My favorite books on Writing

Some of my favorite books on Writing are:

The Tao of Writing by Ralph L. Wahlstrom

On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

The right to write: an invitation and initiation into the writing life by Julia Cameron

Bird by bird: some instructions on writing and life By Anne Lamott

Writing down the bones: freeing the writer within  By Natalie Goldberg

The right to write: an invitation and initiation into the writing life By Julia Cameron

The true secret of writing: connecting life with language By Natalie Goldberg

The Psychology of Creative Writing





Memories of Staying in Jabalpur by Dr. Hari Vachhani Part-1

By Dr. Hari Vachhani (Ex-Vice Chancellor Bhopal University)

(Unedited version – Editors are invited to edit the blogs)

I was born on 21st February, 1937 at Darbelo, Dist. Nawabshah, Sind, Pakistan (formerly INDIA). From !5th August, 1947, to December, 1947, it was difficult to live in Pakistan. All the time there was a threat of looting , rape cases of Hindu women and worst of all danger of being killed innocently. My parents decided to leave Pakistan. At that time,  we were living in Samaro, Dist, Tharparkar and I was 10 years old boy. We were required to catch the train to India from Mirpurkhas. To reach Mirpurkhas was a problem in itself . In the city of Mirpurkhas, we saw several people killed and their bodies lying on the roads and footpaths. Somehow we reached the station and boarded the train to Freedom so called India( a country with liberty, no fear and no danger to life). At Marwar, we changed the train and got down at Jaipur station, not knowing where to go. First three days we stayed in the Verrandah of a Primary school  till such time we got hired accomodation and purchased the beddings we needed. Soon, my father got a job in Head Post Office, Jabalpur. My parents along with my two sisters and grand Ma left for Jabalpur. For the sake of my education I went to Ajmer and stayed their with relatives.

In 1952, Central Board of Secondary Education, Ajmer declared the results of High School Examination. From Govt. High School for Sindhis No.2, Ajmer ( Husband Memorial High School afternoon batch ) I was the only student getting distinction in 3 subjects out of 5 (except English and Sindhi not getting the top position in the school). I had come to Jabalpur in March 1952.

For the first two months I had to struggle for admission to First Year Science in Mahakoshal MahaVidyalya ( Robertson College).There was dispute of equivalence of CBSE Examination with CP Board. Our college started on the last Saturday of June 1952. I had walked almost all the main streets and areas of Jabalpur. The places which fascinated me were MadanMahal, Gaurighat, Bhedaghat(famous for Marble rocks on the both sides of Narmada River. We were living in grawala rented house near Tularam Chowk in Andherdeo Area. Daily we used to cross Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower), Victoria Hospital. My daily routine was to go to College and attend the classes regularly. In case I miss the class I was to lose nearly Rs.2, being the day’s merit scholarship and fine. (Our fees were Rs.15/- a  month for nine months only). Fees being nominal, a major portion of my merit scholarship was utilised towards family expenditure. The college was nearly 9 km away from our house. There were two routes. First one was from Tularam Chowk to Victoria hospital, Ghanta ghar, Kutchery Chowk, Railway station, Jackson Hotel, South Civil Lines, GCF Road, GCF, GCF Bridge, Gokalpur, Robertson college. Other route was via Ghamapur which was around 8 km which was crowded. At last the first year results were out in April1953. Before we could know the results we had to appear before a Board of Examiners along with Principal. The first candidate to go inside was Mr. Agrawal (Alphabetical appearance). As soon as he came out he fell down and became unconscious. We found our Professor of Chemistry coming out, he asked me to bring  a bottle of ammonia from the Chemistry Lab. After inhaling ammonia, he immediately got up. I did not disappoint the Principal who was kind enough to give me admission as I stood first.

Jabalpur, A town known as cultural capital

I was born in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) in India. The town is famous for various personalities who made it big in spiritual circuits. Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Mahant Swami Maharaj & Osho (Rajneesh).

The small town has some disadvantages when one charts a career for the want of resources and connections.


River Narmada at Bhedaghat, Jabalpur (M.P.) India Image Courtesy

Just two days back i joined a “Books and Beyond” group in WhatsApp on an invite by a young friend and well wisher. I was excited, curious and wanted to know more about books.  I felt a bit perplexed. One because the group had 99% ladies whom i hardly knew. Secondly the books being discussed were not read by me earlier and i felt same low self esteem as i did when i was studying in Hindi Medium School till class 8th.

Studying in Hindi Medium School strengthened my Hindi vocabulary and vernacular first language but in career it was English which i knew was going to help me speak a global language and help in clearing competitive exams in career.

I took some early lessons by a English Teacher in my colony who was catholic christian and help me get on with Wren & Martin in class 6th and 7th.  I am still learning the language and vocabulary but it caught me on with the language.

As luck would have it my job in IT Industry started with Indian Languages on Computers i.e. with Multilingual Computing and we did killing business till Unicode came into picture and global software giants also adopted it.

The point about small town syndrome is that being in a place and studying in a college where local politics and mindset were not so nurturing, i personally haven’t gone back to my Alma Mater since 1995.  But recently when i wanted to share memories of the place and town Jabalpur, I got enthusiastic responses and collaboration proposals for writing and curating blogs on Jabalpur.

The images shared are by Pratik Patki from Pune & we hope to bring more blogs on this topic soon.

Till then, Enjoy your weekend.

(To be continued….)



Friday Fever- Movie

This Friday it had to be “Toilet – Ek Prem Katha” , A Hindi Bollywood Movie based on a social movement to build toilets across the country. I heard on radio that 58% of humans living in this ancient country do not have access to basic necessity.

Being a Hindi speaking and fan of Krishna the god who mentored Arjun during the battle of Mahabharata, this movie has some scenic shots of Holi Festival from the Vrindavan.

A must see movie of all caste, creed and breed.

It is indeed nice to have socially sensible movies which change the mind set of people and help them grow in their life.

Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar and Divyendy Sharma played their roles with a perfect 10 score.

If you are aware of any loyalty card which promotes Friday Movie fever especially first day show, please do let me know.


Mall Culture & Indian Mentality

I visit mall for two reasons. One, there is a movie screen & two I feel energized and feel good about being at a classy place.

Yesterday when i visited the mall and sat on a bench to observe the people coming to the mall, i realized all kinds of people. People well dressed , executives, people with slippers and some boys geo-tagging the shops in the mall.

What was most striking that the shops were mostly empty despite putting up 50% sale or some similar attractive displays. People did window shopping, ate some food, saw some movie, enjoyed AC environment and ambiance and left.

It made me wonder about the cost break even of running a shop in the mall. With high franchise fee, maintenance cost, salary and brand support, the shops must be having a difficult time in keeping customers happy.

What has been your observation? Please do share your experiences and some great offers you have come across.

Look forward to hear from you,




Sabarmati Ashram


Sabarmati Ashram, the place resonates with Mahatma Gandhi. I never noticed the word ashram and during the second trip i was little mindful as to why it is called an Ashram.

During my first visit i just looked at the houses, place and people around. I really did not look at it carefully.

So yesterday when i visited it, i started with Map and also a WiFi Digital Ashram Tour on Mobile. The WiFi tour did not open well on mobile and allowed me to be mindful during the walk around the ashram.

Reading carefully each word on the display, i realized the story is clearly written on the walls. I allowed myself to read the words carefully about the history of the Ashram and freedom struggle.

Look at the display written below.


The written text tell so much about the story on relationship.

I would highly recommend you to spend quality time here at this place. And yes there is a hotel called Hotel Toran opposite the Ashram where you get a Gujarati Thali for Lunch.

Why are you pursuing this course?

When i told my colleague Vivek Bhattacharya (24×7 Learning) that i was enrolling for Advanced Program in Strategic Management, he asked me this question “Why”?

For me learning has been a passion. Most of the jobs i take up are for learning something new. The course was one of the three which i had applied at IIM-Calcutta why sending the application but i was shortlisted for this program.

For me fee in 2008 was hefty for an upcoming online course like this one. But what did i get?

Apart from the learning on a subject like Strategic Management, Case Study Method and Online Learning through NIIT Imperia, what i  got was amazing list of peers in the program.


(Tejas Lagad, Baldev Ghanshani, Deepak Motiramani)

As three of us met in 2017 at Ahmedabad, we realized that networking with old peers and pals teaches a lot of life and profession as a whole. All three of us were part of technology industry and could learn a lot over a small conversation over breakfast.

An program/ course gives you a great set of people whom one connects with. The connections and contacts are important to carry forward in life, learn and also share the learning with peers).

I am sure the college graduates shall take note of this and keep connecting beyond the online world of Facebook and LinkedIn.

(To be continued….)