Hope and a Little Sugar

Well we are into the seventh month of 2016. A phenomenal year in many ways. More final farewells, more of marriages of friends, making new friends, separation from a lot of friends and life goes on. Cheated death again, and kept wondering, one moment was all to have ended everything! Reality of life – don’t chase a dream – a person or an ideal – that is never meant to be yours! Or rather – chase a dream – a person or an ideal – if you are sure you know them properly!

samarpanam.jpg

Nothing has changed,
I look back at,
Scribbles in my diary,
From a decade back,
The pain, the doubt,
The anger and the loneliness,
Is as deep as it always was.

Illness is taking a huge toll,
My mother’s psychological trauma,
Is manifesting into too many,
Physical worries and health problems,
The doctor says she has to stop worrying.
She says she does not worry.
She just exists!

I am at a loss for words,
Going about in circles,
From one doctor to the other,
Setting a pattern in medicines,
To offer some relief,
Nothing has changed,
Other than the fact that we are now alone.

It’s been about five years now I guess,
Dad’s in his own world,
Happy with his bottle of rum,
Wearing a cloak of divinity,
And going about on yatras!

Everyone is happy,
In their own little worlds,
Am I happy?
I don’t know.
Am I sad?
I don’t know.

When someone asks me –
How are you?
I have started to say-
“I am alive!”
It cuts down other queries.

Prayers, rituals, ceremonies,
Visiting temples, searching for tranquility,
Churches, mosques and monasteries,
Nothing offers clarity,
If there was a God,
Would there be pain?
Would innocent children die?

Rambling away and away,
Like a drunken,
Old monk – I write aimlessly,
She lies in front of me asleep,
I wonder – where did I go wrong?

Breathe in and breathe out,
And returning to reality,
All these questions are pointless,
Life has to go on.
The bills have to be paid,
The EMIs have to be paid.

No travel, no merry-making,
Point A to Point B,
Life like a pendulum,
Goes back and forth.

After so many stanzas,
You dear reader,
If you are still reading,
Thank you,
May God bless you!

Probably the annual report,
May offer a glimmer of light,
Some happiness and joy,
Instead of this boring,
Dull, dry and sad verse.
Hope….that’s all that remains!

Who is Dick?

Who is Dick?
You ask me, who is Dick?
Don’t you know him?
He is the charming gent,
He is the quizzing genius,
The technology exponent,
The nerd in the herd.

The man who knows A to Z,
Of everything from GoT,
To Pokemon Go.
He is married.
But he is a smooth-talker,
The charmer, smiles, cries, pretends,
His married life is in shambles.

He asks every single single woman and girl,
Out for coffee, a movie as well,
By a remarkable coincidence,
He has tickets, just one extra mind you,
For the latest blockbuster.
Who is Dick??

Dick wants to hit on young women,
Does not spare high-school kids,
Or young ones in college either,
Thinks he is Casanova and Iron Man,
All rolled into one.
Who is Dick??

Now tell me dear readers,
What do we do to Dick?
He hides his marital status,
Plays about, hoping to prey,
On young ones.
With friends of his who support,
Choices like polygamy and partner-swaps,
Casual flings and other such terms,
What do you suggest we do to Dick?
Who the hell is Dick?
Is he a prick?
Is he a saviour, for those who crave freedom?
Is he the balm for the souls of bruised and troubled women?
Who is Dick??
What should we do to him??
Answer me my friends, answer!

On the Needle’s Edge

Where is the time,
To sing, to dance, to be joyful,
And spend merry moments,
And magical moments with friends?

My life is now defined,
By a single needle’s edge,
18 units of insulin in the morning,
And 12 units of the fluid at night.

Life revolves around medication.
You are forever in a state of worry,
Rushing from task to task,
Worried about delayed trains.

Your only goal in life,
Becomes reporting to work on time,
Getting work done, and returning,
To put the injection as early as possible.

No time for social engagement,
No time for friends,
No time for merriment,
No time for myself.

Just a constant state of chaos,
Going through life,
Like the aimless stream,
That dies in the woods,
Before it reaches the sea!

In Search of what?

 

In search of what?

I don’t know.

As I seek to find balance,

I seem to wonder,

What lies yonder?

Day after day, moment after moment,

Like a bee that seeks nectar,

Among flowers that bloom,

I travel within and without.

Where are you?

I seem to ask,

I know and yet I don’t know.

Who are you?

I know and yet I don’t know.

Like the cigarette-butt,

That glows a bright orange-yellow,

Before it dies, I know that this life,

Too shall find its bright burning spot,

Before the flames get extinguished.

 

Songs of the Mist by Shashidhar Sharma – A Video Review

Dear Readers,

This hopefully would be the first in line of many video reviews of books and movies that I will put up on the blog.

Without further ado, my video review of Shashidhar Sharma’s first book in the Monk Key Trilogy – “Songs of the Mist”.

Special thanks to Vinod Velayudhan of VV Photography.

We also shot a brief interview:)

 

Buy the book – http://www.amazon.in/Songs-Mist-1-Monk-Key/dp/935206562X

Do share your valuable thoughts!

 

The 39th Chennai Book Fair

Well this year the usual Pongal Book Fair by BAPASI did not happen at Nandanam because of the devastating December floods of 2015.

Some splinter groups set up a fair at Royapettah during Pongal – but well that was no way the real deal. The floods of 2015 caused severe damage to participating publishers – the total loss is estimated at about 25 crores, which is very tough to recover; despite insurance!

This year the fair was held at Island Grounds. The usual competitions for children in terms of painting, debates, elocution and writing went on with the usual fan-fare. The venue has a toy-train that’s quite remarkable and drew a steady crowd.

The Fair is significant as a book which I compiled and includes submissions by members of the Chennai Bloggers Club – “After the Floods” was published by Sixth Sense Publications.

Edited by KS Lakshmi, Cover and trailer by Kishor LN and a wonderful introduction by RJ Balaji.
We thank Karthikeyan PK from Sixth Sense Publications for trusting the efforts of the bloggers!

Buy the book online

http://sixthsensepublications.com/index.php/after-the-floods.html

There are lots of stalls this time around – almost 700. Lots of books, stalls from Singapore with books priced really steep😦 organic seeds and planting, usual spiritual, cookery, self-help, fiction, comics, management, competitive exams, all the usual books. A stall on blow paint drawing techniques and one about robots and stuff for kids was quite interesting. As I had clear instructions on not to buy books I just walked like a drug-addict away from a stash of fine-cut cocaine but no chance of getting my hands to the ‘coke’!

The rains made a sudden appearance on Tuesday night and scared the living daylights with water gushing in through gaps in the pandal sheets above. It was deja-vu again as water flowed through. Thankfully the rain gods were kind enough and did not trouble too much after that.

The Fair ends tomorrow go pick your books and buy a copy of our anthology as well.

In terms of food, the spread was outstanding and real good job by the catering contractors who have brought in various vendors to the fair!

300 Days by Bragadeesh Prasanna – A Study into the Transformation of a Friend into a Published Author

Title – 300 Days

Author – Bragadeesh Prasanna

Type – Kindle Edition

Genre – Romance

Source of Book – Early draft copy provided by the novelist.

Price – Rs 166.

Link to buy

This is not a review. This is my attempt to document the transformation of a person, an artist who tries to create art, succeeds and tries his best to publish it, but is pushed down by publishers, who seek a pretty face first, and look at the manuscript later. I met Bragadeesh about three to four years back. I met him as a part of the Chennai Bloggers Club. I recollect very clearly, we met at Café Coffee Day, Ispahani Centre along with some more bloggers. The meeting was to decide how to take CBC forward as a body of bloggers.   Neither of us in our wildest dreams thought that we would be admins some day. Bragadeesh is currently ‘makkalin admin’; Sindhu and I are regular admins:) I digress – let me return to the reason and purpose behind this post!

Over the years, I have seen Bragadeesh transform in front of my eyes. His writing is impressive, he takes a lot of pains to think out scenes in his head and then put pen to paper or fingers to his laptop keyboard. From “Polly”, “300 Days”, “Chilakkama” the title of the book went through various changes. He participated in the WRIMO novel project and typed at a furious pace to complete the first draft in a month. This is when he was in a KPO working night-shifts – mind you. A few of us – Vidhyalakshmi, Vidyasankar, Bhavia were privileged enough to read the first cut of the novel and each of us was spellbound.

How could someone with so much pain, so much anguish, still remain selfless and believe in love?

The manuscript went through rigorous editing by Ms Sridevi Datta.We would keep asking when is the book launch? For over a year, I would have irritated him with one question – “When are you setting Polly free?” – Refer Vidhyalakshmi’s post wherein she drew a beautiful parakeet with 300 etched with perfection.

<I have super-talented blogger friends>

There was tremendous turmoil in his personal life, from losing his job because of Obamacare, switching to another KPO and going up to set up India operations and becoming the head of Indian operations for a small firm focused on furniture and lampshades sold in the USA and Europe, he battled every storm with care.

The Accident:

It was a busy day at work and Srilakshmi – another wonderful lifestyle and food blogger cum published short story writer phoned me – “Mahesh, Brags met with an accident!” I was dreading the day when this would happen, I had told him 100 times to wear a helmet and thankfully government rule forced him to begin wearing the helmet. I called up Suresh, Bragadeesh’s elder brother, he apprised me of the situation and said that they were in the Rajeev Gandhi Hospital, opposite Central Station. Till I met him that evening, I was worried like a mad man. He was injured badly, his face swollen, nose fractured, hand fractured, he was in terrible pain, but he still smiled. I always carry Anjaneyar Kovil kumkumam with me, I gave it to Appa and told him to apply it. I said – “He will be fine”. His mother was equally worried, that evening will remain stuck in my mind forever, we are reduced to mere puppets, the Lord pulls strings, we are just characters. He recovered slowly, the worrying factor was his ‘memory-blanks’. A lot of things from the past are clouded in mystery forever!

Rebuilding the Tale:

A long painful recovery later, he worked with renewed focus on vigour on the tale. There would be chats about rejections from publishers. I kept telling him, we can publish, let us approach a printer in Triplicane and publish. Balamani Sir a senior blogger had published his first novel similarly and he had managed to sell a fair number of copies. He was insistent – “No, I want a good publisher, who believes in me!”

Reality and the Launch:

The reality, that publishers cater to a demography that wants Durjoy Datta and Chetan Bhagat clones and not exactly a revisionist romance; finally dawned on Bragadeesh. He launched the book on Amazon as a Kindle book on Prason’s daughter – Anya’s birthday. Prason and Bragadeesh are like Deva and Surya from “Dhalapathi”. They are inseparable and Prason features in the novel as well.

The Story:

The book follows the premise of the ‘seven stages of love’. Jai and Sravani are the lead characters. Is their love story one that transcends all barriers? What is the intriguing meaning of 300 Days? Why can’t an adult man and woman just remain friends? Does family come before love? Can one love someone and marry someone else? How far will you go in sacrificing yourself for the one whom you love?

These are some questions to which you may find some answers when you read the book!

Plot and Pacing:

A good book is one in which you are drawn into the characters. Even if I had not known the author personally, I would have still loved this book. The pacing varies, the editing could have been tighter, we would wish for a different climax, but then some tales are meant to be like this. But there is hope at the end! A new beginning perhaps!

The Cover:

It is fascinating in its minimalist design – a sure-fire winner – special appreciation for the cover designer!

The Road Ahead:

As I sit and type this seemingly long post, I have the author’s next manuscript in the adjacent window :)! It is a beautiful tale of love, hope, redemption, loss, pain and success and jealousy in the fascinating world of music. A sure-fire winner, which I hope will be published by a leading publishing house soon!

A Note to you Bragadeesh:

I have said this once, I will say it a hundred times. I don’t have many friends in real life, you are one among the few people, with whom I share my secrets, you are a part of my wolf-pack. I will do everything in my power to remain your friend.

As you grow in stature as an author and mentor other authors as part of the Chennai Writers Circle, I shall only be happy and proud of your success.

I am proud to be a brother to this emotional guy who cares so much, loves unconditionally, but can be angry for the most trivial of things. You believed in life and love and have moved on with so much pain! Why fight over silly issues?

One for all, all for one!

Good luck to you as always!

One Last Time

Too much to do,
To little time,
From here to there,
From there to here,
No time for friends,
No time to chase hobbies,
No time to mentor a young one,

The clock keeps ticking,
A metaphor, a literal passage,
How long, where, when, or how!
These are questions,
Without a clear answer.
Somewhere, somehow, the soul,
Refused to listen to the mind.
The heart had been reduced,
To an organ, remitting its functions,
A long time back.

Devoid of love,
Devoid of pain,
Without anguish, hurt or spite,
He looked for a while,
At the majestic sunset,
A view from atop the cliffs,
As the waves lashed below,
He said a silent prayer,
He forgave those who had wronged him.
He sought pardon for his sins.
One last time, he smiled at himself.
Then he took a deep breath,
And jumped!

Sleep

There she lies on the bed,
The gentle rhythmic,
Breathing indicates that she’s fine.
I wonder, when was the last time,
That I slept without nightmares,
That keep plaguing me?

At times, there’s a sustained pause.
She mutters incoherently,
In the drug-induced sleep.
I wake up and sit,
For a while,
And then again lie down.
Nothing lasts forever!
Good or bad – we move on!

Blessed are those,
Who can fall asleep,
Without a pill,
Without a worry,
Without nightmares plaguing them.
Another sunrise, another battle,
In this city of fire,
In the hope of a better tomorrow,
We forge on….

Pustaka Praandhan – Mad about books

There is this fear,
What will I carry,
Once I leave,
All these books,
All these movies,
These material possessions,
They have to be put to good use.

Time to start de-cluttering and give away stuff to deserving people who can’t afford good books. At the back of my head, every single time I buy a book is will I be able to finish this book at all. This year I had planned to cut down on my spending but with the shut down threat of ‘Giggles’and some good deals and vouchers received for writing have gone mad and bought book upon book.

Book Fair is in progress. Have to demonstrate extreme caution and restraint.