Friday, 24 October 2014

Book Review: God Is A Gamer by Ravi Subramanian

(Image Source: Google)
Book Name: God Is A Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Pages: 310
Price: Rs 299/-

Boldly embellished in gold above dark clouds hovering over Washington’s Capitol building, Ravi Subramanian proclaims aloud God is a Gamer. To further the amp quotient, the author casually underplays the drama around an age old question- ‘Is revenge a crime?’ I say underplay for it is only towards the end that he unveils his grand scheme, a scheme that is all about vengeance subtly pushed to the corner amidst the grander scheme of suspense and story-telling. Does Subramanian’s God is a Gamer live up-to your expectations? Does the book capture your interest and keep you hooked to its pages? Let’s find out.

The Plot
The story begins in the power houses of New York where we witness a certain drama unfolding as powerful businessmen and an even more powerful Senator indulge in games of manipulation. Their ambitions yet unclear, the prologue is an unfurling of the play to follow- a play that revolves around the vision of a certain unknown Satoshi Nakamato and his dream of a virtual currency in an anonymous world. When Senator Gillian Tan is killed in a car explosion at the Washington DC and one of India’s leading banks falls prey to a phishing scam, the two seemingly disconnected events seem to bear no relevance to each other. Special Agent Adrian Scott of the FBI is called in to investigate the murder of the Senator and meets a series of dead ends. As the NYIB is dealt another blow in the form of an ATM heist, the FBI finally makes a breakthrough and Adrian Scott realises that the corridors of power are much more complicated than they seem.  When Nikki Tan, wife to Gillian Tan, is attacked in her own house, Adrian Scott uncovers a certain ring with a ‘Bitcoin’ private key etched on the surface.

 In India Malvika Sehgal, the head of NYIB, commits suicide and Aditya Rao’s company eTIOS is thrown into chaos after the ATM heist. Tanya, Malvika’s daughter, is convinced that her mother has been murdered.  As Aditya’s long lost son Varun takes the reins of his father’s gaming company IndiScape, the suicide of Malvika Sehgal gets murkier and the CBI is called in to investigate the case. As the book questions-‘What happens when you cross Gamer, Banker, Politician  and Terrorist with virtual money?’ Read the book to find out.

Is it worth your time?
To be honest I haven’t read Subramanian’s previous works and after reading God is a Gamer, I definitely plan to get my hands on those. His fictional works include If God Was a Banker, Devil in Pinstripes, The Incredible Banker, The Bankster and Bankerupt. Non-fiction includes I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari. God is a Gamer was an outstanding thriller with just about the right amount of suspense, complicity and spice to keep you hooked to its pages. I can even say it is one of the few good books on the Indian market as of now with absolutely predictable and clichéd stories flooding the shelves. In India, it doesn't take much to hit the best-seller list and quality books are hard to find. The characters in the book are interesting and twisted, the plot is fast and unpredictable and the writer’s presentation perfect. God is a Gamer is impressive and grand, with just about the perfect dose of suspense and zing. And somehow, you can’t keep the pages turning fast enough.

(Image Source: Google

Thumbs Down
At times, the use of certain financial terms and the disconnected weaving in and out of the plot might baffle the reader but the book as a whole delivers on its promise.

If you love thriller, you should definitely get your hands on it. After a series of insufferable books by Indian writers that make you want to bang your head against the wall, here is something finally good enough that deserves its place on the best-seller list.

Rating: 4/5

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Away from Home (#GharwaliDiwali)

It was our first Diwali away from home. The city had outdone itself as fairy lights hung from canopies above streets, colourful lanterns shone bright against the night skies and women in gorgeous hues blew conchs as others went around lighting candles and bursting crackers. We sisters watched stunned as colourful fireworks burst against the night sky and then faded away only to be outshone by brighter fireworks. Yet it wasn't home.

 (The lonely balcony )

‘Beautiful, isn't it?’ my elder sister asked.

‘Ofcourse, but candles? Diyas are so much better. Remember how Papa would go shopping on Diwali eve and buy hundreds of diyas?’ I replied.

‘And then on the day of Diwali we would sit around all day shaping cotton threads and pouring oil into the diyas. You know I hated going into the backyard alone. But Mom would always assign me the task of decorating the backyard. It was creepy.’

‘Mom must be doing it all alone this year’, I said quietly.

(Lanterns on the streets)

We both fell silent. A thin spark of light shot up into the sky and burst into golden shimmer. Suddenly I started missing home terribly - the excitement and anticipation, the impatience, the coming together of the whole family to celebrate Diwali and most importantly the traditions. We would sit beside Ma as she offered prayers to Mother Lakhsmi and pay our tributes to the Goddess by lighting the first cracker in front of the deity.

The shrill sound of my sister’s ring tone filled my ears. ‘It’s Vishal! Let’s put him on speaker,’ said my sister excitedly.

‘Ahoy idiots! Have you burst any crackers yet?’ came my brother’s voice over the phone.

‘Nah... Don’t feel like,’ we chimed at the same time.

‘Great. Just hold on. Ma is just about to finish the puja. Get your crackers ready. I’m getting mine as well.’

First Diwali away from home)

All of a sudden, the distance no longer mattered. For one precious moment, we felt like we were together, standing in front of the deity with our crackers, all excited like four year-olds as we waited for Ma to finish the puja. And no sooner my brother screamed “Happy Diwali” over the phone, our crackers burst forth into sparks and we grinned like fools, elated as the sparks consumed the stick and fizzled away.

‘That was precious Vishal, wasn't it?’ I asked.

‘It always is sweetheart, it always is,' came Ma’s voice over the phone.

And as the city shimmered with joy, we looked back at the sky, our hearts a little lighter, our smiles a little brighter for we had found home for a few prized minutes. We brought out the candles and fairy lights, decorating the lonely balcony and calling out to neighbours as they hung lanterns, the balcony coming alive beneath our hands as the fairy lights happily twinkled and the colourful candles cheerfully dazzled, heralding the onset of Diwali.

 Celebrating #GharwaliDiwali with

Watch the PepsiCo #GharWaliDiwali film

(Photo Credits: Tarunima Dutta and Myself)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Book Review: Sceadu by Prashant Pinge

Book Name: Sceadu
Author: Prashant Pinge
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
Publisher: Prashant Pinge

If I were to pick up a book on children’s fantasy from the store, Prashant Pinge’s Sceadu would not even figure on my list. The reason behind this being Sceadu (pronounced as Shay-du) sports an absolutely hideous cover that is instantaneously revolting and misleading. A gruesome scull-like mask with a scary smile adorning its golden face protruding against the black backdrop does not make for an attractive cover. But do not let the cover mislead you into thinking that Sceadu is not your money’s worth. For here is a story that is fascinating and well executed and deserves applause for creating a world beyond the realm of reality that is both credible and fantastic.

The Plot 
Nine year old Matilda finds herself haunted by nightmares of shadows when she ends up with a century old book Sceadu from a sale at the local library. As her nightmares grow worse, Matilda is increasingly tempted to reveal the contents of the book. But Sceadu houses a world of secrets that is so implausible that Matilda has only one way to ascertain. As nine year old Matilda disappears suddenly under mysterious circumstances, her brother Robert and cousins Patrick and Steven set out on a quest to find Matilda. The four end up in Sceadu, a land hidden in the human shadow, wherein begins an adventure where Matilda, Robert, Patrick and Steven fight their own inner demons whilst wrestling the vicious creatures of Sceadu. As magical Imps, Faeries, Ghouls and Goblins hunt down the four Children of Leod and ancient prophecies are revealed, the children realise that bigger issues are at stake and the world as they had known might perish until the children stop the evil King Resolutus. Will the children succeed in thwarting the plans of the evil Resolutus or will they succumb and risk the existence of mankind?

A preview of the Characters
Matilda reminded me of Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. Brave and inquisitive, Matilda doubts her own worth and suffers from a lack of confidence in her own abilities. Robert, Matilda’s brother, is a bully who engages in constant displays of might is right whilst Steven refuses to open his mind to phenomenon beyond the borders of logic and science.  Steven’s brother Patrick, the oldest amongst the cousins is impatient and authorative and lying beyond these negativities are virtues that the children need to find for themselves. The magical creatures in the world of Sceadu are manifestations of the darker sides of human nature- anger, sloth, greed, power, etc. But beyond all the struggle for power, lies hope and the Eorls manifest themselves as the positivity that often lies concealed in the shadow.

Can the book be enjoyed by the old and young alike?
Though the book predominantly targets the young, Sceadu does deliver instances of deep thought that the old may equally enjoy. It’s a book that a mother might enjoy narrating to her children for there are lessons to be learnt and courage to be found, and yet wisdom to be drawn from the struggles of the four cousins. Pinge wonderfully crafts a story that deals with the thin demarcations between the real and the fabled and delves into deep psychology to create Sceadu. Tinged with adequate fables of Greek mythology combined with myths of his own, Sceadu holds enough to interest the old with thoughts of a certain psychological kind dealing with the darker sides of human nature. I would definitely enjoy retelling this story to my young niece and help her draw wisdom from the same for nothing thrills the young more than magic and fairy-tales.

Sceadu is a book that children will immensely enjoy for it is a tale of adventures and grief, of struggles and hope and ordinary heroes who emerge victorious firmly rooting in our minds that no matter what, in the end, good shall triumph over evil.

Rating: 3/5

(I received a copy of the book from the author for reviewing. All views are my own.)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Book Review: Seduced by Murder by Saurbh Katyal

Book Name:Seduced by Murder
Author: Saurbh Katyal
Publisher: Bluejay Books Pvt. Ltd.
Pages: 268
Price: Rs. 195/-

(Image Courtesy:Google)

Saurbh Katyal’s Seduced by Murder felt like an amateur’s attempt at writing a thriller that is both disappointing and lackluster Never judge a book by its cover? Well this definitely doesn't hold true in this case. With a poor plot (and an even poorer book cover), trust me when I say I would never have bought this book had I gone to the store. The characters are clichéd and Inspector Babu is downright silly. Vishal Bajaj is a private detective, who definitely isn't your average pot-bellied, bald investigator but doesn't deviate much from the hard drinking, troubled pollster with a murky past. With nothing remarkable about the protagonist to keep you hooked to his exploits, you look atleast for a story-line that might keep you riveted to the tediously boring two hundred and sixty eight pages. But the book disappoints on both fronts and you look for reasons to not finish the book midway.

The story begins at the Hunt Detective Agency when Vishal Bajaj receives a call from his old flame Aditi. Her husband’s elder brother Anil is found murdered in his hammock at the farmhouse and Vishal Bajaj is called in to investigate the case. Therein begins a mystery that is both dull and uninteresting. As Vishal delves deep into family secrets, deceit and lies he discovers truths that threaten to rip apart the family and scandals, that when exposed, could take the media by storm. To top it all, Vishal desperately fights his desire for Aditi, a selfish, promiscuous character who finds it difficult to make up her mind and thrives beneath limelight and attention. 

However, Paras Kapoor and his sons up the expectation-quotient by a considerable notch and make for interesting characters to read. The Kapoors are twisted, exciting characters who guard family secrets viciously and keep you questioning their motives at every turn. The complications and turmoil within the brothers, mysterious dealings and shady secrets are only revealed towards the end of the book and a certain build up of the character of the murderer would have made for an exciting read.

Katyal succeeds in keeping the readers guessing as to the identity of the killer but disappoints throughout the story. Better plot with a better build up and yet better suspense to thrill could have made the book work. As it is, there are way too many buts and the book as a thriller falls flat on its face. I would definitely recommend no reader to waste their time reading such a book and even if you do so, do not read the book with hopes that the story might get better with the turn of the pages. 

Verdict: If you are willing to risk it!
Rating: 2/5

(I received a copy of the book from the author for reviewing. All views are my own.)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Book Review: 60 Minutes by Upendra Namburi

Book: 60 minutes
Author: Upendra Namburi
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
Pages: 361
Price: Rs.350/-

The very first thing that struck my mind on having 60 minutes delivered to my place was ’Will I really enjoy a corporate drama?’ The bold yellow cover screaming 60 minutes in your face against a backdrop of racy city lights and streets does capture your attention and if you thought that corporate dramas are not your thing, you might be in for a surprise! For Upendra Namburi leaves you in no doubt of his narration skills and keeps you hooked with the promise of 60 racy, intense minutes!

  The story begins with Maithili- a beautiful, strong headed woman- immensely successful in the ruthless, cutting-edge corporate planet, lacking the emotional security of a relationship. Suffering from immense depression Maithili dangles amidst the fine lines of life and death. Suddenly we find ourselves in the presence of the enigmatic, brash and fiercely ambitious Agastya, CMO of BCL, planning the biggest product launch of his career. In the blink of an eye, the corporation is plunged into a nightmare with its arch rival Stark out to destroy BCL's major campaign as corporate rivals Agastya and Sailesh gamble against the odds and fuel the fire for a drama that threatens to bring both corporate giants to their knees. And therein begins an extremely exhilarating exhibition of vengeance, addiction and rivalry that thrills you and keeps you guessing at every stage. Caught in this web are characters who are deceitful, ruthless and power-hungry, seeking security in the highs and lows of corporate uncertainties and politics. Maithili’s need for vengeance, Agastya’s need for rush and Sailesh’s need for retribution combine to make 60 minutes a highly fascinating read.

The plot, of course, could have been crisper and sharp and few unnecessary details could have been ignored to cut the book short by a few pages. Yet the characters operate so much along blurred, undefined lines of grey that the thrills they provide override the flaws of the book. With high profile jobs, reputations, careers and relationships at stake the reader might just sit up and get vividly engrossed, forgetting to pin-point and criticize Namburi’s writing imperfections in the process. Or the reader may tire of the immense complicacy packed within the pages and despair trying to understand the high profile policies and negotiations that make up a major portion of the plot. 60 minutes is either a winner or a loser and unlike its characters, does not operate amidst shades of grey.

So is 60 minutes worth your time? I would say you should definitely take the plunge and try your hand at something different for once. For 60 minutes might just end up surprising you. Raw, brilliant and intense, 60 minutes is a product of passion that is clearly reflected in the writing. And beyond the veil of a corporate drama lies the conflicts of characters whom you cannot help but love and despise with equal intensity. As the book claims-‘The battle for supremacy continues, who will falter, who will persist and who will come out on top?’ Who indeed...

Verdict: Definitely worth a shot!
Rating- 3/5

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

After a lot of excited anticipation and checking my phone regularly for the delivery of The Fault in Our Stars, my enthusiasm knew no bounds when the book actually got delivered to my place. To be honest, I was really looking forward to reading the book for I had read raging reviews and my expectation quotient had peaked considerably. The bright blue cover felt smooth beneath my fingers and there was something almost ethereal about the clouds enclosing the famous words of Brutus ’The Fault in Our stars’.

As I turned the pages, I was almost rendered speechless by the epigraph. Stunning and haunting in its simplicity, the epigraph dazzled my senses almost at once. And then began the story of 16 year old Hazel Grace. Afflicted with cancer at the young age of 13, Hazel Grace was a fighter battling both cancer and teenage. Increasingly annoyed at her mother’s continuous insistence that she attend Support Group meetings (and make new friends and meet new people and live her life as teenagers are supposed to), Hazel Grace gives in to her mother’s demands only after negotiating a deal that includes recording episodes of America’s Next Top Model! And we end up meeting Augustus Waters at the fated Support Group. Therein begins a romance that is refreshing and young and sweeps you away with its innocence.

What however stays with you after reading the book is not the love of the young teenagers but the thoughts that the author so brilliantly brings to life. And you almost grow to love An Imperial Affliction as much as Hazel and Augustus do (An Imperial Affliction and Peter Van Houten are figments of Greene’s imagination that are crucial to the plot of the star-crossed lovers). This is my first John Greene novel and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of his books. Tinged with humour, joy, innocence and philosophy, the book delivers on its promise. The book is honest and devastating, boldly bringing to light the stories of two people fated to die, clinging to strands of hope and tragically in love. The part where Hazel finds Augustus in his car, covered in his own vomit and pleading to do one little thing himself is shattering. And after putting down the book, you cannot help but wonder about life and how often we take it for granted.

John Greene's The Fault in Our Stars is beautiful, stunning and tragic. And most importantly it’s alive and breathing in your heart even after you have finished the book. Brilliant is all I can say...

Verdict: A must read!!
Rating: 4.3/5

Friday, 22 August 2014

Book Review: Private India

Book Name: Private India
Author- Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books

Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson’s Mumbai thriller Private India got my senses excited the moment I ripped apart the package enclosing the book and disclosed the cover. With a backdrop of the famous Gateway of India and the all glamorous Taj overlooking the city and Private India screaming out in bold orange, the book proudly claims ‘It’s the season for murder in Mumbai’. But inspite of the promising start, the book felt intensely ‘Bollywood’ and a little too exaggerated at times.

The story begins in the Marine Bay Plaza where a Thai doctor is found murdered in her room with a bright yellow scarf around her neck.  Investigation agency Private India is called in to investigate the matter and therein begins a series of gruesome murders across Mumbai. A serial killer who deems fit to leave behind props as message and a yellow scarf around the neck of his victims, all his targets unsurprisingly women. Is the deranged psychopath a loner who kills only for the thrill or is he an integral part of a bigger scenario that threatens to rip apart Mumbai in its wake?

The book grips your attention as the investigation continues, unveiling mind boggling connections to weave a thriller that explores the troubled minds of both the predator and the prey. On one hand is Santosh Wagh, the chief detective of Private India, who battles his own demons to fight for a cause that threatens his own sanity and on the other, the victims whose double lives hide hideous truths that may have unknowingly endangered their own lives and those of others. The plot goes much beyond the killer to delve into the murky underworld of Mumbai where drug trafficking, bootlegging and prostitution thrive under the powerful Munna and his ally, the spiritual master Nimboo Baba. Santosh's hot protégée Nisha Gandhe, the forensic expert Mubeen, the tech wizard Hari have their own stories to tell along with the troubled cop Rupesh. But what fascinated me most from the very beginning were the strange objects that the murderer left behind with every corpse, carefully arranged to deliver a message that is both intriguing and startling at the same time. The book unquestionably delivers on its promise, keeping you hooked to the pages, but disappoints drastically in the end.

The ending is too dramatic and as I have already mentioned before-‘intensely Bollywood’. It felt like watching those highly exaggerated action sequences of films where the hero single-handedly battles the villain and his numerous goons to emerge victorious against all odds. The writers try to cramp in too much into the plot- murder, corruption, glamour, terrorism, the Mumbai underworld, religion- in short everything that is necessary to make a successful Bollywood flick and that is where the book ends up disappointing the reader. Haven’t we already had enough of those? What we want is a writer to break tradition and portray India (here Mumbai) beyond the image it has so unconsciously harboured for itself over the years. Yes, the murderer shall definitely stay etched on my mind for a while and so will the troubled Santosh Wagh. But Private India as a thriller shall fade from my memory eventually.

With the quality of books thriving in the Indian market, Private India is absolutely a notch over them and do read it for the killer shall keep you immensely entertained. I look forward to reading other books by Patterson and Sanghi for both the writers are skilled story-tellers. But ofcourse, no co-authored works please. The handling of the plot gets eventually messy when writers collaborate on books. The characters of Private India are clichéd, the storyline sloppy but one fine murderer is all it takes to make a book work!

 Verdict- A fascinating killer who keeps your senses hooked? Worth a read right?
Rating: 3/5

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Book Review: Ramayana (The Game of Life) -Rise of the Sun Prince

Series:Ramayana-The Game Of Life
Book Name: Rise of the Sun Prince
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishers
Price: Rs.250

My interest in mythology was first stirred when one of my teachers enthralled me with mythical tales of Indian deities; he would come to teach me Hindi and entice me with wonderful tales of Lord Ganesha, Lord Rama and legendary sages so powerful that I would listen amazed and surprised. For me, laying my hands on this epic masterpiece Ramayana was the beginning of a journey that I had wished to peruse for a long time. Shubha Vilas retells this Indian epic for the modern audience who but recounts vague and myriad versions of this tale handed down through the generations as tales retold by their great grandparents, grandparents and teachers.

The story begins with the luminous Valimiki muni who seeks to understand the true qualities that make a hero. Can a hero be virtuous and at the same time powerful, grateful, determined, truthful and compassionate? Can he display exemplary conduct and benevolence, wisdom and competence, self satisfaction and courage? Can such a person be radiant in beauty and at the same time free from vices? The book begins with the quest for a hero who is all-perfect and enlightenment dawns as the all-encompassing Lord Rama. So when Lord Brahma manifests himself to entrust Valmiki with the responsibility to render the saga of Lord Rama in verse, the epic Ramayana is born.

What makes the saga truly fascinating is that it traces the lives of all its characters; their vices and penances, their tragedies and salvation. The infamous Ratnakar who finds peace chanting ‘Mara’ and becomes the spiritual master Valmiki (and yet goes on to shape the epic Indian saga Ramayana), the bereft Lava and Kusha who traverse the lands singing praises of their father Rama, the lonely Rama who listens to their ballad unaware that they are his own sons recounting his glory start off the story enchantingly and we are transported to the celebrated days of Dasaratha as Lava and Kusha narrate the Ramayana.

Book One of the six volume Ramayana-The Game of Life draws inspiration from Valmiki Ramayana’s Bala Kanda. So does Bala Kanda trace Rama’s childhood? Is he the central hero of Rise of the Sun Prince? The answer is no. The hero of this book is Vishwamitra, the imperfect sage who fights his inner battles and rises from an angry sage (bala) to a purposeful spiritualist. The imperfect teacher, whilst mentoring Rama and Lakshmana, discovers true devotion under Lord Vishnu incarnate Rama.

Dasaratha fights his own inner demons as father and king while Sita walks a thin line between love and convention as the ever-abiding dutiful wife. The footnotes in the book decode the eternal wisdom of this saga and its thought-provoking directives. The narrative is gripping and I’m unable to find flaws in the story for Ramayana is in our blood and we can read this saga again and again without exhausting the wisdom and resources that are to be gained from this epic.

So what makes Ramayana-The Game of Life so different from other tales retold time and again? For me the difference lies in the insight that the author takes time to reveal through the characters and their deeds in the story. For me the difference lies in visualising Vishwamitra as the hero under the overpowering presence of Lord Rama. And most importantly, the difference to me lies in the perception and knowledge that I have gained from the story. Till yesterday, Ramayana to me was a saga; today, it is a pot brimming with wisdom.

Do take time to read this book for what can be more fascinating than reliving your history? What can be more fascinating than the Ramayana that has enthralled us yet time and again?

Verdict: Do read it! Its worth it..

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

The cave smelled of blood and death, whilst her eyes glowed luminous with determination as she craved to bury her claws into his throat the way he had done to their child. Her beautiful child, his son, who had paid with his life so that his father, the King of the Forest, may retain his throne without the terror of succession looming over that old yet glorious mane. She bared her teeth, retribution for all her sons burning all reason away as she slashed her claws through his hide, burying them deep into his heart as he roared with pain, the unexpected assault muddling his senses.

(Image Source: Google)

 She clawed and raged and snarled until all that was left was a hideous corpse as ugly as the father who had killed his sons. She left his body there, until it faded into oblivion, insignificant and trivial against the mighty winds of Nature.

Written as part of the Five Sentence Fiction prompt.
Word Prompt: Luminous

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Monster

(Image Source: Google)

She lay there moaning with pain
A giant, ugly and worn
Whilst the forest danced in silence
And I stood baffled, forlorn

‘O sweet human, help me out
For I’m a great deal in pain
The thorn yet kills my feet
I do not do this to feign’

‘How do I know your intentions?
You may yet slay me alive
A monster, yes, that’s what you are’
My fear now fresh and rife

‘You are lost, O puny human
And I can show you the way
The forest is wild and dangerous
Now come, do as I say’

I trod like a brave warrior
For a bargain has been struck
My faith drives me to remove her thorn
And alas! Then all goes dark

O foolish! Foolish little me!
A prisoner, that’s all I’m now
As she laughs and screams and strikes
To her unholy whims I bow

‘O mistress, haven’t I pleased you enough?
I have washed, cooked and cleaned
Listened to your tales of woe at night
And kept you happy as you deemed’

But a slave has no right to plead
And still further, justify her cause
Freedom can change the weakest of hearts
So I sit and pray and pause

Until one day, she lies sad and gloomy
And lost in gloomier thoughts
And sips the wine to numb the pain
As I fill her wine-brimmed pots

Her snores soon fill the cave
And I rush out crazed and wild
Her map lying secure in my bags
Away from the monstrous child

The dark nights pass me by
As I walk for days, now lost
Her fear but keeps me going
And freedom, and it’s cost

Hungry, worn and ugly
I find at last what I seek
The salvation to my way
The opening in the creek

I jump as magic enfolds me
And light soon blinds my sight
My body is hurled through limitless holes
And I emerge into the bright

I lie in bed baffled, forlorn
My eyes open and wide
The ceiling scorns my dreams
As distant snores mock my plight.

(Image Source: Google)

Monday, 28 July 2014

I Killed My Daughter..

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

Sita lay in the hospital bed, softly caressing her flat womb and watching the evening fade into unholy darkness. Tomorrow they would reap out her fragile daughter and she would do it without flinching; she would do it to please her husband and his family for she no longer had the will to fight.

(Image Source: Google)

The disgrace, the hatred, the burden of raising a daughter would kill her from within and she would not dishonour her husband by bearing him the hated thing. That night she dreamt of little girls, their shoulders slackened, their faces bruised and their clothes bloodied as they helplessly stretched out their hands asking her to protect them from horrors unknown to her.

The next day, they killed her child but all that mattered was the smile on his lips, the approval in his eyes at her fearless deed and the lost acceptance radiating from his face as she slowly emerged from unconsciousness, still haunted by dreams of screaming little girls she couldn't save.

Written as part of the Five Sentence Fiction prompt.
Word Prompt: Fearless

Friday, 25 July 2014

Book Review: A Deliberate Sinner

Image Source:Google

Bhaavna Arora’s The Deliberate Sinner is her debut novel and I had much expectation from the book. With a cover that catches your attention instantaneously (also responsible for increasing my expectation quotient) and a prologue that seems both promising and emotional Bhaavna Arora does assure that her story clinches your attention. But the plot and the protagonist, Rihana Bajwa, unfailingly disappointed me at every turn in the book.

Rihana Bajwa, described as the so called smart, educated progressive Indian woman (to top that she is ‘ravishingly beautiful’ too), seems more prone to falling victim to her mother’s emotional drama than standing up for herself. She meets Veer on a trip to Thailand and agrees to marry him after he proves his prowess in the swimming pool doing a hundred laps at one go (yes that’s downright ridiculous). After a point she starts questioning her own decision and falls in love with her best friend Raj (the typical hero supposed to be her saviour). A steamy one night stand and a few love-struck moments later Raj develops cold feet and ditches Rihana who puts the incident behind her in hopes of a better future with Veer.

  Soon Rihana finds Veer unresponsive to her emotional and physical needs. Their tumultuous marriage further deteriorates when Rihana finds out about Veer’s affair. She again succumbs to social pressure (her independent personality hardly finds expression anywhere in the book) and agrees to give Veer a second chance. Veer (the perfect jerk from every aspect) rapes Rihana in hopes of getting her pregnant and all Rihana does is cry and whine over the phone.

Rihana Bajwa is the perfect damsel in distress who stands up for herself only towards the end of the book. Yes, Bhaavna Arora does try her hands at a bold book written to question the society as a whole and unabashedly explores the female sexuality, yet I expect more delicacy from a writer out to handle such a delicate issue. I was finding it immensely hard to sympathise with Rihana. What woman agrees to marry a man whom she had hardly known for a few months at most? Why does an independent and progressive woman like Rihana find excuses to stay in a marriage after she gets raped by her husband? And was the act she staged with her friend Avinash (Veer finds her making out with him) really necessary to break off the marriage? I mean didn’t she have reasons enough already?

Sadly, though the content is full of potential, the writer handles it messily. If you have a couple of hours to spare, you may want to read it. But read it without any expectation. Most importantly, do not expect to connect with Rihana for she is a weak protagonist, a protagonist who shall disappear from the recesses of your memory after you have finished the book. I look forward to stronger protagonists from the writer in the future.

Verdict: If you are willing to risk it!
Rating: 1.7/5

(To know more about the author Bhaavna Arora visit

 This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


(Image source: Google)

I looked at his body, so silent in death while my cries echoed round my heart. The pain, the humiliation, the fear all came back in a rush; the torment he had subjected me to night after night in the shabby attic while his wife lay asleep, blissfully unaware as my tattered body screamed silently in agony.  In the mornings I would go through the house like a ghost, his cold eyes following my frail body as I worked quietly in the kitchens, a maid by day and a whore by night.

(Image source: Google)

But I have had enough; I looked at the fresh blood staining my hands and slipped out quietly into the night. And as the rain washed away the blood and the pain, I disappeared into the dark, knowing his cold eyes would follow me no more.

Written as part of the Five Sentence Fiction prompt.
Word Prompt: Rain

Monday, 21 July 2014

All Things Black and Beautiful..

As a child when I had first discovered the joy of giving form to the various images filling my yet tender mind, my little hands would struggle to clutch the precariously placed crayons my mother softly slipped between my fingers. Back then, I would splash the white pages with colour and watch fascinated as the images in my mind took distorted, innocent forms while my mother smiled seeing the rapture on my face. As I grew up, the images became more concrete and discernible and my mind grew an unprecedented affinity for the colour black. Every art for me was incomplete without its dark hue outlining the features of the running horse, the jumping clown or the solitary woman seeking solace amidst the rain. And now, as a woman, art finds form in the black kohl outlining my eyes and the painted nails peeping out from my shoes. Like the solitary woman in the rain, my life too seeks warmth in its dark shade, in the black ink that slowly fills the screen while words flow unbidden into my mind as I trod down the memory lane.
So here follows my ultimate wish-list, dedicated to the dramatic and glorious colour black!

(The Lost Black Watch)
I was always fascinated by watches though I never owned one of my own until my cousin decided to gift me a beautiful black belted watch while I was in high school. I was 15 years old then. For me it meant the world. I would repeatedly sneak glances in the midst of classes to check the time only to find myself admiring the contrast between the watch and my pale skin. The display too was done entirely in black with a thin silver border outlining the rectangular dial. To me, it was a constant companion, adorning my wrists wherever I went. Strange how we get so emotionally attached to those first treasured trinkets, don’t we? I lost it after three months. In my heart I knew it had been stolen but I had no definite proof and couldn't muster enough courage to confront the thief. I have owned innumerable watches after that, expensive and stunning ones too, yet that one simple black watch remains close to my heart.
A black thing I want to own? A watch, beautiful and simple like the one I owned; a black watch breathtakingly alike in all its glory adorning my wrists like it did so many years ago.

(Image Source:Google)
(My Collection of Short Stories, its cover done entirely in black)
It is a writer’s ultimate dream to see her works published and so is mine. I often look at the innumerable books tucked neatly in my shelf and wonder if I’ll ever make it to the shelf. Maybe, like many others, my dream too shall die or it may rise up from the burnt ashes like a phoenix to consume me in its wonder and ultimately find its way there. And I can die a happy and fulfilled woman. So yes, I would like to own a copy of Anusree’s Collection of Short Stories, its cover done entirely in black with a solitary woman standing on a hill, knowing her solitude is just an illusion while she rejoices being on top of the world.

 (Image Source:Google)
 (Batman’s Bike!!)
Remember that look of disbelief and awe when you watched Batman do that awesome flip with his bike as The Joker smiled evilly whilst fleeing from prison? Or the excitement as Anne Hathaway raced the bike in style as you sat on the edge of your seat wondering if Gotham would really burn to ashes? To be honest I still can’t get enough of the series. Those jet black tires doing an unbelievable 360 degree rotation and challenging the laws of physics and that bike itself!! If there is one out there like that, it is definitely on my list of black things!
(Image Source:Google) 
(Robes in Black)
My childhood was magical with wizards and witches flooding my imagination and owls, toads, cats and dragons being my idea of pets. Thanks to Rowling, she gave us Potter-maniacs hope and joy and made our childhood so much more beautiful. I cheered with the Gryffindors during Quidditch, rejoiced with them at the Triwizard Tournament, cried with Harry after Sirius died, sighed exasperatedly at Ron with Hermione and lived every wonderful moment at Hogwarts. I miss my childhood, I miss Hogwarts.
So another black thing on my list? A black robe with the miniature red lion of Gryffindor sewn intricately into the right side, to give me strength at the darkest of times and help me relive those past magical moments.
(Image Source:Google)
(Black Stilettos!)
And now, it’s time to indulge the woman within. Shoes are fascinating to women and ofcourse, I’m no exception. It’s strange how that one object can stimulate our brains and start fireworks up there! They say a woman armed with the right shoes and the right attitude can rule the world (wink!). And hence my ultimate black fantasy is a pair of stilettos which topped with the right attitude might actually help me rule the world someday (grinning)!

(Image Source:Google)
This contest is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at

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