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Literature, especially English literature has gained considerable limelight in urban Indian society in the last decade or so. Number of publication in Indian English literature has gone up many folds in the recent past. Fiction by Indian authors, in particular, has gained huge popularity. Reasons for that are many. The newage digital platform has provided many a social networking and blogging sites, encouraging many to take up writing. In presence of an open publishing platform, the limitations of the traditional publishing methods are cast aside. Starting out with tentative amateurish writings, bloggers have gradually evolved and blossomed into professional authors, able not only to hold their own but also challenge the popularity of the veterans. The changing socio-economic landscape, increase in buying power has meant that the market of the published books has Editor become more lucrative. Publishers have in turn become more Victor Basu open to the new breed of writers. Armed with this new found confidence, many have chosen writing as a full fledged proSub Editors fession, leaving behind otherwise successful careers. Mukesh Rijhwani But perhaps there is a basic change in the writing industry (if Sumantra Chowdhury I may call it so). The new generation of media savvy writers/ Sanghamitra Guha publishers who are more focused on marketing, has a decisive Trainee Sub Editor edge over the not so strong old war horses whose main weapNidhi Mathur on were their pen alone. This has thrust upon all of us – the readers, the reviewers and Copy Editors Storizen, the additional responsibility to consciously search Asmita Sarkar and promote meaningful literature. Saurabh Chawla Thank you for your patronage and overwhelming support. We hope to be able to continue to promote and encourage Photo Editor Neloy Banerjee young aspiring authors to take Indian English literature to new heights with your continued support and well wishes.


Designer Amit Mitra


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The 1st ever action packed Annual Bangalore Comics Convention organized by Comic Con India saw grand response from fans from all age groups. The two day fest was an effort put in to celebrate the love for comics and give a boost to the Comic industry by increasing local interaction and participation. People were dressed in their favorite comic characters and superhero costumes; Renowned Guests took Special Sessions, there were over 10 book launches, tons of merchandise & lots of activities.

So, you have this story bursting inside

of you, plots and sub-plots racing around in your mind, vying for space. Yet, when you finally get around to penning it down, you find yourself stuck. So, what are these intangible blocks that leave us stumped one time or the other? Here’s a quick list that I put together based on my experiences. 1. Procrastination: A variant form of lethargy, procrastination tops the list every time. Browsingthe internet or slouching on thesofa while watching TV seems tempting instead. But, no one can teach you to discipline yourself. You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. Not unless it wants to. Push yourself to take that first step. 2. The Name Game: Are you one of those who are so obsessed with the title, so much so that you cannot pen down the first word of the story until you have an appropriate title in mind? No point in fretting about it. If your naming kitty

is empty, look to friends for ideas. Think of innovative ways to generate names. Parents today even hold online contests asking for baby names, surely a story is no different. 3. Starting Trouble: Say you’ve got characters, their intricacies and the flow all lined up. Yet, you can’t decide which incident to start with. If you can’t make up your mind, put it aside for the time being. Is there an incident in your story which you feel strongly about? Start there. Once you start penning it down, sooner or later, the start will fall into place. You can always re-align the scenes later as per your original sequence. 4. ‘Ender’ Bender: Have you read stories that leave an unfinished taste in your mouth? As if not enough work was done to give it a smooth ending? I often get stuck at Act III because I am not sure how best to wrap up the story or how effective my ending would be. Often I just ditch the story mid-way and come back to it weeks later. If you’re like me, explore different authors instead – pay attention to the part of the story which signifies the wrapping-up section of the book. Try multiple endings. Get reviews and constructive feedback. 5. Everything in the middle. Recently, a writer friend of mine, was working on a novella. Before she knew it she had introducedunwanted flashbacks, irrelevant characters, and unnecessary detours from the main plot. And then she got stuck, unsure as to how to mould the story back to the primary plotline. It took a whole lot of rework to come

back to the primary plot. Instead, plan your story well. Make a plot outline, splitit into x scenes of y words each. Expand each scene a little to note down the main characters, the emotion, what is expected from the scene, etc. This will serve as a useful guide throughout your quest. 6. Word count: I have known writers to get stuck because of word counts. Sounds strange, isn’t it? It happens when you start out with a fixed word count in mind but nothing more. And then, one might end up stuffing unwanted details into the scenes simply to fluff up the word count. Plotting and sequencing are essential activities to story writing.Happenings should be engaging enough to hold the reader’s attention but a good amount of detailing also helps in making the story come alive. 7. Negativity: There’s enough depression and sad news in the world today to bog one down. This in turn affects our mental state of mind andkills creativity. Spend a little time righting the wrong by doing your bit and force yourself to spend the rest concentrating on your story. 8. I-m-Perfect syndrome: You want to write the perfect story, I get it. But striving for perfection in the first draft and driving yourself crazy in an attempt to

achieve that could end up in you ditching the idea mid-way. Get the first draft down. Then work on perfecting it. 9. Social Media: Yes too much distractions from the much loved phenomenon – Social media - Facebook, Twitter, Google+, TV, Internet, Youtube (especially sitcoms), even reading blogs. There’s no dearth of distractions to pull you away from what you really set out to do. Again, self-discipline is the solution. Make a time schedule. Stick to it religiously. 10.Conflicting or Negative Feedback: Don’t pull out your hair trying to sieve through conflicting feedback. If you find yourself in such a situation,I recommend following your instincts. You know yourself and your writing styles the best. Never say no to feedback, especially the constructive kinds. But picking and sieving through it will be your responsibility. Blindly following anyone’s feedback and incorporating the same could end up doing more harm than good. Use your judgment. At the end of the day, remember. This is how you do it. You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard. – Neil Gaiman.

Deepa’s stories have been published in two multi-genre anthologies - Ten Shades of Life and Kaleidoscope - both of them fetching good reviews. Basically a fiction writer, she also loves to write about experiences that mould her life!!

1. Thou shalt not take the cri-


Thou shalt not give exposis/climax out of the protagonist’s sition for exposition’s sake. Dramahands. tize it. Convert exposition to amComments: Make sure your hero munition. (protagonist) is the one which reComments: Do not give compresolves the mystery in the end or as hensive descriptions and explanaa matter of fact, destroys the villain tions when it’s not needed. Instead, in the end. The last thing you want dramatize it and make it count. in your story is – It’s the last ball of the match, 4 runs to win and your 4. Thou shalt not use false hero is at the non-striker’s end. mystery or cheap surprise. (Lagaan anyone!) Comments: Be authentic. A fake flower, no matter how similar it 2. Thou shalt not make life looks to the real one, can’t emit easy for the protagonist. Nothlong lasting fragrance. ing progresses in a story except through conflict. 5. Thou shalt respect your Comments: Your hero has to over- audience. The anti-hackcommandcome hardships. If life is easy for ment. the hero, it will not be of much Comments: Your audience is not interest to your readers. It doesn’t stupid. Stop treating them as if they matter whether his life is awfully are! poor or extremely grand.

6. Thou shalt know your

world as God knows this one. The pro-research commandment. Comments: Be a master of your domain. Research and make sure, you’re second to none. Also, know your characters as if they are your children (or family members). Write a quick story about each of your characters from birth till death.


Thou shalt not complicate when complexity is better. Don’t multiply the complications on one level. Use all three: Intra-personal, Inter-personal, Extra-personal. Comments: Don’t over complicate things for your hero or the story. Don’t treat your hero as if he was the protagonist of a ‘game’ where he has to fight with increasing armory as the level progresses.

8. Thou shalt seek the end of

the line, taking characters to the farthest reaches and depth of conflict imaginable within the story’s own realm of probability. Comments: Make sure you exploit all the situations which makes your hero weak, strong, sad, happy, etc., within the boundaries of your story.

9. Thou shalt not write on

the nose. Put a subtext under every text. Comments: These 3 words should explain this. “Show, don’t tell”. 10. 10.

Thou shalt rewrite. Comments: Never ship your first draft. Someone said, “Writing is rewriting”.

If you don’t know Ravi Subramanian, then the best way to describe him would

be as someone who is in possession of a philosophers’ stone. Everything he has touched, or got associated with, turns in to gold. For instance, when we did a video on his book ‘The Bankster’ on Storizen TV, the viewership soared and till date it has been the most watched video. When we asked, if he could take time out for our magazine, he obliged enthusiastically. The first questions that we asked him were about his IIMB days, were they fun? To which he replied.

The two best years of my life were spent at IIM-Bangalore. Small town background, protective family, conservative values: I felt like a misfit on day one. In the midst of super confident students from metros, it was not too difficult to get intimidated. While keeping ones chin up was difficult, it helped me evolve. I had to work harder for success, but when it came, the same success was sweeter. By the time the first term ended, I was in the top 20 on campus. Not a mean achievement by any standards. I made quite a few friends; many of them still remain friends. I owe a lot of what I am today, to my days at IIM Bangalore. Having said that the writing streak

in me was not at all evident at that time. Many of my classmates were surprised when I wrote my first book. I was not the literary kinds, not at all. I was more of a fun loving guy, always out to pull someone’s leg, play a prank or two on others, listen to the absolutely latest in Bollywood at the middle of the night, that too at peak volume – definitely not the kinds you would associate with the “Literary types”. Ravi, who grew up in Ludhiana where his parents were teachers at an engineering college, was exposed to people, language and culture that were dramatically different from the one at his home Interestingly, we also did an MBA special episode of Book Samachar on Storizen TV. This was also well applauded by our viewers. We next asked Ravi as to why bankers and especially MBAs are taking towriting, tell us why?

I guess many bankers are losing their jobs today. Guess writing is an insurance against loss of job and consequent income. . On a serious note, When I started writing, there weren’t many banker / MBA authors. Chetan Bhagat was one. And may be a few others. But definitely not the numbers that we see today. To my mind, there are multiple reasons for this change that is taking

place. Firstly, publishers, after tasting success, are more receptive to Indian Authors. I guess the market was always there but supply to fulfill the need was not there. No one was confident of publishing them profitably. Now when publishers are taking the lead, the writers are responding enthusiastically. Secondly, the media glamourized authors. Authors are beginning to be seen as Intellectually glamorous now. And the ambitious bankers / MBA’s see this as a way to glory. Thirdly MBA’s have been able to successfully stand up and market their books well, a bit shamelessly too. And this has helped them build their own brands. This leads me to the most important point, we as Indians always look for role models. And when we see a Banker / MBA become a successful author, he or she becomes a successful role model for many other bankers or MBA graduates. And that becomes a trend to follow. Ravi has spent close to two decades in the financial services industry. After having worked with companies such as Citibank, HSBC and ANZ Grindlays, Ravi is now the president and chief executive officer ofShriram Group (non-chit). He has brought in many innovations at his work place, but we’re curious to know about his writing career.

When asked about “the trigger” to write a full-fledged Novel, he said!

Writing for me was a journey I embarked on very late in my life. My first book, “If God was a Banker”, was pretty much my first attempt at writing fiction. Yes, had written a few short stories, a few poems when I was a teenager, pretty much the way most teenagers do. But serious writing began with If God was a Banker, in 2006. The prime motivation behind writing a book was a bit philosophical. I wanted to leave a legacy behind, to be remembered. And I felt, at that time, that long after I am gone from

this planet, a book in some library in some remote corner of the earth will remind people that someone by the name Ravi Subramanian walked the planet. No one remembers CEO’s, put people do remember creative outputs. All of us have certain quirks in life, well this was mine. We asked him about his journey of “If God was a Banker” (from writing to getting a phone call from publisher) and this is what he has to say!

Publishers are busy people. They seldom call back an author writing his first book. Its always an author who follows up. A few days back, | July 2013 | 17

know who to send the manuscript a to. From the publisher’s websites, I got their email id’s and sent the manuscript to those id’s. No response. No acknowledgement either. I was later told that this was the norm. I was getting restless. I had to do something about it, so I tried to get Chetan Bhagat’s contact number, to speak to him and get some gyan on what to do. I stumbled upon a press release of his and that had the number of his publicist/PR – a girl called Bhavna. I called her out of the blue and she recommended that I not speak to Chetan, but speak to close friend and a fabulous writer, his publisher directly instead. And PrakashIyer told me that he signed she gave me Kapish Mehra’s (MD of his first book with Penguin after he Rupa Publications) mobile number. sent them a very brief concept note. I thanked her and called Kapish. In my six year career as an author, The rest is history. Rupa moved realhe is the only author I got to know, ly swiftly after that and If God was whose first book deal got closed a Banker deal was inked in three out on the basis of a one page note. weeks. Otherwise it is still a struggle unRemember, only the first deal is difless you know someone at the top ficult. Once your first book comes or have birth marks at places deep out and does reasonably well, it’s not in the cervices of your body which at all difficult to find yourself a pubyou yourself cannot see. (It is said of lisher. such people that they are extremely His book, If God Was A Banker, uncovlucky). I do consider myself extremely lucky. ers the darker side of MNC banks in India. The book sold more than 2.65 lakh This is a story not many people copies. The book went on to win him know. When I finished writing If many awards and this is what Ravi said, God was a Banker, I knew only one when asked about the accolades received author and that was me. I didn’t

If God was a Banker won the Golden Quill Award in 2008. The Incredible Banker won the Economist Crossword Book Award for 2012. Winning awards feels great, massages your ego quite a bit, gives you bragging rights, and lastly when you write the author bio, you can write the words “award winning” in front of your name. But if you ask me what’s important for me – winning awards or selling more number of copies, I would any day take the latter. When we asked him “have you sold movie rights of the book ‘If God was a Banker?”. He said;

Not yet. I guess the Indian audience is not ready for movies based on the perceived complex world of international banking. We nudged him to tell us some real life episodes that he has translated in to his latest book. He coolly said ;

story which keeps the reader enthused over his 360 page journey. We poked him further with the question “You work in the world of global banking, is it as crime-ridden as your books describe?”, He cleverly responded.

Crime is a relative term. I am of the belief that banking needs to be different from other industries, simply Every writer is inspired by what because in banking, you deal with he sees around him. To that extent there are various parts of my books customers hard earned money. More which have been inspired by various than anything else, you are the custhings I have seen, heard and expe- todians of their trust. If you look at rienced over years of working in this it from this pedestal, banking today, is far from clean. Tolerance levels industry. But the challenge is how for crimes and frauds, irrespective of you convert the 10% of inspiration using 90% creativity, into a fabulous nature, size or materiality should | July 2013 | 19

have been close to zero, which is not the case. Lack of controls, high pressure on delivery and no job security is leading to bankers across levels taking shortcuts. We only hear of mis-selling in Wealth management, insurance, trading, structured products etc. Why not in any other industry? That said, honest and competent bankers also exist in our system, but they do not make interesting reading and hence I like to write about the dark underbelly of this industry. Reading my books and assuming that all bankers are corrupt is like reading John Grisham and saying that all attorneys are on the take. In his book “If God Was A Banker” Ravi, understandably, did not name anyone. But those in the trade and journalism had no problem in spotting the institutions and the real characters behind the fictional names. For the readers it was an awesome read and as a result. We asked the question that everyone wanted to know, that was about his” John Grisham” connect. This is what he had to say;

John Grisham is a phenomenon. My favourite author.The way he has created a new segment of legal thrillers and made it his own, can only be done by a creative genius.

Not only do I love his thrillers, I also admire the way he has gone about his task, year after year, month after month. No surprise that he is one of the leading bestsellers in the world today. It was a matter of great honour and pride when the Wall Street journal called me the John Grisham of Banking, the reference obviously being the series of thrillers set in a banking backdrop, that I had written. It is both flattering and humbling at the same time. Having said that Grisham has accomplished a lot, and it will take me a long while to even consider myself worthy of that title. Not very often do we find Indian authors writing good thrillers. When asked about it? He said;

Writing thrillers is no different from writing any other fiction. It takes the same effort, the same dedication and commitment and the same rigour. However what works for me is the manner in which I approach a book. Unlike many other authors, I don’t have the blueprint for the book in front of me when I begin writing. I start with a subject. One page leads to the next, and one chapter leads to the other. I seldom have a clue on what direction the next chapter is going to take. When I myself don’t

know what the next chapter is going to be on, it is highly unlikely that the reader will be able to predict what’s going to happen next. This keeps the readers turning the page wanting to know what’s in store. Its not that Indian authors don’t write good thrillers. Its just that most of the new generation Indian writing is inspired by real life examples. As a result, most of them end up writing romantic novels, family stories, stories based on scandals etc. but not thrillers. Writing thrillers requires an intricate knowledge about the system you are writing about

and became full time writers. Authors like Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar to name a few. When asked when is he planning to cross-over and be a full time writer? He surprised us with his answer ;

Never. If possible to keep it the way it is, I would love to let it be. I will never plunge full time into writing. Banking is my profession and writing is an avocation. It will always stay that way. The fact that I pursue writing as a creative outlet and don’t depend on it commercially makes it an interesting passion for me. The day I depend on writing for a livWhen asked about the number of coping, it will become a job, and like all ies sold? things thrust on us, writing too will They say, never ask a girl her age, a lose its fun element. And the fact is that thus far, I have managed to man his income and an author his numbers. Close to a Million copies. balance both my career and writing quite well. I have not felt the need to give up one for the other. As per our research, till last year, he sold half-a-million copies (before the release of his novel The Bankster, which was a runaway bestseller). This makes him Rupa’s second highest selling author after Chetan Bhagat. Interestingly, Penguin has offered the author Rs 1.25 crore for a two-book deal making it the highest advance given by them to any Indian writer.

There’s a rising trend in India, thanks to big-hearted publishers, few MBAs (especially Bankers) gave up their jobs

We got bowled over by his answer and that made us ask this tricky one - “Do you think writing in English is a feasible niche for upcoming writers?” He said;

I have managed to balance both my career and writing quite well. I have not felt the need to give up one for the other. | July 2013 | 21

one profession where effort does not guarantee success. It’s a lonely profession too. Writers are pretty much on their own. If one wants to make writing a full I heard Jeffrey archer once say, that time profession, I would recommend that you do it in phases. Do not give a hundred manuscripts hit a pubup everything and become a writer. lisher every day, of which one hits the editors desk. Of hundred that hit Begin your writing career as a part the editors desk, one gets published. time. Test the waters. See if you are Of hundred that get published, one able to find your space. Build your reader base, and hence royalty inmakes it to the best seller list. You come. And once you are comfortable can judge the odds for yourself. then dive headlong into writing. Writing seems glamorous from the outside. People read success stories, While I do not want to sound too negative, If your sole aim is to make glamorous media feed-ins and asmoney, writing is not the place to be sume that this is the place to be in. Trust me it requires months of hard in. There are better ways to make work to bring out the book. And it is money. We got bowled over by his answer and that made us ask this tricky one - “Do you think writing in English is a feasible niche for upcoming writers?” He said;

We asked him whether he networks a day, or even more. Sometimes, I with other authors,and with which au- don’t pick up a pen for weeks. thors does he talk on a regular basis? He replied; Writers block? is it fact or fiction?

I enjoy talking to authors and exchanging notes. In fact I find authors these days a lot approachable and willing to share notes with others. A realization is slowly dawning that authors are not commodities. They don’t eat into each other’s market share. A reader is not going to not read me because he is reading Ashwin Sanghi or vice versa. A reader, if he likes your books, will read you, irrespective of which other books he is reading. Hence the entire author community is coming closer. A good sign for the industry. I talk to most of the Indian authors. No point taking names here because it’s a long list and each one of them is equally special.

It does happen at times. When you are stuck at a point and you have no clue where to take the story from there on. Various authors have different means of dealing with them. A long drive, discussion with people who are aware of what you are writing, debating ideas etc, has worked for me. Some of the interesting ideas and possible directions the story should take, come from my discussions with my thirteen year old daughter. And no… like Dan Brown, I don’t don a pair of gravity boots and hang upside down from a special frame, in case I am faced with a writers block. Well said Mr. Subramanian. He resides in Mumbai with his bio-technologist turned banker wife Dharini and their daughter Anusha. Finally we asked him if he has any pearls of wisdom for wannabe authors.

In 2012, Jaipur literature festival, everyone was mesmerized by the segment where he was in conversation Most people who want to write, nevwith Lord Jeffery Archer. When asked about it, he said; er even begin their journey because

I am what you would call the Owl-Writer. I normally write between 9.00 at night and 1.00 AM in the morning. Having said that, I don’t write every day. When I am in the flow I go up to seven hours

of two reasons – firstly they are unable to find time to write and secondly they keep waiting for the entire story to take concrete shape. The former is easier to handle through proper prioritisation of time spent on daily activities. As far as the | July 2013 | 23

latter is concerned, most of the writers do not wait for the story to take shape from end to end, before they begin writing. All they need is an idea. For example in The Bankster, the story has taken a completely different shape from what I had envisaged when I began writing. So if you have an idea, start writing. Like any other journey, the first five pages you write will give you ideas for the next ten and thereon the story will evolve. This is the best way to give yourself a realistic chance of finishing the all elusive

book. Times have never been so good for an Indian Author as they are today. Publishers, distributers, bookstores and readers are all laying out the red carpet for you. Back yourself and prepare to walk bravely on the red strip With that ended an interesting conversation with the “John Grisham of Banking�, we wish him a hundred more bestsellers. Thank you Ravi Subramanian.

What prompted you to start


Sometimes, you can’t always tell the truth, neither, you are strong enough to face it, nor people around you. So, you camouflage it, present it in a manner that people find it palatable, digestible and even lavish praise in return for your half-lies. Maybe not all, but most great stories are born out of a conflict that a writer experiences within and without. Writing to me is just a way of answering my own unanswered questions and I have many.

Which is your favourite book? And who is your favourite author? The Seven Spiritual Laws of life by Deepak Chopra. He’s also my favorite author. His writing is simple, yet, it possesses great depth and wisdom. No writer can hope to create anything impactful, if he doesn’t first dwell, dip into the dark crevices of his own mind.

Which author do you feel has influenced your style the most? Sydney Sheldon and Ken Follet

The shadow of the erstwhile British army lingered long after they left the country. Their drinking, smoking, womanizing culture was eagerly embraced by the cream of the crop in the organization. Flirtation is a norm of an elitist, high flying society and it was used to further, both personal and professional agenda. The seventies and eighties was an era of great suppression, men and women were not allowed to mingle freely. All over the world the hippie movement was on a roll since the sixties but premarital sex in India was seen as an aberration. Under the garb of British legacy, sycophants and lotharios in uniform thrived and carried on the tradition left behind by the Gori Chamdi. Every organization has its grapevine, I grew up hearing rumors, snatches of conversation, old wives tales. With an active imagination, the blanks were easy to fill and Jacob Hills was born.

Why/ How did you decide writing murder mysteries?

Like any teenager I used to enjoy reading romance, but I soon realized that romance without suspense was just I got lucky with the first book when the same rubbish presented differently. Penguin offered to publish my first The protagonists kissed or made out in book Love on the Rocks. Jacob Hills is actually my third novel, Harper decided varied settings, one of them was always unavailable till the end and chapters to release it ahead of my second, Love Kills because it seemed like a book that dragged on endlessly. However, in a was destined to be big. The decision has murder mystery, there’s so much to play with, to drop red herrings for the readproved to be right. ers; to keep them from guessing, who Tell us something more about Jathe murderer really is. It requires cercob Hills? tain cunning to mislead people into

How did you get published? And how did the second book happen? | July 2013 | 27

paced thriller for those who like their whodunit racy and crisp’. It felt good! A particular snippet that remains in my memory, featured in TOI’s Crest edition in 2011. A journalist had taken a line out of my author bio, which read something like, ‘After a brief but highly successful stint in the Forex division, Ismita quit her management career and took up prose and poetry wholeheartedly’. He went on to write, ‘if a author quits her management career to be a full time writer then just imagine how smart she must be’, or something to that effect. That rankled! So, yes, it’s easy to judge and dismiss books and their authors, but I would like to believe that if authors persevere, they get to have the last laugh.

Some words of wisdom for aspiring author?

believing that they know how the plot is going to unfold. It’s the craftiness that Believe it or not, makes me want to write murder mysThe wicked are closer to finding God, teries. Their flaws like flowers, Which is the best and harshest Waiting to blossom when the season is feedback you have received from right. Just put your most powerful emotions your readers? on paper and you’ll be surprised to see Truth be told, as a writer I am easily that it makes one hell of a good story; a flattered and take all feedback, good story that sells. and bad in my stride. My debut novel, Love on the Rocks had just released. Hindustan Times pegged it as a, ‘A fast “IsmitaTandon Dhankher is ‘A Lesser Known Poet’. Her poem, ‘The Beasts Run Wild’, is currently up on MSN, as part of an ongoing exclusive feature “Her Courage” in tribute to Indian women. Her second mystery novel Jacob Hills is just released by HarperCollins India.”

Does an author have to be crim-

inally minded to write Crime novel? Not at all…I have never intentionally hurt anyone…but wrote a crime novel—just imagination is required…not a killer instinct.

ful trailer for me. You can find it on my website http://www.writingnaturally. com/

And your day job?

Apart from being a freelance writer, author and editor I am full time mom to a young teenager and a demanding dog, who is an interesting character in my book.

Take us through the journey of “Firting with fate” from getting the When do you write? how often do idea to getting a call from publish- you write? Good question !! But I belong to that er. It’s been one long journey…as the idea was the brain child of a Bengali gentleman Pinaki Chaudhuri who started me on the project about 5 years back but had to leave midway. I picked up the threads of the unfinished book in Jan 2011, simply to fulfil a dream of seeing my work in print. Like I often say, writing a book is like pregnancy, a cakewalk but publishing is like the delivery…a tough struggle. It was not easy being rejected by most publishers, but it’s never impossible either. My manuscript was accepted because perhaps it was different from the books brimming the market, It was not just another love story… it was a crime novel with the theme of how Karma Returns in our each action, good or bad.

breed of writers who are slaves to their moods….I write when the mood hits me, the moment when food…the world…the kids all take a back seat and the fire within wont subside till you pen down your thoughts. People like me do not like being tied down to completing writing projects….set us free…we give you a masterpiece ( not that mine is one…but I honestly tried ! )

Which are your favourite authors and books? and which ones from latest authors?

Well… last I read fiction was in school/ college…with the best being Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Christie (maybe that’s why I wrote crime ). Now I do not read fiction but prefer spiritual and self help books with the best being POWWhat about the book trailer, tell us ER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle. Among the new budding Indian authors, the more about it? Honestly, I never made a book trailer… only book I hv read and loved is Bhavya coz I didn’t know how to make it..sim- Kaushiks’s –The other side of the bed… ple. But when I received the Best Debut as I relate with its theme of Kal ho na Crime Fiction of 2012 Award by Butter- ho…. fly and Bee, Sumit Sehgal, the CEO of this literary company, made a | July 2013 | 31

Which is the best feedback you’ve tentials. received from an ordinary reader? Do people mistake you for some When few readers asked me the same celebrity? question….that they had wronged someone sometime in their lifetime… will the karma return ? will they be punished ? I felt that my book message had reached home. My work was done.

Are you writing any other book?

Yes, in the middle of my next book… will be a year almost before it hits the shelves….am in no hurry.

Lols…even if they do I wish they don’t…as celebrities are non approachable and I wish to be always there if sumone needs me….i am the girl next door and wish to be just a call away…. always…

Some words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

If you have seen a vision to be pubAny plans or timelines when are lished, don’t give up. If I could achieve mine at 40, so can anyone. Just be peryou ready to crossover and write sistent and patient in following your full time? heart…you shall reach there. And like Nopes…I have left it to time and my I said, I am a call away…reach out…if mood….writing is my passion but not an obsession…I like to enjoy every field I can help anyone…anytime, it’s a life worth lived.. of life…explore my various other po-

Preeti singh is an author, editor and writer based in Chandigarh. Apart from being a full time mom, she actively involves herself in social activities to help the needy as she believes life is too short and one should live each moment with gratitude. Kal ho na ho is her motto.

I always felt the ‘writer’ label is an

unnecessary one. At one point, we all become writers, scripting our own lives, penning our deeds, to be read by others on the pages of their lives and experiences. I guess for me it all started in school. I liked creative writing. I won in fests and competitions. But in college, the writing activities kind of dried up. And then when I had a job, I started blogging. My first baby steps were hesitant and uncertain. I kind of found the idea of advertising one’s own thoughts, feelings and opinions on an online forum the exclusive privilege of people who actually are damn good at writing. And I was never damn good. However, luckily I broke through my self-doubts, courtesy the encouragement from two colleagues I’ll remain always grateful to. I never looked back since. Traffic to my blog was a slow trickle at first, it then swelled; I guess people actually were fond of whatever I chose to regale them with. It was a wonderful feeling. Like someone getting an inkling of what might be his true calling. Blogging helped me a lot. It wasn’t just the writing experience which it drilled into me. I met so many people, people I would never have met otherwise. A part of them rubbed off on me. And (I hope!) maybe a tiny bit of me rubbed off on them. Because suddenly my world was getting bigger. I had access to other opinions, different perceptions and various experiences. All of which made me rethink and re-evaluate my ideas of where I was and where I want-

ed to go. One thing I discovered is that you never really know when opportunities come knocking. The least you can do…besides waiting…is to be prepared for them when they come. They have the habit of dropping in unannounced. In the month of October 2012, I learnt that Fablery was hosting a short-story contest in association with Mahaveer publishers. Fablery is the brainchild of Bangalore based Nethra Ajnappa who wanted to give newcomers like me a chance to get published. The idea of the contest was novel. Ten genres. One winner per genre. There was one small hitch. Nine genres and their winners had already been decided before September 2012. The last genre was left. OCCUPATIONAL FICTION. Wait what? I was stumped! Stories on…jobs? Aren’t our boring jobs the very reason so many of us turn into part-time writers in the first place? And a story revolving those? Shudders! Google came in handy…a bit. But I was still a clueless and confused baby lost in a bustling market. And I had a month in which to write the story because the deadline was end of October. In that one month, a couple of realisations landed on my lap to munch on. I chose the setting of my story as the Mumbai Fire Brigade. While researching for the story, I discovered a lot of shortcomings in myself and my writing. I was having difficulty describing many of the scenes that occupied my mind; I just couldn’t hit on the proper tone, narrative and flow to express them. Till then I had only churned out romances | July 2013 | 35

on my blog. Sure, I had written a couple of thrillers, sent one of them to two online magazines, got summarily rejected by both, wallowed in self-pity ever since. So when the story was finally ready, although I loved it, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be selected. My past failures and frustrations were weighing down on like a ton of bricks. I needed validation of my skills. I wanted to be acknowledged as a talented writer. I needed others to tell me I am good enough. Yes. I was pretty messed up at that time. And as the stars a million miles away would have it- I won. Finally, I was getting published! The dream had come true. ‘Ten Shades of Life’ by Fablery and Mahaveer Publishers was out in the market by February 2013. For me, a major battle had been won. The favourable reviews the book has been scoring ever since only made my victory taste sweeter. Things had been a lot smoother after that. I won another contest. This one was hosted by Wassup Andheri in association with Grey Oak Publishers. And then I won anotherhosted by Springtide, an online youth magazine, in association with Parlance Publishers. They chose 25 stories out of close to a thousand entries and yours truly’s name was shining brightly among them. Their book ‘Kaleidoscope’ just launched last month. It has

the blessings of India’s cherished author Ashwin Sanghi (The Krishna Key, Chanakya’s Chant) who chose the best author among the 25. And finally, here I am, announcing to the world how I made it this far. Yes, another tick on my checklist of dreams to fulfill before I die. On a parting note, I would like to share a lesson I learnt in the process of becoming a published author. As with every other thing in life, we should never seek validation of our worth from sources external to us. You write because you want to, you write what you want to and you write what feels right to you. While all of us want to see our works make their way to the printed world, at the end of the day, you’re still writing mostly for yourself and no one else. So do your own thing and stop worrying about how others will receive your work. I am not asking you to compromise on quality. You should always strive to improve it. But I am talking about content. You should create content you believe in and not what you think others want to read. Because you never know whether others would want to read you until you’ve actually written something. So go ahead. Write. Something close to your heart. Something you really want to. It should be an extension of what you see yourself as and not what others want you to be.

Rahul Biswas is a software engineer working in Kolkata for a reputed MNC. Born and brought up in the City of Joy, he wishes he can sell some joy of his own with the stories he creates.

If I was told in Class 8 that I would

one day publish a book, I would have keeled over in violent hysterics. Everytime I read a rave review on Untruly Yours, I am catapulted into Ms Serrao’s English class. Tall, slim and brimming with sarcasm, Ms Serrao’s face rarely erupted into a smile. I think I may have been the only one in class to ‘get’ her clever, sharp, sarcastic wit. The rest of the class ducked, dived, quivered and hid behind the person in front, just so they weren’t singled out and ridiculed in front of the class.Even the most notorious boys and girls were in their best behaviour in her class, almost unrecognisable to the ones who knew them. I have no idea why, I had made it my mission to appease her. We were asked to write an essay on some random subject she’d plucked from thin air (as she would often do). I curse the day I had ‘that’ light bulb moment. I meticulously cherry picked unusual words from the Oxford dictionary to embellish my essay. The essay was submitted and marked. The results were out. Predictably, my name was announced first. Heads jerked around in my direction. I had arrived. My moment of glory was inches away from me. Swishing my two long braided plaits I walked with tremendous pride and took my place in front of the class. And then came the brutal humiliation. I was told it was the worst piece of ‘laboured’ work the class had ever produced! I was made

to re-write the essay, this time without the help of the dictionary.At the time, I wondered what gave it away. So you see, writing was never in my agenda. However, years later, a friend, twisted my arm and germinated the writing bug, in me. She loved the (many) anecdotal stories I shared with her when we exchanged emails. A few other episodes in my life seemed tosteer in me in the same direction. I made an earnest start. Chapters were shared, characters passionately discussed as if they had taken life and were lifted off from my pages. It was a fabulous experience and I seem to have such fun evolving each of my quirky characters. I can’t remember at which point it stopped being a release from the real world pressures and became an obsession to complete what I’d started. I remember finishing the manuscript and staring at it for a few minutes. What now? I emailed all my friends who had promised to assist me with the publication.I suppose, I momentarily forgot, they led busy lives themselves. I let a few months pass and instead of sending gentle reminders to friends, I started approaching some leading publishing houses in India. I am not sure why I didn’t approach the ‘not-so-known’ publishing houses. I clearly believed in my craft! My first submission went through two stages of evaluations by which time I had already signed multiple projects with top publishing houses and movie deals…in my head. I had also fleetingly strutted on the red (and green, blue, pink…you name it!) | July 2013 | 39

carpet, smiling and waving passionately at my admiring fans. Again, all imaginary. You can tell why I enjoy writing (!) Then came the brutal rejection. The blow was harder than the one I’d experienced in Class 8. I took a break from my frenzy submission routine. It took a while to pick myself up and get the process in gear again. To begin with, it was a challenge in itself to find an Indian publisher when you are not based in India. Residing away from India and writing and marketing to an Indian target audience has its own disadvantages. Besides, I work full time and have my personal family commitments. Eventually, just as I was almost forgetting the existence of my cherished manuscript, I received a promising email. Again, I was filled with hope and optimism. From there-

on, things started moving quite quickly. Phase two included editing, designing the cover, etc. It was most fun but felt strangely surreal. The first copies of the book were delivered to my address in India. It was months when I finally held the copy in my hands. Again, an out-ofbody experience, as you would imagine. However, all these precious moments pale in comparison when you read positive feedbackabout your work in print. I have relished each of my milestones whilst penning and publishingUntruly Yours. There is an element of darkness in Untruly Yours and I must admit it was tricky maintaining humour. I may not be a literary genius but I have enjoyed making my readers smile through my writing.As a writer, the true rewards are when you see your hard work being appreciated. It’s hugely encouraging!

Renowned for making things up as she goes along, Smita Shetty stumbled into the literary world quite by accident. The release of her debut novel ‘Untruly Yours’, has found her contemplating taking up writing, full time.

Tell us something about your exciting career ?

As a career, nature photography is never a good option. It is very challenging financially. After finishing college, I hated the idea of trading my outdoor life for an indoor job and choose instead to take up Wildlife Photography as a full time occupation. I was determined to try it out as a career. That was more than a decade back, when there was hardly anybody pursuing this as a profession, let alone finding anybody to provide guidance in India. So I learned the hard way, taught myself the ABCs and was a trendsetter way back in 2002. Good old books, the internet and my steadfast belief helped me realize my dreams. Born and brought up in a lower middle class family, and being the only son, earning money was very important. But my parents were exceptional; they encouraged me in all manners possible manner. They became my support system, both mentally and financially. I struggled a lot in the initial years; the income expenditure ratio was to the order of 1:100. Then came the digital era and it became a compulsion to go digital to stay relevant. Equipment were exorbitantly priced and I had no option but to sell a part of my house to afford my equipment. “I’ll do it someday or the other and that mere financial difficulty will not deter me” became my Mantra. Slogging more than 250 days a year relentlessly for the last 11 years is finally bearing fruit and my

cherished dreams are coming alive. With wildlife destinations becoming even more expensive, life of a full time Nature and wildlife Photographer is not a bed of roses! But, nonetheless, I am living my life with the way I always wanted to. I trek for months for a rare bird or a brown Bear, I stay days on end freezing in minus 30 degree Centigrade to photograph the ever elusive snow leopard, paraglide with vultures to get that special angle, dive deep down to the unknown depths for that special fish. That’s all my career is all about.

Is there any Book which have inspired you to take up a career in wildlife photography ?

When I was a kid, I used to read and re-read a particular bengali book called the “Chnader Pahar” (Mountain of Moon) written by Bibhutibhshan Bandhapadhaya, a great Bengali writer. Every time I read the book, it was always a journey through wilderness and dreams. This book influenced me a lot to love nature and to be passionate about the outdoors.

Bibhutibhushan Bandhapadhaya, Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray

Do you take Book on a wildlife photographic assignment ? Only field Guides

How do plan for your storytelling in your pictures ?

I decide my place or subject and it depends on how much that subject or place has been explored before. I never ever decide a subject or place from a commercial viability or personal gain perspective. My only priority always is that it should contribute to natural history in some way or that it should be visually different enough to impact the viewer. When I decide a project first I do a home work, try to find out what is done all ready. That helps me to decide what to do. Then I collect information’s from experts, local people from the field etc. On the basis of that info I start my execution plan. I try to visualize the frame I want or the the way I want. Some time I draw the frame before. To me clicking shutter is a very small part of long job.

Any plans for penning down a What kind of books do you read ? / wildlife book ? Which books or author have left a Sure. But not now. I want to work and mark on you ? absorb and be Nature’s student for I don’t read much. While growing up I used to read adventure books and science stories. Later on, rather than a hobby, reading became a necessity. Most were knowledge based books.

Who are your favorite Indian authors ?

sometime to come. Nature is so vast that I have a lot that I want to do. Then probably someday I will share them in a book.

Which one is your favourite Wildlife Assignment till date ? I always enjoy whatever subject I am working on. So in that sense there isn’t

ing this one can not become a Nature photographer. One must need to read books on ecosystems, field guides etc. Interact with people who work in the field. Above all nature is our best teacher. So be in the field as long as possible. How do manage time between running a Saevus and your wild- So one can read the nature and can predict all the happenings in nature. life assignments ? We did Saevus to provide a platform to Remember it takes time one can not do it over night. So be prepared to give at all nature experts, photographers and the conservationists out there. We have least3 / 4 years to develop the knowlan editorial team. I am field guy and al- edge. Another thing I want to say that ways in the field. I collaborate with the don’t be involved much in equipment. team over phone and the internet. It is It just a tool and treat it like tool. Othvery difficult but we also have a fantas- erwise best equipment owner would be the best photographer in the world. tic team. Do not copy others work. It will take Any suggestions for wannabe wildyou no where. What is done we all have life photographers ? seen it . We don’t want to see them For beginners I have few suggestions. again.Try to develop your style. Its diffiFirst thing remember this is wildlife cult but keep trying. It will happen one photography. Hear the term wildlife has day. And lastly nothing is more ima major part. And then there is a phoportant than the wellbeing of nature. So tography part. For wildlife it is a must remember the ethics and help to protect to develop the knowledge on every it thing related to nature.Without knowany favorite assignment I have had. Being able to work in the field for as long as I want to, being amidst nature, executing my dream frames are the most satisfying part of the job for me. | July 2013 | 45

Debarshi Goswami A student of Photojournalism & Travel photography from Kolkata, pursuing his dream to became a professional travel photographer. Practicing photography vigorously for last 1.5 yrs. Main area of shooting are people, their differ-

ent rituals & events. Landscape & cloudscape. Nilesh Bhange I am enjoying photography from the year 2005. Over the period of time I realized that I like to shoot subjects having interesting shapes & colors more than story & content so I am working mostly on abstract photography now. Vimal VP I am a native of Kerala and am a software engineer by profession. I like to try all genre of photography. Even though I started photography 5 years back, I only have a very small collection of photographs, mainly because of my laziness. Partha Pratim Saha I am a serious amateur photographer. Special interest in human and nature. I am a member of a Kolkata based photoclub named “Photographic Association of Bengal�.

She will wait Asmita Sarkar

I await your return You left me in shambles Profoundness is lost on me now I am alive in an empty world The girl stands alone in a lifeless world The bare tree stands beside her The tattered toy hangs limp from her arms She is my daughter She has your face and spirit She was born when I was naught I whispered to her the secrets she was too young to understand She will understand when she is young enough She will await your return on the porch Standing alone With a june bug buzzing around her She will hold it in her hands and confide in her The light of the insect will go out. You will not come back. She will wait. You will not come back. She will wait.

Asmita Sarkar is a final year MA English student from Hindu College, Delhi University. She has been inflicted with the reading bug since she was a child and has been blessed with parents who encourage her to write. Exploring the contemporary sociology and the psychological make up of a being is what inspires her to write.

Strange Bedfellows Priya Arora

Some unsaid thoughts, Some undone walks few misunderstood words Some untried routes Calls him out from the past Over and over again Throughout the day. He tries to push, kick them away and occupies himself in the best possible way With jogs in the mornings With files at work With mugs of coffee And sitcoms at home. They come back, they are stronger this time Making their way to his bed Insisting to be with him. He accepts them now Coz He is too tired to fight. Without giving them an ear He turns off the lights.

A student by profession,a blogger by choice, a new book-addict, a dreamer and a dance-lover and someone who is yet to find her true calling in life and is not willing to settle down until she finds out.

Stronger they are now, They enter his peace. Taunting, hurting, cutting, Screaming at him. Exhausted him, gives up once again. And they continue, For He has accepted them now. He calls them His Strange Bed Fellows.


Bindya Kuppathil Treaded along the vast, dreary desert Trekked on the steep, craggy mountain Sailed through the illimitable, calm ocean Breathed the fresh, pure air But you seemed to be nowhere! Then I closed my eyes As I let my mind open I saw those images rush past The beauty seems to be everywhere But you seemed to be nowhere! Enchanted and enthralled by my life Success being declared as my synonym They question me on the path to reach you But you are still elusive and evading away Am in pursuit of you, one who is close, yet far away!

I try and enjoy everything in life and good company just makes it easier. Poetry, for me, is comfort. As for my profession, I am basically a dreamer. In my spare time, I visit Alcatel-Lucent 5 times a week, 9 hours a day.

The music of the rain Neha Gupta

The warm red of the dusk seeps through me As I soak in the rays through the dark clouds The darkness slowly descends and the first drops of the blue rain fall They soak me in eternity of hope they embrace me, and envelope me with the warmth of existence without any conditions, any judgments they make me a part of them As my salty tears get mixed with them I loose myself in the music of falling rain The time loses all meaning and I stand with my hands outstretched moving with the unknown rhythm It doesn’t ask any questions, It doesn’t give answers It just soothes me, makes me forget the road ahead is blurry, unknown and I don’t want to see what’s ahead I just walk slowly, splashing the muddy puddles laughing with the tired green leaves It washes away my footsteps and walks with me, helping me make my own small paths in the darkness..

I am a Marketer by profession. I love writing, reading, watching movies and travelling especially to historic places! Exploring new places and listening to local stories is something I always look forward to



thing blacked out. I had nobody except was pregnant. a few new friends and the kind ladyMy world stopped. I had just started my boss. I couldn’t decide anything that building a new life and I was mentally time; I didn’t share the news with anydisoriented. The first thought protrude one. I was a widow to all. My husband in my mind was to call Nakul. It was the died six months before. How come I best moment of my life, of our lives. I was pregnant? I had no answer to this wanted to call him but again those neg- question. Days were passing. The downative thoughts haunted me. fall of my physical and mental health What if he calls my parturiency a result was visible to everyone. My boss used of infidelity? We were not planned to to ask me sometimes and suggested me have children, is this the reason I left to have a maid at home as I used to live home? Am I going back to him because alone. I liked the idea but my financial the other man refused to accept me? conditions didn’t allow me. How will I prove my loyalty? One of my colleagues lived alone and The second sinful thought was aborshe offered me her place on share-rent tion. I was in no condition to bear a basis. I agreed. In a few days Rekha child, to bring him up. Eventually after came very close to me and we shared gathering much courage, I called up heart to heart. We trusted each other Nakul. My heart skipped with his first and she disclosed her sexuality to me. voice and I kept quite to check his enShe was a lesbian. I was shocked at her vironment. “Blessed is he who expects secret but I accepted her because she nothing, for he shall never be disapwas more of a younger sister to me and pointed.” And once again my expecta- I told her my story. tions failed... Listening to my story Rekha burst into Nakul was surrounded by uncontroltears, she hugged me and started abuslable mirth of women. He was cheerful ing Nakul. Being lesbian by nature, she and unaffected. I didn’t know he was hated men. After pondering upon all with the ladies of his family or someone aspects and deep digging my mind, else. I disconnected the call and every- body and soul, I decided to be a

mother. I accepted the fact that I love Nakul and cannot abort the only link between us. I still had a hope that one day Nakul would realize and come to me. And above all, I could not spend my life alone. I had no feelings left. I could never think to be in any other relationship. Rekha supported me and promised to take care of me. That girl did take care of me. A few more weeks passed. My life became much easier with Rekha. We laughed and spent some good moments together. Rekha hired a maid as well. Mamta was newly married and stayed next to our colony. Her husband – Bittu ,was an auto rikshaw driver. The couple used to call us Didi. Bittu was our fixed autowala. I used to stalk Nakul’s facebook profile from Rekha’s. I asked her to become Nakul’s friend and exchange numbers. She started calling her Dada (elder brother) and dug his feelings for me. Nakul was a tough man; he never liked to share his personal life with anyone. He had all the traits of a strong and responsible man and this is the reason I loved him. Rekha and I were waiting for my baby bump as I started gaining weight. One night I had to work late night in the office. Rekha left for home because the very next morning she had to leave for Jaipur Literary Festival to represent the company. I had many works to accomplish being the student counsellor. I was assisting Mr. Sudip- Owner of the company and Mrs. Rituparna’s son. It was midnight and nobody else except two of us were in the office. Something unexpected hap

pened that night again which shredded the woman inside me. Sudip nabbed me into his arms and enslaved me on the floor. I was aghast by this assault and battery. I wailed in that empty office where nobody was there to listen. He started lacerating the flesh from my breast and arms. I cried in pain. I was screaming loud and trying to escape. I kicked him. I was trying to kick his balls so that I can runaway but I failed. He slapped me hard two-three times and punched on my face. I had no energy for the deadly combat. I was crying and begging him to leave me, and that made him hungrier. Probably a helpless woman, begging for mercy was his fetish. I saw a furious hungry wolf, an animal to eat my flesh. He was no human, his eyes were wide and red, I was trembling with fear and pain, scattered on the floor. I was worried about my baby, the last love of my life. That man couldn’t feel my pain, he was in pleasure, utmost pleasure. He came over me and zipped my mouth with his palm. He bit all over my shoulders and kicked my abdomen with his knees. I squealed out loud and begged “..Leave Me.. I am pregnant..” All of a sudden he stopped. He freed me. I was crying out of pain. Skipping breaths and my heart beats. I was unable to breathe. Horrified and seeking mercy, I continued to howl.. “leave me please.. I am pregnant..” Sudip left me and stared for a while. He reconditioned his clothes, took out his

wallet and threw two notes of thousand rupees at me. I felt hatred to my body. Why am I born as a woman? I had no answers to this. I was secure in within the walls of my house. I was secure in the arms of Nakul..... I don’t want to lose my love dwelling inside my womb. And he walked out from the office . I saw him walking... My eyes saw him disappearing step by step. I was just somewhat escaped from being raped. After half an hour I gathered my broken and mutilated soul, managed to walk and called Bittu. Soon he reached at office and drove me to home. I never turned back to the office; I didn’t share this incident to anyone, not even to Rekha because she was employed to the company. The very next morning Rekha took me to doctor. Doctor examined me and I told her that I escaped a sexual assault. Thankfully my baby was not injured but I was advised a complete bed rest for a few weeks. She took care of all financial formalities. I was now confined to our small house. I doubled her responsibilities and to share I planned to work from home. I had a baby bump by now. I picked one of those “work from home: typing work” options from which I could collect a few thousand. Money was a must and that’s why I picked those two thousand rupees Sudip threw on my body. I never spent those two thousand bucks, but locked it into my safe. As days passed away the feeling of going back to Nakul got stronger. I was more concerned about my baby. He could get

proper and deserved care there. I badly missed Nakul and my parents. I missed all dreams my mother had for my babies. Sometimes anonymous calls and sometimes just his voice while talking to Rekha on speaker phone was my only fuel to survive. How these months elapsed was hard to bind in words. Rekha had to visit her parents and I was nine months pregnant. Mamta used to take care of me. Backache, body ache, swelling, systole and diastole , mood swing and deadly crave to eat momos were a part of my daily life. Now Rekha had also gone we used to talk on phone but still the lack of physical presence mattered. One night I was feeling alone and crying. Probably the mood swing and emotional need of Nakul. I was lost in the memories of my college days when Nakul used to pamper me. Depressed and disheartened I almost fainted out of severe pain. I had not completed the period of nine months so I was not prepared for it. My delivery date was due after two weeks. I cried out loud. Nobody was there at my place. I started panting and sought help. I searched for my mobile phone to call Mamta but couldn’t find it anywhere. I laid on the bed to calm down. It wasn’t a time to panic. Luckily Rekha called to ask my health and I found my phone in the gap of couch. I cried out loud on the phone. That pain was killing. I wished to die. Anyhow, anybody stop this pain. I could not bear it. Rekha was not there, I needed my family. I needed Nakul. I was crying and I needed my mother...

Rekha disconnected the call and arranged Mamta with her husband’s auto rickshaw. The reached me as soon as possible but the door was locked from inside. I was in no position to go and open the door. Mamta used to have a key of our flat. She entered and held me. She was a smart young girl. I was just crying out of pain and taking her name. I asked her to save me, to stop the pain, to relieve me from this suffering. Bittu and Mamta lifted me up and dragged me to the auto. Everybody came out of my building as they heard my wailings. Some ladies supported me to get down the stairs but nobody accompanied me to the hospital. I was dying out of pain. Holding Mamta tightly I begged Bittu to reach hospital as soon as possible. What else could possibly be wrong? We stuck in traffic jam. From Neb Sarai to Batra hospital it took more than half an hour. I wailed loud in the auto and people kept peeping in the auto. I saw men and women sneaking out of their windows, scrolling the panes down but no one came forward to provide the car. Struggling and sinking we reached to the gates of hospital and I didn’t know anything after that. Apparently, I was unconscious by then. Later I knew that it was a case of baby breech and I was mother of a small, beautiful and pink baby girl. After so long time I felt real happiness and this time I had tears in my eyes, tears of joy as I found Rekha standing by my side, smiling. I was born again as a mother. For next six months I was completely dependent on Rekha and

Mamta, without them I was nothing. But now I had to take charge of my life. Meanwhile I got a job in an international call canter. Rekha’s parents forced her to get married, she had to, Homosexuality was neither legal nor accepted. She left Delhi and now It was Nikita, whom I named after Nakul, Mamta and I. Mamta took care of Nikita like her own child. Mamta and Bittu had become more of a family. Nikku was growing healthy and my life got busy in her. After joining the call centre I was introduced to an entirely new culture. No restrains, Limitless lifestyle, money in abundance and no time schedule. My salary still wasn’t sufficient. I had a family now. I couldn’t just dwell into one room. Nikita was growing and so as the necessities. I had no savings. The free lifestyle and dominating culture of call centre made me think of sinful activities to fulfil the basic necessities of life. I decided to indulge into sexual affairs for the sake of money. The day I thought of committing the sin, I cursed myself. How could I even think of it being a mother of a girl child, what would be her future? The very next moment I relinquished the decision and decided to pursue my higher studies for better opportunities. I knew , I had more struggles ahead and I was ready for them. As the time passes, you forget all bad memories. I have no grudges against anyone now. I forgave everyone. I forgave Nakul for his behaviour and now I had just beautiful memories of him. I forgave Sudip for attempting Rape on | July 2013 | 61

me. I was thankful to Rekha, who was married and happy. Mamta and Bittu were blessed with a baby boy, who was like a brother to Nikita. My indulged myself into Nikita and completed my B.Ed and Masters in History from IGNOU. I have crossed the age limit so not eligible for civil services but I will pursue my M.Phil and PhD. I left the call centre and joined a renowned publishing house as an assistant editor. I have no regrets for the impulsive decision I made. I have no whereabouts of Nakul. Once I talked to my mother and took a promise not to disclose it to anyone. She is happy I have survived my life and I have a daughter. She also told me that Tapas was engaged and soon would be in wedlock. I strongly believe that whatever happens; happens for good. I couldn’t be so confident and independent if that day I did not take the step. I was never

a weak soul. I submitted in love and for the sake of my family. I stood firm for the self respect. I am an independent woman, a mother and a lover. ... While rushing to the office I squawked at to finish her breakfast quickly as she was getting late to her kindergarten and I, for my office. Naughty and adorable kid she is. She loves her morning breakfast and I am blessed that she drinks milk unlike other kids.. After dropping and kissing Nikita and reached my office. I saw Nakul sitting in lobby. I skipped my beat, my senses blacked out and I kept standing. He has tummy now, and some greys, slightly wet eyes behind those spectacles and I can still notice his struggle to control his emotions, still a man he is. He walked to me and said “Tappi� and the first thing in my mind was Rekha, She proved herself to be a younger sister..

“Born and nurtured in at a scholastic family in Delhi, Himadri studied English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. Under her penname “Himmilicious” she has published several EBooks on Contemporary Erotic Romance and currently working on her debut erotic romance in print version”

I felt a whiff of breath on my neck.

I met her. I am conscious of the fact that I am unlikely to meet her again. Goosebumps had erupted over my neck She belongs to a world entirely different as blisters would sprout after contact from mine, and no matter how much it with a hot iron bar. The only differpains me, I will have to let her go. ence being that the breath which made As she robed and looked set to go, I contact with my skin was cold. It was planted a goodbye peck on her forefrozen air, frightful, as if someone just head. dipped my bare skin into a smoky lake The moment of painful parting was on a frosty winter night. upon us. Early morning rays had begun to stream in. I couldn’t stifle a sob but As her breath caressed my nape, I felt she was an embodiment of stoicism, aroused. I hadn’t experienced anything completely impassive and restrained. like it before. My heart seemed to have She walked over the threshold of my found its own pace and my mind had home and disappeared. I looked back transitorily dumped my body. I let her fondly and trudged over to my coffin. kiss me. She pressed her lips deep into This was the first time I had made love my ears and explored my mouth. I to a human. wanted it to go on and on. But I knew I had to do something to make this stop. This was against the law of the nature. A ghost and a human aren’t supposed to get physical. Yet, oblivious to this seemingly frivolous law, we clung on to each other, our body wrapped onto each other, we sucked pleasure as life embraced death, the living embraced the dead. The night witnessed our foreplay and the cloud covered the moon’s eye. After an eternity, we let go. Exhausted, we just lay over the tomb living the bygone hours again and again and savoring the moments. It was through a chance encounter that

Ritesh Agarwal is a freelance writer, a zealous blogger, a book reviewer and a voracious reader. He literally reveres Edgar Allan Poe, the master of gothic horror, who also happens to be his 2nd favorite author of all time. His short horror & love stories can be read on his blog.

sitting. The stranger was 6 ft tall, dishevelled hair, light stubble, very prominent jaw and he was dressed very casually in worn-out jeans and a dark grey shirt hanging loosely. In short, he was exactly opposite of Sidharth and was drop dead gorgeous looking. Sidharth caught hold of my hand and h shit, I’m late”, I thought to myself while driving as fast as possible pulled me beside him. “Naman, meet Anvi, my beautiful fiance’. She’s an intein the maddening traffic and pothole ridden roads of Mumbai. Sidharth was rior designer.” The guy looked at me and smiled. waiting for me. Sidharth continued “Anvi, this is As I reached Costa Coffee, I saw him Naman, he has done his masters from sitting inside. A look at him and anyLondon Art Academy. He is here to body could have guessed he really worked hard on his looks and body. My paint a charity mural in Kokilaben Ambani Hospital’s paediatric ward.” friends were jealous of me, but someNaman held out his hand and said in how he reminded me of Ken (Barbie’s a husky sexy voice, “It’s a real pleasure boyfriend) and I was no Barbie. There meeting you, I have heard a lot about was a part of me that wanted to mess his hair up and force a burger down his you.” throat. I may not be head over heels for I blushed and somehow managed to him but he was good-looking and very smile. I wondered,“How come I meet Mr. Oh-So-Right only after I am ensuccessful. “2 out of 3 ain’t that bad”, I gaged?” Sidharth continued, “I was just smiled and said to myself. telling him that Art has no takers in On looking closely, I saw him talking to someone. “He never told me he was India.” “I am not here for money; I already bringing along a friend”, I thought to myself. I looked at myself in the mirror. have enough of it. I just want to do things for my own satisfaction.” Naman I was a complete mess. I combed my said. I couldn’t help thinking,“Rich, hair, retouched my make-up and got good looking and brooding. He’s perout of the car. I straightened my dress fect mills and boon material.” and walked towards the coffee shop. When I tried to get a glimpse to know The boys went back to their conversation, I couldn’t help noticing Sidharth who he was sitting with, I could only and Naman were so alike yet so differsee that man’s back. The men were engrossed in a conversa- ent. Both good looking, well-placed but Sidharth was pompous and loud. tion but when I reached the table, the stranger got up, but Sidharth continued Naman was silent and kept a low


profile, smiling only occasionally. “I have an idea,” Sidharth said excitedly, “How about Naman helping us with our flat’s decoration? Murals would look lovely in the study and also in one of the walls of our drawing room?” He looked at me expectantly. I had to agree, even though Murals did seem like a really good idea working with Indian version of Hugh Jackson would be difficult. Sidharth’s phone rang. He immediately disconnected the call and looked at us guiltily. “It’s my cue to go. I have a very important meeting in an hour.” “Naman, how about Anvi dropping you at the hospital. She too, would be leaving for Andheri.” Sidharth said, not even once asking me if I was okay with it. Frankly I hate being bossed around. Naman looked at me and tried to politely decline the offer but Sidharth wouldn’t listen. He apologized for inconveniencing me. I smiled and muttered “it’s perfectly fine.” Sidharth would have never apologized. For him everybody was present to make his life comfortable. We were driving by Juhu beach when he said “Would you please stop the car. I want to spend some time here. Will you join me?” I knew, the last thing I want to do, is to be in this man’s company. He was bad news. “Are you coming along?’’ “Yeah” I was shocked at myself. I got out of the car and started to walk towards the beach. It wasn’t crowded, the grey clouds and high tide made the

beach look beautiful and dangerous just like the man walking beside me. “It’s so beautiful” I said looking at the beach trying very hard not to get distracted. “Yes it is, you know when I am very down I head to the beach. It has a calming effect.” Well Naman, did look a little sad. I really wanted to know what was eating him up but I decided to avoid that topic. He hardly knew me and I him. “So how did you two meet?” Naman asked “Well… umm.. I was designing his bank’s head office. It was then we met for the first time. We went out for a couple of years and last December he proposed me.” I think I said it a little too fast, I hope he doesn’t suspect that I am not in love with his friend. I looked at him, but he was facing the beach. “I am not surprised why he loves you so much. You are a very beautiful.” Naman said in his signature flat tone. We both looked at each other. His eyes were brown, the most beautiful I have seen and it seemed to be speaking a lot and it was really difficult for me to decipher. “I think I should go now, I am expecting furniture guys to come and take the measurement. I hope we can catch up later.” Not waiting for an answer, I walked off as fast as my feet would take me. The man did something weird to my senses which I couldn’t really define. **** It was Friday; I was brainstorming with the painters, when my phone rang. | July 2013 | 67

As I heard Naman’s voice, I almost dropped my phone. Thoughts of him had been haunting me day and night and I couldn’t get him out of my mind. “Sidharth wanted me to see the place and the work you have done so far. When can I come?”, Naman said in his signature flat note. Trying to sound like him I too said in a matter of fact tone, desperately trying to hide the excitement “I am cool with any time you chose. I am at the apartment now and the furniture guys are getting things in order.” “How about 4 pm? I would be done by then. How far is it from the hospital?” Naman said. “How about I come to pick you up? I could see the mural too.” Let see if he’s as good as what Sidharth boasts. I knew I was lying to myself. I really wanted to meet him. “That will be absolutely fine. So catch you then.” And the line went dead. ***** No matter how much I denied this I was dying to meet him again. I dressed with particular care, put on makeup and reached the hospital before the stipulated time. Exactly at 4 I went to the paediatric ward. He was packing his stuff. The mural was beautiful. It was made with very happy and bright colours. It had rainbows, fairy tale characters, Peter Pan, unicorns and fairies all over the wall. Every kid in the ward knew him and he knew everybody. I saw him smiling genuinely for the first time. All of a sudden the realization hit me. “Oh

sh*t, I am in love, that too with my fiance’s best friend.” Naman walked to me, looked closely and said “Is everything alright, it seems as if you’ve just seen a ghost because if you did, you are not the only one?” and he laughed. “No, I am all right. So should we go now?” I asked desperately wanting to change the subject and trying to take my mind off him. ***** On the way back it started raining, pretty heavily. I somehow managed to reach the building. I parked my car and we ran to the building’s lobby. While waiting for the lift, I saw Naman from the corner of my eye. He was drenched. His shirt was sticking to his body accentuating his chest and broad shoulders. Naman caught me ogling at him. I looked away guiltily and turned my back towards him. As we got into the lift, I could feel his warm gaze on me, but I did not dare to look at him again. I showed him all the rooms, our study, kitchen even balconies and kept talking so that there were no awkward silences. Time flew by but the heavy rainfall continued. By 6 pm it was absolutely dark, windy and rain lashed through the windows. We were about to leave when my phone buzzed. It was a message from Sidharth. The message said “Honey, won’t be able to make it. My advice, you too don’t go out. Entire Mumbai is flooded.” I repeated the message aloud to Naman. He looked at me and that cute smile flashed again. I picked up the intercom,

dialled the security to know if it was flooded even near our apartment building. The security guard confirmed my biggest fear that Naman and I would be spending the night in the same flat. “I hope you are not very hungry. I just have a packet of chips, mineral water and a bottle of wine.” “It’s okay I’ll just have wine. If that’s okay with you” he said. I couldn’t help thinking, “Is he always this good or is it just an act?” Before I could get up from the sofa, he was already up. He came back with two glasses of wine and a party pack of Lays. He was so different than all the men. Had it been Sidharth, he would have expected me to lay the table while he sat watching TV. He gave me my glass of wine and picked up the other glass for himself and sat on the sofa beside me. Our shoulders brushed, I was acutely aware of his proximity. Naman looked at me, his expressions very guarded. “So, how are things with Sidharth?” I took a big gulp of my wine and I wanted to give a politically correct answer maybe that we were a very happy couple. But instead I said, “He hardly has time for me. He is always so busy. The only thing we talk about this apartment and its decorations.” Suddenly I realized what I was saying. Damn wine. Naman moved closer. He held my chin and lifted my face and earnestly looked at me. Then he said “Then he is a stupid man, you are beautiful and very hard to ignore.”

I chose not to reply anything. I knew people thought that we were a happy, high flying couple. But it wasn’t so. Siddharth hardly had time for me. He just liked to talk about himself and his accomplishment. He treated everybody as they were born to serve him. Honestly, I never felt any crackling chemistry between us, nothing even near to what I felt for his friend Naman. Naman smiled and said “You have very beautiful eyes.” I don’t know who made the first move but we were kissing. He was everything I thought he would be. He smelled of soap and wine. His kisses were slow but demanding. One thing led to another before I realized we were on the bed making love. The bed that was supposed to be Siddharth’s and mine. I was making love to a man I hardly knew and to my fiance’s best friend. I pushed all negative thoughts out of my head and I started to enjoy the exquisite art of lovemaking. **** After a night of extensive lovemaking, I got up tired but at the same time happy. I looked around the house but Naman had already left. “Most probably he must have left for the hospital”, I thought to myself. First things first I had to break-up with Siddharth so I went to his place. He was there reading newspaper. I sat beside him and I told him the truth about what happened last night. His face went through a lot of expression changes from shock to anger and finally sadness. He did everything that I expected him | July 2013 | 69

to do - from throwing things to calling me and Naman names to sobbing. I felt sorry for him but there was no use pretending to be happy and moreover I have finally found love. The man I truly loved. I gave his engagement ring back and as well as keys to the flat. As I walked out of his apartment, I felt an exhilarating sense of freedom wash over me. I proceeded towards my next destination; the hospital. I reached and ran up to the paediatric ward but Naman was not there. One of the nurses informed me that Naman had finished his work yesterday, itself. “How come he never told me that?” I wondered. I saw a picture of the beach hanging in one of the walls. I immediately remembered what hehad told me about Juhu beach. He must be tensed because he had slept with me, his friend’s fiancé’. I rushed to Juhu beach and I saw him sitting there. I ran to him and hugged him. He smiled. “I love you and I have broken up with Siddharth. I am all yours now.” I said looking at him expectantly. But he continued smiling. Something had changed overnight. His smile no longer had that warmth, which was their last night. “What happened?” I asked. He laughed and shook his head. “What makes you think I love you?” Initially I thought I must have heard it wrong. But he got up and started dusting his pants. “You are joking, right?” I so wanted the answer to be “yes”. “No, I am not.” It seemed somebody had punched me

in my gut. I somehow managed to ask “Why me, why did you do this to me? I never did anything wrong to you ?” “Stop the “holier than thou” act, you are no better. You were already engaged how could you possibly sleep with me? You should have said “NO!” I didn’t force you. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black” he said with hatred dripping with every word he uttered. My brain stopped working, I just stared at him blankly unable to say or do anything. The only thing kept echoing in my head was, “Why me?” “Anyways, I slept with you so that I could get back at Siddharth.” He laughed. “Stupid girl, your fiancé, Siddharth slept with my girlfriend so I slept with ‘The love of his life’ and now we’re even.” With that he walked away. I kept staring at him, not blinking, with tears running down my face.

She is an avid reader and an amateur writer and poet. She pens what she observes, weird yet intriguing lives of real people with real problems. Renu lives in Mumbai and loves writing about love and relationships.

choosing between youthful freedom and maturity, his demure yet strong wife Heena; these characters stay with you for long after you have finished reading the book! In fact all the characters, the good, the bad and the evil; are sketched in detail with so much thoughtful observation that they get a life of their own! And that is one of the best things about the book! The book offers wonderful insight of the life inside an army campus. The system of ‘batmans’, the underlying patriotism of every army officer, the repression beneath the smooth veneer of crisp uniacob Hills, the second book by Ishmitha Tandon Dhankher, is not only forms and perfect etiquette of graceful wives comes alive in her candid writing! a novel with a murder mystery at its core but also a fine account of interplay Though the poignant tale of the murder of a battered woman, who is seen by of multiple colorful characters, set in an army station named Jacob Hills, in a none when she was alive and missed by none when she is dead forms one of the small picturesque hill station! Set in 1980s, the story unfolds as a nar- main plots of the book, but it is surely not all the author wants to talk about! ration by different prime characters The plot wonderfully runs parallel with of the book, with each chapter of the the other subplots of an abused young book being told by one of them! The girl who does not realize that she is characters come alive in each chapter being violated or the subtle love story as the writer tries to get in to the skin of Eva and George! And all of it comes of the characters, delving in the nooks together in the end beautifully! It’s a and corners of their minds and often feat in itself to weave such an intricate the dark corners at that! Characters design with so many characters effortlike Eva, the young and beautiful wife lessly without becoming incoherent in of an army officer, her “poet at heart” husband George, the fighter in a village any place! belle- Saaryu, the dashing captain Rana It’s worth mentioning that though the book is set in the background of life who is caught at the cross roads of life


in an army campus, it isn’t about any specific organization but rather about people and their choices! And human mind, the challenges they perceive, the pleasures they seek, the goodness and the evil in them goes much beyond the confines any organization can impose! And neither do they evolve too much over time! Thus, anyone can identify with the characters of the book, even though the background may be set in a time 20 years back! Fast paced, yet slow enough for detailed and sensitive portrayal of the characters; this book is a great read for anyone who finds delight in the greatest mystery of all times- the human mind! In some places, some of the male protagonists like Col George or Col Sampat,

seem to bear a heavy reflection of the author’s sensitive feminine mind, which perhaps can be debated whether men, esp. those in uniform and in touch with brutality more than the common men, are really capable of so much of soft and sensitive thought process! However even if a shade unreal, it’s a treat to read and believe in! The illustrations in the title of each chapter, though adds an interesting touch, might be considered a little juvenile by some! In a nutshell, as a reader, this book was quite unputdownable and an enjoyable read! The writing is crisp and the tale gritty. I would surely recommend it to anyone interested in a pacey, off beat thriller!

Arunima is by Profession a doctor, working with pharmacovigilance with a research organization. She is an avid reader of all genre of literature. She has started penning down thoughts of her mind. | July 2013 | 73

aspires to be a doctor. She is a smart lady determined to achieve her goals, as is clear from her choice of surgery as the specialization, a field that is considered unfit for women. But at times, she also succumbs to pressure: she goes for an arranged marriage, knowing that the boy is not suitable for her. She resigns from her post as doctor when she is blamed for the death of an old patient. Abhimanyu, the skilled neurosurgeon, is a strong character. He is always there to guide Uma whenever she is confused or when her life hits rough weather. hen I got copy of this book, I was He is fun-loving and enjoys good time not really thrilled. I unfurled its pagbonding with his male friends. Persones- lo and behold- it was entirely in the ally, he has been through many failed form of letters! So, I kept it aside with relationships. As he falls prey to some the intention of coming to it later. And dreaded disease, he loses meaning of on weekend, I opened it once again, aslife and is forced to lead a secluded life. suming it would be worth a read. In one How the Characters Bond with Each go, I was through it. Other? What is it all about? The two characters are big loners in The book comprises of letters written their own way. Though they live within by Abhimanyu, a neurosurgeon practhe humdrum of two busy cities, they ticing in England and Uma, a medical can’t share their feelings with anyone student, addressing to each other. They else; so they confide only in each other. share over 125 letters over a time span Sitting miles apart, they discuss almost of 10 years, between 1990 and 1999. everything that their life is connectAnd in them, they share every aspect of ed to. She tells him about her family, their lives: be it professional or personBengali traditions, her experiences as a al. How the two know each other is not student of medicine, and her hardships clearly stated in the book. as a married woman. At times, when About Characters she finds it too difficult to carry on with Uma, aged 18 or 19, is a smart girl who his life, she finds solace in


Abhimanyu’s letters. He tells her about his life as neurosurgeon in London. Both of them discuss their love lives and sexual relations too. How does the Story Progress? The initial letters have the usual chitchat about what’s going around in their lives. Every letter from Abhi is answered by Uma, but not necessarily. Every letter carries a date on top, so the readers can know about the gap between consecutive ones. Uma gets married one day and Abhi is not surprised. In the latter letters, she shares her marital problems and he, his new job and his travel experiences. The story culminates in 1999 when the two are facing grave problems in their lives. The author, Madhumita Mukherjee, being born & brought up in a Bengali family

and having practiced medicine in London, has based her story largely upon these two places. And from her writing, it is clear that she knows nuances of these two contrasting cultures. What Does the Book Convey? The story reaffirms the fact that relationships are fragile; unless they are nurtured with love, they are bound to fall apart. The decisions taken in haste can ruin everything. It tells that world does not take easy on women who chose unconventional path for them. And it also shows that relations can flourish in spite of the long distances between people. How it Ends: The book ends on a positive note. You need to read it to know how it ends.

Anuradha reviews classics, romantic comedies, mystery and thriller, in short books of all genres. She latches on to books which has tinge of romance. | July 2013 | 75

ment lively with their leg-pulling and easy banter. The book essentially deals with how Ira negotiates her life through tight deadlines, demanding boss, office politics, rumour mills, idiosyncrasies of clients and an insecure ex while also finding romance amid the craziness. The book provides a lot of insights into the workings of an advertising agency. My first job was at FCB Ulka, so I am a complete Cover Page person. I instantly connected with whatever the have to like the cover page to give book author had to say. In fact, it was quite nostalgic. I was in Client Servicing*, by a chance, otherwise no matter how good the content, I don’t venture in. It is the way. just the way I am. There were quite a lot of footnotes. It I saw this book around, and decided to aimed at providing clarity to someone check out a few reviews before reading who isn’t familiar with the advertising jargons, and does so with wit and it. It looked interesting and now I am humor. I really enjoyed the footnotes. glad I read it. They are in fact the funniest aspect of the book. At 216 pages, it is quite a fast read. I


finished it in a couple of hours in my limited reading time.

The story is about Ira Bhat, a no-nonsense, passionate copywriter in one of the best advertising agencies in the country, J. McCarthy. The book revolves around her busy work-life and therefore, almost the lack of a social or personal life. Her friends at work, Aditi and Sameer, keep the environ-

The thing is it is not a masterpiece. You would not miss a thing if you do not read it, but if you do, you will have fun, and you would know much about the workings of an ad agency in the process. Sample few lines from the book: *Postmen, peacemakers, punching bags – client servicing executives are seen as all this and more. Part of their job

is to brief the creative team about what the client wants and present to the client what the creative team will design to deliver. In their dedication to this cause, they often face loss of face, limb and self-respect, at the hands of demanding clients and uncooperative creative teams. It is a thankless job

that requires a special skill set – a high threshold of pain, a high tolerance for personal humiliation, but contrary to industry perception, not necessarily, not necessarily a low IQ score.

“Reema Sahay is a Stay-At-Home-Mom, Freelance Writer, Voracious Reader, Passionate Blogger, Social Media Enthusiast, Internet Junkie and Ex-Marketing Communication Professional. She buys way too many books than she can possibly ever read. | July 2013 | 77

perspective. The conceptualization is matchless and execution of this novel is absolutely brilliant. Mrityunjaya is a very special and unique novel written by a scholar for a hero.

Sapna Agarwal Social consultant, Ajmer Sumukh Naik Software Engineer, Puna

Mrityunjaya: By Shivaji Sawant One of the most enigmatic characters of Mahabharat, after Krishna & Bheeshma is Karna - child of the life giver Sun. But his entire life was eclipsed by events which were not of his doing. Through his epic novel ‘Mrityunjaya’, Mr.Shivaji Sawant has with a sense of purpose dyed the life events of Karan in various spectrums of human emotions. The events have been highlighted in a genius manner through the eyes of Karna , his mother Kunti, friend Duryodhan, wife Vrishali, brother Shon and Krishna himself. Mrityunjaya makes you rethink on the happenings of Mahabharat in an altogether fresh and different

Vikram Seth Vikram Seth is one of my favorite Indian authors. And no, I haven’t read “A Suitable Boy” yet. With those two crucial things off the plate, I would like to speak about one of Seth’s lesser known books “From Heaven’s Lake”. When I say lesser known what I really mean is ‘lesser known’ to people like me. Connoisseurs of popular fiction and thrillers, not particularly into ‘serious reading’ (read biographies/ political comments/ historical essays etc.). From Heaven’s lake, is an account of a journey Seth undertook from China to India in 1982, much before China became ‘popular’ in rest of the worlds imagination. What’s remarkable about the account is that Seth took the unbeaten and arduous land route to reach India. En route he crosses over the high West China mountain terrain and the

enchanting Tibet. His account is beautifully peppered with his rich insights into Chinese and Tibetan way of life, the enlightened comparisons he draws between Chinese and Indian administrative systems (remember China was even more of a mystery in those days, with very few foreign travelers). But for light readers like me the book was made un-put-down-able because of the powerful sketches he created of the people he met on the way and his knack of putting the most serious economic and political observations in the simplest of ways. I would recommend “From Heaven’s lake” to anyone, who is wanting to make a leap from reading plain fiction to something more ‘meaningful’.

Padma Krishnan Management Consultant, Puna

God of Small Things: By Arundhati Roy I feel, books are like people, they keep crossing your path till you pay attention, listen and understand what they got to say. I read, God of Small Things, when it was hot off the shelf all those years ago. An excited friend lent it to me and she

asked me, how was it when I returned it after two days. I said “You know what? I would rather read, Chekov or Anita Desai. Seems like she is trying to be too clever.” I read it again after ten years, on a rainy day while I was living in Kerala. The book cam alive, then. Suddenly, I was stuck by the beauty and simplicity of the story. When I saw the green river, I saw Sophie drowning and the kids on their disastaorous boat ride. I could smell Velutha when the protestors held traffic waving red flags on the streets of Trivandrum. And somewhere near the bus- stand was a theatre, where Rahel got abused. “What a genius!” It is Roy’s ability to paint a picture with words and grab your interest to see what happens to the characters that are so real that hooked me to her writings, second time. You turn page after page impatiently, even when you know, that horrid things are going to happen to these characters, because of seemingly small things, you still turn the pages in perverse anticipation to see how badly it all ends, but enjoying all the while because of the beauty of the words. Last year, when my nephew emerged from gaming because of power cut and was looking for something to read, I gave him God of Small Things and said,” You absolutely must read this. It is simply brilliant”. And it was a rainy day. | July 2013 | 79

Nidhi Mathur Student, Boston

Nalin Rai Development Professional, Mumbai

GameWorld Trilogy: By Samit Basu

Amish Tripathi:

The lives of heroes, the people who are halfway between the status of gods and humans, the ones who are revered by the common man, are often a subject of interest in novels. People usually look up to these heroes in literature and attempt to emulate them. In the GameWorld trilogy, Samit Basu challenges the traditional hero trope and constantly surprises the reader. I often find myself rereading these books because they have just so much to offerfantastical characters, apocalyptic scenarios and references and spoofs of popular culture right from The Lord of the Rings to the Ramayana to Moby Dick. The writing is engaging, the characters become your best friends and the phenomenal plot amazes you every step of the incredible journeys in this series.

Till the advent of Amish, Lord Shiva was a god who still was not a part of the discourse of the elite and the intelligentsia. Lord Shiva was more a god of the laity but Amish deconstructed him and presented him as an affable god, a god who had his own failings, he was not an idealist, but a god who did not think twice about practicing his vices as well. By making Lord Shiva fallible, Amish was able to increase the horizon of popularity of Lord Shiva by leaps and bounds. Amish has also underlined the fact that the profusely abundant archival material that is available as historical record through various religious chronicles, is indeed a treasure house of material to sieve and search into and give it a modern and humanistic interpretation. By removing all halo of rituals associated with his identity, Amish has indeed paved the way for other writers to take a shot at deconstructing other gods and goddesses as well.

Storizen Magazine - July Issue  

Indian Literature Magazine. Featuring Ravi Subramanian Ismita Tandon Preeti Singh Rahul Biswas Smita Shetty Renu Sethi Ritesh Agarwal Himadr...

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