Monday, February 20, 2017 5 Comments

Revisiting Memory Lane





Cursed by misfortune, 
Crushed by desolation
Clutched by the void within
I seek out a path to walk down memory lane
The familiar sunshine of smiles,
Bouquet of joy greet me
Oh, the whiff of bliss and solace!
Missed opportunities and zest clustered
A bunch of follies
Josh me
Laden with nostalgic emotions
Memories reach my eyes, 
Gleaming
Just like dewdrops in the sunshine


Through the blurred vision, I see a girl sitting under a tree. Her long skirt sprawled around the stone she is sitting on, her curls fluttering in the gentle breeze. She is my (much) younger, brighter, happier and care-free version. How happy I feel to see her! She looks at me and smiles brightly, the smile reaching her twinkling eyes. Golden sunshine filtering through the tree branches makes her face radiant. Then, she frowns. 'Why are you crying?' she asks innocently. Oh! I forgot I was crying. I shrug.

'Does crying change anything? Does it solve any problem?' she asks, I am surprised at her wisdom. But, you see, I am her older version, more experienced and wiser.

'No. But, crying gives you two important things. Some solace and strength. Tears rejuvenate your soul,' I say with a teacher-like look.

She doesn't understand this fact, and I am glad.

'Okay, can you pass me some happiness?' I ask.

'No. How can I? They're mine. You've had your share of happiness. But, you are supposed to create new forms of happiness. Haven't you created any?'

Her question feels like teasing. How wise she sounds. 'Can I have some wisdom?' I ask recalling the bunch of missed opportunities and follies.

'Oh yes!' She picks up a pebble and throws in the river nearby, the expanse so familiar.

'Why? Haven't I had my share of wisdom too?'

She rises to her feet, curling her lower lip. 'Maybe, but you can still take it. You have earned that out of your experiences, haven't you?'

Oh yes! Happiness is ephemeral, keeps changing, but wisdom - it remains with you. It keeps growing with your experiences, choices, mistakes. You just need to pay attention, and learn.

I open my mouth to say something, but vision starts blurring making her slim figure sway. I am back to the reality. But, I haven't returned empty handed. This revisit was a gentle reminder. The momentary happiness. New enthusiasm. And yes, I have to create my new share of happiness! I smile. Do I look like her?


Sharing with Blog Chatter (Prompt - Down the Memory Lane)
                      Poets United












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Thursday, February 9, 2017 23 Comments

Warm Memories





With every wave comes
A gush of warm memories 
Carved like names on rocks.

Fragrant emotions 
Wash over me, I smile
Like a crimson dusk

Screaming solitude 
Lingering sadness, I weap
Like a dewy dawn


Sharing with: Daily Post (Solitude) 
                   Haiku My Heart 
             Poets United 


P.S.: Wanted to say something about my first book, We Will Meet Again...The ebook version will be free for Kindle readers on this Valentine's Day. So, if you enjoy reading delightful romance with relatable characters and situations, my book can be a enjoyable read for you. Please download and read. I'll be waiting for your feedback. It's very important for a new author. Thank you for visiting! :)




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Saturday, February 4, 2017 3 Comments

Book Review: My Father is a Hero by Nishant Kaushik



'Your failures can never weigh as much as the burden of your regrets.' : My Father is a Hero 

I really liked this quotation. How true is this!

The story of My Father is a Hero  (Srishti Publishers) by Nishant Kaushik is based on  'Father-Daughter' relationship where a single father, Vaibhav, is willing to go to any lengths for his daughter's (Nisha) happiness.

That's all.

The first thing you notice in a book is its cover, and the cover of this book is very boring. So boring that I didn't want to read this book initially. But, so many good reviews prompted me to sign up for a review copy.

Now, about the story - the story of My Father is a Hero is very plain and predictable, without any twists and turns. It takes 55-60 pages to happen something that you may care about. However, last part of the book is interesting. 

Writing/narration is okay, but characterization is vague. Except Vaibhav and Nisha, not a single character leaves a mark. In my opinion, the character of Nisha's mother who seldom appears in Vaibhav's or Nisha's thoughts, deserved more space in the story.

Vaibhav is a good father indeed. I liked the way he handles her daughter so patiently. The author has described his restlessness and worries well. But, Nisha's character is very annoying. She 'never' behaves like a ten year old kid. I needed to remind myself that Nisha is a kid, not a grown up girl. She goes to salons and restaurants (even in Australia she goes to a place by herself without telling her father), and her 'single' father (who drops and picks her from school every single day) doesn't know. There's a certain scene/incident in the book that somewhat angered me. I don't know if ten year olds nurture/bother about such feelings that has been shown in the book.

Descriptions are inappropriate, sometimes. Like, an anxious father who has been summoned to the school (for a serious issue), visits the principal's chamber, and the way he notices another visitor's, a woman, attire (maybe it's from FabIndia, he thinks), her pumps, her accessories, handbag's brand etc. was a little odd. Maybe, it's just me, but I'm not sure if anyone would notice someone so minutely when they're nervous/worried.

Overall, for  me, it was an average read. If you are looking for a quick and easy read or a travel partner, you may take this book as an option.


I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review.



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Thursday, February 2, 2017 6 Comments

Best Movies I Watched In 2016

There was a time when I was a big television buff. I could just watch TV all day. Not anymore, thankfully. I have realized that it's additive, robs your time and makes you lazy. But I do watch selected movies (And current season of Indian Idol. I really like this team of Judges. Wonderful singers - Khuda Baksh is my favourite. Feels like old times).

As a writer, I believe that good movies are fruitful. The dialogue delivery, expressions, the way characters react. They stir your imagination and generate new ideas. When it comes to movies, Star Movies Select is my favourite.

I watched some really good movies last year. So, here it goes -


The Descendants




It's a touching family drama. This movie tells the poignant story of Matt King (George Clooney), who suddenly finds himself in a very difficult situation. It depicts his struggle as a father, his dilemma as a husband. George Clooney has played the character of an emotionally drained husband and father brilliantly. He looks so natural. Shailene Woodley who plays his spoilt daughter performed well, looks good.

The end of this movie is very satisfying, and I loved the last scene. Fulfilling.


The Hundred-Foot Journey




It's a romantic/family drama that involves cuisines of two different countries and cultures, and a sweet love story. This movie features Om Puri, Juhi Chawla and several other Indian artists. It's a nice story of an Indian chef and his journey (and struggle) while he and his family try to settle in France, and decides to open an Indian restaurant across the street from a very popular French restaurant.

It's a must watch for those who enjoy books/movies that involve food/travel. And, the younger female lead, Charlotte Le Bon, is so beautiful!

Lucy




Scarlett Johansson is now one of my favourite actresses. Her performance, as the title character, in this science fiction/action movie is brilliant! She plays a woman who gains psychokinetic abilities (and starts to behave strangely) after a rare drug is absorbed into her blood. The end of this movie is particularly exciting and thrilling.


Orphan




This movie was kind of googly. A bizarre story-line with some unexpected twists.
An innocent little girl who is an orphan has been adopted by a loving family. I thought it would be a touching family drama but whoa! What an intriguing/gripping psychological thriller it was!


A Walk in the Clouds





It's a delightful love story/family drama. Ten minutes, and I realized that Govinda-Urmila starrer Kunwaara was an idiotic version of this lovely film. I really liked the way the title 'A Walk in the Clouds' has been used in a dialogue. The locations are beautiful.

Amendment:

Adam



This is the story of Adam who suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and his unique relationship with Beth, his neighbour who is a storyteller.

I don't know what to say more. I just liked this movie a lot.

Date Night





I forgot about this one but I really enjoyed watching this movie that I caught running accidentally. Date Night is a comedy/action movie, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. I find Steve Carell very funny.
To break the monotony of their married life, Phil (Steve Carell) decides to take his wife (Tina Fey) to a trendy restaurant for a date, and they get caught up in a criminal case due to mistaken identity.

This one-night-story was a fun watch!

Have you watched any of these? What was your favourite movies that you watched last year? Do share.


Sharing with Shanaya Tales' Chatty Blogs





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Tuesday, January 31, 2017 0 Comments

Book Review: Dilli Darbaar by Satya Vyas








'उस रोज़ दो घटनाएं हुई थीं। दिन में मोहल्ले वालों ने शुक्ला जी की टीवी पर रामायण देखा और रात में महाभारत हो गया.'

सत्य व्यास रचित  'दिल्ली दरबार' की कहानी कुछ ऐसे शुरू होती है, और पूरी किताब में आपको कई ऐसी या इससे भी बेहतर पंच लाइने मिल जाएंगी जो आपको मुस्कुराने पर मजबूर देंगी। 

दिल्ली दरबार कहानी है हद से ज्यादा लापरवाह, दिलफेंक आशिक, और चालाक - कुल मिलाकर सर्व अवगुण संपन्न राहुल मिश्र की। ये कहानी है प्यार और दोस्ती की, और हर उस बात की जो एक माध्यम वर्गीय/छोटे शहर के युवाओं से सम्बंधित होती है। 

और कथावाचक है उनके  परम मित्र (और मेरे पसंदीदा पात्र), मोहित जो अपने मित्र से बिलकुल विपरीत स्वाभाव के हैं फिर भी उनका साथ किसी भी परिस्थिति में नहीं छोड़ते। कहानी कहाँ से शुरू की जाये ये समझ नहीं आने के कारण मोहित कहानी शुरू करते है राहुल मिश्र की तुड़ाई से। 

'इसकी शिकायत करते करते प्रिंसिपल रिटायर हो गया। इतनी बार शिकायत आयी है कि इसके कॉलेज में इससे ज्यादा अटेंडेंस तो मेरा होगा।' ये कहना है राहुल के पिताजी का। 

रांची की बेपरवाह ज़िन्दगी को त्याग कर राहुल मिश्र और मोहित पहुचते है... सही पकडे हैं...दिल्ली। पढाई, जिसमे राहुल मिश्र की कोई रूचि नहीं है, छोड़कर वो रुख करते है लड़कियों का, जिसमे उनकी अत्यधिक रूचि है। और फिर शुरू होती है ज़िन्दगी की असल आपाधापी। राहुल मिश्र कैसे-कैसे और कहाँ-कहाँ फसेंगे (फसेंगे ये तो तय है) और स्वाभिक रूप से अपने परम मित्र को फसाएँगे? क्या उन्हें एहसास होगा की संभल जाने में ही भलाई है? क्या उन्हें कभी सच्चा प्यार होगा?

'प्रेम के कारण नहीं होते; परिणाम होते है पर प्रेम में परिणाम की चिंता तबतक नहीं होती जबतक देर न हो जाए।'

ये जानने के लिए आपको पढ़ना होगा दिल्ली दरबार। और अगर आप थ्री इडियट्स या फुकरे जैसी फिल्में पसंद करते हैं (हांलाकि इस किताब की कहानी बिलकुल अलग है) और अगर आप उत्तर भारत से आते हैं, तो आपको ये किताब निश्चिततौर पर पसंद आएगी। मैंने प्रदेश का जिक्र इसलिए किया है किया है क्योंकि इस किताब  के संवादों में प्रादेशिक असर है। बिहार/झारखंड/यूपी की भाषा में 'खांटी बिहारी' संवाद हैं। मगर यही बात आपको गुदगुदा सकती है अगर आप इस प्रदेश से आते हैं।  

ऐसा नहीं कह सकते की कहानी अलग है, मगर उसका प्रस्तुतीकरण अच्छा है। लेखन हल्का-फुल्का और मज़ेदार हैं। कहानी की गति अच्छी है और कई घटनाएं ऐसी हैं जो आपको हँसायेंगी। सभी पात्र/घटनाओं का अपना महत्व है। कहानी का अंत संतोषजनक है हालांकि ये कहानी कोई सन्देश देती नज़र नहीं आती। 

चूँकि इस किताब में कई अंग्रेजी संवाद है, इसलिए  -  I'd like to conclude the review in my usual way. I really enjoyed reading this book. For me, it was a funny, witty and entertaining read!

I received this book from the publisher (Westland Books) for an honest review.



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Friday, January 27, 2017 8 Comments

Book Review: Lanka's Princess by Kavita Kane



Finished yet another mythological fiction, my new favourite genre. Lanka's Princess is Kavita Kane's 4th book (Again by Rupa Publications), however, this is my first book by the author.

Although, Mahabharata is more advanced, complicated and multilayered - basically more interesting, I find the women characters of Ramayana intriguing.

Kavita Kane is known for her lesser known/talked female mythological characters like Urmila, Karna's wife and Menaka, but this time she has chosen a very well known character as her protagonist.

This book tells about Surpanakha, a very significant character of Ramayan; her emotions, sexuality and role in Ramayan - from her point of view.

Lanka's Princess starts with prologue where Krishna meets Kubja, and I loved this part even though I don't like the idea of prologue. The author has portrayed Krishna beautifully!

The setting has been described really well - it creates vivid imagery. Characterization is nice. I particularly liked little Surpanakha's relationship with her grandmother, Taraka who loves her - somehow an ignored child - unconditionally and encourages her wholeheartedly. Also, the scenes where Surpanakha converses with Sita and Urmila were interesting.

'You make the world believe what you are, not believe what the world believes of you.'

Writing is good, of course, however several editing errors were a tad disappointing. Usage of words like cerebral and damn in 'dialogues' felt odd for this genre.The first half of the book is slow and repetitive, but picks up in the second half.  But, the end (including the epilogue) seemed rushed. Some important incidents just pass without much importance they deserved.

The main story starts with Surpanakha's birth, and then, it goes on in a linear way. It seemed more prototypical than imaginative. I didn't find any lesser known anecdotes (except for the prologue)- an important factor for mythology (in my opinion).

Overall, it was a nice read but not as exciting as I had expected it to be. But, if you enjoy mythological fiction, go for it.

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.



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Sunday, January 15, 2017 6 Comments

9 Things I Have learnt As A First-Time Author - Part 2








For those who don't know me or are visiting my blog for the first time, I have published my first book, We Will Meet Again, last year, and here I am sharing my learning experiences. You may want to read the first part. Sharing the link.

9 Things I've Learnt As A First-Time Author - Part 1

Here goes the second part.

FIRST-TIME AUTHORS - YOU...


SHOULD NOT rush to get your work published.

'Haste is the mother of imperfection' - this old saying still carries a lot of weight. Time is an important factor. Don't waste time but do give your manuscript some time. Let it rest. Then write. Revise. Re-write. Edit.

Have patience. If you think you are very patient, then have some more patience.

SHOULD (read must) Get a Beta Reader.

You should write what you love, but avoid loving what you write. Believe in your story and characters - that's very important - but don't love what you have written.

Get a Beta reader even when you think that your manuscript is perfect, and you don't need one. Trust me, you badly need a Beta reader. Not necessarily a professional who charges hefty amount, but someone who is willing to spend time on your work. Someone who reads a lot especially the genre you are writing in. And, someone who can be honest - brutally honest. You don't have to agree on every point she/he mentions as you know your craft better, but it does help you to see your own story (And, the way it progresses) in a new light. To fix plot holes. You don't want your readers to fall into those big-tiny (plot)holes, do you?

SHOULD NOT  seek perfection in your first draft.

Perfection - let it remain an exciting journey. It will instill a disturbing restlessness in your mind if you try to make it your destination. Please understand, perfection is a mirage.
Don't expect much from your first or even second draft. Finish your manuscript first; it could be good bad or even ugly. Doesn't matter. Collecting your wandering thoughts and ideas, capturing your imagination that crawls in your mind constantly, and clutching those ephemeral flashes of ideas are more important that making your manuscript perfect. You can polish your craft later. And, do polish it later nicely.

SHOULD  Edit your manuscript meticulously (and immaculately).

This is the biggest problem. Not just self published/first-time authors, but even biggies make mistakes. It's wise to hire professional editor (at least for final proofreading), but that can be tricky. There is no 100% guarantee of getting an immaculate, error-free manuscript. You must choose wisely. However, self-editing is possible.

(Careful) Editing is the essence good writing. Writers must take it very seriously and do it very carefully. (Self Editing Tips That Work - it requires another post. Will write it soon).


Tell me what's your take? Are you writing/planning to write your first novel? Or written one already? Please share your views. I'm all ears (err eyes), always ready to learn.




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