The Vengeance

She stood staring at the wall bereft of any emotions. The wall was plastered with newspaper clippings, photographs, and notes that she collected over the last six months.

Behind her, a dilapidated TV ran a news show with a ticker – Fourth high-profile murder in six months shocks the city.

A VP of an MNC, celebrity fashion model, son of a local politician, and a famous restaurateur. All male. Same modus operandi. Tied to a chair, throat slit cutting the trachea, and beating heart ripped out with surgical precision. No evidence left.

While baffled investigators looked for a clue, Dr. Kanika Sethi smiled at her dexterity.

It has been 7 years, 3 months, 13 days since she was assaulted, raped and left to rot. But she survived and chose to fight.

The judiciary failed at delivering justice.

So she avenged herself.

And then, a lone tear trickled down her cheeks.

*****

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Names used and incidents portrayed are entirely fictitious and bear no resemblance to any real person living or dead. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

*****

Note: This short story is inspired by the photo prompt shared for #FridayFotoFiction and hosted by @twinklingtina & @Mayuri6.

Tina Basu
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Book Review: “Ashvamedha” by Aparna Sinha

Like the recent times, Twitter again helped me discover a new Indian author – Aparna Sinha. Ashvamedha is her debut novel and it didn’t take me long to order it.

First up, I am guilty of judging this book by its cover; actually, the blurb is more like it. It hints at a plot that perhaps revolves around a kingmaker and the game spread out to make the king. I almost bracketed it as another Chanakya based story, but I was wrong. Terribly wrong.

And I’m glad for that because grabbing this book is one of the better investments I’ve made in recent times. This book is 214 pages of sheer fervor and adrenaline rush.

The storyline revolves around Ashwin Jamwal, a young IAS officer who wants to change the system, but when he fights and fails, he joins politics and goes on to eventually become the most successful prime minister the nation ever had. However, he owes a great deal of his success to one master puppeteer, Hades, who is running the show and calling all the shots. Ashwin, obviously, does not know this.

It’s entirely intriguing that despite being the most powerful character in the story, Hades is mentioned only once as a passing reference in the first half of the book – that’s a masterstroke by the author! Now what is the kind of game that Hades has laid, what is his grand plan, who all are a part of his scheme of things, what is the sheer scale of his plan, the dauntlessness with which he executes his moves and where & how does Ashwin fit into all this, in a nutshell, is the summary of this fascinating and convoluted story. Any extra bit of information that I give you might ruin your experience so I would rather abstain.

It is an extremely brilliant plot, pretty much like a magician’s trick – the buildup, the actual act, and the grand reveal. To some, the initial part might appear a bit stretched, but given how the story advances and what it eventually culminates into, the length is legitimized.

Overall, this is a quick paced, enrapturing political thriller. The language is simple, the narrative is lucid, and almost every character is a shade of gray. This book has more twists and turns than an Abbas Mastaan movie and I mean this in a very positive way.

The book deals with issues ranging from friendship, comradery, unrequited love, politics, corruption, global powerhouses, and terrorism. Prima facie, too much to be dealt with in a single book. By the time you’ve finished it, you realize they were all pieces of one mega plot ultimately fitting in, to finish the perplex.

Conclusion:

This definitely is one of the better stories I’ve come across in recent times. DO NOT give this a miss. Place this on your bookshelf and make room for more because Aparna Sinha is here to stay. Looking ahead to more stories from her.

Click here to buy: http://amzn.to/2hhPAyd

 

 

The Beginning

“Hey!” Ronald’s eyes twinkled when he saw Steve, “How was it?” he enquired.

“Not easy,” Steve replied, “I’ve been with Samantha for years. She has been a lovely companion. Asking her to sign the divorce papers wasn’t easy.” A hint of guilt evident in his voice.

“I am sure she understands”, Ronald consoled, “She knows you did the right thing.”

“I think so, How did Susan & James react?” He asked.

“They were very supportive. In fact, they made me embrace the real me. I am proud of my kids”.

Steve smiled as he saw things falling in place, yet asked with a sense of trepidation,” are we ready for this Ronnie?”

“Yes we are Steve,” Ronald answered, “we’ve waited a while for this. But now we got each other. No matter what, we’ll make it happen.”

And a new leaf turned, a new love story began!

*****

Note: This short story is inspired by the photo prompt shared for #FridayFotoFiction and hosted by @twinklingtina & @Mayuri6.

Tina Basu

 

Book Review: “Everyone Has A Story” by Savi Sharma

While exploring new Indian authors, I came across Savi Sharma’s debut novel ‘Everyone Has A Story’ [Published by Westland] at a book store in Matunga, Mumbai. To be honest, it didn’t really make a great first impression. My initial thoughts were that this is yet another self-help book, still, there was something intriguing about the book. Maybe the (randomly?) scattered words on the front jacket.

But what really clicked was the back jacket synopsis. 4 people, 4 stories, and then they get woven together. Deal done. Book purchased. Reading specs on.

Meera is a frequent visitor to a café managed by Kabir. The café often hosts authors for reading sessions and it is during one such session, she finds her ‘story’ – Vivaan. Encouraged by Kabir, and fueled by her own desire to pen down a story that can touch millions of lives, Meera starts to give shape to her thoughts and paint her picture of Vivaan.

In the process of getting to know each other, Meera and Vivaan start getting close. However, Vivaan urges Meera to turn her attention towards Kabir who perhaps has a much more compelling story to share. Now Kabir happens to be in love with Nisha who has had her share of trauma and Kabir helps her recuperate. He wants to marry Nisha, but before that, he wants to ensure that he’s financially stable to start a family. Enter Kabir who punches in a partnership deal and Kafe Kabir comes into being.

While everything is hunky dory – Kabir & Nisha due to get married, Vivaan & Meera getting closer – Vivaan suddenly disappears one day. No message. No call. No words. No goodbye. It is only after Meera & Kabir check with Citibank that they come to know that Vivaan has resigned and left.

Now, what happens after Vivaan leaves. Does Meera break down in Vivaan’s absence? Does she complete her book? Does Vivaan ever come back? Where is Vivaan and what is his side of the story? All this and more such questions constitute the latter half of the book.

To all those who intend to pick this up, please don’t if pragmatism is all you live by; because this book often delves into situations which might not seem real to you. But then what is a reality unless it happens to someone, right?  The book is decently paced and for a major part adopts a linear narrative. To some, it may sound borderline preachy, but you can give it a pass since the book is classified as ‘an inspirational romance’. The story has its moments and all the characters possess a certain degree of innocence which most of us have lost.

Though I feel Kabir & Nisha’s characters lack depth, Meera & Vivaan are very well sculpted. In fact, in the initial few chapters I almost thought there was an uncanny resemblance between him & Bunny (from YJHD), but as the story progresses, you realize there’s much more to him than meets the eye. At some levels, I could relate to his character.

Conclusion:

While “Everyone Has A Story” may or may not make a permanent place on your bookshelf, it sure makes for a lovely companion on a coffee table or a journey. Special mention for the author Savi Sharma who is India’s first successful female self-published author.  While people twice her age are aspiring to be authors, she is already one – a best-selling one at that. I look ahead to more from her.

Cover image source: http://bit.ly/2eXI6vK

Click here to buy: http://amzn.to/2xBs4TC

 

 

 

 

A Peek Into A Lonely Mind

“…As the monsters from the depths of loneliness dragged him down the tunnel, he clasped on his throat to catch a gush of breath. He looked around for a hand to hold on to, some hopes to cling on to, but he found none. Moments later he was engulfed in darkness. Total absolute darkness…”

And then he woke up, startled, he realized something, it never was about having someone or living up on some hopes. He was a loner.

It was his battle, and he shall fight it all alone.

*****

Note: This short story is inspired by the below photo prompt shared for #FridayFotoFiction and hosted by @twinklingtina & @Mayuri6.

 

And then they were one..

…Then they were one.

He loved her, she couldn’t. She was nursing her broken heart, caught between her past and present. To her, he meant a lot, someone really special; still, a relationship was the last thing on her mind.

He stood by her when no one did; he made her laugh when crying was the only option she had. He made her smile in toughest of times, gave her light in the darkest hours. He loved her more than anyone ever did, more than anyone ever could.

She knew it too, she understood it too. She wanted to be with him, but with every step that she took with him, one faint memory of her past brought her two steps back.

All that he ever wanted was her to be happy, maybe someday with him even, if at all that could be a possibility.

True love never goes unseen. No one stays stuck in the past forever. Everybody moves on over their past one day or the other and today, so has she. The past no longer masks her eyes; the past no longer blocks her view. The difference between someone was and someone is, is clearly visible to her.

She has eventually realised he loves her, always did, and always will. No matter what the situation, he will always be by her side. And she has fallen in love, again. Yes, love happens twice.

He is happy today, and so is she. They are now together, for a time that is a little more than forever, a little more than always. And together, they’ll make it happen.

jobs vs relationship

6 Reasons Why I Think a Screwed-Up Job Is Like A Relationship Gone Sour!

I recently happened to catch up with a bunch of school friends. Courtesy – Facebook. An old batch mate shared a long lost group photo on Fb, one thing led to another, and we had our reunion. Meeting a bunch of doctors, engineers, CAs, bankers, and well, a few obnoxious bastards who were cartoon watching, hide-n-seek playing little devils about 15 years ago was great fun.

But this isn’t about them. It is about an interesting interaction I had with two people – one who said his job sucked, and the other who was going through a turbulent phase in his relationship. And I being quite the analyst myself, started to draw parallels between them, which led me to believe that a job & a relationship are pretty much the same things (at times).

    • Interview/first meeting: A job interview is a lot like the first date. You get an interview call from a job portal, a direct recruiter or maybe campus placement, pretty much how a hostel wala friend, office wali colleague, a random visit to a club, or tinder (if you’re lucky enough), set you up for the first date. In both cases, in a matter of some tensed, awkward or a mix of both moments, you tackle a volley of some easy questions like your background, your skills, interests, etc. to trick questions like your expectations. Successful performance in this barrage leads to your selection. Congratulations!Different Situations. Similar feels.
    • Honeymoon period: There’s a reason why honeymoon period is called honeymoon period. It is because you’re basically honeymooning in this period. Everything is hunky dory. You look around the world with rose-tinted glasses. This is the best thing to have ever happened to you. You’ll go out of the way to impress your partner/employer, and surprisingly, they would pretty much do the same. You know, no major targets, not much pressure. Yup. Stuff like that.
    • Probation period: It is the job equivalent of ‘we just started seeing each other’. This is the in-between period of honeymoon and actual life wherein you’re still getting used to the new deal, learning new things, you’re basically on your own. Though you have a margin of error, it’s in your best interest to avoid committing any.
    • Boss & GF/BF: Legends say these creatures are insatiable, to say the least. In fact, no matter what you do, you just cannot satisfy them. Every time you do something great, all you’re doing is increasing their expectations which, if not met in the future, can lead to mild to extremely disastrous consequences depending on the magnitude of error committed. According to experts of the matter, a boss is like a partner gone wrong, or, in some cases, the partner is like the khadus boss. Take your pick, depending on whichever boat you’re sailing in.
    • The tough time: By the time you reach here, reality kicks in. Turbulence strikes. It is that phase in which nothing goes your way. Your job officially sucks. The relationship is in chaos. You start to seek a way out to soothe yourself. On the professional front, you start looking for a new job and appearing for interviews. On the personal front, you are in pursuit of happiness and seek shelter elsewhere. In both cases, eventually coming back to square one, desperately hoping that things improve.
    • The what next:  In here, you realize things aren’t really going your way. It just isn’t working out. May be the two of you were never meant for each other. But it isn’t all that easy to walk away, is it? True, it isn’t the most excellent period, but you sure had your moments together. At one point in time, your job, your relationship ceases to be just about you. There are responsibilities to be shouldered and families involved. And even if you do decide to break away, the decision making isn’t a cake walk. Your thoughts are marred with doubts and what ifs. What if even the next one doesn’t work out? What if this was ‘the one’ and you somewhere goofed up? Does this deserve another chance?
    • The break-up: Things pile. There’s a lot that you want to say, a lot you want to do. But you keep avoiding that. You tend to think, over think, and rationalize everything you are about to say or do.  Emotions keep building within. You want to ensure that whatever you do is a well-thought decision and not a knee jerk reaction. And then one day, you just snap. The volcano erupts. You can no longer take this. You eventually decide to break away and put yourself, and the other out of this misery.
    • The moving-on: Breakups are never easy. Moving on, all the more difficult. You tend to become a lot cautious, both, in terms of a relationship or job. You don’t take any job opportunity on its face value now and won’t sign the dotted line till you have conducted your own thorough investigation into the company. Similarly, you are not ready for the dating scene yet, you aren’t in the right frame of mind. every prospect is either a creep, a kandha, or a rebound which you are super keen to avoid. After all, once bitten twice shy. Be it a job or a relationship, you aren’t getting into one the second time till the time you’ve assured yourself that this has a future.

And that’s all from my side. This article ain’t got any conclusion or an end. Because this is neither a story nor a film. You may make a different choice than me. I might have a different reasoning than you. Let’s just leave it that way and let our inner thoughts channelize us.