Sense Of Society

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What will people say
They say it time and again
Makes no sense to us

Makes no sense to us
Giving in to society
Who defined these rules

Who defined these rules
That divide us based on caste
Can we escape it

Can we escape it
Without the curse following
Should we fight for love

Should we fight for love
Our happiness matters too
Are people aware

Are people aware
Of the society rule book
That blinds all of us

That blinds all of us
It did not make sense to them
Society wins again

Written for Haiku Horizons: Prompt - Sense.

The Fairer Distraction

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Today's newspaper was all about the dismal performance of Virat Kohli in the test matches against England. All fingers were pointed to his so called girl friend Anushka Sharma. Then, the Indian team manager had the audacity to comment that "Only wives are allowed to be a part of the tour. Indian culture does not allow girl friends to come on a tour". Seriously? The guy actually went on to say that Anushka stayed with Virat in his room, until the third test match. I do not know what exactly he has a problem with. With her being there, or the fact that they were not married yet. If I am not wrong, we won the first test at England. And the Indian team was held on a pedestal for a record victory and the same Virat was hoisted on shoulders. So, this happened when Anushka was staying with him right? Then why all this hue and cry. I somehow cannot help but think if Anushka would be still blamed, had we won the series. Probably not.

I am not a fan of Virat at all, but still it is not his sole responsibility to get the team to win the series. Why wasn't the captain blamed? And what is wrong in having the wives and girlfriends as part of the tour? What kind of distraction are they talking about. Someone told that the cricketers get busy with their partners by shopping and sight seeing and hence miss the practice. Then, the cricketer should be blamed and not his wife or girlfriend. It is his responsibility to stay true to the game as he is the part of a sport that our country blindly worships. I have seen the media go berserk when a lover of a player comes to watch the match. Suddenly all cameras are pointed at her and she makes it to the front page of a newspaper the next day. Then when India loses the match, the same picture makes it to front again, albeit with a different headline.

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This is what Wikipedia has to say:

"Distraction is the divided attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction. Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources."

Considering a woman to be a distraction to a player of the nation is absolutely baseless. And the distinction between a wife and a girl friend is outright ridiculous. If sex is what they are pointing to, then well some people seriously need a reality check. If having sex with the partner is going to result in poor performance the next day, then sex would not have existed at all. The people who work in companies don't have to perform work every day or what? So if I am unable to complete my target for a given day, does it mean that I had sex with my partner the previous night? Outrageous. India is such an ignorant nation and it continues to surprise me everyday with some baseless allegation one after the other. Dhoni's wife has been present on the stands for almost every match her husband plays, and yet he is considered the best captain India has had so far. What if we had lost those matches, then what do you think people would have said?

I have heard a few aunties complaining that their sons are faring poorly in studies because they study in a co-ed school with girls around. I want to give these ladies a slow salute. A woman is a human being too. She has a lot of other things to do, rather than be a distraction to someone else. If boobs is all it takes for a man to be distracted from his primary source of work, then well a lot can be spoken about him. No, I am not being a feminist here. But how many times have you heard of a man being a distraction to a woman? Well, I haven't until now. Dinesh Karthik was with his fiancee (not wife) Dipika Pallikal, when she won gold at the recent Commonwealth games. Had she lost, do you think people would have made a big deal about his presence? I doubt. After all CWG is nowhere close to Cricket. Right?

In a country obsessed with cricket and Bollywood, Virat and Anushka form the perfect prey. I do not like both of them personally, but blaming them for something like this is total nonsense. India still has a long way to go in terms of accepting reality and ignoring things based on a so called society rule book. Who the hell wrote the book and where is it? No wonder people here want to ape the west. At least there people can do what they want to without the media following them all around. Remember the recent FIFA World Cup? Where all the wives and girlfriend hung to their hunky partners and cheered for them. I am sure most of the German players had their wives and girlfriends with them, yet they lifted the cup. Didn't they? Does distraction by a woman occur only in India?

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Sadly nothing has changed since the 14th Century

I fell in love with my husband when he was at the lowest point of his career. We met everyday and spoke at length. Soon, he got his dream job and our life changed only for the better. If I was a distraction to him from his goals, would he be here today? With my support and encouragement he was able to get past his tough phase and we slowly inched towards the light at the end of the tunnel. A woman can also mean strength, hope and courage. She needs to stand by her man and help him get past his daily battles. Be it a sport or plain regular work. But no, why does the Indian chauvinist man need support right? If he succeeds, it is all his hard work. If he fails, then it is because of the woman by his side. If this is not hypocrisy then what is?

Has humanity and love gone out of the window for us Indians? Or is Anushka in the news only because they want someone to blame? It is just a sport. Someone has to lose so that the other can win. Why dig into the personal lives of a player if he does not perform well? I remember Sajid Khan (I can't believe he makes an appearance on my blog), making a statement saying that his movie 'Himmatwala' failed because he took a holiday with his then girlfriend Jacqueline Fernandez. I can't believe she dated him actually, let alone go on a vacation with him. Even if she did, I am sure it is because of his own will and I'm sure he was not dragged into it. But yet, it did not take him a minute to blame her for the debacle of that movie. He was single when he made his latest 'Humshakals' right? So, how many crores did that one make?

We Indians always need someone to take the blame, even though the person is as honest as he can get. And in a chauvinist country like ours, it is always the woman to be blamed. A man is not succeeding due to lack of business sense, but blame his wife for being unlucky for him. Son fails an exam, blame his school for having girls with skirts in the class. A man misses his promotion, blame his girlfriend for being the distraction from his work. We recently celebrated out 67th Independence Day right? Women sadly have never been independent in our country. She is only known to be of use to her man. While she is doing that, she is termed as a distraction. Wow! If the news of Independence day celebrations are mixed with these media tit bits, then well, what are we celebrating?

Book Review: Happily Murdered

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Title: Happily Murdered
Author: Rasleen Syal
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Genre: Mystery/ Drama
Price: Rs. 111 on Amazon.
Pages: 246

The author, Rasleen Syal got in touch with me after checking out my reviews on Goodreads. She liked my detailed and honest review and wanted me to review her book. Very well knowing the fact that I dissect every paragraph and every word. I hadn't even heard of her before that, but when I read the gist of the book I wanted to read more. She sent me a copy of the book and I sat down to read it immediately. I finished it in a day and was strangely surprised. Not because I finished reading it in a day. The story surprised me.

Gulab Sarin, the radiant new daughter-in-law of the influential Mehta family dies mysteriously on the very next night of her wedding. The murder is an inside job, the police are certain. It could be anyone, the adulterous husband, conniving in-laws, jealous friend and the love struck ex-fiance. With an aim to save themselves and incriminate others, it is not long before these suspects turn into amateur detectives, hunting for clues and delving into hidden secrets only they can unearth. They coerce, pry and blackmail in an attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery. Will one of these nine unlikely sleuths finally unravel the mystery behind Gulab's death and avenge it? Or will the truth die as viciously as Gulab?

Gulab Sarin wants only one thing from the world. Love. But that is the only thing that she does not get. She is a child of a broken family and is unappreciated by all her cousins who call her 'Weirdo'. Humiliated and lonely, a young Gulab finds refuge in the arms of her friend Sid Mehta, the scion of the Ratnagiri royal family. She even befriends his younger brother Yuvi and his elder brother Vikram. As they grow up, Yuvi falls head over heels in love with Gulab, but Gulab has eyes only for Sid, whom she loves truly, madly and deeply. The Mehtas extended family include Vikram's wife Monica and her family the Dullas. Monica's twin siblings Sara and Ned, fall obsessively in love with Sid and Gulab respectively. Sid and Gulab break up due to Sid's adulterous ways, and Sid moves on to Sara and gets engaged to her. Gulab moves away from Ratnagiri to Mumbai to pursue her career and Ned follows her there to pursue her. Just when Gulab is about to accept Ned's proposal, Sid is back in Gulab's arms leaving behind a depressed Sara and an angered Ned.

Soon, Sid and Gulab are married much to the angst of the Mehtas and Dullas. But on the wee hours of the next day after the wedding Gulab is found dead by the maid, and Sid is found sedated. All the clues point towards Sara, and the Mehtas are hell bent upon having her convicted to save the glory of their own family. But things are not how the way it seems. Almost everyone has a motive to kill Gulab. Is it Biji, the head of the family who always wanted Sara to be Sid's bride? Or is it KD Mehta and his wife Tina, Sid's parents, who hate Gulab for offering a business partnership to Vikram? Or is it Vikram's wife, Monica, who hates Gulab for taking the place of her sister as well as being the support for her husband? Or is it Ned, who loves Gulab obsessively? Or is it Sara, who wants to be with Sid at any cost? Or is it Yuvi, Gulab's loyal friend who has always loved her without her acknowledging it? Or is it Sid, her husband who still has the hots for Sara?

The story flows brilliantly and I soon realize that the author is a huge fan of Agatha Christie whom she has thanked in the acknowledgements. I could see traits of Agatha's writing throughout the book and that is not the only reason why this book is a fantastic read. Mystery holds the book together, but the soul of the book remains an emotion. Love. Although I guessed the climax half way down the book, there is no other way I would have wanted this book to end. The search and yearning for love by Gulab, makes you pity her and your heart aches for her. If I would have written this book, I would have written it exactly the way Rasleen has. The quest for love stands out for Gulab, both in life and death. A brilliant protagonist, who stays in your heart even after you have finished the book.

Although this book is almost perfect, there are a few things that I could not digest. Gulab forgiving Sid each time he cheats on her, was too hard for me to take. The rebellious Gulab, who fights her cousins with ease, gives in completely to Sid and his antics, forgiving him time and again only to be heartbroken again and again. Also, Gulab's friendship with Sara bothered me. Even though Gulab knows that the love of her life has had an affair with Sara, and is still continuing to woo her irrespective of being engaged to her. This was disturbing. How can two women, in love with the same man, get along beautifully and to dangerous extents that is revealed in the climax? Apart from this, there is nothing that I would change. Apart from two typos in the entire book, the language is flawless and it was hard to believe that this actually was the work of an Indian author. Agatha Christie would be proud, if she read this.

Verdict: A brilliant read, woven around the most sought over emotion in the word.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A New Life

Copyright-Roger Bultot

I waited at the bus station like you had asked, right next to this parked bus for more than an hour; but you did not arrive. Your phone is switched off too, I guess you chickened out at the very last minute. I am standing here with all my belongings hastily dumped into a bag and a photograph of my family, whom I left, just to start a new life with you. Of course I cannot go back now, I do not have the guts to face them after this. My new life shall sure start, with or without you.

This five sentence fiction is written for the topic 'Waiting' at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 22nd August.

Book Review: Private India

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Title: Private India
Author: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
Genre: Mystery/ Thriller
Price: Rs. 269 on Amazon
Pages: 470

The gist of this book is what made me sign up for the review. Indian mystery novels are known to be blah, but this one seemed interesting. And within a week, the book was shipped to me. The first thing I noticed was that it was thick and had 470 pages and that it was signed by the author. I thought it would take me atleast a week to finish it, but surprisingly I was done with it in two days. Yes, the book was interesting enough to keep me occupied with it. But the story line? Hmmm, lets get straight to it.

As the name suggests the book is all about Private India, a branch of Private Worldwide, a private investigating agency founded by Jack Morgan. The Indian head for this is Santhosh Wagh, who looks and feels like a poor caricature of Dr. House and is constantly battling his alcohol addiction and his dark past. So much that he arrives at crime scenes stinking of brandy, which all of his co-workers notice but wouldn't dare to say anything. Not sure why. Santhosh's aides are the cliched hottie Nisha, the forensic expert Mubeen and the tech wizard Hari. The other main protagonist today here is Inspector Rupesh, who comes with an agenda of his own. There are some super bollywoodish characters too like a don called Munna and a Godman called Nimboo baba. Yes, Nimboo as in lemon. A charismatic public figure too forms a part of the tale. He is the Attorney General of India, called Nalin D'Souza. Whenever he popped up in the story, I was reminded of Shashi Tharoor in my head. Maybe the charisma. Or maybe the women he is associated with.

Chapter one starts off with the murder of a foreign national. Private India is asked to look into it. And before everyone knows, more bodies start dropping. Only women are being killed and most of them do not have a connection with each other. Directly. But all of them are linked to the killer in some way. Each victim is found the same way, strangled with a yellow scarf and surrounded by weird religious artifacts like eggs, dolls, a bucket of water etc. As creepy as it sounds, it is these artifacts that help in finding a connection in the killing pattern. The entire story is set in Mumbai with ample use of iconic places in the city. Private India goes out of their way hunt the killer and in the bargain end up saving the entire of Mumbai from a terror attack. Yeah, two mysteries in one!

The main story is brilliant. I did not guess who the killer is and just kept turning pages. The ending was least expected and unique in a way of its own. But the book is let down by its amateur execution. Some twists are straight out of bollywood movies and the language was equally disturbing. Sentences like "She had one of the best bodies he had ever had the pleasure of pleasuring" irritated me. The language is very layman is feels like two people talking throughout the book. The scenes in which Santhosh talks to the killer in his mind are outright hilarious. Come on, "You bastard, what are you thinking? Why are you messing with my head?" sure is silly and annoying. And this happens almost throughout the book. When the forensic expert announces that the bodies are ready for autopsy, the author using the metaphor "Like a baker announcing a fresh batch of bread from his oven". I mean, seriously?

Most of the book is a narrative, but the chapters involving the killer are in first person. It was distracting and disturbing at the same time. At times it did not feel that it all was a part of the same book. Unnecessary angles take away the essence of the main story, which is a stand out in itself. Involving Pakistan's ISI and Indian Mujahideen to form a parallel plot was not a good idea. This plot falls damp and out of place when compared to the actual serial killing. The motive for killing is justifiable and the story that follows the revelation of the killer is awesome. Totally unexpected and really unique. I haven't read of such killers in Arthur Hailey's or Thomas Harris's books. The main plot stands out in this book, but I so wish that they had used proper language and ignored the side plots.

At 460 odd pages and 116 chapters, this book is a tedious read. It needs a lot of edits and could have easily been contained under 300 pages. I don't know how this co-authoring thing works, who writes what and whose ideas are prominent. But all the end of the day, this one sure is a good book. Also, with a good scope of improvement.

Verdict: The mystery alone is worth it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Pricey Bones

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They call me pretty
I don't see what they do see
It does not matter

It does not matter
This is all that I can do
I need the money

I need the money
So this is how I should be
Thin, frail and fragile

Thin, frail and fragile
Almost lifeless I feel now
Beautiful they say

Beautiful they say
Its so hard to stay this way
I only feel bones

Written for Haiku Horizons: Prompt - Bones.

Hope Floats

Yell Sound, Shetland, 2014, by R.A.D. Stainforth

Look ahead, don't look back
We have a pretty future ahead
Whenever fear crosses your mind
Just remember what I have said

These clouds cannot dampen us
Our love shall help us sail through
Ignore the dark canopy for a while
Look beyond at the skies blue

Do not be worried by this storm
The water shall not rise above us
Hold on to my hands, my love
We shall make it without a fuss

Hope is a very good thing
Just believe in what I have to say
Our life together is not over yet
Just kneel down and slowly pray

This boat shall not give up on us
We are going to start a new life
Our journey shall not be cut short
One day, you shall surely be my wife

I have no fears within me now
My love for you keeps me strong
When I have you by my side
I know that nothing can go wrong

Breathe free now, my darling
This ordeal shall be over soon
We shall get home in a while
Before the shine of the silver moon

In life, never ever give up
There shall be many more boats
Only when you are dying to live
You shall realize that hope floats

Doubt Free

Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

Sitting at this desk I wondered for the millionth time, had I made the right decision by quitting my job as this is exactly how I had mapped out my career and life. Being a writer was my passion, my dream and is the only thing that I have wanted to be. The lure of money never seduced me, but how would I make ends meet without a regular job and steady income. But the minute I started writing, letters became words and then paragraphs, and then nothing stopped me. This contentment and happiness within me, erased all my doubts.

This five sentence fiction is written for the topic 'Maps' at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 15th August.

The First Cut

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They say the first cut
Shall always be the deepest
Oh yes, they were right

Oh yes, they were right
I can see the dark crimson
Flowing out of me

Flowing out of me
Love that I have felt for you
Erasing the pain

Erasing the pain
Taking away everything
I then close my eye

Written for Haiku Horizons: Prompt - Cut.

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

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Title: Ramayana - The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Genre: Mythology
Price: Rs 250
Pages: 252

After reading 'The Winds Of Hastinapur' by Sharath Komarraju, my interest in mythology piqued. There is something so fascinating about mythology, that keeps you glued to the book with its descriptions and depictions. Just like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana also has been re-told many times. I recently had read a condensed version of the original Ramayana but I was only too glad to read this one. Shubha Vilas's Ramayana is a series of six books, and 'Rise Of The Sun Prince' is the first book of the series. The cover of the book looks magical, with bows and arrows and brilliant hues of green, purple and blue. The cover casts a spell and soon you cannot wait to devour the book. I know the tale pretty well, but I wanted to see if this book does justice to the actual epic.

The book starts with the search of a Hero. Valmiki muni asks his guru Narada muni as to who is a hero. Can a hero be powerful and vulnerable at the same time? Can a hero be grateful and determined? Can a hero be beautiful and yet not be vain? Can a hero be everything good without a trace of the bad? This book is a quest to answer this question. When Valmiki was entrusted to write down the tale of the great hero, Ramayana was born.

Here, the hero is not Rama alone. Almost all the male protagonists are heroes who have well defined characters and hold up on their own, just like the original epic. Starting with Dasaratha and his wives and his quest for a male heir. The tale of the divine sweet is a well known one, but it is brought out beautifully in this book. Kaushalya, Keikeyi and Sumitra are shown to be beautiful and their tales arouse curiosity and tears at times. Manthara and her vicious mind makes a good chapter too. Dasaratha's sons and the meaning behind their names form a complete chapter in the book and is clearly the most interesting one. Shubha Vilas has done complete justice to Dasaratha's tale.

However, the real hero of this book remains the sage who battles demons within himself and turns from the angry sage Bala, to the spiritual Vishwamitra and his painstaking efforts to achieve the title of Brahmarishi! Vishwamitra stands out in the tale, when he takes Rama and Lakshmana under his guidance to teach them the various skills of battle and life. The narration is detailed, brilliant and life like. You can almost imagine it unfold in front of you like it did twenty years ago on the television. But this one is more modern, more colorful and honestly, makes more sense. This first book talks about the birth of Rama until his wedding to the beautiful daughter of Janaka and the confluence of the two mighty kingdoms of Ayodhya and Mithila. Ravana and his lecherous schemes do make an appearance, but is limited. I am fascinated by his character and look forward to read more of him in the coming books.

The best part of this book however remains the footnotes on almost every page that simplifies the wisdom and shows the reader a new direction. Even a person having no clue about this saga can read this book with ease. Each and every page screams out a tale on its own, which hold your interest throughout. Shubha Vilas takes times to build his characters giving ample spotlight to everyone, even if they only make a brief experience in Rama's life. Ramayana is primarily known only for the love story between Rama and Sita and her kidnapper Ravana. But the author here shows that this great saga is more than that. This book is supposed to portray a chapter of Valmiki's Ramayana called 'Bala Kanda', but it does more than that.

Vishamitra is the standout in this book, but the love story of Rama and Sita is damp. They look like they are infatuated with each other, rather than in love. The author uses ample words to describe their physical aspects but does not concentrate enough on their love. Maybe it shall be shown in the later books, but here the love story is a let down. Even though this book is written for the modern audience, there are some scenes that spell fantasy alone. I, being a practical reader who looks for logic every where, found it hard to digest a few over miraculous scenes. Some precise edition, and this book would have been near perfect.

Personally, I feel that six is way too big a number for a series. Probably Harry Potter fans would disagree, but I find it difficult to believe that a single story would hold the interest of a reader for six whole books. Probably three or max four books would have been sufficient to re-tell this tale. But going by the first book, it looks like the author plans to spend some good time on each and every character that has been a part of this epic. The first book doesn't disappoint, so hopefully the following books holds the interest of the reader. I received an autographed copy of the book for my review. The second book is called 'Shattered Dreams' and shall be out soon.

Verdict: A delightful read that teaches you one or two things about life, but only if you are interested in the genre.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Healing Wings

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I had two options in front of me and I had to make the choice now. Bleary eyed I looked at the pale white card in front of me as I held the knife that was intended to slit my wrist. I sat still for more than a minute contemplating on what to do. I knew I did not have the guts to kill myself but at that point of time I wanted to prove it to myself that I could. Maybe it was my ego, or maybe I had seen too much of my suffering.

Come on. Do it.” I yelled refusing to plunge the knife into my pale skin.

Frustrated with myself I throw the knife away and it falls on the carpet without a sound. I look at the carpet. It was a red Kashmiri carpet that I had picked up during my honeymoon. Nithin was against it as he felt that it would be too heavy to carry back to Mumbai in a train. I had argued relentlessly and he had to give in when I threatened that the only way I was returning to Mumbai was with this carpet. I smile at the old memory and bend down to pick the knife with closed eyes.

I’m leaving Maya. I love someone else. You shall get the papers tomorrow.” Nithin’s last words echoed in my head and I opened my eyes as tears rolled down. I hear a sound behind me and I turn. I see Nithin leaving with his bags and I see myself sitting by the door weeping as he leaves without a glance at me.

I close my eyes again and reopen them. I look around the empty room. I look at the pictures on the wall where we looked so happy. I can see the glint in Nithin’s eye as he holds me proudly during our first dance as man and wife. He loved me then. What had happened now? The pain made me clutch the knife tighter, but I couldn't do it. I throw the knife away and let tears take over me. I cry to my hearts content. It had been three weeks and this was my daily routine.

I wipe the tears with my crinkly veil and stand up. Tears still adorn my eyes and I’m trying to see right. I climb back into bed and search for the card that Neha had given me. I find it right next to the pillow and pull out my phone from underneath it. I think twice before dialing the number. Someone answers after three rings as I wait with bated breath.

Broken Wings. Can I help you?

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That was a month ago. 

Neha, my best friend had told me about this place when she had come to visit me a day after Nithin had left. She knew something was wrong when I did not answer the call for our daily chat. The next day, she had dropped in. She knew I needed help from the minute she saw me. But I had refused to accept it. Today, I have to thank her.

I was a wreck when I had come in here. That fateful night, some one had come in to find me propped in bed staring at the ceiling fan. Was I thinking of hanging myself I do not remember, but that is how they found me they say. This was not like an anonymous group that met every week for a session. It was an institution that took in people in need of emotional support and took care of them until they were ready to stand independent and face the world by themselves. Much like rehabilitation you could say.

The first thing that I felt when I came here was relief. Although it did not ease my pain, I felt comforted that I’m not the only one who is going through something tragic. Maybe a sadistic approach, but it sure was keeping me alive. There were quite a lot of people here and in the one month that I have been here, I have seen and heard a lot of stories about everything under the sun. There were a few people who intrigued me as well. Like this gentleman who had quit his fully fledged business and come here to get some genuine support. He was a loner and thought that people only wanted to be with him because he was rich. I thought it was silly, but he seriously looked and acted depressed.

And then there was Mrs. Patel who was sent here by her son. According to him Mrs. Patel had turned violent and depressed when his wife gave birth to a daughter. Mrs. Patel had a craving for a grand-son and was not taking the birth of a grand-daughter too well. Her son had made the call when he had caught his mother trying to smother his daughter. It was weird I thought and probably this was not the right place to bring her in. But Kumar had taken her in.

Kumar was the person who had started this place. When his wife and kids were killed in a landslide, he had had a nervous breakdown. It had taken him more than three years to heal himself. By that time he had lost everything he had, except his ancestral house. With the help of his friends he had turned his house into “Broken Wings”. His friends, most of who worked with the government, brought in sufficient funds to run this place. They had doctors and psychiatrists coming in from eminent hospitals to volunteer too. Soon, it had become the go to place for anyone in any kind of trouble.

He was a friendly man who visited every room in the house. He knew all the stories and he helped everyone regain their self respect and understand their self worth. We did not have regular sessions or healing classes, we were just supposed to mingle with everyone and share our stories. It worked because, every other person we met had a different story to tell and it somehow made us feel better. I don’t know which faucet of the human mind Kumar was tapping on, but it definitely seemed to be working.

When I had told him what had happened to my marriage of six years, he just told me to not blame myself for it.

But I must lack something right? Else why would he leave?

Kumar had smiled and said, “He lacked something. He did not want to show you that. That’s why he left.”

That had been my first step towards healing. I slowly began gaining my self confidence back and was beginning to accept the facts and move on. One month had taught me so much about myself that I soon started helping others to overcome their fears. Today, almost everyone here approach me first. I looked around the room and said a silent prayer.

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I was just about to walk back to my room, when I saw him walk in. There was something strange about him, that I could not fathom. He walked strangely and looked around with fear. Diya, the young girl out of a year long relationship walked up to him. I smiled and walked into my room. She always did this when a handsome man came in. At this rate I wondered if she would ever go back.

It was during evening tea that he spoke to me. I was busy talking to Mrs. Patel about the dresses she could make for her grand-daughter, when he stopped at our table.

Hi, I’m Sagar.” He said with a smile. The fear in his eyes had somehow disappeared now.

Hello Sagar. I’m Maya and this here is Mrs. Patel.”

Hello ji. You two talk. Let me get back to my knitting then.” Mrs. Patel says and walks back to her room.

I pour Sagar a cup of tea as he sits down in front of me.


It’s no problem. I’m just pouring it. Ganga Tai made it.” I point towards Ganga Tai who is meditating in the corner.

Why are you here, Maya?” He asks me before his first sip.

I take a deep breath and look at him.

Its okay, you do not have to tell if you don’t want to.” He gets up to leave.

No, it’s not that. Just thinking of the number of times I have told this story.” I smile and gesture him to sit.

Love failure?”

I nod. “And marriage.”

Oh. Sorry.” He sounded genuine.

What about you?

My dog died.” He looks straight at me.

I laugh. “You’re not serious.”

I am. He was all I had.” He says sadly.

Family?” I ask.

Parents stay in London and do not care about me much. My childhood sweetheart got married to someone else. All I was left with was Spock. He died last week. I can’t bring myself to go home after that.” He looked away.

Why not go back to parents?” I was all curious.

Why didn't you?” He asks with a raised eyebrow.

I did not want to.”

Ditto.” He smiled.

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A week passed and we grew closer. I told him about my insecurities and he tells me why they are not true. I tell him that he is a self inflicted loner and he doesn't believe it.

You are a banker for God’s sake. How can you not have friends?”

Never felt the need for one.” He says casually.

Rubbish. Everyone needs someone.”

I had Spock.” His voice chokes.

Accept it. You are too afraid to allow someone in your life. You think they might just leave you like your parents and that girl. The poor animal would stay by your side without questioning or leaving. That’s why you are so affected, because he was the only emotion in your life.” I blurt out.

I have stayed away from emotions for quite a while Maya. I cannot go back to it.” He sighs.

You can. But you will not. Because, you are scared.”

Perhaps. But I’m happy that way.” He turns to walk away.

If you are happy why are you here?” He walks away without answering.

Nithin had got out of my mind by now and I loved myself more than I did when I was with him. Neha visited and told me that he was getting married to his secretary as he had gotten her pregnant. Somehow the news did not affect me. I asked Neha to get the divorce papers from my house, so that I could sign it and send it to him. There was not a single emotion in my words. I felt free. I felt happy.

Kumar calls me to his office.

It’s time for you to leave. You are ready to move on now.”

I walk back to my room with a bright smile. I have healed. I know I have.

Sagar meets me on the way.

You were right. I need people in my life. Will you help me?” He looks at me with puppy eyes.

Sure. But you will have to come with me. I shall talk to Kumar.”

Where to?” He looked confused.

You shall see.”

The next day, I step back into my own house. Nothing has changed inside it. The only change was within me. Sagar looks around in awe.

Sit down. I have to make a call.” I say and rush upstairs.

That evening, a large package arrives at my doorstep. Sagar looks with a blank expression as I hang a big board at the entrance of my house. Then he looks at the board and smiles.

I’ll support you.” He says happily and holds my hand.

This is the first time he has touched me and I respond warmly. We both stand there with a satisfied look on our face, knowing that this is only the beginning.

The board reads “Healing Wings.”

Reason To Live

Copyright - Björn Rudberg

Our holiday home is situated between the mountains, enveloped by lush greenery and the smell of nature. This was the first time I was coming here after the divorce, something that I had not seen coming. I intended to punish him by killing myself in the very room where he made love to me for the first time, the same room where he had proposed. I look around, the house seems empty and devoid of emotions but suddenly I hear giggles. The innocent laughter of my children and the luminous smile on their faces, change my decision in a second.

This five sentence fiction is written for the topic 'Luminous' at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 8th August.

The Final Justice

Image Source: Google

They tore my body
Left me helpless on the street
No one offered help

No one offered help
They just stood and watched me die
I held my hand out

I held my hand out
They walked away in silence
As I shut my eye

As I shut my eye
My soul is still left injured
I shall not forget

I shall not forget
My tormentors shall die soon
My spirit shall kill

My spirit shall kill
All those who just watched
The final justice

Written for Haiku Horizons: Prompt - Justice.

The Honest Post - Phase 10

The story so far.
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We continued to meet every single day and the love was blossoming into madness. His parents had known it by then and were happy with us. I was wondering when do I break it to my parents, when one fine day my mom asked me if I was dating Cal. I was shocked. Apparently Cal's grand mother and my aunt had informed my mom about it. My mom was shocked initially, but when I told her this is what I want she was happy too. From the next day onwards, Cal's mother and my mom were on the phone everyday. Thank God we decided to not beat around the bush and directly tell his mother about us. Once the parents knew about it, then there was no looking back. A lot of people spoke a lot of nonsense, but thankfully it did not affect him and me. Or our folks. Some people even had the audacity to call Cal's mother and tell her what a horrible person I was. They told her I smoke, drink, have boyfriends and am of loose character! And that they should think a hundred times before considering this alliance. I was shocked when my mother-in-law told me all this. Then she and I had a hearty laugh over it. Dogs bark, what can we do.

Cal and I were over the moon now. We were very clear that we did not want a courtship and wanted to get married. Cal's mother also wanted the same thing. But there was one problem, my elder sister was not married. Then started the whole rant about what society would say and that people would talk. Once we realized that people were already talking behind our backs, there was no turning back. My sister was dating someone then and was soon to be married anyway, so we went ahead and started deciding on the engagement and the wedding. People kept talking and talking and we kept celebrating and rejoicing. Our parents were like, people will talk even if you do right or wrong. We might as well as do what we want.

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My mother-in-law and I though related, hardly knew each other. She had perfectly adapted herself into the Brahmin household but did not impose the same on me. She told me that I could be the way I wanted to be without any restrictions. I was pleased and slowly we started bonding with each other. People had problems with this too. We spoke about it, but it did not deter us. The say that the true colors of people come out during bad times. Well, multi colors come out during happy times too. I had a lot of thoughts in my own mind too. I was only twenty six and was entering matrimony. No one had got married at the age of twenty six in my family. Was I jumping in too soon? Will I be able to handle this? A million thoughts crossed my mind. Cal, as usual, came to the rescue. He addressed all my issues one by one and by the time was he was done speaking I couldn't wait to get married! Yeah, such is the magic of this man.

I had always wanted to get married at the age of thirty. I wanted to take up writing professionally, establish myself and then settle down in holy matrimony. Also I thought that I would not find the perfect man before then. I had dated enough to know the different kinds of jerks around. But when Cal came in, everything got erased. That is when I realized that, it is not about the perfect age to get married. You need the perfect man to get married, no matter at what age. When he proposed, I knew this is what I wanted. And that there would be no one else better than him for me. Or in the whole world. And my dreams and ambitions were his too. Since I decided to get married early, people wondered if this was another spontaneous impulsive decision of mine. And that the fizz would die down soon. It may look like an impulse, but Cal and I have thought about it for days and hours. We have pondered over every thought a million times and found no reason to not get married. We knew a lot is being spoken about and that our wedding would be a controversial one, yet, this is what we wanted. Not only the wedding, we just wanted to be together. For life.

To be continued.

Action Replay - July

Image Source: Google

Yay its August! Yay its my favorite month of the year! Yay its my birthday month! Okay, you can see that I am excited. Of course I am. Finally after a year of waiting, here it comes again. My birthday. Gifts have already started appearing and I am thrilled to see how this unfolds. More on that later, but for now its all about what happened in July. July was a pleasant month, with hell loads of work and more hell loads of learning. July started off with a bang with a visit to Hyderabad for Cal's friend's wedding. I went in there with zero expectations but came back with a bright smile and a relaxed body. Yes, I loved the City of Nizams. Hyderabad is the only city that comes close to Bangalore. In terms of lifestyle, fashion, infrastructure, people and most importantly weather. Luckily for me, we went on the onset of monsoon and the weather was divine. I've heard of tales about how hot it can get, but thankfully was spared of it.

We stayed in a service apartment at Banjara Hills. This apparently is the poshest area of Hyderabad and it shows. The apartment was cosy and surrounded by greenery. There was even a lotus pond below our balcony! Cal and I are nature lovers and we just like to sit, relax and talk during vacations instead of trying to cover too many places and getting drunk. So, this was a perfect vacation for us. We explored the basics of the city like Charminar, Hussein Sagar lake, Birla temple, Salarjung museum and the pearl market. The museum was a bad idea as Cal and I got bored in ten minutes. The veiled Rebecca was a masterpiece and we left once we saw her. Charminar is beautiful but poorly maintained. When we walked up the stairs there was not an inch left on the wall without inscriptions by visitors. Reena loves Ramesh, Ramesh loves Beena etc etc. Its sad, but there is hardly something that one can do about it. You can express as much as you want in 'Satyamev Jayate' but people will only learn and abide if they want to. We went to an ice cream place called 'Creamstone Concepts' and Cal lost his mind there. They bash the ice cream with chocolate chips, Rocher balls, chocolate sauce and everything chocolate that you can think off! Its heaven in a waffle cup and we went there twice! Mocha in Banjara Hills was another favorite of mine! The ambiance, the food, the ice tea, everything about that place was divine. Yes, I will definitely go back to Hyderabad soon.

Image Source: Google

July was epic in terms of learning. I have learnt to never trust anybody apart from myself, my husband and my friends. Some of them that is. I learnt the hardest way possible that the knife that was stabbed in my back was handed by me to the person I trusted. Trust is one thing that just comes crashing down, never to be rebuilt again. I felt betrayed and cheated. But then it was already expected, considering what the crowd had to say. Well probably it was meant to be learnt the hard way and so I did. Once bitten, enough. Not anymore. Feelings never fade. They either are treasured or thrown. The latter is what I did. I have this wonderful ability to block people out of my life and walk through them. That is exactly what I am going to do from now on. When people have already categorized you as the villain, you might as well as live up to the expectations!

In terms of writing, it was joy and more joy. My story 'Mistress Of The Night' was published in Femina fast fiction, and is currently in the running for winning the short story contest. Fingers crossed! Also, I now have a dedicated column in Tamarind Rice for my posts. Yes, 'Love Potion' is now a regular feature on Tamarind Rice and will feature stand alone short stories written by me. Also, my poem 'Love' was published in the July issue of Writer's Ezine. Yes, I am thrilled. Fiction had taken a backseat suddenly, as I wrote a lot of poetry and contest based posts. But now I am tired of them, I don't know how people write a hundred posts for a single contest alone. It gets monotonous after a point of time. Unless and until a contest entices me, I will choose not to write about it. I need to get back to doing what I do best. And that is to weave tales. 

BlogAdda selected me to review 'The Deliberate Sinner'. I did and the book was below average. I can never forget a dialogue by my blogger friend, "Indian authors ke book padhke lagta hai ki koi bhi author ban sakta hai". Translates to "After reading Indian author books, you feel that anyone can become an author". I totally agree. The book was high on sex and low on everything else. You can read my review of it here. I like doing reviews, more so because I can write my honest opinion about it without being judged. Since every word on my blog will be dissected and passed through the microscope thousand times, reviews make me feel awesome! I have been an avid reader since the age of five and hence I do know the difference between good and bad books. Reading is an awesome therapy, it takes you to another world altogether. At times you don't want to come back from that world and at times you can't wait to get back from there. 

Just received a mail now saying that I am selected to review another book. Little things like this make me happy. Cal and I have started a new thing from this month. We have decided to explore all the cafes in Bangalore and review their food. He does that on Zomato. I am just an accomplice to test the non-veg food while he binges on the veg fare. Follow us to get the best reviews on restaurants of Bangalore and the places we travel to. I love his reviews. They are precise, straight to the point and comes from the heart. Just like my posts. No wonder we are partners in everything. People drop their jaws whenever they hear that we still go out on dates everyday even after a year and half of marriage. Some people complain about it too. But we do not care. We do what we want to do, the way we want to do. 

Image Source: Google

Like I said, July has been a month, heavy on learning and I'm only taking the positives from it. Tongues can wag as much as they want but I am going to be the way I am. Work is heavy this month too and I would hardly find time for anything else. I like being busy as it makes me feel satisfied. But I shall try to update my blog whenever I can. This is my birthday month and I am so excited! My last birthday was magical and I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for me. 

Day Four - Final Product #WhatTheBlack

Image Source: Google

Since I did not receive the clue for day 3 yesterday, it came in today. But the final product did not come in as promised. Sigh, I guess it shall appear tomorrow. But now that we all know what the final product is, I am awed by their wonderful marketing strategy. Candid Marketing Pvt Ltd, you guys rock! What brilliance! Especially the black newspaper. It was an awesome initiative and I'm so proud to be a part of this in some way or the other. Check out their site now. If that is not creativity then what is? Three days, three clues and one hell of a mind boggling activity. Maybe I would have guessed it too, had I received the clue for day 3 on time. But it was Anmol, who played Sherlock and solved this mystery! Three cheers to him.

All indicate mornings. And what is the first thing you do in the morning? Brush! Yes, so this is what it was all about. Introducing Colgate's SlimSoft Charcoal Toothbrush! Yet to try it though! This brush has black bristles. With a nation obsessed with fairness, this product needed all the marketing that it could get. I hope people don't fear this one thinking that their teeth might turn black if they use it! I am proud of BlogAdda for hosting this campaign. Hats off to them!

#WhatTheBlack is a four day activity in association with BlogAdda. Each day, the selected candidates will be receiving a clue and finally on the fourth day, the actual product will unveil itself. This was the final product.

Day Three #WhatTheBlack

Image Source: Anmol Rawat

Day one was a Black Egg. Day two was a black newspaper. Both indicated mornings. Today there was no one at home to collect my clue for day three. Thanks to twitter, I found out what it was. Day three was a black cup with a black tissue. So #WhatTheBlack is going on? It definitely has to do with mornings, I was sure of that. And then I read Anmol's post.

Image Source: Anmol Rawat

And I agree to it! I think this is what it is. Colgate's SlimSoft Charcoal Toothbrush. No matter what it is, it was an excellent marketing strategy and a mind boggling one at that! Even if I am wrong, the final product will come in tomorrow. Then the mystery will unveil itself. If it is what I think it is, then Anmol is a genius!

#WhatTheBlack is a four day activity in association with BlogAdda. Each day, the selected candidates will be receiving a clue and finally on the fourth day, the actual product will unveil itself.