Friday, 26 September 2014

Scribbler's Orchard – part 16

Team name - Scribbler's Orchard

Read the previous part of the story here...

Arjun was now at his agile best. Much time had been wasted and any moment spared now could translate into harrowing experience for little Roohi. Arjun stepped out of the building and immediately alerted his team on wireless. “I want to know everything about those three people…their history, geography urgently. This is getting serious. They might be involved in the missing of PM…make it fast and inform me as soon as you get any clue, got it? Contact inspector incharge of Juhu police station since his team found the bodies first. And I also want complete information on Mr. Ahuja, will just message you his address”, he spoke non stop.

Meanwhile, his restless eyes looked for any person who could give him a clue…guards, vegetable vendors, who could possibly give me the information I need? But a person as smart as Mr. Ahuja must have already taken care of them. Who do I go to now?

Just then, his eyes fell on the Ganesha idol in the society temple. “Oh God, you ward off all evil, please remove the clouds of confusion, and show me the right path. It’s the question of life and death for someone.”, he said. “Who do I go to who has answers to my questions? Who could know it all, who could have been a part…” Arjun stopped, he recalled Cyrus. “He should have the information I need. I need to meet Cyrus right away!”

Arjun, raced his car towards the hospital, hoping to get his answers from Cyrus.
The very mention of Mr. Ahuja soured expressions on Cyrus’s face. For a few moments, Cyrus was lost in his thoughts, the pain very evident in his eyes. “Yes I was working with him, but I did not work for him. I was interning with his lawyer. A reputed name, and good money was good enough to lure a law student, but slowly I realized that all that glittered was not gold. Mr. Ahuja’s business interests many illegal activities like money laundering and corporate lobbying. The image of himself he has portrayed in society was just to camouflage his vested interests. I wanted to stand up to provide justice to those who needed it. In his firm, I would have become a reflection of the lawyer who falsely portrayed my father’s murder as suicide. I didn’t want to be in the same league. So I quit.” he typed on the i pad.

Arjun was reading attentively, making mental notes. He promised Cyrus he would leave no stone unturned to nail the people behind all this, and left the hospital.

Cyrus recalled his time during internship. How the very Mr. Ahuja, he was so much in awe of, actually emerged as a person who would go to any extent to have his way…
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of shoe heels. As Cyrus glanced at the floor, his eyes widened in shock. These were the very white shoes, the signature style of Mr. Ahuja!

Outside, the guards had been tipped to turn blind and deaf for the next 10 minutes.

“Hello, Mr. Shekhar?”, Jennifer said. Shekhar’s lifeless eyes were slowly losing hope. “Mr. Shekhar, I have some more information on the case. We might know who was behind the murder”Jennifer said. The mention of the word “Mr. Ahuja” widened Shekhar’s eyes!...

Read the next part of the story here
“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Scribbler's Orchard: Part II

Team Name: Scribblers Orchard

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Read the previous part of the story here

Tara lay still on her bed. Her eyes wandered on the walls with pictures of her rosy past...a loving husband like Shekhar, and an adorable daughter Roohi! There was nothing more in life she could ask for.

And then, everything changed…

Shekhar left his job as a news correspondent with an English Daily and decided to go freelance, for he was a free bird who couldn’t manage any intervention in his stories. As a correspondent, he had written liberally against the corrupt politicians, exposing them. So, when he went the freelancing way, the powerful people ensured life became a struggle for him.

Tara was growing the corporate ladder fast in a reputed media house. However, her professional growth went inversely proportional to the quality of her relationship with Shekhar. She took solace in her work to stay afloat and pretend a happy family picture to their 9 year old daughter, Roohi.

But now, even that reason was gone. Despite working for a media house, nobody was willing to take risk of pursuing Roohi’s story, for the politicians Shekhar frequently wrote against owned significant stake in the media company. Tired and dejected, Tara lay on her bed, her wet eyes closed in prayer for safe return of her daughter.

Her prayers were disturbed by the ringtone of her cellphone.

“Hello, is this Roohi Gupta's house? The one who studies in MP school?

“Yes, I am Roohi’s mother. You know where she is?”

She heard a loud shriek and the line went blank…

“Hello, hello, you there?” Tara froze…


Cyrus looked at the railway tracks. Parallel and lifeless, they were taking him away from the land of bitter memories. That evening too, he had looked at the tracks with the same remorse. Like the screeching sound on the tracks that brings the train to a halt, his life too, had come to a halt.

They found his father’s body on the railway tracks. Manan Daruwalla, an honest IAS officer, had earned more wealth of morals than the wealth his family needed to live a comfortable life. As a consequence, his children had changed more schools than the digits in their years. Honest officers like Mr. Daruwalla were transferred almost as soon as they gave a hint of their honesty to the corrupt system.

The Delhi posting, his last had been very different. At the receiving end for unearthing a famous politician’s illegal land acquisitions, Mr. Daruwalla received death threats every day, to remain quiet or become quiet forever. A brave officer, he was not the one to be shaken by the threats and told his family to be brave and honest rather than surrendering to weak situations in life.

Then one day, his bravery surrendered to life. The corrupt politicians he had vowed to expose finally had their way in silencing him forever. His body was found on the railway tracks. The public prosecutor, bought by the politician proved it case of suicide by a depressed officer with domestic issues. Cyrus had vowed that day to become a criminal lawyer so that nobody ever suffers to the hands of injustice the way his father did.
His thoughts were disturbed by a screech. The train had reached Mumbai Central.

It was his friend Rohan’s wedding after 2 days. They had been childhood friends and Cyrus was proud of the success Rohan had achieved despite being from a humble background. Rohan insisted he would come to the station to receive Cyrus.

Cyrus looked through the crowd on the platform. Here he was in the maximum city, in the midst of crowd, yet he felt a strange loneliness and antipathy. Nevertheless, he was here for his friend. Cyrus walked aimlessly near the station entrance. As he looked out for Rohan, his eyes fell on a schoolbag lying in a corner. He knew any unidentified object could be a bomb, but hey, who would hide a bomb in an empty school bag. Still, something inside him felt something fishy about the bright pink school bag and he decided to examine himself first.

As he surveyed the bag, a big smile came on his face. The bag displayed a small name slip, “Roohi Dutta, IV-B, 65, The Orchard…9820xxxxxx” The next minute, he was desperately trying to reach someone on his phone.

Hello, is this Roohi Gupta's house? The one who studies in MP school?" Cyrus said.

“Yes, I am Roohi’s mother. You know where she is?”, said a husky female voice on the other side of the call…

The next moment, he saw darkness all around and collapsed at the station…

The iron rod had hit him hard enough to take his conscious away…

Read next part of the story here

Monday, 8 September 2014

Book Review – Love Lasts Forever…

Author – Vikrant Khanna
Publisher –Srishti Publishers
Genre –Fiction
Pages –248
Price – Rs. 150

Does love come with an expiry date? Is there a thing called as “And they happily lived ever after?” This question kept popping in my mind when I was asked to review this book. “Love lasts forever”, is it a mushy mushy story of a couple madly in love who were just perfectly made for each other? (I prayed not, for it would have made for a super boring story)…or was it some expert tips on How to make love last forever? (Although I wouldn’t mind the tips, it would have still been like so many books that fade away from our memory). And so, the day delivery guy handed me the book, I accomplished the mission “Kill the curiosity” in 2 hours flat!

The Cover –

Bright green cover with wedding rings sitting pretty above the title which reads “Love lasts forever”! And then my eyes fell on the words below, “only if you don’t marry your love”. Now I was totally zapped! Had our films and poets believed the same way, we would have been devoid of many masterpieces that revolve around lovebirds finding solace in the company of each other for eternity!
And that was not all, seemed the author had challenged the readers on the back cover “So you think your love can last forever…? Get married!”

My View –
The book instantly becomes a “pick me up” because it takes the story of love forward from where our conventional film makers leave it. We all love to see lovers getting united and getting married in the end. But do we really think about what happens afterwards, when lovers become Man & Wife?

Well, a similar dilemma has gripped Ronit. Aspiring to rule the seas, he is enjoying his life at the pre sea training institute till love finally comes calling. Love was one of the most beautiful feelings he had experienced, except for one thing that soured it – the girl he so madly loved was the sister of the guy (who was actually a girl himself!) he loathed at the academy! Someone who was on the target list of the most chosen pranks for Ronit and his buddy, Joe Singh.

But all is fair in love n war, and fair it seemed to befriend the enemy to reach his lady love. Like a man who has conquered the world, Ronit’s happiness knows no bounds when after great difficulty, he gets married to the girl he loved. But life, as we know it, throws surprises we would never have imagined. Within a week of getting married, Ronit starts doubting his decision. Day by day, the wife he could die for seems like a Devil who would one day suck up all his blood and life!

When problems overpower our capabilities to handle them, we often retort to escapes. Ronit too, rushes to the next possible sailing assignment to escape the domestic tsunami. Little does he know, that destiny was yet to spare the torture. His ships gets caught by pirates in Somalia. Here he was trying to escape the Devil in his wife when real devils are ready to blow his brains in air till they receive their ransom!

With death and misery all around, Ronit finds a relationship coach in his captain, who too had a love story! Whoever said distance strengthens love did have some brains after all. In captivity for months, and listening to the story of Captain, Ronit slowly realizes the trick circumstances played with him, that, life with Aisha wasn’t as bad after all as he had thought it to be.

But it had been more than a year in captivity and there was no hope of survival. Would he be able to meet Aisha one last time? Would life give him another chance – to love and make up for what had gone? Would his love survive with him, or would he too, die the death of many sailors caught by Pirates?

Well, that’s for you to discover…

What I loved about the book –
  • I love this style of oscillating between flashback and present. Develops an emotional connect with the readers and gets them hooked on till the last page. An quick read despite the 248 pages.
  • The book holds your complete attention for a major portion of the story. In fact, I got somewhat angry with the author to read about his description of his wife’s devilish ways. But then I thought, its not a narration, it’s an account of someone who hates his wife and the author did succeed there in getting into the skin of the character.

What could have been better –
Towards the later half, you wish for brevity in writing. And well, you get overdose of it during the climax.  Perhaps the author could have worded the climax a little more interesting rather than rushing to draw the curtains.

However, apart from few nuances, I would recommend the book if you feel the spark in your relationship has gone missing. Without sounding preachy, the author gets us wondering if we put enough into our relationships before expecting from our partner…

My rating – 2.5/5

About the author-
A sailor by profession and a writer by passion, Vikrant has penned two novels before this. He lives in Delhi with his family. You can get in touch with him at

This review is written for Writers Melon. The views are strictly my own and under no influence.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Ugly Truth

Pic Courtesy:Google Search

I looked at her she looked at me
She looked like a reflection of me

A reflection I detested for its existence
It was hard to cope with my heart’s resistance

She gave me a friendly smile

I had been ignoring her all this while

Thoughts of killing the common link came to me
But it was too late now, the result I could see

Last night could not be reversed
Why did I do it? My sorry self, I cursed

What was mine was no longer just mine.
Non stop sulking inside, I could no longer be fine

This was a face off, my heartbeat increased.
What if someone saw us together? The thought made me freeze

I got up to walk away, to bury the ghost of a wrong decision in the past.
Wanted to end the embarrassment fast.

Her look said the hatred was mutual, we finally came close 
She gave me a scan as if hating my existence, I just froze

She smiled and said "Same day! Same dress!"
"Ya, fashionista sale last night!" I said. My face got pink!

We women leave no opportunity to catch a good sale. We want to get the best bargain and at the same time, want to own the stuff no one else owns. What happens when we bump into someone equally intelligent, wearing the same outfit? This poem was written during the coffee break when I bumped into a girl who was equally embarrassed since we wore the same Kurtis and looked like twins!

Do you have a similar experience to share? Comments are welcome!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Book review – Ramayana: The Game Of Life: Rise of The Sun Prince

Author – Shubha Vilas
Publisher – Jaico
Genre – Mythology
Pages – 252
Price – Rs.250

This is my first review on a genre as sensitive as mythology. Yes, sensitive, for religion and mythology involves emotions of the masses. So writing about religion is like working with electric wires, touch the wrong chord and face the jhatka!

Ramayana, one of the greatest epic of all times has a very important role to play in our lives. Lord Rama is seen as the epitome of perfection and often comparisons are drawn with the great saga (e.g., Ram Sita jaisee Jodi, to describe a perfect pair, matched in heaven).

I saw the popular TV series Ramayana as a kid, but more for entertainment than the meaning. While glancing at the Shlokas, I have often wondered if there was a version where I could really understand the meaning and the message the story meant to convey. Apart from various versions scripted by great people long long ago, I have never come across someone from this age telling the story again. So, when I heard about this book, I was more curious and excited to see why and how is someone attempting to write about this great epic!

Sneak preview from the Cover
“One of the World’s great literary master pieces, skilfully retold for modern audiences. Epics like the Ramayana have been recounted infinite times. Is there a need for another chronicle in the presence of so many? Yes, there is a need! This new series of books, each following one volume of original Ramayana, decodes the eternal wisdom of that poetic scripture through gripping narrative and thought provoking instruction. In the time – honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, every fascinating story in the epic is retold here and every character unfolded to captivate your heart and open your mind to life’s deepest questions.”
The preview was enticing enough, for the author wanted to customize the learnings for today’s generation, rather than making it just another version of the story!

The Cover
The cover has been done beautifully, depicting Lord Rama and Lakshmana protecting Vishwamitra’s rites from Maricha and Subahu. Bright colour and beautiful illustrations instantly attract you towards the book.

My View
Ramayana, one of the greatest epics in Hindu mythology, has been told time and again. An ideal human is expected to understand and follow principles of Ramayana, in order to lead a righteous life. However, the fast food generation of ours learns by examples and in order to engage them in the morals of Ramayana, the story had to be told the way they would understand it, and find interesting too. Many of us still read the Ramayana, whenever there is a Paath organized. However, do we go beyond than reciting just the shlokas? Do we go into the deeper meaning originally intended to be conveyed?

It was thoughtful of the author to come up with a version that today’s generation can understand and learn from. The first in the Ramayana: The game of Life series, the book begins with the motive behind the epic and covers Balkaand. However, the author has taken pains to ensure the story is interesting to read and at the same time, conveys the right message.

The book has been divided into nine chapters as per the learning each part of the story imparts. The author has used simple words and tried to make the narration interesting. What I really liked is the effective use of superscripts on each page referring to the key takeaway from each scene in Ramayana. Initially, you may be more interested in reading the story than going to the references again and again. But if you follow the references religiously, by the time you would have flipped the last page, you would have feel enlightened and learnt something than merely reading a story.

What I loved about the book
·         The simple language and beautiful narration which keeps the reader engrossed
·         Learning from a particular scene explained with a reference below on the same page so that you learn as you move.
·         The appendix at the back, explaining the qualities of a true hero. A ready reckoner to righteous living.

What could have been better
·        The beautiful illustration on the cover impressed me, and I hoped to see many more illustrations inside. However, plain text sans any illustration throughout the book disappointed me.
·         Perhaps some major shlokas could have been mentioned for the benefit of the readers.

Overall, a must read if Ramayana interests you. Read the book to get a dose of the wisdom the book holds without getting lost in the complex shlokas.
Looking forward to getting my hands on the second book now…Ramayana: The Game Of Life: Shattered Dreams!

About The Author

Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, holds a degree in engineering and aw with a specialization in patent law. His leadership seminars are popular with top level management in corporate houses. He addresses their crucial needs through thought provoking sessions on themes such as “Secrets of Lasting Relationships”, “Sould Curry to Stop Worry”, and “Work-Life Balance” to name a few. He also helps individuals apply the teachings of the Bhagvad Gita, the Ramayana and other dharmic traditions in dealing with modern day life situations.

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