From Privet Drive to Diagon Alley

Image credit: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
Image credit: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

In a shrewd move of one-upmanship in keeping with the indomitable Indian spirit, I have decided to write a flawsome post, realizing how folks have been writing awesome posts all over the Internet. What is so God-forsakenly flawsome about it, do you ask? Many things, I’d insist.

First, the title sounds so intriguing! I like the magical mist that flows with it. Next, it has not been pilfered from my neighbour’s blog: Mr Google will vouch for that! And last, but not the least, and that is assuming you will carry on till the very end, you will realize how profoundly flawsome this post indeed is! That’s a promise.

You may go ahead, my friend, and accuse me of desperation. Now, that is a feeling I know only too well, don’t I? I wouldn’t say it has been a depravity of sorts with me for it has become too mild a word in today’s lexicon. As I scurried over the railway footbridge the other day on my way to office, I saw this beggar scratching his bum nonchalantly in the middle of the narrow, swarming, milling passage. Shall I just say it was a cathartic moment in my life? The thought that this unkempt man could stand, see, breathe, stink and even take care of the lice in his secret parts, all at the same time, like you and me, like every other human being, was too overwhelming for endurance and I quickly walked away from the scene with a lump surging in my throat. I am sure though, the Steve McCurrys among us would have taken a fetching shot for that awesome post in their journals and having done which, they would have achieved the same results as my hasty flight from the scene.

Back to desperation, I can you tell you it is a trait which has been more like a conjoined twin with me than a tragic flaw. It has naturally remained entwined with me from the very moments of my birth which was again, a desperate affair. A quick trip to the Wayback Machine may be required to establish the fact decisively. Much before the lone taxi driver of the neighbourhood could be summoned to life from his opium induced sleep and my mother could smell the corridors of the maternity ward, I cut short the opera. All that my siblings would remember forever is that one moment they were wafting in sleep and the next they could distinctly hear the croaking voice of a Rana Tigrina in the middle of a dank, dark December!

All along my growing up years, I remained notoriously infamous for deserting all kinds of games and sports way before their natural ends. The pattern manifested itself ad nauseam across countless sessions of carom board, cards, chess, sprints, debates and any gobbledygook you may think of. Acts of incontinence indeed but tell me, where was the wisdom in wading forth in sessions whose fates were foregone conclusions?

I rushed through my junior classes as if in a time warp and I had still not read the Foundation Saga or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy. Lest you accuse me of affectation, allow me to take you to the concluding years of my education. Let it be known unto all ye who while away the time in this corner of Internet, I am one quarter a Ph.D., one half a management graduate and two thirds a law graduate. And should that sound bizarre to you, I may be allowed to explain concisely that I was not, I repeat, not, booted out of these hallowed courses. It is just that I figured out the futility of going through the entire length of the razzmatazz only to no avail, and I cut short my journey to the conclusion successfully each time. In the end of it all, you would appreciate that I was merely destined to write a blog called One Grain Amongst the Storm and here you are!

Do I mean to insinuate then, that I was born to write a blog? I mean the kind who is born with a silver quill in one hand and a golden tableau in the other? Ha! See how I have you all stumped, wondering what went past you!  In fact, I was born to perform much more profound acts than just writing a blog with a weird name borrowed from a verse in an adventure game! In case you are having ideas, I wasn’t born to be a vampire hunter either. The truth be told, dear reader, is that I was born to be a fully published blogger! And is that what I have been driving at all along in this ridiculous piece? But, of course! Instead of battling with a platoon of agents, editors, printers, book-binders and bookstores to land my feeble manuscripts in your hands, I prefer pushing a button at WordPress which simply says, Yes, Publish! My singular contention is that if I remain accessible to folks in places as varied and disparate as Privet Drive and Diagon Alley, who says I am not a published blogger?

Now, please don’t point that index finger at me saying my logic is flawed. Remember, it is a flawsome post!


  1. Mr. Flaw some Pandey….High FIve. I am a quarter of a Phd too…..and I wasn’t thrown out either…had to opt out. You were destined to be a blogger… awesome one. It was a pleasure reading your journey from the maternity home to being a Published blogger.

  2. Of course all bloggers are published! That’s what we do. Hit Publish everytime we put up a post on the blog! That aside, I do think, there is a huge populace out there who does not read blogs, but reads books. And they are missing the words you write. So, perhaps it might be a good idea to get those words ‘published’ in other forms outside of your blog. As Loreal might say, ‘because you are worth it!>. I enjoy reading your blogs, but would certainly expect greater things!

    1. Parce que je le vaux bien! How do I thank you for putting me on such exalted a station? And with great exaltation, comes great responsibility! I promise to deliver my best. May God bless you please.

  3. phew, it takes a hell lot of time for me to comprehend your writing :D.

    amazing writing again, an awesome post. loved it 🙂

  4. Thank you for making the right choices Umashankar and giving us the opportunity to indulge in some good reading! The pleasure is ours!

  5. It is so disappointing;i have been through it twice but could not find any flaws,leave this job to others more talented in that genre!!!

    1. A million thanks to you, Indu! Actually, you won’t see the flaw unless you start with a pre-conceived notion and you have apparently blown up the chance! 😀

  6. I have not seen the hitchhikers guide stilll 😦

    and you call FLAWSOME ah well you can smile as there are some or maybe JUST me who is dumb enough but has the guts to realise that I cant find any flaw whatsoever ..

    and I would like to know who says you are not a published blogger, I mean you have a good fan following and people like me come and learn a thing or two each time .. that to me is more published then those who write books and no one buys them or are forced to buy them 🙂

    I know a lot of people read books but I am sure many more read blogs these days , its the new trend 🙂

    All the best sir and its always good to read the articles here 🙂

    1. And you don’t need no hitchhiker’s guide, man! I expect you to rewrite all those old guides! 🙂 It is an honour, Bikram, to receive an Officer and a Gentleman like you at my humble corner. Many, many thanks to you.

  7. A delightful read! The word ‘published blogger’ really adds pride to millions of bloggers spread across the Internet network. Blogging platforms have given many a people the right to be called published. It is not merely restricted to the days of the yore when published meant a manuscript published in print! Anyway, the journey from maternity ward to being an awesome-flawsome blogger is quite interesting. The part that left me in amazement and mystery, yet again, is-“I am one quarter a Ph.D., one half a management graduate and two thirds a law graduate.” That is indeed a rare happening, and quite an interesting one!!

    1. Kundan, blogging is a beautiful platform, as you have observed, and we are indeed blessed to have it. It was only a decade back that many good authors were doomed to anonymity. At times though, I am pained at its misuse.

      Yes, it has been like that and you can verily say I am a Jack of all trades but master of none, or, a rolling stone gathers no moss!/

  8. Ur stock of word is amazing….I mean the way u use those words to bring about the perfect symphony is actually inspirational 🙂 Great work Man..

  9. Yes, it is. Indeed, a flawsomely flawless post. As Bikramjit said that blogs are a new trend, not that I started blogging; I haven’t read one book this year. All the time I get is just enough to read all those wonderful posts out there. 🙂 ‘published blogger’ in fact brings some kind of self content to every person who aspires to write and who couldn’t see them in print. I was able to relate to the sports thing..:)

    1. Blogging has come to stay, as you and Bikram have rightly said. It is indeed a boon to us. I am glad you could relate to that sports thing! Many thanks to you.

  10. Flawsomely awesome indeed. But you don’t need me to tell you that, do you? And I am sure that the day when your published BOOK is held in their hands by the ‘populace” as Richa calls them — is not too far away. And remember to send me an autographed copy 🙂

    1. Thank you, Zephyr, for tirelessly blessing me. God knows, I need all those wings of inspiration in these callous climes. Please don’t keep reminding me of that autographed copy. If it is there, it is yours for sure! 😀

  11. Wow…. a marvelous, life-affirming, life-mocking, true speaking, tough talking ultimately generous and affectionate stuff! Thank you so much for this, Umashankar. I can’t wait to scream-send this post to people who tell me “the rules to being a published writer’— need to inform them that am already a ‘published blogger’ (if not a writer..) !! LOL..
    Thank you! Gracias! Danke! Merci! Syukuria!
    Enjoyed reading this exquisite…flawless post! Very well penned!

    1. Ah, there! Please close the floodgates of your kind compliments for a moment, I want to soak in each and every drop that comes my way! Yes, we can fling the rules to being a published writes in their vacuous faces!

      Many, many, many, many, many thanks to you!

  12. It’s still awesome. :D. You were destined to write. Thanks to Web 2.0, we get to read you and interact with you too. You inspire us.

    1. It must be awesome since you say so! I repose boundless trust in patrons like you. God bless Web 2.0. For what are we but two zeroes without it? 😀

  13. What a profoundly flawsome post. 😀 I feel happy (for selfish reasons) that you are a fully published blogger and not a published author yet. Purely because I can read this wonderful piece of writing for free rather than paying to read it. 😉 And I surely wouldn’t mind paying to read your books either. 🙂

  14. I find your posts challenging to read. I have to read them at least twice to understand and even them I am certain that I’ve not grasped all there is to grasp. Just yesterday, I was reading a distinguished writer’s interview. She said writing books is difficult. It is a calling, and it is not for everyone. Creating literature is hard work. I could so relate to her words. You create literature with your posts! And, if there is someone whose book I’d like to see published, you would be the strongest contender for that.

    I hope you don’t mind me pointing out — there is a small typo, it should be breathe instead of breath.

    1. Yes, Rachna. Creating Literature is hard work. It calls for certain dedication neither available nor affordable with ease. That said, I keep crawling ahead on that elusive road, not knowing where it will take me. I will remain grateful forever to readers like you for the ceaseless encouragement.

      Thank you so much for pointing out that slip in spelling. It stands corrected.

  15. And how can you forget, the newly opened UmaShankar Pandey Marg ? Privet Drive and Diagon Alley may have potholes….

    Great post ! Keep flying !

    These Olympian times,
    its not about
    being a a Hesh-ian Der-Paes,
    gut-meshes and nets.

    It’s about
    serving gentle ,
    occasionally flawsome
    word hints,
    across Nets,
    lobbing sentences,
    hitting exclamatory shots,
    to have a commenter
    pick it
    and return it
    quicksilver fast
    with huge compliments.

    Its about floating
    on your back
    enchanted with an alphabet sky
    adorned with
    phrasy Suns and Moons,
    cutting through
    agitating thoughts
    in a wondrous freestyle,
    then flitting
    in a romantic butterfly stroke,
    and catching your breath
    before joining
    the graceful runners
    through life roads,
    shotting a putt here,
    flinging a javelin question there,
    and then
    the long jump
    and high jinx
    across blogs.

    And while you
    get an occasional
    box on the ears,
    you punch
    someone’s ignorant stomach,
    sweep bats out of the old woodwork
    for a Tendulian Six,
    we, the onlookers
    applaud and cheer.

    Its more fun being
    a wildly applauded sportsman,
    with a
    bag of games to your credit
    a Heshian Der-Paes,
    running between
    red lines
    marked by fellows
    who pretend to know
    who pretend to umpire.

    1. I have read your poem ten times and have felt stunned on each iteration. Such felicity of words, such grace, such swings of language, such power of expression are rarely witnessed in these times. I couldn’t have dreamt of a greater honour! May your Muse last a Million Milleniums.

  16. Hi USP! about the only flaw I found in your purportedly ‘flawsome’ post is that you at all called it flawsome:):) As usual impeccable and superb use of the English language and a wonderfully flowing narrative.

  17. this is the first time i actually read your blog… and im quite surprised that i havent till now… flawsome.. too many intended puns eh?

  18. Hi sir, a nice flawsome post indeed. Some are destined to be bloggers with a mighty weapon called ‘extensive knowledge’ and you are one of them. 🙂

  19. nice read! I didn’t know where you were heading initially but glad to find an ending I can happily relate to..
    You are an amazing blogger.. Keep writing more ‘flawsome’- awesome posts like these.. 🙂

  20. I have been hooked to your blog ever since I began reading it..You are a born blogger and a great inspiration 🙂 I just love the command you have over the English language!

  21. I would have said your post was ‘awesome’, but for the fact that it has already become heavily cliched. So I will make do with, ‘great job’, but time for greater glory now, when do we see your book ?

  22. that was an awesome post ! At least you cut short your journey without wasting time … Holding a degree in my hand my exact thoughts were “have i wasted 4 yrs of my life ?” And Umashankar “One Grain Amongst the Storm” is an awesomest( !!) blog i have come across….

    1. I am thrilled to have sparked your interest! Thank you, so much!
      @Suranga: I understand that is a delicious fare. God bless you!

  23. This was a post that resonated with me to the core. Though I dream to be a published writer, I sometimes think why ? What is the point? If I am enjoying writing on my blog, why write somewhere else? When God has given me enough to live by , why desire money for my works?

    Initially when I saw the starting I thought you are again planning to take a pot shot at our esteemed fellow bloggers.

    1. Woe betide the man who dares take a dig at the ‘esteemed bloggers’! And I am happy the post struck a chord with you.

      To be, or not to be a full time author, that is the question, as also, its natural corollary, whether my family will still get their daily bread? And that is a tough one for my ageing gray cells with a withering Wernicke’s area.

  24. USP you can conjure images flawlessly despite proclaiming you being flawsome! Destiny has charted many more courses before your rise to fame with passage of time!

    1. Rahul, you are scaring the ghost out of me! I am used to believing that the number of courses I’ve been through is about par! 😀 Thank you: I will wait for that famous thing called fame to find me!

  25. Hey USP

    Bad day in the office? Or you read some “inspirational” stuff?

    Snooking – the – c….. Oh! It should be the other way round … at a lot of people with such panache! I enjoyed the innuendoes and elbow nudges at some of the baddies we experience during the hike through cyberia.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the post. Bring it on man …. you have made the write choice!

    1. Trust you to come up with your X-Ray vision! And I have tried to sound inspirational myself, for a change! 😀

      Thank you for your continued support, JM!

  26. Mr. USP you are allowed to hit the publish button many times. But I am waiting (like many others) to buy your book, so please continue to battle with the agents & publishers.

    P.s : BTW I don’t need an autographed copy. I will be content with the bragging rights of “Oh! I know the author of this book” 😉

    1. Many thanks for that assurance, Asif. I believe I will keep pressing that button again and again. Also, I guess I can brag about readers like you already! 🙂

    1. Sir, there seems to be a verb missing from your first sentence and I wish to be excused from hazarding a guess. Thanks for the acknowledgment.

  27. Flawboyant! And an intriguingly magical title as well. I must reiterate again (for the umpteenth time) that you are a master of words. It was a lovely little peak into your life and times. Gave me a glimpse of the making of the genius you are. PHD, Mgmt and Law – no wonder! And the fact that you have cut them short to the conclusion speaks about your never ending search and quest for knowledge and things that matter to you.

    You are not just a published blogger. You are an accomplished writer. I have been enthralled by your writing genius every single time I have read you. And I am sure you are just getting started. And btw.. flawed or not! I am awed by your logic. Fantastic read indeed!

  28. Raj, I’ll be wading through the deluge of your breathtaking compliments for many, many days and nights to come! Coming from an accomplished writer like you, it is especially worth cherishing. A Million thanks to you for your continued support. God Bless You! 😀

  29. The pleasure is mine as I get to read so many gems from your genius. I can’t emphasize enough, how big a fan I am of your writing! 🙂

  30. Sir, you are in a different league altogether. Exceptional, i must concur. It is an honor to be reading your work. Your arsenal of words never lacks munitions.

  31. What a flawsomely awesome post. I have one grouse though: Privet Drive to Diagon Alley is too modest a stretch. Or even the Shire to Mordor as Rich has suggested. I say, be Indian, say Indian. Therefore it should be Kashmir to Kanyakumari 😉

    1. I remain thankful to you, Sudhagee, as ever. However, I disagree with you in toto. For whatever it is worth, there is no denying my Indianness. But that is all. The language I love had its origin roughly around the British Islands and it is a global tongue today. And if I must nurture a vanity, why not a global one? To me, therefore, ‘Tallahassee to Timbuktu’ would make for a more acceptable replacement, if at all I were to think of one, rather than the one you suggest.

  32. just read your post at Rachna’s space and came here…….i must say that i am genuinely happy to be here…..

    Looking forward to read your awesome posts now……plz keep them coming.

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