Prologue

I was never exposed to Dungeons & Dragons while growing up in India. During my later years, as I came to know about it, I have always been fascinated by the game that plays in your mind. After a few discussions during lunch and expressing my curiosity, one of my friends at work decided to set up an introductory D&D session for me. He even created my playable character for me after talking to me and we met after work.
That was last September and I loved it. At present, I am playing in two campaigns. I tend to take very detailed notes and so I decided to write one of the incidents that happened a month back in one of my campaigns. Although it is not the beginning, I am calling it “Prologue” (that may change later).

I do not claim that the story is mine, but it is how it played in my mind. The dialogs are how I heard them and the scenery is how I saw it. It is my retelling of how it went down. I hope my interest stays and I bring more stories like this.

I give you … Prologue …


Prologue

Grommish looks at everyone and speaks in his guttural voice, “I am going to approach the house. You guys should hang back. I do not want to scare the parents”.

Everyone nods except Yolanda, who seems to be annoyed. She grimaces at the suggestion and looks at Grommish, “I will come with you. Last time we talked to them, I was there”.

Fine. But no threats this time. And I will do the talking”. Grommish stares at Yolanda with his piercing orc eyes. “Are we in agreement, Yolanda?

She shrugs and gives a slight nod. Grommish starts walking towards the house and Yolanda follows him.

The rest of their company hangs back from the farmer’s home. The golden glow of the dusk sky gives a strange shade to the already harvested fields. It is a small and humble home made of raw clay bricks that give the house its shade. There are small colored decorations on the house in a darker hue along with some handprints around the outer wall. An old door made from oak wood adorns the house. The roof seems to need a new thatch and a small lantern is hanging on the side of the front of the door. A small paddy field extends around the house on the right and transforms into a vegetable garden behind it.

Carna feels a strange eeriness in the air, now that they were closer to the town.

The town is aptly named Hopeless Fancy. The air is evil. I feel the hope is being drained out of me”, Carna says looking at the rest of them. Everyone seems to agree. Kalyn nods but keeps looking around, scouting the area.

Would you give it a rest, my dear man. This is a poor farmer’s home”, Carna says.

Hey, I can’t help it. This is what I do best” replies Kalyn with a smirk on his face.

Everyone turns their head towards the house, as they hear Grommish knock on the door in a friendly manner. A middle-aged woman opens the door. She is wearing simple lighter colored clothes which have seen some seasons. They can’t hear what they are talking from this distance, but it seems that the orc and the halfling are known to the woman. She seems friendly to them.

Let’s get closer, I can’t hear a thing from here”, Verok suggests. Everyone starts to move a bit closer to the house. The woman looks at the motion beyond Grommish, her eyes widen as they settle on the Dragonborn.

Grommish notices her gaze. “It’s fine Ms. Clairidge, they are my friends. They are with me”, they hear Grommish telling the woman, as they get closer. “That is Verok, and yes he is a Drgonborn”.

The woman looks back at Grommish and sadness seems to creep back in her eyes.

As I was saying Ms. Clairidge, Yolanda and I are still investigating the disappearance of your son. We caught Mad-Eye the hermit but it seems it was a false lead”. Krowley notices that Yolanda looks bored of all this talk and her hand slides along with her bow. The woman dabs her eye with the edge of her shawl and nods.

Ms. Clairidge, I have a favor to ask. I know it is painful for you to recall, but I do wish if you could tell us one more time how did your son disappear”, Grommish requests in the friendliest way possible.

Well, as I told you before”, her voice quivers, “after the day’s work, my husband and my son came back in the house for supper. They both looked tired from tilling the fields and getting ready for the next harvest season. The supper was a quiet affair, and after supper, my son went to bed. And the next morning, he was gone. Gone like the others”.

Are there any other ways to get out of your house, besides this door?”. The woman shakes her head.

Any windows in your son’s room where he could use to get out?”. She again shakes her head.

And the door creaks! How did your son get out of the house without you or your husband knowing, Ms. Clairidge”. Everyone is looking at the woman waiting for her response. Even Yolanda was looking from Grommish to the woman.

Ms. Clairidge’s voice gets agitates a little bit, “What are you trying to say? Our son was kidnapped … kidnapped by that hermit, Mad-Eye … or whatever his name is. My poor son, I wonder where he is, and if he is still …”. She could not finish the sentence and started sobbing.

Grommish looks at her patiently. After a few moments, she composes herself “As I said, he was taken, just like the other children”.

Ms. Clairidge, who are you afraid of?”. The woman’s face jerks up and she looks at Grommish. “Because you and I both know what you are telling us is not true. I caught up with Mad-Eye and he has not taken your son or any other child. Yes, I know, he was around your home when your son was kidnapped. He told me that he saw two figures walking away from your home that evening. It was a little darker so he did not see who it was. But he said one figure matched the height of your son”, Grommish’s tone was serious now. “Who are you afraid of, Ms. Clairidge? I implore you to please tell me what exactly happened. We need to know, so we can save your son, and other children who have been taken”.

And this time, please tell us the truth”.

The woman’s eyes tear up and she starts sobbing. Grommish looks at Yolanda who still seemed indifferent and restless. He looks back at the woman who stops crying, takes a deep sigh and in quivering voice tells what happened.

As I said, my husband and our son came back from the day’s work. After supper, my son went to his room. My husband and I were talking about how much we will be able to save from this harvest when we heard a knock on our door. My husband, David, was the one who answered the door. I was trying to see who was at the door, but my husband was blocking my view. All I could see was someone who was wearing a dark robe. Then my husband called my son. I stood up and walked up to the door. As our son came out of his room, my husband asked him to accompany the man. I tried stepping forward and asking him who is at the door, and why was he asking our son to go with him. But my husband blocked my path with his arm and closed the door behind our son. He stopped me from opening the door behind my son and told me later that it was the Dark Druid who threatened the life of our son. He also said that the druid told him that our son’s life will be spared if he comes with us. That’s all I know”.

Clairidge then drops on her knees, buries her face in her hands and started crying, “My son. Gone. Gone like the others. My poor son”.

Grommish kneels next to her and puts his hand on the woman’s shoulders.

Don’t worry Ms. Clairidge, we will find your son. I am sorry that you had to relive this again. I do not think it was the Dark Druid who took your son. Dark Druids do not exist anymore, for a few thousand years now”. Ms. Clairidge looks up inquisitively at Grommish.

You do not think it was the Dark Druid who took my son?”, she asks Grommish.

No, I do not think so. I think someone is posing as a Dark Druid and I need to find out why. We will try our best to find your son and other children who have been taken. Thank you for telling us the truth. Now we know exactly what happened and can do the right investigation”.

“If it is alright with you, we would like to speak to your husband, David, and ask him if he can give us any clue to who could be the person who was posing as the Dark Druid”, Grommish says standing up.

The woman stops crying and nods. She stands up and points towards the field in the southwest direction beyond where the rest of the party is standing. “David is still working in the fields”.

Everyone turns to look behind at a solitary figure working on the other side of the field. He seemed to be trying to stay oblivious to them all, slowly moving away. As he notices everyone looking in his direction, he stands up.

Hello there”, Carna calls. David drops the sickle and the scythe from his hands and starts running away from the house. Ms. Clairidge eyes widen in surprise and then she sees everyone running behind David.


JPS Nagi
March 15, 2020

I … am … home

36,000 feet in the air, flying above the Canadian Rockies, traveling from Amsterdam to Portland, back from our visit to India, I am wondering where is home? Amritsar, New Delhi or Portland?

Let me back up for more than three decades. I was born in the holy city of Amritsar, in a Sikh family, little did I knew that the home for me would be different during different phases of my life.

My early years were spent in my ancestral home of my grandfather, where our family dwelled with my uncle’s. His son is likely the closest of my cousin’s, having spent the most time with him. He was 10 years older than me, introduced me to Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson. Being the only child, I was spoilt. Being the youngest among my paternal cousins and oldest among the maternal ones, I was loved from both sides. My grandfather would carry me on his shoulders and take me to street vendors selling painted clay toys. My cousin taught me how to fly kite, and my dad taught me calculus (yes, I knew calculus as a young child, but that’s a different story). And my grandmother practically raised me. I was home.

As my dad bought his first house, we moved out of my grandfather’s home. I was 7 or 8 years old. The new home was alien a bit. I remember that I’d ask my parents to “Take me home” as they would put me to sleep. I missed our ancestral home. Over time, I made friends in the neighborhood, played cricket with them, and, most importantly, my grandfather came to live with us. The new house became home. I shared the room with my grandfather and before going to bed, I would ask him to “sing me a song”. He would oblige with singing “sacred hymns” or Shabads, which I would understand much later. He lived until the end of his days with us. That home also gave me the first experience of death. I do not believe I fully understood the gravity of it, as I was protected, and did not attend his funeral. It was maybe it was my parents’ way of protecting me. I also lost a friend to cancer at that young age – someone who was just a few months younger than me. My time there was not that melancholic though, I had lots of fun, learned to ride the bike in the neighborhood. I also started biking to school with friends from the neighborhood, eventually got a moped (yes those tiny things) much earlier than I should have been licensed to drive. I grew until late teens in that home, and the time came for us to move once to our current house within India. I think all three of us got emotional as we handed over the familiar sound of those jingling keys to the new owners. But were also excited to go to our new home.

The new house, where my parents still live, became my home for the next few years. My dad constructed it to home a decent size family. A jingling sound of new keys became part of our lives and we started to get familiar with which switches would turn on lights or fan in different rooms (we have way too many switches in each room). I did not get to live there much, because I left for studying engineering in Chandigarh and then move to New Delhi for a job. A couple of years later, destiny brought me back to Amritsar for two years and I was living once again with my parents. That was almost 20 years back, filled with some good memories. We bought our first car, and I drove it into our outer wall while bringing it home. I blasted classic rock music while occupying the top room in the house. I collected thousands of audio cassettes (my father keeps them as a memory of me). Got my first PC – Intel Pentium PC. And I dreamed of going to the USA. I also met my wife during those years.

My move to the USA was both less of a culture shock than a climate shock. I moved to cold, snowy Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the middle of January. My wife joined me a year later and a few months later, we moved to wet Portland, Oregon in 2001. We are now settled there. We have created our lives around our work. We found friends who became family. Got a house in 2007, became our home where we are raising two incredible human beings.

During this last visit to India, in November 2019, as I walked into the home in Amritsar, memories came flooding back. My brain brought memories of nooks and corners around the house. My muscle memories activated while walking around a broken floor, which my parents got it fixed, still, I kept skipping it. I started looking through the old photographs and fond memories of all the places I have been to. I saw colors in those black and white photos – the red seat of my tricycle, the stripes of my shirt, or the dress my mom wore. Vividly, I remembered the places where that photographs were taken – as an infant in my parents’ arms in our ancestral home and to see my kid’s photos in our home in Oregon.

As the trip was coming to close in India, someone commented that it seemed that “we were ready to go back home”. That made me think, where is my home?

Maybe it is at every place that I have lived or maybe it is where my heart lives and mind remembers or just maybe it is where I am with those whom I love and who love me. 36,000 feet above the ground heading back to Portland, makes me wonder, am I going home?

And as I look at the faces of my kids, I know … I … am … home!

JPS Nagi
November 30th, 2019
Written on the iPhone, 36,000 ft in the air, above the Canadian Rockies!

Ishtihaar (Ikk Kudi) by Shiv Kumar Batalvi – Guitar Chords with Translation

Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poetry stands for it’s heightened passion, separation and lover’s agony. He is indeed Birha da Sultan – the king of separation of a beloved. He has dived into the abyss of pathos and put it in words that have inspired both the lovers and the lovers of Punjabi language.

The beauty of Shiv’s poetry is the simplicity of his words at the surface but pack a punch at a deeper level that has few rivals in the language. At an age of 30, he became the youngest recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award, a literary honor by India’s National Academy of Letters, Sahitya Akademi.

For more than 4 decades, his poems have attracted the singers with his poignancy and emotions. Each one has sung his poems with welled eyes to varied music genres. From acapella version by Shiv himself (check my blog here) to modern renditions, every singer has brought their own style, music, and flavor to his poems.

A few months back, as I started to pluck the strings of the guitar, once again Shiv’s poetry beckoned and I looked up to a more modern rendition of my all-time favorite poem – “Ishtihaar“. It is also sometimes called “Ikk Kudi“. The song has been arranged in musical notes by likes of Rabbi Shergill, Hans Raj Hans, and classic, Mahender Kapoor’s version. I had to find a version that a novice guitar player like me could play easily. And I found just the one from the movie Udta Punjab. It is sung by Diljit Dosanjh, with music by Amit Trivedi.

This version attracted me for a number of reasons – the simplicity of music arrangement, modern guitar chords, and of course Shiv’s poetry. As I started dissecting the song, I found that there was not a perfect version that I can play. So I had to create chords for it first before any strings would vibrate on the guitar.

With this blog post, I am sharing the chords for the song along with the English translation of the same.
Download printable version of the chords for the song from Udta Punjab.
Enjoy playing this on a guitar.

JPS Nagi
December 2018

PEC E&EC Class of 1996 Reunion 2018, in Las Vegas – ‘A Musical Gathering’

A couple of months back, someone in my PEC Electronics WhatsApp group suggested a get-together.  Within the next few hours, there was a big commotion, messages flying around with potential dates and excuses. Within a day, a sub-group was rolled out of folks who had agreed upon dates to meet at the Sin City. There was a bit of arm twisting and emotional blackmail – which resulted in folks (Adarsh and Bhup) flying in from the east coast and ND from even across the pond. The decision was that we all fly into Las Vegas on December 7th, 2018 and stay there for the weekend. The dates are well clear of the Thanksgiving or Christmas breaks.

And then the process of having a theme started. After all, there were eleven of us, and we were all meeting in Vegas … Ocean’s 11 came to mind. With Pompy at the helm of this get-together, it was christened Pompy’s 11. Themed T-shirts were suggested, and I quickly put a design together, again inspired by Ocean’s 11 (more like Ocean’s 8). We gathered all the shirt sizes, kept the design and color of the shirts secret – they are red of course.

Then, an earworm made it’s way to my mind. How about a musical theme for the gathering? I bounced it off Pompy and he loved it. Since we are all children of 80s/ 90s, it has to be on a cassette tape; which I was sure most will not be able to play. Pompy and I conspired on it and I got to work. The music that started as 11 tracks (to go with the theme of 11), became a baker’s dozen because I wanted to fill in full 60 minutes, and also because there were a couple of other songs that were too hard to miss.

Thus Pompy’s 11 – A Musical Gathering came into existence.
Of course, almost all of us are challenged from being able to play the cassette, so there is a digital download included too. Here is how the music came to be.

Side A (29 minutes)
Livin’ On the Edge – Aerosmith
Aerosmith had to be included … for Ajju. Two out of fours years at college, I have stayed next door to Ajju. And invariably, I have heard the tunes of the Bad Boys from Boston coming from his room. With songs like Dude Looks Like a Lady, and Janie’s got a Gun, Ajju was instrumental in making me (and us) aware of Aerosmith.

Thunderstruck – AC/ DC
One of the great example of how the music came before the lyrics. AC/DC’s soaring crescendo of a song about being Thunderstruck, the guitar rhythm was amazing and the lyrics to fit the bill. One of the popular songs to crank up the volume on those cassette boom boxes, AC/ DC was played by one and all.

Enter Sandman – Metallica
Metallica has a special place in everyone’s heart – for those who gathered and those who did not. A favorite headbanger number from one of the greatest bands of all time. The track had the energy that complemented ours during that age.

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
Nirvana’s biggest hit and Cobain’s crowning glory made the grunge, cool again. It was an attempt by Nirvana to create a pop song – ended up becoming popular among all the headbangers we had at the hostel (dorm) parties.

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
Like Ali Haidar’s Purani Jeans, Bryan Adam’s Summer of ’69 is like an anthem for our generation. It brings too many memories of growing, high school, and hormones. The guitar riff, which underwent a lot of changes, had the energy to be played at almost every gathering we have had.

You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi released Keep the Faith in 1992 followed by Cross Roads in 1994. Both albums could be heard int he corridors. You Give Love a Bad Name was particularly played on a smallish tape player, with Pompy, Ananth, and yours truly singing along at the top of their voice relatively late in the evening, while at the Thapar Institute of Technology for an inter-college cultural competition.

Side B (27 minutes)
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Appetite for Destruction which came 4 years prior to G’n’R’s Use your Illusions duology, had one of their most successful songs. – Sweet Child O’ Mine. Axl Rose’s soaring six-octave range made this song to be our favorite.

We Will Rock You – Queen
This is one of the few songs, that I recall, Numi loved. He would always get happy just hearing either the beat or the guitar riff of the song. It is also one of the songs that are played often during sports and radio events.

Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz made its way into our collective consciousness when Sumant suggested it for one of the mock-rock competition. Needless to say that we won that competition and the song became an integral part of the music for all of us.

Roadhouse Blues – The Doors
I had never heard of The Doors. When Akshay (our friend from Civil Engineering), another of my next-door neighbor during one of the years, shared his 90-minute BASF Cobalt mixtape with me, I turned to The Doors. I copied The Best of The Doors (German Edition) and rest is history. I played it over and over again in my boom-box. And The Doors became my favorite group. A bit of trivia, other than The Beatles, The Doors is the only other group whose group members I can name without thinking. 

Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple
Deep Purple was the other Brit rock band. An instant classic with one of the world’s most popular beginning guitar riff. It was loved by one and all. One of the first songs that come to mind when we think of our time at PEC.

Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
The song that refers to war-making with reference to Norse mythology and halls of Valhalla, this song was popular among the fans of Brit-Rock likes of which included Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, and Deep Purple. Againthis one is for Sumant.

Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
The list started with Ajju, and it has to end with him too. I can still hear Ajju singing at the top of his voice while walking in the corridors of our hostel (dorm), “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. Def Leppard became one of the favorite pop-rockish band that everyone loved.

I am publishing this on the day we are all supposed to arrive in Vegas. So many may not have seen this or even known about the theme. But here it and all shall reveal today afternoon.

JPS Nagi
December 7, 2018

Marvel Civil War II (2016-2017)

Marvel launched the second Civil War within Marvel Universe last year. The lines were drawn and the sides chosen. And the fight began with Captain Marvel and Iron Man on opposite sides this time. I went through the comics in the main series and all the in between fillers. So here is the list for Marvel’s Civil War II.

Civil War II is a 2016–2017 Marvel Comics crossover storyline built around originally seven, extended to eight and now a nine part series (if you consider The Oath 001) limited series. It ran through almost all other titles published by Marvel. The tagline for the series is, “Choose your Side “

And as usual, here is just a list.
Click here to get a printable check list and reading order.

He-Man and Managing Your Universe – Five Management Lessons learnt from the TV series of the 80s

1024full-he--man-and-the-masters-of-the-universe-photo[1]Few weeks ago, I was surfing the shelves of a local bookstore when I came across an omnibus of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. My daughter, who was with me, was surprised that I knew about He-Man. Little did she know that I used to get up early on a Sunday to catch up on the show on TV during the 1980s.
As I look back, the lessons at the end of the show, which I used to find “interesting”, to say the least, are so relevant.
Here are five (plus a bonus) management lessons that we can learn from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

  1. Teamwork Works!
    If you ever watched a show, you will notice that the theme and format of (almost) every show is same – evil attacks and good triumphs. The good side or the evil side are not just one person – it is a team of people. Skeletor heads the evil troupe, and He-Man is leader of the good.
    Skeletor hatches a new scheme to rule Eternia, and attacks Eternia with the help of his cronies. Sorceress warns Masters of the Universe, who come together to save the day.
    Eternia is not saved by a single person but a team of Masters – Sorceress warns, Mech-a-Neck does reconnaissance, Startos provides air support, Man-at-Arms provide strategy, weapons & gadgets, and He-Man and Teela provide the raw power to fight on the ground. On the other side, Skeletor’s team does not work together, each one has their own agenda that conflicts with the others and hence their every attempt to capture Eternia fails. The same principle applies in our work lives. When working on a project, it is important that the team works together. Everyone contributes to the common goal and move forward. When a teammate needs help, the others lend a hand, pick them up and move on. If the members of the team do not work together, then the dysfunctional team will soon face failure.
  2. Alignment to a single goal
    In one of the episodes, the Eternian bees species do not get along with the bird species. Kings of both the species do not want Skeletor to overrun their kingdoms. They take extra steps to fortify their castles, however that does not help the other. In the episode, each (almost) lose their kingdoms to Skeletor. Although they realize their mistakes that they were not aligned and working together.
    Once they join forces, Skeletor is easily defeated. When working on a team, it is important to move forward “as a team” and equally important is moving forward in the same direction. Project teams have members from different departments and each of them bring their own needs and agendas to the table. It is needed that all the needs and agendas of team members have alignment towards the same goal. The ones who do not align to the common goal should not be part of the team; otherwise the project gets pulled in different directions, which will cause delays or worse, failure. When on the same team, work towards a single goal.
  3. Everyone is important
    One of the Masters, Mech-a-Neck, who can stretch his neck and does reconnaissance work in the TV show, starts to feel that he is not as important as the rest of the Masters. He thinks that even one of the robots of Man-at-Arms can replace him. Of course, the show predictably ends in him realizing that the work he does is important. At some point or the other in our lives, we have all felt or made ot feel that we are not as useful as the others. This is an extreme outlier case. Every cog in a machinery is important when they are part of the team. A cohesive team can work together better and faster than a team where folks have their own selfish agendas.
    When in doubt, just take a 15 min break, and recall all the work one has done in the past few years as a part of the team. You will find ample examples where you have stepped up and rose to the occasion and saved the day.
    Another important aspect is to understand that others are also equally important. I have met so many people who feel that they walk on water. Yes, they are smart, but when you fly solo, you can get a meteoritic rise that won’t last forever.
    Everyone on a team serves a function and is important, including you.
  4. Informed Timely Response
    Whenever Skeletor attacks Eternia, Masters have very little time to strategize to do a detailed planning. If they would have spent too much time in planning, Castle Grayskull would have fallen long time back. They gather information (Mech-a-Neck’s reconnaissance), assess the situation, decide on action to be taken and take action. In the corporate environment, we do not have luxury of endless time. The world keeps shrinking their times-to-market.
    There is a time to plan and then there is time to act. Planning cannot go on forever, and action cannot be without any thought behind it.
    When time comes to act, gather your wits & all the information you need, do an assessment,  make a decision and take action. Not taking an action in today’s world will harm your business.
    When you have all or sufficient amount of information needed to take the next step – decide and act upon it. Do stay perpetual planning.
  5. Looking back and looking forward
    In every episode of show, Eternia is destroyed by Skeletor. And in every subsequent episode, the people of Eternia are rebuilding their home. Home insurance must be very high in Eternia.
    Although it may be tough to live there, it shows resilience of the Eternians to learn from past, and then move forward. Man-at-Arms helps build barriers that are stronger and better fortified. That is a very important lesson I think. There is an old Indian saying, “Don’t fret over spilled milk”. I take it a step forward, “clean up and don’t let it spill, next time”.
    We all make mistakes and face failures. What is important is to learn from past and move on. It is very useful to develop a habit of looking back and deconstruct what went wrong.
    Sometimes we are too attached to a project to look objectively. In such cases ask a friend or a colleague you trust for help. Let them help you understand what went wrong.
    Learn from past mistakes, and take steps not to repeat them and move on.
    Moving on armed with new knowledge not to repeat mistakes is an asset that will prove very useful.
  6. Bonus Lesson – Leadership
    Yes, I did say Five lessons, but as I am writing this, I found another lesson. Every time Skeletor and his forces attack, Sorceress, who is the guardian of the Castle Grayskull, provides guidance to He-Man and Man-at-Arms to help steer them in the direction that will change the outcome of the battle. It is through her guidance that Eternia gets saved, no matter how bleak the circumstances. She is the voice of motivation, the voice of reason and the voice of guidance.
    And thus the importance of leadership – a voice of reason, guidance, inspiration and motivation. Leaders are always needed to provide the team with a vision of a goal for the common good and the team has to be able to buy into it. Too many times the vision does not get shared down to the team members. That always results in loss of motivation for the individual contributors on the team. Leaders at every levels of management need to share the vision with team members to keep them “in the loop” and bring overall motivation and alignment.

As a kid, I never thought that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe will have so many lessons, much less management lessons. As an adult, I see so many parallels.
There are also allegorical parallels of the TV series; that is an article for some other time.

For now, that’s all folks!

JPS Nagi
July 17, 2016

Marvel’s Civil War (2006-2007)

Marvel Civil WarWith the launch of Captain America: Civil War, my household is now going through devouring the comics of the series. Of course, I was asked the complete reading order of the whole series. And here it is – Marvel’s Civil War.

Civil War is a 2006–2007 Marvel Comics crossover storyline built around a seven-issue limited series of the same name written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven, which ran through various other titles published by Marvel at the time. The storyline builds upon the events that developed in previous Marvel crossovers, particularly Avengers Disassembled, House of M, and Decimation. The tagline for the series is, “Whose Side Are You On?”

And as usual, here is just a list.

I addition to the reading order, I also wanted to know,
– Main Event.
– On going comic book series along with the number.

Click here to get a printable check list and reading order.

DC’s Convergence (2015)

DC-ConvergenceAnother comic book event that happened in 2015 was DC Comics’ Convergence.

Convergence spins out of the final issues of the weekly series, Earth 2: World’s End and The New 52: Futures End. The story involves Brainiac collecting cities and inhabitants from various timelines that have ended, trapping them in domes on a planet outside of time and space and opening them up to see what happens.

The comics ran for 8 weeks and we got them all. We had to create a good reading order so that we can follow the story along beyond the main event. Some websites provide reading order, with lot of details about plotlines, ratings and how well does it fit in the timeline. I just want a list.

So I decided to create one myself. I spent many hours making this list, and decided this may be useful for others who are in the same boat as us.

I addition to the reading order, I also wanted to know,
– Main Event.
– On going comic book series along with the number (for example, Green Arrow # 002).

Click here to get a printable check list and reading order.

Marvel’s Secret Wars (2015)

MarvelSecretWars[1]Earlier this year, I got to relive my childhood through my daughter. She got interested in comics.

In 2015, Marvel decided to end their comic book world through Secret Wars. Just like past Secret Wars, the 2015 Marvel’s Secret Wars is also a huge event. During this event, many series will be brought to the end and the genesis of new Marvel Comic Book Universe will take place as a result of that.

We have been getting comics on a weekly basis, but we found that it is a bit difficult to follow without a good reading order. There are websites that do provide reading order, with lot of details about plotlines, ratings and how well does it fit in the timeline. Sometimes … you just want a list. So I decided to make one for ourselves. I spent many hours making this list, and decided this may be useful for others who are in the same boat as us.

I addition to the reading order, I also wanted to know,
– Event within the Secret Wars (for example Main, Last Days, Battle World or Warzones).
– On going comic book series along with the number (for example, The Punisher # 019).

So I created a way to organize name of each entry in the list.Naming

Then I created color coding, so that it is easy for me to quickly pick up the event; this will be particularly useful if I wish to read only the Main Event, or say only the Battleworld.

Click here to get a printable check list and reading order.
This list includes releases up to September 19, 2015. Come back for updated list every week.

Punjab 1984 – Ballewood Arrives !!!

Finally, punjab-1984I watched Punjab 1984. And here is what I think of it. This is an intense movie. The performances were good. There is a triangular conflict in the movie; Diljit shows great potential as an actor in the new generation. Pawan Malhotra, who is main antagonist in the movie, fits the role like a glove; his grins, smiles and expressions makes you hate the character, which shows how good job he is doing with the role. And the third apex of the triangle is played by Kiron Kher as a mother; she pretty much carries the movie on her shoulders. She is relatable as a mother, and portrays a very complex role with ease of an experienced actress (which she is). Diljit and Kiron’s scenes of a other-son bond are a treat to watch. The dialogues are very well written – they work at the surface level and also at a deeper emotional level. I also loved how the writers treated the story; the topic is extremely sensitive, and the treatment is excellent – instead of targeting a group, religion, or pointing fingers, it is a human story – rising above the limits and boundaries. It is a story of a mother looking for her son, who because of circumstances ends up at odds with the then prevalent law of the land. The story moves back and forth in time with flashback, which are very well edited.  It is a coming of age story of a son, who makes some choices under circumstances, and traces his path to redemption. It is the story of a man cornered, and how he stand against the ones who cornered him. If you are one of those folks who do not like the fact that Indian movies have music where the whole casts stops and start lip syncing to the song and dance to the tune, then you are in for a treat. Music of this movie adds layers to this movie. The songs are playing in the background, and they take the story forward. They are all situational, and most of the time, you will not even realize that you a song just started. They are essential and compliment the progression of the story. Watch out the lyrics for Swaah Ban ke, Lori and Ammi Udeek Di – they bring the sensitivity of poetry to this movie. they will bring a year or two to your eyes. The lighter songs Channo, Rangrut keep the happier parts of the story happy. Kudos to the music directors; yes there are few. And then there is Anurag Singh, the director. I have to say, I am impressed. He has proven to be one of the better directors in Punjabi Film Industry and deserves all the laurels to get the kind of performances he got out of the actors, and to keep the heart of the movie alive throughout on such a subject. With this movie he proves his range from being able to handle movies like Jatt & Juliet series (which were OK, I think) to a serious drama like Punjab 1984; and he does not misses a beat. This is his crowning glory so far. The movie is intense, emotional, and a tear jerker. Get ready with those tissues, and think about the questions raised by this movie, which are many. Lastly, story, scenes, and cinematography reminded me of Maachis (another well rounded director Gulzar) throughout the movie. It feels like either a homage in style or deeply inspired by it. I had to go look for the Maachis DVD after watching Punjab 1984. All in all it is good movie. I would call it 9/10 on the scale of good dramas. Go watch it ! JPS Nagi July 2, 2014