Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Veil of Time


With a muffled scream, I sat up and stared blindly around, drenched in cold sweat. The moonless night was brooding.
Taking a deep breath, I murmured…
“I am okay. I am alive.”

The dream had returned, after being blissfully absent for half a year, shattering my inner peace. The potent dread in the pit of my stomach was nauseating. The visuals were continuing to haunt me.
“I know an empty threat when I hear one,” the man had said, continuing to approach like a panther closing on its prey.

“Death is far better than surrendering to you, you bastard,” I had shouted before jumping to my death from the end of the cliff. The pull of gravity had beckoned and the wind had buoyed me. With the suffocating fall, my screams had grown hollow and shrill.

Sinking back onto the bed, I tried in vain to sleep. My husband Milind was sleeping peacefully unaware of the turmoil on my mind. Meeting with Milind had been the only thing that had hampered the dreams until now. And it was just six months ago that he had stormed into my life.
Milind Arora, the celebrated poet, had come to my college to inaugurate our literary club. A mystical switch had turned on somewhere in the obscure corners of my heart, when I had seen him. The whole world had disappeared and it had been just him from that moment.

To be near him, I became a summer intern at the publishing firm he owned. I couldn’t explain my obsession with him even to myself. It was as if I couldn’t breathe without him near. It was as if I had known him forever. It was as if, I was remembering the various hues of him. The way his hair fell over his eyes, the way the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled, everything had seemed hauntingly familiar.
Milind later confessed how the intern who looked at him with longing had kindled a fire in him. He resisted for long due to the huge age gap between us. I was twenty-one and he was forty.

Age was just a number, wasn’t it?
“Why do you haunt my dreams Ruchi? Come on, no more, come into my life as my wife.” Milind had proposed that day, two months ago, over a quiet dinner in his apartment.
Watching him sleeping, I ran my fingers through his hair and sensing my presence he pulled me close. We were at his ancestral house in Shimla, just back from a long honeymoon in Europe.
***

Next morning, we set out visiting his relatives.
“I had lost all hopes of his marrying after Nayana. Thank god you came into his life,” said Milind’s maternal aunt patting my cheek.
“Who is Nayana?” I asked, narrowing my eyes, when she went to fetch tea. Milind looked away trying to avoid my question. I persisted.
Nayana was the reason he had remained a bachelor. They had been childhood sweethearts.
“That is her house. No one lives there other than her stepbrother. He loved her like his own and had been devastated after her disappearance,” said Milind.
“Disappearance? What do you mean?” I asked looking at the neighboring house that appeared like a haunted house.
“We were to be married in a month, when she disappeared. I was away in Delhi and no one knew what had happened. These mountains hide many horrors,” said Milind, and his eyes became moist.

Later on, while we walked hand in hand to a viewpoint in the area, the first wave of panic hit me. The same scenes from my dreams appeared before me and I clutched Milind’s hand in fear.

“What is it Ruchi, what happened?” asked Milind and I hit the ground in a fainting fit.

When I opened my eyes next, the man with toad like eyes who had haunted my dreams was looming near and I screamed and scampered away from the cot, running straight into Milind’s arms.
“Ruchi..Ruchi..what happened?” asked Milind, gathering me in a hug.

“Nayana died, Milind. She jumped to her death, right from that viewpoint over there. And he was the reason she did it,” I shouted, gesturing at the middle aged man who had frozen hearing my allegations.

“Ruchi..Calm down. That is Raghu, Nayana’s brother,” Milind said.

“Brother? No. He lusted after me from the time my mother married his father. I had managed to ward off his advances until that fateful day when none had been at home. Death seemed better than surrendering to him,” I said, and my own words startled me. The veil of time had vanished in a flash.
Raghu, my stepbrother from my previous incarnation, shrieked as if in pain and rushed out of the house closely followed by Milind and me.

He jumped from the same cliff, to atone for his sins, the ones he had kept hidden under a shroud of brotherly affection.

Time had come a full circle.






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Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Place called Home

Every girl wants to become the mistress of a lovely home in her life once she gets married. Every man wants to build his dream home where he wants to keep his loved ones safe. Every child wants to come home to a place that his heart calls home.

But what converts a house that is just a concrete building to a home?
What makes it the safe haven for its inhabitants?
What makes it their favorite place in the whole world?

The various hues that they add using the interior décor items stamp their name onto the house, making it their home. The wall decor, the furniture, the bed spreads, the curtains, the tiny memorabilia collected by the inhabitants, the way a magpie collects its treasures, are what gives character to a house.

A house without adornments is like a body without a soul. Dead, uninspiring and foreboding. No one wants to own it.

I have changed houses more than thrice after marriage. Each time, a new city, a new house and we preferred to decorate each differently. None of the furniture from our old houses went to our new homes. Everything was new and different from our old furniture. And each time, the houses treated us differently.

According to Vaastu, each house is like an individual. It speaks, it breathes and it prospers with the items that it holds. When the orientation of the house is wrong or if the dimensions are not proper, the inhabitants of the house begin to experience problems. Their businesses suffer, their health deteriorates and relationships go wrong. Most of us don’t realize the significance of this. But if we start to observe, we can find definite patterns. Even small items that we bring into our house, the place where we keep them are important. We have to be careful when choosing them and giving them a proper place in our house.

Exactly how a tight dress makes us feel uncomfortable, the house starts experiencing and giving out bad vibes when an item that doesn’t match its overall makeup finds its way into the house.
When you create an ambience of love inside your house, you will begin to experience the same love in your personal life. Sometimes when you enter a house, the moment you enter it you will start getting tense for no reason. In a similar way, when you enter some other houses, you become calm and relaxed all of a sudden.

You can even notice that in the various corners of your own house. There will be certain areas where no matter when you go, you feel like your energy is draining out. If there is such a place in your house, look around and observe the items that are lying about. Clutter, pictures depicting violence, sadness or cruelty will be the definite cause of the depletion in positive energy. Electronic instruments too suck away the positive energies from the surroundings. Clearing clutter and lighting incense sticks are sure ways of restoring the positivity of your house.

Whatever be the design style, stick to the basics and follow the rules of vastu or fengshui while decorating the house. This will make way to prosperity.

Make My Home

Visiting the makemyhome.com website, Blogadda wanted me to pick three items that I would choose for my home and the style that I would adopt in the interior décor. My style for interior décor is eclectic. I would choose random items that would suit my house and the space where I wish to place them.

The three items that caught my eye are:

Jeel Koko Maison Inc Ribbonfrill : These adorable cushions will match the light off-white sofa that I plan to install in the living room, the place where the family gathers after a hectic day to talk and relax. It will keep the ambience loving and cheerful. The décor will be soothing for the eyes.




Zeeshaan Be Mine Wall Clock

This romantic wall clock will find a place in the master bedroom wall. It will keep the flame of love burning steady and strong.


Makemyhome Link

 

Ghasitaram Ceramic Aroma 

Diffuser

 

The aroma diffuser will bring in the benefits of aromatherapy and will help increase the positivity in the house by keeping it smelling good.

 
Makemyhome Link



 Readers, do visit the site that have many beautiful items to select from that will add to the ambience of your house.

 This post is a part of Makemyhome activity at BlogAdda.com


  
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Pencil Portrait of a couple



Pencil portrait of a couple: Acommisioned portrait.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Private India: A Book Review


Title: PRIVATE INDIA
Author: Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson
Publisher: Arrow Books
Genre: Murder Mystery/ Thriller
Price: Rs 350
Pages: 470

When I received the book Private India by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson through Book Review Program by blogadda, I was excited and eager to read a thriller after a long gap of time. The blurb intrigued the Sherlock Holmes in me and the book didn’t disappoint. I kept on turning pages unmindful of the hour, much to the chagrin of those at home. But who will understand the woes of a bibliophile?

I started it Tuesday night but because of threats looming right around the house (a strict husband who hates when I become a night owl and a son who hollers when he doesn’t get my full attention), had to abandon it half way through to get some sleep. I got up early on Wednesday to finish the read. 

The Author(s) kept dropping hints throughout and I was able to solve the case before Santhosh Wagh, solved it. Even then, the author managed to surprise me with many other twists, which were in the offing. 


The Plot:  When Dr. Kanya Jaiyen from Thailand is murdered at Marine Bay Plaza in Mumbai, the team of Mumbai branch of Private India, the world’s finest investigation agency, is called in to investigate. The Mumbai police allow the Investigative agency to manage the investigation in close collaboration with them.

What began as just another random murder in a city of over thirteen million turns out to be the first among a series of blood curdling murders of seemingly unconnected women. The chase for capturing the murderer is complete with adrenaline rushes and near misses. The presence of a don and a godman , corrupt police officers and government agencies are enough to complicate things in a true bollywood style story.

Would Santhosh Wagh be able to stop the killer and would he be able to stop an even more sinister plan to destroy his whole organization are the main questions that guides the reader through the tale.

The Investigators:

Santosh Wagh, ex RAW, the head of Private India, who is portrayed as a drunk cop battling demons from an unhappy past.
His team: The bold and beautiful Nisha Gandhe, formerly of Mumbai CID, Hari Padhi , the tech wizard and Mubeen , the clever forensic expert. All the characters harbor a hatred against the evil and that is what drives them in their fight against it.

Jack Morgan, Ex CIA the founder and head of PRIVATE worldwide, a premier investigative agency.


In true Ashwin Sanghi style, the characters and the settings are well researched. Being an expert on mythological and historical thrillers, there are glimpses of untold history that keeps the reader engrossed in the tale. 
I don’t know how the collaboration worked between the two authors or how much each has contributed to the work, but it has succeeded to churn out a winner.

There was a definite bollywood flavor to the whole book, which I guess cannot be avoided as the story is based in Mumbai. The filmy shtyle took down the narration down a notch at many places. At many places I felt as though I am reading the screen play of a Bollywood thriller, complete with the lecherous villians and gun weilding cops.


Verdict:  Though murder mysteries are not my favorite genre of books, this one managed to keep me glued till the end. The language is simple but not dull.
If you are among those who love to read mysteries where guns and gore play god, this is just the one for you. Go ahead and grab the book for a thrilling read.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rise of the Sun Prince : A book Review


Title: Ramayana - The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Genre: Mythology
Price: Rs 250
Pages: 252

The book review program from Blogadda handed over a pearl to me this time. It was a pearl from the ocean of ancient wisdom, the first book of the Ramayana: The Game of Life series, the Rise of the Sun Prince, written by Shubha Vilas, a spiritual seeker and motivational speaker. Add to it, it is a first edition, autographed with a message from the author.

Jaico publishers has given an alluring cover to the book and the book delivers what it has promised. It will not be a onetime read; the reader can turn to it for advice and inspiration throughout his life.

I had got it during the Malayalam month of Karkidakam when the ritual of reading Ramayana is supposed to be a cleansing act to the spirit and the individual. I feel lucky to have found it.

The book chronicles the life of Maryadapurushotham  Ram, from his birth up to his marriage, in a way that is entertaining to the heart and enlightening to the intellect. This book equips us with valuable tools to deal with the various twists and turns in our lives. The simple wisdom to be found in this enchanting story is relevant and gives us the clarity often needed as it is rooted in time-tested traditional values.

On every page, the reader can find footnotes in which practical wisdom gleaned from the various facets of the story. These are pearls of wisdom, which are timeless and we can use them effectively in our daily lives.

Some of the pearls that I found from these footnotes are:

1.     Negative words that are hurled at others boomerang and hurt oneself the most.

2.     The  one who allows anger to affect him reacts, and the one who shield himself from anger responds. The one who reacts suffer alone, and the one who responds can alleviate others suffering.

3.     Promises should be made in accordance with one’s capacity to keep them and not with overconfidence.

4.     A person worthy of respect is a person worthy of being followed.

5.     The need to be heard runs very deep in all human beings. This need becomes more pressing when one is discontent. The prime duty of a good leader is to make every subject feel heard.

6.     The nature of attachment is such that the mind justifies our attachment and hides our weakness. The nature of attachment is also that the longer you struggle to get something you are attached to, the more painful is the fear of its loss.

7.     Respect is natural when one sees divinity in everything and everyone. The outcome of such respect is gratitude.

8.     Focusing on the goal while on the path of success could lead you to ignore minor details. These minor details could end up swallowing the pride of achieving your goal.

9.     Looking for shortcuts is a symptom of the diseases of intolerance and impatience.

10.  Pride in education, vanity in personal beauty, intoxication of wealth and influence over people are four chemicals that, when combined together with the catylyst of disrespect, create an amalgam of arrogance.

11.  The curious mind convinces you to blindly follow its lusty proposals, promising joys that in actuality may be beautiful packages of sorrow.

12.  Often in life we are busy pursuing our short term goals so that we do not find any time to pause and reflect on the direction we are heading toward. Life gives us many hidden doors, which become visible only if we pause.

The narrative closely follows Valmiki’s Ramayana, gently weaving in folk tales as well as beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana. The author takes us through the tales of Dasaratha’s leadership, his struggles as a father and king, Vishwamithra’s quest for power, the coming together of myriad forces that leads to the rise of Rama as a perfect hero and the story of Sita, whose life revolves around a bow.

In the time-honored custom of spreading wisdom through tales, the author retells every fascinating story in the epic in this book.  The language is simple enough to be understood by the layman and the narration has a flow, which makes the reader turn pages. Though I have read the Ramayana before, this book takes a fresh look at the story and is packed with plenty of excitement and drama through the various connecting episodes involving many of the characters.

 The story also tells us of the struggles of an imperfect teacher, Vishwamithra who relentlessly fights his internal battles to rise above his shortcomings. As the sage mentors his pupils, Rama and Lakshmana, they too, mentor him on another sphere. He turns into a focused spiritualist and becomes a perfect student of laws of progressive living.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to collect the pearls of wisdom hidden in our epics and scriptures. This book is worthy to be part of any library especially home libraries. Eagerly awaiting the next five volumes of the Epic to add to my collection. The next book of the series is Shattered Dreams, which will take us through the next intriguing phase in the life of Lord Rama.



This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!



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Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Rainbow




With her eyes narrowed and fingers murdering the keyboard, Ashita was engrossed in writing the last chapter of her novel. Ravi, her husband of ten years, aware that she had switched on her writer-mode, closed the bedroom door to give her the ‘space’ she had demanded.

When she emerged three hours later, after a grueling writing session, she had a smile on her face. Her face was devoid of the earlier I-am-about-to- puke expression.

“So is it out? It is funny, how you go all potty-faced when you get the idea for a chapter,” said Ravi, biting his cheeks in an effort not to laugh.

“Yes…at last. ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ You number crunchers would never understand that,” said Ashita, countering her husband’s cheeky remark with a quote from Maya Angelou.

Branding her son with an eagerly received hug and kiss, Ashita enquired what they wanted for dinner.

“Anything, as long as it is palatable.”
“What do you mean? I cook un-appetizing food?”

“Who said that? I just meant anything,” said Ravi, flashing his best smile to pacify his wife who might take on her war- goddess avatar if he crossed the ‘lines’.

Humming a tune, she headed to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Ashita had her life in place, at the pace and order that she wanted it. She was a successful author and lately financially independent owing to her best sellers.

Gone were those days, which were dark and brooding. Postpartum depression had sent her reeling with sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem and guilt. She had feared that her lack of expertise in raising a child would irreparably harm her child. Being continents away from her family, with no one to help her cope up being a new mother, she was exhausted, scared and at the end of her wits. She had begged Ravi to save their child from her. Ravi had laughed it off saying all new mothers went through this phase and there was nothing to worry. Though he chipped in with housework and childcare responsibilities, it was never enough.

Hope had danced into her life in the form of Elizabeth, a benevolent social worker, who had found her at the clinic, after a failed suicide attempt. Elizabeth, with her kind words and her group of volunteers including Ravi, had instilled new courage and hope in her.

“Never bottle up your emotions, Ashita. They will eat into your very being. Pour them out as words. Write them down. Write about your fears and write about your hopes. Watch how words magically heal you.” Elizabeth had told her, handing her a notebook and pen.

The writer in her was born that day. The initial hiccups and fears had drowned in the support given by Ravi and the many volunteers who trickled into their one bedroom flat as baby- sitters, giving her the necessary space and time to heal. A house cleaner to help, was the next step.

The baby blues had vanished and she had transformed into a content mom. Her new friends nourished the writer, with appreciation for the few stories she had penned down during her darkest hours. A collection of short stories well received, led way to a full-length novel which went on to become a national best seller.

“I smell something, yummy,” cried her five-year-old Aryan.

The aroma of her cooking had lured her son into the kitchen, closely followed by Ravi.
“Mmmmm… Biriyani,” said Ravi, his eyes bright with excitement.

“Yes it is Biriyani. It is celebration time. The first draft is done,” said Ashita, picking up Aryan, allowing him to perch on her hips after she finished transferring the Biriyani into the plates.

“Bravo...That is great news,” said Ravi, hugging her.

The novel was her story, a gift for all those who might be out there dealing with the often undiagnosed and damaging condition of postpartum depression. The profits from the book would go to the support group she had formed together with Elizabeth, for helping new moms and single moms suffering postpartum depression.

As Maya Angelou said, she wanted to try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.



P.S: This story was selected as a winner of the muse of the month July, a story writing contest conducted by women's web

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Happy Couple: A Pencil Portrait

Have you seen some wedding photographs in which both the bride and the groom have artificial smiles pasted on their faces? Their face will reflect their confusions, their fears. But in some the couple is flashing their best smiles and appear happy in each other's company. When two people are in love, it reflects in everything they do. Even in the photographs.

 So when my friend and school mate send me this snap from his wedding album, when I first began drawing portraits, I knew they were totally and irrevocably in love. I promised I will try to make a good portrait. Then, I was a beginner. But I wanted it to come out well. It felt good then, but looking back, I find so many mistakes. But one thing I got it right. Their love shines through even in their portrait.







I created it one and half years ago. Digging through my facebook album, found it again today.


Stay blessed Praveen and Simi.

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