ageing and death happen with a continuous flow of time. We call it the cycle of life.  

If you think the discipline of time is all-pervasive. If we follow it, we survive and prosper.

Book Release: Untold Stories of Men in Uniform

Veteran Indian Air Force Officer Amit Kumar Goswami is launching his second book of Short Stories “Untold Stories of Men in Uniform” containing  a collection of short stories of bitter-sweet incidents experienced by people in uniform in their day to day working life which usually they like to keep it to themselves’.

The civilian world gets to know about the heroics and sacrifices of uniformed people during and after war when they are decorated with medals. But in the day to day life the combatant personnel have to expose themselves to occasional life risks, as they constantly prepare for war through training and education. Taking the risk part in their stride, service personnel normally remain tight-lipped about their activities. In this book a veteran service man has depicted some of those exciting real life stories which are probably lesser known to the general public. At the same time, once in a while “Humour in Uniform” kinds of situations also occur during day to day work, most unexpectedly. A few funny incidents deftly described in this book, serve as a comic relief in otherwise book.

About the Author.

The author’s career spanning more than two and half decades had started with a bang. Barely out of the training academy, he had been thrown into the action packed rough and tumble of Indo-Pak Bangladesh Liberation War. Thereafter he held a number of important posts involving varied responsibilities and faced a number of challenging tasks and situations in his professional as well as personal life. When he finally retired, he penned down such experiences in his first book “Rear View Mirror”. This book was greeted with accolades from the reading public in India and abroad. That prompted his friends to share their stories with him which were equally or more interesting. Thus the second book has evolved and it is about to be launched. 

The book is being self-published through Notion Press India both in Kindle and Paperback Versions. Please log on to Amazon for requesting an advance copy or to schedule an interview with Wg Cdr Amit Kumar Goswami (Retd) contact the media agency or write to for more information.      

Now Available on

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Amit Kumar Goswami Author Of ‘Rear View Mirror’ On Hunches’n’Punches

n our Series Hunches’n’Punches, we are honored on the Eve of Republic Day Indian to have Air Force Veteran (Retd) Wing Commander Amit Kumar Goswami Author of ‘Rear View Mirror’ on ChaaiCoffee.

Amit Kumar Goswami Author of ‘Rear View Mirror’ is His First Book, A Collection of Short Stories.


Q: This is your first book. Where’d you get the idea to do a collection of short stories instead of a full-length novel?

     I am not a professional author. I used to write for fun and share those stories with friends and relatives. They liked what they read. They encouraged me to collect all those pieces and publish them in the form of a book. That is how “Rear View Mirror” happened.

Q: Did you have any goals for this collection when you wrote it — to get published, or just to finish, etc.?

   No. I used to write for my own satisfaction and used to enjoy the appreciation of friends when they read those pieces. The book just got published without any premeditated plan.

Q: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?

Once I broke all the bones of my ankle in a bad accident. After a serious operation to set them right, I was confined to bed for two months. Since in bed I could do nothing else, I kept thinking about my past life and wrote about those interesting incidents which I had encountered in the process of growing up in my life. The process continued long after I recovered completely. As far as I am concerned, the reason for writing is only pure personal pleasure.

Q: What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

    My father had been a renowned Professor and Author of Bengali literature. He groomed me up to appreciate literature. I grew up reading novels of Rishi Bankimchandra Chattopadhhay, works of Ravindranath Tagore and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhhay and other stalwarts of classic Bengali literature. I wrote in English because I have many friends who are not Bengali, and all my Bengali friends and relatives understand English. Thus my audience gets larger.

Q: What is the first book that made you cry?

   It was a novel Devdas, by Shri Sarat Chandra Chattopadhhay that made me cry.

Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

     Writing gives me immense pleasure. When I write I get so deeply involved in the subject, I feel a kind of ‘high’ like a person experiences in addiction.

Q: Do you write every single day?

     Routinely writing, only for the sake of writing, becomes boring for me and at that state I cannot churn out interesting stories. But my mind, like ‘radar’, automatically keeps searching and tracking for interesting plots about which I feel enthusiastic to tell others. Enthusiasm is contagious. It gets passed on to the readers.

Q: Any writing rituals?

    I follow no rituals or no fixed timings to sit and write. The only condition for me is, that whenever I write words should flow out my heart spontaneously – like water from a spring.

Q: Tell us some more about your book.

     My book is like a bouquet of short stories drawn from my personal experiences. I have tried to tell those stories in its sincerest form without mixing imaginations to add drama. I tell the stories as if I am talking to the reader on one to one basis. That is the reason why a reader can easily relate to the stories. There are other stories about people like Chhavi Rajawat and the twin sisters – Nungshi & Tashi. Their efforts and heroic deeds inspire respect and awe in my mind. I do not know them personally nor have I seen them from a distance. I have only read about them. While writing their saga I have tried to imagine and mentally feel involved in doing what they have done. For example, when a lovelorn man “PK” single-mindedly pedals his bicycle from New Delhi through several countries to meet his lady love in Sweden, I appear to travel mentally with him. when I was writing those parts of his travel, I seemed to have actually felt the hot desert wind of Afghanistan or the harsh winter chill of Germany on my own skin. 

Book Rear View Mirror Amit kumar Goswami

Q: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

After publishing the book, I have been showered with appreciation from many friends and relatives. That has encouraged me to write more. And more intensive practice appears to have enhanced the quality of my writing.

Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Rear View Mirror is my first Publication. Right now I have enough materials to publish my second book. It is a continuous process. But I want to make my first book successful before I venture into publishing the second one. I am in no hurry.

Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

When I write something about my personal life’s experience, I do not need to do any research work. But whenever I write stories based on somebody else’s experience, I do intensive research work. It may take days together. But I want to make sure that whatever I write should better be factually correct. For instance for the story of the PAF titled  “Snake in the Grass”, I had spent hours together in researching Islamabad, its surroundings and Pakistan Air Force.

Buy Now: Rear View Mirror 

Again, I learned a lot of facts about mountaineering when I wrote about the youngest siblings climbing from one camp to the next camp, trying to set their feet on Mount Everest.

Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Honesty is one thing that comes out clearly in the tone of the language of my book. I keep no secret about the incidents since such incidents happen in almost everybody’s life and they can empathize with me. If I tell a lie, I would be caught in no time, since the sincerity factor would vanish. When I get some information from Google or write out of imagination, I acknowledge it in writing at the footnote.

Q: Are you planning to adapt any of your stories to the screen?

    There are a few dramatic stories, which to my mind, can be a visual treat if adapted to screen. But it is not up to me to make a film out of those. That is not my business.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

   Yes. I do all my research work through Google. It is so easy to find complete information on a topic, collected in one place in Google.

Author Amit Kumar Goswami

Q: What’s the worst job you’ve had?

     I have picked up experience in varied fields in life. But whatever I did, I did it with complete dedication and love for it. As a rationing officer, when meat was to be distributed by cutting goat carcasses into pieces, I tried to emulate the art of butchers. I found that their expertise was something like medical surgeons. So, there is nothing like the worst job. But of course, there have been some unpleasant moments, as described in “A Nocturnal Journey” where I had to convey the body of my friend (sitting alone at the back of a truck) who died unexpectedly. I would never like to experience such tasks again in my life.

Q: Does your family support your career as a writer?

    Fortunately yes. All of them are enthusiastic about my writing. I cannot call writing as a career at my ripe old age. But since I come from a family of authors and educationists, I have a natural flair for writing. My wife always inspired me to write even when I was in military service.  Now that a book has really been written, she is very happy.

Q: Any last thoughts for our readers?

    All I can request to readers is to “abide by me”. I will ensure that they will never find me lacking in my efforts to please them with my stories.

Amit Kumar Goswami Author of ‘Rear View Mirror’ is Now Available on Amazon Indian and Flipkart India.Facebook Comments

Inspiring stories always give me a high: Amit Kumar Goswami

Creativity and adventure have followed him throughout his life. Having served in the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 26 years, author Amit Kumar Goswami has now come up with a collection of short stories — Rear View Mirror — that takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, traversing incidences from his personal life to stories that inspire him.

Talking about how his IAF adventures helped him in becoming a storyteller, he says: “I got posted to a new place every three years. In the IAF, your office staff becomes like your family and, as an officer, one takes on the role of the head of that family. I was also personally involved in Bangladesh operations in 1971 and was present in war-ravaged Bangladesh. Some day I might write about those.”

In his book, he turns mundane experiences into adventure-laden tales. He recalls, “Three years back, the my ankle got fractured and I had to undergo a serious surgery. I was ordered to stay in bed for two months. With nothing to do, I used to think about incidents of my life and write them down,” he says.

Fond of reading stories of Air Force pilots who fought in World War I, Goswami says, “They were the real heroes, who challenged opponents face to face and won by sheer grit, courage, skill, and intelligence. But stories of courage in other fields also inspire me. In the story Twin Queens of Adventure, close to reaching Mt Everest’s peak, the oxygen cylinder valve malfunctions and young climber Nungshi is unable to breathe. While describing this, I actually experienced breathlessness. Due to this personal involvement in others’ stories, the feeling gets transferred to the minds of the readers.”

As Published on Hindustan Times (HT Media)