Photograph(2019) Hindi Movie Review

It is Nawazuddin Siddique and Sanya Malhotra who are saving grace in this slow burner which tests one’s patience. It is surprising to know that it is from the director who gave us “The Lunch Box” which I loved.

A complete stranger who is a struggling street photographer Rafiq (Nawazuddin) at Mumbai’s Gateway of India, convinces a youngster Miloni (Sanya) to pose for a picture. Also he uses the pic for the well-being of his grand mother. Later, Miloni pretends to be his fiancee in front of his grand mother. They both discover that they have a lot in common as the movie crawls towards the end.

Though the movie is slow and dragging, it has its moments like Rafig’s hunt for a bottle of Campa Cola which was fav drink in the 70’s and 80’s.The company had stopped producing cool drinks long back. The movie is like a directionless kite with a cut string that allows the wind to guide it.

The open-ended climax is cleverly done and it comes unexpectedly. The best thing is that the movie leaves a lot for one’s imagination. Photograph might not be the perfect picture, but it is intriguing and takes you back in time. My rating is 3/5. Recommended for those who have lots of patience.

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Brochevarevarura (2019) Telugu Movie review

This is the second movie of the director Vivek Athreya and the best thing about this movie is that it has twists and turns. Also it is unpredictable. Story and Screen play is brilliant. This one something refreshing as Telugu audience are used to contrived plots and stereotyped protagonists.

Though the movie is slow in developing, but you never feel bored. Usually, it is execution that makes a big difference as the story is pretty simple.This one is a fun ride thriller that brings a smile on audience face towards the end. Everyone performed well.

The dark comedy genre is something rare in Telugu movies. Cinematography and BGM are a delight.Brochevarevarura (who will save us?). Well, the director has saved us with an entertaining comic thriller after his debuntant Mental Madhilo which impressed us.

This one has sub titles and everyone can enjoy it on Amazoin prime. My rating is 3.5/4. Highly Recommended.

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Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019) Telugu Movie Review:

Nice to know that at least some of the Telugu movies are coming out of routine. Agent Sai…is a detective movie with subtitles on Amazon prime and everyone should watch this one.Naveen Polishetty has done a remarkable job as the lead detective with an empty cafe coffee day cup in his hand, who watches suspense movies and is a fan of Sherlock Holmes.

The best thing about this movie is there are no songs, item songs, no romance. This one is best detective movie after Chiru’s Chantabhai.

Good job by debutant director Swaroop RSJ. The movie works mainly because of the story which is accompanied with right screen play and background music.

All in all, a good suspense movie with nice twists and turns that keep you engaged. My rating is 3.5/5. Recommended.

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The Last Story

A short Story by  Vasu Gangapalli

Vijay packed his bag and left to a quiet hill station by train. He wanted to spend some time with nature, which was his love. Besides, writing was his hobby since his childhood days. He needed peace and silence to concentrate and think. The pressure at work over last two months was too much. He definitely needed a break. He applied for two weeks leave.

He was reading the book ‘Tea for two and a piece of cake’ by Preeti Shenoi during the journey. He loved her other book ‘Life is what you make it!’

Finally, It was late in the afternoon when he reached the hotel on the top of the hill station which was surrounded by trees and mountains. The house keeping person, Ram Lal took his luggage to his room and handed him the key.

‘There is one thing I need to tell you.’ Ram Lal said, ‘Do not open the window. If you do, then don’t keep it open after the sunset.’ He said before taking leave.

‘May I know, why?’ Vijay asked. However, he got no response.

The room was nice and spacious. It had a single cot bed, ceiling fan, a writing table with a lamp near the closed window, and an attached bathroom.

Vijay pulled aside the curtains, and opened the window. It seemed as if it wasn’t opened for long time. He was amazed at the spectacular view outside the window. There were pine and oak trees everywhere. There was one huge oak tree among these trees at some distance from the hotel. The sun was about to set, and it turned the sky into orange from blue. The evening breeze was blowing into the room through the window.

Vijay stood there mesmerized at the amazing beauty of nature before him.

Later, he lied down on the bed, closed his eyes to have a short nap. A loud thunder storm with lightening nearby woke him up with a sudden jerk. It had become dark and was pouring down heavily outside. He had a glance at his wrist watch; it showed 12.30 am.

He got up to close the window. His eyes caught the sight of the huge oak tree. Something was swinging to and fro under its branches….He could clearly see that it was a body of a woman hanging from the tree. A rope oscillated in the strong breeze; he couldn’t see her face, as her hair was hanging loose, and it covered her face.

Vijay picked the torch and umbrella from his bag. He ran downstairs towards the huge oak tree. The path through the trees became slippery due to the rain. The huge oak tree stood on the grass land along with other trees. The strong wind blew his umbrella far away from him. Then it just vanished from his sight. He got completely drenched in the rain. He switched the torch on and flashed it on the tree. He was shocked as he saw no body swinging from its branches.

‘How could it be possible?’ He asked himself, scratching his head in disbelief.

‘Maybe, it was my silly imagination.’ He thought and went back to his room.

When he saw through his window once again, he saw the body of the woman swinging from the branch of that tree. This time, she lifted her face up and gave a wicked grin. It almost froze him in fear. Her sightless eyes sent a chill down his spine. Her hands and feet were limp. The body was turning round and round…

He gathered enough courage to close the window and pull the curtains down. He was very much shocked and scared after what he had witnessed just now. He had written ghost stories, but had never ever seen a ghost in his life before. He crawled onto the bed and pulled up the blanket. He started shivering in cold. He tried to sleep closing his eyes.

However, the image of the woman kept playing in his mind.

Something started pulling his blanket. He held it tight with his fingers and pulled it back. Then something started tickling his feet. He woke up with a jerk and found her standing near the cot. She was smiling wickedly, and he could see her white teeth clearly even in the dark. He gave out a cry as she scratched his feet with her long nails.

Suddenly, he woke up with a jerk. He was sweating in this cold weather.

‘Thank God, it’s just a dream’ He said to himself, getting up from the bed. It was dark outside. He glanced at his wrist watch. It showed 12.30 am. He looked outside the window and saw nothing unusual.

He sat down on the chair, switched on the table lamp on the table, and started writing the story which he just had in his dream. He had a smile of satisfaction after he completed it. He was so engrossed in writing that he didn’t notice that it had started raining outside. A sudden lightening made him to get up from his chair and look outside. Now, he saw the body of the woman swinging from the branch of the huge oak tree.

‘This can’t be happening…it’s just my silly imagination…’ He thought.

He wanted to confirm that it was just his imagination. So, he walked towards the oak tree with umbrella and torch in his hands….

Next morning, when Ram Lal knocked on his door, he was surprised to see it open. He came in calling his name, but didn’t find him inside.

‘I told him not to open the window…I told him…’ Ram Lal murmured, closing the window.

He took the papers on which he had scribbled something. Ram Lal didn’t go to school during his childhood days, so he didn’t know how to read and write.

He came downstairs and handed those sheets of papers to the receptionist, Rajeev.

‘I think he wrote a long suicide note and vanished like others…I told him not to open the window…I told him…’ Ram Lal said, and then went away visibly disturbed by what he had seen.

Rajeev went through the story which the writer had written. It had no title. He took a pencil and wrote on the top of the first sheet.

The Last Story by Anonymous.

 

The Body Shop 2 : ‘Soul Talk’

A Short Story by Vasu Gangapalli

It was one cold December evening, Ashok entered the Café Coffee Day to have a hot cup of Cappuccino as he didn’t smoke or drink, and this was one way to fight chilly winter to some extent. He found all the tables completely occupied, except one in which one woman in her thirties was seated reading some book. As he neared that table, he had a closer look at the book which she was reading; it was ‘Soul Talk’ by Rachna. Rachna was his favorite writer and he had read most of her books including this one.  Rachna never gave any interviews nor shared any of her snaps anywhere. Hence, he didn’t know how she looked like?

‘May I sit here? All the other tables are occupied..’ He said, placing his fingers on the chair.

‘Sure..’ The woman whose face was hidden behind the book replied, without bringing down the book and even having a glance at him.

‘Thank You…’,  Ashok said, pulling the chair and occupying it, ‘I have read this book  twice..’ He added.

‘Nice to know that!’ She said, bringing the book down and keeping it on the table, she wasn’t as attractive as he had anticipated, but had a wonderful smile and beautiful eyes. She lifted her hot cup of Cappuccino and had a sip.

‘What would you like to have, sir?’ asked the waiter coming towards their table.

‘One hot cup of Cappuccino, please!’  Ashok said, looking at him.

‘Sure, sir!’ He said, going to the next table.

‘So what did you like about this book which made you to read it twice?’ She asked, ‘By the way, I’m Ritu..’ She added, retaining that wonderful smile on her face.

‘Oh, I’m Ashok…’ He said, smiling back, ‘Well, I liked the story so much…‘Well, to quote from the book ‘Sometimes, not so attractive body could hide the most wonderful and beautiful soul!’’ He added.

‘But then most of the men prefer woman with beautiful bodies than souls, isn’t it?’ She asked, ‘Then how would a beautiful soul really matter to someone? If given a choice between say that beautiful woman in that table and me, whom would you prefer?’

‘True! I may prefer her!’ He said, having a glance at that woman in the other table, ‘But such beauty doesn’t last forever, isn’t it?’ He asked, turning and looking at her.

‘Come on, even we don’t live forever, do we?’ She asked, turning the pages of the book, ‘So what’s the point in choosing an average looking person like me?’

‘Maybe, you’ve the point! Is that the autograph of Rachna? May I have a look…?’ He asked, trying to have a closer look. Ritu pushed the book towards him and he felt the words written by his favorite writer with his fingers.

‘From your curiosity, I assume that you haven’t met her in person, right?’ Ritu said, having another sip of coffee.

‘No, I wasn’t so lucky…’ Ashok replied. Meantime, his cup of hot Cappuccino arrived to the table. He picked it up and had a sip.
She realized that it was time for her to leave and she stood up.

‘I’ll have to leave now…it was really nice speaking to you, Ashok.’ She said, smiling at him.

‘What about the book?’ He asked.

‘You can keep it! I have her autograph in another book….good night!’  She said, leaving.

‘Good night! Thank You!’ Ashok said, flipping through the pages of the book and he found a Café Coffee Day tissue paper on which something was written and to his surprise the handwriting matched with the author’s writing inside the book. The realization soon dawned upon him that Ritu was his favourite writer who wrote with the pen name Rachna. He rushed outside the Café Coffee Day looking for her, but she was gone!

Sometime later, in her apartment, Ritu was feed up of men rejecting her every time she thought she had found her man. She didn’t want someone to marry her seeing that she was a famous writer. Hence, she distanced her writer self with a pen name. She picked up The Body Shop visiting card which someone close to her had given and dialed the number. Forty-five minutes later, a black car arrived before her apartment and the driver tied a blind fold covering her eyes. The car reached the destination after a long drive and she was taken down in an elevator.  Someone removed the blind fold and she closed her eyes unable to take so much brightness at once.

‘Welcome to the body shop!’ The stranger dressed like a surgeon cried with a warm smile on his face. He took her to a system and ran an application. He asked her to make a note of the body in which she liked to get her soul transferred in. Ritu went through the collection of bodies and chose the one she liked most. He came back, he saw her selection.

‘Good choice! That body belonged to the soul of a famous model,’ He said, handing her some papers to sign and then he said, ‘Please follow me!’

‘Would I get her voice as well?’ Ritu asked curiously.

‘Nope! You’ll retain your voice..Just her body would be yours…nothing more than that! You’ll have your feelings, memories; almost everything that belongs to your soul would be only yours!’ He added, taking her to a place which resembled a huge operation theatre. He strapped her to a chair, smiled at her and said;

‘We are going to start the process now. Are you ready?’

‘Y….es…’ She said.

‘Just relax yourself. Everything would be fine!’ He said smiling, holding her hand and pressing it gently and she smiled back at him nervously.
Few hours later, she was taken in front of a huge mirror and she had a glance at her new look and was pleasantly surprised. She looked stunningly beautiful, ‘Am I dreaming this?’ She asked, smiling at her reflection in the mirror.

‘No, you’re not!’

‘Alright, may I see my old body once, please?’ She asked.

‘Sure, follow me!’ He said and led her to a huge hall which had many bodies kept inside glass cases. Finally, he stopped at the glass case which had her body. She kept starring at her body and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Her hand touched the glass case and a drop of tear rolled down from the corner of her eye…

‘What would happen to my body?’ She asked, wiping her tear drop.

‘If someone comes and chooses your body then they will have it!’ He replied.

‘I may come back for my body, so could you please hold it back for sometime?’ Ritu asked.

‘Well, at the most I can hold it back for two weeks and not more than that!’ He replied.

‘Fine. Please do it!’ She said, having another glance at her body, before taking leave.

***

Next morning, while she was passing by some street someone shouted at her, when she turned, she found a young man running towards her.

‘Alina, where have been? You’ve missed three to four modeling assignments so far…’ He said, trying to catch his breath.

Ritu just smiled at him and replied, ‘I had been on a personal vacation!’

Soon, Ritu started doing the ramp walk wearing new designer clothes. Initially, everything seemed interesting and something different. But soon monotony set in and she started hating her new life as a model. Days went by, then one evening, she saw Ashok enter the Café Coffee Day, while she was having her coffee. He walked up to her and said;

‘I think I have seen you some where..’

‘Maybe, on some cover of magazine as I’m a model,’ She replied.

‘Oh, yes,’ He said, ‘May I sit here?’ He asked. ‘Sure.’ She replied.

‘Your voice reminds me someone…’ Ashok said, taking the seat opposite to her.

‘Really?’ She asked, smiling at him.

‘Yes… I met her sometime back…but I don’t recall whom I met and where?’ He said.

They chatted with each other for sometime. When they were about to part, she asked him;

‘What are you doing this evening? Would you like to go on a date with me?’

‘No, I am looking for someone with whom I have fallen in love with..’ He replied.

‘Is she more beautiful than me?’ She asked.

‘Her soul is most beautiful!’ He replied smiling, ‘Now, I remember…it was my favorite writer Rachna whom I had met sometime back on this same table. You know what? I had met her again few days back and she pretended as if she didn’t remember me at all…’ He added sadly.

‘What? You met her again? Are you sure about it?’ She asked quite shocked.

‘Yes, I’m sure about it…’ He replied.

‘I’ll have to leave now! See you later, bye!’ She said, rushing out.

Sometime later, she reached the body shop. Then:-

‘I told you to hold back my body!’ She cried, rather annoyed at the stranger.

‘Well, I did! I only gave it away after two weeks when an old lady insisted only for your body…I had no choice..’ He said.

‘An old lady?’ She asked, surprised.

‘Yes, follow me…’ He said, leading her to the huge hall, where the body of the old lady was kept in a glass case. Ritu kept staring at the body for a few seconds and then said, ‘I need this body! And her address!’

‘Are you sure?’ he asked.

‘Yes, I’m!’ She replied.

Some hours later, her soul was transferred into the old lady’s body. And he gave her the old lady’s residential address.

‘Just give me call when your body is ready and I shall put your soul back to where it belongs!’ He said, smiling at her, ‘and I hope it happens pretty soon.’

‘Thank You,’ She said, leaving.

It had been tiresome to Rosy who had aged gracefully. She felt her ever youthful soul was now trapped in an old body, which was weak. She wished that she could lead her last days being active like she was before. It was then she came across the body shop and contacted them. Soon, she was there and she ended up selecting Ritu’s body. Somehow, this particular body attracted her more than other bodies.

‘You could’ve far beautiful body than that one,’ The stranger had said.

‘No! I have made my choice!’ She said sternly.

Now, Ritu in the old body reached the given address and rang the door bell. After sometime, her physical self came and opened the door. Both of them were shocked, and kept starring at each other in disbelief for a couple of minutes. There was pin drop silence.

‘Please do come in!’ Rosy said, finally smiling at her old self.

They sat in the living room and Rosy asked her maid to get some coffee and biscuits for them.

‘Now, tell me about yourself? Who are you?’ Rosy asked Ritu.

Ritu told her the complete story. The maid came with a tray filled with two hot cups of coffee and a plat filled with assorted biscuits. She kept the tray on the small table before the two ladies, and went inside.

‘Wow! So you’re the famous writer Rachna…I am really honored that I’m dwelling in your body and wise versa. I have been your fan and read most of your books…’ Rosy said, pointing her finger at the bookshelf in which were her books.

‘Nice to know that..’ Ritu said, picking her cup of coffee, dipping a biscuit in the coffee and having a bite.

‘It would be my pleasure if you agree to stay with me in my last days. You can have back your body once my time comes to leave this materialistic world!’ Rosy said.

‘Thank You for the invitation. I would stay with you…’ Ritu said, ‘Now, I would like to hear your life story..’

‘It would be my honor to narrate my simple story to a great writer like you. I always had a wish though this would be my last wish..’ Rosy said.

‘What is it? Please tell me!’ Ritu asked, coming forward.

‘I wish someone could write my story for others to read about me and to remember me while I’m no more!’ Rosy said.

‘Well, if your story sounds interesting enough then I promise that I would write it for my next book.’ Ritu said.

‘Oh, God, I just can’t believe what I just heard. It is like a dream come true as I am confident that you would like my story when I conclude my narration.’ Rosy said, coming forward in excitement.

They both retired to the bedroom which had a fire chimney. They sat before the warm burning fire, as Rosy started to narrate her life story to Ritu. Who got so much interested in the story that she started taking notes in a note pad. It was just before dawn when Rosy concluded her wonderful life story and Ritu had tears in her eyes.

‘I’m sorry for making you cry, my dear.’ Rosy said, holding Ritu’s hand and pressing it gently.

‘It’s alright!’ Ritu said, wiping her tears away.

‘Now, tell me, did you like my story? Would you write it?’ Rosy asked, with excitement in her eyes.

‘Yes, I liked it a lot! I would start writing it today itself…’ Ritu replied.

‘Thank you very much, my dear. I might not be around to read it though. Anyways, I wish you all the very best!’ She said, resting back on her easy chair ‘Now let us get some sleep…’

‘Alright, good night.’ She said.

‘May I know, what would be the title of this book?’ Rosy asked, yawning in sleep.

‘Soul Talk!’ Ritu said, looking at her peaceful body in sound sleep.

She stood up slowly, walked towards her body, bent down and kissed on her forehead, and whispered, ‘I’m glad that you borrowed my body and I got to meet a beautiful soul like you!’

 

Under The Banyan Tree

A Short Story by Vasu Gangapalli

The fish was swimming blissfully unaware of the threat to its life lurking in the corner. A hungry eagle which had flown towards the river had spotted the fish from quite far away. In one swoop, its claws trapped the fish. It flew away into the blue sky, while the fish struggled to breathe its last few breathes, before it could become food to its hungry predator.

***

A small village in some part of Africa was attacked repeatedly by a ferocious tiger, which had turned into a man-eater as it grew old and helpless to attack animals in the forest. The village had already lost many of its folks, which also included Akoni’s father, who had fought bravely before losing his battle to the tiger.

Everyone were afraid to come out of their huts after dark, it was when they heard the growl of the tiger that roamed the streets of that village looking for its prey. Akoni wanted to avenge his father’s death by killing the tiger. He started making sharp arrows and spears to attack it soon.

‘Son, you can’t fight that beast!’ His mother said, sadly, ‘Even your father couldn’t!’

‘Don’t worry, mother,’ Akoni said, suppressing his rage, ‘I will have my revenge..!’

‘But, why should it be you?’ She cried, ‘You’re the only one I have.’ She added, as her eyes welled up with tears, and started over flowing down her cheeks.

‘If not me, then who, mother?’ He asked, glaring at her with fury in his eyes.

‘Someone surely will..’

‘If that someone doesn’t stand up soon then everyone will be killed! ’ He cried.

The beating of the drums started as the darkness descended upon the village. The drums sound was to keep the tiger away. That night as Akoni’s mother drifted to sleep, he kissed on her forehead, before he collected his weapons and shield, and left the hut in search of the beast.

The village had forest on one side and a mighty river flowed from the mountains on the other side. From some distant hut he heard wailing of a woman, the beast seemed to have picked its prey. He held a fire torch in one hand and his sharp spear in another, as he rushed after the tracks of the beast. The tracks on the path lead him to the edge of the river. He searched for the beast with his torch and saw his ferocious eyes, and heard the faint cry of a little boy near by the beast.

‘Come on, you beast! ’ Akoni cried, keeping the fire torch on the ground, picking up his spear and shield. The tiger walked in his direction bellowing at him. They attacked each other and the battle lasted for a while. Akoni’s sharp spear injured the tiger and Akoni was badly injured too. They lost balance, fell into the flowing river and disappeared.

***

An old man used to come to an old banyan tree which was in centre of the village in the evenings. The children of that village used to gather under that tree to listen to the stories which the old man used to narrate. He took them to magical world of fairies, genies, kings, queens, prince and princesses, etc. Sometimes, the stories took place in Africa. Sometimes, in some part of India.

The kids loved his stories.

‘Grandpa, what do you get by telling us stories?’ asked a kid, one evening.

‘Well, what does the sun or the moon gets in return by spreading their light to us every day and night?’ asked the old man.

‘Maybe, their purpose is to do so?’ the kid said.

‘Yes, you’re right. My very purpose is narrating stories to you every evening. A story teller is nothing if he has no listeners/readers. Just like the very purpose of sun light or moon light would be meaning less without us.’ The old man said, coughing in between.

‘Who will tell us stories when you are gone?’ asked another kid.

‘Story tellers come back as the world needs them…who knows, one of you could take my place as well.’

***

A man was digging with a spade under a banyan tree in the backyard of an old house which seemed to be as old as the banyan tree itself. He was sweating profusely and seemed to be sick. He then buried a locked box in the small pit which he had just dug, covered it with the soil.

He took a key, which shone in the evening light of the sun.

The same man was lying on a bed with a lady who was seated besides him on a chair. Her eyes were moist with tears, and it reflected the pain she was going through at that moment.

‘Don’t you worry, Meenakshi,’ He said between his coughs, ‘I’ll surely come back one day…this I promise to you. He took out something from under his pillow and placed it in her hand. It was same key.

‘Keep it safe for me…I will need it when I return back.’ He said, breathing his last breathe.

The next thing a sign board appeared at the corner which read: ‪

#‎5th Street, M.K.Amman Koil Street, Mylapore, Chennai..

***

Roberto woke up suddenly and realized that he was dreaming. He took his note book and wrote down the name of the lady and address. He switched on his laptop and did google search for the address which appeared in his dream. The search result showed him that this place was in South India. Roberto was the only son of a rich man who owned a hotel in the town, Santilla del Mar. Santilla del Mar is a historic town situated in Cantabria, Spain.

This town has many historic buildings that attract many thousands of travelers every year. Seeing them, Roberto too wanted to be a traveler and travel around the world when he grew up.
Roberto loved reading and whenever he found some time, he used to immerse himself in some book which he used borrow from the local library. He used to read everything and anything that he came across. So, he was aware of many places around the world.

‘What do you want to do when you grow up, Roberto?’ His father asked him one Sunday evening.

‘I would like to travel around the world and capture its places, people of different walks of life with my camera, Padre.’ Roberto replied, with a gleam in his eye and a big smile on his face.

‘Oh…’ His father said, slightly disappointed hearing it, ‘Do you know you need a lot of money for that?’

‘I have already started saving for it, padre.’ He said, taking a piggy bank and showing it to him.
It brought a smile on his father’s face. He took out some currency notes from his wallet, folded them and pushed them into through the hole of the piggy bank.

‘Which country would you like to go and see first, son?’ His mother asked him.

‘I would like to go to India, Madre.’ Roberto replied.

‘India?’ They both asked, ex-changing quizzical looks.

‘I keep getting a repeated dream about a man who had buried something under a banyan tree…I need to know what it is? Also I love India and would like to travel around in this country as it has many cultures..I could end up learning many things over there.’ He replied.

***

Many years had passed by; Roberto grew up into a handsome young man. One day, his father gave him the money. Roberto applied for travel visa to India. He soon reached Delhi and covered many places in North India. He used to keep in touch with his parents through Skype and Whatsapp, even shared the pictures. Some weeks later, he reached Chennai and got into an auto. He read out the address to the auto driver. The auto reached the place.

‘Sir, this is the place you asked for.’ The auto driver said.

Roberto was lost in thoughts as he felt that he had already been to this place sometime back. It looked so much familiar to him. Everything related to that birth started appearing before him like some flash back from some movie.

‘Sir…?’ The auto driver said.

‘Yes, take the money and keep the change..’ Roberto said, handing him the currency note.

‘Thank you, sir.’ The auto driver said, before leaving.

Roberto started walking in the street looking for a particular house. He came to a halt at a house and started knocking on the door.

‘Who is it?’ asked an old lady’s voice.

‘Meenakshi ..I have come! Please open the door!’ Roberto said.

The old lady opened the door and kept looking at him transfixed. She knew that his eyes reminded her of her late husband, Mohan.

‘It’s me! I have come back!’ He said, smiling at her.

‘Please come in!’ She said, with tears filled in her eyes.

‘Is the Banyan tree still there?’ He asked, coming inside the old house.

‘Yes!’ She said, ‘Follow me and I shall take you to the tree..’

Meenakshi took him to the Banyan tree, which had stood there for many years now. Its roots had spread across the backyard. Roberto stood there watching the magnificent tree mesmerized.

‘Meenakshi, do you have the key I had given you?’ He asked, turning and looking at her.

‘Yes, I preserved it safely all these days. Let me go and get it!’ She said, walking inside. She returned with a spade and handed it to him along with the key.

He started digging under the banyan tree and soon found the old box which the man had buried many years back. He unlocked it with the key, found an old book safely preserved in a polythene cover with some preservatives to keep away the worms from destroying the book.

He sat under the banyan tree and started reading the book. The man had written all his previous births in that book, one by one, but in reverse chronological order, i.e, starting with his life first.

Roberto read page by page. He was a fish that was killed by an eagle in one birth, Akoni a villager of South Africa; who attacked the man eater and died with it, An old man who used to tell stories to kids in a village which was in the outskirts of Bangalore.
Roberto kept reading the book while taking short breaks for having food, etc. It took him two weeks to complete the entire book.

Soon, the news about the foreigner spread like a wild fire. A news reporter came looking for him seeking an interview with him. Roberto readily agreed to it.

‘So, Mr.Roberto, you claim that you were Mohan Iyer in previous birth, is that right?’ The reporter asked.

‘Yes.’ Roberto replied, smiling at him.

‘I heard that Mohan Iyer had recorded all his births in one book which was buried under the banyan tree, is that right? Could I see the book please?’

‘Sure…here it is!’ Roberto said, handing him the book.

‘Interesting!’ The reporter said, turning and going through the pages of the book, ‘It is strange that Mohan Iyer had remembered all his previous births!’

‘Yes, you’re right!’

‘So, what do you have to say about life in general and previous births?’

‘Well, the beauty of life is that it is momentary, and that of a soul is everlasting!’

‘Well said, Roberto! So, where is your next journey to after reading this book?’ The reporter said, handing back the book.

‘I would like go and visit the big banyan tree in the outskirts of Bangalore city, where I was an old man in one of my previous birth…though the children to whom I had narrated stories may have gone by now, at least I may get to meet their grand children, if I get lucky!’ Roberto said.

‘How would you recognize them?’

‘Well, I am sure their grand parents would have passed on the stories which I had narrated seated under the tree. People may come and go, but stories are immortal!’

‘Wow! That’s really great to hear. Roberto, I am curious to know what happens next ? So would you pass on what happens in your journey next? I am sure even the readers would be keen to know that as well.’ The reporter said, handing him his visiting card.

‘Sure, I will do that! I would send you some pictures by email as well.’ Roberto said, still smiling, and shaking his hand.

The Lion King (2019) Movie Review:

They had renovated the Shree Laxmi Theatre near our home. So, this is the first movie which we saw in this theatre post renovation, and that too 3D one. My daughter had a nice time watching this movie. My wife felt it was bit boring. However, I enjoyed this one. It was like watching the National Geographic Channel with all the wild animals on the screen.

The live action was done so well. All those complaining about lack of emotions, come on, do you want the lion to smile? They have tried their best to keep it as realistic as possible and they have achieved it. The Live action, VFX and cinematography are awesome. The music and songs were good on screen. It brought back the memories of the Original animated one which I had seen during my college days.

I felt everything was perfect. Go and enjoy this wonderful movie in 3D with your kids.

My rating is 4/5. Highly recommended.

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