Saturday, December 29, 2012

May new year bring peace

                                                                             Image Link

Enliven your dreams
 Rekindle hope, envisage
Them to get flourished

That beautiful dawn
Will bring new prospects for life
Greet them with new zest

Resolution of
Fighting against malevolence
May new year bring peace

This year is about to end, in India with a very dreadful and negative note as Damini/Amanat lost the battle of life after struggling painfully for thirteen days. Her brutal death is very agonizing and the country desperately wants justice.

But we cannot refuse to hope and wish that may coming new year embrace the world with bliss, peace, health, success, prosperity and most importantly SAFETY AND SECURITY.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Few Things to Learn

This is my response to the creative prompt "Wish List Wednesday"provided by Preeti Shenoy. Her fourth book "The Secret Wish List" has been released and getting really nice reviews.

Today's prompt is: The one thing that I wish everyone should learn is...

Few things I wish everyone should learn:

To lend people in need or trouble a helping hand. A tender touch of assurance and a warm smile relent the anxiety and spread positive vibes. These days, social life is shrinking and people tend to stay oblivious to other's problem. But helping others always gives happiness.

To raise their voice against depravity, corruption and injustice. People tend to think "How does it matter to me?" It's unfortunate.  Most importantly, people must learn to speak, at least, for themselves, against any hideous behaviour towards them, so that no one can take undue advantage.

To fulfill their promises. When someone makes any promise, it naturally generates hope and sometimes in difficult situation relief & courage. It's depressing when hope shatters. So, don't make any promises when you're not sure about it. And if you do, try your level best to keep your words. Remember, a pair of hopeful eyes are looking at you with expectation.

To say a polite or sometimes a firm "NO"! It's really...really difficult but it helps you to stay away from many complexities. People must understand their priorities in life.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Silvery Hue

Snow Avalanche Wallpaper

Hope flickers in the 
Sky, just like golden sunbeams
After hazy dawn

Avalanche of snow
Blankets the hills, reflecting
Fine silvery hue

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

She Writes: A collection of short stories

Few days back Random House India and msn have conducted a short story contest to find twelve fine women writers. There were three themes.

"Growing up in India: Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"

"Woman in the city: Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"

"The man in my life: Being with him made her feel as though her soul had escaped from the narrow confines of her island country into the vast, extravagant spaces of his"

Generally, I don't like reading collection of short stories but I had a great expectation from this book as it contained selected stories from selected writers through a contest.

She Writes is a collection of 12 stories. And the winning stories and writers are:

The other people's life: Anisha Bhaduri
The tourist: Jyotsna Jha
Revelation: Aprameya Manthena
A tale of destiny: Amrita Saikia
Yoke mates: Sheela Jayawant
Winds of indifference: Shreya Manjunath
Mantras of Love: Yishet Doma
Spaces: Prarthana Rao
White Chilly: DR. Geeta Sundar
Mirage: Santana Pathak
Conundrum: Chitralekha
A Boston Brahmin: Belinder Dhanoa

The book starts with an introduction by Preeti Shenoy. I liked it when she said that "A collection of short stories is a treat, like a box of assorted chocolates for if you do not like one there is always another one you can help yourself to."

First story "The other people's life" tells about a newly wed Bengali woman Konica, who is feeling uncomfortable on her honeymoon. 

"The tourist" is about an Anglo-Indian girl Michele who unwillingly visits India and falls in love with a doctor but later finds out a shocking fact about him that shakes her. 

"Conundrum" reminded me of a case in crime patrol where two widow women are friends. But one of them is happy with her family while another one is poor, dependent and finds herself lonely.

"White Chilly" is a nice story that tells about an inexplicable bond between two women who meet during their walk. I particularly liked this story.

And so on....(Here I've mentioned the stories that I have finished easily)

Well, although, the profiles of winning writers are quite impressive, stories are very ordinary. Some of them are nicely written but are very common. Some stories have nice theme but seem scattered. Unfortunately, according to me, some stories don't make any sense. Over all, there's not a single "Wow" story. I thought it would be a great collection but I'm disappointed. Also price of the book is too high for a short story collection (Rs. 299) especially when these stories are not coming from any celebrity/famous writers.

I got this book from Random Reads, official blog of Random House India, for an unbiased review.

Friday, December 21, 2012

This shame is your pride

Helpless pleading eyes and
Face suffused with fear
Don't affect you anyhow
Piercing shrieks never hit your mind
Trembling body reflecting aversion
Cannot resist your filthy intention
Girls are NOT your property
Why don't you understand the meaning of a firm NO?
You never think before crushing a girl's life
Her anguish and pain is irrelevant to you
Have you ever thought....
How any girl close to YOU might have felt?
No, you haven't
Because you may do this sinful act to her too
What provokes you in innocent little girls?
Or in weak old women?
You can't think beyond a body
A sense of repent never echoes in your heart
Your dirty fiend mind scheme for just a cruel act....
This shame is your pride
In your life...
This is the only thing you crave to perform
This is your dream
This is your goal
And this is what you want to achieve???

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Joyful Moments...

This post is for Wish List Wednesday No. 2, a creative prompt provided by Preeti Shenoy, author of three bestselling books, whose fourth book "The Secret Wish List" is going to release very soon. It's a kind of contest as every week her publisher Westland will pick one entry and the winner will get a copy of The Secret Wishlist.

I'm happy that Westland has selected my entry for last week's prompt. Thanks so much!

This week's prompt is "My one wish that came true and gave me immense joy!"

I know, my precious wish...
That I treasured
Will embrace me very soon
When a bundle of joy...
A sense of contentment...
A bright smile
Will light up my life
Eagerly waiting for that prized moment!

This is a very special situation which comes in everyone's life. We all come across such precious moment when we know that a very special moment is about to arrive soon when our wish will be fulfilled. When our heart will be filled with pride and exhilaration. We just have to wait. For me, that very special wish is yet to be fulfilled. 

But for this prompt, we have to talk about our one wish that came true and gave us immense joy. We wish many things in life and life indeed bless us with many small packages of happiness. Some small but sweet reasons to smile. To feel content and proud. 

But success born of struggle doubles the joy and sense of fulfillment. When you wish something and work hard for that, the taste of positive result is really really sweet. That joy is incomparable. For me, my one wish that came true and gave me immense joy (And "continued to give me that joy." I mentioned it here because sometimes some desperate wish gives momentary joy but later disappoints immensely) was when I saw my creation published in a magazine. A wish to see my writings/name in print. 

Actually I have never ever thought I could write. But few years back, a tender desire to become a writer peeped through my heart which grew deeper gradually. I tried, got rejected but never failed to wish. Of course I had some sad moments but never allowed my patience and hope to leave me. Finally, one of fine day, I received a copy of a magazine that contained my article and of course I was filled with immense joy. Now I have a few published works in my name. Click HERE to see my published creations.

Wish for something you actually want. Try hard for it. Be determined. Be patient. Be hopeful. Don't listen to any discouraging remark no matter where it is coming from. Don't let setbacks and failure distract you. You will see, one fine day, life will gift you that blissful and joyful moment when your lovely wish will shine with flying colours.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Recently, I finished reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. It's a collection of short stories. It's a set of eight stories divided in two parts. Every story describes bond and relationship, having the background of Bengali culture set in America.

Actually, I'm not fond of short story collection but reading Jhumpa Lahiri was an opportunity. Thanks to Random Reads, official blog of Random House India.

"Unaccustomed Earth" is the opening story which tells about the uncomfortable relationship of Ruma with her widowed father as he arrives to live with her. He is very fond of gardening and he tries to teach his grandson few things about Bengali Culture. Gradually his grandson develops a bond with him. At last, when he leaves, Ruma comes to know about his father's attraction towards a woman.

"Hell-Heaven" tells a married woman's attraction towards a much younger man. Her husband is a serious kind of person and she finds pleasure in that man's exotic company.

"Only Goodness" is about the brother-sister bond. Sister introduces her brother to alcohol at a very young age and finally he becomes an alcoholic.

"A choice of accommodation" is about a married couple Amit and Megan who travel to attend Amit's one time crush's wedding. They hope to understand each other well and discover the reality of their marriage.

In "Nobody's Business" Paul falls in love with a Bengali housemate who is already in a relationship, but Paul finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her.

Last three stories are written in a series form, about Hema and Kaushik. First story "Once in a lifetime" is a story about two Bengali-American children Hema and Kaushik who belong to different status as Kaushik's family has become a complete American. In next story "Year's End", Kaushik is suffering from mental pain of losing his mother and remarriage of his father. The last story "Going Ashore", tells about the relationship of Hema and Kaushik as adults.

No doubt that the stories are very well written but I found them extremely narrative and descriptive. Sometimes I found myself forcing to finish them as they are very long for short stories. My personal favourites are "Unaccustomed Earth", "Hell-Heaven" and "Once in a lifetime", first story in the series of Hema & Kaushik, as I found them more engrossing. If you like reading short stories and Jhumpa Lahiri, you can pick this book for sure!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Author's Interview: Nilabh Verma

Here I'm in conversation with Nilabh Verma, whose debut novel Swayamvar has been released recently.

First of all, welcome to my blog and congratulations for your debut novel. It's quite an achievement. What do you think?

Thanks! Really it's a very special feeling to be a published author. Feeling like I've achieved something...indeed.

Tell me something about you.

I'm from Bhagalpur Bihar. By profession, I'm an IT professional, currently working with Microsoft as a regional Trainer in New Delhi. I'm crazy about food, TV, movies, internet and mythological books (Obviously)

Tell me something about your writing. Do you follow any strict rules for writing? What prompted you to write Swayamvar?

I'm a very active blogger and currently running three blogs It's My Countdown, Dharm Sansar and Nilabh. I also write regularly for a magazine called Muskan Yugm. As far as Swayamvar is concerned, it's my first effort. I don't follow any rules for writing. Actually, I don't make rules in life. 

What prompted me? Question should be who prompted me? You know. It's you. Thanks for your support.

You're most welcome:)
Was it difficult to get a publisher for your book? Aspiring writers would like to know about the hurdles of getting published (If any)

Not really. Actually, I got response from three publication houses. I chose Diamond Books as they're one of the biggest publishers in India. I think if your subject is unique and your writing is fresh, you can find publisher for your novel.

Very Well said. Hindi novels are not very popular these days. What do you think about this?

I think it's due to current education system and mentality of (Some people) not reading and even speaking in Hindi. People want to send their children in English medium only where they're not allowed to speak in Hindi. This is unfortunate. I find it really funny that in India we need to celebrate Hindi Diwas. I think due to these things Hindi readers are decreasing day by day. But there're very good books in Hindi that you can read.

Would you like to share something about your next project?

Well, I'm planning to write the sequel to Swayamvar. The plot is ready and the title will be "Rudra Ke Sanidhya Mein." However, it depends on the response of Swayamvar. Let's see how it goes.

It's mythological subject again. Would you like to write something other than mythology sometime in future?

See mythology is huge and I'm particularly interested in it but someday in future I would like to write about something concerning the hideous aspect of our society. 

Who is your favourite author/Book?

There're many. For me Premchand is unmatched. I also like Narendra Kohli. Few amazing books are Vayam Rakhshamah (Acharya ChaturSen), Yayati (Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar), Baanbhatt Ki Atmakatha (Hajari Prasad Dwedi), Mrityunjay (Shivali Sawant) and Mahabharata. Actually I'm addicted to Mahabharata. 

What do you think of blogging?

Just to let the readers know what and how I think.

Some people say you can hardly find any fault in your writings. What do you think?

It's true. But you can always make it better. Actually you'll find something that needs to be improved every time you read your writings.

Any writing tips for aspiring writers?

I don't think I'm eligible enough to give any tips to writers. Just want to say that always write what you actually think, in your own way.

What do you prefer - e-book/electronic devices or the traditional  way of reading?

Traditional way always. However I strongly agree that e-books are the best way to save paper (Which we need to do) but you can't have that kind of feeling which you can have with traditional books.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella


Finished reading another novel by Sophie Kinsella.

Twenties Girl tells a cute story about Lara and her over demanding great-aunt Sadie. It also focuses on family bond.

27 years old Lara runs a recruitment company with her so-called best friend Natalie. Natalie, the smarter one vanishes for a holiday without caring about their business and Lara is left alone and troubled. To enhance her agony, her boyfriend Josh ends their relationship.

Meanwhile, her great aunt Sadie, whom Lara has never known, dies at the age of 105. In the funeral the ghost of Sadie, interestingly in her twenties, suddenly appears in front of Lara demanding her necklace without which she cannot rest. Initially, Lara desperately wants to get rid of her but Sadie wouldn’t give up. She keeps haunting her.

In an irritating yet exciting journey with her guardian angel as Sadie calls herself, Lara’s life changes completely. Sadie forces Lara to do things as per her interests. She helps Lara in many ways but never forgets to nudge for her demands. Lara finds her love of life, Ed, because of her. She comes to know some really interesting facts about Sadie and gradually develops a strong bond with her guardian angel.
It’s a cute ghost story, packed with Sophie Kinsella style humour. Sadie is an interesting character though she is irksome sometimes. Their compatibility is really interesting and some incidents are funny that you can always expect from Sophie Kinsella.

Overall, what can you say about a huge book with 435 pages that you can finish without getting bored? It’s indeed a nice read but I’ll have to admit that I've got your number was much better…undoubtedly.

I received this book from Random House India  for an unbiased review. Thanks Random Reads, official blog of Random House India

I Wish!....

My desperate dream
It’s something beyond my reach
I know, still, I wish…

This should be my first wish. Despite being a very positive person, I know it’s not going to be fulfilled….ever…perhaps but still I’m stubborn enough to feel “Ah, I wish...” always…. Since I’m not going to elaborate it here (But I found it important to mention it here as I’m talking about my wishes) I’ll leave it here only.

Okay, this post is a part of Wish list Wednesdays, a creative prompt provided by Preeti Shenoy (Author of three successful books). Her fourth book The Secret Wish list (Westland Publishers) is going to release very soon.

This week’s prompt is “The three things that I badly wish I could have…”

There are many such moments when we sigh “Ah, I wish…”
We wish or dream. Some of them grant us pleasure. Some disappoint us hugely yet we never fail to dream or wish.

There’re many common things we all wish like smiles and happiness of our dear ones, successful dream career, some valued/materialistic possessions. I think we can achieve these things, or at least try to, with hard work, luck, determination or money so here I would like to wish for something more perpetual that affects & smoothes our lives.

So, I wish….

1.       Courage in my life. Courage to face truth. Courage to tell truth. Courage to say NO. Courage to face the hurdles. Courage to be determined etc. Actually in many circumstances, life demands it and you have to show a nice presentation and gradually it becomes a part of your nature. It spreads the light of positivity and hope. Although, I always try to embrace them tightly, I want these very important things lighting the path of my life…always.

2.        Patience/Conscience: Actually they’re correlated. We generally start to think absurdly sometimes irrationally or hopelessly whenever we lose patience. When we get tired of fighting our problems we lose patience and eventually our conscience. So, though, people say I’m a very patient soul, I wish it stays with me always.

3.       Blissful Health: I think health is happiness and brings peace. And it’s the most important and significant asset anyone can have in life.

Sometimes we find life surrounded by hurdles and troubles and we must learn to fight them. We can do it successfully when we are in good health. We all want to stay peacefully and blissfully with perfect harmony. We all want to care for our loved ones. For this we need to have a healthy body and mind. I’ve observed that when life drags us to hospital every now and then, it detaches happiness and peace from our life. I’ve seen many people suffering tremendously. So I wish to stay healthy till I die.

I thank Preeti Shenoy for another interesting journey and I wish her all the best for her new book. Really looking forward to reading The Secret Wish List.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In conversation with Smita Shetty

Recently, I finished a new new book  "Untruly Yours". Here I am in conversation with the author Smita Shetty.

First of all, welcome to my blog and congratulations for your debut novel! You are getting nice reviews. It's quite an achievement as a first time author. What do you think?

Thank you Tarang! It feels great to be here. I can't seem to come to terms with the recent developments. If I am being honest, it hasn't sunk in yet. I was on a real high when the book was published and was sent a few copies over. Reading your name in print can be quite heady. But then you soon realise, getting your work appreciated is the real buzz.

The response has been hugely overwhelming. But equally, it's important to take on board all the comments if you want to evolve in your writing.

Your readers would like to know about, please tell me something about you. I am a dreamer. I can spend hours detached from the real world; this ability is especially enhanced when I am driving long distance!

I am rubbish at telling jokes. I burst into fits of laughter before I even begin telling that. I love travelling. Someday I would like to do some travelling on my own. I have been told by my family and friends that I make a dreadful travel companion. I can get a bit picky about my food. I am also known to go into a mood if I'm made to walk for miles without being fed and watered.

Tell me something about your writing? Do you follow a strict schedule for writing?

Far from it! Now looking back, I wish I was more diligent in my writing. I can't write when I know I have other priorities that need my attention. But there have been some lessons learnt from my experience, I hope to be more structured. If that doesn't work, I'll probably slip into my old ways.

What prompted you to write 'Untruly Yours'?

A friend of mine gently cajoled me into writing. There were a few stories swimming in my head. Social issues have been addressed in many ways and I have attempted to raise awareness through humour. It could have gone horribly wrong. But, thankfully the reviews have been reassuring. I am passionate about raising awareness on these sensitive issues and i think that has come through in my writing.

Was it difficult to get a publisher for your book? Aspiring writers would like to know about the hurdles of getting a suitable publisher (If any)?

I would be lying if I said it has been an easy ride. There were so many barriers especially when you are trying to orchestrate the whole process through the long distance. Rejection can be soul destroying. You have got to keep your faith and keep going.

Was it difficult to publish your book in India as you live abroad?

Yes, definitely. It was testing at times. But I was determined to find an Indian publisher.

Would you like to share something about your next projects?

It will be another contemporary romantic comedy. I have enjoyed myself far too much penning Untruly yours to try something different.

Who is your favourite author/book?

I adore Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella. Their books are sumptuously laced with humour and sarcasm. I also find Stephenie Meyer's books strangely addictive.

What's your favourite genre in reading?

Romantic comedies.

What do you think about blogging?

I think it's an incredible tool to spread your knowledge and ideas. Stay in touch with friend and family. For me, personally, it's been a fabulous platform to showcase Untruly Yours.

Some people say you can't find any fault in your own writing. I mean you like it anyway. What do you think?

I can't relate to that because I am very critical about my work. I have yet to pick up my copy of Untruly yours and read it, for the fear of finding of typos and cringing if I do fine a one.

Any writing tips for aspiring writers.

I'll pass on what I have learnt from my experience. Shed your inhibitions, write from your heart, and believe in your craft.

It's an absolute pleasure to have you here. I wish you all the best for your future projects.

Thank you!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Legacy: by Danielle Steel

I’m not a fan of historical fiction of 17th or 18th century. I’m also not a fan of Danielle Steel. But “Legacy” came as a pleasant surprise for me!

It’s the story of two entirely different women of different era.

Briggitte is 38 years old woman, working in administrative department of a university and is writing a boring book from seven years. She has not much ambition and pretty content with her life, having a boyfriend of six years.

Suddenly, life gives her a solid beat as her boyfriend Ted ends their relationship for his most cherished dream. She has been fired from her job and her book is the most boring book ever and is going nowhere.

To cope with her jumbled situations, she travels to unravel the history of her ancestors. There she gets to know an extraordinary sioux woman Wachiwi.

Briggitte completely falls in love with her brave and beautiful ancestor and finally this journey leads her to Marc, the love of her life.

I liked the character of Wachiwi!! She is strong, brave, courageous, and warm and caring at the same time. I also liked how Briggitte’s and Marc’s sweet love story develops.
The only thing I felt odd is the repetitiveness that I find usual in Danielle Steel’s writing. 

Overall, "Legacy" is an intriguing, engaging and very interesting read!!

I received this copy from Random Reads, official blog of Random House India for an unbiased review.