Tuesday, January 29

RIP By Mukul Deva - Book Review



Title : RIP ( The Resurgent Indian Patriots )
Author : Mukul Deva
Label : Fiction / Thriller 
Publisher : Westland LTD 
Year : 2012
Pages : 286
Price : Rs.200

The Essence

                     The blurb is successful , more or less , in offering an alluring prelude to the fast paced story that beckons to the reader from inside . The Story flags off on an intriguing note in itself throwing around an air of adventure , with four prominent members of the political tycoon being murdered , their code of conduct quite proficient and impeccable . The team carrying out the mission calls themselves RIP ( The Resurgent Indian Patriots ) helmed by Colonel Krishna Athawale , an ex para commando of the Indian Army .  The other equally efficient members of the group ,  often bracketed as the K- Team - a tag tracing its origin way back into their army days ,  are Major Karan Singh , Major Kevin David and Major Kashif Nadeem . They are chained together by a single motive – To rescue the country from the filthy hands of the corrupted politicians and executives and retrieve the soul of the country in all its purity from the stinking muddle threatening to wash it away . 

                     Trying to hamper their diligently construed plan and to restore peace and security is the dedicated cop Vinod Bedi . Reena bhagat , a charismatic News reporter joins Colonel Krishna’s life and offers the readers a lighter detour from the otherwise heavily loaded scenario . Unfortunately Reena comes with an even complicated baggage with herself in the form of Raghav her husband , an ex commando himself , who has been appointed by the Home minister  Mr. Karunakaran to get rid of the RIP team lest his faulty political life would be unmasked to the public . How these characters stumble against each other at various junctures of their life spanning across a few days forms the crux of the story .

My Take :

   A )  The Cover :  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a book coming with a promise of extreme action would be adorned by a cover combustible enough even in its appearance . So is this one . The amalgamation of the picture and the highly vibrant colours sure convey the nature of whats in store . The blurb , as I mentioned in my opening sentence is peppered with elements of suspense further perching the hopes of the readers on  a higher rung .

  B )  The Content :  The story races from one incident to another never letting the reader mull over details on the way , for such is the clarity of the events . With his ability to sculpture the accounts ,delving into the subtleties in its the right amount , the author succededs in guiding the readers through a perfectly etched out course packed with action . I managed to devour the book in one sitting for the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it .The author , i feel has succeeded in churning out a gripping plot and the book has that simple and outright manner of story telling . The writing is lucid and the editing needs special mention , as it stood out , as I sailed past page after page welcoming the events knit together so flawlessly . Absolutely nil typos or grammer mistakes to irk you . The parts dealing with Krishna's interaction with his son Sachin and those  tantalising moments with Reena have been etched perfectly , with the narration blending with the story smoothly  . 

                      Though the author clearly stresses in his foreword note that the characters are fictional , noticing uncanny similarities to many personalities reigning the present India coudnt be ignored . However , that one particular aspect of the book failed to entice me , for a fiction when starting to state the obvious ( especially regarding people and deeds which are more or less the talk of the town at present ) turns less intriguing , right ? . A couple of movies have been created based on similar contexts , but then I guess proving his resentment towards the corrupted officials was the prime motive of the author , rather than deliberately spewing a tale skewed with fictious aspects which the readers would relate to less . 

                     For having bared the grueling intensity of the filth the country is sinking in , the author deserves to be lauded . Yet , a mind boggling question dangles in the air as to whether its morally acceptable for the citizens to contort the law even though its for a good motive . Though the emphasis is on how the K -Team carries out the venture more than on detailing in depth the stark realities plaguing the society , one cant help admit after reading the book that , at this point of time the country is calling out for that much needed change more than ever before – maybe for a revolution to seize back the long lost glory of our country . 

 My Rating :  4/5 . Go for it ! 


This review is a part of  the biggest Book Review Programme for Indian bloggers by  blogadda.com . Participate now to get free books !

Monday, January 28

Twilight

This post grabbed the WOW Badge as part of the Write Over The Weekend contest conducted by Blogadda .

    
   The bus came to a sudden halt with no prior hint , that I almost knocked my head against the bar .

“ Are you ok , Geetha ji “ , my maid enquired , her mellow voice genuine and concerned .

“I am fine . Almost survived if I might say “ . I replied trying to sound funny , as she wrapped her agile arms around me and swayed me back to my seat .

      Travelling by public transport is a struggle in itself , worse if your age happens to be on the unfortunate side of 60 . A cold shiver shot through my body as the chilling wind sweeped through the window in a hurry . Draping my saree around tightly I flexed my arms closer to my body . The ink blue sky was in the remarkable process of giving way to the crimson clouds. Soon darkness would embrace them . Suppressing the bout of cough which scratched me at the back of my throat , I closed my eyes .

    The day was the most tiring one in months and the most dreaded . If it wasn’t for my maid who noticed a tinge of blood on the sink a few days back , I would be on my bed reciting the Bhagavat Gita at this hour of the day . The horrendous events of the day drifted across my eyes . Alarmed was I about the whole procedure , for a person in her twilight years doesn’t deserve to perch her hopes on a higher rung . But the doctor , a compassionate human being , was persuasive as he cut out a small bit of her breast tissue for the biopsy . Breast disease and blood tinged sputum ? I was confused . It might be a secondary affecting the lungs – He disclosed the assumption through his implicit speech ,  an outright revelation would have shattered me , I was sure . The benefit of the doubt would offer me solace atleast till the biopsy report comes.

   I clinged onto the bar , as the bus paused at the next stop . A lady carrying a baby in her arms entered the bus , almost staggering as the bus resumed its journey in a hurry . I watched as my maid offered the lady her seat . Settling down next to me , the lady sighed a breath of relief and smiled at me .

   I noticed that the pretty smile which twinkled on her lips failed to brighten her eyes . Is it true or is it just me , for I have always sensed people tending to pour out their minds while conversing with an old person . So did this lady , who smiled at me oblivious of the fact that it failed to mask her sorrow.

 Her name was Sakshi and she was returning after paying a visit to her mother who resided in the next town . Sakshi’s mother used to spend her days at their house till two months back , until  her husband started getting irked at the presence of an old petite woman who threatened to fall ill anytime . Try as she might , Sakshi’s pleadings to retain her mother at their house failed to pierce her husband’s deaf ears . Her mother was ousted from their house , albeit with a permission for Sakshi to visit her mother every month .

Finishing the poignant story , Sakshi  said with a gurgle of emotions stammering her words , “ My mother is sick and I miss her so much . Every bit of my heart yearns to take her back to my home and nurse her as best as i could . Unfortunately , my hands are tied .The fear of  jeopardising my family overshadows my resposibility towards my mother . Isnt my future my husband and this child ? Cruel as it might sound , I cant lose them at any cost . “ She wiped away the stream of tear that gushed down her cheeks .

I kept looking at her till tears flooded my eyes and blinded my sight . The bus shrieked to a stop once again , only that this was where I was supposed to get down .

I walked with small slow steps to the formidable building , which has been providing me shelter for the past one year –‘  Karunya Home For The Destitute ‘ , when my maid asked hesitantly

“ When are your children coming to visit you Geeta ji ? I saw them the day you were brought here , never after . Hope they will be here to take you to the hospital for the next visit . “

My heart fluttered as I answered her question with just a slight nod of my head .

 And that was when the vague doubts that have been haunting my mind for the past few months resurfaced to confluence into an answer - Maybe they never will . 


                                    *********************** 

This post is written for Write Over The Weekend , an initiative for Indian Bloggers by blogadda.com


P.S : Image Source : Find Here . 

Fearless - Micro Fiction



    
  Brushing away the bead of sweat trickling onto her parched lips , Lathika continued to plunge the axe forcefully onto the log 

“ Sita , bring me a glass of water “ , the landlord called out to Lathika’s daughter, his tone urgent  . Discarding her chore , Sita rushed inside 


 Carrying the heavy logs on her head, Lathika slogged to the kitchen .

                                              ********

  “ Maaa “ , the blood curdling shriek of her daughter deafened Lathika’s ears !  . Frantically, she ran, jostling furnitures on her way. The gruesome sight of the landlord trampling her half naked daughter pierced her senses.

   Bright red drops of blood masked Lathika’s expression, as the man slumped onto the bed . Throwing the axe away, she cocooned her daughter in her arms.

                                           **************

   By Maliny Mohan

P.S : This is my 100th post on this blog ! :)

Image Source : Find Here

Thursday, January 24

The Coconut Skin Care


                          Hanging up the call , i stretched my hands infront of me and started scanning the skin  . Mom was right ! Winter was never a comfortable companion for the skin . Running my fingers over my skin , i could , to my dismay , feel prickliness at places .
                     
                        I  harked back those childhood days when my mother would chase me down to the floor for her coconut oil therapy . She used to spread the luke warm oil on my hands and feet and would massage them diligently focusing on my joints , until her hands felt weak . How those therapies used to leave my skin all smooth , shiny and refreshed !  After an hour of oil massage on my scalp , my mom would let me take a bath with warm water mixed with coconut milk. Not to forget the glasses of coconut water which would leave behind an admirable glow on my skin ! 



                          As taught in Community Medicine Classes ,

1 . The coconut  fruit , water and milk , contain anti oxidants , thus supplementing the skin with anti ageing and anti cancerous properties along with vitamin E and minerals like magnesium and potassium .  

2. The coconut milk  rich in lipid content ,helps in  maintaining the moisture of the skin , as it would seep into the skin deeper , thereby sealing the pores and making the skin smooth .The coconut oil when applied to the heel cracks and frayed skin  recharges the skin and thus it regains its vitality and suppleness .

3 . When massaged onto the scalp , coconut oil acts as a stress buster  removing dandruff  and dirt from the hair roots,  leaving behind a fresh feel  

4 . Coconut water is great to replenish the water content of the body . 
                      
                                Cursing my hectic schedule as a house surgeon, I pondered on a way to pamper my skin with the greatness of coconut without affecting my hospital duties . Maybe a moisturizer enriched with coconut milk ?  Surfing the net , my eyes fell on a Parachute ad :


 


                                   The widest grin adorned my face as I found the perfect solution to my problem  - ' The Parachute Advansed Body Lotion ' , available in two varieties - Parachute Soft Touch for dry skin and Parachute Deep Nourish for extremely dry skin . I learnt that they were available in 400ml bottles with a remarkably reasonable price of Rs 160 !



                               I could use it every single day , even on duty days , rather than squeezing in hours every week for the coconut oil therapy . It , coming in a small PumFp bottle further adds to the portability as well . The brand being Parachute , there was absolutely no space for any doubts or worries regarding the quality ! 

                        I beamed with happiness on adding a task to my To -Do list - ' Buy Parachute Advansed Deep Nourish   tomorrow itself ' !

                                  ********************************

P.S : Word Count - 500 Words . This  post has been written for the Parachute Advansed goodnessofcoconut  Contest  , conducted by Parachute in association with  Women's Web . Check out the facebook fan page of Parachute Advansed Body Lotion  HERE . Follow on Twitter HERE

Sunday, January 20

Amidst The Chimes

This post grabbed the WOW Badge as part of the Write Over The Weekend Contest conducted by Blogadda


                                It was the relentless shrieking of the alarm clock that snapped her awake from her slumber . Through the narrow slit of her half open eyes , she could see the warm rays of the blazing sun gliding their way through the window in layers . Yanking her hand onto the table , she clutched the alarm clock and pushed the button down . The clutter and clamour of the outside world slowly drifted to her ears once the alarm retreated back to the snooze mode . Sweeping away the layers of bedspreads draped over her , she gathered herself up from her bed . The moment her feet touched the ice cold marble slabs of the floor , she felt an invigorating rush race through her skin . The urge wasnt new to her . It wouldnt be a tad bit over emphasising to state that she has been living a passionate slave to this emotion over the past 30 years of her life . The fact that she never got tired of chasing her dreams remained indigestable for many . To this day , her admirers who witness her charismatic performance on stage continue to drown her in praise and honour . 

                          Shivering , she entered the bathroom and sliding the tap open , let the cold water run through her hands . Splashing a handful of water on her face , she kept looking at the mirror as if to study the subtle details of the face staring back at her . Tracing the narrow lines of wrinkles clustered near her eyes , she continued to gaze back at the ageing beauty that she has become over the years .

Image Source : Flickriver.com

                               Life has never been a  journey sprinkled with rozy petals for her , let alone being normal . Her eventful life as an actress started to blossom at the tender age of 16 . The vagaries of pursuing a career in the cine world dawned on her much later , after 8 years when she let her head droop before a man who waited eagerly before her with a golden chain in his hands . Promising him to try her best to shuttle between acting and managing her family , she retreated back to the film sets gayily to do the one thing which kept her smiling all those years . Slowly she came to terms with the fact that the act of juggling the two was almost as close to being impossible . Realising this in a matter of 6 months , she decided to say adieu to the world of glamour even though it was the hardest decision she had to undertake . Ten years of faithful married life after that , she traversed the most colourful and pompous moments with her husband . 

                            Unfortunate as she might be , the fate had darker days in store for her down the years . The day she stumbled upon her husband sprangled on a bed with her friend  , the sparkling castle of her dreams shattered to shreds infront of her . Yet another couple of years of solitude restricted to the four walls of her immaculate house transformed her into something she never was before - a soul drained of pride and smiles . 

                              Her parents drifted their way back to her tormented life and consoled her like they used to do as she was a child . Finding their words of advice fell on the dead ears of their daughter , they were dejected . Still , they continued to whimper , and as days passed they shouted , yelled and shook her back to her senses . When her mother confronted her one day with a piece of her thought to have her slide into her dance costumes after a sabbatical lasting many years , she , to her surprise , felt a spark for a peaceful existence rekindle at the back of her heart . 

                           Now after ten years of  performing on stage , at the age of fourty,  as she stood staring at her face , the wrinkles started to fade away at the mere touch of her fingers . The eighteen year old girl who stormed into the world of fame with eyes sparkling with passion , smiled back at her from the mirror through a veneer of hazy mist . A voice , strong and driven , whispered to her from the deepest recess of her mind -  " The sun sets , but with a promise to rise back brighter ". Her mind was still young and she still had an endless road stretching before her . The thought seeped into her mind leaving behind a glow on her skin , as she brushed away the droplets clinging to her face .  

~ Maliny Mohan

This post is a part of  Write Over The Weekend  , an inititive for Indian bloggers by blogadda.com

Friday, January 18

Book Review - Carry The One



Title :  Carry The One
Author :  Carol Anshaw
Publisher :  Penguin Publications
Year : 2012
Label :  Fiction
Pages :  288


The Essence : 

                       Read the blurb , and one might be tempted to be suspended in a dejavu - a group of drunk youngsters racing down a pedestrian - the theme sounds familiar isnt ? But if you thought this book, for that matter , had anything even slightly to do with the movie that sprang up in your mind , then you are wrong . This is not a thriller , not even a tad close . Infact , the essence of the story is focussed on the youngsters , who are pushed forward to a period  shadowed by the tragic accident in every nook and corner , each crack and crevice of their life , rather than the accident and its repercussions . 

                          To sum up the story , the book opens with a wedding ceremony - Carman and Matt are getting married . Grazing the occasion are Carmen's siblings - Alice and Nick , Nick's girlfriend Olivia , Matt's sister and Alice's girlfriend Maude . Then there is Tom , the band guy . Except Carmen and Matt , the others set out on their return trip to their respective places late night , Alice and Maude immersed in the bubble of their fresh romance and Nick and Olivia doped to an egregious extent . With the situation being such horrendous , one cant but expect a gruesome event around the corner , here a girl , all of ten being crashed against by their car. Olivia , the girl behind the wheel , quite evidently stoned , gets sentenced for the penace and the others are left free . But they find themslves embarking on a journey from then on , a journey muddled with remorse , not in a formidable manner but a subtle one . No , their life isnt seen guided by this remorse , but somehow or the other the debacle of their past draws a line separating their lives into two parts - before the incident and after . 

My Take

                        The cover page is undoubtedly welcoming .I am not sure how it works for others, but stumbling upon decent reviews about the book i am about to read sure piques my senses . The opening pages of the book did uncork my curiosity with dozens of remarkable reviews about the writing . The book contains a cascade of events over a time period of twenty five years knit together  , with emphasis on the worth mentioning ones . Owing to this methodology , the story cruises forward fast , never rendering a dull moment . The fact that a multitude of lives are brought under scan adds to shunning even a speck of weariness that might creep in . 

                          In the world of fiction , there are stories which drive forward unreigned single mindedly in search of the climax . Then there are yet another sector of stories which , instead of focussing on the final point , immerse the reader in details , dissecting each character and event to tiny shreds . This book effortlessly slips to the second slot and a profound one in that sense . 

                         The attitude of Olivia post her release from the prison didnt quite entice me . She seemed to be shattered by the incident and her jail term following that in an immense manner that she turns arrogant in her approach to life and also to Nick . Her relation with Nick then on seemed almost mechanical , though they are seen enjoying each others company at times. Maybe she should have been a bit more concerned for Nick , when the situation remains that he wasnt completely freed from drug addiction . Instead , Olivia turns reticent and even leaves him high and dry at one point of time . But then , years of solitude in prison might drastically change a person's outlook as a whole , i suppose. Nick on the other hand is compassionate and sensitive with his yearly visits to the dead girl's mother as an act of remorse . 

                           Alice's character has been sketched in a commendable manner as sinking in a whirlpool of her love lives which eventually sucks out her passion . But how she stumbles onto probable girlfriends at every walk of her life , left me clueless ! Is the situation that rampant in real life ? 

                           Carmen emerges succesfull in her family life , although she carries her share of burden in the relationship front . If to pinpoint the lives which transformed unrecoverably after the accident , that would be Nick's and Olivia's . The others are seen culpable , albeit moving on ,  at time slogging yet holding on . Maybe that could be the take home message -'To keep fighting against the ill forces of fate ,come what may ' .    

                           The book offers everything - intriguing turn of events , commendable writing , nuggets to contemplate on and ultimate rawness in narration . However never pick this one up with an aim of savouring a spell binding or nerve wrecking end to the story . There isnt any . The events , sketched seamlessly , confluence to the climax in quite a natural manner leaving no space for a suspense of any sort . However , i felt an unusul craving for more clarity of the event which marked the end of the story . Maybe that the reason why when i hark back , its the story in its entirety that fills my mind , not a mere portion of it . The USP is the whole book itself and the roller coaster of a journey it takes you through . Go read it !

Wednesday, January 16

Satin Secret !


9.00 A.M


  Entered Prof Maya for the one session we dreaded ,
        Turning to the board , muttering something she scribbled
The air so vapid , on a paper with my pen i doodled 
             Some yawned , some snored , yes the transition was rapid !  

                       Reclining back on my chair , i glanced proudly at the the picture of a black swan i managed to doodle during the class . Darkening the shade with a black Pinpoint pen , i checked on Sreya , who sat beside me , her eyes immersed on the last few pages of Kane And Abel , but her right hand scribbling some undeciphered language on her notebook . I couldnt let out a chuckle watching her clever ploy to evade Prof Maya's  frequent furtive glances . Bending my shoulder slowly to her chair , i nudged her with my arm , with an intention to share my art without drawing Prof . Maya's attention . 

 " Ouchh ! " 

              The Girl who sat snoring on the chair next to Sreya snapped open from her nap , ( rather a slumber !) .


What just happened ? , enquired Prof Maya
An ant bit me , lied my dear friend Sreya
In haste to finish her class , she said , “ Alright “
Sreya stared at me , certain ! something wasn’t right !


“ What is the matter ? “ . I pried concerned .
“ Your arm hurt me ! “ . Sreya exclaimed in hushed tones .

                   Left in a dilemma , because i had had my arm hair removed just a week back , I made a mental note to discuss it with her after the class .

10 .00 a.m

                   Clamour erupted when Prof .Maya walked out  , like the suppressed air forcing outside from a soda . Snatching my bag , I scampered past the celebrating girls to join Sreya , who was already halfway to the auditorium . Today was the day , the dance group from their class was supposed to perform infront of the college panel . The ultimate decision as to which group would grab the opportunity to perform at the intercollegiate fest lay on the hands of those at the helm . We joined the rest of the group , retreated to the backstage and started changing into the dance costume .  With the song to which we were dancing being a western one , the costume was chosen to be a tank top and black laced knee length pants .

  “ Hurry up Riya ! We are to be onstage in 20 minutes . ! “

                     I looked up at Sreya , not quite hiding the sullen look on my face .

“  I wish i had opted for my hair removal at the parlour yesterday instead of a haircut . I forgot to deal with my legs last week when i rushed through my arms with an old razor of mine . Maybe thats why my arm hurt you when i brushed it against you today ! All pricky and weathered . That crude 'contraption' transformed my skin into something awful !. Forget that . What about my legs ?! What am I to do now ? Do I have time to rush back to the hostel and return ? “ . Throwing a guilty face , I looked at Sreya .

“ No , you don’t . Do one thing . Here take this razor . I bought it yesterday , but left it in my bag absent mindedly . Make it fast ok , Riya . This performance is really important , you know right “ . She threw a small blue razor at me , still unused , with a kind smile that friends pass each other when in need .  In a few quick smooth strokes my legs were left shiny and smooth in a matter of less than 5 minutes . It dawned on me after the process that i did manage to manoeuvre the little wonder of a razor around my ankles too in a swerve !  

12 .00  p.m

                   The results were declared . Our team made it to the final list ! Joy knew no boundaries . We decided to bunk the afternoon classes and headed to the city  to celebrate the good news .

After two days

               Life was too hectic the past two days ,with our room packed with batchmates helping us out with the dance steps . It was that evening sometime that the incident during Prof Maya’s class resurfaced in my mind .


               While snacking with Sreya at the coffee house that evening , I let the topic spring up .

“ Hey Sreya , just touch my arm now. Does it hurt ? “

              Sreya , pretended to be terrified , but laughed and scrolled her finger across my arm after that . ‘ Oh my God , how did this happen ?! Its soft !‘. She almost shrieked in my ears . “ You used my razor on your arms , didn’t you ? “ . She quipped excitedly .

“ Yes I did . “  I said that and giggled .


 Oh dear , what have we got here ,
   A girl with pricky skin and fussy hair
   Bruised by her skin , her boyfriend worried ;
   Hurt by her arms , her best friend sweared.

   A little blue marvel turned her life around !
   GILLETTE SATIN CARE , the name so profound
   With a skin so soft , her boyfriend beamed
   Smiling at her , her best friend winked . 

   Life turned happy , one smooth soft ride
   To think wise and right is all you need “


                  I could almost imagine her singing this in her mind when she winked at me from across the table . With the relief that a problem which kept poking me for an immediate action found solution , i sipped on my coffee happily.


This post is a part of  the Gillette Satin Care contest  in association with blogadda.com
    

Saturday, January 12

It Happens For A Reason

                      
                   ' You go home and check your emails. You read the second mail and freeze ! .'

                       Shikha wished upon Gods if what she was dealing now could be replaced by the above scenario . For she was freezed to the core , so much is true , but on reading the second unopened mail on her mother's inbox instead of her's !
  
                       She didn’t have to cringe her eyes or strain harder to recognize the girl and boy cuddling cozily on that peach coloured couch , so engrossed in each other that they seemed oblivious of the fact that it was already 1a.m on the frog faced time piece which adorned the book shelf beside .  The picture was taken on a summer night one year back , when she with her boyfriend Sameer and another couple had crashed on his house after their twelfth standard school farewell party . Wait . What had she lied to her parents the next day about not returning home after the party ? ‘ The function stretched for a few hours more Ma , instead of winding up at 10 P.M . Shruti’s home is just a couple of blocks away from school , you know right . Her parents were out of town ; but her grandma was there . Shruti urged me to stay at her place for the night , said it was not safe to wander back alone.

                     She hadn’t expected her parents to buy such a cleverly construed story , where there was almost nil scope for an eye witness , given that Shruti’s grandma was half blind ! Yet they never bothered to scrutinize the story further .

                    Now , after one long and eventful year , she was jolted up , rather heavily , on being stumbling upon this picture , fortunately unopened , on her mother’s Gmail inbox page . 

                  She turned 19 a month back , but her mother had already registered her profile on the most sought after matrimonial site available. If it wasn’t for the occasional tryst of her mother with her laptop , surfing the matrimonial site for new proposals , she wouldn’t have had a clue as to what Sameer , her ex – boyfriend now , was upto . Her mother never cared to log out of her gmail account even . Srolling the page further down she noticed a message emboldened in large red print which read ,

You must have got a hint as to why I sent you this brazen picture of your daughter and me . No , as you fear in shock , I wouldn’t stoop that low to indulge in a frantic mania of spreading an online scoop linking me and your daughter . This serves as the perfect revenge for me to tear away the mask of reclusiveness she fakes in front of you guys . Like what you must be expecting , she is not just a diligent student , but a reckless woman as well . “

                   She  stared in disbelief at those words , her heart wrenching in spite at how he could muster the courage to come lashing back at her , through her mother , after all those mind boggling  days of fight they dragged  through 6 months back . His egregious words soaked in the stench of booze and smoke echoed shrill in her ears , like they had deafened her on that God forbidden day,

There is more to being in a relationship than sharing the soul Shikha , You better beat it into your rotten brain .  Strange enough , the surge of emotional vent that I used to feel in your presence has drained empty . Pardon me for being candid , but you owe me big time for all those fruitless hours of comfort and consolation I showered on you while you were wrecking your head pondering your life problems ! “

                    She felt a shiver run down her spine harking back those minutes when she had scampered past his living room and garden , crying ,  to reach the safety of the four walls of her house .  She had let herself take the brunt for being nice to him for the whole two years they had gone out . But not anymore .

                    Shikha swiftly moving to the door , glanced out to check on her mother . Not seeing her , letting out a sigh , she closed her door behind her slowly . Returning to her laptop she began typing frantically , swiping away the beads of sweat clouding on her forehead . Leaning back to scan the message one last time , with no tad of doubt , she pressed the SENT option . Going back to the SENT messages folder of her mother’s account , she reread the message she had sent Sameer, a minute back .

 “ Sameer , if you expected me to thrash my little girl and ground her forever on seeing this picture , you are wrong Son . I am well aware of the nasty break up you two had . Shikha , though late , fed me with the details ; the poor girl suffered a lot trying to hide it from me for months . As her mother , and as a Government Employee I warn you against further misbehaviour of this sort to my daughter . I hope you are aware of the unpleasant consequences of the crime you just did by sending me this obscene picture of her's. My conscience urges me to grant you a second chance . Don’t ever message to my email or my daughter’s . Let us consider the chapter closed . “  Shikha deftly cleared both Sameer’s message and the message she just sent , from the history so that her mother wouldn’t come to know about her prying into her  Gmail page .

                      Shikha reclined back on her pillow , her eyes grazing a picture frilled by a pretty pink photo frame - A picture of the 2 year old she nestling against her mother’s neck . Gazing into her mother’s face , she recognized the warm , affectionate person her mother used to be in her thoughts . Has her mother changed ? Or is it she who had  let her mother’s love slip out of her life when she got so busy sewing up the broken pieces of her life . How could she let the half boiled words of Sameer drown her mother’s pleas to be careful while selecting friends ? How come she never think about nestling against her mother  to share her little secrets now a days , even when she could undoubtedly feel her mother’s heart breaking to bits knowing her daughter’s reticence ?

 “ Shikha , open this door baby . Hot crispy chips just out of the frying pan reckon you ! Come taste it . “ .

                   Her mother’s exhuberent , albeit worried voice snapped her back to the present . She felt a pang of remorse stabbing at the back of her heart . She knew she needed help . Can any other person in the whole world understand her in as much depth and perfection as the warm voice which just called out to her ?

                 Opening the door , Shikha softly let out those heavy words which possessed infinite power to seal the silence they shared for months .

   ‘ Ma , I need to tell you something .‘ 


                                       *******************

This post is a part of  write-over-the-weekend  , an initiative for indian bloggers by  www.blogadda.com

Friday, January 11

Book Review : When God Was A Rabbit



Book : When god was a rabbit
Author : Sarah Winman
Publisher : Headline Review
Year : 2011
Label : Fiction
Pages : 324
Price : Rs. 295


 The Essence :

                           The book sketches the life of Ellie , the main protagonist, with each stage of her life journey being  portrayed in varied shades , the shades being of human emotions , in its ultimate rawness . Ellie , as a toddler , is seen residing in Britain , with her parents and her elder brother  Joe .  As the blurb of the book rightly hints , the story has its basement rooted to the bonding of the love and friendship Ellie and Joe share with each other as siblings , though a multitude of characters are close knit to them as the story progresses . There is Mr . Golan who instills awe in Ellie with grueling stories of his prison life , unfortunately , the true intention leading to his softness being quite a contrast to what it seemed to be for Ellie . And there incepts her first case of molestation . If one person could read the laments of her broken heart vying the fa├žade of joy she faked possessing , it was her brother Joe . Her parents are seen drowning in problems of their own , her father being chased by a ghost of guilt from his past,  concerning  a case of molestation he won against a girl . Then there is Nancy , her aunt , a lesbian and a rising Hollywood star , who nurtures deep feelings for Ellie’s mother , a fact which is sort of a widely known secret . Ellie shares an emotive bond with her aunt , a bond which probably is much stronger than her relation with her parents .

                             Joe’s rugby mate and close friend Charlie proves to be more than just a close friend to Joe . To Ellie’s dismay , she stumbles upon them in one of their private moments as lovers , an incident which she discusses with her brother later , and thus it  grabs a slot in their book of secrets . Her life takes a rough turn with her parents coming up with an unbelievable decision to move to America , a period of emotional wretchedness for both Ellie and Joe . But the fact which perturbs Ellie the most is the thought of leaving behind Jenny Penny , her best friend , for whom she used to be the life line . Jenny is constantly haunted by the wreck , her family is , with her mother dating a series of men , one after the other . Then there is God , the rabbit which Joe presented Ellie with one day , whose spoken words Ellie alone could decipher . The rabbit , according to Joe would satiate her need for a loyal companion in times of unhappiness , an act which polishes his love for his little sister .

                           In the new place , ellie is mesmerized by the green foliage surrounding her house and trekking the forest becomes one of her favourite past times , another being cruising the sea adjacent to her house on their boat . During one of those stints she befriends Arthur , an extensively read fellow , who eventually finds his long - yearned - for niche in Ellie’s home . Thus sprouts the friendship between Arthur and her family . Arthur’s love interest Ginger frequents their house at times , though she herself had soft spots towards a Mr. X , but that story gets eventually buried as an unrequited love story . Joe’s character is underplayed in these sequences with him pursuing education at a far away place and we donot see much of him . The first part of the story ends with  Ellie sending a present , a fossil , along with a note to Jenny , on Nancy’s advice,  a gesture which is an affirmation of the intensity of friendship Ellie cherished in her heart .

                           In the second part of the story , Ellie resurfaces as a 27 year old single woman , a journalist , yet not quite a happy person at heart . She is dragging through her life, accepting her near ones problems to be her’s as well . Ginger is fighting cancer, Jenny and Charlie reconnects in important albeit different ways, Arthur is old yet lively . Joe’s life is yanked to a halt owing to a gut wrenching incident, the unfolding of his normal self makes up the rest of the story .

My Take :

                            The title and the synopsis of the content is what made me grab this book in the first place . A story which is woven around the lives of a brother and a sister is almost unavoidable and alluring enough for someone who is a sister herself,  I assume . The cover is mesmerizing to say the least , but the blurb throws off a wrong signal that the content might be childish , the title being one with the essence of fantasy oozing all over it .  But yes , do remember the age old maxim to never judge a book by its cover or maybe its blurb , in this context .

                              The character I loved the most is that of Ellie , the dreamy girl , who irks at the idea of being tied down to one place . She loves to explore , is compassionate and caring , and is an epitome of friendship and love in all its purity . The story , though proclaims of being about the relation between a brother and sister , I would say , the story deals about the strength of Ellie’s relation with both her brother and her best friend Jenny .  In every page , the author has sprinkled a bit of love and its warmth , which is heart warming to the core .  The book is synonymous of a multi layered cake , baked with chunks of love , friendship , hope , trust and  oneness to its atmost perfection . With every bit you relish one or the other essence , melting into the character deeper and deeper . Ellie shares an endearing bond with all the characters , be it Joe, Jenny, Arthur , Nancy , Ginger or Charlie . Perhaps, the relation between Ellie and her father would be the least explored one . Through Joe , the incidents of Ellie’s childhood is nudged to limelight towards the later parts of the story , something which soaks her mother’s heart in guilt , nonetheless opening the doors to a more meaningful relation between them .

                                 It also deserves to be mentioned, how the intensity of the relations are governed by the one to one interactions between the characters , rather than by the prejudice and taboos existing in our society regarding homosexuality. The book teaches us that every one is entitled to one’s mode of  life , which in no way should threaten to be in the way of the emotional ties they share with their close ones , nor should it be pushed to the foray of dissections and judgments by unrelated people . Scrape away that impulse to be repulsed by prejudice, accept a person as he or she is and start knowing them.

                                 The language and sentence construction is intricate, at times tangled, which makes it not much of an easy read. But then most of the works which stand out in the scene of literature are hard to crack if you are an admirer of light reads. For the same fact , I was left bewildered most of the times at the  thought process of the author , which knit together bits of details so admirably ; such a rich and classic experience it has become when transformed into print ! No. this isn’t a book where the story treads a well beaten path. Here, there are side roads, milestones, potholes and evocative strangers who join the journey for a short span of time – ultimately culminating into a well deserved resting point with a path stretching before them, yet to be travelled.

                               The author’s note in the end is a must read . For me , it provided the much needed clarification regarding the fairy tale mode of storytelling in the second half . According to the author, the book is about second chances, about holding onto the one perfect thing in the world; Hope. I was disturbed by how a few incidents turned out in the second half, like as in a perfect world of our dreams. But then the whole thing adds up to the message the author had intended to convey through this book. So, no sorrows.  I loved it for its enriched content , remarkable style of writing and for the afterword by the author . Perhaps, this would be one book I would dive into undoubtedly , when in times of dearth of passion that writers shrink into at times . 

                                                                              

Monday, January 7

Book Review ~ N -W by Zadie Smith


Book : N-W
Author : Zadie Smith
Publisher : Penguin U.K / Hamish Hamilton
Year : 2012
Label : Fiction
Pages : 294
Price : Rs. 499

The Essence
                 
                           N -W , the fourth work of fiction by  Zadie Smith , revolves round the urban lives of four people  - Leah Hanwell , Natalie , Felix and Nathan - residing in the north west part of London . The story originates from the rather monotonous and boiled up life of Leah Hanwell , a woman fighting against the nuances of married life which seem to monstrously bog her down for reasons she is yet to decipher . That day starts like any other uneventful day of her's until a lady by name Sher storms into her life unexpectedly with a crude story to justify her unwarranted entry . The author highlights the compassionate face of Leah when she is seen lending money to this stranger , a deed which both her husband Micheal and her mother Pauline unanimously stamp as a deed of folly . 

                        Natalie has been Leah's best friend since childhood and still continuing to be so , though at this point of time they seem miles apart in their emotional existence in spite of the fact that they reside close to each other. Natalie on the other hand is portrayed as a happily married woman leading an elite life with her husband Frank and their two kids . Later towards the story the readers come to know that beneath the veneer of satisfaction lies an immense amount of pressure bottled up , owing to a secret which Natalie wasnt ready to unveil to her husband . But that reason alone points to the vastness of displeasure and imbalance that shadowed in her life , beneath the facade of perfect existence . The story cruises forward through the lives of Leah and Natalie , with the further pages sketching the important events in their lives since their childhood . 

                         Felix , brings to life a person , who has made up his mind to be in a committed relationship with Grace , burying deep the past characters in his life which included , Annie , a lady with a battered albeit strong willed state of mind . He is being projected as a person who, in contrast to Leah and Natalie , is seen determined to barge forward , come hell or high water , though the fate had a grueling plan in store for him instead . 

                     Nathan is a mysterious character , who is linked to Natalie and Leah , being their schoolmate and with Sher for reasons unmasked in the climax of the story . What the secret is and how the that one incident unplugs a Pandora box of the otherwise unattended emotional turmoil in Leah and Natalie's lives forms the essence of the story.

MY TAKE:

                       I am not yet decided  on whether this was one book which offered me the satiety which i look forward to from fiction . The climax was vague and i am still stranded in the dark abyss the story pushed me into in the last page , in search of an explanation . The book is more about the intensity of each tide churning up in the whirlpool that threatens to engulf Leah and Natalie than the story itself . And i should say the author has done a commendable job in dissecting it to each droplet . The part where we are carried back to the earlier lives of Leah , Natalie and Nathan came across as remarkable and the manner by which the author played with the ordeal was refreshing to say the least . 

                          Leah's character seemed lost halfway , with the focus being shifted onto Natalie from then on . I particularly loved Natalie's character who presents an uncanny resemblance to many young women we see around us , independent and workaholic , but  the search for a dignified life eventually consummating then from head to toe forcing them to retreat into a shell of pretense , the shell melting into their body to be a part of them . Felix's rendezvous with Annie sticks out as one of the best scenes , beautifully crafted and absolutely gripping . The segment where they get intimate has shades of reality jutting out from the pages, although the subtle details might act repulsive to the people who adore the aesthetic delivery of romance in print . Natalie's husband Frank is set on a unconquerable platform of perfection mattering to success , a fact which perturbs Leah , who keeps nurturing a feeling of resentment towards her husband Micheal for his inappropriate and pointless conversations when in a group.

                           On the whole , though the story takes a backseat , the book would be a treat to those in search of literary excellence , which is sprinkled aplenty in each page of this book , the fragrance of which is sure to linger . Grab a copy for the love of literature in all its purity . Forget where the story is heading . Just imbibe whatever comes your way .