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#49 : Day Thirty – Humma Humma on the beach 

It’s a plesant evening and I’m writing from a beach side resort over WordPress mobile. I wondered why it didn’t occur to me to bring my head phones and listen to some class music. The weather and the atmosphere is so perfect for some class music by ARR.Tu Meri Dost would have been a perfect choice. 

Just then came on Humma Humma, the peppy number from famous movie Bombay blaring from the speakers, Arvind Srinivas of the Vijay TV super singer fame was performing live. 

My mood changed completely. I wanted to blast off and dance. All my woes and worries from the day evaporated. The power of music isn’t it? 

The song obviously needs no introduction. ARR’s voice and Nagendra Prasad’s dance – the song is an absolute ruckkus! The comical part – This song has a permanent place in my Zumba routine, so I wanted to jump in and dance! 

While I enjoy the song, you can find it here – Humma Humma

Note – I have no intention of writing much today! I’m busying soaking in the atmosphere and the song while trying to write out the character sketch for my book.

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#6 : A Haunted Memory -#1

The fury of the dark clouds loomed over the building inducing an eerie gloom. The wind was howling, giving the whole place an unnatural feeling. A tall man with the gaunt of a cop stood intently staring at the painting that was before him. He was so immersed in the painting that he failed to notice the cacophony that the wind was orchestrating. What was strange was that, the painting before him seemed to reflect the weather outside. He sighed and moved on to the next painting which was equally brusque as the earlier one depicting a heavily pregnant woman being strangled by a man. The woman seemed to be angry rather than pleading given the circumstance, while the man was smiling. It wasn’t just a villainous smile; it was the smile of a man with pure evil intention. The woman, in spite of her state looked like a sheer beauty. Her haunting gray eyes and lustrous long black hair which hung loose over her shoulder enhanced the beauty of her impending motherhood. She was clothed in a soft red colored cotton saree which seemed to amplify the anger which dissipated from her body. It was very evident that she knew her attacker for she showed anger instead of pleading for mercy.

A little girl dressed in a Blue frock, having the same haunting gray eyes as the woman in the painting came skipping about and stood near the man. “Do you like my painting sir?” asked the girl, pulling the man out of his reverie. The man was Deputy Commissioner of Police, Prakash who was visiting the art exhibit.

“I’m sorry I didn’t catch that,” replied a visibly surprised Prakash.

“Do you like my painting sir?” repeated the girl with a glint of impatience.

“Your painting? Do you know the man in this painting? Can you take me to him?” asked the DC impatiently.

The little girl laughed at the much grown man’s ignorance. “Man? I just paint the face I like to sir, I don’t know of any man, sir other than perhaps our most holy Lord Jesus maybe?!!” replied the girl cheekily.

Prakash was simply dumbfounded. She didn’t know of the man, but had painted him in perfect detail like a professional artist who could sketch based on just the description. A fact that the woman was very much a real person who was murdered 8 years ago, probably before the girl was even born baffled him. How could she have known Lissy? Prakash was the investigating officer in Lissy’s case. Hers was the only case which didn’t really give him that closure in spite of the “murderer” being found and proven guilty.  He wasn’t convinced that they had the right killer. The man proven guilty was indeed a murderer, but something told Prakash that he didn’t kill Lissy. Post the trial, Prakash continued to hunt for the actual killer out of his own interest. He felt drawn towards Lissy. Who wouldn’t?

Note : This post is a part of the “Tagged” Contest by writer Kaarthika and The Chennai Bloggers Club. Kaarthika’s book is being released on May 29. Do pre-order it on Amazon.

I now tag Dr.Sai Sriram to take the story forward. Belated Birthday wishes Doc. Wonder what the Doc will come up with?

PS. Dear Admins, My part of the story is exactly 500 words 😀  Romance to thriller is too mainstream for me. How about thriller to romance 😛

PPS.The contest is running in full swing! 🙂 Want to read more of the story? Check out the chapters below

#2 : Three Strokes of Red – Dr.Sai Sriram.

#3 : The Red Saree  – Rajathilakam Velmurugan

#4: Black Heart – Jenny Sarato 

#5 : Who’s Next – Sheetal Mary

#6 : NUMB3RS! – Lakshmi

#7 : Will O The Wisp – Uma Muruganantham

#8 : Resurrection – Asmita Madhu

#9 :  I watched you – Satheesh K Chinnappan

#10 :  Fates Entwined – Shreya Sudesh

#11 : The Other Side – Kavya Menon

#12 : Red Handed – Malavikka Sridharan

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#5 : Tagged!

I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. Okay! Okay! who doesn’t?! Love – When I get to scroll through my news feed and like posts which I can actually associate without looking at who shared it. Hate – When people tag me. I’m the type of person who thinks of a comeback ages after the joke is dead. I would probably even miss the notification that I’ve been tagged only to stumble upon it days after and reply then. In short, I’m not quick at wit  or replies and I keep to myself largely. Thus interacting in social media is a pain. Let’s not even get to how I manage live social interactions. Honestly, between books, books and more books, what is the damn need to be on Facebook. That is one ‘book’ I would gladly give up. Lame joke that was. My bad. 

Being a book blogger, I really cannot escape social media. Facebook especially. I’m expected to post about the book I’m reading, promote reviews blah blah blah. Oh well, I grit my teeth and do it only for the love of books and the writers. I’m no social butterfly. My friend list contains people whom I have actually interacted with – either over mails or in person. So I have no peer pressure so to say “to be witty” or post something that would garner like a 100 likes and shares. I’m this spectator who doesn’t update every single activity that I do on Facebook.Ultimately, my posts don’t land a 1000 likes or shares. However, there was this one post of mine which “stole the limelight”. Oh well, I’m not surprised. This post of mine was a screenshot of a conversation between my dad and me.

About my dad – where do I even begin! He is this tech-savvy and socially active person who ‘surpasses’ his 25 year old daughter when it comes to being in tune with the memes and videos circulated in Whatsapp or Facebook. More often than not, I chide to put his phone down. Reversal of roles isn’t it?

Here is a screen-shot of that post which had me laughing straight for hours. That damn post garnered about 40 likes and 27 comments – most of which where replies in the form of memes posted by my dad. (if you are logged on to Facebook and friends with me, you should be able to see the post here,  Else, I’m sorry, you have to make do with the poor images.)

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Dhivya Balaji, Sarika Sethuraman and Vinay Kumaar, who commented on that thread are all my friends who are of my age. My dad (Sundar Rajan), gave them a tough competition. Vijay Rajagoplan, who also commented, is my uncle. (If you don’t read or know Tamil, I’m sorry, that post might not make sense at all!)

When people fear having parents on their friends list, I’m totally cool with it. I’ve never found it awkward to have my dad commenting on my posts. It’s simple really. I keep my personal life personal and private.What do I really have to fear when I don’t hide things from them and don’t post stuff online which shouldn’t be online. In fact, it’s super fun having him crack me up with his commenting antics!

Note : This post is a part of the “Tagged” Contest by writer Kaarthika and The Chennai Bloggers Club. Kaarthika’s book is being released on May 29. Do pre-order it on Amazon.

I’ve been wanting to write about why having your parents in your friend list isn’t a bad idea as it seems. Thank you guys for reminding me 🙂 

 

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#4 : Sense & Sensibility – Of Abuse & Struggles

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Image Credit : The Chennai Bloggers Club

The Event (@ Odyssey, Adayar, 10th April 2016)

The Chennai Bloggers Club in partnership with Odyssey organized a discussion on Domestic Abuse title “Sense and Sensibility”.  Writer Sharadha Vijay moderated a Q&A session with writer Sujata Rajpal. Writer Sujata Rajpal’s maiden book, The other end of the corridor  is the story of a woman being abused by her husband but eventually gains her strength to bounce back.

Various aspects and reasons of domestic abuse were discussed critically in parallel comparison to the character- Leela’s experience from the book. The host, Sharadha adeptly handled the discussion, prompting writer Sujata to share her experience in researching for this book. Being an abuse survivor herself, Sharadha  also contributed immensely in keeping the discussion alive and realistic. The open house QA saw a lot of people expressing their thoughts, some of which left me deliberating.

My Take on the topic – Of Abuse & Struggle

First off, I find the classification of abuse pointless – Sexual abuse, Emotional abuse, Domestic Abuse, Substance Abuse, Physical Abuse, so on and so forth. At the end of the day it’s abuse and that is what matters the most. It is simply not justified to abuse a fellow human being or an animal or self for that matter, no matter how bad the circumstance might be.

Second, it is a common misconception or a myth that women folk are only majorly subjected to abuse. Men are too. It’s just that they aren’t as vocal about it as the women are. Of course, I can almost hear people violently disagreeing with me that women aren’t vocal about it either, but hey, it’s a relative comparison.

In a society such as ours, it is a taboo to even talk openly about things like abuse. Yes, it is fast changing, but are we witnessing fruitful results? Do we have a support mechanism in place where men and women won’t be judged for their confessions? Do we have lean in communities like the West does? We should probably. I sincerely hope we do so in the near future. After all, we have come a long way to even talk about abuse now haven’t we?

I’m not really going to delve into the finer points of the topic. That discussion is simply endless and gives me new perspective every time I am a part of any discussion on this topic. However, I have become weary of romanticizing abuse. During the discussion on Sunday, a friend of mine – Kavipriya (a writer) touched upon one such angle. Her question verbatim – “Indian girl – Bad husband – Divorce – achieve something huge // I read almost 25 Indian woman author books endorsing this storyline. Either she starts a cup cake business or turns a VJ or a RJ or a teacher or indulges in social services.

These books have taught me not to stand one slap from my husband, not to wait if he seems to be interested in other woman. Don’t be patient, just walk away.

There are woman who made it huge without having to go through a bad phase, why is it weighed down? Maybe, she would have chosen not to market her bad phase to make money of her business

I completely agree with her. There are plenty of stories around – fiction and non-fiction alike which simply romanticize struggle. In fact, in pages like Humans of Mumbai, Humans of India, I find more stories of struggle and abuse. These incidents in turn seem to inspire fiction writers who simply end up writing a story where a girl is abused and she bounces back to being successful.

At the risk of sounds chauvinistic, I ask, what of men who are abused? What of other women who are successful but really didn’t go through the type of abuse portrayed in a work of fiction? What of men and women who are the backbone of the success of their partners? Does success have to be attained after a tryst with abuse? Isn’t the very definition of success relative? Some people choose to project the difficult road to success while some would prefer to keep it shut. It’s as simple as that.

It is indeed a valid argument to state that stories of fiction should not be looked upon as a benchmark of idealism. I disagree. A work of fiction stems from the imagination of an individual. The imagination of any individual is fed by whatever ‘affects’ the person in his/her real life. By ‘affecting’ I mean, incidents which are capable of influencing one’s thought process. A simple example to elaborate this – Being a book reviewer, I found a sudden spurt of book featuring protagonists who were raped after the Nirbhaya incident happened. Where were those stories before that incident? Yes, they were works of fiction and there were many reported incidents of rape weren’t they?

By projecting struggle as a sure-shot way to success changes the very definition of success and hard-work. Immaterial of the the gender, abuse is simply not the solution for express feeling nor it is the path to success. Patience is a virtue which needs to be cultivated. If we were to break off a relationship, be it a romantic one or of a friendship at the drop of a hat, the world would simply be filled with people carrying tonnes of emotional baggage.

Enough has been said, what are you going to do about it you ask? I am a woman and I have gone through enough emotional abuse to write a goddamn book. I promise not to pen it down and thereby romanticizing it out of the respect for people who saw me through it-Doesn’t mean I had an incredible support system or I’ve reached pinnacle of success – it simply means I am willing to help fellow humans but not delve into my story!

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#2 : A letter to the nosy stranger

Dear Stranger,

Thank you for disturbing me while I was busy being drowned in a sea of emotions. You gave me the much needed helping hand to pull through. After all, reading an interesting book in a public space is a mortal sin isn’t it? Especially, if it is on an electronic reader, it is a blasphemy isn’t it? I confess to my sin of using an electronic reader. I know paperbacks are akin to holy grail and the fancy digital readers are nothing short of being  Satan.

I also know it’s ‘un’-cool to read books by ‘obscure’ writers who know their way around the English language – A language which we seem to have adopted as our own. It would be prudent to show it some motherly love and infuse it with words and rules from our tongue, wouldn’t it?

 I know I have sinned but please do hear me out.

Being the only kid back then, my mom had to find a way to keep me entertained until my sister was born. Sadly, like other lucky kids of my age, I didn’t have a bunch of kids who lived nearby and could play with me. She resorted to the only way that she could think of – introduce me to books and ensure a constant supply of them. Being the lazy goose that I was, I found reading to be total fun. Comics and short stories transported me to a different world without actually having to travel.

That habit stuck to me and I grew up reading even after I found company. You see, for people like me the reading is pretty addictive. Don’t blame me, it’s in my genes. My grandfather was a voracious reader and an equally talented writer. He seemed to have passed on his traits to me through my mum. I devoured book after book – all paperbacks and hardcovers – most of them from my local lending library, some of them from my school library and the rest,borrowed from my friends. You see, we weren’t really financially well off to buy and stock up books. Moreover, the books that I read almost always were expensive. Back then, I didn’t have Chetan Bhagat or the likes. However, I did have ( and still do) Enid Blyton, Ruskin Bond, Carolyn Keene, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie who managed to keep the likes of me occupied with simple yet intriguing stories. Oh yes, we also did have a couple of Indians on the list – RK Narayan and Vikram Seth, . I’m sure you would have heard of the latter. After all, his choice of sexuality would have caught your attention more than his books would have.

The addiction of  devouring paperbacks stuck to me till I graduated from college. Of course, like the occasional smoker, I still do pleasure myself  with a couple of paperbacks per month. I started travelling for work and couldn’t afford to carry books. Thankfully by then, the era of internet took over. This opened up the world literally for me. The restriction of having to read what the library stocked was no longer in place. With digitization I could devour stories by writers from other end of the world. You see, the cost of shipping a paperback to and from our country does burn a hole financially. Digitization seemed to be the perfect win-win solution. I started reading books by writers from all over the world. As a direct consequence of reading books from various part of the world, my thought process improved. I was never after the “best sellers”. That ideology of mine became more rooted ever since I read some fine piece of writing by people who never made it to the best seller list. Oh and yes, I also discovered some brilliant “INDIAN” writers who write just more than the Bollywood style masala stuff infused with local language. I discovered stories by Indians who actually respect the English language.

Now there, don’t try to interrupt me to debate about the language, that’s for a different day. I’m already exhausted by conversing with you, I badly need to go back to the story.

Please do yourself and the world a favor. Never disturb a person who is reading a book and do keep your ‘humble’ opinions to yourself. We all have opinions and this is mine.

Yours Sincerely,

A True-blue bibliophile

NOTE:

This post is a transcript of sorts of an actual conversation that happened between me and an obnoxious stranger. If you are offended by this post, please do live with it. I do understand that everybody is entitled to their opinion, so yes, which obviously means I am too and this is my opinion.