For you my queen of hearts

2000 – School Farewell Day Party

Kannan looked into Aarya’s eyes and said, – “Aaroo, we have known each other since class five, in a few hours from now, we leave school forever, the exams, results, college, we may never meet again.” Aarya replied – “Emotion a korai pa!! Madras – good old madras – we will be here only!”

The customary good luck speeches by the various teachers followed by a light music event conducted by the class eleven students. The customary hugs among the girls, the ‘otha dei’ back-slapping among the guys, and feasting over samosas, jalebis and rose milk ended the proceedings.

As Aarya and Kannan bid goodbye to each other there was a strange vacuum in their hearts, these were teenagers who had known each other for over seven years, good friends, best of friends! The final bell for the day rang and everyone left. It was time to sit at home and revise for the exams!

2004 – College of Engineering – Guindy – Campus Placement Interviews for Anna University Affiliated Colleges

Aarya looked at her CV, she ironed out the crease on her pista green kurta. The bud in school had blossomed into a beautiful flower and Aarya carried herself with immense grace exuding confidence. She sat with her ‘besties’ Shreya and Jenny, the three had been christened the “Terrible Trio” by the faculty at RMK Engineering College. Top-ranked students, top-class pranksters as well. They were waiting to be interviewed by the panel from Integra Solutions – a leading player in the telecommunications sector.

That’s when Aarya noticed a familiar face in the row of students sitting on the boys side. The rules at the university were strict, boys on the left, girls on the right. She called out aloud – “Hey Kanna” – Kannan who was examining his CV looked up and saw Aarya. A smile of recognition and he replied – “Meet you once the interview is done Aaroo.”

Group Discussion Round

The tension in the room was overpowering as ten students sat out to battle each other with their wits in the Group Discussion round. Aarya, Kannan, Shreya, Jenny, and six other students were being moderated by a three member panel from Integra Solutions. The topic given was – “Affordable mobile computing – Its future”. The students went at the topic with renewed vigour, voices rose and fell, tempers frayed, questions were asked, sharp replies followed. At the end of 45 minutes, Kannan and Arya had been selected. At the end of the evening they walked out with offer letters in their hand!

Integra Training Campus – Coimbatore – December 2004

The training director – Mrs. Revathi Manickam speaks – “It gives me immense pleasure to felicitate the trainee engineers who have completed the intense training programme that we conducted. Every batch sees one trainee receive the ‘best trainee engineer award’. In the history of the firm for the first time we have two trainee engineers who have outdone all our expectations and are equals in every way. I would like to call Aarya and Kannan on stage. Colleagues give these two a round of applause”.

Later that night during the dinner, Aarya and Kannan spend some time. Kannan speaks – “How quick time seems to have flown by, it feels like just yesterday, the School Day.” – “Kanna, emotion a korai pa, good luck, they are placing me in the Mumbai branch. Where are you being posted?” – “Aaroo, I am being posted at the Chennai facility”.

January 2011 – Chennai Airport – Domestic Terminal – Departure Lounge

We see a very different Kannan, the boyish charm has been replaced by a strange look of intensity in his eyes. The smile seems to have been replaced by a frown, he is sporting glasses and a French beard. He grips his laptop bag tightly and reads a book waiting for the announcement for his delayed flight. He is interrupted by a slap on his back and a shout – “Dei Kanna”.

Kannan turns around and sees Aarya. He breaks into a smile – “Ai Aaroo, how are you?” The two discuss on the time that has gone by, Aarya continues to work at Integra Soultions in the Chennai facility, Kannan has quit Integra and is now working as a web-designing consultant. Kannan shuttles between Chennai and Pune. He had come to Chennai to meet a client who planned to start an online luxury jewellery business. He had presented his project summary plan and was waiting for approval.

The two swapped business cards. Aarya was waiting for her flight to Mumbai, she had to attend a high-level meeting. The rains had thrown life out of gear! Kannan’s flight was announced, the two shook hands and left! Aarya said – “Kanna, I don’t know you have changed! Aaroo yes, Amma poita, life has never been the same! Good luck”. Aarya said – “Kanna, find a girl!!” Kannan replied, “Aaroo, look deep into your heart!!” He waved, smiled cryptically and left!

September 2015 – Chennai – Apollo Hospital

Kannan paces up and down, Aarya has been involved in an acid attack, a colleague at work whose affections she had spurned had thrown acid at her, thankfully Aarya had the presence of mind to move away quickly, covering her face with her hands and her hands had taken the brunt of the acid. The surgery was done and she was safe now.

She was in a deep drug-induced sleep. Aarya’s dad hugged Kannan – “Thanks da Kanna, you were very helpful”. Kannan said – “Appa, you go home and take rest – I will be here. You need to have your anti-cholesterol and diabetes pills.”

Kannan looked at Aarya through the glass door, she was still in the ICU. The hands had been scarred, a tinge of burning on her neck as well. Unknown to him he started sobbing, letting go of all the pent-up emotions. He then decided, enough was enough, wiping away his tears, he took out his phone and opened the Stylori app.

The app was sleek so was the website. He had designed it, he smiled as he looked through the selection of diamond studded rings that were on display. He looked at the rings and picked out the Corazon Pave a ring set with a solitaire.


He then looked at the pendants and zeroed in on the “Threelok Pave pendant” set encrusted with diamonds and shaped like a heart it truly deserved a special person, his queen of hearts –


The transaction was seamless through the app and he received an order confirmation as well. The single-day delivery system was in place and he received a confirmation that his order would be delivered by 11 AM the next day. Next morning, Aarya’s father Mr. Chandramouli came in with breakfast for Kannan. He said – “Kanna, eat this and go home and take rest for a while.” I will be here.

Kannan complied and finished the breakfast of idlies and chutney and went to his flat in Mylapore. He was woken up sharp at 10:55 by his phone ringing. He answered the phone – it was the delivery boy from Stylori. He received his package and thanked the delivery boy.

Aarya’s dad’s number flashed on his mobile screen. He answered the call – “Kanna, Aarya has opened her eyes, she is asking for you. Come soon pa.”

Kannan stood next to Aarya. He smiled at her, then he said as he took out the ring and pendant – “Aaro, will you marry me, my queen of hearts?” She replied – “Kanna, you silly boy, all these years, I waited waited and waited for you to ask this. Finally today in the hospital in this stage! Silly boy, Yes, who else would I marry!!! Emotion a koraika vaendaam!”

This is a post for the contest being conducted by online fashion jewellery store – Stylori – and the Chennai Bloggers Club.



Visit for more information. Browse through their fascinating collection of earrings and pendants and gift your special someone a piece of luxury that they will cherish forever. 

The Dreamcatchers featuring Minu from ART-ery the Designer Jewellery Brand

Hello dear readers, it is a rainy Sunday morning here in my neck of the woods. In a new series of blog posts titled – “The Dreamcatchers”.

I intend to introduce you to achievers who have chosen the ‘road less trodden by’. The first person to feature in this series is Miss Minu Marie Matthew who runs a boutique jewellery business named ART-ery.

Minu studied at the PEARL Academy of Fashion. With many years of experience in the retail industry and working for some of the world’s top luxury brands, she ventured into the bold world of business and entrepreneurship earlier this year.

Presented below a quick tete-a-tete with ART-ery’s founder and director – Minu.

1) When did the idea of ART-ery take seed?

   I have always wanted to start a business on my own but I never thought that situations around would catalyst the process. Its when my previous company decided to shut operations in Chennai when I quit my job and shifted base partly to Kerala. I did not attend any interviews after that and I felt that it was the right time to start something on my own.

I worked on the business plan and did market research from Jan to Mar,2015 sourced the products and worked on pre launch from April to May, 2015 and Launched ART-ery on 6th June 2015.

2) How has life changed after leaving a job employed in the retail sector and starting your own venture?

   I think my current job is also still part of the Retail Sector minus wearing makeup and dressing up to work.

   I still chase numbers and interact with my clients, the only difference here is that I do it in my pyjamas and sip on      some wine at work.


Pic- Amrita

3) ART-ery offers brilliant products for women. When do we see a line of products for men?

I have always envisioned ART-ery as a women’s brand and I always address my clients as ART-ery women.

So I am yet to figure out a way to position the line if I ever venture out to do Men’s Collections.

But I do get inquiries for beaded wrist wears and cuff links for men.

4) You have used Social Media channels with perfect ease. Enlighten us about the behind-the-scenes brainstorming that  went through?

I think that the fact that its “Behind-the-scenes” is reason enough for it to remain “behind-the-scenes”.

I wouldn’t want to be giving out my secret formula.

6)  Your product shoots are brilliant. Pick three of your most cherished ART-ery products, what would they be?

I would really like to thank our photographers Amrita Padmakumar, Neetha George and Vinod Velayudhan for doing a great job with the ART-ery shoots.


Pic – Neetha

Products of my liking would be something which I wanted to buy so badly but resisted the temptation and sold them instead.

7) Words of wisdom for those who wish to become entrepreneurs

I do not see myself giving words of wisdom at this point as we are still taking baby steps in business. But I would definitely say that there is no right time when you want to take the plunge. If you have the passion, just go for it and put in lot of hard work.

Brand Identity
The brand is called “ART-ery” and deals with fashion jewellery primarily. We’re a woman-centric brand and we want our name to become synonymous with women who stand up for themselves. Our goal is to showcase the fact that every woman is beautiful as she is without having to make any change. We want to let a woman express her inner personality with a piece of artistic jewellery that resonates with her personality.

Our products themselves are handpicked and in some cases handcrafted with materials sourced both domestically and internationally. Presently we have categories: Neckpieces, Earrings, Ear Cuffs, Arm Cuffs, Bangles, Bracelets, Anklets, Headbands, Finger Rings and Home Décor. Each product has some artistic sense behind it and we’re very focused on individuality. On the business front at this point of time we’re a Facebook store and we have participated in several exhibitions as well.


Pic – Vinod Velayudhan

Why the name ART-ery?

More often than anything we get asked the question “Why the name ART-ery?” Usually the question is followed up with an assumed interpretation of what the brand name could signify. Now while we love the zest and effort behind these guesses, we think it’s time we told the tale of ART-ery.

When we started the brand, we commenced our Facebook page with the brand message “Express your inner self with a piece of ART and celebrate the woman in you”. Besides serving us as a tagline, that little summary is the essence of who we are and why we started this brand.

The words ‘Fashion’ and ‘Style’ are often misunderstood as qualities possessed by people who buy designer labels or read high-street magazines. That isn’t what ART-ery is trying to provide. We think your inner self is beautiful, stylish and fashionable. We don’t want to do anything to change that, we wouldn’t dare! We’re here to help you find that inner self. There’s fashion in your blood, fashion in your arteries! And that is the message behind the name ART-ery.

The added emphasis on the word “ART” in our name denotes that we’re extremely selective when it comes to our product range. We’re simply a place that takes pride in housing and appreciating art. Our products are handpicked or handmade to be statement pieces that let a woman be herself. Every woman being beautiful and unique requires every product to be crafted beautiful and unique. With a range that spreads across necklaces, rings, earrings, bangles, anklets, bracelets, arm cuffs, headbands, home décor and more, we meticulously ensure that each of our products embody art, style and elegance.

Our vision for ART-ery is to embrace diversity and everyone’s individual style. Fashion is something that’s already in you, be proud to celebrate who you are!

My thoughts on ART-ery:

Personally, I am a client of ART-ery and I love the care and attention with which Minu understands the client’s requirements and recommends a product.

As someone who admires her sincerity and devotion to work, I wish her all the very best in her entrepreneurial pursuit. ART-ery participates in various shopping festivals in South India and you can stay updated about their exhibition schedule from their social channels.

Website –
Facebook –
Craftsvilla –

Shop once at ART-ery and you become a customer forever!!!!

Of Visions and Prayers

I have always been plagued by haunting visions, dreams and nightmares.

This has been a trait that has caused me immense discomfort and heartburn and pain at my impotence or inability to change the course of things that inevitably seem to play out as they do in my visions. Is it a gift? Is it a curse? Why am I haunted by these visions? Of late these visions don’t appear when I am asleep, they come in as random flashes, when I am working, reading or watching the television. I am spooked to no end. I cannot command something to appear or disappear or find someone or something that is missing. What I can view are sudden and random disconnected images.

Be it a friend meeting with a terrible accident, the death of a colleague from the past, the divorce of a couple who were deeply in love, road accidents. Every single time the vision has come true. At times, I am scared to close my eyes and sleep; I fear that once I fall asleep, I will get a clear vision of the death of closed ones.

How does one bear the burden of knowing the exact time when one would die???

How does one return home and face an elderly and ill parent in the knowledge that perhaps I would die before her?

What is the meaning of life??? I had to pen this down. My head needs some rest, some comfort. The voices, the visions, the madness, one fine day, it will all come to an end.
All I can do is pray, light a lamp and pray.

A Trip to Agumbe

At times one needs to break away from the monotony and rigour of day-to-day activities. The month of September was one of the busiest months in a long time. Professionally as I shifted roles and teams within the same organisation a lot happened. Meetings, meetings and more meetings seemed to sap my brain as I continued to churn out articles and started looking into social media marketing support and analytics as well. As all of you know I hate numbers unless they are increasing on my pay-slip and I seemed to be swimming in a whirlpool that kept dragging me down. OK enough of self-pity, let us come to the crux of the matter with a post on a trip that just happened over a WhatsApp chat! How cool is that?

Well the good souls in CBC planned a trip to Yercaud that got cancelled as more and more souls backed out citing various reasons. I too could not commit as the big guns from the USA and the UK had landed up in office and quite a few discussions were happening over a ten-day period. So it came to a point where a long weekend loomed ahead as we celebrated the birthday of the father of the nation on October 2 and the prospect of watching reruns of lousy movies on TV and getting nagged by Amma to start on furniture re-arrangement chores, I buzzed fellow Wolf Pack brother Nirmal and asked him what he was planning for the long weekend ahead! Agumbe was the magical word he uttered and thus was born the plan to go hunting for the elusive King Cobra.

With full credit to the power of the internet, online ticket booking services, KRSTC and unreliable payment gateways, bookings were made for the travel. Not for the faint-hearted or the ones looking for spic and span public restrooms, the plan was – CMBT to Majestic, Majestic to Shimoga and Shimoga to Agumbe by bus. The return trip was planned in a similar fashion.

So on Thursday night after roti and subzi at Mansukhs and buying Khakras (that would prove a life-saver), I proceeded to CMBT. We waited amidst the fragrance of jasmine, piss, frying samosas; and various perfumes and deos worn by some really lovely women and their bodyguards! The Airavat bus was on time and after the ticket verifications we boarded the bus. Good fun as we caught up on things that happened in the interim that had happened in our lives. “All izz well” says Nirmal and I am happy for him ( Only Bragadeesh and Ganesh) will understand this methinks! :)

With my blasted diabetes in the future rearing its ugly head in the present, I utilized the opportune bus stops to ease myself. Seriously getting scared! But then life has to go on! “Innaiki saetha, naalaiki paal”!!! <If you die today, they pour milk into your mouth tomorrow!>

We were in Majestic at least 25 mins before schedule, we walked slowly towards the terminal where the Shimoga bus would arrive. Nice place, some dogs lying there, a tea shop, milk boiling, definitely cleaner than CMBT. The public restrooms had a charge and were consequently marginally better maintained. So after a quick wash, dump, toot-brushing activity in turns to take care of our respective bags, we then proceeded to have coffee and tea with buns. There is something fascinating about the milk in the smallest shops in Bangalore the coffee and tea tastes infinitely better and the buns as soft and sweet as… (Well let me not go into it..)

The KSRTC Elite bus came and we boarded it and after a minor delay as a gang of college kids waited for another kid to come in the bus finally started. Enroute at one of the Kamath Group restaurants a quick breakfast. Idly vadai and dosa followed by coffee again!! We then continued our journey, some fascinating scenery and “Rama, Bhama, Shama” the Kannada remake of Balu Mahendra’s classic comic act – “Sati Leelavati” played.

We reached Shimoga at about 2:15 PM. A quick enquiry revealed that the private buses headed towards Manipal and Managalore would be our best options. So to ensure that we captured the sunset in the evening we boarded a mini-bus headed to Manipal. Snacked on the Methi khakras and enjoyed the scenic two-hour ride that deposited us at Agumbe a picturesque little village at around 4:30 PM. We walked to the Mallya Residency and met the proprietor Mr. Mallya and went to our room. Pleasant weather with a mild chill in the air.

Quick wash, solar heaters ensured hot water, then coffee and tiffin and we proceeded to Sunset point and a walk into a rain forest close by. Good fun :)

The next day was quite hectic as we covered visited a waterfall deep into the rainforest, after a long drive, a long trek into the forest and some fascinating pictures as we met a gang of guys from Bangalore and a young couple a boy from Kerala and a girl in Bangalore travelling together. The young couple were the cynosure of all eyes and once I started speaking in Malayalam they started chatting as well. At times, one realises how this generation of youngsters live life on their own terms. The young boy named Kannan is an amazing photographer and he carried a professional Canon camera fixed with a huge tamron lens, saw some of his work and was mind-blown!!! The girl is named Aarya and is it began pouring and the guys smoked, she shocked everyone by lighting up a cigarette as well. Kannan and I stared at each other like long lost brothers as the others joked that – “You guys don’t smoke, don’t drink, jump off the mountains.”

At one point in the trek we had to cross a fast moving stream and despite my best efforts I slipped and took a tumble. I got up removed my shoes and tried and fell again – Dhamaar – Everyone got scared and Nirmal who had moved ahead of me was shocked on suddenly seeing me nowhere in his line of sight when he turned around. As I saw stars, the moon and memories of many lives from the past, I decided to sit like a monk and wait there on the rocks as others attempted the final surmount. Thankfully all was well and just one leech managed to bite me as the good souls at Mallya Residency gave us a powerful mix of castor oil, tobacco and other herbs which worked brilliantly.

It was pouring like crazy as our vehicle took us to Someshwar and we stopped for a late lunch. A downright cranky hotel owner but amazing meals – Parotta kurma, rice, sambar, cabbag kootu pickles and curd, but no bloody paapad!!! Mind blowing taste of the hot rice mixed with powerful rasam that warmed the cockles of my heart. Great fun! Nirmal proceeded to have ice cream which he relished like a five year old school boy :)

We reached Agumbe and our room my shoes were completely wet. My barefooted yatra started and we visited Kundadripura Hill atop which an ancient Jain temple still exists. Here we met a lovely old couple. A gentleman also named Mr. Mahesh about 65 years of age and his wife an elegant woman who oozed such charm and positivity. She ran like a school girl to capture the setting sun. We spoke and she said how she had visited Kailash and was a regular on the Himalayan trail but age was now catching up with her!

At that moment I decided, to hell with the madness of work every year, I am doing four trips every year. Next trip is mostly going to be either Silent Valley or Trivandrum and Kanyakumari.

Fun-filled day, relaxed with the other guys from Banagalore in our rooms. I slept early while the party went on late into the night! Oh and did I mention Swami’s house in Malgudi Days if you remember the TV show from eons ago. Well that house “Dodda Manne” still stands and is a tourist highlight of sorts.

The next morning we proceeded to Sringeri and reached there by 830. Long walk within the temple compound, satisfying darshan and lots of prayers, lots of clicks, peace, calm, serenity and contentment.

Quick breakfast and we board a bus to Shimoga and to our shock the conductor says 4 hours to Shimoga. Our bus from Shimoga to Bangalore was at 3 PM and we were not going to make it at any rate. Great moments of confusion bring unexpected solutions. Quick thinking by Nirmal and two others, we got down, took an auto to Agumbe and sharp at 1 PM a bus left Agumbe, we kept praying our fingers crossed and reached Shimoga at 2:55. Imagine my plight dhoti tied around my waist held in place by my dependable five year old leather belt, balancing bags and DSLR and following Nirmal who ran like an athlete into the bus terminus.

Ultimate comedy was when the area earmarked for KSRTC Deluxe Buses to Banagalore was empty. Our first fear was the bus had left sharp on time. Then we found out it was late! Happa!!! Relaxed, went into the changing room and shifted to the dependable cargos that I cherish. Walked out with a smile on the face and picked up some of the finest masala vegetable buns and a decent set of vegetable puffs from the Shimoga terminus. The masala vegetable bun was delicately flavoured with herbs and I regretted not picking up some more. Nirmal was finally relaxed as both of us were sure we would miss our bus from Shimoga. All iss well boss all iss well!!!!

We realized that this was a totally different route that the bus took and we seemed to be driving for ages and there was no stop in sight and a mind-numbingly horrid comedy movie titled Rambo with a pig named Rambo playing a major role taxed our brains on the long journey back. Rains started as well and it was pouring. Finally the bus stopped somewhere in front of a nice hotel. Piss-break and back to the restaurant for piping hot coffee and five molaga bajiis combo for Rs 35 was a brilliant deal. Back on the bus as Akshay Kumar pulverized baddies in “Gabbar”.

After Tumkur the traffic snarls started and we finally reached Majestic at 9:45 PM. Quick auto ride to Shanti Nagar depot, Idlies at Adayar Ananda Bhavan in Bangalore. Picked up Dharwad Peda for office folks. Waited in the terminus for the bus to arrive. Bus arrived, boarded, fell asleep! Got up once when the bus stopped, usual task done, boarded the bus. This was a full sleeper bus and got up whe we crossed Sri Perumbudur. Arrived at CMBT, we shook hands and proceeded back to regular office life.

Total cost per head worked out to around 4k including stay and travel. If you plan well in advance and book train tickets for most of your travel, you can cut down further on the costs.Room at Agumbe was just 500 a night. Decent room, LCD TV with DTH and hot running water. Only hitch other than BSNL no other network provider has connectivity here. So carry a mobile phone with a BSNL SIM card.

Pictures to be posted later, because I have already delayed for eons to post this and further delay will invoke the wrath of the travel gods!!!

A Mirror unto the Soul

Things are not really good,
Are they?
The monotony of existence,
Worries me to no end.
As friends have pointed out,
In recent times,
My mask has come off.
This pretence no longer works.

Someone whom I have known,
For just three months,
She looked straight into my eyes,
And said, “Mahesh, you are a depressed soul”.
Her honesty struck me like a thunder bolt.
No one has ever told this to me before.
As I tried my best to remain calm.
I wondered how true her statement was?

But what is the cause of this depression?
I am not going hungry,
I am not caught in a civil war,
And attempting to flee,
Across the desert and the sea.
What is the cause of this melancholy?
Life is but transient.
People who are with us now,
May cease to exist the moment after.
And we need to come to terms with this truth.

I plan to be part of a trip,
Then something else crops up,
Eventually the whole trip goes kaput.
I plan a pilgrimage with family and friends,
And that too goes kaput.
Perhaps the Lord feels my presence,
Shall depress him and his faithful.

In between all this-
I seek for meaning,
Purpose and direction in life.
I seek some clarity,
In what is the purpose of this birth?
All the visions,
Cannot just be illusions.
There has to be some method,
In this madness that afflicts me.

When was the last time,
I smiled or laughed,
From my heart?
I look back at my life.
I look back in wonder,
At how I survived.
Now after all the pain,
All the choices that I made.
There is no looking back.

As I battle my inner demons,
Seek to create some semblance
Of a social life,
I realise I am too old.
The young men and women,
Of this generation,
Are frank and honest.
They are like wise seers,
Who speak from another-
Dimension of time.

There is a tinge of pain,
A bit of regret,
Of having wasted the,
Youth of my life.
When people trust me,
With their innermost fears,
Seek advice and help,
I try my best to help them,
They are happy and go away comforted.
I feel happy that I could help them.

Perhaps that is the purpose,
Of this life,
To remain the guardian,
The proverbial brother,
Philosopher, friend and guide,
And nothing more than that,
A gentle flame,
That burns gently,
Of the wick of a lamp,
Shining slowly,
And dying in its own glow,
One final time…….

Author Tour – Kavipriya Moorthy

Dear readers,

It gives me immense pleasure to introduce first-time novelist Kavipriya Moorthy to all of you.

Her first book “I don’t wear Sunscreen” brought out through Notion Press is an interesting take on modern relationships, obsessions and the value of true friendships.

Do buy the book.

A small interview with her is given below.
Your favourite novelist?
Nicholas Sparks. I loved his “the notebook” and I admired every word of the movie. He is one main reason that I started to understand how nice it is to read than watch a movie. He captures minute emotions very well.
How important is pain for creativity?
Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. In my case, I was suffering even before I could make out am in pain. Like a sudden storm, Life turned upside down and I was zeroed. Dad’s support gave me enough strength to live life plain. Its my pen that gave me solace and made room to enjoy solitude. Cried through pen and it made me feel better. I thought, this might be of use to someone and it did work well.

Buy the book from Amazon.

Good luck to you Kavipriya for your next book.

The role of your friends in the book seeing light of the day.
A lot. It was one of my friend who pinned out my talent. Its always been friends at every walk of my life. Am pretty grateful to each of them who stood right there supporting me.

Insights for aspiring novelists.
It doesn’t take high fantasy or a life beyond life itself to write a novel. It can be about anything or anyone. Ensure the manuscript crossed few trustworthy friends, who will provide inputs to shape the novel. Keep writing whenever you feel like writing without any force.

When can we look beyond chick-lit and pseudo crime fiction?
I don’t really have an answer. I still have years to go, I see good difference in me from my first novel. The plot I have picked is a very good leap. Only time can answer, but definitely we will look beyond the common genres.

Your next book.
My next book is a plot that I trust much on. Its a psychological thriller that revolves around Indian astrology, OMR road and murders. The plot is interesting to me; am doing enough research to make it interesting. I hope this book will give me a benchmark.

Long Exposure – A Writing Prompt –

The Daily Writing Prompts can be quite fascinating and can be quite boring and pedestrian as well. The latest prompt is – “Long Exposure”. Friend and fellow blogger “Aratrika” has a nice take on the prompt. I read it and felt well perhaps its time to dust the cobwebs ofthe blog and start writing.

The theme that we need to expound on – “Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?”

There was nothing much to think on this. I could only write about my mother. She is the person whom I have known and lived for the longest time together. Let me give you a brief overview of the complexity of upbringing that I underwent. I lived with my dad and mother for a very short span of time probably till I was about five years old. Then one fine day, my mother and I boarded a train and travelled far into the night to land in an alien city and began living with my mother’s elder brother. I hardly remember my dad during these years. This was also the time when I met my sister who was enrolled in the Army School in the city there.

Over the years, I observed how everyone took my mother’s simple and humble nature to their advantage. She literally worked as a slave cooking, washing, caring for the aged elders. It pains me to no end today, when I have grown up and realize that how my timid and unassuming mother toiled away without expecting anything in return. It was a kind of self-imposed punishment that she chose to give to herself as she was at the mercy of her brother for the safe future of her two children – my sister and I.

To the credit of my uncle, he ensured that the two of us had a proper childhood with all the usual luxuries and punishments that make a lower middle class life fun in India.

As the years passed and my dad in one last ditch effort to reconcile sent us tickets to join him in a remote corner of the country. Once again mother and son boarded a train and travelled far into the night and landed in another city. The city was not alien and neither was the language. It was as if Madras was waiting for me to land and unleash its madness at us and make a man out of the small boy who landed at the station one sultry summer evening.

Of seeing incompatible people attempting to make one last try at making some sense of a marriage that was wrong on every count. A 15 year old girl who had been married away to a Naval cadet. A life that was only pain, toil, tears and anguish. At times I wonder how my mother managed to survive. It was her unflinching desire to see both her children safe and secure that drove her to grit her teeth and continue.

As I worked on an assorted set of odd jobs during school and college, from selling snacks to supplying packed food and taking tuition classes, I still marvel at my mother’s attitude to life. Her prayers, her devotion to all the Gods and Goddesses who adorned the walls of the makeshift-pooja room in a corner of the kitchen. My rising anger at these divine powers, my intense pursuit of self-enquiry, my test of fire, my travails and tribulations as I stood at the brink of complete lunacy as I lost sense of time and place. The intense recovery process, the lost years of my life, I keep wondering how my mother could handle so much pain and still be thankful to God. Then one day realization to a gentle extent happened and life became simpler. Dad walked out of our lives and we began living life on our own.

As the scars of these years gone by haunt my mother and trouble her in the form of many ailments. I try my best to remain calm and be thankful to the Lord for all the mercies granted. Physically and emotionally my mother has weakened a lot. But I have become stronger and if I could, I could transfer all my energy to her, if only I could, if only I could, if only I could….

One day the leaf will fall from the branch and float down to the gentle earth. Till that day, please be gentle to the leaf my Lord, please be gentle!