Confessions of a Private Tutor- Vikram Mathur

Confessions of a Private Tutor

The problem with writing (and publishing) today is that just about anyone who can put together coherently a few lines and ideas is becoming a published author. As there has been a mushroom growth of publishers, so has there has been a spurt of writers. If one publisher turns you down, go to another or another or another or yet another. Someone or the other, eventually, will publish you. Combine this with a ridiculous price tag (Rs 100/-) and you will have a few fools like me buying it, for a variety of different reasons though, the most pertinent one being sheer boredom and non application of mind. For the life of me, I cannot remember what was going on in my head when I wasted a perfectly good Rs 100 on this book. At that time Rs 100/- seemed a small amount to pay for killing a boring 3 hour journey. After all, even a movie ticket costs more.And honestly, the title brought to mind the notorious “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Maybe this was an Indian rendition of it is all that I remember myself thinking.  In retrospect, after the sheer torture of reading this book, not only do I feel so much poorer than the loss of a 100 bucks would warrant, but cannot stop kicking myself for picking it up in the first place. And it is with the intention of sparing others this ordeal, rather than tearing the author (?) or his work (?) to bits, that I’m posting this review 

So what is it about? Well, as the title suggests it’s a series of sexual escapades that this tutor has with the bored and sexually frustrated mothers of the children he tutors. The catch is that he is paid for it, without asking though. These sexual escapades are described in a lot of, what one may call lurid details, for by no stretch of imagination can this fall in the category of Erotica. Describing human anatomy explicitly and crassly may get a few whistles from frontbenchers in a third grade Hindi movie but that’s about all that its worth. As a reading material all that it does is disgust you. And these escapades are what the confessions are all about.

Where the book is set, why he becomes a tutor or a gigolo after that, his personal life – nothing matters, nothing is relevant. There is no story worth its name, forget a gripping plot. Characters are well…somewhere. By the time you have trudged to the end, if you are brave enough to do so, you are headed for a Disprin and a walk in the fresh air.

I could not find anything about the author on line, which is surprising. What is his claim to fame and why in the name of god would Rupa, one of the older and more respectable publishers, publish this book I fail to understand. What happened to the good old days when getting a book published meant that you could actually “write” and not string together disparate thoughts? Apparently, there are more in this “Confession” series. Maybe I should try my hand at it too – “Confessions of a Deranged Woman ”. What says you?

Mad Woman in The Attic in Hindustan Times “Brunch”

     Hindustan Times e-Paper - Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - 28 Jul 2013 - Page #64

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

So said the famous Bard. I could borrow from him and say- “some are born beauty bloggers, some become beauty bloggers and some, like me, have beauty blogging thrust upon them”. So it was, that out of all the things that I write about, it was my beauty related posts that caught the attention of HT and here I am featured in HT Brunch!  In a manner of speaking, the tag of a “beauty blogger” has been thrust upon me.( http://www.hindustantimes.com/Punjab/Chunk-HT-UI-PunjabSectionPage-Brunch/Cosmetic-connect/SP-Article1-1098635.aspx)

Honestly, I never did think of myself as a beauty blogger. I write about whatever catches my fancy- books, movies, Chandigarh, Grey’s Anatomy (;-0) , women’s issues, Chetan Bhagat (my pet peeve….aaargh!) and yes, beauty related products. These beauty posts are not “reviews” in the narrow sense of the word- I do not pick up something (and am not given anything by a company) thinking that I will write about it. On the contrary, I write only about things that I picked up for personal use and found them helping me in my perennial battles with bad skin/ hair etc etc- problems that plague every woman. The reason you will not find bad reviews of a product is simply that if a product did not work for me, I will not waste more time on it by writing about it. Unless of course it is a product with a lot of hype, in which case, I will voice my opinion. I am not obsessed with make up as most beauty bloggers say they are, I do not try something for a week-10 days and review it and today, after years of dabbling with various chemical laden products, I veer more towards natural and Ayurvedic products.

Will I write only about beauty products hereafter? Nah. As before, I’ll write about whatever catches my fancy – be it Chetan Bhagat and his inane uttering or a book I’ve read or a movie I’ve seen or some peculiarity of City Beautiful or something that ails women today ( section called “Last of the Bra Burners”) or Grey’s Anatomy. However, I will try to write more about beauty products and hope that my newfound wisdom does help someone, somewhere. If any woman is happier with her recalcitrant hair or irksome skin because of one of my posts, I’ll be so very glad. If, reading my blog, any woman can say, “Damn everyone. I’m happy with my imperfections and my life. I have made my peace with everything” I will be delirious. And if one of those women is me (yes, I still am struggling), all this effort would have been so worth it.

So let me add the first line of this famous quote from Shakespeare, “Be not afraid of greatness” and thank all and sundry who have made me what I am and move ahead with a spring in my step and song on my lips and embrace all that life has in store, including beauty blogging!      

The Ram aur Shyam of Hair Oils- Forest Essentials Bhringraj Hair Oil vs Patanjali Divya Kesh Taila

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I did not take any pictures when I bought the Forest Essentials Bhringraj Oil as I had no intentions of writing about it simply because this is one oil that has been written about the most. In fact, I can imagine it having some sort of an attitude owing to its popularity. However, as I started using it, it smelt and felt vaguely familiar. Soon I realised that it reminded me of Patanjali’s Divya Kesh Taila that I had used long ago in extreme despair and distress. Hence this post – a comparison between the chic, uber cool Forest Essentials Bhringraj Oil and its poor country cousin, Patanjali’s Divya Kesh Taila. As I sit down to write about these, I cannot help but be reminded of movies like Ram aur Shyam or Seeta aur Geeta – tale of two long lost brothers ( or sisters if you please) who are alike in every way but by some quirk of fate end up in different hands as infants only for one to turn out as smart suave adult and the other, a country bumpkin. Pretty much like these Bollywood movies, these 2 oils are very alike in basics, only the externals are widely different. So how do the two compare?

1. Smell  – Forest Essentials Bhringraj Oil has a distinct smell but is not very strong. In any case, the smell fades after a while and one could call it “fragrance” instead of “smell”.Coming to the country bumpkin, Patanjali’s Divya Kesh Taila, the smell is overpowering and I think most people won’t like it. It’s infact the smell that made me make the connection between this oil and FE’s Bhringraj Oil. Only that the FE has really toned down the smell and made it tolerable. FE smells is, as I said above, not overpowering and it tends to fade and settle in a while. Patanjali oil’s smell is not going anywhere until you wash it off. My family regularly discards my company when I have this oil on, not that I care

2 Texture– The Patanjali oil gives the word “chip-chip” and “oily” a different meaning altogether. Logically it follows then that shampooing it off is not for the faint hearted and is a Herculean task. Even a pro at oiling like me has to be extra cautious that it comes off. You will definitely need to shampoo twice at least. It is a thick, dense oil not as thick as castor oil but quite thick specially in front of the refined texture and feel of the FE oil. FE oil is not very “chip chip” and thus easy to wash off. The colour of the two is, however, strikingly alike. DSC07813C

3.Packaging– Just look at the pictures- do I need to say anything? FE is classy, suave, chic. Patanjali on the other hand is a sorry looking bottle with an equally sorry cap. The paper on it will soon start falling off or just becomes messy. Clearly, fancy or even attractive packaging, as with most Patanjali products, is not its strong point. It does not have an inner stop cap, which can cause leakage in travelling or even spillage. While fancy or attractive packaging is something one can do without but functional packaging would be welcome. FE comes with an inner stop cap that has a hole pierced in it for easy usage and I reckon would hold well in travel.DSC07814c

4.Ingredients– Both oils have Sesame oil as their base and  Bhringraj as  the primary component. Mulethi, anatmool are some other common ingredients.

5.Benefits – FE says, “Nourishing hair oils use the finest-quality herbs to arrest hair loss, promote the growth of healthy new hair, thicken the hair and improve its overall texture”. I finished the 50 ml bottle in about a month and it did help me with my occasional dandruff. Interestingly every time I used this oil, no matter which shampoo I used to wash it off, my hair came out incredibly soft. As for the Patanjali oil, it simply states (in hindi) – “useful in hair loss, greying of hair and other hair problems”. Big words are not its style one could say. I religiously used it years ago when after my son’s birth I was dealing with worst possible case of hair fall and this oil saved the day, and hair, for me. Again years later as I ruined my hair with all kinds of chemical treatments and bouts of dieting, this oil came to my rescue. That it worked in the most hopeless of situations, at least for me, I can vouch for. That is what makes it worth all the hassle – be it the smell or very greasy texture.

So which one is for you? Patanjali is unadulterated Ayurveda  and that too for the common man – Not someone who shops in Khan Market or Sephora but our average “aam junta”. The packaging or presentation of their products is almost hideous but the quality is uncompromised. Honestly when FE oil reminded me of Patanjali’s Kesh Taila, I had mixed feelings. I was glad that FE was using genuine ingredients and not taking us for a ride. But that I had dished out Rs 250/- for a 50 ml bottle of FE oil where a 100ml bottle of Patanajali Taila costs only Rs 80/-, I felt a bit of an idiot for blowing up my money thus. Which one you should opt for is entirely a matter of personal choice. Forest Essentials, as they say it themselves is “Luxurious Ayurveda”.  I recently read an interview of FE founder Mira Kulkarni and when asked about her products, I think she summed it up best herself – “We base the products on old, authentic recipes that keep the therapeutic benefits strictly intact but make the look and feel user friendly. So the oil may be lighter or more fragrant and so on. Typically, an Ayurvedic treatment would be highly beneficial, but not pleasantly scented, and would be messy to use”. I rest my case.