Friday, August 29, 2014

Pickled

Image courtesy: Google

He was a regular customer at the local supermarket where he battled his conflicts about the purchases he made, so often did he shop there that the shop assistants were on a first name basis with him. Maybe it was gentle demeanor or maybe it was that he poked in nobody's business; the children in the neighborhood always looked forward to those days he went shopping as he always bought them chocolates and other little treats. The old ladies blessed him for his kindheartedness for he offered a helping hand around their homes. 

Each week he went and bought large ceramic jars, the ones that are used to make pickles for it was his hobby and people always wondered among themselves why such a nice man chose to remain unmarried. He shrugged off their inquisitiveness with a smile and went back home to his secret- the dozens of female brains that remained pickled in the jars that were arranged neatly on the shelves in his basement, one for each of the women he had dated.  


P.S. I'm not a psycho! It can be partly blamed on the numerous Dexter episodes that I have watched in the recent past.

Masks

Image courtesy: Google


Masks. Some brilliant, others not so much. Some people are adept in hiding their real selves behind masks so well, that one can't help but wonder whether what you see of them are all that meets the eye? Masks are welcome as long as one can hide their pain, anguish, betrayal and betrayal. So many people, yet each mask is different. What is hidden behind each one says a different story about its wearer. 

The man you saw crossing the street with holding the hand of his child? The very one who pretends to listen what the young boy was saying animatedly to his father? He is not listening. No. He wonders when the love has crept out of his marriage. Only to be replaced by discipline. And boredom. He wears a mask of Contentment. 

The old woman who always smiles and wishes you Good morning when you offer your seat to her on the metro? She is lonely. So used to living on her own for years. Each tiny gesture that a stranger bestows her is like a welcome relief. A ray of warm. She wears a mask of Gratitude to hide her fear. Of having to live the last few days of her life all by herself. 

The young, beautiful housewife pampering herself at the beauty parlor? She hopes her sinful past never catches up to her. Worried that her beauty and glamour would fade away one day and her husband would be faced with the ugly reality that she dreads. She wears a mask of Confidence.

The horrible teacher who loves to bully her students? Making them feel depreciated and worthless? She tries to force her opinion on those who are powerless because at home, no one could care less about what she thinks.  She wears a mask of a Disciplinarian.

The pregnant woman holding the hand of her two year old daughter waiting in the hospital? She hopes another child would change the mind of her cheating husband. It sure had done the first time. Even if it was for a few months, she was craved for affection. Desperately. She wears a mask of the Perfect mother.

The workaholic husband who spends long hours at the office, earning overtime just so that he could finally build his dream home? What he doesn't realize that his wife waits for him each night, falling asleep in front of the cold dinner that she had served. The distance rifts them further apart.  He wears a mask of Accomplishment.

The fake couple who can't seem to keep their hands off each other all night at the dinner party? Little do you know that they are trying to hide the growing resentment with each other. So much that they are determined not to let the cracks show. But like a broken chinaware, it refuses to mend.  They wear a mask of Happiness.

Next time you see someone, look twice. You may see a lot of stories. A lot of pain behind that smile. Some so filled with anguish that you wish you hadn't. That reminds us to be thankful for the tiny blessings in our lives. 

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, have you watched the movie 'The Words'? If you haven't, I say go watch it right now. It's the story of a writer and yes, all of us writers must watch this one. I had seen it long time back and loved it so much that I have already seen it quite a few times. 

P.P.S. Come to think of it, it is related to Masks. Where the hero is forced to wear a mask of Deception. Watch it. Watch it. Watch it! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lost

Image courtesy: Google

The pain was unbearable. It came to me in spasms. It felt as though my heart was being ripped apart. If only the pain was physical. It has been twenty four hours since she went missing. My daughter. She was only five years old, still a child. 

They say she's not mine to lose. True, she may not have been born to my womb, but does that make her any less of my daughter? I can feel my husband's hands holding me, enveloping me in his warmth. But the chill refuses to go away. Reluctant to leave, it stays, holding me in its clammy grasp, refusing to let go. 

Where are you, my darling? Won't you come back and spread the light that has now vanished from my life? The police suspect that it was a kidnapping. The birth mother who had given her up when she was born, not willing to carry the burden of a child when she was still a child herself. But the past five years, was she haunted by your innocent smile, her shameful past?

When she came to see you, I had refused. I had wanted to protect you from the world. Or was it mere selfishness? I had seen the rage in her eyes then. The hurt, the helplessness. But I couldn't even bear to think that you would be taken away from me, even if it was through a mere glance. Of the thought that a selfish stranger would win your easy heart, your selfless love. 

Today, I hope you are safe. Where ever you may be. I pray that she takes good care of you. After all, she is your real mother. Does that make me fake? A make-believe mother? I'd never thought that I was capable of so much love till you came along. You conquered my world with your dimple chin and toothless smile. So much of love gushed for you from my heart. Love that threaten to destroy me, without realizing it.

Stay safe, my little angel. I shall never stop looking for you. You are a part of me. And since you left, the gaping hole in my heart keeps getting bigger. Know that you shall be loved till my last breath. You are missed. Deeply, more than words could ever say... 





Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rebecca



When I read Usha Ma'am's post on Rebecca, my curiosity was aroused for this book which has been on my bookshelf for couple of months now. I knew right then that it couldn't wait much longer. Thank you, Usha Ma'am! And that was how I started reading this priceless novel. The author had me right from the first line. Of course, it's one of the most famous starting lines in  the history of literature.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...

I'm not going to elaborate and call this a book review. I doubt if I have it in me to review such a brilliant masterpiece. Instead, I'm going to write about how much I loved it. I'm still in awe. I finished reading it this afternoon and still coming to terms with author's talent in weaving such a genius of a story. The story is subtle and powerful at the same time. 

Rebecca is not the name of the protagonist. In fact, she plays the opposite. Cunning and charming, beautiful and manipulative, Rebecca haunts from beyond the grave. But then, she may as well be called one because it is around the dead Rebecca that the story revolves. The story starts off with the young nameless narrator who gets married to dashing Maxim de Winter. Rebecca is his dead wife and as the couple returns to Manderley after their short honeymoon, she has to come to terms with the first wife whose presence seems to hover around, reluctant to severe her ties. 

Though the huge age difference between the couple, the young bride tries to put it all behind her. But there are people around Manderley, who is determined not to let anyone replace their beloved Rebecca. Among these are the cold Mrs. Danvers, who was Rebacca's right hand from her childhood and Favell, her first cousin. Moreover, the nagging suspicion that her husband is still in love with his dead wife is enough to give many sleepless nights for the current Mrs. de Winter. 

Rebecca is the sort of novel that gives you goosebumps despite the fact that you are reading it on a sunny afternoon. Also, the language used throughout the book is beautiful and I found myself reading some sentences over and over again. Such was its simplicity and beauty. What I can tell you is this- you will not realize what struck you until the very end. And of course, Manderley, serene and lovely Manderley is a character in almost itself. It is not merely a house, but I found myself in the library by the fireplace, the window in the morning room which overlooks the vibrant rhododendrons blooming outside and the dusty rooms of the west wing.

This is a must, MUST read. Maybe you have already read this. But this is one of those few books that you would want to re-visit more than once. I know for sure that I will. This is a story of love and suspense at their very best. And yes, if you feel you are facing a writer's block when you are writing your novel, short-story or even a blog post, I would recommend this one. Read a couple of lines from anywhere in the book, inspiration is bound to strike in one form or the other. It works, trust me on this one. 

Here are a few of the quotes from the book that I absolutely loved:

"If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again."

"Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind."

“I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.” 

“I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end.” 

“Men are simpler than you imagine my sweet child. But what goes on in the twisted, tortuous minds of women would baffle anyone.” 

“I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone.” 

“I could fight with the living but I could not fight the dead. If there was some woman in London that Maxim loved, someone he wrote to, visited, dined with, slept with, I could fight her. We would stand on common ground. I should not be afraid. Anger and jealousy were things that could be conquered. One day the woman would grow old or tired or different, and Maxim would not love her anymore. But Rebecca would never grow old. Rebecca would always be the same. And she and I could not fight. She was too strong for me.” 

“When the leaves rustle, they sound very much like the stealthy movement of a woman in evening dress, and when they shiver suddenly, and fall, and scatter away along the ground, they might be the patter of a woman’s hurrying footsteps, and the mark in the gravel the imprint of a high-heeled shoe.” 

Okay, I must stop now or I shall find myself quoting the entire book. In case you want to read more quotes from Rebecca, here is the link. And I'm sure by now, that it's no surprise that I have given the book a five star rating that it so deserves. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Candle in the Dark

Image courtesy: Google

They told her that he would never come back, that he was either cheating on her or probably married to someone else by now. But she continued to light the candles daily at the Church, simply waiting. The Church had never betrayed her till now; it was where she had seen him first and it was here that he held her hands as she wept at her mother's funeral. 

There were so many candles that stood alight at the altar, flickering in the darkness, offering solace and hope; so many people came seeking happiness, health, wealth and praying for miracles to happen. 

But there was one which always stood out, for it was the only one that glimmered with trust


The train that never came

Image courtesy: Google

I ran to the station; clothes in disarray, my hair all tangled by the wind, my back pack hitting many a passenger who kept throwing me nasty glances. But there was no time to be polite now. What with the rains and the heavy traffic, I was already one hour late. I could only pray that the Indian railways, would be prompt to be late, as always. 

But Lady luck seemed to be smirking at me from behind the clouds. I arrived at the platform only to find out that I was ten minutes late and I missed my train. If only I had ran a bit more quickly. If only. 

The next train would not be another three more hours. Here I was, lugging a heavy backpack with nothing to do but wait for the damn train. I went to the tea stall and brought a steaming cup of tea. The tea seemed to clear my head. I was not alone. I had my book to keep me company. I took out the latest by Jeffrey Archer and started reading. This thriller was bound to keep me occupied for the good three hours. 

A couple of minutes later I found a pair of eyes boring into me. I looked up and saw a guy, around my age, staring at me. He must have felt awkward, because he looked away sheepishly. I went back to my book. But there it was again. He was clearing his throat! Oh God, I don't want the night to turn any worse than it already was. Chatting up a stranger was the last thing on my mind. All I wanted was some time to myself and finish my book in peace. 

'If you don't mind me asking, which book by Jeffrey Archer are you reading?' he asked.

I was taken aback. This one didn't seem to be dull. By some weird pact in my head I had made ages ago all book lovers unite, I found myself smiling back and talking about the book. This is the thing with me. I find people boring, their lives uninteresting unless they have anything to do with books. It's such a waste that very few people seemed to appreciate the joys of reading a book. Soon we were chatting nineteen to the dozen and I was surprised to learn that we shared a lot of common authors and favorite books. 

Without realizing, the whole of three hours disappeared. He had brought me hot chilly bhajis which we shared over conversation. The sound of the train in the distance brought us back to reality. It was time to part ways. He was travelling to Bangalore and I was going to Chennai. We would never have met each other had it not been for the traffic, rains or the missed train. We exchanged phone numbers, promising each other to keep in touch. 

Maybe we would never meet again. The phone calls and messages would soon be forgotten once we were back to the hectic lives that awaited us. Or maybe, just maybe, this was meant to be the beginning of a great friendship. Deep in my heart, I knew it would the latter as I bid him goodbye. 

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dreams and Hopes

Image courtesy: Google

Little Kevin has always been fascinated with maps and the different places he saw on them ever since the time he could remember. And so, when his parents gifted him an illuminated globe for his fifth birthday, he still remembers how he had jumped in ecstasy at the sheer beauty of the gift. 

He would watch it every night before falling asleep and knew that he would visit all those exotic places, someday. How or when, he had no idea, but it was the fire that had kept him going all those years as he grew up. And today, as the pilot of one of the most famous airlines in the world, he smiled as he lived his childhood dream. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review- Watermelon by Marian Keyes



This is the first book by Marian Keyes that I read. I have a few more of her novels and after reading this one, I'm already in love with the way she writes. I have been a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella and when I saw a few people recommending Marian Keyes for the Sophie Kinsella fans, I decided to give it a try. 

The book revolves around twenty nine year old Claire and starts from the day when she gives birth to a beautiful daughter and gets dumped by her husband on the exact same day. Precisely, in that order. Heart broken, struggling to shed the baby weight and coming to terms with the fact that the woman for whom she had been dumped is not even pretty or attractive, Claire has a lot to sort out. In fact, the other woman is anything but a stereotype. Denise is a mother of two and well, simply put, fat and plain. 

Packing her bags and going home to her family back in Ireland, Claire tries to move on. With gentle nudges from her parents and her sisters, Claire struggles to find her way back on her own terms. Helen is the gorgeous and stubborn sister whereas Anna is the slightly weird and dreamy one. Enter Adam. Gorgeous, perfect, God's most perfect creation and gift to women Adam. He soon sends Claire's heart raising. Enough to make her forget her asshole of a husband James, even momentarily. And so when James reenters into Claire and her baby's life once again, he is in for a surprise. 

Though the story moves towards a predictable ending, the narration was lively and filled with wit and sarcasm. It is like listening in to a friend's side of the conversation or even reading a blog you love. You feel like you know the person and you are a part of her life. 

But what I didn't like was the length. It was a bit too long for my liking and could have been done much better in definitely a good 200 pages less. Based on the length of the novel I would hardly classify it into a 'light' read. The story again, is nothing new. It's a one time read if you enjoy reading the occasional 'chick-lit'. And yes, I must confess that I fell asleep reading this on a lazy afternoon. I never, never fall asleep while I'm in the midst of a good book. So I guess that's saying something. But then, again, that was because of the sheer length of the novel. 

I would give this one a 3/5. Since this is a debut novel, I'm assuming the rest of her books would be much better. Marian Keyes has definitely won my heart in terms of narration with her first book and you can be sure that I would read some of her other books as well. Read this one if you are prepared to read a big, fat book about a young woman's life. If you like the journal sort of books, this one is for you. 



Sunday, August 17, 2014

I Confess...

Image courtesy: Google

... that I may be far from perfect but I love my imperfections and it makes me, Me.

... that I'm poor at keeping in touch with people. Even friends. A few have stuck with me over the years and for that, I'm grateful.

... that I have been spending the entire day watching Desperate Housewives and loving it. And so involved was I with it that I have done nothing worthwhile today. I know, I know. That it's nothing to be proud of. But still.

... that when I really hate someone, I make up weird stories about them in my head. Which usually ends by them leading a miserable life or dying gruesome deaths while I gloat over it. You don't want to know the details.

... that I have a fetish for smelling things. From food to books to old clothes. Slightly disgusting? 

... that I love people who love books. They make the world a better place.

... that if I see someone eating or making delicious stuff while watching a movie or a TV show, I get hungry.

... that fake people annoy me. Where has all the genuine thoughts and feelings in the world escaped to?

... that people who love to boast turns me off. I'm least bothered if your son is a doctor or an engineer and doing really well. Good for him! But no need to bore with the unnecessary details.  And you wear designer clothes and jewelry? So do I. Keep it to yourself unless I ASK you. Your desperation begins to show right from the moment you open your mouth to brag. 

... that I feel like smacking the faces of people who use a condescending tone while 'enquiring' about my life. It's my life and I live it the way I like. So before you even begin to judge me, please sort out your issues first. 

... that no matter how bad chocolates, ice creams and anything sinful are for my alarming weight, I can't survive without the sugar rush.

... that I hate lending books and getting it back with bent spines and dog eared pages. I treat them with the utmost care and unless you intend to treat them the same way, please don't ask whether you could borrow them. Chances are I won't give it to you. At all. 

... that I hate nosy people. And I love how things I don't tell pisses them off. 

... that messiness is my middle name. My cupboard stays neat and tidy for a week. At the most. And my place would look like a hurricane had hit it when you come home. Unless you plan on 'informing' me beforehand. 

... that I have a lot of voices shouting inside my head, offering a million opinions. And all I do is smile and keep my mouth shut. I get the final laugh either ways. 

... that I have still not mastered the perfect temperature when it comes to air conditioning. It's always either too hot or too cold. 

... that I end up buying all the books in a series. Irrespective of the fact whether I'll like it or not. What if I do love it AND I finish reading the first part AND can't wait to know what happens next? Better safe than sorry. 

... that I have a bad phase going on right now. Maybe someday I shall write it out here. 

... that I have my secrets. I don't intend to confess all of them right now.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Temptation

Image courtesy: Tumblr

Never thought I would say this 
But the day has come to yield 
To temptation, to the sinful present,
And to make tantalizing memories...

I can smell it on your breath,
By the lies you whisper in my ear,
In the unmasked glory in your eyes,
But still I weaken to temptation

Smoke arises from the glowing tip
As you put the cigarette to your lip
And you smile at me
For I have given in to temptation

The pain is sharp but you hold me 
Chained with your eyes, 
Watching my life ebb away
Rejoicing in my wretchedness 

But it now longer matters
My misery is put to rest
As death kisses me with 
The ultimate temptation

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Trapped

Image courtesy: Google

I woke up with a start from the nightmare that I kept having over and over every night. It was always the same- that I would die a gruesome death at the stroke of midnight. On which day, still remained a mystery; for all I know it would be days, months or even years before I die. 

I glanced at the digital clock near my bedside, that read 11:59 pm bathed in its luminous glow. The last thing I heard as I felt a hard blow behind my cranium was the sound of my own voice screaming; and then, there was nothing. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The House on the Hill top

Image copyright: Bj√∂rn Rudberg

Every writer needs a recluse; a place he can call his own. One that is away from the curious eyes of the public, one that is not intruded by the sounds of a busy world. For me, that place was the House on the hill top. My own little secret. This was where I penned my first novel and signed all my book deals. 

And when all else ceases to matter, this is where I shall return. Just me and my thoughts along with my old typewriter for company. 

Here, days and nights no longer exist. Here, my heart shall sing.

This post is written for Friday Fictioneers- 8th August for the above photo prompt. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shadows at Night










I woke up in the hotel room where we had spent our first night together as man and wife. My body still ached from the torture that Sekhar had subject me to. My cries had gone unheard. It was as though I was merely a mute spectator last night. The more the pain he inflicted, greater was his pleasure. My resistance was like an aphrodisiac for him.

Till I decided to give in to him and welcomed the blows he rained on my body and face. I bore the pain through clenched fists; shutting my eyes from the horror that was unfolding before me. Watching the whole scene detached, from outside my body. Did I notice the cold look he has in his eyes? Was I too blind in the faith I had towards my parents in finding me the perfect groom that I decided not to look beyond the handsome face that Sekhar was?

When he forced himself upon me, did he see the tears that rolled from my eyes and unto the white pillows, staining them grey with my kajal? As the pain shot up my body, twisting it from insides, why did his eyes gleam with accomplishment? Was this monster on top of me really the man I had intent on spending the rest of my life with?
 
Image courtesy: Google

Sekhar… Sekhar… If only you realized. That I would gladly have listened to anything you said. If only you chose to hear me. I wish I could tell you how much I have dreamt of this night. Don’t you realize that no one had prepared me for this? None of the books and movies had warned me that this was how things would be. That my body, which was supposed to bloom to your touch, is now writhing in pain?

I remember how you looked at me when you came to see me the first time. I had thought that you were measuring my beauty, your eyes that caressed me so gently then. How mesmerized you were, blinded even. Was it because you knew that I was too weak to resist you? I fell for your charms; you won over my family with your easy going manner. But never in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that this was how my marital night would be.

Was this simply the beginning? Of more nights that are, undoubtedly, to follow? Deep inside I know that people would not change overnight. That this is who you are. But are you willing to let me reach out to you? If only, I can convince you to seek help. All is not lost. I know that there is some part of you which loves me, in its own twisted way.
 
Image courtesy: Google

My eyes open against the sunlight that wafts in through the delicate cream lace curtains. You are nowhere around. I heave a sigh of relief, involuntarily. The sheets hugging me remind me of last night. Traces of blood mark it, from the wounds you inflicted. My body is sore and it feels as though sandpaper had been rubbed on it the entire night. It is burning in between my legs, I can feel the dried up blood on them. I can’t open my left eye fully. It is swollen around my eyelids where the ring around your right hand hit me.

I can hear the shower running in the bathroom. I pray that you take a longer time inside as I scramble for my clothes and the shards of dignity that are scattered around. But they lie around torn by you in your throes of passion. At first, I had not understood. I mistook your desperation for eagerness. But somewhere, I understood that what you were doing was beyond my control. And yours.

You open the bathroom door and come strolling towards me. A smile on your lips, the smile that never reached your dark eyes. The complimentary towel from the hotel fit smugly around your hips, raising your hands to hold me. I cower back. And that is when I see the hurt in your eyes.

‘Baby, I’m sorry. Sorry if I hurt you…’, you say. ‘What happened was beyond my control. Forgive me…’

I want to forgive you, Sekhar. I really do. A part of me has been in love with you since the day I set my eyes on you. You were supposed to protect me till the end of time. But what is one supposed to do when your protector turns into a sadist, one who derives pain from your pleasure.

But the look in your eyes melts my heart. Of course, I can’t help but forgive you. I try to put it behind me as you hold me close. Tenderly. Such difference from last night. And I thank my lucky stars. Maybe it was just a night. Maybe it was the strain of the wedding. Maybe, maybe…

I dream of a thousand excuses for you as I take my bath. I take care to mark my forehead with the deep maroon of the kumkum, marking me as your wife, your soul mate. We had made a pact, a promise to be there for each other. I couldn’t break it just because of one night.

I see you running your eyes over me as I step inside the room. I shudder seeing the look you have, but you come up and kiss my neck, on the bruise you made last night. And all was forgotten, for now. I covered the bruises I had with makeup. Carefully, so that it doesn’t show.

We have a wonderful day, you and I, exploring the hotel and having lunch in the posh restaurant the hotel boasted of. You ordered the finest wine and the famous shrimp delicacy. You insist on feeding me with your hands. I blush seeing the look the waiters give. But you turn a blind eye towards everyone and everything except me.

You took me to explore the rest of the places around the hotel afterwards. Playing with me on the beach and kissing me tenderly when you thought no one was looking. You gave me love to last for a lifetime that day. As if to make up for the previous night. You watched the sunset with me, holding my hand.
 
Image courtesy: Google

It was time for us to return back to our room. But I was no longer scared. It was all behind us now. Tonight, would be different, I thought. You smiled at me as you locked our room. Your hands were all over me, hungrily. But then, you pulled apart and brought the package from under the bed, where you had kept in hidden.

‘What is this?’, I asked with open curiosity.

‘Open it and see for yourself…’, you said.

I opened it and the palest of a peach sheer gown slipped between my fingers. ‘The richest of the rich, the best of all, for my princess’, you murmured in my ears. I was delighted. You stopped at nothing when it came to me. I went into the bathroom to wear it, excited. Tonight was going to be the night. My fingers trembled in excitement, thinking of the wonderful things that you would do to me. I left my hair open, the way you liked and came to our room.

The lights have been switched off and the room was masked in a silver glow in the moonlight. I see you waiting on the bed, nursing a drink in hand. Your eyes light up when you see me. But there it was, again. The cold look that I had seen once before, in your eyes. I must have panicked. The last thing I remembered before shutting my eyes as you dragged me on the bed and ripped apart the beautiful gown were the glint in your eyes that took possession every night.

Image courtesy: Google





Sunday, August 10, 2014

Book Review- Show Business by Shashi Tharoor

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I have been a fan of Shashi Taroor ever since I read Riot. Though this is only the second book of his that I read, I was bowled over by Riot which I loved deeply. I have done the review of it here, couple of years back. I had bought this book sometime back, but was waiting to read it. The blurb sounded promising and I wanted to save the best for the last. Though it was not exactly the last, I felt I had to read it few days back.

I started the book over the weekend and finished it last night. The protagonist of the novel is superstar Ashok Banjara, king of Bollywood Cinema. As he lies in a coma, hanging somewhere between life and death, co-stars from his real and reel life come to visit him. But for him, it is like watching a series of flashback. And he comes back to life for us, through their voices and the scripts of some of the movies that have made and destroyed him. 

Like Riot, the story is told in different voices, be it that of Ashok himself or his co-star Pranay, who plays an important role throughout the book or his brother and father. And like how a movie is being shot, the story is divided into different 'takes'. The story line is engrossing and gives a clear cut picture of the life of the movie stars. Be it their ceremonious and fairy tale like wedding or the infidelity which creeps in like a villain and stays on. 

Ashok's talented and demure co-star, Maya, soon becomes his wife who reluctantly 'retires' in order to lead a happy family life. But like all most marriages, cracks soon appear in the seemingly perfect life of the superstar. Enter Mehnaz Elahi, the sexy new actress, who is sure that Ashok will one day leave Maya and marry her. Sounds familiar? The book draws a lot of glaring parallel comparison with the life of none other than the BIG B of Bollywood- Amitabh Bachchan. It even talks about the brief hiatus Ashok Banjara has with politics.

Tharoor has taken a lot of real life incidents from the actor and peppered it in his novel. But how far what is fact and what is fiction, is for you to judge. His narration was fast paced and at times I felt like I was watching a few of Ashok Banjara's movies. Be it the tree twirling romance or the unrealistic cliches that we are often subject to in movies. One thing is certain, Tharoor has definitely done his homework before writing this one. 

Though the book is a different genre from Riot, I couldn't help but compare the two. Tharoor still remains a wonderful writer, but the story line of Riot and the delicacy with which he handled certain situations there, makes it one of my favorite books. 

Show business is as entertaining as watching a movie and there are even juicy snippets thrown in the voice of Cheetah, a celebrity magazine gossip columnist. Will Ashok wake up from his coma? As his life unravels before him, some secrets, if revealed are bound to be scandalous. And then, as millions of fans pray for him, there are some who still hold a vengeance against him. A few with grudges who would not be too happy if he came back to life. 

I would give this one four stars on five, as I enjoyed it immensely. Go for this one if you like the movies and the fascinating (or not) lives of the superstars. This one is definitely a peep behind the curtains of Bollywood.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Life as I know it

As the UBC and NaBloPoMo have come to an end, I have been spending the past week on a lazy note. Did a bit of reading, watching mindless television, the normal. Today I saw a re-run of one of my favorite movies in Malayalam- Njan Gandharvan (I, Celestial Lover). It is a fantasy romance, a genre which is handled beautifully by one of the most celebrated writer and director of Malayalam films- P. Padmarajan. This was his last movie as he died shortly after it was released. A lot of 'bad omens' are said to have taken place at the movie set and in his personal life and the subject of the movie had been postponed many times owing to its sensitive nature. 

The movie talks about the love between a girl called Bhama and a Gandharva. Gandharavas are known to be heavenly beings and singers, who descend the earth in order to seduce young virgins. However, as fate would have it, they fall in love with each other. The Gandharva asks Bhama to call him Devan. In falling in love with her, he has already committed a crime in his world. A lot of mistakes, in his words. And the punishment for it would be grave. But each one worthwhile because of the time he gets to spend with her. 

Bhama lives with her family and the scenes where Devan conquers the heart of her mother and grandmother are memorable. But one of my favorite parts is at the beginning of the movie when she finds a wooden doll on a college trip. It is this wooden figure who soon transforms into the handsome Devan, whom she falls in love with at first sight. 

Padmarajan has done full justice to the story and it is heart wrenching towards the end. The movie has a lot of beautiful songs speckled in which enhances the appeal. This is a movie which makes you wish for a happy ending for the lovers, irrespective of the fact that Devan may never get a chance to be a human being like Bhama. 

Image courtesy: Google

The movie is there on Youtube in case you want to watch it. I'm not too sure whether subtitles will be available though. This is a must watch for all romantics. And well, if you are fascinated with fantasy and mythology (like me), DO NOT give this one a miss!

P.S. The title has no relation whatsoever to the post, now that I have finished writing it!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Facade

Image courtesy: Google

She was secure in the knowledge that her marriage appeared happy on the outside; and he of the fact that that his affair was a secret. 

But they both knew that their life was a lie. 

The facade showed a content couple, but it dared not reveal the dissatisfaction that a bit of gentle probing would unearth. The picture that adorned the mantle had them beaming at the camera with fake smiles plastered across their faces. As night fell, they went into two different bedrooms, living their own separate lives. 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Of City lights and Rains

Image courtesy: Google

I forced myself not to think about the text message that I had sent few minutes back. It took all of my self restraint and control to not grab my phone and check for a reply from her. It had hurt so badly. So much that I had put off sending the dreaded message for days now. A part of me was selfish, I wanted her all for myself. Without the blemish of her knowing what had been going on in my mind all along. While the other part wanted her happiness.

Our relationship was doomed from the beginning. There was no way my family would accept her into their conservative lives. Not that I cared. But it was her who was concerned about the role of fitting in, no matter where she lived. But she held on to it like a ray of hope. A sliver of faith that our story would have a happy ending. 

She didn't want to hurt anyone, especially not both our parents. Even if that meant sacrificing our happiness. I knew she would be heart broken if she came to know the truth. That her brother had called me and said that she she would be disowned if I ever made the mistake of taking our relationship any further. I couldn't bear to live with the guilt. Or her unhappiness, which would be inevitable, later on in life. 

But life had left me no choice. I had to break it off with her. I couldn't turn her against her own blood. I messaged her saying that it was over. That what we had while it lasted had been good. But we had no future. That she shouldn't try to call or try to meet me again. 

As I twirled around the empty ice cubes in my glass, I was woken out of my reverie by the calling bell. There she stood, drenched in the rain. It was past evening. She was panting, the raindrops clung to her face and eyelashes like morning dew. She still looked the same as I had first seen her in the bus stand. The same secrecy in her eyes. Behind her, the city lights twinkled. 

As she stepped inside my door, leaving a small pool of water at my doorstop, I knew there was no going back. We made love with an urgency, she clung on to me like she would never let go, as we barely made it to the bedroom. I knew, right then, that we had made a decision. There was no going back now. This was the girl that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And it rained that night, the entire time, the sole witness to our love.

The next day, she became my wife.  

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

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