Sunday, June 29, 2014

That Glint

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that glint
reading his letters
a key to her present
as her nails chart the words
in a single stroke of love

somewhere in the sea
she knows, he must be visioning
them in galactic pleasure
together, in moonlit embraces
when eyes kiss nectar
on sultry rose petals

the player of her dreams
gifting her moments
"attach them to the beads
and keep them safe
yes, those promises"

scratch, scratch
her pen on paper
blotting what is left unsaid
thoughts confine to meandering syllables
"It isn't raining yet"
"We are short of grain"
"Laxmi wants a new doll"
"Bholu came first in class"
"When are you returning?"
"Missing you"
"A lot"
"I went to the doctor, today"
"Come soon fast"

"You are going to become a father"

through the open window
the wind laughs naughtily
teasing her
or was it him
caressing her half open tresses
that smell of mahogany
and the cool ocean breeze

oh, but why this malice
the wind, once playful
now changes its course
in utter disdain
and a pungent hatred
it rains, and monstrous thunders approach
the waves flying high
engulfing the level
once, an assurance
now, tasting salt
and miserable death

the ship
a prey to this phase
of lives lost
never to be regained

and she waits
for his letters
"ah, he would be thrilled"
she knows

This Poem is shared with

Ah That Sweetness

(Image Source:

ah that sweetness, of
love dripping across your lips
and strawberry kiss

This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Strawberry.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Far Beyond The Dead End - Review

Millennia ago, the valley of Mohenja-Daro held one of the most organized and advanced civilizations for its time. Discovered in the late nineteenth century, all that was left of it now were ruins, and dead bodies. The mound of the dead, they called it, and rightly so. There were many dead bodies lying everywhere, and their stories were as mysterious as their states. What happened to the city of Mohenja-Daro? In a time when the city thrived, Koli was a seductive girl with an enigmatic charm. Sindhu lived with dreams burning in her eyes, and Girad with his burning passion for life. There were others, like the priest who professed to seeing a doomed future, a future cursed for all time. Their love, dreams, greed, mania and delusions formed a part of their lives, and added color to it all the way. A mysterious series of deaths follows a frantic hunt for lust, gold and glory, and they do not stop until they destroy the very foundation of the city. Or until they venture Far Beyond the Dead End, to be discovered in the remnants of the lost city thousands of years later.

About the Author
Saikat Bakshi is an Indian writer and mechanical engineer. He enjoys exploring the unseen alleys of life, and observing people as he goes along. He enjoys taking in history, literature and art as well as writing whenever he finds the time. This is his fourth novel and he has also written: Did You See The Joker?, Fallen Leaf, Weathered Wind and Something In Your Eyes: Smiling In The Sky.

The best thing about historical fictions is that they hold the promise to transport us into a world that we have visualized in pages, playing with our imaginations and painting an image that caters to our story seeking mind. History embraces the present and we are bestowed with the power to travel across times. The ancient world holds mysteries we know not, and the subtle excitement gradually leads to a hunger of uncovering what lies beneath.

The Indus Valley Civilization has always been a part of India’s historical legacy. The towns of Mohenjodaro and Harappa were supposed to be well planned, with advanced social and cultural life. The artifacts from that period had always been a subject for great study. However, among the numerous mysteries that lies hidden in the sand of times, the most intriguing one is of course the sudden disappearance of the civilization.

Saikat Baksi’s fourth novel ‘Far Beyond the Dead End’ is based in the city of Mohenjodaro. The intensive research of the author helps him in recreating the scenery that dates back to centuries, and it does feel real in the way he has depicted the culture and livelihood of the people during those times. An impending doom has been prophesied by the head priest that warns the native of the calamity that might fall on them if they fail to appease the lords. Sacrifices take place for this purpose, and several rumors flood the state.

The plot revolves around the lives of three inhabitants – Koli, Sindhu and Girad. Koli is beautiful, sensuous and intelligent and craves for freedom. She is like a free bird, dreaming to soar high and high on her own free will. Sindhu is her friend who always thinks of her good, advising her time and again on various aspects of her life. While Koli harbors special feelings for Sindhu, the latter doesn't reciprocate, leaving Koli and her father sad and distressed. In comes Girad, a merchant, who had always harbored a deep fascination and lust for Koli. With his trickery he convinces everyone that he is the ideal man for Koli, and succeeds in marrying her. However, his evil intents do come to light, but by then, it’s already too late.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part does a good job of framing a proper introduction to the plot, and brings forth the characters and their traits. It highlights the customs and traditions that were practiced during those days which help us relate to that period. The second part performs a decent task of taking the story forward, narrating the events that take place in the lives of the protagonists. It’s the third part that comes as a real shocker, when several secrets start tumbling, and what seemed obvious initially suddenly turns out to be overpowered by a more nefarious truth.

However, the thrill and the excitement that adorns the conclusion is sadly missing in the first and second parts. The story runs at its own languid pace which again is not a bad thing, but then the sudden urgency towards the end does disturb the overall flow of the story. Also, the much needed emotional content is missing in the piece. For a character like Koli, a reader would surely like to have an emotive and sensitive connect. The author focuses more on the events rather than the nurturing of the characters, and portraying their feelings and sentiments.

‘Far Beyond the Dead End’ is a good read. It’s not easy to pen down an historical fiction, and full credit to the author for taking up this genre and doing full justice to it.

Title: Far Beyond the Dead End
Authors: Saikat Baksi
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Suspense and Thriller
No. of Pages: 240
Price: Rs 150
My Rating: 3/5

Friday, June 27, 2014

Shall I Be Caged, Trapped

shall I be caged
digging into my conscience
I meander aloof
my thoughts in tow
and a silent raven

the dusty nooks
and hidden crevices
know not my name
but the tears
that shamelessly flow
from the mangled veins
as I grant life
to the whims of death

I run
a stranger that mocks
from the confines of the mirror
that hangs listlessly
atop my loneliness

as I smile in pain
as I weep in rain
I prefer to be bonded
forever to this chain

This Poem is shared with 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Yellow Bird

a yellow bird
peeps through my window
on a rainy dawn

This Haiku is shared with Carpe Diem - Buttercups.

The Last Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes - Review

Sherlock Holmes, the gaunt, ascetic, ruthlessly logical pursuer of crime and mystery created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle needs no introduction. The adventures of this sharply witty and moody detective and his lovably pedantic and faithful friend Dr. Watson are a perennial source of inspiration to lovers of crime fiction.
Sherlock Holmes a predecessor of a long line of amateur detectives elevated criminal investigation to a fine art. His original and imaginative plot races along like a furious roller coaster, leaving the reader guessing which way it will turn next...
Read on to find out how Holmes and Dr. Watson solve mysteries of
• Wisteria Lodge
• The Cardboard Box
• The Red Circle
• The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
• The Bruce-Partington Plans
• The Dying Detective
• The Devil’s Foot

About the Author
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KGStJ, DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer who is most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularizing the mystery of the Mary Celeste. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels.

“My dear Watson” – and you know you are all set for another rollicking adventure.

Such is the magic of Sherlock Holmes, a character so intriguing and fascinating that you can’t afford to ignore him. Numerous adventures, resolving mysteries and finding solutions to problems that seem impossible are the traits of this fictional detective. Described by Watson, his friend and companion, as eccentric and bohemian, and as the one possessed with a high degree of logical reasoning, Sherlock Holmes is a legendary creation, a character that can never be replicated. His dominion over the ‘mystery and detective’ genre stamps his authority on our minds, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero has thus lived across the ages, attaining fame and immortality in literature over the years.

‘The Last Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ is a collection of eight stories. Seven of them are narrated by Dr. Watson, while one follows the third person narrative style.

‘Wisteria Lodge’ is the first story in the book, and is divided into two sections – ‘The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles’ and ‘The Tiger of San Pedro’. A murder takes place and John Scott Eccles reports the ‘grotesque’ event to Holmes. The plot has several twists and turns, and one finds it difficult to jump to a conclusion, until the mystery is finally resolved. This surely is a well knitted story and will keep you glued.

In ‘The Cardboard Box’, Miss Susan Cushing receives two severed human ears that are carefully packed. Initially, she suspects this to be a prank by some medical students. However, upon further investigation, a darker secret comes to light. What appeared seemingly harmless takes a sinister shape, and we are mesmerized by the brilliant deduction capability of our detective.

‘The Red Circle’ describes a mysterious lodger who is rented a room by Mrs. Warren. However, after the first night, no one catches sight of him. He insists on having the Daily Gazette on a daily basis, and all his requests are printed on a slip of paper that is placed outside the room. Though there appears to be no evil initially, as the plot progresses, the affair does turn serious. Unexpected happens and you are drawn into the adventure.

Holmes’s brother Mycroft visits him with ‘The Bruce - Partington Plans’ case. A secret submarine plan goes missing, with a few pages of it is found with Arthur Cadogan West’s body, a government clerk. Was he a traitor, who had stolen the plans for some nefarious motives? The plans are essential for the security of the country, and Holmes knows he has to deliver. And he does. This is one of my favorite stories in the book.

Sherlock Holmes is seriously ill and appears to be on his deathbed in ‘The Dying Detective.’ He has contracted an Asian disease and asks Watson to fetch Mr. Culverton Smith as he only can cure the disease. However, Holmes has other motives in mind, and as the events proceed, we are left gaping wide in amazement and appreciation over the brilliance of this master detective.

In the next story, Holmes sends Dr. Watson to investigate ‘The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax.’ The case seems more difficult than the rest, and until the final moment Holmes doesn't have a clue and is still struggling for the solution. However, it’s never too late, and just at the right instance, Holmes is able to deduce the entire scene. This is another well told story.

‘The Devil’s Foot’ is a remarkable adventure involving Holmes. Mr. Mortimer Tregennis visits him regarding a mysterious case according to which his two brothers had gone insane, and his sister was found dead with an expression of fear on her face. The causes of death and insanity are unknown, and Holmes takes upon himself to find out the solution. With the assistance of Watson, Holmes finally figures out the events. This story surely ranks high due to its sheer craftsmanship.

In ‘His Last Bow’, the narration shifts to third person style. This is a spy story where Holmes comes out of retirement for the benefit of his country. The story has patriotic sentiments and is a fitting conclusion to the book.

It’s always a pleasure reading classics, and reading Sherlock Holmes does boost up your idle mind. The best thing about these stories is that they can be read anywhere, any time, and any number of times. The magic of Doyle will never fade, and his legacy will continue in form of his beautifully crafted words.

‘The Last Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ is a must read for all, anywhere, everywhere.

Title: The Last Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 
Authors: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Short Fiction, Mystery
No. of Pages: 200
Price: Rs 135
My Rating: 4/5

Monday, June 23, 2014

And That Snowy Warmth

some stories
lay frozen, deep
in shadows
name that once caressed your lips
and that snowy warmth

This Shadorma is shared with Shadorma Photo Prompt # 13.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Build Not A Castle

build not a castle
but an abode humble
where tales would sweep by
the scented waves
caressing the shores
in sunlit beaches
in moonlit crevices
a soothing rhythm
as bliss seeps in through the pores

This Poem is shared with Theme Thursday - Beaches.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I wish for us to be happy.
I wish you are never too sad.
I wish for me.
I wish for you.
I wish love hadn't turn out so bad.

This Micro-Fiction is shared with Five Sentence Fiction - Wishes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


frantically I searched
in closet
nooks and corners
for voices
we recorded
on a wintry day
when the sun shone bright
and we melted
with glittering icicles
on rose petals

the moments
and then it

lost are those smiles we so lavishly spent
tearing apart dreams we once did paint
songs of the past that swayed to our beats
no more could be found, alas, away they went

This Poem is shared with

Governance for Growth in India - Review

To read the full review, click here.

Title: Governance for Growth in India
Authors: A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction, History, Politics
No. of Pages: 160
Price: Rs 195
My Rating: 4/5

Monday, June 09, 2014

The 'Right' Man

A man, convinced he was right,
Never hesitated to pick up a fight.
Now when he got married,
His wife was deeply harried,
And she punished him with a long starving night.

This Limerick is shared with Limerick-Off Monday.

Someday, O Master

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someday, O Master
I shall knock at your doors, seeking
answers to my prayers

This Haiku is shared with Haiku Horizons - Master.

Friday, June 06, 2014

With A Pinch Of Salt - Review

There are some people who can never come straight to a point. If you ask them a simple question like what is the time? They would probably reply, Time! This is the most horrible time of my life. My father is not sending me more money, I cant understand any damn thing in the lectures, no girl ever seems to be interested in me and the hostel food is pathetic. It is the worst time of my life.
In short, this book is like a handbook of everyday humor. It is based on observation of funny tendencies in people and then creating fictional caricatures and anecdotes around them.
The tendency of beating around the mulberry bush has been converted into a fictional character called Simon Satellite. And yes, there are many more such characters and anecdotes, served With a Pinch of Salt.

About the Author
Jas Anand (or Jasjit Singh Anand for technical accuracy) is a Mechanical Engineer & PGDBA and has been wearing a tie in the corporate sector for more than 15 years. He likes to live, laugh and let go. He is an avid traveler, voracious reader, part time writer and a full time propagator of positive thinking.
Jas is a family man living with his wife and two little boys who keep him blissfully on his toes. He has recently moved to Manila and is currently partying at Greenbelt, Makati.

‘With A Pinch of Salt’ is adorned with a cover that’s bright and colorful, urging you to go for it, and at the same time heightening your expectations with promises of a good humorous read. The cover is attractive, with the right mixture of hues, and a cartooned character peering through a magnifying glass. This introduces the basic premise of the book, which is based upon the observation of people and the funny characteristics exhibited by them. Sounds interesting!

Jas Anand, the author, creates several fictional characters with names like Larry Love, Simon Satellite and Jargon Smith. The names are creatively chosen so that you can easily guess the traits they exhibit. There are chapters and sub-sections that narrate their antics, with the author clearly expressing his views on them, suggesting the readers what to do if they ever come across such people. Keeping these factors in mind, the book does a decent job of coming up with people and their unusual behaviors, shaping them in the form of anecdotes, and highlighting the features.

A few chapters have been written very well, and you exclaim, “Yes, I know this character.” There are events you can relate to, such as incidents happening around your workplace, or in your locality. In that respect, the book does have a tinge of realism associated with it, drawing you in its world. Often, we come across unique people and personalities, and the experiences we share with them amuse us to such an extent that they never leave our memories. The author’s accounts denotes his close observational skills, and his wide experience of meeting people.

However, the book somewhat lacks the humor quotient, the genre to which it belongs. There are hardly any laugh out loud moments, and even if you consider giggles and smiles, they are rare. A few chapters have been executed pretty well, but overall, the tone tends to be monotonous, dragging in parts. For example, the chapters related to love could have been edited better, as I felt that they were deviating from the main theme of the book. Humor should be tight and crisp, and this book fails to live up to that tag.

I felt that a few characteristics were a bit exaggerated. The author describes the people and their traits in extremities, which sometimes appear impractical. True, we all exhibit unique characteristics, but normally these behaviors balance out among themselves. For a sensible person, such extreme behavioral traits appear out of place.

Being a lover of humor, I had high expectations from this book when I first heard about it. Sadly, the book failed to fulfill all of them. Having said that, humor or comedy isn't an easy genre, and it’s difficult to make people laugh in these stressful times. The author’s efforts are commendable, considering he picked up a refreshing plot and not run – of – the – mills stuff for his debut. I would surely pick up his next book, as I know he would again bring up something new that we haven’t read before.

Title: With a Pinch of Salt
Authors: Jas Anand
Publisher: Srishti Publishers
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Humor
No. of Pages: 188
Price: Rs 100
My Rating: 3/5

Sunday, June 01, 2014

The Sceptical Patriot - Review

To read the full review, click here.

Title: The Sceptical Patriot
Authors: Sidin Vadukut
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays Humor
No. of Pages: 218
Price: Rs 250
My Rating: 4/5