Monday, January 27, 2014

Do I Hear Footsteps



do I hear footsteps
clad in snow
and frost and hail

windows
guide me to your scent
that not so long ago lingered against my lips
but now, a distant memory
wrapped in a velvet scarf
I have so longingly preserved

will it be worth the wait
why have you been always so late
pleasure and pain, the conjoined twins
am I waging alone this battle of love and hate


This poem is shared with The Mag.



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mohini - Review

A beautiful and charismatic actress, a sensitive and immensely gifted director, a scheming, wily but brilliant manager 'Mohini' is the pulsating saga of three individuals, each driven by an obsession. Set in the backdrop of the bold and brazen world of Bollywood, it is a tale of passion, intrigue and suspense. The narrative moves at a roller-coaster speed and captures love in its myriad shades: infatuation, romance, commitment, lust and obsession. A young girl growing up in the backwaters of Bollywood nurses a burning desire to become the number one star in the industry. In her ruthless and sometimes reckless pursuit, she uses and is used by many individuals. However, there are two men in her life who love her to absolute distraction. One she betrays and the other she rejects. Both unleash vengeance and in a strange quirk of serendipity are pitted against each other as the novel hurtles to a throbbing, thrilling climax. 'Mohini' offers an insight into the biggest film industry the murky manipulations, the dirty deals, the shameless shenanigans, the tears behind the glycerine, the pain behind the paint and the suffering beyond the celluloid.

About the Author
Ramendra Kumar (Ramen) is a writer by passion and is Chief of Communications, Rourkela Steel Plant, Odisha. An award-winning author with twenty-three books to his credit, he spins yarns mainly for the young and the young at heart. He also dabbles in satire, poetry, fiction and travelogues. His stories have found a place in text books and anthologies published across the world. Ramen, an inspirational speaker and storyteller, is a regular at leading seminars and literary festivals, both in India and abroad.




Nothing in India can match the enigma surrounding Bollywood – the term used to refer to the Mumbai based Hindi Film industry. With crores of investment on stake, and hordes of dreams carved and shattered on a daily basis, the mysticism surrounding this magic world surely surpasses everything else, including Politics and Cricket. The lives of film stars, their activities and secrets are always a hot topic for gossips, and as such, a book based on such a plot will surely entice the reader in you.

Ramendra Kumar’s ‘Mohini’ is a tale of a young girl who dreams of making big in Bollywood. With the help of his manager, the ‘Bollywood Chanakya’ Vicky, she quickly climbs to the top of the ladder. However, the rise isn’t free from its share of compromises, and Mohini had to shed her inhibitions to achieve success and fame. Never the one to stop herself from winning in the garb of needless morals, Mohini sleeps her way into stardom, soon catapulting as the Number One heroine of Bollywood. However, not everything goes as she plans, and soon vengeance by the man who she had rejected strikes her real hard. Will she survive the blow, and get back on her feet, that’s what the climax of the story is all about.

Mohini’ is a book you will enjoy reading. The pace and the twists keep you glued, and makes it a real page-turner. Whenever you finish reading a chapter, your curiosity will get the better of you and you will wonder as to what would be happening next. As a result, you will finish up reading the whole book in a matter of a few hours.

The characterization of Mohini is well sketched, and her dreams and desires are reflected aptly. The only thing I found lacking was the emotional quotient. The story fails to get into the depth of the characters, especially Mohini, and bring out the intricacies of her feelings. As such, the story might not touch your heart, if you are expecting for a roller coaster emotional journey of a Bollywood heroine, but in case you are not, then this book is a good read for sure.

Vicky as Mohini’s guide is a well-crafted character, and with shades of grey, he surely is a reader’s delight. Vicky’s plans and ideas keep you guessing, and he is definitely the best thing in this novel. His acts keep you engaged, and his unpredictability plays on your minds. At times he is lovable, and on other occasions, dangerous. But then, he plays a pivotal role in the rise of Mohini.


'Mohini’ is a quick read, and you would enjoy it if you are a movie buff. The story beautifully portrays the murks and manipulations in the industry, and highlights how survival in Bollywood is almost synonymous to waging a war. Ramendra is a good story-teller, his style swift and crisp. However, a bit of attention towards detailing and showcasing the sensitivity of the key characters would surely have helped the story-line turn out much better.


Title: Mohini
Author: Ramendra Kumar
Publisher: Bluejay Books Pvt Ltd
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 216
Price: Rs 100
My Rating: 3/5



Her Sharp Words

her sharp words
still lingering in his tears
cold moonless night


This Haiku is shared with Haiku Heights - Sharp.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Writing Is About Rewriting"

Michelle Cohen Corasanti has a BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MA from Harvard University, both in Middle Eastern Studies. She also holds a law degree. A Jewish American, she has lived in France, Spain, Egypt and England and spent seven years living in Jerusalem. The Almond Tree is her first novel.

To read the full review of 'The Almond Tree', click here.



Congratulations Michelle on the success of your debut novel. ‘The Almond Tree’ is fetching rave reviews from all quarters, and it indeed was a pleasure reading it. Your words surely have won more than a million hearts with the sensitive portrayal of Palestinians in Israel and Gaza.

It would be a pleasure to know more about you, your writings, dreams and aspirations. In case you find any question offensive, you can chose to ignore them. I apologize in advance for such instances.


‘The Almond Tree’ is receiving praises from critics and readers, and has generated quite a buzz in the literary circle. In fact, it is even compared with Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’, which as we all know, is a modern day classic. How does it feel to be part of such an adulation? Did you ever expect this overwhelming a response? 

It’s so humbling. I never expected this type of response.


How did the idea of ‘The Almond Tree’ come about? What prompted you to choose this plot as your debut? How was the entire process of writing and publishing this book?

I lived in Israel for seven years during high school and college. I wanted to do something to help end the needless suffering that I witnessed and bring about peace, but there was nothing to be done back then. I tried to put it behind me until I read The Kite Runner and my past clawed its way out.  There was a passage in The Kite Runner about how religion and history are basically impossible to overcome. That’s when I got the idea for my novel because I saw those obstacles overcome. I thought if a doctor could write The Kite Runner than I, a lawyer, trained in writing, could write a novel. It took seven years, six editors and twenty-one writing courses.  In fourteen months, my book is coming out in I think ten languages so far by some top publishers.


Tell us something about yourself and your family.

I come from a Jewish Zionist family in Upstate New York, but my husband is Italian American. We have thirteen year old twins.


Did you always want to be a writer? What instilled this passion of penning down thoughts and transforming them into stories?

I never wanted to be a writer. Ever since I lived in Israel, I wanted to do something to bring about change, but I didn't know how until I read The Kite Runner and realized a writer can reach into readers’ hearts and change them.


What are your hobbies besides writing?

Reading, travel, movies, biking and mountain climbing.


Are you working on any new projects? If yes, what are they about and when can we expect to read them?

I’m just completing my next book. I have written about Nora and Ahmed’s story from Nora’s point of view.


If you had the option of changing something about ‘The Almond Tree’, what would that be?

I've noticed a number of readers think that my protagonist is from the West Bank because he grows up under martial law. He is actually from inside of Israel, the 1949 armistice lines. Readers don’t know that the majority of Palestinians from inside Israel were ruled by Israeli martial law until 1966. My novel starts in 1955 and for the first 100 pages, until 1966 his village is under Israeli martial law.  Israel didn't occupy the West Bank until 1967 so he couldn't possibly be from the West Bank. This is very important because Israel treats different Palestinians under its control differently.

The Palestinians inside of Israel have Israeli citizenship, learn Hebrew, but there are over 30 laws that discriminate against them as well as an entire culture of discrimination. They are non-Jews in a Jewish state. The Palestinians from the West Bank still live under Israeli military rule.

For example, whereas The Almond Tree speaks of  Israel’s scholasticide policy in Gaza, Israel has taken a different approach toward the Palestinians from Israel.

The Koenig Report of 1976 reflected Israeli thoughts on their policy toward Palestinian Israelis. Koenig wanted the number of Arab intellectuals reduced, because their frustration is potentially dangerous. He wanted to encourage "the channeling of [Arab] students into technical professions, the physical and natural sciences. These studies leave less time for dabbling in nationalism and the dropout rate is higher." Koenig wanted to make it easier for Arabs to study abroad and harder for them to return and find jobs. Israel makes military service a prerequisite for many high level jobs in science and since the Palestinian Israelis don’t serve in the military, they find it difficult to obtain work in Israel. But since they have PhDs, they can find work abroad.


Who are your role models and your favourite authors?

I love Khaled Hosseini’s books.


What would you like to say to all your readers?

Thank you so much for your support. I hope that we can shine a light. Awareness leads to understanding and understanding leads to change.


What would your message be for all the aspiring readers eager to make a mark in the writing circle?

Never give up. Read like a writer your favorite authors.  See how they made you feel a certain way. Writing is about rewriting.


Thanks a lot Michelle for your valuable time. Wishing you all the best for your future endeavors.


This interview is in association with The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books visit thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com.




"I Believe In The Power Of Light That Dispels Darkness And Overcomes Fear"

Vivek Banerjee is a pediatrician by choice and a writer by chance. His debut novel The Long Road, which was well received by the readers, was published by Cedar- an imprint of PustakMahal in December 2010. He has contributed short stories to Chicken Soup for Indian Doctor’s Soul (Westland), Shades of Love (Grapevine India), Kaleidoscope (Parlance publishers) and Shades of Sin (APK Publishers) and www.litizen.com.

He blogs at http://drvbanerjee.blogspot.in/.

You can mail him at drvbanerjee@gmail.com.

To read the full review of The Other Side, click here.




Congratulations Vivek on the superb response to ‘The Other Side’. Reading it was a wonderfully ‘scary’ delight, and we would like to know more about you, your life and your books.

In case you find any question offensive, you can choose to ignore it. I apologize in advance for such instances.


Let’s begin with knowing more about you, your education, career and family life.

I was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and grew up in different cities. My dad worked for Northern railways and the regular transfers and postings resulted in frequent changes of school and many sets of friends who I am still in touch with. I am a trained Pediatrician and have a successful practice. My wife Sonia is an Obstetrician. My son is training to be a Computer Engineer in Bangalore and my daughter is in school.


Medical diagnosis and writing stories are like chalk and cheese. How did the amalgamation of the two happen?

No I don’t think so. Many well-known writers have been doctors from the field of medicine. Michael Crichton, Robin Cook, Taslima Nasreen and A J Cronin come to my mind. Not that I am comparing myself to the greats. But yes, a Doctor is privy to many things like birth, death, sickness and raw human emotions. He/ She is in a position to observe the myriad colours life from very close. So the doctor can be a very effective writer when it comes to portraying human feeling or emotions.


You have featured in quite a number of books. Tell us about them.

The Long Road, a novel about young doctors was my debut novel. It did get a fair share of critical acclaim and is very close to my heart. I have also written for various anthologies like Shades of Love, Shades of Sin, Carnival and Kaleidoscope. I won the best story award for The Hunter, my contribution to Kaleidoscope. I am also a part of Chicken Soup for Indian Doctor’s Soul.


What has been your most satisfying story till date, which you have penned down? Also, which story do you feel could have been written in a better manner?

I always feel that I could have done much better when I read any of my stories later. But I am very sentimental about The Long Road. Out of the short stories, I would rate Ayesha, which was published in Carnival, as my best. I am also fond of my stories in Shades of Sin.


Talking about ‘The Other Side’, how was the entire process of writing this book? How easy or difficult is it to write a book with a co-writer?

It was a breeze. I have loved ghost stories ever since I was a kid. I grew up reading Satyajit Ray and Leela Majumdar in Bangla. The influence of these greats shaped my stories for this book. As for my co-writer Faraaz Kazi, he is like a younger brother or a favourite nephew. I am almost twice his age but we get along fine. I found it very easy to work with him.


Which is your favourite story in ‘The Other Side’?

The Long Weekend is my favourite. I loved the planchette part and the twist in the end. And the two protagonists, Sachin and Shikha, are almost real to me. It seems that I have known them for years. I am also partial to The Muse Comes Calling.


Do you personally believe in ghosts? Are any of the stories in ‘The Other Side’ inspired by paranormal happenings that you might have experienced?

The honest answer would be that I do not believe in ghosts. But I believe in the power of darkness, the power of fear and above all in the power of light that dispels darkness and overcomes fear.


What are your other hobbies besides writing? Also, what are your upcoming books this year?

I love reading, listening to music, travelling and photography. Bird photography seems to be my latest passion. As for further writing, there are no definite plans as of now. The Other Side is a bestseller and I am a part of a classy anthology like Carnival, so I can say providence has been kind to me. But yes, I do dream about writing a block- buster novel.


What message would you like to share with your readers?

Dear readers, love me or hate me, but please don’t ignore me. And do buy my books by the dozen.


There are many aspiring writers eager to tell their stories to the world. What would be your advice to these new and aspiring storytellers?

Do not write for an audience. Write for yourself! If name and fame has to come, it will. If it does not, at the least, nobody can take the rapture of creativity, the ecstasy of writing and the power to shape the destiny of the characters’ you create away from you.


Thanks a lot Vivek for your time. Wishing you all the best for your future.



This interview is in association with The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books visit thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com.




Here I Come, To Steal Your Words

I can't write, no more
My mind all numb
But God, I have to weave
Won't lay down dumb

And thus here I come
To steal your words
To rob your thoughts
To loot your pearls
And plunder the lots

I envy you o' poet
For the beauty you carve
The soft touch of your rhymes
Serenading
Against the moonlit night
As the waves dance to your tunes
And so does the world

Malevolent you term me
Whatever
I wouldn't lose myself
To the meager honey dipped sweetness
That you so perfectly emote
Repulsive
And my heart cries
Failure and jealousy burn me deep

I probe further
Who cares about originality, anyways
Nay, no more

And thus here I come
To steal your words
To rob your thoughts
To loot your pearls
And plunder the lots

The ugly villain am I
But fame is what I desire
I am a cheat, yes
But that's all there to me
Your success will now be mine

Am addicted to your music
And they would now flow from my pages
Credibility, may be not
But success guaranteed

I am the evil
I am the devil
I would turn your world dark
Curse me how much you like, but
Forgive me for my sins
Your words are what I would steal
Feelings and sentiments I would peel
And then the cosmos would sing my song
Not realizing that I have been always wrong

But, that's it, and here I come
To steal your words
To rob your thoughts
To loot your pearls
And plunder the lots.





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's Never Too Late - Review

In a nation where most women are taught to be submissive at every stage in life, Maya stands out. In a society that finds fault in women for heinous crimes like rape, Maya stands up. Maya and Rajat fall in love while they study at IIT Kanpur, their daughter Sejal only makes the bond stronger even after years of marriage. Life is almost perfect when two petty criminals decide to make her fairy tale life a tale of horror and fear with their intention of molesting her. Will she be able to fight her fate while Rajat is away and save herself and her five-year-old? Will she be able to undo all stereotypes and face the male-dominated society after that fateful night? Will Rajat stand up with her as she decides to battle her fears and take the culprits to their just punishment? Its Never Too Late is a story of every woman who decides to fight her fears and even destiny of every human who chooses the right over the easy of every wife who shoulders all responsibilities of the house and of every mother who is unwavering in her resolve to ensure that her daughter grows up in a safer world.

About the Author
Priyanka Baranwal is a freelance writer, poet and blogger. She is a science graduate and a diploma holder in Teacher Training and Textile Designing. She has been a well-appreciated teacher and has also worked with an NGO in Bangalore. She loves music, literature, writing and travelling. Originally from Mirzapur (U.P.), Its Never Too Late is her debut novel.



‘It’s Never Too Late’ isn’t just a story, or a fiction that you can read in leisure and keep away on your bookshelves; rather it’s a tale, an inspiration, of standing tall and fighting against adversity, facing blows and yet not being unfazed by them. It’s a depiction of bravery, nudging you to follow suit and get rid of your worst enemy – Fear.

We all have that inherent sense of fear playing in our subconscious; fear that can paralyze us and ruin our happiness. How often have we fallen prey to the lure of avoiding the fearful path and instead settling for an easier alternative? However, that never helps in the long run. Only if one can eradicate this sense of fear from one’s mind and soul can life become bigger and more beautiful.

Maya and Rajat’s friendship blossoms while they are studying together in IIT-Kanpur. As they spend more time together, their easy camaraderie paves way to love. They take a while to realize their true feelings, but once they do, they get married amidst promises and hope of a blissful life with each other. Their daughter, Sejal, accentuates their happiness and they are now a perfect family, full of love and care for each other.

However, things take a darker turn on that fateful night when Rajat leaves Maya and Sejal to attend the wedding of his sister. In the creepy silence of the night, two men enter her house, evil intent lurking in their eyes, as they attempt to molest her, and eventually try to kill her and Sejal. A night full of horror and monstrous immorality clutches hold of Maya; but then, the magical words enter her mind – ‘It’s Never Too Late’, and hereon, she starts controlling her fear, and shows immense grit and determination to come out into the light.

This book poses a flurry of questions, the doubts burning in the mind like an unexplored terrain. Rape is the fastest growing crime in the country, and incidentally, the society as a whole has still not been able to curb this heinous act. There has been laws, amendments and what not, but violence against women is still on the rise, and that in itself is a shameful feature of this ‘modern’ world where we live in.

Priyanka Baranwal shines on her debut, weaving a plot that coherently deals with the different dimensions of life and fear, and how the hurdles can be overcome with faith and love. Through numerous instances in the book, the author has highlighted the plight of several victims of such brutality, and how they now live in denial and a sense of hopelessness. Priyanka, through her protagonist Maya, gives a clear message of accepting your fear, and then getting rid of them.

The characters are very real, and you can easily relate to them. Rajat, Maya and Sejal are the pillars of support to each other, and it’s the beautiful love existing between them that helps the three in aiding to their wounds. As a reader, my heart goes out to all three of them, and especially to Sejal, for everything that they had to face. Through this fiction, Priyanka has unveiled the naked truth of crime that’s so dominant in our society now.

This book is a motivation, and a story of bravery, faith and courage, to be read by readers, both men and women, ‘cause fear, of any kind, is rooted deep within all of us. It’s never too late to take the first step against fear, and once you start fighting against your fear, you will explore new dimensions in your life.


Do pick up a copy, read, and get inspired. After all, it’s never too late to live with your head held high, sans all fear.


Title: It's Never Too Late
Author: Priyanka Baranwal
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 192
Price: Rs 150
My Rating: 4/5




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Braving The Tide



You carve the music as I paint the rain
Together, my friend, we will endure the pain.

My canvas strumming your pattern, music in your soul
Nodding in acknowledgment, our dreams, our whole.

We crave for loneliness, solitude is delight
'cause nobody pays a dime for our worthy plight.

In tears and smiles, we are two best friends
Look how this rain showers blessings, the love it sends.

We celebrate our failure, embrace our pride
Life isn't just about winning, but also braving the tide.


This poem is shared with



Monday, January 20, 2014

Counting Dawn And Dusk

counting dawn and dusk
on fingers of solitude
I wait for you, still


This Haiku is shared with Haiku My Heart.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Key

The clouds bellowed, lightning struck, and it rained thunder, the lazy downpours doing little to extinguish the fiery passion that engulfed the two of them. Walls crumbled, gobbled by the intensity of the fire that consumed the cosmos. Pain turned to pleasure, and pleasure to addiction, as the globe shook repeatedly under their shuddering delight.

The key, the sole witness, hung lifelessly at the door. Little did they know, that his wife had returned earlier than expected, and was walking towards their Eden.

The key shrieked, they moaned, and lights turned on.

His wife stood at the door, horrified, transfixed.


This 100 words Microfiction is shared with Friday Fictioneers - They Key.




Friday, January 17, 2014

Undercover In High Heels - Review

Secret affairs, hunky gardeners, and housewives desperate enough to bare it all... welcome to Magnolia Lane, TV's hottest new prime time show. A place where L.A. shoe designer Maddie Springer should be in fashion heaven. That is until the body of a rising young starlet is found dead on the show's set. Now it's up to Maddie to sift through a leading lady with a secret, an actor on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a sexy cyber scandal, and one tabloid reporter who'll stop at nothing to get the story of the century. Not to mention Maddie's hot-cold relationship with the case's familiar lead detective, Jack Ramirez. In a world where secrets, lies, and deception can earn you an Oscar, Maddie plays the role of a lifetime to catch Hollywood's hottest killer. But if she doesn't watch her step, Maddie's fifteen minutes of fame just may be her last.

About the Author
Gemma Halliday, author of the High Heels Mysteries, has received numerous awards, including a Golden Heart, a National Readers Choice award and three RITA nominations, as well as hitting both the New York Times and the USA Today bestseller list. She currently lives in San Francisco Bay Area where she is hard at work on several new projects including more books in the Maddie Springer Stories.



The 'High Heels Mysteries' have turned out to be an obsession of late. While ‘Spying in High Heels’ introduced me to the intoxication, ‘Killer in High Heels’ turned me into an addict, and now, having done with ‘Undercover in High Heels’, the third book in the series, I find it difficult not to consider myself as a fanatic reader of this series.

Gemma Halliday does what she knows best, weaving mysteries, murders, shootouts, but with a dash of humor, so much that it leaves an intriguing sense of satisfaction and longing within the heart of the reader in you. Top it all with the brilliant hot and cold romance between the two lead characters, Jack Ramirez and Maddie Springer, and you have an enticing cocktail that you can’t afford to miss.

‘Undercover in High Heels’ takes the readers on the sets of Magnolia Lane, the hottest new prime time show on TV, and instantly gets you hooked to the Hollywood-style environment. Episodes are shot and you witness the entire shooting process with a thrill of a teenager, the descriptions so perfect that they make you feel standing right on the sets. However, season episodes are not the only things that are shot here. There is a lady with the gun, hell bent on shooting Maddie whenever she sees her, as well as a murderer haunting the sets of Magnolia Lane. Maddie’s curiosity does lead her to the maze, as always, where she eventually gets stuck among these menaces. How she copes with it, and comes out safe, unraveling the mysteries, form the crux of this brilliantly designed plot.

The more you read the books in this series, the higher are your probability of falling in love with Maddie. She is that uncertain, confused, girl next door, who can’t stop herself in quenching her thirst to find solution to mysteries, and in the process, invites the wrath of Detective Jack Ramirez, her fantasy. Her expressions, and her efforts to get back in the good book of Ramirez will surely through you in a fit of giggles, and at the end of the day, you will just hope with smile that all things turn good for this lady. The love between the two progresses a notch higher in this book, and we love the romance and the sparkling tensions of love between them.

However, like the other books in this series, one can’t write about ‘Undercover in High Heels’ without mentioning Dana, the ever vivacious, chirpy and always on the lookout for guys, Maddie’s best friend. Dana’s dialogues and her ‘ohmigods’ make the book all the more fun, and you instantly wish you had a friend like Dana in real life. She is a real crazy character, and just too lovable.

The other characters provide the support that’s needed, and make this book a great read in whole. Seriously, if you want to read a murder mystery, and laugh at the same time, this book is tailor made for you. I don’t know how Gemma brings out humor in the gravest of situations, but I am glad she does, and that’s what makes this book a real beauty.

‘Undercover in High Heels’, as expected, does go undercover, and steal my mind and heart.


Title: Undercover In High Heels
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
No. of Pages: 260
Price: ₹ 299
My Rating: 4/5




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lady On The Moon



"Momma, what are those dark spots on the moon?"

"That is an old lady spinning yarn, my little boy."

"Momma, why is the old lady spinning yarn?"

"So that she can knit dreams for you every night."

"Come on Momma," said five years old Jack giggling and playfully smacking his tiny forehead with his right hand palm, "don't you know this - there is no lady on the moon, those dark spots are hills and craters."


This Micro-fiction is shared with Five Sentence Fiction - Moon.



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Grimace

bored of his talks
she left the date incomplete
angered, he grimaced


This Haiku is shared with Haiku Heights - Grimace.



Eve's Tomb - Review

Vinamzi Lance, an Oxford graduate is shocked to hear about the murder of his Professor. He is more perplexed when he learns that the last message from the Professor is for him.
However, the message turns out to be a code. Along with the Professor’s son Bruce, they embark on a frantic hunt through the Vatican and then to North America after the lost prophecy of Nostradamus. Retrieving the prophecy is not as easy as two great powers, the Church and the Virgins (a secret cult) embroil as they think it holds the destiny of the world. Ironically all the intricate plotting of the Virgins and the Church turn to mayhem as they confront an adroit deception. Finally, the last hopes of saving the world from a nuclear disaster and the battle of the sexes are in the hands of Vinamzi and his friends… Will they be able to stop the destruction or will Eve’s tomb be a burial ground of them all…

About the Author
D. Ronald Hadrian is studying English Literature. Apart from writing and reading, he loves trekking and touring. He continuously tries to improve himself in all aspects of life. He acts in dramas in college, and is part of the Drama Club in college. Besides writing fiction, he writes poetry and drama too. His first work, Hiron - The Dark Blood, was published in 2008.



Science meets religion and religion meets literature in D.R.Hadrian’s 'Eve’s Tomb', plotting up a story-line that revolves around the lost prophecy of Nostradamus, and how an Oxford Graduate, Vinamzi Lance, seeks for it, along with the help of his deceased Professor’s son, Bruce. The events take place in several parts of the globe, from Vatican and then to North America, setting high expectations of a thrilling chase of missing symbolism and unraveling secret codes.

The story starts off well, with a strange ritual that we have not heard of before, and thus we get fascinated to it. Soon, the Professor gets murdered, and all hell breaks loose, when it is prophecised that the world would come to an end. Vinamzi and Bruce, who are entrusted with the task of finding the truth, encounter several dead ends, and are often challenged in their quest. They seek to solve the mystery, but then things go out of hand, and trust turns to deception, as the darkness behind the veils are revealed. The readers read on, in anticipation of what-comes-next, as it wouldn't be easy to keep this book away once you start reading it.

On one hand this book is blessed with a well-devised plot. The readers cannot predict what would happen next, and this adds an alluring charm to the story. The suspense is always there, egging the reader to go on and on. However, on the other hand, I couldn't stop thinking that this book could have been presented in a lot better manner. Firstly, the cover pic is dull, and devoid of the brightness and beauty that would attract one to pick up this book from the shelf. Perhaps, a better cover pic in the subsequent editions will definitely help this book. Secondly, I found several editing glitches in different parts of the story. This again acts as a hindrance when a reader would like to read a book in one go. Lack of proper editing, including grammatical errors, can prove to be a major obstacle in the path to a reader’s heart. Also, the characterization, and the relationship between the protagonists could have been sketched elaborately, making it easier for the readers to relate to them.

Some of the chapters were written in a beautiful manner. However, the book comes interspersed with parts that needed a little more of polishing, to make them shine as a coherent whole. This again diluted the intelligent story-line, and made me, as a reader, feel not too deeply satisfied. A tighter writing, with a better editing, and a brighter cover pic, probably in the next edition, could really work wonders for ‘Eve’s Tomb.’

If you are a lover of mysteries and thrillers, this book is for you. You will love the story and the plot, and will appreciate Hadrian for coming up with a subject so enchanting. If the author and his team can work towards the flaws that I have highlighted above, and rectify them soon, this book can really turn out to be an excellent read. After all, the plot deserves to be read, and a fluent storytelling and style will ensure its success.



Title: Eve's Tomb
Author: D.R.Hadrian
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
No. of Pages: 248
Price: Rs 150
My Rating: 2/5




Sunday, January 12, 2014

Oneness



We were not supposed to fall in love, the customs of this world holding us back since long; perhaps, she was too naive to have crossed the forbidden lines, my heart following suit, blindfolded.

Love wasn't a gift I could relish, but seeing her smile those fluttering lashes, I couldn't obey my mind, and fell deep into the crevice from which I could hardly find any other exit.

She asked, her voice resonating against my heartbeats like a sweet melody, "Why do you keep talking of going away? Why can't we stay like this forever?"

My lips quivered as I didn't know how to explain to her that our union wasn't possible; she was, after all, my reincarnation, my rebirth, in this era; and I, was her past, the figments of memories spanning across centuries trapped in her soul, that belonged to me as well, but refused to acknowledge our oneness.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.



Recharge Your Life, Recharge Your Love

A New Year wish, with folded hands,
I pray to you, my tired strands,
Do rise, awake, and come with me,
Life is tough, and so is she.

As I race across the sands of time,
I confront my mistakes, the biggest of crimes,
Never had I taken care of my hair,
Resulting in a curl of weakened layer.

They say that tresses are girl’s biggest treasure,
But boys too require them in equal measure,
Ignoring this belief I have lived till now,
Time to change, but how, how, how.

“Is this your hair, or a bag of wool,
Unkempt and rough, oh you stupid fool,
If you can’t take care of your hair,
I am sorry, but this life, we can’t share.”

The wind was blowing, mocking my plight,
A few dark curls went on a flight,
“Am sorry,” I said, “Please forgive me for once,
Please please please, just give me another chance.”

She looked up at me, tears welled in her eyes,
“Why don’t you ever listen to my cries?
Recharge your hair, recharge our lives
And then we can go for movies, with Coke and French Fries.”

I questioned why
She responded with a smile, shy.

“Often on bikes when we traveled far,
I dreamt of romance and lots of pyaar,
Your dark hair I would caress with my fingers
May the sweet smell of our love forever lingers.

“But then it breaks, and I confront truth,
Your hair rock hard, smelling sour fruit,
How could we ever be happy like this?
Listen to me, my dear, please, oh please.”

I fall down on my feet, guilt choking my voice,
My mind completely numb, and yet full of noise,
And then I feel the warmth of her hands
“Don’t worry my love, we can cure these strands.”

She walks to a store, and with a bottle she returns
Sunsilk’ shining, and now I learnt,
Love your hair, ‘cause they are a Gift of God
Recharge your life, and you won't ever miss a positive nod.



This is my official entry to Recharge Your Hair Recharge Your Life contest organized by Indiblogger in association with Sunsilk.

Check out the official Page of Sunsilk below:




Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Other Side - Review

'A slow rasping sound made me turn. I jumped back, the cell phone leaving my hands and smashing against the concrete floor. Someone was seated on the chair, rocking back and forth. Through the fallen light, I could see those hands placed on the arms of the chair, two gruesome wrinkled limbs with ugly boils plastered over the black skin. The red bangles on its wrists shone in my eyes, momentarily blinding me. That thing and I call it a thing because I could sense it wasn't human as no human could have such a hideous form, as vile an existence as the one seated opposite to my horrified self.'
From a honeymoon in the hill that goes horribly wrong to an obsessed lover who wants his first love in life and in death; From a mentally deranged man who collects body parts of various women to stitch together his dream girl to a skeptic who enters a mansion of horrors to win a bet and much more, this book is filled with scenarios that are guaranteed to give you goosebumps and sleepless nights.
The Other Side is a collection of thirteen tales of the paranormal; a world that our eyes refuse to see, our ears deny hearing and our senses ignore the feel of. This is a book for someone who is brave enough to take up this invitation to journey through uncharted waters along with the authors, who were inspired by some bizarre experiences to pen down this work where the lines of reality have been blurred by the footsteps of imagination.
Each story takes you on a tour de force of unadulterated horror and draws upon the deepest fear in the human mind- the fear of the Unknown!

About the Authors
The recipient of the YCOF National Excellence Award and the winner of the National Debut Youth Fiction Award 2013, Faraaz Kazi is also called as ‘The Nicholas Sparks of India.’ Kazi is rated amongst the top romance writers in the country. A certified soft-skills trainer and a three-time post grad, Kazi operates his own academy in Mumbai and is the Founder and CEO of DigiImprint Solutions, a social media agency for personal and corporate brands. He also consults for a few public relations firms and publishing houses. He is fondly referred to as ‘The Young Marketer’ and operates a revolutionary blog with the same name and writes for major media houses.
Kazi is a fellow member of the esteemed ‘Film Writers Association of India’. ‘Truly Madly Deeply’, his debut mainstream romance novel is the only Indian book to be nominated in seven categories of the Good reads annual readers’ choice awards, apart from being the first Indian novel to win the ‘Best Debut (Romance)’ during the same awards and is also the only Indian book in the ‘Top 100 YA Global Fiction’ list. He is a voracious reader and counts singing as his second love. He is one of the most highly followed figures on social platforms from the literary world. He can be reached at contact@faraazkazi.com. To know more about him do log onto www.faraazkazi.com. Of course, he does ‘face’ books and ‘tweets’ when he is not speaking.
Vivek Banerjee is a pediatrician by choice and a writer by chance. His debut novel The Long Road, which was well received by the readers, was published by Cedar- an imprint of PustakMahal in December 2010. He has contributed short stories to Chicken Soup for Indian Doctor’s Soul (Westland), Shades of Love (Grapevine India), Kaleidoscope (Parlance publishers) and Shades of Sin (APK Publishers) and www.litizen.com...
You can mail him at drvbanerjee@gmail.com.




Here is a suggestion – don’t skip any part of this book, and by that I mean you got to read the ‘Dedicated To’, Foreword, ‘Table of Contents’, Prelude, and Epilogue sections, along with the thirteen stories of course, ‘cause each of the above serves to heighten the chilling sensation that you can associate this book, 'The Other Side', with. Not a single page should be left unread.

Talking of page, why not begin with the cover? And God, you need to look at it to believe me, this cover radiates brilliance. Absolutely adhering to the theme of paranormal and horror, the cover will really set your mood for the day night, depicting those eyes in red that ask in a sinister manner, “Dare To Visit Alone?” and you can hear a strange guffaw, mystical and haunting, somewhere in the background.

Oh stop it, ‘tis all in the head? Or is it?

The Foreword is nicely sketched, and provides a clean insight into what this book is all about. The words are coherent and clear, and you know what the two talented authors are up to. There is no denying the fact that a lot of time and effort have been spent to produce the thirteen stories that form this book, and add to it a brilliant Foreword, you know, this night is surely gonna run long.

But wait, the stories don’t start yet. Right after the Foreword, we have the Prelude, where the two characters are our very own, Faraaz Kazi and Vivek Banerjee, discussing horror experiences, and finally settle down on a mutual agreement of penning down stories together, and am glad they did. Having read them before, I had high expectations from them, and true to my belief, they didn't disappoint.

The positives are many, and that’s always a good thing for the readers, isn't it? The horror genre isn't an easy one to write, as the genre itself depends on sound and sight to evoke the feel, while an author’s job is cut out in this respect as he doesn't have the luxury of either. However, full marks to Vivek and Faraaz for not letting this to be a hindrance. Most of the stories are well suited to the theme, and the unique plots for all ensure that your interest is kept alive right throughout the book.

The book takes on a rollicking start with ‘That Fateful Night’ as the first story. It’s satisfying and makes me crave for more. Does ‘The Long Weekend’ satiate my thirst? Nay, instead it augments it, and I am now comfortably snuggled in my blanket, starting to read the third one. But wait, who was that standing behind the door?

No one. Don’t worry. Ghosts are not real. I turn to the third tale.

‘The Man Who Did Not Fear’ is a story where the protagonist attempts to dare a haunt, and haven’t we all tried that in some point of our lives, accepting the challenges from our friends to pay a visit and spend time in a scary circumstance? Well, I have, and I could relate perfectly with this story. However, the fourth story, ‘Strangers In The Night’ turns out to be a dampener for me. I didn't like how it ended, and was expecting something better out of it.

Never mind. I turned towards the fifth story when a sudden gust of cold wind made me turn towards the window. Heck, it was closed. Where did the breeze come from? Was my heart thumping? Come on, this is the twenty-first century, don’t think crazily, I convinced myself, and started reading ‘The Muse Comes Calling.’ This is another story that I didn't like much. I mean the narration is swift, the plot unique, but again, I didn't like the way it concluded. Could there have been a better ending? May be yes, may be no. Perhaps, I felt it too unrealistic to be true, but then again, that’s the way I thought. You, and others, though, might enjoy this story to the fullest, depending on how you perceive and expect events to happen.

But yes, ‘The Muse Comes Calling’ has one of the best plots I have EVER come across. My only complaint – the ending.

‘The Lady In The Pub’, and wow, what can I say. I loved it as most of the other stories before, and as the rest that will follow. It’s a sweet tale of losing one’s love, and how it haunts forever. Talking of love, what can be more precious than ‘A Mother’s Love’, and the two authors beautifully highlight that fact with a pinch of emotion in this otherwise paranormal story.

‘Red Bangles’ is scary, but of course, that’s what this book is meant to be, but by scary I mean SCARY. The narration highlighting the villainous intent of the protagonist is polished, and you can read his mind and loathe him for his actions, but the image of the red bangles never leave you.

Wait, did I hear the tinkling of bangles? Man, now this is turning out to be eerie. I got up from my bed, and turned on the lights of the other rooms as well. ‘Let there be light’ – I thought, and philosophized, and came back under my blanket.

‘The Mark of the Beast’ – beware of the beast, it will rescue you, but then, you wouldn't like to be rescued. What happens when you start feeling that death would have been preferable? Such a condition would truly be depressing, and this story revolves around this subject in an apt fashion. ‘The Mystery Lake’ starts mysteriously, and I loved how the authors juggled two plots and conjoined them to form one brilliant piece. It has the element of adventure in it, and keeps your pulses racing. However, nothing can prepare you for ‘Possession’, and let me warn you here. Do not expect anything out of this story, ‘cause what you think won’t happen. The authors take this story to a completely different dimension, with twists and turns you fail to fathom, and once you are done with it, you yell in delight – “Wow, now this was something.”

‘Unfulfilled Desires’ as the name suggests, revolve around, well, unfulfilled desires, about love and happiness, replaced with hatred and betrayal. This story is located across several towns and cities, and the beautiful description of the locales makes you believe that you are travelling too with the protagonist.

‘Dreamgirl’ the 13th story, is as chilling as the supposedly doomed number itself. This is a perfect conclusion to the collection, and certain parts in the narration will certainly make you shiver, as I am shivering now.

I woke up with a start. When did I fall asleep? I know not. When did I pen down the review? No idea. All I could remember was, what? My mind suddenly seemed numb, and as I looked around, I found ‘The Other Side’ staring creepily at me, those red eyes, oops, did they blink? I felt so.

And then it all came back. I was so engrossed in reading and writing the review last night that I had lost track of the time, and soon after I was done with the book, my mind programmed me to sleep. The sun had risen across the cool winter morning, and I made myself a cup of tea.

Now, coming to the part I didn't like. Several stories in the book have the element of physical intimacy, which is fine, as that’s what the plots demanded. However, I felt that those could have been written in a manner that would be more subtle and aesthetic, targeting not the actual happenings and details of the sexual encounters in a physical manner, but rather, should have focused on the sensory perception, making the entire story all the more fascinating and literary satisfying. This is something I will definitely expect from both the authors in the near future.

Time to conclude the review with the three favorites of mine, and they turn out to be:
  •       Possession,
  •         The Long Weekend,
  •      The Lady In the Pub.
I look at my watch, and I freeze. The hands are stuck at exactly 12. I hear a muffled cry, and I look at the book cover. The eyes grow in shape, and a deep raspy voice echoes in my room – “The Other Side … Dare To Visit Alone.”


Title: The Other Side
Authors: Vivek Banerjee, Faraaz Kazi
Publisher: Mahaveer Publishers
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Short Stories
No. of Pages: 320
Price: Rs 150
My Rating: 4/5


This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books visit thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com.





Friday, January 10, 2014

Uff Ye Emotions 2 - Review



To read the full review, click here.


Title: Uff Ye Emotions 2
Editor: Vinit K. Bansal
Contributors: Vinit K. Bansal, Mahi Singla, Kunal Marathe, Shalini Katyal, Udita Pal, Himanshu Appie Chhabra, Siddhartha Yadav, Heema Shirvaikar, Ishani Malhotra, Saravana Kumar Murugan, Tarang Sinha, Meghant Parmar and Heena Ahuja.
Publisher: General Press
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
No. of Pages: 192
Price: Rs 140
My Rating: 3/5



Thursday, January 09, 2014

A Drink My Drink



a drink, my drink
o' let me sink
I can't write tonight
'cause words don't blink

perfect in purple
and a lime of green
a drink, o' drink
satiate my thirst, now so keen

a barrage of doubts
creep in my den
maggots and roaches
grab hold of my pen
I lay down in the basket
truth seems so insane
dusts trap me in its web
and tears start to rain

I taste of memories and prison alike
hunted by the wolves, and thunder-strike
I know not my name, shit, am ashamed
racing away to nowhere, on once faithful bike

peace and sorrow
hand in hand
is this my destiny
but, wait, am yet to land

a drink, my drink
o let me sink
I ain't talking tonight
'cause words never think



This Poem is shared with






Monday, January 06, 2014

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Storm, Will You Promise Me Again

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 45; the forty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


Storm
do come soon
I love how you cool my heart
the curtains fly in sync with my hair
as I indulge in sinful delight
of savoring the rain drops on my skin
wet, refreshed, nourished
the pleasant breeze
running past my open window
teasing, chasing, flying

and here you are
knocking against my window
the lights go numb in the streets below
enveloping the world
in a darkness that's soothing
as I relish the moments
my bedroom, the perfect den
to envision both
the motion
as well as the stillness
this evening grants me delight
and a peaceful camaraderie

but then you depart
like a lover who tricks, betraying
my faith, the trust I bestowed
Storm, you promised me once
of never hurting the souls
who lived among the rocks
and played with the mud
why then do you revel in their miseries
the huts, abandoned of life
trees obeying gravity as the branches
cut through the irony of
lives resting under debris
a cry here, a shout there
feeble pain captured, and released
the stars look down silently
ensuring the guilt rise through my food-pipe
ugly bile, a mockery of my plight

the night after the storm
calls out my name
announcing in muter whispers
of tragedies locked in dusty panes
that we never count
which we never fathom
we forget, and we move
over ashes of pain, and depleted sorrows

Storm
will you promise me again
to not harm the harmed
and be a peaceful companion
of harmony and love
let the breeze that cools my mind
also bring happiness to all our kind



The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 01


Saturday, January 04, 2014

Sudhi - Kannan : An Elephantic Adventure - Review

Sudhi is a common ten year old notorious kid. Kannan is a common cool dad. Boss is a common mind bending terrorist. School is hectic, Work is crazy, so Sudhi and Kannan decide to bunk a day off from their routine lives. The trip is to the Elephanta Island located a few kilometres away from the coast of Mumbai. There is a surprise waiting for them in the form of three novice terrorists. As you read this, they are heading towards the island to capture it. It seems possible, since Boss knows a trick or two with hypnosis. Beware, the Coast Guard will be undercover. Hypnotized soldiers will take over the island. Bullets will rip through the night sky and a ten year old boy is about to change the course of every fool proof plan. This adventure is going to be a blast. You are invited.

About the Author
Krishna Raj H.K. wants to know more about writing. True, he has done his schooling from The Indian School-Bahrain. He has completed graduation from S.I.E.S-Navi Mumbai and holds a P.G. Diploma from I.I.P.M-Mumbai.
A few years down the line, he begins to feel that there are uncharted territories when it comes to communication and word play ... or is it just Pink Floyd?




An adventure novel, filled with dosage of humour, and bullet-ripping action; sounds like an interesting combo. Yeah, for sure.

And that was one primary reason I picked up this book to read. ‘Sudhi Kannan: An Elephantic Adventure’ promised to be everything that would strike the chords of a voracious reader like me – drama, adventure, thrill and the chase. The cover, bright and attractive, invites you towards it, promising you on an adventure, an Elephantic one, which you wouldn’t like to miss. At least, I didn’t, and thus I started turning over the pages, one chapter at a time, slowly, gradually.

The protagonists of the story, as the name suggests, are Sudhi, a ten year old notorious kid, and his father, Kannan. Kannan performs the role of a single parent, and is more of a friend to Sudhi than a preaching guardian. The father-son camaraderie is very well portrayed in the piece, and their constant banter and funny conversations often makes you smile. In fact, the book starts of as a light read, and the father-son duo is successful, to a certain extent, in catching hold of your attention straight away.

The adventure begins when Sudhi and Kannan decide to skip the hectic lives of school and work, respectively, and relish a trip to the Elephanta Island, located near the coast of Mumbai. Pooja, Sudhi’s school friend, and her mother, Megha, too join them, and the day promises to be a good relaxing experience. However, things do not turn out as expected, and soon they find themselves trapped in a villainous scheme where they are taken as hostages by Boss, a terrorist who excels in the art of hypnotism, and his aides. Ransom is demanded, and the adventure progresses.

The plot speaks smartly of uniqueness, with characters like Sudhi and Kannan, who are so different from the regular fares that we read about. Thus, we can see that the book has a lot of positives that the author can carry forward for his next venture.

Unfortunately, it also has a few flaws that comes out as a hindrance to the flow of this story. The author takes his time to build up the events, and that somehow slows down the pace of the narration. True, characterization and shaping up the plot is a key ingredient in every story, but the recipe should have been taken care of as well. What happens here is that the story seems to lag behind in places, and that’s certainly not a good thing when the genre is young adventure.

Also, several chapters appeared to be an extension of the previous ones. The result was that I felt like reading over the same thing again, with of course, a few differences. A better editing would have been appreciated, and definitely it could have led to a more compact and polished product.

However, the author surely exudes a lot of confidence in adopting a unique plot so early in his writing career. My guess is that 'Sudhi Kannan: An Elephantic Adventure' is just the beginning, the start, of a series of adventures revolving around this pair. If the author decides to come out with a sequel, I would love to get hold of it. However, as I already mentioned, a better job by the editors will surely do wonders, and I will be hoping for that in near future.


Title: Sudhi - Kannan : An Elephantic Adventure
Author: Krishna
Publisher: Blackbuck Publication
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Adventure
No. of Pages: 292
Price: Rs 180
My Rating: 2/5




And It Rains

a lone dewdrop
awakens the petal
and it rains


This Haiku is shared with Haiku My Heart.



Friday, January 03, 2014

Moments

She smiled at his picture, his deep eyes, passionate and brimming with life, making her weak at her knees.

It was their fifth marriage anniversary, and she had made the arrangements - cakes, flowers and champagne, to celebrate their love and togetherness.

As the clock struck seven, she got up from the bed - he would be back home soon, and she wanted to look the best for him today.

The doorbell didn't ring, neither the phone, but it rained, like that eventful night, when moments had come knocking into her life, as she saw the lifeless body of his being slowly carried away in an ambulance, numb, desolate and in white, exactly three years ago.

She waited with the cake and the candles; her love will bring him back to her, she knew, one day, someday; and till then, she would just live with the moments that were gifted to her, full of tears and the red dusk of hope.


This Five Sentence Fiction is shared with Five Sentence Fiction - Moments.



One

the pitcher
burdened with the last drop
of life
who will have it

~ o ~

one boy
one girl
in search of love
one yes
is all it takes
one no
and it just breaks

~ o ~

the lone shoe
waits for company
at the temple step

~ o ~

one promise
one smile
and at times
one tear

~ o ~

one star
shines over my rooftop
with the kite I fly

~ o ~

one rain
is all it takes
to bring back prosperity
and faith


This Small Stone is shared with Theme Thursday - One.





Evening Sky

no more can I plot
lines on the evening sky
dots lost in city