- PonderingTwo June 2013 ~ Pondering Two The title of your home page

Friday, 28 June 2013

Written by: Atulya Mahajan
Published by: Random House India
ISBN: 978-8-184-00395-6
Genre: Fiction
Price: INR 199
No. of Pages: 310

Synopsis: Akhil Arora, a young dorky engineer in Delhi, can't wait to get away from home and prove to his folks that he can be on his own. Meanwhile in a small town in Punjab, Jaspreet Singh, aka Jassi, is busy dreaming of a life straight out of American Pie. As fate would have it, they end up as a room mates in Florida. But the two boys are poles apart in their perspectives and expectations of America. While Akhil is fiercely patriotic and hopes to come back to India in a few years, Jassi finds his Indian identity an uncomfortable burden and looks forward to finding an American girl with whom he can live happily ever after.

Laced with funny anecdotes and witty insights, Amreekandesi chronicles the quintessential immigrant experience, highlighting the clash of cultures, the search for identity, and the quest for survival in a foreign land.

Review: If at all you are planning to go to Amreeka or in that matter any foreign country for higher studies, then Amreekandesi - Masters of America is a must read. This book will come across as a complete bible or as a reference guide to the students as well as the parents - What can and will students do and what things the parents must do. The story is mainly about two Indian students, Akhil and Jassi and their encounters with life outside India, pressure of scoring, room-mates, some unwanted friends, some sighs and smiles, fun and frolic and love.

The plot is perfectly etched starting from those Nirupa Roy scenes to the flight journey to the classrooms to confidently eating non-veg to various trips to seeking Love and eventually earning both Love and Degree and triumphantly acquiring a job. Not even once you feel that the plot is bit stretched and could do away with some.  There is never a dull moment while reading. With some witty and humorous incidents, pages will flip automatically once started to read.

Writing: The characters are beautifully written. You will see your someone's someone or probably your parents, friends and yourself in the characters. That for me is the strength of the book and displays the author's writing prowess. The situation where Akhil becomes 'Devdas' and almost kills himself is superbly written, bringing out the necessary emotions in me. Yes, even I did a Nirupa Roy! Humor comes with ease to the author and that is what that sets the pace. There weren't any glimpses of proof reading errors. 

Overall: I would definitely recommend this book to all the students flying for further studies. And also to those who are at the age of Uncle and Aunt to relive some younger days of fun. A light hearted book with some 'happened exactly with me' incidents is not to be missed!

Ratings on:
  • Plot - 4/5
  • Characterization - 5/5
  • Writing - 4/5
  • Entertainment - 4/5
  • Overall - 4/5
Takeaway from the book - Be clear, focused and dedicated. Rest will follow.

This review is for Random House India 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Darkness was dancing in the corners of my vision. Wind was whipping my hair. Cold was coaxing its way into the breeze. Tears were pooling in my eyes. Pebbles were slipping into my thin slippers and adding a sharp pain to my feet.  The open sky, bushes and mountains were my only solace. With no energy in my limbs, I settled under a tree surrounded by the hilly terrain, sans the nightmares but with my soul beating.

I kept gazing at the moon admiring its beauty. ‘Ridden with potholes, it is still an eye-catcher’, I thought. It was serene with just whistling of winds and the sound of leaves enjoying the wind reaching through my ears. Blurred images of lights were seen emanating faraway from here. My eyes were equally tired just as my limbs. All I wanted was a peaceful sleep, which is something that I got easily although after years.

I woke up to the melodious chirping of the birds. Even the caw-caw of the crow felt music to ears. I stretched my arms with a tinge of smile on my face. The expression that was dead suddenly became alive. My back ached and I still felt the burning sensation of ‘hurt’ that has decided to dwell on me. Amid the warmth of early morning sun with hunger pangs signalling my brain, I wandered in search of food.

The terrain proved to be a real tough one for me. I walked and walked with beads of perspiration forming all over my body. I picked up pace. Many trees with various fruits hanging passed by. I didn't know where I was heading but wherever I could find my way through the trees and the mountains. Slowly, I found myself running. I could hear the crushing sound of dead leaves following me. I feared looking back. Suddenly the sound was gone. I still feared looking behind but tried to swirl around quickly and have a look. No one was there. I stood there, circling and looking in all directions. Satisfied, I lay under one of the trees, plucked some fruits and heaved a sigh of relief.

The rest of the day went smoothly without any troubles.

The next morning same thing happened. I ran and ran, more than yesterday. My slippers had given away and so had my toes and limbs. It was getting extremely difficult now. I was panting heavily but still continued running. Finally with no energy left, I fainted.

My eyes opened to see an old fan rotating and screeching in between. I turned my neck only to find myself attached with wires and surrounded with machines. It dawned on me that I was in some nursing home.

‘How are you madam’? The nurse asked.

I was confused with volley of questions popping in my mind.

My silence made her to say that my husband brought me here. Panic gripped me from within but I didn't allow it to show on my face. She asked me to lay here till she called for my husband.

For a moment I thought of running away but couldn't due to wires attached all over me. I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer to give me enough strength to fight against all odds. ‘This cannot happen to me. From being so close of acquiring freedom and yet far’, I said to myself. I decided to tell the nurse to call the police and tell them everything.

A tall, well built man with a moustache stood along with the nurse in front of me.

‘This is not him!’ My eyes went bigger in shock. He came besides me, ran his hand over my forehead and inquired about my health.

Tears rolled down my eyes as he helped me to get up. I kept silent. No one has shown such affection towards me in recent times. Was I dreaming?  

With apprehensions and questions galore I walked with him. He took me to his home but for me it seemed like a palace. Small, clean and elegant. He offered a chair to sit and went inside only to come out within few minutes with a tray full of biscuits and tea. Before I could attack him with my questions, he did.

A lot of things were there inside waiting to be released. Initially I thought of concentrating on biscuits but with his constant prodding I broke.

It all started two years back when I got married. Once a darling of my parents’ eye now reduced to a slut. Such was the tragedy of my life. From getting married to a stranger, on being a ‘display item’ to his friends, to being labelled as a town whore, I had come a long way, quite literally - To the ever so beautiful, never seen, other end of the universe.

“Everything looks beautiful to a person whose life is only confined to be at home, cook and ‘entertain’ people. From being a caged bird, I felt like a free bird here.”

Sometimes from his harsh words, beating or slapping, my soul died a slow death. His words, ‘Hadn't your parents greased my palms, I would have married someone whose face didn't resemble that of a coal, and body, a bag of bones’, pierced me in such a way as if a poisonous arrow has pierced through my body. Neither did he like me nor did he love me. I was just a piece of flesh left to be obeyed and served on various beds, satisfying the carnal needs.

Once I had tried to object by raising my voice and he landed a tight slap on my face. The impact was such that my mouth tasted blood as two teeth gave away. I was naive initially waiting for him to embrace me, love me and show some affection but this incident woke me up and I decided to run away from this life as I simply didn't deserve this.

“What is my fault? Just that I am black and not good looking? Or that I expected him to love me just as people do after an arranged marriage? I do obey his commands all against my wishes, treat him respectfully and still? Whatever it is, I cannot let my life get ruined and henceforth will take charge of My Life.”

Thus mustering thrice the amount of courage normally required, I ran away.

With every word and every sentence my heart felt lighter. But tears kept on rolling down my eyes, initially a few drops to sobbing to crying profusely. My already red eyes started hurting me.

My heart experienced the much needed warmth and peace when he wiped my tears away and hugged me. It felt like heaven to be wrapped under the warmth and masculine shoulders of his. He kept patting my back and head as if he is consoling some child. Yes, for a minute even I felt like a child too! Though my looks may not agree with my heart but it will be always a child from within.

Form patting to exploring to kissing to enjoying each other’s naked body, nothing was left. We lay there still for few minutes. Tears started welling in my eyes but I didn't let it flow.

What have I done? Will he just use me as a paper napkin? Will I be back to square one? Will I ever find Love in its pure essence? Questions had taken over my mind when he suddenly came close to me, tugged my soft tendril of curls behind my ears and said, ‘I want to marry you. To see life through your eyes, have kids, share a bond such that even HE wouldn't dare to break and have a new beginning for both of us,  ’

I didn't know whether this was for real or not. Was my life going to take a turn? Will I get to shed those horrendous tags that I have got? Or will it acquire the tag of ‘happily married forever’?
My heart was in my mouth. Unable to judge his intentions but with the anticipation of new dawn I agreed to marry him.
Destiny's Child

In her soft and sleepy voice she said, “Mamma, will you please stop staring at the fan. Your two kids, one of which I call Papa, needs you and are trying to sleep.”

I immediately come back from the shadows of dark and within a second both of them curl up towards me and hugs me tight with smiles all over. Wishing each other good night, I wait with open arms to embrace life to the dawn of happiness and only happiness.

This post has been written for the ongoing Indian Bloggers League conducted by Writeup Cafe

Monday, 24 June 2013

This post has been written for The Indian Bloggers League, 2013 conducted by The Writeup Cafe

It’s time for a change
Time for some chalk and cheese
Says my inner voice
And I wonder why

A source of distraction during the day
A source of inspiration in dreams
The time is here upon me
But I keep dragging my feet

Only the foolish few dares...

Is it foolishness to dare?

Or is it just some bait?

I don’t know...

Poignant and scared I lay
With fears and apprehension on one side
With hope for the ascent on other
My intellect unable to comprehend

With the crack of dawn
Amid butterflies in my stomach
I decide to prod 
To drift towards a new location

What lies ahead?
And what shall pass...
All I know is to tread cautiously
The path less traveled

Beckon dreams and aspiration
That burning desire
To wither the storm
Sets me going

Rafting, I pursue the uncharted territory
Heart feels heavy with the sight
New lanes and new faces
Suddenly seems inviting

Or perhaps it’s just an illusion...
I don’t know...
‘Take life as it comes, play along with it’
The motto that ought to follow

Finding it, is a herculean task
Cannot be bought by money
For I’m sure but only by time
I settle, enjoying the tide
In pursuit of happiness

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Life metamorphosed-
The advent of Westerlies
Free from the scorching heat

Westerlies advent
Loverly virginal kiss
Blissful petrichor

The soothing cadence
Seduced as she gets drenched
Nostalgic monsoon rains

First monsoon rains
Looks heavenly with arms stretched wide
Childhood beckons

Dark thundering skies
Westerlies advance
Rhythmic pitter-patter 
The idea for this post is derived from the topics shared as a part of The Indian Bloggers League organized by Writeup Cafe

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Disclaimer: This post has been written as a part of The Indian Bloggers League, 2013 conducted by Writeup Cafe

I was sweating profusely. The indicator of my air conditioner showed 23. Pretty comfortable for a single person to have a good night’s sleep. My neck swayed from left to right as drops of sweat trickled down from my temple to shoulder. My face kept changing expressions from those of despair to fear. My hands laid a tight grip on the blanket that I was using. I felt as if my mind would explode. Such was the ferocity with which I was trembling and one more twitch would land me straight on the floor, which apparently did happen.

I regained my composure, wiped off my face and went to the kitchen for a glass of water. I gulped it. A complete three glasses of water were simply not able to moist my dry mouth. As I started for the fourth, the door bell rang. Not once but twice, one after another. Leaving the glass aside, I had a look at the wall clock. It read quarter past two in the morning. Surprised that someone rang the door bell at such a sleepy hour, I went towards the door. I was shocked to see a red box lying at my doorstep. I looked suspiciously around the aisle but couldn’t find anyone. Being scared, confused and eager to find more I eventually took the red box inside.

Perched on the sofa with lights switched on, I took a closer look at the red box. There was nothing much attractive about it. Desperate to know the insides, I opened the box. And within split second of my opening the box, got sucked into it.

In-between I felt light as if I am weightless. I seem to easily float but with velocity. Unable to understand what was happening to me, I closed my eyes.

In my melee of fear and uncertainty, while I was floating, I felt something soft on my lips. Happened once, twice till it dawned on me that I was being kissed. It was soft at first but grew with intensity as her passion matured. Tastes were exchanged. Probably mine of garlic and hers’ sweet, fleshy strawberry.  My closed eyes would have definitely given a ‘pleasantly surprised’ look had it been open. From kissing to exploring the contours of my jaw she kept on her foreplay. I felt relaxed, calmed yet excited. She was soft and aggressive but never let me once feel incomplete, what had become a part of my life.

For once I cared less about my current state and got all lost in the taste of those strawberry applied lips.

My eyes opened up to a soft whisper in my ears.

A completely different world welcomed me as I opened my eyes. There was a huge green pasture of land in front of my eyes, although a bit wavy. The grass gave a sparkling effect because of the dew. Trees of various sizes adorned the view with leaves green and fresh. Flock of birds were chirping to a soft melodious tune and playing under the open sky. The sky was beaming with happiness with a tinge of smile adorning it. On one side there were tiny hills and mountains seen by my naked eye and on the other a large water reservoir. Cool breeze blew down waving at my hair pleasantly. Everything had a soothing effect on my eyes and mind. Such was the picturesque beauty that my eyes didn’t even blink for a second. I was completely mesmerised.

For a moment I was in dilemma whether to just admire the place’s beauty or worry for the place where I am in.

And suddenly the wind began to rock the grass with threatening tune and low... 

I don’t know what had happened but the picturesque green landscape had gone from sight and substituted it with a marvellous structure full of white marbles, colourful gems, large mirrors, many windows and lots of artistic designs carved on the walls. I was left agape and stunned. It reminded me of our very own the ‘Taj Mahal.’ You have to see it to believe it. Such was the beauty of the structure.

While I was lost admiring its beauty, I heard someone call my name. I sensed the direction and turned around.

A Fairy with transparent wings, hair as black as velvet night sky, elfin features, agile, thin but muscular limbs, elegant neck, and short hands dressed in a gown full of colourful flowers grabbed my attention.

Fairy: So how are you doing my Love?

Me: (I stammered in shock and continued) K k k ka ka Kavya!? Is that you?

Fairy: Yes, My Love. It is me, Kavya. Yours Kavya! So tell me how are you?

Without answering her, I simply looked in her eyes as tears started to flow. Words became superfluous. For years I was longing for her and now she was in front of me. Coming closer to me, she wiped my ears and gave a big tight hug which seemed like eternity. Uncontrollable, I started to sob profusely. She let me cry my heart out whilst looking at me lovingly. Wiping my tears, I continued.

Me: You know how much I am missing you Kavya? Those moments of care, support and love. There was a time when my day started with your soft kiss, when you called me at odd hours worrying about my late hours at office, when you would wait whole night at the staircase for my return. Moments we shared on that balcony of your home before we got married, moments we shared on the beach, moments when we simply strolled; hands held together, moments when we fought (which later on you made me realize my mistake, a tinge of smile slept out) and those making out after  our sweet-bitter fights.

She was listening patiently to my heart’s rendition with moist eyes.

Me: Me: That tension on your face on my smallest problems, that smile in your eyes on seeing my number flashing on your mobile screen, those small fights for the remote control, the lovely face on which I was eagerly waiting to kiss, those lovely photo sessions we had on buying our first DSLR and the moment when we visited ‘Taj Mahal’ and kissed, fully aware of people around us.

As I was saying, I saw her bright face turn dark with drops of tears flowing down her cheeks. But I still continued...

Me: Had I stayed longer with you on that fateful morning, had I listened to you to be together for some more time, had I not received that emergency call and left; things would have been different today. I sobbed.

“Ssshhhhh”, she said wiping off my tears and placing her finger on my lips. She came closer to me.

The smell of nectar felt so strong, immediately attracting me towards her. It was slow. From simple touches, to fixating eyes, to finding path through the bushes and finally settling with lips. The mass being enjoyed, bitten and licked. She seemed like an Aphrodite on a mission. It was like soft music caressing the soul within. Bodies started reacting accordingly as the tune changed from soft to rock. 

Beads of sweat started forming on my forehead. I felt a slight shudder. My body started shaking. Rays of sunlight fell directly on my face.

Amid all the action, sweat and shudder, I heard someone.

Papa, Papa, wake up. Its mamma’s birthday today.

Jolted from my reverie, I see her curled up to me, looking at my face, smiling, with a box in her hand.

I was left baffled. And it dawned that I was dreaming.

I woke up, hugged her and took the box from her.  I sensed that the box is exactly similar to the one I had received in my dream.

I asked her from where did she got it.

She pointed towards the doorstep and said, ‘from here Papa.’

I felt goose bumps on hearing her. Just as I soaked this news, my phone rang. There was no greeting from the other side, only plain instruction and that too in a slow, coarse voice.

“Open the red box. It will bring you closer to your wife’s killers.”

And the phone went silent.

I felt numb for few seconds before opening. Upon opening, I found out a lot of clues and direct evidences which weren’t clear during that time. I got completely sucked into it. “Time up, you bastard”, I said with grief.

“This can be one of the best birthday gift for her”, I thought.

And then get sucked up by the box and continue romancing the most beautiful women I have ever met. Oh sorry, Fairy. I rectified with tears of joy oozing out with the anticipation of staying there forever alongside her.

It didn't help his appearance that he always wore the most atrocious clothes. So did he even today, on one of the most important days in his life. He wore a sleeveless tee, with a black jacket and jeans.

They were traumatized seeing him in such an attire. Shocked faces and raised eyebrows greeted him. 'Don't judge me by my looks but as a person', he reasoned.

So impressed were they with him that they decided to have the Engagement ceremony tomorrow itself. 

For WriteTribe 
The Prompt 
  1. Grab the 7th book from your bookshelf.
  2. Open it up to page 7.
  3. Pinpoint the 7th sentence on the page.
  4. Begin a poem/a piece of prose that begins with that sentence
  5. Limit it in length to 7 lines/7 sentences.
The seventh book in my shelf is Amreekandesi - Masters of America by Atulya Mahajan and the 7th page, 7th sentence - It didn't help his appearance that he always wore the most atrocious clothes.
Write Tribe Prompt

Monday, 17 June 2013

A special world for you and me
Where love abounds
Enroute life’s scenery
Where Himalaya mounds

Your touch sending chills down my spine
Your gaze leaving me panting
Your smile causing troubles on my shoreline
You’re ‘I Love You’ having me blushing

Beholding your beautylicious soul
Igniting a fire of passion
Inviting for a sensuous troll
The Aphrodite’s beckon

The ecstasy that knows no measure
The climax with senses reeling
The desire to love your lover
With joyous heart beaming

Numerous quests seemed futile and banal, emotions and desires desperate to hookup

Eyes searching for thee, Angel, as eager soul waiting to worship.

The idea for this post is derived from the topics shared as a part of Indian Bloggers League organized by Writeup Cafe

Friday, 14 June 2013

I Switched off the lights and laid flat on the floor.

“Strappy high heeled sandals", I said with a wicked smile as the door unlocked.

“Get up”, she said.

Bemused, I obeyed.

Her scent aroused me.

Darling! “Better luck for the surprise next time”, she whispered.

“Happy Anniversary”, she exclaimed, sealing it with a kiss.

The idea of this post is derived from the topics shared as a part of Indian Bloggers League organized by Writeup Cafe

Monday, 10 June 2013

It’s a quake!! Earthquake!! I shouted as I felt the earth shook beneath my feet and immediately ran through the series of stairs leading to the compound of my building. I witnessed the ceilings giving up, crashing onto the ground with a loud thud and eventually leading to the collapsing of the building. Those who had enough time to escape survived, rest just vanished into the thick cloud of dust. Pool of blood got mixed with the cement, iron rods, broken and crushed limbs and every other remnant of the building.

I removed a paper television from my left pocket of trouser, enlarged it and tuned it to a news channel. It said, “Major earthquake near Mumbai, epicentre still not known.” I flipped through various news channels and it said the same thing. “Epicentre of the quake not known yet and the Richter Scale for some reason do not show the measurement of the quake.” “That’s weird, extremely weird”, I thought.  “If it’s a quake, it has to be recorded on the Richter scale”, I screamed. A few of the towers surrounding my building also collapsed within minutes of this massive shake of the earth’s crust. This made me sure that the news channel have got it all wrong as those towers were built with the quake proof technology which can withstand the quake up to 10 on the Richter scale.

 As I was still collecting myself, coming to the terms of what had just happened and digesting this news, the screen of the paper television blanked out. Before I could check the other channels, a recorded voice message popped up on the screen and said,

“Congratulations!! You ignored our repeated warnings and alas you have to pay the price.


Yours Lovingly,

The Martians.”

And it kept voicing it in a loop.  For a moment my heart was in my mouth and my ears still couldn’t believe what it had just heard. I heard it again and again till it got absorbed into my systems. I remembered about reading in some science fiction about Earth getting attacked by aliens but always believed that it was just impossible and ridiculed the writers. “We are the super force and nothing such thing would happen”, I would say to myself. But this was simply unbelievable to me. If this is true, all my belief about us cannot be attacked by aliens seems to be false and just a belief.

The screen again went silent for few seconds and again came up with some cranky voice.

“You fools! It is not a quake. It’s an invisible nuclear bomb hurled at the city of Beijing in China, reducing China to a mere dot on the map. (Sounds of laughter in the background) In spite of our repeated warnings you didn’t mend your ways, kept polluting the planet and in turn causing a grave danger to the intergalactic ecosystem. You are doomed Earth, you are doomed!!.” (Loud sounds of uncontrolled laughter were heard in the background before it again went silent.)

My mouth was in a momentary O-shape, eyes just seemed that it would pop out into my hands and practically each and every part of the body had gone numb. I sensed that panic would soon grip the entire world.

Mysteriously the radio frequency had not been disturbed by them and the radio jockeys were screaming on top of their voices reading out what the audio clip of The Martians said. “Very generous of them”, I quipped before letting out barrage of muted expletives.

Till the year of 2779 AD, technology had evolved and advanced beyond imagination. From paper TVs which can play the role of radio, play stations, mobile phones, and remote control for cars to ships that can be used as airplanes to vehicles that can fly to altering the human’s own molecule structure and so on. But invisible nuclear bomb made me feel as if we are the inhabitants living in the 19th century.

“Is this the apocalypse?” I wondered with fear in my eyes.

The paper TV again came to life with just the voice of the PM addressing the nation, urging and inspiring each and every citizen to come out, form your own army and fight the Martians in any manner to protect our mother Earth.

Before she could say anything further, the voice muted permanently with the sound of the Martians laughing at our fate with an ever increasing tone, was the only thing left to be heard.

As I turned around, I spotted a huge aircraft descending at a speed of light without any noise, splitting into many tiny aircrafts and spreading evenly before the main aircraft landed on the ground. “There is no time to express the astonishment on viewing that marvellous feat”, I said to myself and sprinted at a lighting speed crossing miles and miles within split of a second by altering my molecule structure. Yes, this scientific marvel made us “superhuman.”   

As I was sprinting, sharp laser rays emitting heat equivalent to the sun passed by me. Thankfully it did not harm me but left me gasping for breath. I soon found a group of people forming a human chain, joined them, holding hands and generated enough body heat to create a layer of thick sheet around ourselves protecting us from those rays as well as the surroundings.

More and more people joined but it just didn’t seem to be enough. The speed, power and the precision of the attack from the Martians was making it extremely difficult for us. For a moment we were almost about to give up when an IAF plane whizzed past us with a barrage of hypersonic laser missiles with a speed of more than 10 mach aimed at those tiny splitted aircrafts. But even a series of missiles could not knock one tiny aircraft. Eventually it did after taking almost five long minutes.

“This doesn’t seem to work. We need something better”, I thought. And immediately an idea sprung to my mind. I asked all those having flying cars to rev up the engine, generate enough temperature and replicate it to a fire ball. Meanwhile along with the help of others, I tried generating electromagnetic pulse causing whirlwind of sorts gulping everything in its way. Once we had generated enough electromagnetic pulse, we directed it wherever those tiny aircrafts were. And much to our relief they could not offer much resistance and were sucked into the whirlwind. At the same time, the fire balls kept circling the whirlwind causing those aircrafts to melt just as the ice kept under the sun melts.  We continued till all the aircrafts were demolished whereas, the bigger one was taken care by the IAF.

Blood had started oozing out from our bodies but that did not deter us. We fought till the very last aircraft was down. Microscopic cameras attached to us recorded everything. And within minutes everyone around the world was able to view it due to seamless Bluetooth connectivity.

A sense of uprising was felt in everyone of us. Though it was just a small victory against the Martians and their mighty army we ourselves felt surprised on what the ‘unity’ can do within us.

With our heads held high and with a renewed spirit within us we marched forward to take on the battle against the Martians. 

The idea for this post is derived from the topics shared as a part of Indian Bloggers League  organised by Writeup Cafe