Monday, December 28, 2020

My Warmest sorrow by Preethi Venugopala: An Excerpt

 


PURCHASE LINK

BLURB:

♥ What would you do when you come face to face with your past? ♥

Social media which is often a source of entertainment can be a source of great sorrow as well. Especially alumni WhatsApp groups, as not all memories are pleasant.

When Ajay, now an IAS officer, gets added into his college WhatsApp group, all his classmates welcome him warmly. Except for Jasmine.

Jasmine and Ajay were inseparable while in college. Their relationship had transitioned from being best friends to lovers over the duration of the engineering course. But then fate had intervened, and they became estranged. 

Five years of silence have created a wall of sorrow between them. Their interactions in the class WhatsApp group are nothing like what they once used to be. Every moment churns out more anguish and unpleasantness.

Jasmine is still living with the repercussions of what had happened in the past.
 Ajay's indifference throws her into despair. 

What had caused their separation?
Is love still hiding underneath their public facades?
What lies are they concealing?


Chapter 1

 

Jasmine

 

Natsukashii. A former colleague had introduced the word to me. When a feeling warmed the heart and awakened memories, the Japanese called it Natsukashii.

When I unlocked the door to my flat that Wednesday night, weary after a long day at work, I was already in my Natsukashii mode as usual. The cool night breeze that caressed my cheek through the open window, as the cab traversed the lanes of Bangalore, had a way of switching that mode on.

After all, it had begun here. The warmth that had blossomed a twenty-two-year old’s heart five years ago.  Except during these brief sojourns into the past, my day-to-day existence was like a cold, placid lake, slowly dying from within.

Little did I know that within the next thirty minutes or so, a dormant volcano would spew lava into it, awakening a world of unexpected warmth.

As the project deadline was looming near, I’d remained in the office till nine to complete the chunk of work scheduled for the day. Structural designing demanded full dedication, even for a small-scale project. And my current project was unbelievably complex. 

Just as I slumped onto the couch, my mobile started ringing. I ignored it. I was in no mood to talk to anyone. When it rang again, I sighed in defeat and rummaged in my bag to locate it.

"Jasmine, you won't believe what happened today. And, where were you? I called you so many times," shrieked Ashima, the moment I answered the phone. 

I rolled my eyes but a smile curved my lips. Ashima, my engineering classmate, had a flair for theatrics. What was it now?

"Slow down. I just returned home after a gruelling day. We have a deadline this Saturday.”

"Eek. Be like me and find a government job. The perks of a government job are endless. Private jobs suck, " said Ashima.

"Now, now… you’ve to go to that magnificent job tomorrow, right? Why are you staying up late?"

Ashima had been like our dorm room alarm while in college. She dozed off exactly at nine and got up at five in the morning, every day, without fail. What had kept her awake today? Or had her so-called relaxing job altered her lifestyle?

"Idiot, check your WhatsApp messages. I don't want to spoil the surprise. Thank me later. Goodnight for now."

No! Not again. Mostly, she called me for additional support when she was on the verge of losing some debate she had initiated in our group. Who was she arguing with today? Rahul or Avinash?

 Most of my classmates were politically active. Every new government decision or policy would undergo a detailed post-mortem inside our class WhatsApp group. Rahul was a devout follower of the Congress party, Avinash was a self-confessed Modi Bhakt and Ashima was a red comrade entirely. On some days, their debates would continue for days. I didn't have the energy to jump into another such nonsensical discussion. All I craved now was food. And after that to sleep till the alarm rang at seven tomorrow morning.  

I switched on the geyser to take a quick bath. Then I transferred the biryani I had bought into a plate and placed it into the oven to reheat it. In the present Bangalore climate, nothing stayed warm for long. I was not fond of the winters. It wasn't the cold that bothered me, though. The winter season brought back long-lost memories, making me long for the warmth of a specific loving embrace. It also reminded me of my twenty-two-year-old self who had almost given up on life. 

By the time I returned from the bath, there were two more missed calls from Ashima. What was wrong with this girl today?

As I dug into the tasty biryani, I turned on my phone data. Notification beeps began. I swiped left till I found the WhatsApp icon. I had 1200 plus unread messages just from the Civil Gang 2013, my class WhatsApp group. Some serious discussion must be happening. I groaned inwardly. I wasn’t in the mood to drown in nasty arguments. But Ashima would probably kill me if I didn’t hop in and speak my bit.

Avinash and Ashima had sent me private messages as well. What was so urgent? 

Curious, I opened the group chat. Avinash had added a new member this evening. Though our class had a total strength of 60 students, there were only 45 members in the group currently. Many of my former classmates were pursuing higher studies whereas some had landed jobs in distant lands. Hence, we had lost contact with many of them in the five years that had elapsed after graduation. Occasionally, a new member would be found and added by one of the admins. Then there would be a mad rush to get reacquainted with the new entrant.

The name of the person added today drove away all my lethargy in a flash. I blinked twice to confirm if I had correctly read the name mentioned in Avinash’s welcoming message.

Ajay Menon. Ajay… after all these years? 

A warm sorrow enveloped my heart and it began to struggle like a caged bird. It became difficult to breathe. Letters blurred as my eyes brimmed with tears. The phone slipped out of my hand and fell onto the couch. I got up and ran towards the French windows that opened to the balcony.

Pushing the panels open, I breathed in the fresh air wafting in from the garden that flanked our company apartment complex on all four sides. This tiny lung space amid the vast concrete jungle that was the apartment complex helped me keep some of my very cherished memories alive. 

Memories that my parents had asked me to bury. Memories that often choked me and kept me awake during dreary, wintry nights.

How many shocks lay in store for me in the thousand unread messages that awaited me? 

Monday, November 9, 2020

On Writing with Ruchi Singh: Get Ready to be 'Bewitched'

Today on 'On Writing', we have Amazon bestselling author, Ruchi Singh. Winner of TOI WriteIndia story contest, Ruchi Singh is a novelist who writes in two genres; romance and romantic thriller. She has a degree in Electronics Engineering and works as IT Quality Consultant. All her novels have been #1bestsellers on Amazon.

Today we will talk about her latest Novel 'Bewitched' which is already creating waves on Amazon.

Welcome to On-Writing, Ruchi!




 When did you first get the idea for your latest book ‘Bewitched?

RS: During Covid lockdown, I chanced upon the mythology tale of Menaka and thought what if similar events unfolded in contemporary times? Of course, the circumstances and motivations would defer, but the underlying theme was about two dramatically opposite characters coming together and taking responsibility for their actions.

Did you spend agonizing hours deciding on the names of your protagonists?

RS: Yes. I can’t start writing fluently unless the name is right. It has to suit the character’s personality in the plot. For my female protagonist in Bewitched, I already had a name, but for the hero I needed something which did justice to his larger-than-life background, hence I picked up Rudra, which is another name of Lord Shiva.

What was your writing process like for this book? Did you write every day? 

RS: With the lockdown imposed, I had plenty of time at hand without the social commitments, so wrote almost daily and since this story was clear in my head the writing was faster.

What is special about ‘Bewitched’? 

RS: ‘Bewitched’ is special for me for two reasons; this is the first time I was attempting to integrate mythology and contemporary genres, drawing parallelism between the two threads. Secondly, I was able to finish the first draft within three months of conception, which is a record of sorts for me and quite a morale-booster.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

RS: Apart from the two main ones, I liked Mansi a lot, she is gutsy and fearless.

How long did it take to finish writing ‘Bewitched’? 

RS: This was one story which, just flew on from my mind onto the pages. This is the first time I have been able to write the draft of a full-length novel in three months’ time, give or take a couple of weeks. Of course editing and further polishing took another month, but this got finalized super fast.

Please share a passage or quote from ‘Bewitched’ for our readers.



Far away on earth mankind suffered another kind of manthan. How to attain what devas had? I could hear it—the struggle. Everywhere, there was chaos created by desires and ambitions. I looked at Brahma watching the events unfolding. ‘When will it all end?’ I asked.

‘Never,’ he said.

‘Will they go to any extent to get what they want?’

‘Depends on the pull of the want. The manifestation of desire gives the energy to acquire its object.’

‘I don’t like the word “acquire”.’

‘Ignore the semantics,’ he said with an enigmatic smile.

‘Why did you create desire? Isn’t that the root cause of all problems?’

‘Yes, but it is the seed of all innovation and development too.’


In the current scenario of the global pandemic, what do you think is the role of a good story? 

RS: With the lockdown and social distancing, people have time at hand. More and more people have taken to watching and reading. In current circumstances, I think a good story, with happily-ever-after, spreads positivity and optimism, lifting boredom and loneliness.

You have used mythology in your latest book. What exactly made you remember the story of Vishwamitra and Menaka?

RS: I read almost all the genres, and growing up reading Amar Chitra Katha series, mythology was my first love, so when Kindle threw up a book about Menaka Vishwamitra on my screen, I couldn’t help but pick it up. And then there was no turning back.


What are the three things readers can look forward to in this book?

  1. The plot of the story. Based on my research from various sources, I have tweaked the mythology saga a bit for Vishwamitra. I think readers would love that.

  2. As I studied the motivations of characters, I realized that both Gods and humans are governed by the same emotions. I’m sure this is something that will be of interest to the readers.

  3. Dialogues and strong and interesting characters, especially the heroine.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Newbie Corner Author Interview: Manasi Patil

 Today in 'Newbie Corner', we have Manasi Patil, a 14-year-old girl from India who is passionate about reading and writing. When she was 5 years old, Manasi had written her first story ever. From then, her journey in the writer's world has started. She has written many unpublished stories and poems. 'The Cousins Crime' is the first ever published book and she wishes to continue the series.

Let's learn more about Manasi.



Say hello to Manasi Patil...

  • Tell us about your first book.

‘The Cousins Crime’ is my debut novel. It introduces ‘ Krisha Batra’, a sharp young teen, who loves mysteries as much as a bee loves nectar! She’s a very determined girl, and values compassion in others. While on a stop at the Glazer’s bakery, the shop suddenly faces a blackout and the cashier is robed. Previous ‘accidents’ have also been taking place at the bakery, calling for a close-down. Krisha strives to find the vandalizer. The novel is very action-packed, and readers experience an adventurous feel while reading it.


  • Name your top 2 favorite characters from books you’ve read so far.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember this particular book’s name, but one of my favorite character is Jake. He’s Amber’s brother, and I’m fond of him because of his nature. He loves Amber to no extent, and is always there for her. There are times when they face challenges, but Jake never leaves his sister’s side. 

Anne, from Anne of Green Gables, too is my favorite. Her day-dreaming and imagining takes a deep place in my heart. She’s always ready to help others, and can’t withstand anyone’s sadness.


  • Which authors do you mainly read?

I keep reading new books as I discover them and my favorite authors keep changing, but my all-time favorite author is Carolyn Keene (Mildred Benson and other ghostwriters…)

My recent favorite authors are Vera Jane Cook and Ann Evans. J.K. Rowling too, has been a long-time fav.


  • What makes you write?

I have always loved writing. It’s my hobby. But I also write to inspire people, somehow, and make them speak their voice too. As I always say, ‘Words are containers of power.’ Nothing can be more powerful than words.


  • What is your normal writing process like?

I aim to write for an hour daily. When I write, I try to forget the real world and get absorbed in my character’s world. It takes the writing process to a whole new level and makes it more fun! 

Along with it, I do daily writing exercises, which benefit a lot.


  • What kind of writer are you? Do you plot the entire novel/story or make it up as you write?

It depends. I do a basic outline of the novel, but not entirely. I discover scenes and make them up as I write.


  • Who inspires you most, and to whom would you dedicate your creative growth?

My greatest inspiration are my parents. They teach me to make way through struggles and I would dedicate my creative growth to them.


  • What is favorite genre of writing?

I like to write mysteries, of all. Other genres include fantasies, thrillers and sci-fi.


  • What comes first, the plot or the characters?

A bit of both. How would you know what kind of character to sketch out, if you don’t know the plot? And how will you write the plot without knowing the characters? It won’t seem real, in my opinion. So, you should have an idea of both when you plan out a novel.


  • What message do you want to convey to your readers?

I just want to tell them to keep imagining, keep reading, and be happy!


It was fun talking to you, Manasi. Keep going and all the best to you!

Check her out on her Amazon profile here: MANASI PATIL

Author's Featured book :




Book blurb:

This Summer, nothing is safe at the Glazer's Bakery. Not even the bakery itself!
It's summer vacation for Krisha. She intends to make most of it with her favorite detective books and donuts. But when on an usual visit to the bakery, the cash register is robbed, it prompts the owner, Sneha Kaur to tell Krisha about the other sinister threats and happenings going on in the bakery.
Disguised as a waitress, Krisha tries to figure out who's behind the vicious accidents. And as they get more devastating, Krisha realizes that she needs to act quickly. Although it's the first real-life mystery the 17-year-old will be solving, her efficiency doesn't show it at all. Will her sleuthing skills be enough to save the Glazer's Bakery from closing down?  


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Morning Pages : A Quick and Magical way to Creative Recovery


If there is one routine that has changed me as a person, it is the Morning pages.

 It has given me clarity of thought like never before and made me see the big picture in life.

 I write faster now, with clarity and often solve many confusing conundrums while doing this daily ritual.

What are Morning Pages?

Julia Cameron calls the morning pages as ‘the bedrock tool for a creative recovery.’

Morning pages are three pages written in longhand immediately after you wake up. That is three handwritten pages.

It can take around half an hour to complete.  

It is a stream of consciousness way of writing where you just transcribe the thoughts that are hovering in your mind early in the morning.

 It is to be done without putting much focus on the grammar or the topic you are writing about.

 It is in a way making your brain vomit on the pages. 

And *most important* don’t reread them.



Why morning pages and not afternoon pages or evening pages?

Early in the morning, your monkey brain is half asleep and hence you can easily make it voice the venom it is preparing to spew out on you, once it becomes fully awake.

 Your anxieties, your fears, your dreams, your ideas, everything gets captured in these three pages that you write.

There are people who do this ritual in the afternoon or evenings and find the same benefits.

I, personally, prefer to write them first thing in the morning.

Can I type the morning pages?

Some people do the morning pages on their laptop or computer. 

It is then 750 words of stream of consciousness way of writing.

It keeps tracks of the number of words and alerts you when you reach the word limit.

Morningpages.net  allows users to write their morning pages online and save them. You don't even need to register at the site if all you want is to just write.

Again, I prefer to write longhand. There is something very satisfying about writing in longhand.

My experience with morning pages

I started writing morning pages in the first week of December. 

It is a routine I have religiously followed since then and I plan to stick with it.

The morning pages have made me more confident about my creativity. 

I don't get writer's block anymore.

They also gave me different ideas that I could implement in my life.

 Other Personal takeaways?
  • I got ideas to blog about.
  • I have written difficult scenes in my WIP that were troubling me since long after I dissected them over in this morning ritual.
  • I have tried out techniques of writing by attempting them in my morning pages.
  • I plotted an entire book idea one morning.
  • I have become more conscious about the little things that matter in life.
  • I completed one short story, which had been going nowhere, within one week of beginning the morning pages.
  • I have vented my anger and sadness in these pages.
  • I am more perceptive and grateful to the gifts that I have in my life.
  • Synchronicity has become commonplace.
I can go on and on about the benefits I have experienced after I began this routine.

How to write the morning pages?

As Julia Cameron herself says,

" *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. 

They are not even “writing.” 

They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. 

Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.

 Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.”

The only important thing to remember is, do not re-read your morning pages. At least not for the first eight weeks.

Write them and keep the journal away.

 If you find it difficult to begin you can even write things like,’ I don’t know what to write here’ repeatedly and fill the three pages.

Trust me, you will get enough material to write about even if you are not a writer by profession.

Morning pages are for everyone. It is like meditation on paper.

Are you ready to unleash the magic of morning pages in your life?

Have you tried this technique? Do tell me what you think about it in the comments section.






Indian Bloggers

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Falling for Cinderella : An Excerpt



Chapter 1


CHANDNI

Every once in a while, when books transported me into unknown worlds, I gathered impossible dreams from them and weaved my own little fairy tales. Through them, I opened magical portals that led me into lands where life was a long, thrilling adventure. But in reality, my life was filled with nonstop misadventures that never seemed to end.

What was currently happening promised to be the perfect recipe for a disaster. I shouldn’t have agreed to this. But was there even another option?
I winced as one of the hired beauticians worked on my untouched eyebrows. I had never felt the need to trim them. Two others were waxing my legs and arms, respectively.

“Hurry up! We don’t have all the time in the world. The party begins at eight.” Neeru Aunty snapped at the beauticians.

It was only six now. What was the hurry?

Once she completed shaping my eyebrows, the beautician set out to work on my hair, trimming them into layers and styling them. My hair felt soft like silk, courtesy of the multiple hair treatments I had sat through. I might have loved this experience if the very thought of what awaited me in the next few hours didn’t make my knees go weak.

Whenever someone entered the room we were in, through the open door, I glimpsed servants hurrying past carrying flowers, fruit bowls and vessels, getting things ready for the party. Parties at Malhotra Mansion were not new to me. Never had I been a part of such celebrations, nor had I wished to be a part of them.  
Ever since I remembered, Malhotra Mansion, situated in the city of dreams Mumbai, has been my home. When Grandmother was alive, the cosy little bedroom on the second floor had belonged to us. The day after she died, I had been asked to shift to a small bedroom in the annexe attic. My old bedroom had been converted to one of the four guest bedrooms in the mansion. That was three years ago.

 According to Grandma, if God hadn’t been so cruel, my life would have been different. I would have inherited the Malhotra Group—or the Venus Group as it had been once called. When my father had founded it twenty years ago, it had been a small-scale textile industry. Within ten years, he had turned it into a public limited company with profits increasing manifold every year. But tragedy struck in the twelfth year of its existence.

 Ratan Malhotra, the son of Grandma’s sister, had become the major shareholder of the Venus Group after the untimely death of my father. He renamed it overnight to give it a face-lift after the scandalous death of its founder.

Apparently, plagued by losses, father had taken the shortcut to escape from his troubles. I only have vague memories of that fateful day at the resort in Bali. But sometimes, I still woke up in the middle of the night, choked by tears and guilt weighing like lead inside my chest. Survivor’s guilt. I should have died along with my parents. Hadn’t they planned just that?

“I owe a lot to Ram bhaiyya. You will continue to stay with us. I will take care of you from now on.” That was what Ratan Uncle had told me on the day Grandma passed away.

Of course, he took care of me. I was packed off to the annexe the same day. From then on, the Malhotras, who were renowned Scrooges, forced me to earn my keep. Once I returned from college, I became their all-round help. I had to step in for whatever was the pressing job at the time. These days, I was a part-time gardener one day; on another day, I was doing chores in the kitchen and on yet another, I would be housekeeping. I ate food with the other staff and hardly found time to study.

When Grandma was alive, after she fought yet another time with Neeru Aunty, she would curse me and blame me for my parents’ death.

 “You are an unlucky girl, Chandni. Else, why would my son kill himself? Ever since you were born, his business started to fail. You shouldn’t have wandered out that day; you should have died with them.”

The very next minute she would apologise and cry.

“Devil take my tongue. That wretched Neeru gets on my nerves every single time. If my Ram had been alive, he would have raised you like a princess,” she would say as she wiped her own and my tears. 

I had grown up wearing hand-me-down clothes of Lavanya, the only daughter of the Malhotras, and cherished playing with her discarded toys. We were good friends in childhood and had remained so until money induced disparities started corrupting the bond we shared. The glue that bonded us was Grandma. But the bond started to weaken due to the quarrels between Neeru Aunty and Grandma.
Grandma’s fights with Neeru Aunty were always on the same topic. According to Grandma, the Malhotras were living off the efforts of her son. In retaliation for this accusation, Neeru Aunty treated Grandma like trash. She never missed a chance to humiliate her in front of her guests, after insisting on Grandma’s presence at her kitty parties. Neeru Aunty loved boasting about how she and her husband were taking care of Ram Khanna’s old mother and daughter. After each fight, their hostility increased. I often begged Grandma to not attend them. Grandma, however, found peace if she could hurl a few insults back at Neeru Aunty whenever she got an opportunity. She loved keeping scores.

Caught in between, I found solace in my books and studies. 

“You got your father’s brains, child! Didn’t he singlehandedly build the Malhotra empire? You make me proud.” Grandma had hugged me tight when I got the 9th rank in the 12th board exams.  My rank had helped me land a seat in my dream college in Mumbai. That too with a scholarship provided by a charity foundation that had tied up with the school I attended.

Neeru Aunty hated that I had gained admission into the same college as her daughter. Grandma had passed away during my final semester in college leaving me completely at the mercy of the Malhotras.

Luckily, Ratan Uncle had stepped in when I graduated with a high rank and granted me one of the educational scholarships given by the Malhotra Group for talented students. The scholarship helped me enrol for an MBA course in the same college. But after class, Neeru Aunty made sure I helped in the kitchen, ran errands and cleaned bathrooms and toilets while Lavanya, who was my classmate, roamed around the town partying. By the time the day ended, I would have energy only to crash into bed.

Somehow, I managed to do all the college work early in the morning and studied during lunch hours. My friends, Vani and Shweta, who knew my predicament helped me with assignments and exams whenever possible.

College would have been fun if Lavanya wasn’t a bitch of the highest order. Taking a cue from her mother, now a days, she didn’t lose a chance to insult me in front of our classmates. She would hurl snide comments at me randomly and she would often make me carry her things. If somebody questioned her, she would say, “Oh she is used to that. After all, she is our servant.”

It didn’t help that the Malhotras, who used to be filthy rich, were now going through a very bleak period financially. But they always tried to prove to the outside world that all was well. Neeru Aunty had by now relinquished all hopes that her ageing husband would revive their slowly dying business. She had pinned all her hope on Lavanya.

“She has to marry into a rich household. That’s the only way.” That had become her mantra nowadays.

Lavanya was beautiful and would certainly snag a rich man as a husband. She had the looks and with a mother like hers, who paraded her like some hallowed jewel, she was not far from landing herself a priced groom. But it was an almost open secret that she was a drug addict. Last night, she had gone out with her friends and had to be hospitalized after a drug overdose.

The media had got scent of the news and had hounded the Malhotras for an update.

“What rubbish! Lavanya is fine. I don’t know where you guys get your info from. She will be the hostess for her birthday party happening at home tonight. We will be sending pictures to the media and posting them on our social media handles as well.” Ratan Uncle had declared to the media right from the courtyard of the Malhotra Mansion today morning as I was leaving for college.

When I arrived at the mansion after college, Neeru Aunty had simply told me what had to be done.


“You will take Lavanya’s place at today’s party. She will be at the recovery centre this whole week. Be ready to pay back all the kindness we have showered on you.”

---Read more here:

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Book Spotlight on 10 literary works by B S Murthy

BS Murthy

BS Murthy is an Indian novelist, playwright, short story, non-fiction 'n articles writer, translator, a 'little' thinker and a budding philosopher in ‘Addendum to Evolution: Origins of the World by Eastern Speculative Philosophy’ that was originally published in The Examined Life On-Line Philosophy Journal, Vol. 05 Issue 18, Summer 2004.

Born on 27 Aug 1948 and schooled in letter-writing, by 1983, he started articulating his managerial ideas, in thirty-odd published articles. However, in Oct 1994, he began penning Benign Flame: Saga of Love with the ‘novel art' and continued his fictional endeavors in ‘plot and character’ driven novels, Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life and Crossing the Mirage: Passing through youth. 

Then entering the arena  of non-fiction with a ‘novel’ narrative in Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife, possibly a new genre, he ventured into the zone of translations for versifying  the Sanskrit epics, Vyasa’s Bhagvad-Gita (Treatise of self-help) and Valmiki’s  Sundara Kãnda (Hanuman’s Odyssey) in contemporary English idiom. 

Later, ascending Onto the Stage with Slight Souls and other stage and radio plays, he returned to fictional form with Glaring Shadow - A stream-of-consciousness novel and Prey on the Prowl - A Crime Novel to finally reach the short story horizon with Stories Varied - A Book of Short Stories. 

While his fiction had emanated from his conviction that for it to impact readers, it should be the soulful rendering of characters rooted in their native soil but not the hotchpotch of local and alien caricatures sketched on a hybrid canvas, all his body of work was born out of his passion for writing, matched only by his love for language, which is in the public domain in umpteen ebook sites https://g.co/kgs/q6fp5o

Some of his published articles on management issues, general insurance topics, literary matters, and political affairs in The Hindu, The Economic Times, The Financial Express. The Purchase, The Insurance Times, Triveni , Boloji.com are  at https://independent.academia.edu/BulusuSMurthy 

He, a graduate mechanical engineer from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, India, is a Hyderabad-based Insurance Surveyor and Loss Assessor since 1986. 

He takes a keen interest in politics of the day, has an ear for Carnatic and Hindustani classical music and had been a passionate Bridge player. 

 He is married, to a housewife, has two sons, the elder one a PhD in Finance and the younger a Master in Engineering. 

1_ Benign Flame:Saga of Love


Roopa marries Sathyam, hoping that he would help her become a doctor but as he fails her, feeling let down, she insensibly seeks lesbian solace in her friend Sandhya’s embrace. Soon, in a dramatic sequence of events, Tara, a suave call girl, tries to rope Roopa into her calling; Roopa herself loses her heart to Sandhya's beau Raja Rao, and Prasad, her husband’s friend falls for her. And as Prasad begins to induce Sathyam to be seduced by whores to worm his way into her affections, Roopa finds herself in a dilemma. But as fate puts Raja Rao into Roopa’s arms in such a way as to lend novelty to fiction, this ‘novel’ nuances man-woman chemistry on one hand, and portrays woman-woman empathy on the other.

Who said the novel is dead; 'Benign Flame' raises the bar as vouched by -

The plot is quite effective and it’s a refreshing surprise to discover that the story will not trace a fall into disaster for Roopa, given that many writers might have habitually followed that course with a wife who strays into extramarital affairs - Spencer Critchley, Literary Critic, U.S.A.

The author has convinced the readers that love is something far beyond the marriage tie and the fulfillment of love can be attained without marriage bondage. The author has achieved a minor revolution without any paraphernalia of revolution in the fourth part of the novel – The Quest, India.

The author makes free use of – not interior monologue as such, but – interior dialogue
of the character with the self, almost resembling the dramatic monologue of Browning. Roopa, Sandhya, Raja Rao and Prasad to a considerable extent and Tara and Sathyam to a limited degree indulge in rationalization, trying to analyse their drives and impulses – The Journal of Indian Writing in English.

Overall, Benign Flame is a unique attempt at exploring adult relationships and sexuality in the contemporary middle-class. All the characters come alive with their cravings and failings, their love and their lust. Benign Flame blurs the lines and emphasizes that life is not all black and white - it encompasses the full spectrum of living. - Indian Book Chronicle. 

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


2_ Crossing the Mirage - Passing through Youth



If passing through youth was like crossing the mirage of life for Chandra and Nithya, it proved to be chasing the mirage of love for Sathya and Prema though for plain Vasavi, Chandra's pitiable sibling, it was the end of the road.

As life brings Chandra, who suffers from an inferiority complex for his perceived ugliness, and Nithya, who was bogged down being jilted by Vasu, together, they script their fate of fulfillment.

And as poetic justice would have it, Sathya, who caused Prema's heart burn, himself was led down the garden path by Kala, doing a Sathya on Sathya.

Just not that, life has in store just deserts for Vasu owing to Nithya's retribution as he tries to stalk her. Besides, after many a fictional twist and turn, the way the story ends, challenges the perception that fact is stranger than fiction.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


3_ Glaring Shadow - A stream of consciousness novel





In a stream of consciousness mode, ‘Glaring Shadow’ is the self-account of the life and times of a man, who liquidates his immense wealth only to consign it to the flames. The agony and ecstasy of his life as he makes it big in our materialistic world and the way he loses his soul in the bargain, only to regain it when tragedy strikes him makes one ponder over the meaning of success in life. This philosophical ‘novel of a memoir’ is a compelling read that is conducive to contemplate about the nature and scope of human relationships.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


4_ Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life






It's perilous penning this blurb. It's fine when a man is modest about his work. It even affords him the aura of an invisible crown!

But what about his work?

Were it an art or craft, it is there for all to see. What of the literary work of an unheralded author? Well, lauding the same might raise one's eyebrows. Failing to praise wouldn't make a 'jewel-less crown' either!

Why not see, if this is the great Indian novel.

This is the story of the rise and fall of an ambitious man, the decline, and the decay of his conniving wife, the trials, and tribulations of their wayward son as well as the grit and gall of a spirited woman, who enters into his life.

This depiction of their life and times not only pictures the facets of ambition and achievement, intrigue and betrayal, compulsion and compromise and sleaze and scandal, trial and sentence, but also portrays the possibilities of repentance and resolution, love and empathy coupled with compassion and contribution, leading to the spirituality of materialism, and that makes it the saga of our times.
The story of a lifetime, truly.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


5_ Prey on the Prowl - A Crime Novel






Who could have poisoned Ranjit the realtor, Shakeel the Inspector, Pravar the criminal and Natya his accomplice?

Well, the needle of suspicion tilted towards Pravar that was till he perished with his mate, but then who was the one? 

Could it be Radha under the scanner for her role in the death of her husband Madhu and his mistress Mala, Pravar's sister? Or was it Ranjit's spouse Kavya, who owing to Stockholm Syndrome, takes to Pravar her kidnapper.

As these deaths by poisoning puzzle Dhruva, Radha, who worms her way into his life, avers that Kavya had the motive and the means to kill her spouse, her paramour and his wife beside the cop.

However, Dhruva begins to look around for the culprit reckoning that when the ill-motives of the natural suspects to commit a murder are an open secret, someone with a hidden agenda might be tempted to use that as a camouflage for his subterfuge.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


6_ Stories Varied – A Book of Short Stories


This collection of Indian short stories deals with women's dilemmas in the Indian social milieu accompanied by unique denouements.

While 'Ilaa's Ire' contrasts woman's lot of the day with her eminence in the Vedic Age, '201' Qualms" depicts her predicament, torn between personal loyalty and citizen's responsibility.

As "?" addresses woman's marital stress in an alien land, 'Cupid's Clue' is about her acting on rebound in her native place.

Even as 'Autumn Love' lets woman discover the marital void in her life, 'A Touchy Affair' makes her amenable to her man's other woman.

Just as 'Love's How's That' inflames woman's old flame, 'A Hearty Turn' brings her innate lesbian leanings to the fore.

If 'Love Jihad' bridges lovers' religious divide with a secular plank, 'Tenth Nook' creates her marital gulf on the materialistic ground.

While 'Eleventh Hour' is about woman's lust for love, 'Twelfth Tale' underscores her zest for power.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


7_Onto the Stage – Slighted Souls and other stage and radio plays


A compendium of the author’s stage and radio plays: "Slighted Souls" is a poignant love story set in rural Telangana, beset with feudal exploitation of the downtrodden dalits. Besides forcing the dalits to toil in the fields as bonded labor without impunity, the land owning doras had no qualms in reducing the womenfolk of this ilk as sex slaves in the gadis.

"Men at work on Women at work" is a tragic-comic episode depicting the fallout of sexual harassment at the workplace in the Indian urban setting with its traditional cultural underpinnings.

"Castle of Despair", built on the slippery ground of man's innate urge for one-upmanship, portrays its facade of falsity on the grand stage of human tragedy.

The radio play, "Love on Hold", lends voice to the felt anxieties of a man and a woman as their old flame gets rekindled and the dilemmas of possession faced by the couple in a conservative cultural background.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


8_Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife



This thought-provoking work, besides dissecting the anatomy of Islam, steeped in the Quran, seeks to depict the psyche of the Musalmans, shaped by the proclivities of their prophet, vicissitudes of his life and the attitudes of his detractors, which the mechanism of their umma perpetuates. More to the point, aided by “I’m Ok – You’re Ok”, the path-breaking work of Thomas A. Harris and Roland E Miller’s “Muslim Friends–Their Faith and Feeling”, this book, for the first time ever, psycho-analyzes the imperatives of the Muslim upbringing, which has the potential to turn a faithful and a renegade alike into a fidayeen.

Also, apart from delving into the ironies of the faiths that affected the fate of the peoples, eclipsed the cultures of communes, altered the course of history and afflict the politics of the day, this book examines how the sanaatana 'Hindu' dharma came to survive in India, in spite of the combined onslaught of Islam and the Christianity on Hinduism for over a millennium. This book is for those who wish to be aware of the follies of their faith and the foibles of others to lighten the burden of dogma and reduce the baggage of prejudice postulated in its thirty-four well-structured chapters.

Possibly in a new genre, this free ebook is a book for our times.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


9_ Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-help



Bhagavad-Gita is the most beautiful, perhaps the only true philosophical song existing in any known tongue’ so opined William von Humboldt.

In this modern rendition, the beauty of the Sanskrit slokas is reflected in the rhythmic flow of the English verses of poetic proportions in modern idiom even as the attendant philosophy of the song that is the Gita is captured in contemporary idiom for easy comprehension.

The general consensus is that the in vogue Gita of 700 slokas has many an interpolation in it, but no meaningful attempt has ever been made to delve into the nature and extent, not to speak of the effect of these on the Hindu society at large. The methodical codification of interpolations carried out here puts the true character of Gita in proper perspective. Identified here are hundred and ten slokas of deviant nature and or of partisan character, the source of so much misunderstanding about this book extraordinary, in certain sections of the Hindu fold. In the long run, exposing and expunging these mischievous insertions is bound to bring in new readers from these quarters to this over two millennia old classic besides altering the misconceptions of the existing adherents.

GOOGLE BOOK LINK


10_ Sundara Kãnda: Hanuman's Odyssey 





While Mahabharata's Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide, Ramayana's Sundara Kãnda is sought for spiritual solace; many believe that reading it or hearing it recited would remove all hurdles and usher in good tidings! Miracles apart, it's in the nature of this great epic to inculcate fortitude and generate hope in man for it’s a depiction of how Hanuman goes about his errand against all odds. Besides, it portrays how Seetha, on the verge of self-immolation, overcomes despair to see life in a new light? With rhythm of its verse and the flow of the narrative this sloka to sloka transcreation of the canto beautiful of Valmiki's adi kavya - the foremost poetical composition in the world, Hanuman's Odyssey that paves the way for Rama to rescue his kidnapped wife is bound to charm the readers and listeners alike.  Interestingly, as the following verse illustrates, it was the forerunner of the magic realism of our times – “Gripped she then him by shadow / Cast which Hanuman coast to coast, Recalled he in dismay then / What Sugreev said at outset / That one fiend had aptitude / To grip its prey by mere shadow.”

GOOGLE BOOK LINK