Showing posts from 2014

Z for Zero-sum (Part I)

Freida Dantas stepped out of the queue to look around. The machine wasn’t that far from here–only a few hundred more. She looked behind. The queue went on for as long as she could see. She too had started from the end of the queue many hours ago. The machine took only a second to judge, so the queue had kept moving continuously. But she worried if there were more hopefuls in the queue than seconds in a day. She had been queueing up religiously for her pronouncement every day since she had died.

She’d learned of the system the day she had arrived at the purgatory. Learned is probably not the best word to describe the process. She had woken up in the purgatory a week ago knowing about it instinctively, with no recollection of her prior life. She knew exactly when and where to queue up for the machine. The machine would tell her if it was her time to ascend to the heaven yet. She’d witnessed thousands of ascensions on her first day. The ascendants one after the other had stood under the


It was late at night but she was still in the kitchen. The knife cut away rhythmically, punctuating the eerie silence of their bungalow.
‘Was I too harsh on him?’ she thought to herself. ‘Maybe I overreacted.’ The knife came threateningly close to her fingers. ‘Which married couple doesn’t argue? We have argued in the past. We got over it. We would have this time too. Maybe I went too crazy. Maybe he was right. Maybe I deserved to get slapped.’ The knife cut her finger. She ran to the sink and washed her wound and clasped the finger with her other hand. She sighed. ‘I wish I could tell him how much I repent my mistakes. He would have believed me, if no one else ever did.’ She put the remaining pieces of him in the bag. ‘Maybe I was too harsh on him’.

General Flight Safety

“For a moment there, I thought we were toast! That manoeuvre around the storm was truly inspired.”

    “We are not destined to die here, Danial. God will guide us. Do not worry. Just make sure that the pilots stay unconscious.”

Word Count: 40
Linking this to the Fiction Challenge ‘From 15 to 50′

This is my first attempt at Shailaja's monthly 15 to 50 challenge. I might be a little late submitting this one. But I promise to be on time from the next time onwards. :D

Some great poetry has been submitted this time. Do check out the link above.

The prompts for this month were
1) Destiny
2) Jaws of Death
3) [pic] A praying Mantis* Eating a Worker Bee.
*It could as well be a cricket; I'm no entomologist. But a praying mantis is the meaning I took to come up with this story.

Shopped Quikrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

(Note: Sorry for the really small-looking screenshots. Click on the pictures to maximize them)

One of the worst things about being an adult is taking care of your own laundry! Soak. Drain. Soap. Scrub. Rinse. Wring. Dry. Repeat. And when it rains! That’s the worst! the clothes never dry and the clouds never stop raining—especially in namma Bengaluru.

What I needed badly was a good washing machine. I have needed it all this while and I knew it. But I was not sure. Washing machines are huge and the good ones so costly! I did not want to spend a fortune to buy one now, especially when I was finally getting serious about saving money.

And then came an opportunity—an opportunity so great that it seemed too good to be true. BlogAdda mailed me on 20th October that they had selected me for the ShopQuikr contest! I was overjoyed. A little amazed too. The mail mentioned that as part of the contest, I could shop worth Rs. 5,000 through Quikr and get it reimbursed if I explained my experience in…

God is a Gamer : A Review

Title: God is a Gamer

Author: Ravi Subramanian

ISBN-13: 978-0143421399

Publisher: Penguin

Length: 328 Pages

In Short:Analytical, well-edited, well-researched, well-written modern thriller.

Ravi Subramanian has come up with one hell of a book! The writer combines his knowledge of finance, politics and technology to weave together a wonderful story of betrayal and vengeance that hooks you till the end!

The story progresses through seemingly unconnected events happening in Washington DC, Goa, Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar and Mumbai. The book has a sizeable number of characters and almost every character is vital to the story, but despite the huge number of characters, it is easy to keep track of them because a lot of the characters are confined to their locations and contexts: political, financial, technological.

The 300+ page story is divided into a hundred chapters, excluding the prologue and the epilogue. Each chapter focuses on a particular main character (although the narration is still…

Horseshoe Garage : A Review

Title: Horseshoe Garage

Author: Hitesha Deshpande

ISBN-13: 978-9382473459

Publishers: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd (February 19, 2014)

Length: 389 Pages

In Short: A lot of eye-rolling and hugging. And a blatant lack of common sense.

Horseshoe Garage is a romantic novel that revolves around a fictional motor sport called 'neo-racing'. This is the second published novel by the author.

I was genuinely surprised that Hitesha (a name I had presumed to be female), had chosen to go for a first person narrative in the voice of a male character. I actually cross-checked if the author was truly a female; and she was. Maybe not the best decision ever. It is a little awkward if you notice the male characters repeatedly rolling their eyes, blushing and hugging each other effeminately. The compensation came in terms of sudden outbursts of anger and excessive cursing from the male characters. The female characters were mostly perfidious and insecure. None of the characters showed any depth.

My ot…

An Interview

It was a surprisingly cold November morning. A thick layer of fog had settled down on the streets of Delhi, mellowing down every colour and cloaking the grime and bustle of the city. He had stood purposefully outside the bungalow, puffing mist into his woolen gloves and checking repeatedly for his dictaphone for a whole minute, but he still felt anxious when his finger finally touched the doorbell. He stepped back and waited for the door to open.

    A middle-aged woman opened the door. She was draped in a faded blue saree. Her hair was disheveled and her hands were wet. She wore no jewellery at all. Her big brown eyes looked at him enquiringly. “Are you the reporter?” she asked him.

    “Yes…, I am the reporter,” he replied.

    “Come in,” she said stepping aside for him to enter. “Sit down. I’ll call Vilochana,” she said directing him to a black leather sofa and locking the door. She swiftly walked inside with the efficiency of a marathoner.

    He looked around the spacious l…

Duplicity : Chapter 15

The name of my team is "Writers' Express"

To start reading this story from the first chapter click here You can read the previous chapter of the story here     Jennifer awoke the next day fresh and early. It was a warm day. She had convinced herself that she was not doing anyone a favour by moping around. That's not how Maya would have wanted her to be. She had to do something to bring Maya’s murderer to justice. Even the very least that she could do would be better than doing nothing at all.

    She got up, drew open the curtains and made some coffee for herself. It was scalding hot so she sat down at her desk, blowing air on the cup for it to cool down. She picked up her laptop and kept it on the desk.

    She searched for any news about Maya. There was very little. A few online newspapers and blogs had mentioned her death, but the focus was not so much on the murder but what it represented to whoever was writing the article. They had asked rhetorical questions a…

Duplicity : Chapter 14

The name of my team is "Writers' Express"

To start reading this story from the first chapter click here You can read the previous chapter of the story here     Jennifer flicked through the wedding photos in the camera one at a time. Photos of Maya were interspersed between the photos of the bride and groom. She used to love posing for the camera and Jenny used to love photographing her. Those were the last photos of Maya: splashing water near the fountain, dancing with the kids, running with the groom's sandals, jumping on the steps to watch the bride put the varmaala around the groom's neck, lying face down in a pool of blood -- dead.

    Jennifer spun around with a jolt when she felt a tap on her shoulder. The air-hostess gave her a practiced smile and asked her to keep the camera away and tie her seat belt. The flight was ready for take-off. Jennifer switched the camera off, kept it away with her baggage, put on her seat belt and closed her eyes.


Duplicity: Chapter 1

The name of my team is "Writers' Express" IndexChapter 1: Pawan Hegde 
Chapter 2: Partha Sadhukhan
Chapter 3: Sujata Tawde
Chapter 4: Shilpa Halwe
Chapter 5: Manjulika Pramod
Chapter 6: Shazneen Pathak
Chapter 7: Anuradha Pentapalli
Chapter 8: Anuradha Pentapalli
Chapter 9: Anuradha Pentapalli
Chapter 10: Partha Sadhukhan
Chapter 11: Shazneen Pathak
Chapter 12: Manjulika Pramod
Chapter 13: Sujata Tawde
Chapter 14: Pawan Hegde
Chapter 15: Pawan Hegde

    Shekhar woke up lazily, rubbing his eyes, as the rays of the sun flitted through the thin curtains and fell on his face. He stretched his legs and noticed that they were aching from all the tennis the day before. He stretched his hands and let them fall on the bed.
    Tara was not in bed. She was already up, getting ready. He looked at her standing in front of the dressing table and smiled. She looked just as beautiful to him today as she had when he’d first seen her. She combed her short hair and cupped it to make sure they were bo…


“C’mon Jenna, don’t be stupid. Spirits are parasitic entities: not some magical unicorns. They don’t have any supernatural powers,” he said irritably, putting away his spectacles on the table. “Don’t blindly believe what Hollywood shows you; they don’t know anything."
    “You don’t know much either, Dr. Biswas,” she said with a sneer as the lights went out.

This post has been written for Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction Prompt - Darkness

Private India : A Review

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!     I was overjoyed when I got the mail from BlogAdda informing me that I had been chosen to review ‘Private India’. It is the latest crime investigation thriller from the Private series of James Patterson. Now, to be honest, I’d never read his stories, but the book was co-written by Ashwin Sanghi, who is one of my favourites so I was excited to see how he would attempt a genre like this.

    Being a Ashwin Sanghi book, I had a few expectations of it. I expected the story to be driven by a host of interesting (grey) characters pursuing their own agendas, crossing paths to create a rich storyline. I expected a well-researched background. I expected politics and mythology being woven together. Tall expectations. But I was not disappointed at all!

    The epilogue gives us a glimpse of the terrible bomb attacks of 2006. This is a background story that runs as an undercurrent …

A Dish Best Served Cold

"You have no idea how long I've waited for this opportunity," he said, moving closer cautiously, with a smirk on his face. "I've lain sleeplessly on filthy streets, grimy and hungry; all because I knew you were still alive. And now I'm here in front of you," he said brandishing a knife from his back pocket. He raised the knife in the air and brought it down hard, cutting right through the bloodied meat with vehement precision as everyone watched expectantly. He made the best sashimi the judge had ever tasted. This post is a part of Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction prompt. The word this week was "Waiting". Please click on the link to read more stories inspired by this prompt. Submissions Collection

Farewell Letter

Madras 15th August
Dear John,
    I hope this letter finds you in good health. All of us here at the office are well and in high spirits. John, as much as I respected your right to hold an opinion and valued you professionally as my supervisor, your argument that 'Indians are uncultured and incapable of ruling themselves' never found favour with your predominantly Indian staff. Please find attached the new political map of the world (with India as its newest independent nation).
Yours faithfully,
Aaharen Nayakan

PS: We're glad you left.

15th August is India's Independence Day. I got all fired up before writing this one and then realised that 26th January(Republic Day) might be a better day for the letter, but hell with historical accuracies; it's Independence Day!
This letter is a response to Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction word MAPS and the photo prompt by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for 15th August - combined - because I'm lazy. Please do check out th…

Being the good guy

"And... It's apparently not good etiquette to tell your girlfriend that her sister is sexy." Varun kept away the bouquet and felt his left cheek again.

Rock Bottom

He spread his hands and felt the wind against his wet face. The soft morning breeze grew faster and faster until it was a gale trying to pull him back by his hair.
    When he had stood on the parapet of the roof, he had known how difficult life was going to be, but he had not imagined how terrifying the prospect of death would be.
    He was plummeting head-first towards the rocky shore. A blood curdling scream escaped him as the surface galloped upwards.
    He shut his eyes tight as he touched the surface. His body was flung back into the air by the bungee rope. He thanked gods of him and others that he had not let his thoughts get the better of him.

Codename: Black

    'Oh such consumerism! Oh such consumerism! The crafty flipkart people! They just want us to think about things we want to buy, so that we buy them on flipkart! Oh such consumerism! Oh suc... Oh... I really do need to buy a lot of stuff! Damn you flipkart!'

Note: I definitely paraphrased my past-self here. I didn't really think exactly in those words.

    So it happens that I am one of the people who believe in the mantra of 'simple living; high thinking', but like anyone who moves to a new city, I do need to buy a lot of new stuff. I'm listing the things I'll be buying in black (pun not intended). Of course I needn't explain 'why black?'. Black is just sexy.

    The stuff listed below is straight from my actual wishlist. I would probably be buying these once I get my first salary; or the second one, if I don't have enough left (which is quite possible seeing how costly movie tickets are in Bangalore!)

1. Cable Internet    This should go …

The Dentist

Not a single patient had visited the clinic since morning. clunk... clunk... clunk... She lazily struck the scalpel on the tray as she waited for the doorbell to ring. She had always wanted to be a dentist and own a little clinic in the suburbs just like her father. clunk... clunk... clunk.... But no one had told her that it would be so boring.
    She looked up at him and announced.
    "Daddy, I don't want to be a dentist. I want to be a princess!"
    He patted her on the head. "Whatever you wish, dear. Whatever you wish"
Suggestions and creative criticisms are highly welcome.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly picture prompt that challenges bloggers to get creative in the 100 word limit. The photo this week was contributed by Ted Strutz. You may read the entries at Rochelle's Blog and maybe also add your own.

Two Inch Tales

TL;DR Version Two inch tales are extremely small vignettes or stories, not exceeding a couple hundred words.

Long Version     Years ago, when I was still a little child (I’m talking about junior college) I found a blog named “Two a day and more” and it blew my mind. Every single story oozed of creativity and eloquence. Stories ranged from the utterly sweet to the horrifyingly macabre. The stories were vastly different, but there was an underlying charm that bound them all together. I was hooked.
    The blog belonged to someone who went by the pen name of “RustyNeurons”. I knew nothing more about her than that she worked in Bangalore and wrote magnificently. Going by the stories, and her comments, she must not have been much older than what I am today.
    When I had discovered the blog, it was already a few years old. She was already posting less frequently. A few months later, she stopped posting new stories altogether. I was very sad. I would reread her old stories whenever I go…

Liebster-Shiebster Haayo Rabbaa

A few days back I got a comment from Priya of Pencil Stripes informing me that she was awarding me the Liebster award. It sounded so... German that I googled it right away. It's an award of appreciation and camaraderie that fellow bloggers award to those whom they find deserving of it. I felt really honored and humbled at the same time.
    I'm really thankful to Priya for awarding me the Liebster. I'd also like to congratulate her on receiving the Liebster herself. Despite being a busy mother, she finds time to write some really interesting and fresh stories. I hope she continues penning great stories in the future too.

The Liebster Award Official Rules:     If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” …