Bits From Life, Journey, Life, Life is such, Mid Week Quests, Uncategorized

My Delicious Bait – Mid Week Quests

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There are people who, with utter madness, admire talented personalities. I am not saying  I don’t admire laudable talents, but I am not excessively, fiercely dependent on them when leading my life. Good books satiate me, good music fills my heart and soul with joy and a beautiful piece of writing, magnificiently laced with evocative threads, never fail to uplift the person in me.

But these days, I find myself lend an attentive ear to memoirs – both written and spoken. Perhaps that bit of character has been an innate part of me for long, since I have always liked reading personal blogs more than anything. I am not overtly dependent on them, but yes, I do find happiness out of taking a stroll through the life of another person. I am yet to decipher the craziness that resides in the liking, or if I have company in the form of people who nurture similarity in that regard. Some are of the opinion that such people are diffident about their own lives. But then, what if the act inspires me to be more? In my case, there is a second reason too, to which I shall reach in a while. 

People are different, I believe, and everyone has his/her favourite bait, which quite positively hooks them, feeds their souls and releases them for a better life.

Well, I have a few other such similar nourishing baits too on my list – like A.R. Rahman’s music, A Kazuo Ishiguro novel, an Alice Munroe short story, a Mohanlal movie, a chat with my best friend and so on. But the latest one to have conquered my heart, once I started working on my own manuscript, is reading the writing story of my favourite authors. Sometimes, I might not even have read their works, but their presence – their sheer authoritative presence and their diligently acquired accomplishments, out of the many other reasons, inspire me and I look forward to knowing more about their writing journey. I have been flipping through many such authors, a few of them blogger-turned authors, when my eyes fell upon the blog of the acclaimed author, Ruchita Misra – Blogging All The Way. I read and re-read most of her blog posts and they brought smiles to my face more often than not. There is something surreal about reading the amateur works of a person who have been a success ever since. 

Is it because of she is famous and widely accepted now, that I find her earlier writing amusing? 

I don’t have an answer. But I do know that I have a soft-spot for innocous memoirs and I can read and re-read personal blog posts for any number of time I want. Somehow, they take me closer to the writer and I feel I have been given a huge comforting bear hug by an invisible force. 

I came to know that she too is an anxious person like me and although I never read the blog aiming to end up with a tutorial to alleviate my anxiety, my haphazard mind was pacified to realise that I am not alone when it came to matters such as that. She, in one of her posts’s, mentions about bringing down her anxiety by trying to solve the mathematics table in her mind. Every person has his own technique to deal with his problems, griefs or similar downsides. For me it has been work. But I cannot work round the clock and there are times when struck with a bout of anxiety ( for a reason ), I discern methods to escape from it. These days, it has been reading good blog posts for me. I blog-hop, find interesting blogs and devour the articles which strike a chord with me. They inevitable leave me at peace at least for a good one hour or two, when my mind returns back to the jovial self.  

Even as a child, I used to listen to my dear ones sharing stories with one another – my mother about her work place to my father, my grand mother about our relatives to my mother, my mother about my brother and me to her friends, my brother about his eventful day to me . .  the list is endless. No, I am not nosey, nor am I a gossip-monger. I simple love stories. Good stories. Happy stories. Intriguing stories. Undoubtedly, there is something soulful about listening to true stories. They are flawless and pristine. On the contrary, I hate movies made out of real stories. The tweaked version irks me and I would rather have someone narrate the story to me than watching it. 

So much for my love for true stories. As I wrap this post up, I can’t help but leave you with one simple question. If ever you feel lonely and would like to have a friend listen to your story, you now know who to approach, don’t you? 🙂

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P.S: This post is tagged with Mid Week Quests, a sub section of this blog where I write on a Wednesday, about random nuggets from my life.

Bits From Life, Books, Creative Saturdays, fiction, Life is such, March, Publishing, Saturday Specifics, Uncategorized

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.

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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. 

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book review, Books, Saturday Specifics, Uncategorized

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. 

~~~

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. 
~~~
book review, Books, Saturday Specifics, Uncategorized

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.

Bits From Life, Books, Life is such, Mid Week Quests, New life, Passion, Uncategorized

At Crossroads – Mid Week Quests

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A part of my collection at home

Life has it that, it needs to smother us with torrents of sorrows at one time, but to exhilarate us with thickets of joy at the others. Just last week, I was lamenting about the humdrum that persisted in my professional life owing to serious setbacks at the administration front and merely at the start of this week, I am bombarded with alluring choices as to how to take forward my professional life. It so happens that I am not yet done with my higher studies- Another two year would be a boon when it comes to my professional skills, I being in a surgical speciality. Nevertheless, I received the appointment order for a permanent Government job this week, out of an interview that was conducted a couple of years back. There are a few worries about taking up the same, but there are things to rejoice as well.

My parents are overjoyed with the unexpected turn of events much more than me. They think I should grab the job sans any delay, but still make sure that my concentration suffers no aberration from the higher studies dream wheel I am manoeuvring. For doctors, a government job after serving residency means steady working hours and options to relax in between, during the night off days and week off days, although we do have to serve 24hour duties every week or so. The environment is blissfully different, although only relatively, from the residency period, when the resident is supposed to available in the hospital, either in person or as on call duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days a year.

Residency days witnessed the slow demise of my creativity. I have no regrets, for it died or rather went into hibernation for a noble cause. I see it as more of a sacrifice, which deserves praise, let alone disturbing and remorseful stares. The books that I had so wishfully bought to be read, soon was drowned in an ocean of the academic text books. I abandoned my efforts to seek a muse for there were direr matters at hand imploring my attention and service. I even believed, assertively, to an extent that I would never ever write again in my life and that my passion would remain buried in a deserted, enclosed pit forever. However much I tried to focus on the pages of a novel, I could hardly make myself drag my eyes for more than a few pages at a time. Although, all the while, a feeble voice had been muttering in the back of my mind that the phase should pass soon. Yet, somehow man tends to ignore the forecasts of the soul sometimes and find an inexplicable, mysterious joy in the heinous task of rubbing the salts of apprehension on the still oozing wound. Not much of a ghastly wound when it comes to the scenario I just described, but, an aching abrasion for sure the unappetising emotion was. 

I assumed mine was an isolated case of reader’s block, until yesterday when one of my dearest friends confessed that she was encountering a similar situation, her life being chock a block with the formidable, implicit and explicit responsibilities of residency. She also added that a day without reading a book always felt incomplete for her. How true!

It so turns out that for me, spring hastily follows winter, however long the stone cold era might be. The period of parchment the bibliophilic section of my mind and heart is accustomed to, if the atmosphere transforms to a more favourable one, is without much delay followed by an entirely enriching experience. I know that this endearing halt on my journey has to be considered as an oasis, for the days of sheer bliss( concerning the reader in me, for the doctor in me feels blessed every minute of the day with or without books) are not to last long.

From there ensue the cascade of acts that any bibliophile could relate to- Buying dozens of books online/offline and savouring them back to back, all the while snuggling onto the couch, munching on crispy chips punctuated with sips of tea or coffee. This has happened to me occasionally before too- During my Summer vacations back in school, after my Medical entrance, on year end breaks in college, after my post graduate entrance and now recently, after my post graduate university exam.

The bittersweet truth is even when I pine to get hold of a book; I fear it would be hard to fall back on my habit of reading after a long hiatus. Inertia sometimes take a toll on me, but once I overcome that marshy patch, things start to glide fast smoothly.

Coming back to my soon-to-be posted job, if I dissect it to shreds there are several pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. There is nothing new to be learnt to perform the job (Now that is one good thing about being a doctor. You are trained to act according to the circumstances, however mind numbing those might be)
  2. I would be ‘working’ after a monotonous gap of five months.
  3. I hope to read and write, now that I am officially a medical officer, and not a surviving medical student.
  4. Reasonable amount of leisure time

Cons:

  1. I would have to shift to the rural terrains of another district.
  2. I would miss the comforts of my home.
  3. I wouldn’t particularly be using the skills I acquired through my post graduation for the time being. But surely, after a while it would happen.

I look forward to penning down a post after I embark on the new job. A whole new list of pros and cons might welcome me there, who knows.

For the time being, I am relishing my much sought after time with books. I am relieved that I reclaimed my habit and to consolidate the same, I signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge too for a goal of 50 books in 2016. I long to read more than that, but one never knows how the days turn out to be in my profession. I have had a lot of book talks this week- with my friend whose words echoed my thoughts, with an upcoming author on his debut and right when I thought it was going to end, I received a courier carrying the books I had ordered online last week, stirring in me the flame to write this post for this week’s Mid Week Quests. I am leaving you all with a picture of my latest assets. Posing suavely alongside is the cutest, cuddliest, sleepy little gem who is my writing companion these days.

Ogle as much as you want, but do leave behind your own stories surrounding books. Do you go on a reading spree like me when you finally earn the time? Have you too weighed out the pros and cons enroute a new job? Do you suffer creativity-block yourself when accosted with duty calls ?

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There is not a thing I don’t love in this picture!

 

P.S: This post is tagged with Mid Week Quests, a sub section of this blog where I write on a Wednesday, about random nuggets from my life .

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