fiction, Uncategorized

The Wait – Fiction

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It was a quarter to six in the morning. The crimson-tinted rays of the dawn leached in through the thick foliage to rest on his skin. He rubbed his nose onto the hairy dorsum of his palm and let out an unrestrained yawn. Last night had been uneventful. Not that there were many ways for him to keep himself engaged during the night, but usually he managed to immerse in one activity or the other so that he didn’t feel bogged down by the lullabies of boredom. But last night was unbearable. He had been hungry for most parts of the night. At one point of time, the hunger turned so grave that he had to let go off his sleep and set out into the wretched coldness of the night in search of food. One would expect him to be akin to a night owl, what with the innate traits of the beings of his like who felt utter bliss in breathing in the serene, placid wisps of the midnight air as they embarked on their soulful journey into the heart of their passions – be it feeding nutrients to the wanderlust, setting the streaks of adventure ablaze or even rolling themselves into a bundle on the ice-cold floor so that they would finally have their much needed moments of introspection. But last night was simply about satiating the glum pleas of his weary body, which he had not been able to achieve quite the way he had expected. And so also, as he had been doing for most part of the night, he was still trying his best to shut tight his eyes and roll up into a ball on the smooth, pale, marbled floor when the house- maid arrived at the strike of six. If he wished she would be kind enough to lend him something from the kitchen he was wrong, and he knew that more than those irrational nerves of hope that sprang up inside him intermittently. Perhaps, she was scared of losing her job by doing so. Perhaps, she simply despised him for what he was. How could he know what was going through her mind?

He went back to his nap as the maid closed the door behind her. He had to suppress his yearning to eat something for at least half an hour more. The boy who resided in the house was the only person who treated him with love and he always woke up at 6.30. He knew it for he always approached him in the morning with his hair unkempt and his eyes puffy, just as someone would be right after long hours of sleep. A short yelp from him was enough for the boy to carry a tray of biscuits from the inside cupboard to the backyard. How the boy’s eyes shone while he kneeled down beside him, watching him lick away the delicious crumps from the ground. Those were the moments when he wished he too was a human. How could he be sure if with his soft moans and the deliberate nudges with his head, he was being successful in letting the boy know that he was grateful? However, the boy seemed happy every time he did that, for he always patted his head or scratched his neck all the while whispering something in his ears. Maybe he understood nevertheless.

As the motes of sun pressed hard against his back signalling the relentless motion of time, his heart fluttered with relief. The boy would be awake in no time. His stomach made somersaults inside him and abandoning his sleep, he sat erect facing the house. His quivering eyes were glued onto the closed door and his ears pricked up for the slightest movement from inside the house. The wait was about to end and the joy of being rewarded for being patient was always worthwhile. 

Sometimes he wondered how he knew the exact moment when the boy would stride out and that too on every morning without fail, but he always knew. Somehow, he always knew. 

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P.S : This post doesn’t put forth a view that animals are dependent on humans for their survival. This post is a work of fiction, though the inspiration heavily leans towards the cats who wait for me to wake up and feed them. Infact , this story is dedicated to them who with their presence simply brighten up my day. 

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fiction, Uncategorized

Wistful – Short Fiction

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The room was garnished with the most luscious of elements. Bright, velvety flowers lay strewn across the neatly made bed, from which emanated the fragrance of splendour and a resident whiff of the exhilarating mystery that lay ahead at the fall of midnight-darkness. A silver tray, filled up to the brim with carefully selected array of fruits, lay perched on the table near the adorned door.

Rhea ran her deeply painted eyes over the embellishments, done studiously with the sole intention of celebrating the uniqueness of the night. Plaintive motes reflected from the murky corners of the room blinded her vision, as a lone drop of tear rolled down her rosy, made-up cheek. As on a cue, a southern summer breeze that sailed through the partly open window settled down on her damp face and stroked it in its vain attempt to erase the redundant streaks of melancholy.

The impatient thud of the door being closed startled her. She rose from the bed and stood against him with her head hung low. The wax and wane of her heart gripped her, gluing her frail body to the floor.

“Hi”

The longing that reverberated in her husband’s voice failed to pierce the thick, stoic veil of her heart. She felt an unprecedented gurgle emanate from the deep recess of her throat, nevertheless.

“Hi,” she uttered, forcing a smile on her face.

She realised then that she had a lifetime ahead to try and forget her past.

But, if only she could. 

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fiction, Uncategorized

Peep Into The Past – Short Fiction

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I gaze longingly at the effervescent girl who looked back at me from the photograph enclosed in the safe, glittering walls of the exquisite photo frame. I know what she was thinking while she smiled her heart out, her dainty arms perched delicately on the welcoming, supportive hands of her sweetheart.The jet black strands of hair that fluttered in the warm summer breeze heightened the twinkle that sparkled in the summit of the valley that was her eyes. I know what her eyes chanted as she posed for the photograph, trying hard to make her naive attempt at a pout succeed, after the many rehearsals in front of the mirror during those secure, inconspicuous moments of her solitude. I know what her heart yearned to scream out till her lungs gasped for breath. I know, for her smile, as infectious as it was, managed to hide little.  I know, at that very moment she was wishing upon the stars for that stage of her life – those deeply satiating, resplendent years that formed it – to last forever. She was hoping for her youth to be arrested; her evocative bond with her loved ones to be preserved in virginity. Under her breath, she was unassumingly whispering a prayer for her thoughts forever to be just as vibrant as the present. A fleeting seed of fear that hinted towards the inevitability of change failed to bother her. She lived in the moment, sans doubts or dilemma, and believed it the right way to face life. Continue reading “Peep Into The Past – Short Fiction”

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. 

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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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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.