Action Replay - 2015

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Warning: Long post ahead.

December was a pretty peaceful month for me. Work was stressful as usual, but it kept me busy and I was happy. The big change that happened this month was Cal shifting his job. How does that impact me? Well, earlier he worked close by and he would pick me up on the way back from work and we would spend the entire evening together. But now since he has to travel quite a bit, I go home early after work. This leaves me with a good amount of me time. Thanks to which, I managed to read around four books this month. Yes, I finally completed 'The Palace Of Illusions' and I loved it to the core. Having time for myself means I end up baking often or doing something creative. Cal asked me to start sketching again and I did. It gives me immense peace to doodle on plain sheets. The last I drew something was in school and except a doodle framework that I created two years ago, I was starting from scratch again. It felt nice and peaceful. So I now divide my me time between sketching, reading, baking or writing. All of which I love and all of which I give equal time to.

Not being able to spend enough time together during the weekdays means having twice the fun during weekends. Cal and I explored a lot of new places this month and ate away to glory. We also managed to watch a couple of movies. Dilwale was clearly a disappointment although Shahrukh looked super sexy with the beard. The movie completely relies on the chemistry between SRK and Kajol and has no storyline what so ever. Yeah I know it is a Rohit Shetty movie and expecting a story line is like expecting Rakhi Sawant to play Mother Theresa. But this movie was like none of his other movies. Even the action and comedy was below average and Varun Dhawan was overacting so much that I wanted to throw things at the screen. The other movie I saw was a malayalam one, Charlie. The first mallu movie ever that I have seen in a theatre. It was a breezy watch and I did enjoy it. Bajirao Mastani is something I'm yet to watch and I will sometime soon, thanks to the raving reviews I've heard of it.

So that was all about December. 2015 in entirety was the best year of my life in the last five to six years at least. The highlight being Cal and I moving out and learning to live together. Finding a rented place in Bangalore in the area we wanted was a nightmare, but we soon found a place to our liking and spent a lot of time doing it up. This house has given us so much peace that can just sit at home and spend hours together. Earlier, we couldn't wait to get out of home. But now we are at home and we love it. Exactly why we did not feel the need to travel much this year. We just took one vacation to Goa this year and that's it. Everyday in this house is a vacation and we are so at peace within ourselves. From the day we stepped into this place, things have only been good and we are marching ahead successfully. *Touch wood*

2015 was a good year in terms of blogging as well. With 200 odd posts for a year and a successfully completed A-Z April challenge, I am a satisfied writer at the end of the year. My blog made it to the directory of best Indian blogs for the third year in a row and made it to the top five creative writing blogs in the country for the Blogadda awards. I wrote a good amount of fiction, poetry and personal posts and most of my posts did not create a controversy this year. I'm as surprised as you are! I made a lot of friends in the blogging space and had quite a few meets with most of them. I did a good amount of book reviews too which mean that I did some good amount of reading as well. Reading 'Rebecca' and falling in love with it is something that shall be a highlight in terms of reading for me.

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Food blogging turned out to be another successful passion and I started Yellow Mojito just to focus on food. But I might have to let go off it in the new year to focus on a food blog that Cal and I run together. It is not public yet, but we will have something by the end of January for sure. LOL will continue to run successfully as it did. March 2016 will see LOL complete seven years and I'm planning to completely revamp the blog for the occasion. Last year I got in a new domain and this year, I'm going to change the look of my blog completely. Reading, writing and food blogging will continue to be the focus next year as well.

2015 taught me a lot in terms of people and life in general. I found out the people who had a smile plastered on their face in front of me and held a knife behind me. I let go off a lot of meaningless relationships this year and I'm very happy today. Clutter free in my mind. 2015 made me realize how much I hate religion and the drama that comes with it. Initially I used to be fascinated by pujas and other religious occasions, but after seeing an over dose of it, I have begun to loathe the entire concept. Do I believe in God? I don't know. I believe in a super power and if you want to call it God then so be it. That's about it. I do not want to please God to get my things. I'm more than capable of working hard to get where I want to. 2015 also made me lose respect for a lot of people. I respect people based on their deeds and not their age. I will do a post on this solely next year.

2015 was a fantastic year professionally with me winning a lot of accolades and personally with the love of my life by my side. Resolutions are not something that I like to do and so I would not be doing it this year as well. I have a lot of things in mind for 2016, but I do not want to stop at that or put down unreasonable things. I will continue to work hard and do what I love, that's what makes me successful. Not ticking items off a list. With that in mind, I'm set to bring in 2016 with my man and the people who matter to me. It's gonna be an epic night and I'm sure it will be an awesome 2016 too!

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Happy New Year, you guys! Drink, party, make merry and stay safe. Cheers and see you next year!

Monday Musings #6

Shining Bright

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There is something about this thing called love
It hits you hard and sweeps you off your feet
It opens up doors you did not know existed
And makes a rhythm of your heart beat

Falling in love is not important
What matters is staying in love
It doesn't matter how many years pass by
What was there then, should be there now

Some people say that it all dies down
After a few years there will be no romance
Many of them are firm believers of this
And yet some one of them leave it to chance

My love story started years ago
And it has remained the same till date
Everyday I fall in love a million times
With my friend, my lover and my soul mate

Every morning I wake up with a kiss
When he leaves to work there is another
Romance lasts throughout the day for us
Every night we snuggle against each other

It is not something we consciously plan
It all comes naturally to us
Love remains the base of our relationship
Nothing comes in between to create a fuss

He still drowns in my deep eyes
While I'm still enchanted by his smile
I'm sure we will remain this way
Holding hands, walking together every mile

As we enter out fifth year together
Our love will peak morning noon and night
We don't have to worry about sparks dying down
The fire in us will continue shining bright

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 299.

Book Review: The Rise Of Hastinapur

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Title: The Rise Of Hastinapur
Author: Sharath Komarraju
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Mythology
Price: Rs. 299 on Amazon
Pages: 354

This is the first time I'm writing two consecutive book reviews on my blog, that too of both Indian authors. I was reading 'The Palace Of Illusions' since forever and once I completed it, I fell in love with it. Mythology has always intrigued me and I find it fascinating to read tales that have so much to say. When I read 'The Winds Of Hastinapur' last June, I fell in love with it. Mahabharata from the point of view of a woman is always an interesting read, especially since the epic has always side lined the women. While the first part spoke about Ganga and Satyavati, this one talks about the three queens: Amba, Pritha aka Kunti and Gandhari. While reading 'The Palace Of Illusions', I could relate to 'The Winds Of Hastinapur' especially when Bhishma was involved. Now, as I read 'The Rise Of Hastinapur', I could relate to the queens of 'The Palace Of Illusions'. In some way, it did come full circle to me.

Amba lives for revenge, but circumstances and men conspire against her. Will her daughter bring her the only salvation she seeks?

Kunti stakes all to free her brother Vasudev and his wife Devaki. Yet it is the groom choosing ceremony that will define her life.

Gandhari too has come of age, and is faced with a difficult choice: she must marry the blind prince of Hastinapur if she is to save her kingdom from the certain ruin it faces due to Hastinapur’s deceit.

In the background Bhishma pulls the strings, making alliances and marriages, devising new strategies, ever increasing the might of Hastinapur.

For the story of the great war, is also the story of the women..

Amba's vengeance towards Bhishma is so beautifully shown that you actually feel for her. Her character is strong and speaks a lot. Her plans for revenge intrigues the reader and you cannot help but hope that she succeeds in extracting revenge. But things are not the way they seem. Amba is asked to leave the court of Hastina and this scene is described so well and the reason is well justified. Kunti has always been a character whom I've never understood fully. She's complex in every way and yet fascinating. She goes out of her way to save her brother and yet is unsure of what to do with her first born who later grows up to be Karna. Her predicament is explained in such a way that you tend to agree to her weakness. This was the first time that I was reading so much about Gandhari. I've always thought her to be a cunning character, but then again she had her reasons. Cheated by her own people, all she wants is revenge just like Amba. This quest of revenge then make way for the epic that unfolds later. The climax is stunning as the controlling force behind all the happenings is revealed. This twist is more than brilliant and it clearly paves a path for the next book in the series.

For someone who is not too fond of Indian authors, Sharath Komarraju will always be an exception. His last that I read was 'The Puppeteers Of Palam' and I had loved it irrespective of the fact that I do not enjoy horror much. There is something about his writing that glues you to his words. I have been wanting to read his previous thrillers, but haven't found the time yet to do so. As much as he excels in thrillers, mythology is clearly his forte. The simplistic way in which he weaves his story, and the much needed tweaks that he makes is out of the ordinary. It sure is fascinating to have a male author explore the emotions and troubles of female characters and bring them out so subtly. Every character is given enough time and relevance and you do not miss even a small part of the epic story. The descriptions of the scenarios are picturesque and larger than life. The very foundation on which the great epic is based.

'The Winds Of Hastinapur' had a few problems in terms of spellings and editing. Even the font used in it was disturbing. But this book is clean and neat, with writing that makes you want to continue reading. The cover of the first book hardly did any justice to the strong story it held. This cover looks stunning. The bright red brings out the boldness that somehow shows the underlying strength of the three queens. The blindfold says that not all secrets can be revealed. The book in entirety has the making of an epic and I cannot wait to read the next one in the series.


Verdict: Brilliant. Deep, dark and brave. If you want to know how a woman helped in molding history, this is what you need to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Note: I purchased a copy of this book to read while I was approached by the author to review it. The thoughts and opinions expressed are all mine. This is not a paid review.

Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote

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Title: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Westland Ltd
Genre: Fiction/Drama
Price: Rs. 295 on Flipkart.
Pages: 391

I have heard a lot about Ravi Subramanian and the banker type of books he writes. I have only read his 'God Is A Gamer' before and found it to be an okay book. This is the first time that he has written a book on romance and I wanted to see how a banker interprets love and its varied shades. After reading a few mediocre books by Indian authors that made it up the charts, I thought the market for Indian authors is doomed. But the title of this book intrigued me enough to sign up to review it. It was a nightmare to get this book delivered to me. The courier guy screwed it up so bad that I received the book very late. Maybe that was a sign. A sign that I couldn't decipher then. The book did finally come to me on an afternoon and by night I was done with it. Yes, I finished the book in one sitting. And not because it was unputdownable.

Aditya Kapoor is in his forties and is a very successful banker and a number one writer. He writes thrillers and fame and adulation thrills him to the bone. He is married to Maya and has a six year old son Aryan. Maya has given up on her illustrious career and working with a school now so that she is able to give enough time to her son and encourage her husband's dual career.

Shreya Kaushik, freshly passed out of IIM Bangalore aspires to be an author. And it is pretty clear from the beginning that she wants to write a bestseller and is willing to do anything to get her book published.

Sanjay (I forgot his last name and did not want to go back to the book to look for it) is Aditya's best friend and partner in crime. He happens to head HR for the same bank in which Aditya heads another department. He is dating Diana Moses, his colleague.

This is how the story unfolds:

Aditya is back at IIM-B, his alma mater, to give a presentation and enters into an altercation with one of the students. Shreya is the student and she ends up reading his best seller in one night and sends out a mail to him telling him about how much she loved the book. This not only saves her ass from the director of the institute who is called Diro for some weird reason, but also helps her in befriending the paperback king and rockstar author Aditya himself. Shreya wants to be a writer and has her manuscript ready. She wants Aditya to help her get published and he goes out of his way to do that. Even if means cheating on his wife. Shreya and Aditya's affair comes to light in front of Maya and she is almost immediately diagnosed with Ebola. Aditya realizes that he still loves his wife and cannot live without her. Shreya on the other hand is only worried about how to get her book published. Sanjay is caught in the middle of all this as he tries to desperately save his friend and hide his own secrets. What happens next? You don't need to be Einstein to figure it out.

First of all Aditya Kapoor is clearly Ravi Subramanian's alter ego or atleast the man that he wants to be. Oh yeah, paperback king, popular with the ladies and all that. I understand that he jumped out of his comfort zone to explore this genre. It almost seems like a desperate attempt to do something different and something that is done in haste. The story of the book is clearly given out by the gist itself. Five chapters later I knew what is going to happen and how it felt like a soap opera. The characters are so poorly etched that you just want to laugh at their stupidity. Aditya is already a popular figure but he still risks it all by having an affair with Shreya, a wanna be author. And it took like eighty odd chapters for him to understand that she was actually using him only to get published. Fortunately, the readers are not as foolish as him.

Shreya sounds desperate to the tee. Her dialogues made me cringe and if this is the author's way of showing a bold and independent woman, he certainly has failed here. Their relationship or whatever is it that they share revolves around two things. Sex and her manuscript. Speaking of sex, just like the author in the book, the author of the book sucks at it. If I may recall "thandha" was the word that was actually used. No prizes for guessing that Aditya and Shreya were having sex, but I do not want the details of what brand of underwear the guy was wearing before he could take it off. Nor do I want to read breasts as glorious mounds of flesh or constantly talk about a woman's lace panties. Aditya, who is so in control of his life with a demanding job and a successful career as a writer is reduced to a fool as he falls for a woman who is clearly using him from the start.

The language used is so layman that you want to edit a few words into it. Slangs are used in almost every page and so are capitals. I mean, what is with that? The books also mentions the work of a few other authors including Ravi Subramanian himself. And Chetan Bhagat too. Need I say more? Anurag Kashyap (yes, the Bollywood director) too makes an appearance which I'm sure was used without his permission. The author also mentions Nirav Sanghvi of BlogAdda woven in a chapter, the very platform that is giving out his books for review. No sucking up at all, my friend! The book at 391 pages is too long and the 84 chapters make you want to rip the book apart. The reason I finished the book in one sitting was that I could not wait to be done with it and pick up something meaningful later. Apparently the book is soon to be a motion picture. I can already imagine Ekta Kapoor getting ready for auditions.

The gist says that the book is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption. Forget about exploding, it even refuses to take off.


Verdict: Boring and predictable. This book gives life to every cliche that you can think of. If I had a penny for every time I snickered while reading this book, I would have become a millionaire.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Monday Musings #5

Red Velvet Memories

PHOTO PROMPT- © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The red velvet sponge cake was his favorite. We met for the first time at a pâtisserie when both of us reached for the last slice. Since then we have always been together. For twenty years we were married and had a lovely life together. And then she came in and took it all away. He left me for someone else, the day I was preparing this cake for him. Five years have passed and I still look through the kitchen window every time I bake this cake with the hope that the smell of it would bring him back.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 18th December 2015.

Mornings & Me

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For some strange reason, early mornings and I have never been able to get along. As a child and a student, I used to stay up all night and study instead of waking up early to do so. I used to stay up the entire night, go to school and finish the exam and come home and sleep through the evening. I would wake up at night again and continue to study till the break of day. Holidays meant staying up all night watching movies or playing games and sleeping through the day. Thankfully, my parents did not impose any rules on us regarding a time to wake up and all that. They just let us be and do what we want. Since I was a good student, my studying pattern did not bother them at all. And I was very happy being the night owl instead of the early bird. Who wants to get to the worm when you can prepare pasta at night?

When I joined college, the classes started at 7.30 am in the morning. I did not think of it much while joining as I was very focused on securing a free seat for my graduation. The idea was to finish college by 2.30 pm and get home to study. I know, how stupid right? When the time came to attend college, I was in for a huge surprise. I had to wake up by 6 am and leave home by 6.45 am to make it to college by 7.30 am. Those two years of Pre-University college were the worst days of my life. Waking up early was a torture and more often than not I missed the first two classes and headed to college only by 10 am. I used to attend tuition in the evening anyway, so I picked up on the subjects. But those days where I had to attend a Chemistry lab at 7.30 in the morning made me want to pour sulphuric acid on the first person who wanted to talk to me.

I am at my crankiest best in the mornings. Waking up past 7 or 8 am is my thing. Once I wake up I do not like talking to people. I make a cup of coffee/tea for myself and sit down for an hour to read the newspaper. Only after this ritual is done, I talk to people and do my chores. Graduation college turned out to a stone throw away from home. It was one of the best engineering colleges in Bangalore and the teachers were very cool. Attendance was hardly mandatory. Even though classes started at 9.30 am, I made it to college only by 11. That is for the first two years. For the next two, I hardly went to college, except to attend labs. I sat at home and studied things myself. Engineering is not as tough as they make it to be. It is the stretch of the four years that makes it unbearable. Anyway, I finished my education by not being a morning person and scored really really well. By the time I left college I held a distinction and a job.

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When you are happy being a night owl, you don't care much about what the world thinks. When I started working, the bus would come to pick me up at 9.45 am everyday. For the four odd years that I worked in that particular office location, I missed the bus 6541234 times. Thankfully, my work place has no strict timings and I could go in past 10 am too. And so I did. After work, I used to get back home by 8 pm, finish dinner and sit down to read a book or watch TV. By 2 am, I used to hit the bed and wake up after 8 am. I loved my life and it was all working beautifully for me. Then I got married. People expected me to change my habits, but that was not a concern to me at all. I had been a late riser since twenty six years and there was no way I could change it over night. Most importantly I did not want to change it. I was totally fine with it as my new work location was only a stone throw away from home. My husband too had no problems with me waking up late and I continued to live my life the way I was comfortable with.

Till date this is who I am. I stay up late at night and wake up when my eyes allow me. My husband is an early bird and he is up before me. The earliest that I can wake up is 7 am, that is only if I have had a good night's sleep. I wake up by 7 or 8 am everyday, sit through my tea and paper routine and then head to the kitchen. I am a quick cook, so breakfast and lunch is done and packed within an hour and the vessels are all washed and dried and set up too. Once the husband leaves to office, I get ready and head to mine. My work starts at 11 am and I usually am in office by 11.30. It works very well for me. Waking up before 7 am is almost an impossible task for me. I do not mind waking up once in a while to go out for a trek or travel. Other wise waking up by 5 am is like asking me to cut my limbs off and crawl over three floors to my house. No sir, not for me!

I am not a morning person and I love it. I prefer watching the sun set over a sun rise. This habit of mine has worked beautifully for me until now and I doubt if I ever would turn out to be a morning person. I read in the papers about famous rich people being early risers and how waking up at 5.30 in the morning helped them change their life. I already have a wonderful life with a job I love, a passion I take care of and a husband who means the world to me. What's there to change?

Tell me about yourself. Are you a night owl or an early bird?

The Ride Called Life

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It is a really funny thing this life
Shows you ups downs and flings you to the side
But one thing it does guarantee you
The beautiful destination is well worth the ride

The happiness doesn't last for ever
Nor does the period of pain and tears
Life will bend you to the extremes
Helping you shed your inhibitions and fears

Some highs may make you close your eyes
And yet your focus you mustn't lose
If you are pushed to the ground
Staying there or not you must choose

This game with cast a dizzy spell on you
May make you want to throw up at times
But if you make it past all that
You will see unicorns and hear joyful chimes

The ones on top may look down upon you
Do not worry, soon you will get there too
Help those going down stay afloat
To your conscience you better stay true

The wind shall not always work in your favor
It shall try to pull away the ground beneath you
Others will come in to crowd your space
Smile at all, but let in only a few

You can be seated anywhere in this journey
But you can choose where you want to go
You need to work hard and hold on tight
Being a mute spectator won't help you grow

As long as the ride lasts, do your bit
Fulfill dreams, laugh and fall in love
No one knows how to get off it
The operator of it is seated high above

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 298.

Monday Musings #4

Heroine

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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again
Of the stony path way and the pretty garden
I dreamt about the time I spent there
Memories of which are now a burden

I was a stranger in that big mansion
Every single article there reeked of you
Nobody pointed a hateful finger at me
But when I looked into their eyes, I knew

An outsider to them I always was
An outline of you but poorly sketched
I could not break the walls around them
In their heart and soul, you were already etched

I survived with the hope that you'll be gone one day
And that all your things would become mine
Your invisible magic worked in such a way
That when they did come, they had lost its shine

From the housekeeper to the pesky neighbor
They tried to find a part of you in me
I was simple and nothing like you
What I actually am, they did not want to see

I did not want to be your second fiddle
And yet I was reduced to one
I came here with the man I love
But to call mine, I have none

When the truth broke out
I felt such immense joy
I then thought everything shall be fine
But I just walked into another of your ploy

Oh Rebecca, what is it about you
Why is your presence still so strong
I'm the protagonist and still unnamed
I wonder where exactly did I go wrong

You took it all away from me
You were the ultimate heroine all the while
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again
The one which is now reduced to an ash pile

Rebecca - The book that refuses to leave my mind and soul. A review would not have done justice to the book. Last night as I struggled to sleep, I don't know why I thought of Manderley. And its unnamed heroine. I tried to put it off my mind but it refused to leave. The result? Here it is.

What's In A Name

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The biggest irony of my life is my name. Soumya means soft natured and gentle. Yeah yeah I know, even I'm laughing my ass off. I was initially named Deepthi as they wanted my name and that of my sister's to start with the same letter. But then apparently one fine day, my parents decided to change it and look what happened. Although I do not think that a person's name describes his/her personality, at times the thought is amusing. There are so many people who are just not like their name at all. There are some really funny instances as well. There is a girl I know who cannot concentrate on anything and is called Shraddha. Another atheist friend is called Shiva. The guy who is always ass licking and following his mentor is called Guru. You get the drift, right?

I had barely interacted with my husband in spite of knowing him for ages until we finally began to meet often and fall in love. I once told him that he has a very funny name and it doesn't suit him at all. And then what happened? I married the same guy. God, you seriously are something! In spite of the irony, I love my name and am proud to have it. Unlike most South Indians I do not have an initial and take my dad's name instead. Till date I have never understood the concept of initials. Take a name or leave it. What's the point in having a letter appended to your name for life? I was, am and always shall be Soumya Prasad. I did not want to change my name after marriage. I find that concept utterly stupid and meaningless. I did not want to take my husband's name and nor did he want me to do so. Yes, I love my husband but I love my father more. I was and always shall be his daughter. Having said that I'm not keeping his name to honor him. I just don't want to change the name I've had for twenty six years.

There are a lot of girls I know who change their names as soon as they get married. Either they take their husband's family name or have it appended to theirs. Others take their husband's name as their surname. Some of them are so quick to do that, that I think they update their name on Facebook right from the wedding venue itself. To each his or her own. Taking your husband's name doesn't mean you are dishonoring your parents, not taking his name doesn't mean you want to put your parents on a pedestal. And it definitely is not a take on feminism, the not wanting to take your husband's name bit. Women empowerment and all that jazz. It is a matter of choice at the end of the day. I know of people who have chosen to take their mother's name instead of their father's. Their choice.

I do not understand the hullabaloo of having a woman's name changed after marriage. Can't the choice be left to the woman? Someone once told me to forget my family and only worry about my husband's family now that I was married. Really? Why? I do not cease to become a daughter to my parents once I become a wife. The son is there to take care of his family while I am more than happy to take care of my family. And together we take care of each others. If changing a woman's name is the sign that she now is a part of a different family then it is utter bullshit. A woman will always remain what she is. First, a daughter and only then a wife. Most importantly she is a person and has an identity of her own that is not defined by the name that follows hers.

Tell me the story of your name. What it means and the why were you named that. Else tell me about a name that fascinates you.

In Your Words - Part 6

Read Part 1 here / Part 2 here / Part 3 here/ Part 4 here/ Part 5 here.

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The loud ring of her phone brought Alisah back to reality. She slowly got up from the swing and checked her phone. It was Neha, her best friend. She answered the phone and spoke to her for a few minutes. She did not mention the topic of Arjun at all, as she did not want to worry her. Neha has been her friend since her school days and was against her decision of marrying Arjun. But later on she accepted Alisah's choice as long as it made her happy. Neha had stood like a rock by Alisah's side while her marriage was falling apart. Knowing that Arjun was back in her life would hurt Neha and this clearly was not the time to tell her anything as she was heavily pregnant and was due to give birth in a few weeks. After enquiring about her health and promising her to look at the baby names that she had emailed, Alisah hung up.

She looked at the clock. It was 10.30 pm. The laptop on her table invited her but she had something else to do. She dialed the number she had known by heart for the past twelve years. She sat down on her bed as she heard the ring go. And then the call was answered.

"Hello there. I knew you would call." Arjun's husky voice flooded her ears.

"Really? How's that?" Alisah questioned.

"After out little tryst at the park today I knew you would. Not bad, you still remember my face after all these years."

"Some faces trouble you no matter how many years have passed since you last saw them."

"And yet you called."

"I can't believe you still have this number active."

"I always use it whenever I come to Bangalore."

"What are you doing here by the way? I thought you were in Denmark."

"I was. But I have come here for some important work. Some unfinished business with you."

"I have nothing to do with you anymore. You better stay away from me."

"Now come on Al. Do not forget that you are talking to your husband."

Husband. The mention of it made Alisah cringe.

"Oh shut up. The police case shall now be reopened, now that you are back."

"Don't worry Al. I'm not here to hurt you. I just want to meet you once."

"Over my dead body. I'm saying it again, you better stay away from me."

She hung up and threw the phone on her pillow. How dare he call himself her husband still. After all these years, after putting her through so much.

Another smoke later, she switched on her laptop. Kay had left her an offline message with the link to his poem. To take her mind of Arjun, she clicked on the link. The page opened and a beautiful silhouette of a woman stared back at her. And then were the fascinating words.

She maybe far away from me
But she sure is quite something
I have hardly known her
But now she makes my heart sing

She is strong, she is confident
But she still is a child inside
She triggers something good inside me
To her everything I want to confide

I haven't heard her laughter yet
But I'm sure it is a delicate chime
She helps me give life to words
And make impossible things rhyme

Talking to her makes me happy
I have never felt like this before
Maybe it is finally the time
For the lonely sea to meet the shore

He had simply titled it "Her". Alisah smiled as she read the poem. She re-read it again and again. And when she was finally done with it, a lone tear escaped her eye. She sat back wondering how would Kay be. Would he be the way she had imagined him to be? Or would he be something different? Would he understand her feelings? Would he understand her pain? She replied to Kay's ping.

"Loved the poem. It's wonderful."

Almost immediately he came online. He had been on invisible mode.

"So you are here. I'm glad you liked it."

"Yeah."

"What's wrong? Are you okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine. Why'd you ask?"

"Just like that. It seems like you are in pain."

"What makes you say that?"

"I don't know, I just feel like it. Tell me, am I right?"

"Maybe."

"You can talk to me if you want to. Only if you want to that is."

"Nothing Kay, just having a bad day."

"Oh, don't worry. It will all be fine soon."

"I hope so. Let me get some rest then."

"Sure, Good night."

"Good night."

Lying down on her bed, Alisah thought about Kay. And she was pleased by the way he understood her. She was glad that he had understood the tone of her voice. But then again, she had not spoken to him. She had spoken to him on chat. How did he figure out that something was wrong. She sat up and drank a glass of water. Something did not seem right suddenly. Kay knew she was in pain and wanted her to talk to him about it. But why? How did he know? She had just known him for two days and now it was like he knew so much about her. How?

A very scary thought crossed her mind. Kay came into her life a day before she saw Arjun in the park. He had been following her blog for quite sometime but why did he suddenly get in touch with her regarding a poem. Nobody had done that in four years. How did that happen now? She had just spoken to Arjun and Kay had come online as soon as she had hung up. She started perspiring hard and was enveloped in sweat as the thought crossed her mind that there was a huge possibility that Kay could be Arjun.

Krishna, the name that he had chosen. Wasn't Krishna the charioteer of Arjun? His mate during the war. One soul yet two bodies. The soul that could destroy her forever.

To be continued.

Monday Musings #3

The Secret Door

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

I had shut it tight and never gone back to it again. After all the pain and misery that I had gone through, I could not bring myself to trust another woman. I locked my heart in a box and kept it away from the world. Being cynical was not the answer I knew, but my wounds were too deep to ever heal. Then one fine day, she came in like a breath of fresh air. Her laugh brought out a different me and I never realized when she dug a pathway and found a secret door to my heart.

This drabble (100 word fiction) is written for Friday Fictioneers, 4th December 2015.

Movie Review: Tamasha

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Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone
Direction: Imtiaz Ali
Genre: Drama/Romance
Duration: 2 hours 35 minutes

When Imtiaz Ali makes a movie, you know that you have to watch it. But thanks to the previous outings of Ranbir Kapoor, I was a bit skeptical about watching this one. But Deepika looked so gorgeous in the promos and the first theatrical trailer looked promising as well. But I waited for a few reviews before I could book tickets to this one. Most of the reviews cited the same; not the conventional love story. And I being a sucker for unconventional stories, decided to watch it. Tickets were easily available and we found ourselves walking into the theatre on Sunday evening.

The movie starts on a stage with a robot with a heart and a clown. Then it moves to the flashback where a young Ranbir is seen spending all his time and pocket money listening to a story teller tell tales about Ramayana. The young lad hates studying and is very happy in his own world of stories. Next, fast forward to the beautiful Corsica where Ranbir meets Deepika who has lost her luggage, passport and money on the island. They get talking and he helps her place a call to India. Soon they decide to stay together for a week and make up their own names based on popular bollywood characters. Ranbir become Don and Deepika becomes Mona darling. Together they explore the island of Corsica, gate crash parties, drink water directly from a stream and get close to each other. But they have decided to not make love or get emotionally involved with each other. Six days pass and Deepika gets her new passport. By then she is in love with Ranbir and decides to leave the island immediately owning to their previous agreement of not meeting each other ever again. But not before barging into his room and kissing him goodbye.

Four years later, Mona darling who actually is business woman Tara Maheshwari is still in love with the man she met in Corsica. Thanks to a book she had found on him back then, she tracks him to Delhi and sets up a chance meeting with him. She reveals her actual story to Ranbir aka Ved who is happy to see her too. They start dating, but Tara continues to miss the man she met in Corsica. Turns out Don was completely different from the actual Ved that he is. Ved who is a project manager with a big MNC is living a robotic life alone. He wakes up on time, brushes on time, eats breakfast on time and gets ready to work on time. He even worships his boss to the extent of ass kissing. Tara decides that this is not the man that she is in love with and leaves him the day he proposes to her.

Ved is now completely heart broken and yet continues his routine. He keeps going back to his childhood and his story listening days, but is scared to break free and follow his dreams. He continues to go to work and tries to forget Tara and the actual story teller that he is. What happens to Ved next? Does he get over his inner conflict and face the real him? Will he change for Tara? Will she accept him back? This forms the story.

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The first hour of the movie is bright and beautiful. Imtiaz Ali captures the beauty of Corsica whole and soul. Every angle and every area of the island is beautifully shown. Deepika and Ranbir play their part to the tee. Deepika looks gorgeous and Ranbir looks so charming. Although I couldn't help but notice how Deepika's shoes and her dress's length keeps changing in the Matargashti song. The story does have its flaws, but it tries to convey the right message. Ranbir is outstanding as the charmer in Corsica or the product manager in Delhi sporting a french beard. The story is all about him. His life, his childhood demons, his dreams and his stories. Tamasha belongs to Ranbir. Deepika looks so smitten by Ranbir throughout the movie that it is hard to differentiate if its a movie or real life. She looks so genuinely in love with him that its breaks my heart to know that they are not together in real life.

The story moves up and down and is clearly about Ved's discovery of his own self. The inner turmoil is shown so well that at times I felt that he suffered from bipolar disorder. Especially in the scene where he confronts his boss. He puts life into his character and owns the movie. This movie of Imtiaz Ali lacks the Sufism as his Rockstar or Highway, but does manage to strike a chord somewhere. But the movie does drag in parts and is in serious need of some editing. A trim of 30 minutes would have done wonders to the movie.


Verdict: Watch it for Ranbir. It is worth it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Action Replay - November 2015

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Finally it's here, December. I still remember the hangover I had during the new year celebrations and here I am all set to welcome another year. Is it just me or did 2015 fly by really quick? The year did whizz by, but November was one of the slowest months of my life. Boring is the word that comes to my mind if I have to describe November. Atleast the first half of it for sure. The work for December was all done and I decided to take a break. Worst decision of my life ever. It was a nightmare for me to stay at home and do nothing. Since I've already spoken about it here, I won't delve into it again. Once my break ended and I got back to work, I felt energised again. Being busy is my fuel and I can go on and on. Once that happened, November slowly picked up for me.

The month saw me attending my first ever Zomato meet and what fun it was! Meeting a lot of fellow foodies and talking about food always has a charm to it. Food is a topic that can never go old and I will never ever tire talking about it. Check my last poem for instance. November saw me indulge in cooking and baking a lot. Work for the next release started at office and it continued to keep me busy. I did catch up on some reading as well. I am almost done with 'The Palace Of Illusions' and already have atleast 10 books on my shelf waiting to be read and about 15 on my Kindle. I somehow have accepted the Kindle now. Initially I was skeptical if I'd like it, but yes I sure do like it now. It's compact and convenient and I carry it around with me all the time. Ofcourse it doesn't give the feeling of reading an actual book. The one with the crisp pages, the smell of paper, the feeling of running your hands through it. But Kindle comes a close second. Considering the fact that I've used my iPad only five or six times in a year, Kindle has turned out to be quite a wonderful gadget for me.

As usual November came with a set of learnings. First, is to stop reading the news paper. Times Of India and Bangalore Mirror is what we subscribe to and I read both of it from front to back over a cup of tea every morning before starting my day. But these days all the news seem to be the same. Peter Mukerjea and his wife continue to be questioned, the PM continues to travel, Rahul Gandhi continues to get ridiculed, some kid continues to fall into a borewell, accidents continue to happen over pot holes, a new startup comes up each day and some IT giant continues to lose money.

And yes, let's not forget the entertainment bit. An actor is divorcing his third wife for the second time, another actor who is known to have slept around with everything that looks like a woman comes out in the open that he's HIV positive, Justin Bieber continues to woo Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian continues to flaunt her assets and Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin continue to make news inspite of their "conscious uncoupling". Let me not get started about the glamour news closer home. Someone got slapped in Big Boss, Hrithik Roshan gets linked with another actress again, Sunny Leone's ads continue to face bans and yet another actor screams out intolerance and the nation goes berserk. Seriously, reading the news papers these days feels like sitting through a marathon of Ekta Kapoor's soaps.

Mondays are normally very busy for me. Hence I hardly find time to write something. But it is always mandatory for me to have a post on a Monday. So what did I do? I came up with Monday Musings! This helps me have a good post, plus conveys a lot more than a post in a single image. Why did I not think of this before? I learnt that no matter what the size of the content, if it is good, people will read it. I have visited a lot of new blogs this month and have loved many of it. When you have been blogging for close to seven years now, you already have a set of favorite bloggers and blogs. But going ahead and finding new blogs is quite an experience in itself. While some are clearly in it for contests and freebies, others just awe me with their writing skills. It's nice to know that the future of the writing industry is in good hands.

So November took a slow and steady turn to bid goodbye and here we are in the last month of the year. Have you started writing your resolutions yet? Or are you all just like me planning the new year party for now?

I, Foodie

Joachim Buecklaer, 1560

Nothing gives me more happiness
Like the way some good food does
I love eating and talking about it
As well as cooking without a fuss

Food to me is a sacred art
Everything about it is so nice
I create master pieces everyday
Some with sugar, some with spice

I love the various food groups
But I lean more towards meat
A big juicy steak is all that I need
With all the sizzle and that heat

Cooking to me is a stress buster
I'm wondering what to create today
Do I use the skinned rabbit
Or shall I let the duck have a say

The apples look so fresh and crunchy
With the cabbage, they shall make a great slaw
Maybe I can pickle the carrots as well
It's so simple, there can't be a flaw

I'll make a dessert out of the plums
Served with some custard and cream
Or should I just make a crumble of berries
The dish that always appears in my dream

The grapes look so ripe and tempting
I'll just munch on them as I cook
I have recipes etched in my mind
I don't need to refer any book

What do I do with these fresh figs
I guess I'll poach them in some red wine
Will serve them with some vanilla ice cream
I know they will taste so juicy and fine

Even after a tiring day at work
The kitchen is a place I love to go
Pots and pans are good friends of mine
Somewhere they have helped me grow

This passion of mine I always cherish
With a great meal, I feel so good
I don't need much to feel content
Just give me a delicious plate of food

Written for Magpie Tales: Mag 296.