Love had to Wait: My entry for the Get Published contest

“So was it love at first sight?” I chirped, my head filled with images of Earls, swooning ladies and carriage races. The outcome of my first Mills & Boon Regency Romance made me want to see romance in everyone, and who better than the woman who had discreetly slipped me my first book. She looked up and smiled. The question remained suspended mid-air, particles of dust floating around the evening sun, her rocker gently moving back and forth, her second cup of evening tea sending warm wisps of ginger perfuming the air. She smiled again. Shrugging her shoulders she went back to her muscled hero racing through the winding streets of a rainy English hamlet, searching for his children’s nanny who had left in a rush from the party. “Come on, apputa. Did you fall in love with g’pa at first sight?” I persisted. She sighed, and put her book down, a long forgotten bill holding the plot in suspense. “I never did!” She sipped her tea, her hand delicately veined, soft and appearing more fragile than the china cup. “I don’t think I ever loved your grandfather in the traditional sense.” “How many ways can you love a man you married?” I quizzed. It amused and perplexed the sixteen year old in me, to think that eyes meeting across the room, and smiles dancing in the corners of lips were not the only way it happened. “Kannamma, someday you will learn that there are many shades to love. Someday you will” She gently tucked an errant strand of hair behind my ear and reached for her book. “Okay, but atleast tell me how you met him, what did you look for in a marriage, and why you went all the way to Rangoon to marry him?”

She removed her glasses and massaged her eyes, as if willing for long forgotten images to surface again. “I never wanted to…” she started. Her eyes closed. It’s strange how our memories often connect old people with inanimate things. It is as though the more we put them in dull, imaginative surroundings, the less human they appear, less likely to tug at our heart strings and less likely to take a toll on our i-Life. But today, my grandmother didn’t disappear amongst the cushions and the throws on her rocker. She was becoming a person whose own strength and resolve had shaped my own and whose “love story” held more promise than the ones my dreams were made of. She sipped her tea and continued “My brother-in-law sent a postcard from Rangoon. All it said was that he had found a suitable boy for me and to send me there immediately. I went alone from Coimbatore to Calcutta by train with one suitcase and flew from there to Rangoon. I married him 15 days later. I found out the day after our wedding that he did not know how to read and write English. Love had to wait.”

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest , which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.


I, Rama – Age of Seers : Book Review.

I, Rama written by Ravi Venu follows for the most part in the latest trend of having first person narrative of popular mythology. It tries to reframe the narrative of Ramayana from being a battle between good and evil to that of a more complex, multi layered fight for ensuring survival on earth. It is meant to offer a view into the world as seen by Rama.

The Ist part is the Age of Seers, an insight into the Brahmarishis who Rama comes into contact with and the great sages who shape his life and his destiny. It charts his journey from boyhood where he is sent to the forest to combat the Asuras and learn the art of becoming a king to his exile along with Sita and Laxman.

While the journey that Rama takes is extremely interesting, especially because of the smaller stories that the author weaves into the book, the language is very off-putting. It vacillates from waxy, poetic and verbose to crisp, curt and almost pedestrian at times. The attempt to bring sci-fi into the tale through energy channels, spikes, missiles, and launchers was disturbing. At one point, especially when Kaikeyi talks about the sacrifice they will have to make, the book reads a lot like something out of the Percy Jackson series. While mythology, no matter its origin deals with good against evil, what made Indian mythology special were the infusion of Asthras and Gandharavas and Asuras and their Amrut drinking counterparts. By neglecting that part, the author has made Ramayan sound like every other Greek drama. The use of science fiction inspired narrative by itself would have been more digestible if the book was written with that intent. It ends up being neither a complete mythological rendering or belonging to the science fiction genre.

The idea of a retelling of an epic such as Ramayana from the view point of one of its characters does hold some interest. What would have made this book a true epic would have been to centralize one of the other characters in the epic. A Ramayana from the Laxman’s view or even hearing about the story from Sita would have offered greater depth to the novel and given the epic a more multi-dimensional quality.

Ravi Venu’s strength is in the retelling of the little heard Kaikeyi story or the stories of Lanka, Ravana and the Brahmarishis. Devakurni’s “Palace of Illusions” worked for two reasons, one the story of draupadi was retold in a manner that gave the great epic a quality that had not been wholly explored, and also enabled the viewers to judge the characters and their emotions and actions in a different way. It also helped that she stuck to narration of the events as told, rather than add an evolutionary, scientific or fiction element to it. While Kaikeyi’s story does add to her character and her demands, there is very little by way of newer revelations. The original Ramayana in its entirety is Rama’s story.  The author could have elevated his narration to a whole other level had he bought Laxman, Sita, Hanuman or even Ravana or Vibhishana to the forefront. The trilogy does offer some degree of promise. How Rama narrates his life sounds promising but does not fulfill any curiosities about reading more into the epic.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!


Valley of Pain.

I walk, for love and for you, yet again

in this long, cold dreaded valley of pain

I walk alone, away from my wits that fell wayside

I walk as if the noon sun burned, and the tide went high

I walk for staying still hurts, on the inside more than out

I walk  for in the crunch of leaves, the voices in my head drown out

I walk deep in hurt, wrapped in the pain of my own failings and,

in the promises that I thought you held in your hand. I walk,

I keep on walking, for that is the only way to reach that little light

I walk out, stop. Time waits with bated breath. I slowly turn back again..

If the pain was great, greater still was this accidental love

If walking through the valley meant, I was madly in love

Then I will walk again, for love and for you who made me feel alive again.


Summer Breeze.

The summer breeze floated in, through the open window

Pulling tendrils of her hair loose, coaxing them to caress her face

The moon beamed in, stars gathered and the breeze stopped in anticipation

She stirred at the noise, and yet heard nothing except

The gentle beat of a heart under her head,

She felt nothing except the gentle rise and fall of a chest

She smiled and moved her hand, from under his, tracing

The fingers that made her numb, the shoulders

That she had held onto, the sinews of his neck flecked with red

The lips that held the secrets of how she became a woman..

She lifted her head, her hair undone, she moved her hand

She traced his eyes, willing them to open and yet remain closed

She wanted to see the flares of desire lit again, to see herself in them, yet

She feared drowning in their dark passion, and in the promises it held.

She smiled, as the breeze blew in again, ever so gently, coaxing him to open his eyes,

Their eyes locked, he pushed the wayward hair, and pulled her closer,

She wondered if it were possible to be so alive and breathless at once.

The breeze blew gently, pushing her into him, coaxing them to come together again,

The moon dimmed her lights, the stars flickered, and a sigh was heard.


Review – The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

“It’s a famous one, the P=NP problem. Basically, it asks whether it’s more difficult to think of the solution to a problem yourself or to ascertain if someone else’s answer to the same problem is correct.”

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In its essence, the book is about solving the P = NP problem. A dark suspense novel, the Devotion of Suspect X is actually misleading in its title since the actual murder and the people involved in it are laid bare in the first few pages. Tetsuya Ishigami is the very devoted neighbour of Yasuko Hanaoka, a single mother to Misato. She works at a lunch delivery place and is quite content with her life, until he ex husband walks in demanding more than just money. The fear of being blackmailed by him, fearing his influence on her daughter and their future she murders him in a fit of rage at her home. Ishigami who overhears the scuffle from his apartment, comes over deduces what happened and offers to help. What follows the discovery and identification of the body is a game of how did he do it and who actually did it. The detective Kusanagi teams up with Yukawa, a physicist at Imperial college and a close friend of Ishigami to solve a problem that is part math, part mystery and part psychological mind warfare. The climax brings together all the emotions that has been simmering through the novel and will not disappoint the reader.

The book is very deceptive in the sense that it throws up so many contradictions about the characters, the plot and the narrative itself. It reads like it is supposed to be a Japanese opera, but the writing is very devoid of emotion and settles itself for precisely formed adjectives that describe the details and nothing more. Ishigami’s devotion, and his willingness to face jail time belies his almost bellicose physical structure. The daintiness and the beauty that Ishigami describes about Yasuko is hidden by a strength and resolve that helps her stick to her story almost to the end. Brilliant logically performed moves to hide the murder by the mathematician and supreme deductive logic to discover the real killer by the physicist makes the book read like a ballet without the music or the emotions..until it comes to the end. It is a play on how science inspite of its mastery of logic and reasoning has to always give way to the baser human emotions.

One of the best books by blogadda. Read and you will not be disappointed. Sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. and get free books! Participate now!



Child Sex Abuse Awareness Month.

They said “Fool me once, Shame on you. Fool me twice, Shame on me.

There are no greater fools than us who implicitly trust the nature of  fellow people to see all children without lust filled thoughts. The idea that somebody, anybody could think of doing or actually doing sexual acts on a child is so revolting that we would rather deny that it happens than acknowledge the fact that it actually does. A campaign conducted last year opened up every household, every door that was closed firmly from family, by family. From stories of guilt, anger, misery, depression, betrayal, Obsessiveness..the range of human emotions that churn can drown every voice that denies child sex abuse.It is not just emotions that do a medley. The senses are so drowned by the nature of abuse, by the abusers and their actions, that it takes a lifetime to touch, see, hear without fear gripping your throat and feel a cold wave pass all over.

Touch is supposed to be a sensation that brings memories of warmth, love, protection, and gentleness. Yet every abuse victim can vouch for the fact that once abused, you never feel touch the same way again. You never see a relative or a stranger with the blind trust that you did before and you can never see a person the same way your parents see them. A little wall is built around you to protect you from the man who wants to fall all over you in the bus, to keep a distance from the cousin who wants to tickle you, from the uncle who wants you to sit next to him while he narrates stories of his youth. You add a few people into the wall and yet the wall remains. As an adult when you step out, you are wary of people coming close, you hair stands on its end when someone brushes past you, you agonize whether they meant to brush past you or was it an accident.

The way you view your world changes. The way you want the world to view you changes. The way you see children changes. Every child I see in school, in my complex, on the road, the kids of the girl who does housework for me…I hope with every fiber in my body that they grow up to be strong, capable individuals who will never have to go through the horror of losing trust in humanity and in their own family. Every child, I hope will never have to agonize over whether their parents can be trusted enough to talk about sensitive issues. Every child, I pray will never have to spend sleepless nights about choosing their own emotional health over keeping peace in the household.

Child Sex Abuse has to be addressed again and again every year. This is not only to protect our children, but also to ensure that they can grow up in an environment where abusers who take us to be fools are not tolerated and molesters can no longer stalk our kids within their own homes, localities, schools and cities. Our children need to know the joy of riding a cycle on the road, taking a bus to their schools and live a childhood which as adults they will not be ashamed, guilty, or burdened about.

Support CSAAM. Support your kid and every kid you know.

Do you have a story to tell? Tips to share? A video, a link, an ebook? As a parent, as an adult, as a child? As before, we honour all requests for anonymity.

Bring your experience and your expertise to this awareness initiative via

Blog posts with the logo (you can copy the image above), linkback to our blog, with the words “CSAAM April 2012” in the title
Twitter posts or links to @CSAawareness, tagged “#CSAAM”
FB notes linking to our Facebook page
Emails to csa.awareness.april@gmail.com
Or just simply show support by displaying the Picsquare badge on your site/page/profile


Dear Friend

I always knew writing came easy to me. I took pleasure in seeing my thoughts spill onto paper. I felt comforted by the fact that what I thought or spoke never seemed to measure up to how I wrote. I took so much pleasure out of it, that just the act of setting myself up to write seemed cathartic. Clearing the table, removing a fresh sheet of paper, setting the pen, finding the soft spot on the chair and putting pen to paper….words were good. Yet, for almost the last one year, writing was being done more as a chore than a pleasure. I kept telling myself that it was just a block and that it will clear itself up, but it did not. The more I tried justifying my inability to write, the more it haunted me. It almost felt as if someone had crept up in the stealth of the night and had emptied my head of words, thoughts and rhythmic sense. Life gathered me around in its petticoat and swirled me around. It allowed me to get caught up in the ebb and flow of people coming home and leaving. It enveloped me with the idea that motherhood was always a good excuse. Somewhere within this tidal wave, at a little moment when the waves subsided and there was time for a little reflection. I need to start writing again, even if it is in fits and phases..only then can I get through this part of my life with my sanity intact. It doesn’t matter, what I write..I just need to stick with it and maybe someday I will find myself again.


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