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Saturday, April 22, 2017

VSS 011: Untitled


Untitled

Very Short Story (VSS) 011

 

Some stories in life remain untitled.

These are relationships which are not bound by a definition.

A friend who is more than a friend but not exactly your lover.

A spouse who becomes your best friend but there is still something missing.

A sibling you fight with but share secrets with while jealousy bakes you.  

A colleague who is fast becoming a best friend and dangerously close to becoming a love interest but you haven’t yet figured out the other person.

We live simple lives with complicated relationships.

The story of our lives is just like this story. Untitled.

 

Friday, April 21, 2017

VSS 010: Shadow Life


Shadow Life
 
Very Short Story (VSS) 010

 

I sit at my desk. Contemplating the next string of words to weave a story.

Across the street, I see a man trudging along the road towards the street light, deep in thought, his shadow shortening with every step.

He comes to the street light and holds the lap-post with his unsteady hands. For a few moments, he stands still and then staggers before collapsing on the ground.

Seems like his shadow was indicating the life left in him. He died when directly underneath the lamp-post with the shadow hiding completely under him.

In life’s tragedy, I find my next novel.


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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year. Currently I am way behind my target :-(

Thursday, April 20, 2017

VSS 009: Mhaari Chori ka Baapu


Mhaari Chori ka Baapu

(My Daughter’s Father)
 
Very Short Story (VSS) 009
 


Aamir Khan’s dialogue “mhaari choriyan, choron se kum hain kai?” inspired me.

I had always loved my daughter more than my son but had always thought of them as a financial burden (huge marriage expense).

While there have been movies about women and girl power; Dangal gave me the father’s perspective. It told me that before the women or girl showed their power, their parents had to show their confidence in them. Only then does the girl power get a chance to surface.

Don’t know how many people realized THAT. Now my daughter will also rise and shine.

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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year. Currently I am way behind my target :-(

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

VSS 008: Morning Walk Motivation


Morning Walk Motivation
 
Very Short Story (VSS) 008


The morning walk was prescribed by the doctor for my ailing heart. The pollution in the city had gone up so much with smoke, dust, smog, fog, fine construction debris and what not; that even the early morning was not devoid of these lung punishers.

During these walks, I would see this lone cycle rider selling tea to joggers and walkers. His face beamed with smiles and he brought laughter on the otherwise silent stretch of jogger’s lane.

His smile and the ringing laughter became the reason I would step out every morning. They made my day.

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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year. Currently I am way behind my target :-(

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book Review: Gandhi, Ambedkar and the Four Legged Scorpion by Rajesh Talwar


Gandhi, Ambedkar and the Four Legged Scorpion by Rajesh Talwar
 


‘Gandhi, Ambedkar and the Four Legged Scorpion’ is a play on Untouchability in India during the pre-1947 era. Its not a novel or a regualr story. Its based on real life incidents with a little bit of writer's creativity thrown in.

A Warning: First things first. This book is NOT a novel and not a story. It relays a part of history – about Bapu and Babsaheb – in the format of a play. It took me some time to get my head wrapped around the ‘stage / theatre / play’ format but once I got into the groove, I enjoyed it. It was indeed refreshing to read the play. It has been a long time since I have seen a play and would love to see soon. So don’t be discouraged when you are slightly uncomfortable reading the play format. Give it time and you will enjoy it.

Yet Another Warning: The summary or book blurb tell you everything about the main theme or plot line of the play that you are about to read. And the introduction and preface and other things that appear in the book ‘before’ the play begins repeat the theme and its details and other aspects of the storyline. So much so, that there is nothing you get by reading the play except details. The book/play is intended to convey a message, enlighten the reader about an aspect in history. The play does that effectively BUT in the book format, this is spoiled by everything else that the reader reads before reading the play.

If you are going to pick this book, skip through the initial pages and go straight to the page where the play begins. DO NOT read the introductory pages. Read them AFTER you have read the play.

There is too much repetition in the introduction and there is a lot pre-content which should have been at the back in the book as notes for those want to enact the play and want a deeper understanding of the same. The stage notes also should have been at the back.

Point to be Noted: Don’t go literally by the title of the book. There is Gandhi and Ambedkar but there is literally no scorpion. The concept behind the scorpion is explained in introduction /preface of the book BUT it never comes up in the play. So if it was a play that people were watching in the theatre, they would leave wondering what happened to the scorpion unless the team enacting the play took liberties to modify the script and introduced the relevant explanation of the scorpion by way of narration or a monologue by one of the characters.

And finally the Book/Play: By itself, the play was written nicely. Not perfectly but nicely. There were quite a few places where the choice of words and language used did not sit well with the time period or the characters. It seemed like some modern slang slipped into the dialogues unnoticed by the author.

The author manages to convey the conflict between Gandhi and Ambedkar during the freedom struggle but at the same time, it does seem a bit superficial. There are those incidents incorporated which played a role in shaping Ambedkar in the role that he played for the Dalits but that was not enough.

I would have expected a lot more monologue by Gandhi as well as Ambedkar; as it is through monologues that the personality of a character is built and not though interactions with other characters. Wish the author would have taken that route to give more meaning and impact to the characters of Gandhi and Ambedkar.  It would have been meaningful to see the characters evolve through their life incidents and monologues.

I will give it 3/5 rating as it was a good read BUT do heed the warnings and points to be noted above.

 

 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Book review: The Bearded Prince by Rajesh Talwar


The Bearded Prince by Rajesh Talwar


 

I guess my expectation was high and the book did not deliver as per my expectations. It was a nice little short novel/novella about a princess caught up in her prejudice and perception. She is finally released from the same but along the way, ends up letting go a good match due to astrological hindrances. In teaching one lesson, the author ended up highlighting/promoting another thing which should have been discouraged.

 
For me, the climax of the story was pretty anti-climactic. The story had a dull ending with no impact. In fact, the reasoning given at the end for the princess’ decision is neither eye opening nor logical. I definitely did not see something in there that I could convey to someone as a learning.  

 
I kept wondering what the key message was ... it did not even seem like 'dont judge people by appearance' (which I thought it would be) and the life changing thought process of the princess (explained in the last chapter) was not convincing enough.  

 
The story was written for kids and the author does mention that he had refused to dumb-down the language to make it suitable for kids (Good idea). Not sure how much will that matter though, since i am not going to give this book to my daughter. I refuse to confuse her by this book. Actually, I am just saving myself the embarrassment of not being explain to her the message of this book when she eventually comes to me confused asking why I asked her to read the book.


The story was supposed to have a strong character in the princess or the prince ... it had neither. And that is something I dont excuse a writer from. Your characters need to be strong to create an impression and send out a message. They should be memorable and  not easily forgettable.
 

Rating: 2/5