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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Books Are Also Status Symbol!

Books are also status symbols, I learnt from my most favorite brother Prithvi, long time ago when I was still in school and he a student of Government College, Lahore. Often these were books that he had not actually read, but wanted the world to believe he had read. These were the literary trophies, the Man Booker winners, the Pulitzers, the Nobles—books that were deemed to be outstanding by the elite and had thus been specially marked by the society - not so much to display conspicuous wealth, but rather to flaunt educational and societal status. Many of the books on his shelf were the prize publications of the Oxford University Press, shifted from our father’s huge library in the living, after he had read them and promoted as the Chief Representative of the Press in Northern India. Incidentally, Dev Anand, who later became the heartthrob of millions as the evergreen hero of Hindi cinema, was also studying in the same college my brother was a student - Government College - and this is what he said in an interview of his Lahore college days, when he became celebrity of the cinema: “filmindia was termed a status symbol with college students, boys in the campus used to carry copies of filmindia along with their textbooks, on top of them to show off It". Seems, it was common those days and not confined to my brother alone, to possess classics of English literature and costly colorful magazines,  as status symbols.

That was then, when many amongst us may not even have been born or barely had learnt to talk and walk - the age of  physical books—especially hardcovers— never imagined of ebooks. The signalling function of the latter is near nil, as nobody can usually see what is loaded on our Kindles, Nooks and iPads (unless we choose to show them the cover on the device, but then we would be  obvious showoffs). The times have sea changed since then, but not necessarily the basic nature of man and his beliefs. If in the bygone era my brother bought books as status symbols, after he entered the new age of internet and advanced technology and enjoyed the status of a senior, to express his personality, he still needed to possess something physical that he could take delight in displaying as his status symbol. What better buy than the most advanced and much valued version of iPhone. He visited us often in San Francisco on the West coast, flying from the distant Washington D.C. on the East coast - the time difference between the two cities 3 hours - just to consult Alok, our son, on which iPhone to buy that was prestigious to possess, in other words pricy enough to show off. He admired Alok for not only being a prominent software engineer in Silicon Valley, but more so for helping both his sons in setting up their start-up in software, which progressed to become a public company of repute. Of course, he would extend his stay to enjoy Jeet’s cooking for as long as he could afford to be away from work in Washington D.C. The problem with purchase of the recommended iPhone he invariably faced after returning home was that he was one of those people who were just not early adopters. Oh, the iPhone was on Version 6, when he was still struggling to get comfortable working with Version 4? Where had the time flown! But it did not really matter much, he would hurry to buy iPhone 6 before that too lost its showoff luster. And it went on like this, he enjoying to buy his status symbol possessions till he breathed his last a few years back at the age of 92.


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