Special Announcement- Shades Of Life, The Book

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Hello, fellow bloggers. With immense pleasure, I announce a very important news today. A short story anthology which carries a story of mine is all set to release on March 23rd. The book is a well thought out and diligently selected collection of short stories, which mirror a similar theme. The stories focuss on the varied hues of life, whether it be joy, love, sorrow, jubilation, success and the multitude of other emotions the days offer us in the walks of life. The journey from sending my story for the contest to this moment has been eventful with periodic emails from the editor, Sarav, who is also the one at the helm, enlightening me on the progress of the book. I have to confess that this book is close to my heart, as the story I wrote for it is one of those few stories that make me feel proud of my decision to follow my passion as a writer. Rarely is the writer is me completely satiated with my own writing and this story sure speaks volumes about my confidence in my growth as a story teller. Not simply that, there are several reasons that nudge me to vouch for this beautiful book.

1.It contains Guest stories by prolific writers, Namrata Madhira( Author of the highly acclaimed novella- Metro Diaries and Neelam Saxena Chandra, an admirable writer who holds the Limca Book of Records for having published the most number of books in a year)

2.The book is the dream project of blogger friend, Sarav, who has an enviable niche in the field of blogging. Check out his blog here and know for yourself. He is also the editer of this book. He had his stories published in several anthologies before taking up solo projects of his own. 

3.  Most of the authors who form part of the book have been published multiple times and must be familiar to the bibliphiles out there. I feel grateful to know that my story would be published along side such hugely talented personalities. 

4. More importantly, the stories garnered in this book are evocative and are beautifully crafted, which solely stands as a valid reason for anyone to pick this book to read.

The pre-order of the book has already started and you may secure a copy for yourself and your friends from Amazon at this link-   Pre order ‘Shades Of Life’

I am leaving you with the blurb of the book, along with a short excerpt from my story – He Who Loved Her. 

The Blurb

Life is a supernova of emotions, a multi-colored extravaganza and a celebration of colors that carve a way for us to be “expressive”. These colors often vary from situation to situation. They may be vibrant, bright and attractive, or even bland and gloomy. Nevertheless, they invoke the soul from within and portray the various dimensions of life.

Come and explore the various shades of life – from the lighter tones of friendship and love to the murkier hues of revenge and murder – of human beings, of how their personalities and their situations mould them into their real selves – in this anthology of prose and verse, from authors across the world, Shades of Life.

B Malini

Excerpt from my story- He Who Loved Her:

Later that day, after having his dinner, he went up to the terrace to inhale some fresh air and that was when a distressing thought struck him hard.

‘Oh! What if the Father comes to know about this? He is going to be really angry at me!’

A sullen expression spread across his face and he sat munching over the thought for minutes at a stretch. His friends sat playing carom board at the far end of the terrace, oblivious to the turmoil that was creating havoc inside him.

He looked around as a chilling breeze swished past him. The sky was revolting, partly due to the magnanimity of the twinkling stars and partly due to the full moon that adorned it with serenity. The air was calm and he felt as though the atmosphere was nudging him to move ahead with the plan sans hesitation.

“True love happened rarely and standing in the brink of one, it would in all certainty be an act of cowardice to retreat without letting her know his desire,” he thought.

“Nothing in this world can keep me from owning her. She is mine!” A rock-hard decision took form in his mind.

~~

I believe that this book would touch souls the way it aspires to and I would be more than indebted if atleast a few of my readers are inspired to chose this book from the pile of anthologies that are fleshed out in the market. 

~~

Excerpt- Second Chance : Saturday Specifics

So, I thought today I would publish here an excerpt from the manuscript I am working on at present. This would, roughly speaking, be the second or third draft and I feel that I still need to garnish it at places before it is brought out in the truest sense to be devoured. If you have stumbled upon this page, please feel free to go through this and leave behind your feed backs. I would love to hear from you. 

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Second Chance-A short Story

www.malinymohan.net

Kartik worked as an office boy at a software company which was still in its inception stage. The better salary that he was offered, despite the fact that they had just started functioning had lured him into leaving his previous job as a conductor for a private bus owner.

 The office was accommodated in a three bedroom apartment in the heart of Mumbai. The atmosphere inside the office was comfortable and relaxed. There weren’t stringent rules or implicit motives like in many other establishments to disrupt the enviable amount of peace that prevailed inside. In fact, most of the workers in that office considered him as their companion or a confidant in many regards. They helped each other through the vagaries of their lives sans complaints.

 When the officers unexpectedly run out of cigarettes, Kartik made sure that he ran to the nearby shop to buy them fresh packets; he was the one who brought them lunch from the restaurant downstairs; he offered to drop them off at their apartments in his scooter if any of their cars broke down- the list was endless and in return they addressed him affectionately as Bhaiyya and celebrated his birthdays at the office, when there would be a cake cutting ceremony during the office hours and a party at the local pub late at night. They granted him bonus from their pockets during major festivals and once even bought him fresh piece of cloth to stitch a new pair of pants.

Today, as he sat stooped down on his table near the water purifier, Kartik could feel droplets of sweat collecting on his temple. The rumble of the air conditioner resonated with his emotions, lending an unpleasant rhythm to his thoughts.

‘You should try this at least once in your lifetime, Bhaiyya,’ Rakesh, the friendliest one in the pack had whispered it in his ears the previous day. Since then a recurring thought had been meddling with his peace of mind day in and day out for he was tempted enough to give it a try.

He had seen this place where his petulant mind demanded to go. The building was not conspicuous but sandwiched between two hardware shops in the busiest street of the city. People hustled in and out of the street at all times of the day, making the process of insinuating into the building hassle free. There was even a back door, which could be approached if one stepped onto the alley beside the street, although sailing past the same would be the hardest thing anyone could conjure to do for it had constantly kept its repertoire as the ugliest and the most stinking alley of the city, if not the whole world.

‘He would take the alley,’ Karthik decided. He couldn’t pave way for any risk, for he was a middle aged man who had lived a half of his life sans a smudge in his reputation.

~~

The walk through the alley was horrid to say the least. The air was infested with fleas which seemed attracted to him by his mere presence. Mounds of garbage flanked the path, which would be an undeniable source of the many infectious diseases that stifled the people of the city often. The atmosphere was stuffed with a repulsive stench, which started growing unbearable as Kartik moved closer and closer to his destination. Steering free of the fleas and the mosquitoes that yearned to attack him ferociously, he found himself standing at the summit of the tall row of steps that led to the place he was headed to.

~~~~~

 

P.S: This post is tagged with ‘Saturday Specifics’, a sub section of this blog where I put up something creative- a story, poem, haiku, Flash Fiction or a Book Review.

Mindful But Absent – Book Review: Saturday Specifics

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The Blurb on the Back Cover: 

“This is a story about relationships within a family unit and close friends 
for a happy & enriching life 

It traces fictional journeys of a few friends from IIM Ahmedabad over 
the course of 25 years 

Set against the backdrop of multiple bottom-line or impact investments, it highlights inherent conflicts of success in the intensely competitive lives of these MBAs. 

The story amalgamates rustic India and contemporary global with 
its wry humor and its take on the startup ecosystem which most professionals may relate to.” 

My Take:

MBA-Mindful But Absent is a straight forward story of a group of management professionals. The story told in non parallel narrative starts off with three friends, Rolo, Ashim and Ramesh reunited in the present. Ashim and Ramesh are running a start up venture and to accompany them, to offer help in whatever way possible arrives their friend and batch mate Rolo. When closely knit friends meet, heart warming conversations and reminiscences are bound to happen. The same happens here and each of them traces their journey since the day they graduated from the business school.

What follows in the book is a roller coaster ride that takes us through the fervour and fiestas that people soaked in true friendship witness. I especially liked the life journey of Rolo, who is portrayed as a compassionate human being, which in a way, sends out a strong message to the youth of the present generation. The dialogues are written mostly in simple language, such that it does justice to the essence of the story, with the theme revolving around the whims and woes of the youth of our country. The story is particularly relevant in the aspect that it deals with the vagaries that aspiring business men confront in their relentless and strife stricken journey, where they strive hard to make a mark with their start up projects. Not solely that, but the turmoils and hiccoughs that married couples encounter, of the likes of mistrust, divorce, seperation and infidelity come to the foray occasionally too. The story ends on a heart warming note which pleased the reader in me. 

I wish though that the backdrops of the scenes and the layers of the characters were put across in a more detailed manner. I couldn’t find any typographic errors or grammer glitches, which point to good editing. It can be considered as a must read for the entrepreneurs out there, who would find the thoughts opined in the book to echo with their experience. For others too, the book would interstingly keep company on a relaxed afternoon, when you are in the mood to read something light and uncomplicated. 

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Details of the Book:

Title: Mindful but absent

Author: Vikas Gupta

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing

Genre: Fiction/ Contemperory

Number of Pages: 257

Price: Rs.200

Buy the Book Online:

Amazon India

Flipkart

About the Author: 

Vikas is an alum of IIM Ahmedabad, currently CEO of a group of companies employing 10K people. He had incubated a low-cost housing business while at a private equity fund. The concept was based upon mass production but low customization techniques that bring high quality housing for the lower income section of society tantalizingly within reach. He had, prior to that, spent close to two decades in the industry. Some of his notable assignments were President of Kohler India, CEO of Lacoste India, CEO of Arcus, and Country Manager for Adams confectionary business at Warner-Lambert. He started his career at Colgate Palmolive.
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P.S: This post is tagged with ‘Saturday Specifics’, a sub section of this blog where I put up something creative- a story, poem, haiku, Flash Fiction or a Book Review.
 
P.P.S: The book was sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for a honest review. The views expressed in the review are unbiased and are entirely mine. 
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Menaka’s Choice- Book Review: Saturday Specifics

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I started writing book reviews on this blog around four years back. I remember my grand father gifting me a notebook when I was a little girl, if my memory serves right, exactly eighteen years back, suggesting that I write down my thoughts, criticisms and reviews on the books I read. In hindsight, I believe that it was he who instilled in me in the passion to fall in love with books and indirectly the constant urge to express my opinions, to be saved forever in black and blue on the blank pages of the notebook. After reviewing a few books I preferred, the blog slowly started sliding  into the professional book review niche where I would review books on request. And now after so long, I am undertaking the fulfilling process of reviewing a book, sans a request. I read the book out of curiosity and I am reviewing it out of the unmistakable compulsion of my own inner terrains.

So much for the prelude. The book I am about to talk about now is ‘Menaka’s Choice’ authored by the prolific Kavita Kane. Let me confess before hand that I picked up the book more owing to the inspiring bio profile of the author more than anything else. Yes, the theme centred around, Menaka, the Apsara who is mentioned randomly when narrated The Ramayana intrigued me for its novel subject, but, I have to admit that my observative eyes never roam past an author who is qualified and has made a mark in the realm of literature, without taking a moment to imbibe the details of the book he/she has authored. ( This doesn’t inadvertently imply that I prefer such books always; rather it has to be understood that I wouldn’t, in most probability, want to miss such a book)

And that was how I picked up ‘Menaka’s Choice’.

Do I regret the decision? Was I wrong in judging the book by such unique pre requisites?

You would have an answer as you glide through the review. I promise.

First of all, the protagonist of the book is Menaka- the sensuous Apsara who, like any other resident of Amravati, the Kingdom of Devas, belonged to Indra as widely believed. To fall in love, to marry the person she loves and to give birth to a child who was the fruit of their ever lasting love remained sins which were largely criticised and condemned, not just by Indra, but ubiquitously by all. Contrary to the sturdy rules and stipulations, Menaka falls in love with Vishwavasu, the king of Gandharvas and bores a daughter. What follows is a cascade of trials, tribulations, ploys and tactics that revolve around Menaka, who is eventually send down to Earth to seduce, Kaushik, the king of Kanyakubja, who emerges a potential threat to Indra and his kingdom for his greed for celestial power. The king is on a diligent journey to procure the title of Brahmarishi, the most coveted amongst the Rishis, much instigated by the skills and awe inspiring capabilities of the Rishi Vasishth who bemused him with his powers and  hence indirectly put him to shame.

Will Kaushik fall prey to Menaka’s bait or will she fall witness to the harrowing tentacles of his revolting curse? Will Menaka lose Viswavasu forever? Will Kaushik finally yearn the title of Brahmarishi? Or will Indra disintegrate once and for all, Kaushiks’ focussed meditations so that he would keep Heaven safe, unperturbed and unchallenged, from the desirous glances of a mere mortal?

‘Menaka’s Choice’, in one word, is multidimensional. It implicitly dwells on various topics that are highly relevant in today’s world. Menaka is not exactly a feminist, but she is a strong willed woman, or more specifically a fighter, who would go to any length to suffice the whispers of her heart. She is unconventional, bold, beautiful, confident, outspoken, incandescent, vulnerable, fearless, dedicated, righteous, astute- all rolled into one. She stands up for the people she loves. She stands up for herself. She fights injustice. She lashes out against the doers of immoral deeds with such certitude, never for once tempted to sail with the flow. She lives by her rules. She is never shrewd, nor is she conniving. But she sure knows how to make people pay the price for their vices in the least hazardous of ways. You must be wondering how I could write such a detailed character sketch of Menaka? There lies the author’s impeccable dexterity.

The book starts off slowly, albeit intriguingly. The pages are enriched with writing of superlative quality. The lexicon is remarkable. The subtle emotions are portrayed brilliantly, which in turn successfully acts to convince the reader. The conversations are detailed extensively, especially, the scene where Menaka confronts Indra about the fate of Vasu and another one where she locks Indra in a check mate with her oratory acumen. Those scenes, unquestionably, are my most favourite parts. The dialogues ooze vitality. They never lose charm mid way and these are the assertive reasons why I admire the talent of the author.

The book is alluringly sensuous at places too, which have been written in an equally aesthetic manner. The plot doesn’t skew towards unnecessary pathways and the focus is maintained mostly on Menaka and rightly, her ground breaking choices. A few editing glitches in between, thankfully, didn’t hinder the reading process any which way.  I hope sincerely that those are rectified in the following editions.

‘Menaka’s Choice’ is undoubtedly a rewarding experience. Let you not be speculative, but grab a copy and be addicted at the earliest. 

 

Details of the book:                                                                   

Title: Menaka’s Choice                                                                       

Author: Kavita Kane                                                                            

Publisher: Rupa Publications                                              

Number of Pages: 290                                                

Price: Rs. 295                                                                      

Genre: Fiction

Buy the Book Online:

Flipkart

Amazon

About the Author:  Kavita Kané is the best-selling author of Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen and Sita’s Sister. She started her career as a journalist and is now a full-time novelist. She is a postgraduate in English literature and mass-communications and a self-confessed aficionado of theatre and cinema. Married to a mariner, she is a mother to two teenaged daughters and currently lives in Pune along with Dude, the overfriendly Rottweiler, Chic the friendly Spaniel and Babe, the unfriendly cat.

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P.S: This post is tagged with ‘Saturday Specifics’, a sub section of this blog where I put up something creative- a story, poem, haiku, Flash Fiction or a Book Review.

Soliloquy- Saturday Specifics

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Image Source: Here

I feel relentless waves of sleep lash against me. My body, at present an embodiment of weariness, screams at me, pleading to be permitted to rest. I look around speculatively. My dreary eyes rove around the surrounding to rule out unassuming silhouttes of danger lurking around.

How could I let my body sleep unless I rule out the nasty tentacles of harm?
As the guardian, being the soul,  am I not the one to take care of my bodily presence in this world?

Looking around, I see warm, compassionate hearts meandering beside me. Hearts that fed me when I was hungry. Hearts that tended to my wounds ever so caringly. Hearts that caressed me exactly where I wanted it to be. Hearts that looked in to my eyes and smiled, as if I meant the world to them. Hearts that whispered to me lullabies of love, when I yearned for it the most. 

They wouldn’t hurt me in any way, would they?

Those chaotic days in the dark eerie corners of the street are behind me, so are the minds that were repulsively hazardous than the stones they threw diligently at the battered souls. I have been rescued for good. Now, as I slip slowly down into the serene haven of slumber, I feel caring hands stroking me slowly.

Convinced, I yield to the seamless pleas of my being.  I sleep peacefully till the last shred of tiredness is eased out of me. I sleep knowing that I am under the watchful eyes of my saviour.  Hunger pacified, thirst quenched, I sleep, sound, sane and satisfied for once in my life.

~~~~~

P.S: This post is tagged with ‘Saturday Specifics’, a sub section of this blog where I put up something creative- a story, poem, haiku, Flash Fiction or a Book Review.

P.P.S: Dedicated to all those amazing people and organisations in the world who inhabit animals, either as pets or as a way of providing them shelter.