Wrong for the Right Reasons – Ritu Lalit

ahana mukherjee

The author sent me the pdf of the book ‘Wrong for the Right Reasons’ and from the word go I was hooked onto it. It’s the story of Shyamoli Verma, divorced and saddled with two kids, who decides to face life full on, on her own terms. Ritu Lalit writes a passionate tale about the plight of a woman estranged from her husband, how not just the society but her own flesh and blood stand against her and creates obstacles on her path in every possible way.

The narrative is simple and the characters are very real. This is no flashy tale of an extraordinary woman who wants to fight the wrongs done to her. On the contrary it is a story about quite the ordinary Shyamoli, a self deprecative girl in her late twenties who is led by rather unfortunate circumstances to stand up for her children and intricately…

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Book Review: Wrong, For the Right Reasons by Ritu Lalit

A wonderful review

Any Excuse To Read

I’ve read Ritu Lalit before, and have enjoyed her writing, although all her books I’ve read so far have been of the fantasy genre. ‘Wrong, for the Right Reasons’, sounded very interesting, and luckily for me, the Kindle edition was available on Amazon(UK).

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Shyamoli Verna, a regular young woman, has gone back to her parents’ house. Which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, had she not had two children in tow, and a broken down marriage with her. Of course, from her mother’s point of view, she had done everything for her daughter, by getting her married. Once married, it was the daughter’s responsibility to stay married. Adjust. Compromise. After all her husband doesn’t ‘beat’ her. A little infidelity? Surely women could overlook that!

Undeterred by her mother’s (and society in general) attitude, Shyamoli sets out to make a life for her and her two children.

It’s a fascinating…

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Book Review: Dinner Date by Ishaan Lalit, Published by Authors Empire Publication

Nice! Great review of Ishaan’s Dinner Date

Books News India by Priyanka Batra Harjai

Title : Dinner Date

Author: Ishaan Lalit

Publisher: Authors Empire Publication

ISBN: 978-81-9264-806-4

Pages: 180

Price: Rs. 140/-

My Review:

‘Dinner Date‘ by Ishaan Lalit is an appealing read full of charm and magnetism and carries a young feeling breeze. The most striking element of the book is its cover page that is, nothing like any other book in same genre or based on similar plot (or theme). The lively colour and an all set dinner table with intriguing blurbs are just faultless ingredients for setting up the mood for a dinner date.

What more could anyone ask for? Without much ado – I was in!

Dinner Date‘ is an interesting narrative from Sam’s (the narrator) perspective with a dinner date ploy – with ‘Malika’. Although, she has come to a date with him but she is not much impressed (or say certain about…

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Gratitude for my Blessings

I normally do an end of the year post, I am a huge fan of gratitude.  I like to count my blessings and drive others who like to see the glass half full nuts.  Its just my thing you know.

Unfortunately, my end-of-the-year was in the Cardiac Care Unit of Asian Hospital, enjoying the hospital’s hospitality – 😀

(I love that term. Have to use that in one of my books.)

Since I missed the chance to dance, party, count my achievements and rain on other’s parade – not that they aren’t doing well -, but they don’t see life just the same way … I’ll spare them.

1. All I will say is HILAWI is a best seller!

2. I have a brand new car! Squeeeeeeeee!

Thank you Godji for everything.

Now that I have done showing off, let me get serious.

A question that has always plagued me … why is it so hard to be happy?  Infants find it so easy.  Burp and laugh.  Poop and kick your podgy feet up in the air, just for the relief of it all and laugh.  See Mom and wave all limbs in the air for the sheer joy of seeing her!

Why do we lose it as we grow older?

One of the first lessons one learns is to hide your joy and achievements, dig a hole so deep and bury them.  Nazar lag jayegi.  The second one we learn is  – you’ll put people off if you talk about your achievements.  It’s showing off.

Is it?

Or is it just a way to thank the heavens for the blessings bestowed on you and taking joy in them?

I believe very strongly in the latter.  I would rather hide my pain and tears than show them.  I would dig a hole so deep in the ground and bury them so that they don’t affect me ever.  If that makes me a Polyanna so be it!  Tears make me headachy and I look a sight when I cry.  I’d rather not inflict that on me and the people around me.

It is my job to keep me happy, no one else’s.  It is my responsibility to keep me positive.  If I don’t do it, no one else will do it for me.

Being miserable, grumbling or harping over something that went wrong is such a downer.

So will put on my dancing shoes, sip my Diet Pepsi (since booze is off the menu for now) smoke an E Cigarette (no smoking either) and dance.

Thank you Godji for giving me life and the zest to enjoy it

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Writing Tips, Short Stories

It was a privilege and pleasure to be the judge for a book of short stories being compiled by Nethra Anjanappa of Fablery.com Thanks Nethra for giving me the platform and opportunity to be a part of this process.

Some observations :

I feel (mind you, this is my personal take on the subject) many authors take writing as a low-level entry job. Perhaps this is because any one can become a writer thanks to blogging. You punch in a few keys, rave, rant or sermonize, hit the publish button, and hey and presto, you are a blogger! My appeal to all writers out there is, treat writing as a profession. Just like in any profession one needs to polish up one’s skills in writing too. Join workshops, critique other people’s work, get inputs from established authors. Hone your skills.

When you participate in a competition like the one held by Fablery, study the genre and format that you are writing for. It will help you polish your craft. We got entries that did not fit the genre they were submitted for. Naturally they got rejected.

Any creative work has to appeal to the five senses. Written work should be something that makes you smell the atmosphere, feel the anger, the love the happiness or sorrow of the protagonist. You should be able to visualize the setting. You may be wondering how to deliver all of this in 6000 words or less. Read Stephen King and Roald Dahl. They are masters of the craft.

Short stories are not novels that are condensed. Short stories have their own structure, their own unique way of coming through. Writing dialogues into a novel brings out character traits and nuances. Writing a whole short story in a dialogue makes it tiresome. Then there is a small issue of formatting. May be it has something to do with our national malaise, the “Chalta Hai” attitude. I truly appreciate an author who has taken the trouble to format his or her work properly. To me it means the author is here to stay and will work hard on the craft.

HOW TO WRITE A SHORT STORY

1. Do not have more than 3 characters around which the story revolves.

2. It is easier if one builds the story around one or two sets. Less description of surroundings to work at. A story I loved had the main scenes in a space ship and around Stonehenge. Great sets, great story.

3. Catchy hooks, especially the first sentence always works. I am critiquing a fellow author’s work. Her first line (it is a full length novel) is “How’s Satan?” It had me hooked.

4. A short story is like a tiny canvas. You need to breathe life into it. Conflict is an excellent way of doing it. Have your characters fight, have them differ, have them work against each other. Add suspense. Word of caution though, it is a tiny canvas – so one conflict is enough.

5. A twist is good, ending a story with a twist adds a very satisfactory climax.

6. Use common sense. Do not send drama entries for philosophical genre or love for thriller. Your story may be good, but will get rejected.

Fever

“You have fever” he said it calmly, a statement of fact.

Do I?

I thought that meditation heals us by boosting the immune system.  I pick up the thermometer and read it.  “No I don’t.”  He waggles his brows at me and says, “I am off to work.  Make yourself some chicken soup and stay in bed.  If you feel the same in the evening, I’ll take you to the doctor.”

I smile dutifully.  I know I should not feel irritated, but he infantilizes me.  I am not a baby.

Sigh … he is a good man!

I hear the door slam shut as my benign despot goes to work.  My body hurts, my throat feels sore.  I put the thermometer into my mouth again.  No fever.

Getting out of bed, I undress.  No, nothing should cover me as I meditate.  I sit down on the floor mat and start breathing deeply, trying to get to the root of the problem.

His face flashes in front of me, angry bitter contemptuous.  Nothing I did or achieved was ever good for him.  Surprising, considering he was a big zero in life.  What did he ever do, apart from torment me, pile on his huge burden of expectations on me?

Would it ever be over?

I recall the relief, joy even, as I flew out of the city, feeling miles pile up between me and his vice like grip on my life, my happiness.

Breathe deeply ….

Forgive yourself ….

The fever burns away, burning away the anger, the hurt, the recrimination, the burden of crippling expectations.

I sweat

I come to terms with myself, I am the simplest of beings.  I want to live this life with simplicity.  I want to be kind, loving.  I want honesty, tolerance and humor.  I want to be simple.

My throat hurts.  I want to not be dependent, yes even on my benevolent despot.  That path leads to frustration, makes one manipulative.

But most of all, I want to forgive myself.

Meditation done.

Sighing I pick up my phone, still unclothed and punch his number.

“Yes Daddy.  My husband is in office.  I will speak to him in the evening.”

I don’t want to go visit him ….

Forgive him, forgive myself.

I wash away the regret, the remorse.

I walk into the balcony with my cup of tea and look around, aware of the  obstacles of  perceived misperceptions, of self-awareness which inhibit,  serotonin shortage or more likely the unfortunate consequence of having an ego– at once striving and reconciling.  The desire to love a parent, unreservedly but knowing, as an adult, that he is flawed.

I watch a two year old girl cling to her father’s leg, until he laughs and buys her the ice cream she wants.

I smile.  Put down my mug and call.

“Darling, Daddy rang up.  He’s had another stroke.  I will be flying down tonight.  No I don’t want you to come with me, I want to do this alone.”

“How is your fever?” he asks.

“No fever” I reply.

It burnt away, leaving a kind of forgiveness …

For me

For Daddy

The Story Cabin prompt Fever