Come in, Earth! This is your Editor of Storizen Magazine calling. To allyou lovers of the Word, or those who are keen on starting a Literary Affair:Greetings! Our monthly publication on print-worthy fiction goes into cy-ber-orbit with this, our first issue. The mission: your ambition – appreci-ating literature and perhaps, applying your own fingertips to the word pad.Thus, we encourage your words to “rub shoulders” with our words,as well as those printed words from celebrated authors. So, in thisspace - we pick the brains of established writers in exclusive inter-views; get the bookish views of big names in entertainment and sports;and even put out your writings in reviews, poems and short stories.We’ll even have Word-fun in humorous captions, slangs and limericks.Plus, just as American writers started doing over a century ago, we Indi-ans wordsmiths, are coming intoour own. Thus, has begun recre-ating the Indian Universe withour pens, a Universe that youare a part of! And the novel isonly one format, to capture thegreat human experience: pho-to-essays, narrative-articles andshort-stories are other literaryappliances that we put out. So,plug-in and spread the Word!“Welcome, Wordsworths!” Says Your Editoreditor@storizen.comstorizen.com | May 2013 | 3
A Passion BeyondExtremes is RajnishGambhir’s first novel.Rajnish is aCommerce graduatefrom St.XaviersCollege, Kolkataand presently he isa Director in a fewprivate companiesin Kolkata. Besides writing,he enjoys reading, playing golf,watching films, followingcricket matches, music andtravelling.He lives in Kolkatawith his wife, while his threechildren are working / studyingin U.S.A. Interesting event wasthe contest winner get chance tomeet Saurav Ganguly & get clickwith Saurav.Winner name is Arjun Ghosh
Duckbill had three authors atthe prestigious Kala Ghoda LitFest this year! Allthe authorsessionswere heldat the lovelyKitab Khanabookstore.Anushka Rav-ishankar’smonstrous ses-sion was attend-ed by over hun-dred enthusiastickids, as she readand sang fromMoin and theMonster and Mointhe Monster Song-ster. Revathi Suresh addressed asmall and intimate gatheringof young adults as she readfrom her book JoblessClueless Reckless,Himanjali Sankar, authorof The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog, had thecrowd captivated as sheread from her book, playedvideos and had the kidscome up with superpow-ers for their superdogs.
Because TTWT is a fun book with a lot happening between a groupof old friends when they reunite - wewanted to design the launch event ina way that made it an experiential evening. We wanted people not just to sitand listen to us speak about ‘Tick-tockwe’re 30’ but get an actual taste of the over-all whacky, closely bonded mood of the book
The idea was to try and open upthe fourth wall and let the au-dience into the discussion rightthrough the evening. For thisreason we even kept the seatingproscenium style and made itreally interactive; constantlythrowing the ball back into theaudience, narrating something fromthe book, then letting the people in the room join in with theirown anecdotes.The event, much in the same vein as ‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ turned out to be a roll-er-coaster-like fun ride with unrestrained laughter and poignant moments. At onepoint Milan Vohra and all of the women panelists turned around to ask KarthikKumar the male panelist, why men couldn’t see through the likes of the Kalyani’sof the world, a character in my book who all women seem to hate. On the button,another guy from the audience jumped right in to answer on behalf of all men!”
Rajiv Menon – Thundergod, the Ascendance of IndraA night launch with celebrities attending. It was acocktail evening. About 70 – 80 people in attendance.From left to right: Gaurav Kapur, RajivMenon, Cyrus Sahukar and VineetWadhwa..Shubhra Krishan– Top Secret!An evening launch at the Lodhi GardenRestaurant with Chef Saby releasing the first copyof the bookWe had in Mauritius dancers to liven up the evening. About 100-120 peoplewere in attendanceFrom left to right: Chef Saby and Shubhra Krishan...
Facebook PhantomThe hottest new read forteens this summer, Face-book Phantom, was re-leased on 28 April in Ban-galore. ‘The book is wellwritten and impressivefor such a young author.’Suzanne Sangi, theYung teenage author ofthe book is 17 yearsold, and is doing herpre-universitycourse in MountCarmel College,Bangalore. She lvesmusic, sings andplays the guitar.She startedwritingFacebookPhatom inthe summer afterher Class X board exams,when she wasfifteen, andfinished it thefollowing summer.
The Urban Solace Book Club inBangalore opened with a discus-sion of Yasmeen Premji’s debutnovel “Days of Gold & Sepia”. Theauthor, Yasmeen Premji joined thegroup for an interactive discussionwith the audience.
It’s strange that we know so littleabout ourselves, about who we reallyare and what we are capable of. Of allthe careers in the world, I would nothave imagined myself to be a poet anda writer. I was 26-years-old when I juststarted doing poetry one evening.Up till then, I believed myself to be adecent person but rather shallow, notreally capable of any deep thought. Yet,almost a quarter of my life later, there Iwas writing poetry, as if a flood gate ofpoem had suddenly been opened. Totell the truth, no one was more in aweof myself than I.Today, my second mystery novel, ‘Ja-cob Hill’s is all set for a May release andI couldn’t be happier. But the journeyinto the publishing world wasn’t easy. Itwas the kindness of acquaintances andstrangers and one and a half years ofperseverance on my part that made mean author from a writer.I started scouting for a publisher/lit-erary agent (home and overseas) formy debut work ‘Love on the Rocks’, aromantic thriller in July 2008. Therewere at least a dozen rejections in themailbox every month, sometimes more.It was also an opportunity to learn assome were kind enough to come backwith feedback that in time proved to beinvaluable.In Feb 2009, ‘Love on the Rocks’ waspicked up by a literary agency and theyoffered to take the book to FrankfurtBook Fair, Oct 2009. After waiting forfour months for the edits on my bookto begin, the agency just dropped mesaying that they didn’t want to investtheir time and effort in a manuscriptthat was rejected by Penguin and Harp-er. To quote them, “Am I fool or are youthat I should invest my time and moneyin a manuscript that has been rejectedby two of the biggest publishing housesin the country?”
I had apprised them at the outset thatthe standard sample chapters of themanuscript had been submitted tothese publishing houses in 2008 andhad been declined. I remember sob-bing like a child, threatening them onthe phone that someday they’ll regretdropping me off their list. In retrospect,it all seems childish, but back then allmy hopes were pinned on it. It felt likesomeone had snatched the winning lot-tery ticket from my hand.I was told repeatedly by family andfriends that writing and poetry is agood hobby but that I needed to dosomething more, start another novel.But I wasn’t ready to give up on my de-but novel, just yet.Half a dozen drafts and a year laterthe book was picked by up Penguin inMarch 2010 in a dramatic fashion. Afriend’s friend working for Pearson (thecompany that owns Penguin) happenedto read the manuscript. She totallyloved it and was quick to recommendit to the Senior Commissioning Editor,Vaishali Mathur, a very fine and en-couraging lady. Three days later, Vaish-ali made an offer. ‘Love on the Rocks’was published in 2011.A year-and-a-half is a long time; a timethat helped me fine-tune my manu-script and learn much more about theways of the publishing world. Sincethen, I have encountered many wonder-ful editors, agents, poets and authors.Not only has technology opened doorsfor easy interaction among authors andpublishers in India, it has shortened thetime span that a writer spends chew-ing his/her nails while waiting for theirresponse.Lastly, I only have one thing to saythat it doesn’t matter if anyone believein you, the real question is do you be-lieve in yourself enough to pursue yourdream till it runs out and fades thin?I had apprised them at the outset that the standardsample chapters of the manuscript had been sub-mitted to these publishing houses in 2008 and hadbeen declined.“IsmitaTandon Dhankher is ‘A Lesser Known Poet’. Her poem, ‘The Beasts RunWild’, is currently up on MSN, as part of an ongoing exclusive feature “HerCourage” in tribute to Indian women. Her second mystery novel Jacob Hills isjust released by HarperCollins India.”
No two character names should start with the same alphabet. For exam-ple if you have lead characters like Sonia and Sapna or Tanya and Tina orArvind and Anurag, readers are bound to get confuse one for the other.In the fantastic novel , The Taj Conspiracy, the author named the charac-ters as (SSP) Raghav and RP Singh. As a reader, I at times confuse one for theother.No two (primary) characters names should end with the same syllable. Inother words, avoid two names that rhyme with each other. Example: Ajayand Vijay, Amit and Sumit, Madhumita and Susmita. Since the humanbrain does not raed the whole spelling but can mkae out the words fromthe first and the last alphabets, it’s better to avoid names that share common firstalphabets or the last ones. Example: The legendary characters– Laila and Majnu,Jai and Veeru, Raj and Simran–are fantastic examples.Keep in mind the region, setting and the year of birth. For example, par-ents these days don’t keep common names like Mukesh, Amit, Ravi orVijay. Also, I hardly come across people with these names in theNorthEastern part of India. For one of my stories, I was planning to name myprotagonist who hailed from the North East and was around 25 years of age. Iconsidered the names of my North Eastern colleagues in my company and evenasked strangers their names. Finally, I got an authentic one – Jintu.123
Think about the nickname for your character in advance. This is becauseour parents and friends hardly call us with our actual names.For exam-ple, my dad calls me Nattu (long story), my mother calls me Muku andmy childhood friends called me by the name Charlie (another long sto-ry). I am sure Bongs will get this point sooner.Reshmi or Mehrunisa – which name would you keep for your protago-nist who is investigating a murder? Good you got it. It all depends onthe character they are playing in your story. If the character is a ro-mantic hero, names like Varun, Rishi or Mohit are acceptable. In case thecharacter is an investigator (strong character), names like Ranvijay Pratap Singhor Himangshu Krishnan or Pratee Mathur or for that matter Pradhan will reso-nate more. What will you name theprotagonist’s mentor in your Sci-fi novel?Easier to pronounce. In India, names like Ananyobroto, Parambratha,Naman Jasarapuria or Divya Kodithala could be quite difficult to pro-nounce. It’s easier to identify what we can pronounce easily. However, ifyou’re writing a script like AVATAR, you are forcedto think of names thatpeople have neither heard of nor can identify. These include names likeTsu’tey,Neytiri andNa’vi.Avoid using celebrity names as it triggers a lot of bias in the reader’smind. Example: Aamir, Amitabh, Katrina, Sridevi, Abdul Kalam, Pra-nab Mukherjee, Sehwag, etc. Also, avoid using names of legendarycharacters like Gabbar, Raj, Simran, Vidya Bagchi, etc.Think of the characters’full story, not just of their childhood. For exam-ple, Milli could be an excellent name of a sweet child, but as she growsup and becomes a strong advocate, it loses its resonance.Some of the regional names could be gender neutral like Chandan, Har-preet, Lakshmi, Anindya, etc. Just ignore them to avoid confusion. Or,use them if you would really like to create one.Last but not the least; do not name your characters after you or yourspouse (or your ex). Consider you’ve written a love making scene andthe character is named after you. Hope you got the point.56789104storizen.com | May 2013 | 19
Which author do you feel has influenced your stylethe most?It’s difficult to say because I grew up reading both classics as wellas potboilers. My spiritual sense is influenced by Paramahansa Yo-gananda, my love for fast pace and racy plots is influenced by DanBrown and Frederick Forsythe, my fascination with historical retell-ing is inspired by Dominique Lapierre while my passion for researchis fuelled by Arthur Hailey.
What has prompted you to write your book or books?I have never gone out looking for stories. In fact, I do not consider myself as awriter. I am much more of a storyteller than a writer. I really care very little aboutmy choice of words or the crafting of my sentences as long as they convey an in-credibly interesting tale. My first book happened because I was inspired by a tombin Srinagar and the curious story that lay behind it.What is the best feedback or comment you have received from an ordinaryreader on your book?Someone told me that she took a day off work in order to complete readingChanakya’s Chant. She said that she had to call in sick given that it was near thecompany’s financial year ending and there was too much work pending.What criticism has helped you grow as a writer?When I wrote my first book, The Rozabal Line, some readers complained to methat I had allowed my research to overwhelm the story. Thereafter, I consciouslychose to ensure that the story was given pride of place. I receive around a hun-dred comments each day from readers via various channels. I always mark im-portant views because they help me evolve as a writer. I am and will always bework in progress.“ I would have loved to have writ-ten Midnight’s Children by Sal-man Rushdie. It has always beenone of my favourite books. Whatwould I have done differently? “storizen.com | May 2013 | 23
What would you like to do as a writ-er that you have never done before.Find a new story and then find an en-tirely new way of narrating it.What is the book that someone elsehas written, that you would haveliked to write? How would you havedone it differently?I would have loved to have written Mid-night’s Children by Salman Rushdie.It has always been one of my favouritebooks. What would I have done differ-ently? Probably nothing. It’s difficult toimprove a masterpiece.What is your advice to aspiring writ-er?Speak in your own voice. Don’t attemptto be someone that you’re not. Researchyour story exhaustively. Get yourselfa good editor. Read and re-read yourwork a hundred times, there are alwaysimprovements that can be made. Mostimportantly, believe in yourself and bethick-skinned. Rejection is part of thegame, so don’t allow rejections or set-backs to deter you.Ashwin is an enterpreneur by profession but writing historical fiction in thethriller genre is his passion and hobby. He’s author of three best sellers - TheRozabal Lane, Chankya’s Chant and The Krishna Key. He holds a master de-gree in business management from Yale University and is currently pursuinga Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Bangor at Wales.”
“Ithought I was in hell already, whatcan be worst than this? Is it the rightquestion to ask while being chased bya bunch of angry tribal warriors?” heasked himself as he pushed through thedense trees, “Stress on ‘angry’ and superstress on ‘tribal’. Their spears are lacedwith poison that can kill a fat rhino ina shot,” he reminded himself, “The fatrhino for lunch was tasty by the way.”He was called ‘The runner’ by anyonewho was unfortunate to know him. Notbecause the runner was running fromalmost every police department in theworld. Also not because he had spendmost of his life running from the situa-tion. He was called the runner becausehe was actual runner. He was a messen-ger, very expensive and very exclusive.His clientele included people who had‘few’ disagreement with the general law.He delivered goods, messages and itemsto any location possible with one quali-ty that the normal courier service neveroffered, no paper work.It was also one of the quality that mademost of the police services come look-ing for him.Todays job was different, there was nomoney involved. No really, no moneyinvolved. How much money do youask Death from? Exactly, you heard itright, Death. Picture whatever you like,full on cloaked man with a grim or ateenage goth girl or even a flying spa-ghetti monster. He met death, it was ona thursday lunch hour. Lunch hour onthursday was a crazy business. It wascrazy because it was not a Monday ora Tuesday or a Friday, it was that awk-ward Thursday.He was eating kheema pav at the localIrani cafe. The chicken kheema washaving a disagreement with his diges-tive system. He looked around andburped quietly under his breath.“You are excused,” a small boy waswatching him intently from across thetable. “Excuse me?” “Yes. You are ex-cused,” the boy said, “I have a work foryou.” “Excuse me, who are you?”“Who do you see me as?” the boy asked.“A fourth standard kid who should bein school at this moment,” he replied.
“Interesting, that is something youshould work with your psychiatrist. Butagain as I said, I have a work for you.”“Who are you?” asked the runner, look-ing around, did the cops started usingschool going kids for sting operation.“Right.” the boy said, “That,” at that ex-act moment the scene changed, he wasno longer at the cafe and the boy was adark grim figure dressed in long over-all black cloak. The face was covered ina dark overalls and the boys voice hadturned hoarse.“Is this biblical enough for you?” heasked, “Do I need to tell you who I amnow?” The look of horror on The run-ners face indicated that he did not needto know. “So,” the cafe and the boy wasback, “I have a work for you.”“Work?” The runner realized that hehad to finally stop running death hadcaught up with him, “What kind ofwork can you have for me?”“Bournvita,” said the boy to the waiterwho had come to wipe the table.The waiter eyed both of them and left.“Work,” the boy said, “Yes. Work. Noth-ing that is difficult for you. Need a per-son of your skill set.”“My skill set but you are d...” he avoidedthe word. “Yes, yes I know, I know,” theboy said, “Sure I am the most powerfulof all that is and sure its my job but youknow performance is a problem in thismodern world.”It was exceedingly difficult to be afraidof a ten year old boy.“What is the job exactly...”“Running...” the boy said.Running, that was what death said.Running, easy as a slicing a knifethrough butter. Run, Run, Run. Whatdeath had failed to told him was run-ning was not going to be easy as thetribe chasing him was the most ancienthunting tribe called ‘Sons of Ka’.The tribe was the direct line descendantof an ancient witch-doctor ‘Ka’. Thewitch doctor was known to be an experton black arts and also rumored to bethe first black magic performer in theworld.Using his power of black magic, he managed to defeat death in the game ofrock, paper and scissors.“Wait, that can’t be right,” he said to theboy, “Seriously?”“Rock kills scissors, scissors kill pa-per and paper kills rock,” the boy saiddrinking his bournvita, “Its a giantspread of my favorite thing. Death.”“So he defeated you in the game of...err...”“Rock, paper and scissors, yes.” the boycontinued. Defeated in the game, deathasked him for what he seek.Ka was the most knowledgeable andwisest of black magician in the world,he smiled and said, “I seek the heartof death.” The heart of death, Runnerthought, that was the thing that waspounding near the chest. All he had todo was sneak in the village and snatchthe heart and then run. Legend says,death hates his heart so much that hedoes not seek it. The sons of Ka lived formore than a thousand years from
the aura of that heart.The account was overdue, Death wasimpatient. He wanted someone to pickup the heart and run, leaving the villageexposed to him.Runner dashed as fast as he could. Justover the cliff, just over the cliff, he saidto himself. It will be all over soon. Oneof the sprinters from the tribe was veryclosed to him. This made the runnervery nervous. What if they catch him?what if they inject him with one ofthose poison arrows?His thoughts were cut by a loud wail bythe sprinter. A thorn had pricked his legand was now bleeding. Runner smiledat his luck and dashed on. He wonderedif Death was protecting him from what-ever misery was going to fall on him.He knew death was...his leg slipped andhe fell.He rolled over from the sides of themountain and crashed full speed intothe chasm below.Seventy feet into the chasm he crashedhard on the granite rock. He neverstood a chance against death did he?Slowly he closed his eyes.“Ahem,” the boy disturbed him.“What?” the runner said opening hiseyes, “Happy now, I being dead andall?”“You are not dead,” the boy said.“I am not?” the runner looked at thecliff above, “Are you telling I survived afall of seventy feet on the granite rock?”“Yep,” the boy said, “You still have myheart don’t you?”And then it dawned on him. Deathcannot touch him till he has the heart,“Well that was handy.”“Yes, it was, now put that heart insidethis box.”“What will happened to them, The sonsof ka?” he looked up.“Thorn prick,” the boy said, “The run-ner behind you? A good runner, he wasawarded four times last year for thefastest runner in Kalympics. He willsoon find out he has a thorn pricked inhis legs while he was chasing you.”Runner looked at the box in the boyshand, “And you won’t chase me once Iplace this heart in the box?”“I can’t run faster than you runner,” theboy said, “But we will meet... soon.”“Soon?” the runner screamed, “Whatdo you mean by soon? I hope you meansoon like sixty, seventy years later? Isthat soon enough for you? Hello?”He was standing in a chasm alone.Siddhesh is creative enterpreneur, witty blogger and pas-sionate story teller. He’s got an awesome website. Go visit.
I am a rogue program.My job is to offend.There might be better waysTo make people think,But this is the easiest wayMy programmer discovered.Each time you slam,It becomes my plugin,That I manifest in my next version.I am a rogue program.I don’t die.My flaws keep me alive.My flaws keep you alive too.I create flatteries,One of them is choice.That is an illusion.Because you are unaware.You choose to save yourself fromhurt.But you just save a hurt for yourself.You choose a weapon to kill.Or did u just un-choose the manyweaponsThat will kill you?Then each time you die,You slam,And that becomes a plugin.Remember,I hurt you onlyTill I need to hurt,And not till you do.Remember,That I will remember the slam.That’s a compliment.Because my job is to offend.I know the choice is a flattery.I fight between hurt and hurt.I don’t die.I am a rogue program.“Debdatta is a gifted poet. She also works as a copywriter and sings, paints,dances and plays the guitar at times. When asked, what other field wouldshe have chosen if not arts, she says, “Perhaps, I wouldn’t have beenborn!”
I miss you in the vaccuum that was once you.In the stillness of a cemetry afternoon.In the dinner table, with an empty seat.In family photographs, now incomplete.In my husband-to-be,In the grandchildren you did not see.In the deficits of love, half-filled.In success, made hollow in your absence.In mammas who aren’t papas.In fathers and daughters strolling hand-in-hand.Daddy dearest, my dirty old man,Always with me,and yet still not here...“Christina Daniels is the author of the bestselling filmography I’ll Do It My Way:The Incredible Journey of Aamir Khan. Before this, she also authored GingerSoda Lemon Pop, a novella that looks at growing up through the perspective ofa five-year-old child.
College Street, name derived fromthe presence of many colleges) is a~1.5 km long street in central Kol-katta in the Indian state of WestBengal. It stretches (approximate-ly) from Ganesh Chandra Ave-nue Crossing in Bowbazar area toMahatma Gandhi Road crossing.It houses many centres of intellec-tual activity specially Indian CoffeeHouse, a cafe that has attracted thecity’s intelligentsia for decades.
College street has been the place for young kolkatans to unleash their intellectualdesire and dreams. The very basic vibe of the youth can be well understood in theair of Boi-Para, the college street. The very famous coffee house of college street isbeen the heart of kolkatan intelligentsia for ages. Many great novelists, poets havespent hours there discussing in creative atmosphere to write many time breakingclassics of bengali literature.
A doctor by profession, Satyaki Basu picked up cam-era in 2008, since then it is has become his hobby andpassion. His photographs has been published in manymagazines like Better Photography India, SpicerouteMagazine, Lonely Planet - BBC, Asian GeographicPassport, National Geographic Traveler India, DiscoverIndia.
Which author do you feel has influenced your style the most?No author has influenced my style. I love reading romance novels,thrillers and non fiction. But I have my own style of expressing myideas. So all my romance books will have a bit of philosophy thatreaders can take back with them. I try to step away from the conven-tional romance and regular sensuous scenes. That’s why I will have ascene on a beach, in a hot air balloon or a museum! And I will havemen who are real and women who you can truly identify with.
What has prompted you to writeyour book or books?I’ve been writing since I was 9 years old.I wrote a diary since then. A book at12 years old. An anthology of poems at15 and screenplays for the fun of it. Myhusband Sunaman Sood always encour-aged me to write a book and when I hadmy daughter, I finally took the plungeand wrote a manuscript called LosingMy Virginity And Other Dumb Ideas.What is the best feedback or com-ment you have received from an or-dinary reader on your book?On my facebook page Losing My Vir-ginity And Other Dumb Ideas, manypeople send messages to me about thefirst book and Mistakes Like Love AndSex. A few people on Twitter have alsocommented as given below:Jan 15 Shweta@Localheroin@Madhuribanerjee - just finished read-ing losing my virginity. what a fab book.Was so hooked on to it that I was in iteven while I was sleepingDec 21 Riti Mohanta@RitiMohanta@Madhuribanerjee ..u truly r the “Car-rie Bradshaw” mam...im enjoying thisone even more....almost to the ending...and unputdownable...@Zyda16 - Madhuri I have read bothyour books and i simply luv them...Kaveri is so similar to me..i see myselfin her..Dec 9 sana hussain@sana2127@Madhuribanerjee read both urbooks.n felt like a flow of ones own life.loved evry part of it..u shud write moren get to inspire more ppl!Apr 11, 2011 sushmita sen@thesushmi-tasen@Madhuribanerjee yes my darling!!!Received ur book!!! Super proud ofu..thanku for making it special:) love u!Jan 7, 2011 sushmita sen@thesushmi-tasenThe book by Madhuri Banerjee iscalled’ Losing my virginity and otherdumb ideas’ :))Jan 7, 2011 sushmita sen@thesushmi-tasenHey Madhuri!! Wish u all the best forur book!! It is a pleasure to have myQuote be a part of it:) mmuuuaah n godbless!What criticism has helped you growas a writer?The best critique I got was from one ofmy favourite authors, David Davidar.He wrote “I have now finished read-ing Mistakes Like Love and Sex andthe book held my interest all the waythrough. Kaveri is an excellent charac-ter, and of the other characters I likedSiddharth as well. I would urge you tochallenge yourself and your ability as awriter by writing a much bigger book inwhich you explore a woman’s sexualityin-depth (especially as the sex scenes inthis book are really well done).”What would you like to do as a writ-er that you have never done before?
I would like to stand on stage and ac-cept a Nobel Prize in Literature for mywriting!What is the book that someone elsehas written, that you would havewritten.?How would you have done it different-ly? I would have changed Amish’s Shivaaround quite a bit. But then he’s got hispulse on what makes a bestseller, soprobably no one would have bought myversion!What is your advice to aspiring writ-er?It pays very little money. Find an alter-native job or change your lifestyle!Madhuri Banerjee’s debut book Losing My Virginity And Other Dumb Ideassold over 40,000 copies in the first year of its release and was on the best sell-er list for over 10 weeks. Her second novel Mistakes Like Love And Sex wasreleased in November 2012 and went straight to the bestseller list. She haswritten a commercial film screenplay called Hate Story 2 with Vikram Bhattthat is scheduled for release in 2013. She has also completed a non fictionbook for Karisma Kapoor called Yummy Mummy and her third romancenovel tentatively titled Love Zero that should be in the market by January2014. She is currently working on her fifth book and another screenplay.storizen.com | May 2013 | 45
We know our celebrities by their faces. And one of themost celebrated such is that of Raveena Tandon! In fact,it’s a face that has turned to display many facets onscreen– the damsel in distress in Khiladiyo ka Khiladi; a batteredwife in Daman; and even a schizophrenic in Dobara (inwhich, she is indeed, multi-faceted!). Now the filmi veneer,has uncovered sponge of fiction’s printed word. Yes, Ravee-na is an avid reader, enthusiastically drawing from a poolof literary creativity. And here’s what she said about thisthirst?
Who are some of your favourite au-thors - Indian or International?My favourite authors include KenFollet, Stephen Hawking, MichelleMoran, Slyvia Browne, Dan Brownand Amish TripathiWhich book or books have influencedyou the most? What are you current-ly reading or last read?The Autobiography of a Yogi byParamhansa Yoganand and Sly-via Browne’s books. I last read TheOath of Vayuputras by Amish Trip-athi.Which of your movies do feel is themost literary – had the best storyand diologue?My upcoming film Shobhana’s 7Nights coz it does also deal withthe author and her book.Do you have plans to write your au-tobiography? Or if you had to pickone author to be your biographer,who would that be?I would love to have a biographywritten. The author I choose as mybiographer would be Michelle Mo-ran.Apart from Chetan Bhagat, whichIndian writer’s works would makegood Bollywood?Amish TripathiWhich Indian book would you like tosee adapted into a Bollywood film?And which character would you liketo play?Immortals of Mehula by AmishTripathi. I would love to playAnandmayi, (the likely enemy ofShiva who informs him that herpeople had also been awaiting theNeelkanth).storizen.com | May 2013 | 47
The how to get published question to-day is very much like the how to colourwater question of yesteryears. Manysolutions to one situation; but whichone happens to be the optimal one?I would say all. Getting your name outthere on a book these days though isn’tyet a cakewalk but still, compared to,say half a decade back, the ways aremany. It is no more a one-way highway.All of us aspiring, wannable word-smiths can take any way, like I tookMyWay. I will just quickly bore youwith that story. That is what I have beenasked to talk about here.So beginning at the beginning, my wayto being published began with a T anda bird. Twitter (oh yes social media canbe this too). I have always loved beingon Twitter for it’s me-not-your-fraandyet approachable modus operandi. Ithas been a pleasure to interact withauthors, publishers, fellow bloggers andreaders there. My thumb has been gluedto my phone ever since I downloadedthat app with a certain blue bird andguilt had also raked me many a timesfor the same reason. But today I say itis all justified, for it got me to my firstpublished story. A tweet did that. Actu-ally a retweet!Fablery, a literary online magazinebased out of Bangalore was conductinga very unique creative writing contest in2012. They were calling for short fictionin unconventional genres (a differentone each month) and the winning storyfrom each genre was to be published inan anthology in paperback. It was onlyin the contest’s seventh month, througha retweet by one of my favourite Indi-an writer’s – Ashwin Sanghi that I gotto know of this contest. The genre wasmy favourite and Ashwin’s niche – His-torical fiction. The best thing about thecontest was I did not have to dig into
the romantic reserves to write on anemotion that plagues our campusesand now our books too and the wordlimit was a mammoth 5000 to 7500.The word limit gave enough space tothe writer to build characters, thrillsand conflicts. Iwanted to trythis one. It wasto be a self-ad-ministered testof all the talesfloating aroundin the head. I sat down to pen my firstshort fiction and kept wondering howwill I ever cross that 5000 mark. Withthe impending deadline I wrote thestory all over – at 3.30 a.m. at night,6.00 a.m. in the morning, even editedit on the word app on my BB (on theday of submission I was availing theservices of Indian railways, travelling toKerala). The submit button was clickedat 11.58 p.m. while on the train (and Iwas hoping Fablery’s clock matches myphone’s). Forget 5000, the words hadflowed out up to a flooding 8237!!Less than a month later, silent tearsflowed down my cheeks. They call themtears of joy! Now how else do you re-act if the first ever story you wrote getspicked up for a paperback publication,especially after reading all those sto-ries of struggles to get published? Ikept mumbling thank you Mahadeva,thank you M…. Yes ‘The Secret of Ahi-raah’ – my story of secrets and legendsof Rajputana ofthe16th centu-ry had won thecontest and itwas on its wayinto the world.For love andcriticism, whatever comes along. If fearand liberation can engulf you together,it was that moment. I am still thinkingof coining a word for it, taking somecreative liberties.So if you ask me how do you get pub-lished, I would say YourWay. That isthe reality of the age we live in. Theopportunities are immense but so is thecompetition. It is suddenly cool to be awriter and everyone wants to be cool.As a parting comment I would say justlike the story that you will write andno body can write it better, your way isyours to take; nobody can take it better.Every life story and so will be everyway. Pave our own highway, YourWay.Reshmy is one of the author of multi genre anthology featuring 10 differentgenres, 10 different stories by 10 writers called Ten Shades of Life. Shes pas-sionate book reviews and write them by dozen on her blog.“So beginning at the beginning,mywaytobeingpublishedbeganwith a T and a bird.
ACT I: So Long to the Long, We nowCourt ShortThe English Literature Professor from NewJersey, USA, glanced over his classroom fullof Indian college students. The location ofthis gathering was at a city in India. But theterritory was that of an American college.Unfolding now was the course Literature& Mass Communication, and Rick Zim-merman was an army photo-journalist whohad been assigned to teach it. In militaryprecision, the greying man, clicked openhis brief-case, pulled out a local newspaper,unfolded it on his desk, and commencedreading aloud:“Cops nab Large Cache of Arms, ArrestFour”: State government officials, on Tues-day, descended on a group that is suspectedof pilfering and transporting arms belongingto the army, arresting the suspects at a ware-house in the outer-city limits, in an
incident that has unfolded only daysafter…“I need air! I need air!”, the professorcroaked, mid-sentence, as he enactedextreme suffocation. Then, dramatically,he recovered to a poker face, “If you’regoing to run out of breath reading it,your sentence is probably too long!” hesummed up. A round of chuckles en-sued before a sole hand went up fromthe back of the classroom. “But sir,Shakespeare was not known to be con-cise”, emerged the student’s voice. “Thewords in his plays extend for miles. Andthey are pregnant with so much verboseprofundity. You say a sentence is toolong if it makes us run out of breath?Then would that explain why Shake-speare’s long sentences “take our breathaway”?”Suddenly, the classroom door swungopen and a most unexpected visitorstepped in. It was a balding gentleman,whose lower-person was compressed inleotards, while his torso and arms wereencased in a gold-braided jacket. Ap-parently, someone out of 16th CenturyEurope had just popped into the room.His stoic face displayed a well-groomedgoatee and moustache. Slowly, a nameformed in the classroom’s collectivemind - William Shakespeare! Unfazedby this collection of bemused faces, theanachronistic intruder began speakingin a pristine British accent:What majesty should be, what duty is,What day is day, night night, and timeis time,Were nothing but to waste night, day,and time;Therefore, since brevity is the soul ofwit,And tediousness the limbs and outwardflourishes,I will be brief.“See!” exclaimed, Prof. Zimmerman,matter-of-factly, extending his arm to-ward the visitor, “I have the backingstorizen.com | May 2013 | 55
of the Bard. Brevity, is indeed the soulof wit, as the saying goes, from Hamlet.”But the studious voice from the far endof the classroom, further argued in anow thin voice,, “What about the “limbsand outer-flourishes”, sir?” Shake-speare’saverageplay was3,000 lineslong. Andit extendedto abovethree hoursin perfor-mance-time. Would you say that he wasbeing unnecessarily lengthy?But the Professor answered readily,“Don’t forget, that Shakespeare’s playsincluded a gamut of characters andcameos, plots and sub-plots, protractedsituations, dilemmas, conflicts, crisesand denouements, etc. He needed thosemany lines to encapsulate a compositestory.”Suddenly, from somewhere in the mid-dle of the classroom, a male specimenof the Victorian era, rose from his seat.A subtle air of conceit blew throughhis twirled moustache, as he held upa parchment, visibly inscribed with -Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.Then in one vocal flourish, and in anEnglish accent slightly more evolved toShakespeare’s, he read the following:I found out within a few hours, andmay mention at once, that Mrs. Pocketwas the only daughter of a certain quiteaccidental deceased Knight, who hadinvented for himself a conviction thathis deceased father would have beenmade a Baronet but for somebody’s de-termined opposition arising out of en-tirely personal motives - I forget whose,if I ever knew - the Sovereign’s, thePrime Minister’s, the Lord Chancellor’s,the Archbishopof Canterbury’s,anybody’s - andhad tacked him-self on to the no-bles of the earthin right of thisquite suppositi-tious fact.Prof. Zimmerman gestured to Mr.Dickens to retake his seat, and acknowl-edged, “Yes, imagine, one of the world’smost celebrated writers coming up withthe most awkwardly long sentences!”,the professor continued with his obser-vation, “But that was in 1860. WrittenEnglish underwent a paradigm shiftsince then. Over-burdened sentencesare no more the norm. Yes, you cancastigate us Americans for making thischange, but we’ve got a century-worthWhat majesty should be, what duty is,What day is day, night night, and time istime, Were nothing but to waste night,day, and time; Therefore, since brevity isthe soul of wit, And tediousness the limbsand outward flourishes, I will be brief.~William Shakespeare, Hamlet
of celebrated Yankee literature that es-tablished the standard.”Suddenly, the room’s projector screencame alive as the class was witness to aPodcast of the path-breaking Americanwriter and Nobel Laureate in EnglishLiterature, Earnest Hemmingway.”The live image of a bearded gentlemanappeared on the screen. Looking out-wards, he spoke in a curiously neutralaccent. “Prose is architecture, not inte-rior decoration.” And immediately, thetransmission cut out.“Yes,” the Professor, espoused. “Ameri-ca’s Ernest Hemmingway, was the writ-er of the early 20th century. Though hewas based in Europe, Hemingway car-ried on the legacy of Mark Twain. TheAmerican Twain was in fact, Charles-Dickens’ contemporary. But unlike hisEnglish friend,Twain usedclear, non-flow-ery, journalisticlanguage andgave Americandialects a voice and humour. Follow-ing his lead, Hemingway, would authorhis books in a minimalistic and directstyle. Plus, his landmark novels wereset against historical backdrops. ForWhom the Bell Tolls brings alive theSpanish Civil War, while a Farewell toArms is fiction placed in World WarOne.Just then, a modern-day, Indian gen-tleman stood up from his seat. He wasclad in a cap, spectacles, t-shirt, jeansand sneakers. There was a gasp of aweamong some of the students in theclass. “Chetan Bhagat!” followed, in achorused whisper.“Yes, indeed”, proclaimed Bhagat. “Peo-ple say I don’t write well. But I am onlythe biggest-selling author in Indianhistory, to quote the New York Times.My books have inspired movies - just asShakespeare, Dickens and Hemming-way, have. I must be doing somethingright.”Just then, the projector screen re-cali-brated to display Hemmingway again,“It’s none of theirbusiness that youhave to learn to write.Let them think youwere born that way,”the long deceasedauthor said, reassuringly. The statementtriggered voluble applause around theclassroom.“I think I speak for the majority of myclassmates here,” piped up the studentfrom the rear of the room, “when I say,Chetan, you have nailed the essence oftelling a good story. I mean, your latest work of fiction Three Mistakes ofMy Life, highlights the importance ofSports in nurturing team-work and theabsurdity of religious-based politics.“It’snoneoftheirbusinessthatyouhave to learn to write. Let themthink you were born that way,”~ Ernest Hemmingway, on writing
And the human story, just like Hem-mingway’s own, is based during histori-cal events - such as the2001 earthquakein Gujarat and the Godhra train fire.There’s literature and social commen-tary in a pop-corn epic flick. Yes, youwrite for the masses, just as Shakespearedid.”In a sweeping movement, tense eyesshifted from oneside of the classto the other. Thespotlight wasupon the Bard topull out one ofhis own quota-tions, and he did:“And as imagina-tion bodies forthThe forms of things unknown, the po-et’s penTurns them to shapes and gives to airynothingA local habitation and a name.”“Ah, from A Midsummer Night’sDream” interjected Prof. Zimmerman.“But we can’t all be poets now, can we?Poetry and writing in long verse waswhat you Elizabethan and pre-Elizabe-than Englishman were accustomed to.Your literature was overburdened withanalogy and symbolism. But then JohnBunyan broke the mould, with ThePilgrims Progress - the first ever bookin prose, which was published in 1678.That was a little after your time, Billyboy.”“You gave too much rein to your imag-ination,” sounded an agreeing Englishwoman’s voice from the corridor out-side the classroom. “Imagination is agood servant, and a bad master. Thesimplest explanation is always the mostlikely,” the words trailed out of a smil-ing face that had by now, poked into theroom.“Thanks for that, dear Ms. AgathaChristie!” exclaimed, Prof. Zimmer-man. “From your first published novelThe MysteriousAffair at Styles”,added the pro-fessor, glowinglyand carried onthe introduction,“Boys and girls,Ms. Christie isthe world’s largestbest-selling authoress. Indeed, this is20th Century icon and mistress of theMystery genre, is second in sales onlyto the man she is criticizing – yes, you,Billy! I suppose, such close rivalry war-rants her taking Mr. Shakespeare apart!Then another face popped into theclassroom. This one was under a dou-ble-shaded hat, and extending a deep-ly-curved smoking pipe. The looselypleated and checkered English tweedcoat completed the recognizable“You gave too much rein to yourimagination. Imagination is a goodservant, and a bad master. The sim-plest explanation is always the mostlikely,”~Hercule Poirot, Mysterious Affairat Styles by Agatha Christie
semblance. “When you have eliminatedall which is impossible, then whateverremains, however improbable, must bethe truth,” said Sherlock Homes. Then,Agatha Christie and Detective Holmesboth withdrew from the classroom,hand in hand. They left in their wake,a homogenous assortment of shakenfaces and ballooned eyebrows.ACT II: Sex and Truth: Complexand Uncouth? “Yes, class,” the Professor continued,nonchalantly, “Seeing that AgathaChristie came after Sherlock’s creatorArthur Conan Doyle, you can see justwhose love-childHercule Poirotis. Anyway”, theprofessor said,straightening histone, “to pick upon Sherlock’s state-ment, let’s exploretruth a little more.” He pulled out alaptop from his briefcase and began set-ting it up on his desk. “I would say thatwhen one shrugs off the limbs and out-er-flourishes, one is left with the truth.Hemingway would describe things withexpedient honesty. Now, I am Skypinga writer who wrote about a bleak, dys-topian future, set ironically, in 1984.”The professor turned the monitor to-ward the class and the image of Cau-casian gentleman in a 1940s’-style col-lared shirt and lapelled coat appearedon the screen. “Mr. Orwell. Mr. GeorgeOrwell, will you expound on how lan-guage in prose should be used.”Mr. Orwell responded immediatelyand in immaculate King’s English, “Thegreat enemy of clear language is insin-cerity. When there is a gap betweenone’s real and one’s declared aims, oneturns as it were, instinctively to longwords and exhausted idioms, like a cut-tlefish spurting out ink.”“So, you see class!”summarised Prof.Zimmerman. “Besincere in yourwriting. Stay trueto your time, speakof eternal truths.Illustrate them ac-curately. Reflect on life in a measured,balanced manner. But the student at theback of the class couldn’t be silenced,“Professor Zimmerman, would you saythen that Shakespeare was not allowedto be honest, because he in some way,he lived in a dystopia. London of the 15Hundreds was under the thumb of themonarch, Queen Elizabeth. The elitewere all-powerful and the poor weretruly downtrodden. Conservatism andpolitical correctness held sway. So to getaround these strictures, did“When you have eliminated allwhich is impossible, then what-ever remains, however im-probable, must be the truth,”~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Houndof the Baskervilles
Shakespeare have to employ a veiledlanguage?”“Yes, I suppose so” conceded the profes-sor, a little reluctantly. “There were ta-boos about what and how people couldtalk publicly. Therefore, you had to becareful how you opined on institutionslike – Royalty, Marriage and Religion.Incidentally, “Prof. Zimmerman, said,changing his tone slightly, “It’s on thistopic of Religion,that I believe yousaid somethingin your best-sell-ing novel. Wasn’tit, Aravind?”At that point,Chetan Bhagat’s desk-mate, AravindAdiga stood up from his seat, held uphis magnum opus White Tiger, whichis about a young Indian boy writingletters to former Chinese Premier WebJiabao, and read from it: “It is an an-cient and venerated custom of people inmy country to start a story by prayingto a Higher Power. I guess, Your Excel-lency, that I too should start off by kiss-ing some god’s arse. Which god’s arse,though? There are so many choices. See,the Muslims have one god. The Chris-tians have three gods. And we Hindushave 36,000,004 divine arses to choosefrom.”“Well, done, Aravind!” praised, Prof.Zimmerman. “It must have taken someballs to talk about the posteriors ofgods in India. And that too, as some-thing arrogant that you pucker-up to!Another major taboo has been Sex.Would anyone care to comment on Sexin Literature?” The Bard, who had beenfeeling neglected after his initial flour-ish, returned with a vengeance, to recitehis own words:“Hamlet: It is a fair thought, to lie be-tween a maid’s legs. Middle SummerNight’s Dream: But I might see Cu-pid’s fiery shaft quenched in the chastebeams of a watery moon. Romeo andJuliet: O that she were an open-arse andyou were a popprin pair.”“Hey, there Bil-ly!”, replied, theProfessor, stim-ulated. “That’sgood going. Imean, what else could we expect froma old-world guy who knocked up anolder woman, before marrying her.Indeed, you and Mrs. Anne HathawayShakespeare were ahead of your time.“Hah!” grunted, an irate D H Law-rence, emerging from the shadows ofthe classroom’s far corner. “Mr. Shake-speare! You could get away with suchinfantile innuendos, in some godforsak-en era, but my sexually liberating book- Lady Chatterley’s Lover, published in1928 - was banned for over 30 years!Let me regale all of you with the reasonthis masterpiece, was taken off the“Women have served all these centuriesas looking glasses possessing the mag-ic and delicious power of reflecting thefigure of man at twice its natural size,”~Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
shelves:“He drew down the thin silk sheath,slowly, carefully, right down and overher feet. Then with a quiver of exquisitepleasure he touched the warm softbody, and touched her navel for a mo-ment in a kiss. And he had to come into her at once, to enter the peace onearth of her soft, quiescent body. It wasthe moment of pure peace for him, theentry into the body of the woman.”Professor Zimmerman and the classremained silent, where D H Lawrencewas hoping for audible praises. “Yes,”he continued, frustrated, “Don’t giveme any kudos. But my American fel-low-writer Harold Robbins’ equallyexplicit debut novel - Never Love aStranger in 1948 -set him on the pathto becoming theU.S.’s highest-sellingwriter. 75 millionbook-sales! Theworld’s third-high-est selling author.Bloody hell!”Suddenly, frombehind the latest edition of the raunchymagazine Under 18, a head emerged.It was that of Vladimir Narbakov - theRussian writer who had achieved fameand notoriety for his 1959 book Loli-ta. “You have my sympathy, Mr. Law-rence,” he said, in gruff, but soft, Cyrillicdischarge. “My own book was about de-viant sexuality – a pedophile trying toget with a nymphet. But critics say thatI was able to turn something perverseinto somethingbeautiful, through the sheer power ofmy writing.“I was able to do that too, I think,” anIndian woman’s voice, emanated froma front-row desk. “In my only novel,which happened to make it big, thankslargely to… the God… of small things.”Her fingers twirled the curls in her hairas she continued, “People were turnedon by mygraphicdepictionof an in-cestuousencounter.But it wasa sequencethat aimedto illustratedehuminisation. And it was not frompersonal experience, although sometwisted minds may have been temptedto conjecture thus.”ACT III: Mirror, Mirror on theWall; Do Men or Women havemore Gaul?Suddenly, a regal-looking woman en-tered the room, pulling a wheeled-“What really knocks me out (about abook)isthat,whenyou’realldonereadingit, you wish the author that wrote it was aterrific friend of yours and you could callhim up on the phone whenever you feltlike it. That doesn’t happen much, tough.~ D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
tray with what appeared to be a hotbeverage-decanter. Alongside the can,stood a pyramid of inverted tea-cups.She began tapping tea and handingfilled cups to individuals in the class.On passing on the last cup, she whis-pered audibly. “The truth,” Dumbledoresighed. “It is a beautiful and terriblething, and should therefore be treatedwith greatcaution.”The sheleft, wheel-ing out themuch-light-ened convey-or.Singular ap-plause erupt-ed at anothercorner of theclassroom. Adour looking woman in a plain Englishhouse-gown was now the latest to jointhe discussion. “Women have served allthese centuries as looking glasses pos-sessing the magic and delicious powerof reflecting the figure of man at twiceits natural size,” came her self-quotefrom Virginia Woolf’s Feminist master-piece A Room of One’s Own.Another woman, this one in an aristo-cratic get-up, arose abruptly from anadjacent seat. Then, she yelled aloudfrom her own magnum opus Sense andSensibility. “The more I know of theworld, the more I am convinced that Ishall never see a man whom I can reallylove. I require so much!”Sensing the situation slipping out of hishand, Professor Zimmerman interrupt-ed firmly, “Now, now ladies. We don’twant a cat fight. Ms. Jane Austen, weunderstand your point of view. But youlived in the early 1800s when women inmost of the Western world, didn’t haveopportunity or desire to make some-thing of themselves. And so, by default,they were overly-dependent on men ofpower and in-fluence”.Turning hishead towards,the First Fem-inist Writer,the professorcontinued,“Ms. Woolf wasspearheadinga movement inthe early 1900swhere womenattempted to strike out on their own.He, turned once more, in a new direc-tion, and said, “And Ms. Danielle Steelehere, one of America’s widely-embracedwriters, is a culmination of the Feministmovement.”“No responsibilities, no attachments, noencumbrances,” enunciated Ms. Steel,having pushed back a concealing cape“He drew down the thin silk sheath, slow-ly, carefully, right down and over her feet.Then with a quiver of exquisite pleasure hetouched the warm soft body, and touchedher navel for a moment in a kiss. And hehad to come in to her at once, to enter thepeace on earth of her soft, quiescent body.It was the moment of pure peace for him,the entry into the body of the woman.”~D H Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
and citing a line from one of her manybestsellers Second Chance. “I don’twant to own anything, love anyone, orget too attached to people, places orthings. It’s a rule that seems to workwell for me.”“And you speak for all modern women,no doubt,” stated, Prof. Zimmerman,with a sarcastic smirk. While lookingat truthful extremes, we must not letan extremist way of thinking, make ustwist the truth. Direct, coherent, honestlanguage constitutes Orwell’s mantra ofsincerity.”Then the pro-fessor, looked athis cell phoneand said, “Ok, itlooks like we’reclose to the bell.So, I’m going towrap up here,by calling tomy desk, a man who has been waitingin the wings this whole session - J DSalinger, the author of the controver-sial but acclaimed, Catcher in the Rye.Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer is narratedby the author about a youth, and so areJ K Rowling’s Harry Potter and RichmalCromptom’s William. But Salinger hasbeen ground-breaking by making hisnarrator itself that of a disaffected teennamed Holden Caulfied. How muchmore truthful can prose get?The invited American gentleman,dressed in 1950s’ slacks and in a col-lared, button-down shirt, read fromthe middle of his book: “What reallyknocks me out (about a book) is that,when you’re all done reading it, youwish the author that wrote it was a ter-rific friend of yours and you could callhim up on the phone whenever youfelt like it. That doesn’t happen much,tough.“So!” summer-ised Prof. Zim-merman. Stayon the phoneand keep tryingto tell me some-thing personalI’d like to hear. Ifyou can engage,and tickle, and move, and nudge, andopen the mind of the reader into see-ing things that he or she never did, butwanted to - while articulating a univer-sal sentiment, in a personal tone - thenyou have captured the bandwidth of awriter.” The professor smiled and thencontinued, “English is well on its jour-ney. Enjoy the new things that comeits way. English is a mongrel language,ever-changing. It’s even more inclusivethan the shores of the erstwhile Brit-ish Empire. Indeed, English is just thepaint. The brushstrokes are your own.“Pardon me,” cut in, a pubescent,draped in black with a graduate’s capaloft his head. Now, apparently,“The great enemy of clear languageis insincerity. When there is a gap be-tween one’s real and one’s declaredaims, one turns as it were, instinctive-ly to long words and exhausted idi-oms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”~George Orwell, Politics and Literature
Harry Potter was entering the room.“Ladies and Gentleman, I have a con-fession to make. I have induced youall into believing that you are variousworld-famous writers. I had spiked thecanteen coffee with a magic portion, todo the trick. The tea that my Maker –Mrs. Rowling – fed you with, will slow-ly draw you out of the trance,” The classwas aghast at Master Potter’s admission.But he slowly continued, “I needed yourideas to help Mrs. Rowling figure outsomething. She wanted to know whereshe’s supposed to go, after having fin-ished with… me.”
Which author do you feel has influenced yourstyle the most?There are so many. I don’t think I can choose just one. I of-ten find British writing to be the most intense. I recently readJuliane Barnes, The Sense of an Ending and was mesmerizedby his style. Rosamund Lupton’s Afterwards absolutely shookme. I love the witty humor of Marianne Keyes who writesabout very serious subjects. I have fallen in love with dog lit.My favorite is Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain.
What hasprompted you to write your book orbooks?I was bored and unhappy in my corpo-rate career. I was living in Los Angelesand saw first hand a number of thethemes of professional and emotionalangst within my age group. These werethe seeds that grew into my books DelhiStopover and soon to release, Crash-ing B-Town. Additionally, I feltlike no one had written on what washappening in modernIndia. The image of In-dia from literature andfilms was dated or onedimensional. I felt it wastime to really pull backthe curtain and showwhat is happening in thecosmopolitan cities thatare leading the culturalchange in the country.What is the best feed-back or comment youhave received from anordinary reader onyour book?The editor of a majormagazine said that shewould like her teenagedaughter to read mybook. I can’t think of abigger compliment thana parent giving my bookto their child. My hopewas to not only showthe reality of the fashionindustry but to also gently commenton issues of body image, racism, drugabuse, and relationships. There’s noth-ing more exquisite than knowing thatmy words resonated with the most dis-criminating readers: parents!What criticism has helped you growas a writer?The best criticism that I ever receivedwas from my agent in New York who
told me to stop “flirting with the storyand just get totally naked.” He was tell-ing me to write with more honesty in-stead of skirting the major uncomfort-able issues. I realized I had to go deeperif I wanted to write anything worthreading. Otherwise, there really isn’tany point for the writer or the reader ifthe author isn’t taking any risks.What would you like to do as a writ-er that you have never done before?I’m eager to explore historical fiction inmy writing. I’d also love to see the firsttwo books make the transition to thebig screen.What is the book that someone elsehas written, that you would havewrite.?How would you have done itdifferently?I would LIKE TO have written TheAlchemist but there is no way I couldhave at this point in my life. The writingis exquisite and beautifully nuanced.If I had tried to write it, I’m certain itwould have turned out to be bad come-dy.What is your advice to aspiring writ-er?READ!!! Read everything in sight. Ilove fiction. I read copious amounts offiction. When you read, you learn theart of story telling. There is a joy in theescape of reading that unconsciouslyteaches you how to be a better writer aswell.a) What would you like to do as a writerthat you have never done before? (thequestion was in literary context. likeexploring different genres or editing oropening a publishing house, etc.,)A: I’m eager to explore historical fictionin my writing. I’d also love to see thefirst two books make the transition tothe big screen.b) What advice would you give to peo-ple who are planning to take up model-ling as a career?A: Modeling is an industry that requiresa certain unique body type or image.The physical demands to achieve thisvery slim or muscular physique are notfor everyone and usually not sustain-able in the long term. I think anyone in-terested in modeling should rememberthat the industry judges solely on looksand while it may appear glamorous onthe outside, it’s a very serious businesswith intense competition. Any candi-date must have very thick skin when itcomes to criticism on their appearance.Tulika Mehrotra is a Chicago-based author and journalist. Her debut novel,Delhi Stopover was published by Penguin in 2012. She follows up with her sec-ond, Crashing B-Town, releasing fall 2013. She is also a regular contributor toElle, Vogue, Men’s Health, India Today and other magazines.storizen.com | May 2013 | 69
Life is what happens whileyou’re busy updatingFacebook statuses.Milan Vohra, India’s first M&B authorof ‘The Love Asana’ and author of ‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ - a hilarious, reflectiverom-com about 12 friends reunitingshares her publishing story with stori-zen.comMy fiction writing journey started in atotally unplanned way. I used to writethe occasional short story, put it awayto re-read and re-examine if I managedto find what I wrote. Getting publishedwas never part of the plan. I’d beenwriting advertising for years; been ata senior level at some of the country’stop agencies, taken career breaks afterhaving each of my kids and shiftingcities a few times because of my hus-band’s work. About 3 years ago I wasat a pretty low point in my life. I’d lostmy father who I was very close to, whilemy parents were travelling in Europe.I was struggling without any supportsystems in Bangalore, working an 18hours a day job at an ad agency thatcame with a fancy designation but washugely stressful. I was so keen to provethe naysayers wrong - who told me toomuch had changed while I’d been rais-ing my kids. Yes I found the technologywas all new, but soon it didn’t matter.The ideas did. I was winning lots of newbusinesses for the agency in creativepitches, but it came at a ludicrous cost.I had been surviving on some four-fivehours of sleep, popping anti-biotics,barely seeing my kids. I quit one daywhen I realised this was ridiculous. Istarted writing travel and food reviewsbecause it combined three things thatI enjoy – travel, food and writing. Yet Iwas still missing something!
In a Milan-boon state of mindWriting fiction happened as a happyaccident around then – a kind of tip-ping moment. I’d just read a book byRandy Pausch called ‘The Last Lecture’in which he spoke of going out anddoing the simple, fun things you want-ed to do as a child. In his case it was tobe an ‘Imagineer’ at Disney. Aroundthat time, some friends had mailed meabout a short story writing contest byHarlequin Mills & Boon. I rememberthinking how much fun it would be todo it; I even changed my status on Face-book to ‘In a Milan Boon state of mind’.Somehow the idea caught my fancy,in an uncomplicated way. M&B’s werefar from my staple read; but if you’vestudied at an all-girls convent, and hadboard exams looming in your life –anM&B had to be slipped into your bigChem textbook and read. It was a giv-en! I still had no plan of actually gettingdown to writing that story. Then onenight before the contest due date, whichalso happened to be my wedding anni-versary, we had some demanding houseguests over. We’d taken them out todinner; it turned out to be a singularlybad evening. The fish was thought sus-pect, the lemon butter sauce too sour,the ice-cream too sweet. As I dished outinstant noodles back home (eaten insilence thank god) I thought there hadto be more romance to an anniversary!And wrote off a nice long handwrittenstory I called ‘The Love Asana.’Destiny comes calling with a latenight call from DeeSo I’m staring at these pages when myfriend Dee (she’s actually known asthat) calls late night and gives me anupdate on her day and her rabbit. I giveher my update. Dee insists I read outthe story while she keys it in. We gig-gle, dissect the TDH hero details andI send it off on a lark. Next thing I’mbeing told my story is in the top 5, I’mheaded off to Mumbai figuring I’ll justgo enjoy the view of Marine Drive. Thestory goes on to win nationally, makesme India’s first Mills & Boon author andbrings me a huge lot of media attention.Predominant thoughts running throughmy head that evening: 1. Now I knowwhat it must be like for those reali-ty show contestants 2. Good heavens.Surely that can’t be a BBC mike in myface and 3. Damn, I should’ve sprungfor a new flattering outfit instead ofthese borrowed feathers!While winning the contest came withsome cool prizes, an exciting one beinga year’s supply of M&B’s ( which meantI didn’t need to think about the next5 birthday gifts for my girlfriends) itdidn’t come with a book contract in thebag. It just meant the door was open.Then the discipline and persistence andconviction kicked in. I developed ‘TheLove Asana’ into a book and it wasn’texactly easy-peasy! Writing a genrebook is quite a learning experience andtrying to keep your individuality andmake it ring true to Indian sensibilitiesanother challenge. What made it totallyworth it was the very warm response tomy book. It was overwhelming.
‘Tick-tock we’re 30’: The whackyside of meI took the time to think through things,figure out what I’d really like to writenext. I wrote some more short storieswhich were published with Penguin andUnisun and loved by readers! My latestbook ‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ with West-land is in a voice that’s totally me. It hasallowed me the freedom to write with alarge cast of characters, all of whom arequirky, unique and very real. I’ve beenable to explore relationships that I feelare believable. I’m having fun again!Talk of one impulsive decision gettingyou the buzz back in your life!Milan Vohra, India’s first M&B author of ‘The Love Asana’ and author of‘Tick-tock we’re 30’ - a hilarious, reflective rom-com about 12 friends reunit-ing.storizen.com | May 2013 | 73
Shreya looked around and all shecould see was emptiness in a room fullof clothes, jewellery and decorations.The bed which sat at the centre of theroom was full of expensive sarees thather parents had lovingly picked up forher. The dresser on the side was full ofred and blue boxes of jewels. The windchimes hanging from the windowsmade cooing sounds while the minilights twinkled around. Everythingaround her spoke of hope and of newbeginnings; everything around herspoke of joy but all she felt was unbear-able pain.She would be married off in a day butshe looked nothing like a bride-to-be.There was no glimmer of hope in hereyes except for grief. Those beautifuleyes seemed to be searching for some-one. She walked towards the wardrobeand took out a wooden box which wastucked away in a corner. Caressing itshe moved towards the chair in her bal-cony and sat there; all the while staringtowards the horizon in the distance.The sun seemed to be setting, its jobover for the day, to rise again at dawnbut the sight seemed to bring out a flur-ry of emotions from within her. Tearsrolled down her khol lined eyes carvingdark lines on her cheeks. Carefully sheopened the tiny latch on the box whilerubbing away tears in between. There itwas infront of her everything that wasprecious to her. There it was in her lapeverything that she held so dear. Thereit was the picture of Ashish, the manshe so loved. She picked it up so soft-ly and held it in her hands as thoughher entire life was in it. Longingly shelooked at his picture; heart full of ques-tions and eyes full of tears. Ashish! To-morrow is the day I had been dreadingall along. I will be dressed up in the fin-est of clothes and married off to anotherman. No he is not a bad man at all! Butthen he is not the man I hoped to takethe vows with, holding hands aroundthe holy fire. Remember that afternoonin the rain? We were so happy, weren’twe? You were wearing the blue shirtthat I had given you with my first salaryand I the green cotton saree that youso loved. Remember the ring that youhad given me that day saying that youwould replace it with a bigger solitaireon the day we got married?
I still have it you know, I still wear itand I am hoping against hopes for youto replace it. But where are you? I lookfor you even today in the bus standwhere we spent nonchalant hours to-gether; in the cafe where we spent ourevenings faking work at office; in themovies that we watched just to spendsome time together and in my lifewhere everything reminds me of you.It has been over six years that you aregone but it seems just like yesterday.Why, why did you leave me alone?It was as if there was caught in a tem-pest of emotions. She tucked away thephoto in the box and took out the paperthat looked like a newspaper cuttingfrom beneath it. It was old with a hintof foxing towards the edges and a faintsmell. On it was the picture of a mannext to the article headlined ‘Youngtechie found dead: A case of mugginggone wrong’. She looked at the paper,running her hands pensively over thepicture; sobbing loudly as though herentire world had come crashing down.But who was the man? Ashish, it had tobe him, the man she had lost her heartto. He had been the victim of an un-fortunate mishap; a bolt from the bluewhich changed Shreya’s life forever.Exhausted and stressed she slowly drift-ed away to sleep with just one thoughtreigning her heart and soul ‘I’ll marrybecause my parents want me to. But I’llnever stop loving you Ashish and oneday I’ll be with you again smiling in therain; living again!’The night passed away in silent melan-choly. Shreya, still in deep slumber,looked like an apparition of her old self.Her eyes sunken with the burden thather heart carried while her foreheadbore lines, all of which were reminis-cent of the paths she trod in search ofAshish. As the nascent sun rays enteredher room, creeping through the whitecurtains that flirted with the morningbreeze, her face lit up with a golden hue.Yes, the morning had finally arrived.Shreya opened her eyes slowly and for amoment seemed lost. The pain seemedto evaporate for a second but that wasjust momentary for everything camerushing back to her in the blink of aneye. She got up and walked bare feettowards her balcony, closed her eyestrying to soak in the warmth of therising sun. As she stood lost in the mazeof her thoughts, there was a soft knockat her door. She turned back lookingat that door as though her whole lifewould change the moment it wouldfrom mummy, daddy and you. I’ll notgrieve over our relationship too! Till itis the right time for me to find you, tosee you, I’ll smile and keep waiting yetkeep living! I’ll do right by the peoplewho gave me life Ashish and hence Ishall marry too. But I’ll be eternallyyours till we meet again on the otherside. Yes, Ashish for eternity I’ll be inlove with you without crying over you!I’ll not give up on this beautiful gift oflife; infact I’ll live for the both of us. I’llbe positive with the strength that Istorizen.com | May 2013 | 75
derive open. It was as if she wished forit to forever remain closed. She walkedtowards the door, turned the knob andopened the latch.Her parents stood at the door, anxiousfor they knew what had been cloudingtheir daughter’s mind. However theystill hoped for a better life, a happy lifefor her. They entered without saying aword held her hand walked towards herbed. They made her sit first and sat oneither side of her, not saying a word allthrough.They had with them their family al-bum. They had with them Shreya’s lifein the form of pictures and they laidit open infront of her. With hopefuleyes, full of love, they turned one pho-to after the other and in each Shreyahad them standing by her. In triumphsand losses; in happiness and sickness;at every step of her life they were therestanding by her. They would have giv-en her a life with Ashish too if not forcruel fate. As she went through thesepictures she realised how important hercrossing the threshold of marriage wasfor her parents. They looked frail andfatigued with worry too. She had beenso engrossed in her woes that she hadn’tnoticed how much they had aged andhow weak they were now. Their liveswere spent in keeping Shreya happy.When it was her turn to do somethingfor them she had become too selfishto even try. But this was her chance toright the wrong. She looked away fromthe photographs towards her parentsand hugged them tight; it was as if shehad an epiphany. With eyes closed sheseemed to smile from the bottom of herheart for the first time in a long time.I’ll try to be happy mummy and daddy!I’ll try.. I promise I’ll try. I’ll make anattempt to lead a happy life. Ashish I’llnot mourn you any longer for I knowyou’ll always be with me, helping meall the way. Ofcourse, I’ll miss you.Ofcourse, nobody will ever take yourplace but I’ll live a life, stay contentedand happy too. And once I completethis voyage, I’ll be again with you. I’lllive loving you and loving life too. I’lllive for my parents and for myself too.“Nabanita in her own words‘I love to write. It is a passion; a compulsion; something thatgives me an avenue to express myself. I write when I am hap-py; when I am sad or when an issue touches my heart. I findinspiration to write in every aspect of life.
The Present…After what felt like an eternity, Adi-ti asked Sneha in a tone that betrayednothing but the pain that she felt in-side her – “What did you get afterdoing this???” Of course, Sneha knewhow Aditi was feeling exactly but sud-denly Sneha was not happy anymore.The sense of satisfaction, elation thatSneha thought she would find was notthere. She felt betrayed – by her ownself, her own emotions, and her owndeeds. Because deep down somewhere,where the sense of right & wrong stillexisted, a voice screamed out at Snehasaying what she had done was wrong.Sneha asked herself the same question– “What did I get after doing this??”Sneha had destroyed two relations thatday – a marriage & the other betweenherself & her soul. She knew she wouldnever be able to look at herself in themirror with her eyes. The guilt was toomuch, much more than the pain thathad existed all these years. It was un-bearable & Sneha just hoped that shewould find some way to redeem it…..9 Years Back…Sneha first met Rohan in junior college,back when she still used to believe infairy tales & Prince Charming. He wasthe quintessential hero of the college– football team captain, class topper &blessed with good looks but an infa-mous philanderer. A chance encounterat the library & excellent flirting had leftSneha besotted & charmed with Rohan.But everyone had warned Sneha againsthim – He is a devil in disguise. He willbreak your Heart!! But love is a strangeemotion & despite all the warnings &forebodings from her own heart, Sne-ha went ahead & played with fire. Theyhad a whirlwind affair for a year. Butjust when hope had blossomed in Sne-ha, he broke her heart!! He cheated onher. He had been doing that for past sixmonths!! And the worst part was thatthe “other woman” knew about Sneha& yet had carried along with Rohan. Nowonder Sneha’s heart broke into millionpieces & with it broke her trust in men& relationships.
Last Night…Sneha bumped into Rohan at the col-lege reunion. He was now married &happily settled. What surprised Snehawas the fact that Rohan had went ahead& married the same girl with whom hehad cheated on her. The moment shesaw them, something dark & sinisterraised its head in her heart. The feelingwas so powerful that she felt the breathknocked out of her. They looked sohappy together & here she was alone inher world. She was never able to trustany guy after Rohan. Self-doubt & envystarted crawling its way into Sneha’smind. Three margaritas later, Snehafound the courage to venture towardsRohan. His wife had left by then & Ro-han had stayed back with his footballteam for drinks. The moment their eyesmet, Sneha knew she was walking into adeath trap but nonetheless she decidedto take her chances. Rohan & Sneha hadgreat chemistry so no one was surprisedwhen both stayed back and kept flirtingwith each other over drinks even whenmost of them had left. Suddenly Snehamoved closer to Rohan & whisperedin his ear – “Gosh! I have missed you”and bit his lobe. She saw fire in Rohan’seyes & hoped it was all worth it. Nextmoment they both were falling fromthe bar stool, into each other’s arms,their lips locked. The last thing Sneharemembered was telling Rohan this –“You were a bastard then & you are abastard even now”.Next morning Sneha woke up with athrobbing headache but that was notthe worst part of her morning. Rohanwas lying next to her & she suddenlyfelt scared of her plan. Rohan’s trou-sers were lying on the floor & his wallethad fallen out of it. It was open & in itthere was a small photo of Rohan & hiswife, probably taken on a holiday. Bothwere smiling at the photographer like itwas their happiest moment. Sneha feltlike an intruder & suddenly the darkfeeling returned. Why couldn’t she behappy like them?? What had she donewrong?? She had just fallen in love albe-it with the wrong guy but it had scarredher for life. She had found no closure& she decided that revenge would beher closure. A vibrating sound jerkedher out of her reverie, Rohan’s phonewas ringing. Sneha looked at the call-er ID – “Aditi Calling”. Sneha pressedthe green answer button & carefullykept the phone beside Rohan. She thenproceeded to wake up Rohan & kepttalking to him giving away their hotelname & room number. Sooner than shehad anticipated, there was a knock onthe door & Sneha gleefully rushed toopen it. All the sense of victory that shethought she would find was gone whenSneha encountered Aditi’s tear streakedface. Aditi was in a mess, bloodshoteyes & dark circles gave away the factthat she had been awake for the entirenight. Even through the tears, there wasa look of desperate hope on Aditi’s face– a hope that what she had heard wasstorizen.com | May 2013 | 79
wrong, that Rohan had played a jokeon her. But all the hope had vanishedwhen Aditi saw Sneha. Rohan camefrom behind with a bewildered look,wondering how Aditi had droppedthere. By the time Sneha had finishedexplaining what she had done & why,Rohan was livid. He cursed her with thechoicest of words & stormed out of theplace. Aditi stayed behind – she seemedstunned. Sneha wanted her to shout ather too, spew out the venom.But Aditi kept quiet & after what feltlike an eternity, Aditi asked Sneha in atone that betrayed nothing but the painthat she felt inside her – “What did youget after doing this???”Pooja is a specialized blogger. She reviews books in thegenre – chick literature. She also designs some heavy dutystuff. Do drop by her blog.
We all are story tellers. Some of usrealize this and some of us take it to thenext level and become writers. Story isthe core ingredient of any novel, play aswell as a movie. But the question re-mains, “What is a story?”According to Google,A story is an account of imaginary orreal people and events told for enter-tainment: “an adventure story”.According to Ursula K. Le Guin, “Thestory is one of the basic tools inventedby the mind of man, for the purpose ofgaining understanding.”Fair definitions, but in more concreteterms a story can be described in oneword, “Conflict”. Yes, if you don’t have aconflict, there’s no story. In the absenceof a conflict, what you have is just anemotion or a narration of events. It wasfirst described by Aristotle. He said that“in order to hold the interest, the heromust have a single conflict.”So, let’s see what are the different typesof Conflicts?1) Person vs. Person – Classic styleof Hero vs. Villain or the Hero con-vincing the Heroine. Example: Sholay– Thakur vs. Gabbar. DDLJ – In the firsthalf, Raj vs. Simran and in the secondhalf, Raj vs. Thakur Baldev Singh. Theconflict in the first half was whether Rajwill get Simran or not? The conflict inthe second half was whether he’ll beable to convince Baldev Singh or not.2) Person vs. System (or Society) –Example: Rang de Basanti and 3 Idiots.The number of persons here could beone or many.3) Person vs. Self – Example:Swadesh. Here the character MohanBhargava is in conflict with his in-ner-self as to whether he should contin-ue working for NASA or should come,stay and struggle in India.4) Person vs. Machine – Example:Matrix and Terminator I, II and III5) Person vs. Nature – Example: Av-atar and Jurassic Park6) Person vs. Alien – Example: Menin black7) Person vs. Supernatural – Exam-ple: Twilight series; TV show – Exam-ple: Vampire Diaries.These are just a few types of conflicts. Inreality, however, there are many more.Essentially, a well written story has anencompassing conflict and various oth-er smaller conflicts. Once you identifythe conflict in your story, you’ll startsailing in no time. So, go ahead create aconflict and if it happens to be a shortstory, send it to us, we’ll feature it in ournext issue.storizen.com | May 2013 | 81
You were at the main entrance of the university,Standing in front of me into the crowd,Chemistry books in your hand!You tweet a well-known look at me,I asked “Are you new?”With a smile, you answered ‘yes!’Surprisingly we met again!Waiting at the same row,She was your friend or sister?You talk very little in an outlandish tone!Wearing pasty shirt and stretched blue jeans,Calm, fair, beautiful, white at noon!I wanted to talk to you more, suddenlyA clerk came and announced, “students of science separate into different row!”Giving no chance to ask your name!Vikram Roy is graduated in English literature from theUniversity of Calcutta in 2008 and he is a free thinker.
Ilustration by: Vikram Roystorizen.com | May 2013 | 83
While rushing to the office Isquawked at Nikku to finish her break-fast quickly as she was getting late toher kindergarten and I, for my office.Nurturing a child is not easy. Especiallyfor a single mother who is struggling toestablish in the capital. Five years back, I relinquished myfamily, my married life, my parents –everything and moved to Delhi. I stillfeel the twinge when I think about it.Many times, I used to regret my deci-sion. Betimes I felt guilty to make Niki-ta’s life suffer.She is just four, unable to understandthe social tantrums but sometimes,she does ask about her father and I saythat he is in heaven with white fairies,watching her while she is asleep andsends her gifts, every birthday.Honestly, I don’t know where Nakul wasfor past five years. Although I stalkedhim on Facebook, added him from afake profile and spoke to him sarcas-tically on chat but for past one year, Istopped doing it, it hurts; yet, I nevercalled him or went back to my previouslife. Nobody knew my whereabouts,till date. Yes, they tried. My parentsdid. My family, friends, near and dearones. I know they were trying to findme, but I never wanted to go back forobvious reasons. I would have never leftmy family at first place if I knew, I con-ceived Nikki.I was married to Nakul for seven years.Love marriage it was, against familydecisions. We belong to different castesand financial categories. No matter howopen minded we portray the mind-sets and ideologies that we hide in ourpockets, still blind our decisions. Weall are hypocrites of different levels andthese mindsets are not into the charac-ters but into the DNA- hard to change,thankfully not impossible.We fought for our love, won and gotmarried. It took us almost an year toestablish harmony between the families.Nakul had always been supportive in alldimensions. Nakul and I met on Face-book. The immortal statement “love isin the air” has changed by the time to“love is on the Facebook”- From thelikes to comments to Inbox messagesto relationship status, how rapidly wemoved, even the Road Runner wouldwonder. I was a student of Masters,University of Punjab and he was an ITprofessional - Earning, Well educated,Himadri
well mannered and handsome. Nakul isa tall man with beautiful pink lips anda fair complexion. I am comparativelyshorter, dusk in complexion and longhair crossing my hips. My big doe-eyesand fleshy curves were compliments tomy personality. He was an eye candyamong his female colleagues, but we fellfor each other and made a hot couple.As he was well established, I was un-troubled about our future. The onlyproblem we were concerned during ourlove courtship was the matter of castebut we were firm to face it.Nakul had a dominating personality.He used to take charge and always ful-filled his responsibilities. He had earnedthe authority by being the Alpha of hisfamily. This trait of his made me care-less and I took a full swing of insouci-ant lifestyle. I was pampered, cared andadored to the core by Nakul.We were loyal to each other; therefore,never thought of stepping out of therelationship. I had a hobby of blogging,sometimes. I used to update my blog onsocial and historical issues every nowand then but hardly read by anyone. Ihad plans for my life, Masters-M. Phil-PhD in History. I wanted to take civilservice examinations and proud myparents. My brother Tapas, completedhis Chartered Accountancy and had abright future too. Everything seemed tobe perfectly beautiful and satisfying. After an year we decided to getmarried because of our extreme passionfor each other. We made promises toeach other. Built castle of dreams andfuture planning of having babies, abig home, he promised me a beautifullife and I promised him to stand by hisside, always and forever.I was sure Nakul would support me incontinuing the studies and fulfil mydreams so I gave priority to a beautifullife ahead in the arms of Nakul and de-cided to give a break to my studies anddropped my masters at first year. Aftermarriage I was sure to obtain my degreeand pursue higher studies and to takeexaminations of civil services.Somehow after gathering much couragehe visited us. But all was in vain...Our parents got to know about our re-lationship and it was a mess. Althoughour parents had no big issues yet the el-ders were against this inter-caste amal-gamation.We decided not to marry. So damnin love, took another passionate de-cision and gave words to each otherthat we will not marry anyone else andwait. Life is life, unpredictable and un-planned. Parents got tired of the dailydisturbance in family and melancholiclifestyle. So, to get rid of the love birds,eventually they married us.Occasional dispute and cold celebrationof festivals had been a part of our livesfor an year. Nakul and I were marinatedin our sexual lives. We had our world inour bedroom. At times I could feel hisfrustration owing to disagreements andtaunts in fashion.I kept myself a bit disassociated withmy family and friends and tried
concentrating upon Nakul’s family andtheir happiness. Eventually I felt ouracceptance of grandparents and fruitsof my constant dedication.But meanwhile many things havechanged between Nakul and me in anyear. We were not the same deuce. I ig-nored the changes at the primary stagesconsidering the struggle of the estab-lishment of our newlywed lives. And Iwas sure of his manage-it-all trait.I was aware of his commanding and to-talitarian nature but, it was not him. Hehas become rabid. Started yelling at ev-ery small thing and eventually the feudmoved from bedroom to dining roomto hall and one day, at family lunch, heyelled upon me in the marriage anni-versary of his Parents. I was surround-ed by all the relatives and members ofthe family. I was mortified by his raisedvoice and continuous charges of wrong-doings and carelessness, in public. I feltinsulted. Everyone in the hall looked atme. I could read each of the flummoxedlabyrinths of the widened pupil, ques-tioning and blasphemous.Mother in law broke the muteness andcontrolled the situation. I didn’t sayanything and walked out of the festivity.I did not cry. I couldn’t. I was blanched.I felt the emptiness inside me. It was adeep silence. I took an auto rickshawand rushed to my home. I was panting,heart was beating at its best speed andmy mind was busy in calculating theliquidity I had. After reaching homeI went to our bedroom. I loathed theplace. Every single thing was laughingat me. The bed ogled at me and thoseprecious moments of love and together-ness turned into hatred. I felt nauseatedto his touches, how we made love. Itwas a queasy feeling as if I was sexuallyand emotionally abused.I picked up the framed moment of ourlives- our wedding photograph and Idashed the frame on the floor. It anni-hilated as my feelings. I could find mytrust, my self-respect and my dignityinto those pieces of a brittle marriagepicture frame.I remorse how many times tried askinghim during our private moments if heliked someone else, if he had mutilatedthis beautiful relation, if I was at faultor he didn’t like my behaviour. I trieddigging out my mistake by self auditingmy deeds.I did best possible things to make himhappy. I tried giving him a break. I vis-ited my parents for a few weeks. It wasnot like he was with me for the sakeof social responsibilities but because Icould feel him and his soul while mak-ing love. I tried on daily basis but henever shared the thing troubling him.He started disliking the things he usedto love before marriage. Things, thosewere said to be the most adorable partof my nature.I was emotionally an insecure femalelike most of our species, because I wascompletely dependent upon him. Emo-tionally, physically, socially, financiallyas well as mentally. For a long time hisrude and cold behaviour bothered meHe had completely changed. I stoppedfeeling like I was married to the sameperson and the reason was still
clandestine. After throwing our photoframe I recollected myself and decidedto leave everyone. I chose my love overmy family and had no face to go backto them. Brother was a grown up work-ing man and it was all a matter of socialresponsibility. I was deeply hurt notonly it was the matter of one day andthis open insult but also the layers overlayers of the long rudeness made meshallow.I took all my major documents andcertificates; some saved cash and jew-ellery; some clothes and things of basicneeds. Meanwhile I received no calls. Ithurt me more that my absence was notfelt there and nobody bothered to askmy whereabouts as I left the celebrationin-between. I made my mind to leavethe home, I made with all my effortsand love. I designed it with my dreams.Leaving the place was painful. Everywall of that house was looking at mehelplessly.And I had to go...Anything and everything but nothingat the cost of my dignity. My femaleego covered my decision and I took themajor step of my life. All my logic andconscience supported my decision andfor the moment I felt like some femi-nist leader protesting for my freedomand rights. But freedom from whom? Ihad no time to think about it as I con-centrated on collecting all the things Icould need, and I found everything im-portant. Deodorants, Soap, Bangles, Sa-rees- everything seemed to be the basicnecessity of daily life. Somehow I man-aged to decide the things and packedthem. At every noise on the door I ex-pected Nakul or any other member ofmy family came after me but it was allthe wind or kids playing outside.I stepped out of the threshold and myheart sunk. Just for the sake of secondthought I looked back and after a pausestuck to my decision of starting a newlife.I left my home.What happened next wait for thenext issue.....“Born and nurtured in at a scholastic family in Delhi,Himadri studied English Literature from Lady Shri RamCollege, University of Delhi. Under her penname “Him-milicious” she has published several EBooks on Contem-porary Erotic Romance and currently working on herdebut erotic romance in print version”storizen.com | May 2013 | 87
The door had opened as I had turnedto move away from the doorway. Istood there, still unconvinced of mydecision to visit the house again. Thequestion was repeated, and I lookedaround to see who spoke to me, but Icould not see anyone. Then I saw a littleboy staring at me, his eyes scrutinizingme from top to bottom. I did not knowwhat to tell him and his brows curvedinto suspicion as his cheeks grewcrimson and he ran inside the housescreaming, “Ma! Ma! Maa …”The scent of incense stung my nose asI peered into the room. Nothing of thehouse he once knew, remained. Thedinner table had been shifted to the ex-treme right and in its place now stood acupboard gallery stuffed with memen-tos, souvenirs, crystal pieces and photoframes. I entered the door without ask-ing permission, as if I owned the house.Perhaps, at that moment, the houseowned me and tugged at my insides tomake it feel like I was home. The couch-es remained the only unchanged pieceof furniture in the house I once calledmine, like the foundation brick of aruined temple that remained unshaken,an artifact of the past.The mind is a funny part of our system,and once we let it control us, it playstricks on us. I heard Ma’s hummingfrom the kitchen area. Her voice res-onated, the kind that pierces within,igniting an energy that compels you tolisten to her and obey. I knew all thiswas a figment of my imagination. Butthe reverberation of her voice- I couldfeel it in the air, in the soft movement ofthe curtains against the bickering sun-light… As I recalled her calling me as Iwas about to leave … “Khuku,