Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Murder in Amaravati

Book Details

Title: Murder in Amaravati
Author: Sharath Komarraju
Format: Paperback
Pages: 220
ISBN: 9381506108
Publication: Amaryllis
Price: Rs.250

My Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

It has been a considerable hiatus from book reviewing for me- Pre-Exam Stress, Post Exam Stress and then House Renovation stress. So amidst all the transitions in my life (and I am being overtly dramatic about this one!) I was mailed by Blogadda that I was one of the chosen bloggers to review this book titled, Murder in Amravati, written by Sharath Komarraju. What fascinated me the most was it's cover design, and being a slightly aligned feminist, the idea of opening a closet of murder mystery and suspense of a woman who was the village hostess (who in today's lingo would be the prostitute).

The setting of the plot is in a typical village with a sarpanch, a priest, a postman and some others with their respective families living peacefully in a neatly hierarchized order which no one in the village dishonoured. But trouble arrived in its chariot, shaking the volatile stability of this village of Amravati when Padmavati is found within closed doors of the temple at the idol's feet, lifeless. An autopsy identifies drowning to be the cause of death while the village-men speculate and brush it off as an act of suicide by Padmavati to get rid off her sins. The mystery thickens as it is revealed to the police constable, Venkat Reddy who had gone to record the case, that the only keys to the closed room were with the priest, Krishna Shastri. Other characters join in the bandwagon of suspects as Reddy determines to dig the case further instead of agreeing to the villagers plea to let the case be as a suicide.

Seetaraamaiah(The Sarpanch), Satyam(postmaster), Lakshmi(Satyam's wife), Shekhar(half-paralysed), Vaishnavi(Shekhar's wife), Kishore(Sarpanch's son) and Indira(Sarpanch's daughter who is fully paralysed) are some of the characters who seem to be the multi-focal points to the murder that Reddy begins to investigate each of them and corresponding their statements across to reach conclusions about what actually happened to Padmavati. How did she die of drowning? If she had died, then how did the body come inside the temple? If it was a murder, who killed her?It is amazing to see that there are first-time authors who come up with such impressive story-telling skills and it is so readable that I could not turn my attention away from it, despite all the chaos I had in my house during the renovation-the book simply hooked me on to it as the story unravelled itself. It has all the masala- suspense, easy language and readability and narration to make it a national best-seller. In a market, where every author thinks of himself/herself as a best-selling one, this guy truly has reasons to celebrate.

A different concept, and interesting commentary with the polarities of the characters gives a different edge to this book. However I must add that the promotions for this book seems to be insufficient. Not many people know about the book which clearly shows a lack of interest and knowledge in both the author's and the publisher's case. Such inadequacy of promotion and marketing leads to the losing out of the audience in the book market which has now threateningly become more of a flea market. Also another point that seemed iffy was that it is priced at a very high price of Rs..250 which in comparison to the other books floating in the market, is too costly. This might again prove to be unprofitable for the book.Nonetheless, I liked the book as a whole and thus, proudly give it a 4.5 out of 5.

This review is brought to you by Blogadda . 

The author can be contacted here:

The Facebook Page:
You can buy the book here: 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Be The Ray of Hope this Summers!

Dearest Kyra,

Summer has to be my time, when I shed off the inhibitions that circulate around a girl who isn't 36-24-36. Unlike winters, summer is a time of brightness merry-making and colours! Wearing bright coloured clothes, nude shades of lipsticks and red nail paints is truly blissful!

But then, I am sure there are people who can sob throughout the entire day cussing the summer heat, sitting in air-conditioned rooms and sip lemon colas! I am so glad that it is that time of the year when I can run around in the streets wearing half pants and no one would object; when I can go to my neighbour's house and pluck some amazing mangoes from his tree and suckle on it till my heart's content! This is that time of the year when I can remember my aunt, and her beautiful smile and the way she filled my life with excitement and joy every time she hugged me!

Summers make me feel nostalgic. This aunt of mine wasn't blood-related but seemed as close as family. I met her when I went to an old age home from our school. This was six years back! I still remember how she was keenly knitting a sweater for her son, as I walked into the façade.She was so tiny and back-wrenched that she could be easily mistaken for a child, even though her grey tresses spoke of the wisdom and experience, her life had provided her. I can still feel her voice tingling into my ears as she narrated how her son dumped her in that old age home, and also kept stressing and over-stressing on how good her son is. I'd  been so upset- how could one's own child be this cruel, I wonder even today as I see thousands of such elderly men and women strawing out the last couple of years of their lives in some one-roomed boxes where they are left to make a "home" out of those houses.

I am not sure if the same happens in your country too or not, though I pray it doesn't! No parent deserves such a life, for all the sacrifices they make! This was Revathi aunty's last summer, as she passed away ten days back due to a cardiac arrest in her sleep. She left me a note: 

"Keep Smiling and Keep the Smile passing.
Lots of Love,
Revathi Aunty"

I always believed man cannot fathom his own time of death or re-birth. But aunty knew she was going. And she wanted me to continue what we did for the last six years. I will do it, not just for myself or for others, but for Her. Because she taught me how, by being that one ray of hope to someone, could mean immense transformation for many others. It is like, what you would have studied in the sciences to be the "Treble Effect".

While we gorge on mangoes, wear our bikinis and go for our summer games in the sun, I'd love it if you come along with me to the old age home Vishwas, where Revathi aunty stayed and the orphanage, Khawahish just adjacent to it. Every year, on the 3rd of June(her son's birthday) me and Aunty went to the nearby temple to pray and after that we bought stationery and cakes for the kids in the orphanage and took the elderly people from the old age to the orphanage and all of us celebrated the day-laughing, playing games and most importantly, spending time with each other. And every year she'd buy me a little token which she said was a token of thanksgiving for being a heralder of the Ray of Hope. 

And she'd asked me to pass it on to someone else, and who else for me but you Kyra! You have not just been a cousin, but rather a soul sister to me. We are not just pen friends and once we meet after you come here, we'll be closer than real sister, I promise! Come over and we'll have a great time together!

I am sending you some gifts that Aunty had gifted me, the Lakme Sun Expert creme that will be the only thing you'll need once you land in here to beat the heat. It is special to me, because I love this product and of course, it is a gift from my dear aunt and I am sure you'll love it too! Also, I had recorded a song for her on her last birthday and she wanted me to gift it to whoever I thought could be the next heralder of the Ray of Hope. So I am sharing this song with you, and I am sure you will feel her around you too and remember her words!
See you soon, Kyra!

Loads of love and remember, Keep smiling and passing it on!Be the ray of hope for someone!

28th of May,2012

This entry has been written for the Indiblogger contest, Lakme Diva Blogger Contest. Please do leave in your comments about the post. Indibloggers may vote for my post HERE.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lover's Cove Challenge

So, the challenge here is to construct a poem, written by different bloggers. The prompt comes from my friend Andy's Blog
I am posting this on the Linky here. You may follow the Lover's Cove Challenge post HERE to know more.

Title: (to be determined later)
Andy’s line: A sleeping flower is more beautiful than a heart without love.
Kriti’s line: But I bleed enjoying your thorns of love, rest awhile so I may breathe
Punam's line: The loss of your love, O Heart!  Put me to an eternal ignorant sleep

My Line: And let me dream of a distant peace, that keeps swaying from me to him

Do try and enter your lines in here too! :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This Ache

This ache
dispassionately casts,
making me breathe,
then gulp, breathless
a cord tightly
clasps the unspoken words
that threatened to break free
from the kiln.
The wheel works it's way
spinning all of it, into an unshaped vessel
that never fills, only gloats sometimes
when the night is young for the sleepless
and too old for those who know
it'll come back again tomorrow
to tap on what rests within
like clay
the ache
that'll bake the moist tenderness;
fluid and porous
till the residue is left:
black tar of venomous ugliness
into this bowl of vile
This ache
rests, gleaming
till it coldens into rock,
This ache.

PLEASE NOTE: A wonderful prompt given where I had to think of one particular profession/trade/job and use the verbs that are commonly associated with them to write a poem on a completely different subject.

So here, the profession is that of a Potter. And my subject is The Ache. That is devoid of any other feeling or emotion. That has no cause nor consequence of it's own. Just remains. Not static but not moving. Like a heartbeat, it leaves a sense of it's presence and yet, affirms it's absence when it gets a little too crowded, if you know what I mean..

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Netted": Anytime, Anywhere!

"Priyanka, for once do you mind switching that phone of yours off before I throw it down the valley!"

My Mum warned me for the hundredth time. My sister chuckled in delight. She loves it when mom scolds me.

I mean, just imagine. You are an internet freak. A full time blogger and a Facebook-addict, and your family decides to go on a trip to the farthest valleys in Uttarakhand! And you are strictly forbidden to carry your laptop along! I may be accused of being dramatic, but it is suicidal for me, to be away from my virtual world.

I hate to see how people can stay away from such an amazing thing such as the internet. An invention that has made the world become so connected, so lively that it almost blurs the distinction between the real and the virtual! From social networking to uploading photos, sharing them with friends, family and of course tweeting, blogging and updating Facebook status messages is Priceless!

One problem that we are often prone to facing is the network problem. But thanks to Vodafone's excellent network coverage, one would definitely not have to face problems related to inaccessibility of the internet. So now my friends, you cannot give excuses to not stay in touch all round the year, wherever you are!

I cannot imagine how someone can stay inaccessible to the Internet! I am here in the midst of scenic beauty, and if I manage to click some beautiful picturesque photos, how can I curb the urge in me to put them as my Facebook Cover Photos. Or well there are times when I get clicked, slimmer and stunning. How, how do I then resist uploading them as my profile picture on Facebook! Just imagining the plethora of Likes and Comments, Re-tweets and shares of my posts, makes it PRICELESS!

So, today while I write this blogpost from my phone, My mum or sister! No one dare hath stoppeth me, I say!

For now I carry my world with me,
safely tucked in few clicks in my mobile phone
I shall take you by a storm,
my blogs and status are my charm!
I shall never part with y'all
For Vodafone provides the best network,
I can talk, text or simply rest
gladly in my virtual world, or better, My Neverland here!
And as I write this poetic verse I hum along a song, a beautiful one most of you have heard. But I am uploading this song I just recorded singing in my voice on SoundCloud!That's what we're saying! POWER TO YOU!

Here is the song.
Like I uploaded, you can download it directly on to your phone from here, if you really are crazy enough to like my sordid voice and use it as your ringtone or Alarm!
You and I

Wait till I send the link to my friends on Gmail Facebook and Twitter! Mobile Internet..And oh, Pininterest them too! Aah! Too good! Too good!

Sirjee, this is better than the Original, I say! 

PLEASE NOTE: This entry is for the Indiblogger Contest: Internet is Fun on Vodafone .  If you like my post, do leave in a comment! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Maa and I

I was getting late. The bus driver had scowled and told me to be on time. Maa, had been taking a longer time than usual. 

Me: Maa, deri hocche! (Maa, it's getting late!)

Maa: Dara shona, dui minute! (Wait my dear, coming in two minutes)

I snarled. When will Maa understand the deliquescent nature of my work! I am not her darling little girl anymore. I have a boss to answer. She just does not understand! 
This is not the first time! She always keeps calling me from the back, making me sip coconut water or chai, eating marie biscuits or toasts.
If I am hungry, I'll eat! Why does she have to make a scene all the time!

I begin to leave, just like every other day. But it wasn't like any other ordinary day.

I sighed, as I came back to my senses. Maa had passed away two days back, peacefully in her sleep.I'd been out for work, while she'd probably expected me to be there, holding her hand. She'd always taken care of me, but I could not. Now she won't be running behind me to grab a bite before I leave or come scurrying down the stairs when I come back. 

As I lock the door,  I miss the scent of the incense sticks she light early morning and her sweet humming. You were right Maa, I never grew up. I wish I never grew up, for I remembered being everything; everything else except your little daughter. Will she ever forgive me?
She will, I think, for she had a heart of gold. A mother's heart.

This work is purely fictional and has no relation to the author's or anyone else's life. This must be treated as a work of fiction.



Is my best friend

It envelopes me

Into my emptiness.

Hush, don't talk

Me and silence are having a word

Talk and you talk more

With silence around,

No one to fight; no shouts.

When angry or sad

Make silence your only friend
The best listener you'll ever get
Is my best friend.

Silence is my best friend
and it has wings to fly
and it perches up high
in the crimson sky,
looking down
And it is Time to say Goodbye
It comes down
sitting on my shoulder
ask me Why!
Why do you cry,
for those who are gone
never came to stay
Then why mourn?
Enjoy their stay, lessen the pain.
These are moments where one must only gain
the essence of life, which you shall sense
when you are alone with your friend, Silence.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Questions of Gender Equilibrium

I am not an author. I write. I opinionate. Some people think that being a blogger does not mean you are a writer. Definitions confuse me, for I as a human am not bound to learn them, or believe them if I don't wish to believe them. While I cannot stand it when a man harasses a woman in any form of the word, I cannot stand it either when a girl uses it to harass a man. In this so-called "enlightened" world where we study Gender as a tool of analysis, what we forget it what the term "Gender" constitutes. For those who don't know, it means,
according to Wikipedia, Gender studies is a field of interdisciplinary study and academic field devoted to gender identity and gendered representation as central categories of analysis. This field includesWomen's studies (concerning womenfeminism, gender, and politics), Men's studies, and LGBT studies.

Well you must be wondering what's gotten into me today! Hah, well I am usually misunderstood to be a feminist. I only take gender studies, VERY seriously. Just looking at the whirls of time, there was one when women cried and begged to be heard, with evidences of blood, violence and lust smeared all over her and yet people disbelieved her.
And now the time is such that, if a man makes a gesture, which maybe questioning or contesting to a woman's opinion or thought, he is said to be a harasser? And you would be surprised to know that this case erupts right amidst the Literati Group I have on Facebook.

To give you an overview. A Book reviewer adds an author. They have a chat. Which becomes the fundamental cause of all the eruptions henceforth. In the chat, the author is inquisitive whether the person's profile is fake or not ( Yes, alarmingly, a lot of fake profile have been made on Facebook.) And then laughs when she tells him her blog-name. The way she addresses herself as "Mam" who reviews book. This may sound funny to anyone. That does not make him/her a harasser.

Also, she wrote a status about it and tagged all the authors she has recently added on Facebook. I mean were they blind enough otherwise, to not see it, unless she had other intentions..well..!

Here are some of the things I have to say regarding this entire fiasco. To the authors, reviewers, publishers and people who read or are anyhow involved.

1.Just because I think a profile is Fake, I question you, what do you do..whether the profile pic is yours or not.. what do you do, besides reviewing.. That makes me a harasser if I am a male? WHAT IF IT WAS ME, Girl? Would that make me a harasser too?

2. I think most of us are missing the point. Irrespective of whether he is from whatever educational institution( education at a higher level and authorship must not have a connection, considering all those who write today.) , whether he writes proper english or not ( like you yourself haven't written the status in proper english, let's leave writing a book) , or anything else.

Especially that he spams the walls, groups pages with his promotions.  I mean hello, most of you spam walls. Don't you? Anyone who does not post about his/her upcoming books? the interviews? That makes you a harasser?

I don't know that guy too well. Just another result of social networking!! My point here is, just because a person asks if you have a fake profile or not, and just because he is a man, does not make him a harasser. If that man has said something explicit, we request you to kindly give us a copy of the chat. Rather than tagging people *(in your words, making them aware) ...

The truth is everyday we get atleast 20 friend requests, most of them are unknown to us. I at least accept them, looking at the enormous number of mutual friends we have. They may be fake. If someone questions, why does that hurt the woman's ego? And would she bring it in this shade of an opinion if the accuser had been a female? instead f that man?

As of now, this is what she gave as an evidence. Here is a screenshot of a chat she had:

His mistake was to write : "Review mam hahah would love to have something else also apart from review" which was a satirical remark he made because he thought this was a fake profile, and she replied that she does book reviews so he simply asked what else does she do, as a profession.
However, after his haha-debacle he realised he might have hurt this girl, in case she wasn't fake, so he apologised.Not once but many times.
To conclude, All I can say is that all of it was nothing more than a misunderstanding, which could have defamed someone who is struggling to make a niche for himself in this great wide world of literati. 
Also, I urge all my readers to understand the equality of gender. Yes, women have been exploited, ignored and I would always stand up for them. As much as I possibly can. But one must also recognise and accept with greater humility that men and women have equal rights, equal opportunities to claim equality not just before law, but MINDSET. There was a man involved in all of this and hence many of the commentators supported the girl. But what if I had raised questions over the fact of whether her profile is real or not. Then people would have got the logic, like they subsequently got. But my point is, how fair is it? What if, I had not come across this entire thread of discussions? What if I never stood up for this man, who was simply misunderstood? He is not a phenomenal writer or someone very proficient in English. He is just another author among the plethora of those who wish to write, whether they can do it well or not,  is a different issue altogether.

 I request at least authors to refrain from forming an opinion without having much knowledge about the scene. for the sake of a "community" that calls itself to be united and helping each other. I hate to see it diffusing like this, without any evidence

I respect those who face these things and come out to raise their voices. I am still not supporting him, all m saying is I think..You misinterpreted his words and of course, not so good English too. :) Just accept it rather than making a hue and cry of it!

Friends, let us solemnly swear to use proper English. That should be the moral of this story. :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Tagore!

Today I celebrate the birthday of a man  who had the talent, passion intellect and heart to live life in the best manner possible. He sung, he wrote, he drew and he spoke. People remember him for his love for nature, for expression and for his love for this nation.
I being a Bengali, take extreme pride in coming from the same land he was born in. This is my tribute to you, Sir. You are an immortal being. If I were a true atheist, you would be my God. You would.

Happy Birthday Gurudeb.

Life had dragged me along
the pavements with stones and thorns
With little steps I carried on,
I carried on.

You became the ray of hope
when nothing else managed me to hold on
In your presence, I learned to grow,
I learned to grow.

The one who believes not in God
as much as in you, the trust she holds
You never let me down Gurudeb,
Never let me down.

Steer me along, make me yours
I'll be your shadow, your season, your halo
Feel me around, and I find you with me
I find you with me.

I am no artist, but still I had this urge to sketch him. So here it is.

Also, to make this day special and to make my dear readers well-versed with this poetic genius, I request you to take this opportunity to know a little more about Tagore-his life, his mission and his achievements. You never know how transforming it might be.
Let's start with the basics?
Here is the Wikipedia link. WIKIPEDIA-TAGORE
Here is a link where you can find most of the translated works (English)- PoemHunter

I have tried singing the song, Shokhi Bhalobasha Kahare Koye which was written and composed by the great Tagore himself. I also tried sketching a portrait of him. I hope he is watching me. I pray he keeps looking over me. Guiding me, loving me.

The Lyrics

In Bengali

সখী, ভাবনা কাহারে বলে। সখী, যাতনা কাহারে বলে ।
তোমরা যে বলো দিবস-রজনী ‘ভালোবাসা’ ‘ভালোবাসা’—
সখী, ভালোবাসা কারে কয় ! সে কি কেবলই যাতনাময় ।
সে কি কেবলই চোখের জল ? সে কি কেবলই দুখের শ্বাস ?
লোকে তবে করে কী সুখেরই তরে এমন দুখের আশ ।
আমার চোখে তো সকলই শোভন,
সকলই নবীন, সকলই বিমল, সুনীল আকাশ, শ্যামল কানন,
বিশদ জোছনা, কুসুম কোমল— সকলই আমার মতো ।
তারা কেবলই হাসে, কেবলই গায়, হাসিয়া খেলিয়া মরিতে চায়—
না জানে বেদন, না জানে রোদন, না জানে সাধের যাতনা যত ।
ফুল সে হাসিতে হাসিতে ঝরে, জোছনা হাসিয়া মিলায়ে যায়,
হাসিতে হাসিতে আলোকসাগরে আকাশের তারা তেয়াগে কায় ।
আমার মতন সুখী কে আছে। আয় সখী, আয় আমার কাছে—
সুখী হৃদয়ের সুখের গান শুনিয়া তোদের জুড়াবে প্রাণ ।
প্রতিদিন যদি কাঁদিবি কেবল একদিন নয় হাসিবি তোরা—
একিদন নয় বিষাদ ভুলিয়া সকলে মিলিয়া গাহিব মোরা ।।

In English

Sakhi, bhabona kahare bole?Sakhi, jatona kahare bole?
Tomra je bolo dibosho-rajoni,Bhalobasha, bhalobasha.
sakhi, bhalobasha kare koye?Seki keboli jatona-moye?
Seki keboli chokher jal?Seki keboli dukher saash?
Loke tobe kore ki sukheri tore,Aemon dukhero aash?
Aamar chokhe to shokoli sobhon, Shokoli nobeen, shokoli bimol.
Suneel akash, shyamolo kanon. Bishodo jochona, kusumo komol.
Shokol amari moton.Tara keboli hanshe, keboli gaye,

Hanshiya, kheliya morite chaye.Najane bedon, najane radon.
Najane shader jatona joton.Phool se hanshite hanshite jhore,
Jochona hanshiya milaye jaye,Hanshite hanshite alok sagore,

Akashero taara ke aage paye.
Aamar moton sukhi ke aache?Aaye sakhi aaye, aamar kaache

Sukhi hridoyer sukher gaanSuniya toder judaabe pran
Protidin jodi kandibi kebol,Ek din noye hanshibi tora,
Ek din noye bishado bhuliya,Shokole miliya gahibo mora..

Bhabona kahare bole?Sakhi, jatona kahare bole?
Tomra je bolo dibosho-rajoni,Bhalobasha, bhalobasha.