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The Dirty Picture

I was naked, so was he and so was she. It never made a difference, we were used to it. Those who walk past us always looked down at us like a piece of shit, literally and thoughtfully which again didn’t make a big difference. We don’t give a damn about those who judge us. There was one guy who stopped by with a backpack; he looked decent with costly shirt and trousers. He settled at a safer distance and took something outside, the other guy next to me identified it as a camera that he had seen already elsewhere. I saw the man fidgeting it for a long time, looked through it and pointed on us. I was terrified; I turned my back towards him and continued playing. There were a few crossing us; a few used a kerchief to cover their nostrils whereas a few used their thumb and forefinger. Again, it didn’t make a big difference to us, we were used to it.
I wanted to ensure that the guy left, so I turned back and was thrown aback when I saw him just inches away from me. He crouched and gave me something which looked like those chocolate wrappers I have seen around in this place. But I was only destined to smell and lick the wrappers so far, and this being my first time to touch, unwrap and taste it, I smiled. No, I grinned.
Will you pose for me?” he asked.
What?” I asked, chewing the chocolate wafers for the first time.
Just keep playing, don’t bother to look at me,” he said.
He was around us for another 20 minutes, while a few more crossed with their saree’s Pallu or Salwar’s dupatta over their face to avoid inhaling the stink. Whenever I look at any of them, they avert eye contact, I wonder why. I find this place nice because I get to try something new, I can be myself with her and sometimes, I have got a good meal as well.
The kind man walked towards me again to give another chocolate wafer wrapped in a deep blue cover with zig-zag corners. This time, he gave one to all three of us, so the whole bar was for me and I didn’t have to share. I was amused!
In a few days, I saw our picture, all three of us. It was beautiful, blown rectangular and in a size I have never imagined. We three looked at each other to ensure it was us. I saw her smiling! I have made her laugh heartily but this was the first time that she smiled.
There were words written, in a language that I didn’t know. In fact, that’s when I realized I can’t read or write any language for that matter. I have never been to school, so was he and so was she.
My friend went near a warm old man who thought we were trying to ask for money and moved away. “We are the three in that board there, what’s written next to our photo?” he blurted. He stopped moving and turned to read those words. “It says about pollution and how kids get affected,” he said and walked a few steps away, indicating that he is not ready for any more questions. I walked back to my dirty puddle and threw the chocolate wafers there, which she picked up and looked at me with a smile.

Khel – The Writing – Book Review

I received a review copy of the book from the author paradise.
Genre – Horror
My second horror this year, it is a novella of just 140 pages which made me wonder how the author managed to do it. I did like the book, so here is the review!
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First Impression – The cover image was quite dull indeed, didn’t impress me but the blurb did. I would call it the synopsis of the novel itself, upon reading it, I couldn’t wait to start reading the book.
Overall Impression – It did send chills down my spine. A compelling read! A different take with nice twists sprinkled that glues the reader throughout.
What did I love about the book? – The ending was good. Thanks to the author, one of the finest and abrupt ending, which gives food for thought. I loved it for sure. A few peculiar instances, did give shrills and was an interesting read.
Wow Factors – 1) Simple and lucid language 2) decent twists than expected 3) A horror in just 140 pages is definitely a wow, kudos to the author
Frown Factors – 1) Grammar, sentence structure – a horror read with such mistakes is a definite no-no 2) Repeated sentences like “sending chills down the spine” was a turn off while reading 3) Improper comparisons and the use of “like” 4) Most of the instances reminds a few horror movies and the likes 5) Cliched throughout with the use of rain and darkness, could have given a different try
Ratings: 3/5
Note to the author –an Ace editor will do wonders to your work!
Grab a copy here – Amazon

The Madras Affair – Book Review

The Madras Affair by Sundari Venkatraman, a book that would draw any Chennaite to pick a copy for the title and the author. I received the e-book for review from the book club. Regardless of my love for Madras, Sundari, and TBC, the review presented below is honest indeed.
First Impression: Pretty attractive title and a cover so strong. With a voluptuous woman’s body and a face with eyes so powerful, representing a tale of a woman’s life history. Inviting!
Overall Impression: Spellbound. The smile that I had when I read the first chapter vanished when I finished the second. The lovely story turned to a painful history in a matter of a few pages. The pain inscribed in every word used to describe what Sangita has gone through pricks like a thorn. It shirks the reader. Sundari has ensured to choose the right words to give life to pain. At the end of the second chapter, I started reading the third with a thirst to know how Sangita made it. A feminist or no, the story touches the soul.

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What did I love about the book? – With no doubts the Characters. Gautam, the blue-eyed hero is the one that any woman would love to meet. Prince charming and chivalrous, who showers the much deserved love on Sangita, as if, the prayers of readers who got the gist of what she went through in her past were answered. In a matter of a chapter, Sundari injected much hatred towards Sangita’s first husband, which rather delighted the reader to hear the news of demise rather than to land as a shock. Though the subject handled has potential to say it is deep and dark, the author has ensured to leaf-in details like Sangita-Gautam’s conversations that make it a light read which many authors give it a miss.
Wow Factors: 1) Language and choice of words
2) The nativity followed – She takes the reader to 1995 with names like Pankajam being used, and the breeze of words like Idly, Sambar, Upma, and coconut chutney, which marks that it is Madras
3) Beautiful portrayal of what the woman goes through, especially the parts where that Sangita had to agree for a tonsure in the event of her husband’s death and the light thrown at her sexual frustration takes a special mention which most leave unattended. When there are artificial stories and movies that say a woman will lose interest in sex and would dedicate her whole life to help her kids grow, The Madras Affair tears the mask created and calls a spade as a spade
4) Figurative language perfumed when required adding more value to understand the depth of the situation
5) Beautiful dive on the oscillations a woman would go through in unfavorable situations
6) Handling emotions of a kid in want of a father to feel complete have never been this real! Stunning is an understatement.
Frown Factors: 1) A bit on the lengthy side which slows down the pace here and there, though at times a few detailing were eye-catching, there were places that makes a reader skim through than read. Otherwise, a wonderful read!
Rating: 4/5
Grab a copy of the book here – Amazon

Hey Dad! Meet my Mom – Book Review

Hey Dad! Meet my mom by Sandeep Sharma. Having known for less than a year, he sent across a copy for a review. So here you go!
Genre – General Fiction
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First Impression – The title was interesting. I was happy that it isn’t a teenage love story with the title. I thought there is something for me in this book.
Overall Impression – Amusing read. I loved the concept and the sparkling witty conversations used throughout. Though in a few places it didn’t work, most were new and nice. Well thought of and penned to perfection. A very interesting read, indeed
What did I love about the book? – The conversations by Myra, she is a heartthrob. The details are so beautifully etched. Puneet’s love towards Myra and his oscillation when the nightmare strikes each time are explored really well.
Rating: 4/5
Wow Factors: 1) Concept 2) Dialogues and conversations 3) Emotional play 4) Page turning events and details inscription 5) Sparkling humor that makes the reader smile throughout – the major plus
Frown Factors: 1) Language, grammar and sentence structure was the major concern. 2) Editing was not up to the mark, could have been much better 3) Pace was not maintained, it seems like a rush to end the book.
Note to the author: Loved your thought process. Just employ the right editor, and you’re there! All the best, and am waiting for your next game!
Grab a copy of the book here – Amazon

Love and other enchantments – Book Review

Surprisingly, an anthology that is worth reading. I was surprised to see great reviews from known honest reviewers and the ratings which kindled my interest on this book when Anuj approached.
Genre – As the title says! All about Love
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First Impression – I had no clue until I scrolled to the first story. All I knew was ‘anthology of love stories’ and this is in fact 3 best stories based on Love and emotions that rule Love by 5 awesome writers.
Overall Impression – The stories are twinned with emotions such that it makes you read every line rather than skimming through. Especially, the first three stories by Tanima Kedar exceeded my expectations by multifolds.
The stories are not new but the way it is penned is fresh and flavored with beautiful words. The Emotions that every phrase and word carries is beyond compare. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
What did I love about the book? – The theme focused. The emotions carried throughout the stories and the unique difference between each writer and the way of writing. Par Excellence! All 5 writers show great potential.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Wow Factors: 1) Simple theme but powerful stories 2) Emotions played
Frown Factors: Pretty much, slight grammar and punctuation errors. Else perfect!
Buy a copy here – Shopclues