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Tuesday, 25 September 2012


‘It's just a trip….why are you getting so excited about it?’ yelled Rye at Abhi’s constant bickering.
‘It is not just a trip….it is a trip where you want to go alone and that too with your friends, and I feel it is not safe enough for you…and above all I can’t stay without you alone for 10 days….Do I ever leave you alone to go away with friends? I don’t understand how you can be so selfish….?’ Abhi lashed back and let the question hang in the space between them!
Rye could feel the tears sting her eyes….was it very selfish to demand some space in a marriage….and what was wrong in going on a trip with friends…. She loved Abhi alright but that did not mean she had to go everywhere with him and take him along with her in every vacation she took….she felt suffocated and ill….a dull headache kept throbbing at her temples! At times Abhi seemed the most insensitive person to be with….although he was quite modern in the treatment of women, in general, and his wife, in particular….at times he behaved in a strange and conservative manner….the reasoning he provided for all this behaviour seemed to be coming out of a 50 year old person and not from a man of today.
Rye felt frustrated because she could well understand that her trip will never materialize now…..all her plans got wasted and above all she will lose face in front of her friends….everyone will tag her husband conservative and narrow minded….there were other friends in her group who were married and whose husbands were not holding them on a leash….It was not that Abhi was dominating but at times he was just difficult, too difficult even to approach! Theirs was an arranged marriage, but love happened soon enough. The parents met first, and then the couple. Abhi and Rye decided to go around for some time before taking the plunge. Both families were ok with it. Within a short span of 6 months they started liking each other, so much so that they could not wait to get married. They conveyed their feelings to their parents, who in turn fixed dates, booked halls and the marriage got solemnised in the presence of both the families, their extended relatives, friends, family friends, friends of friends, siblings and the like!
They were now into a year of their marriage and this was by far their biggest argument till date! Abhi was feeling bad for having lost his temper with Rye and sensing her tears he came to sit beside her and put a hand lovingly on her shoulder. That touch was enough to infuriate Rye further. She jerked his hand off and stood up straight to face him. Her face a weird concoction of pain, insult and irritation, which she voiced in the following words: ‘I should have never married you in the first place….you are the biggest reason behind all my problems…Why am I expecting you to understand me and my relation with my friends….?? You have never had any real relation throughout your life. Your parents left you on your own when you were little, they thought it was better to lead their own lives without you…… it was nice of your father’s friend to adopt you, give you a name and a home…..and the people you call relatives are their relatives not yours….all of them pity you. Do you hear me…..they all pity you….A person who does not have any blood relations to call his own… can I expect such a person to be sensitive towards me?’ taking it all out of her she thumped back on the bed and almost immediately the realization of her words dawned on to her. Slowly she glanced sideways at Abhi; his face was red with insult….. He was hurt and pained. How could she do this? ‘Abhi….I….I didn’t mean to….’ She tried to cover up but Abhi stood up saying ‘It’s alright! Don’t bother!’ and walked out of the room.
This was the problem with Rye…..once she lost her temper she could resort to any means to justify her actions. Now she ended up hurting Abhi beyond imagination could ever reach. There was nothing made up in what Rye had just pointed out….this truly was Abhi’s life. But strangely enough, these events in his life has shaped him as a human being and made him more sensitive to human relations and feelings. He loved his foster parents more than anything else and they too returned his love with equal attention and affection, same was the case with his foster siblings…..that fact that Abhi was not one of their own was never discussed and they had probably forgotten about the whole thing and Rye would have never come to know of it, had Abhi not told her about it before their marriage was fixed. And today she just crossed her limit…..she betrayed his trust and lost more than just his faith! She knew the look on Abhi’s face and understood that he was not open to any kind of discussion now…..maybe she should go away for a day or two to her parents and let this thing rest a little. This seemed to be a good idea for the moment.
She walked up to Abhi to declare: ‘I think I should visit Ma for a day or two, I have not been there for a long time….’ Abhi sat still and muttered listlessly ‘As you wish….’ and then immersed himself in his work. Rye was not expecting this cold a reaction….she felt sad from within. Like always a part of her wanted him to stop her but she had managed to hurt him so much that he had actually turned cold….the thought scared her. She quickly returned to her room and dialled her mother’s number.
‘Ma….it’s me here’ she started the dialogue. ‘Rye…I was thinking about you just now….you remember Savita mashi….she has come to visit us now….you remember she had two sons….how she wanted you to marry any one of them….but you anyhow settled for Abhi…..’ carried on Rye’s mother without any second thoughts or even taking a breath. Rye interrupted her abruptly, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you saying all this even after my marriage? Abhi is a very nice person and I’m happy with him….don’t forget that…’
‘Accha achha…ok, I will not say any such thing…tell me what is it? You are calling at this hour on a Sunday means you must have had a fight with Abhi….Do you want to come over now? Although it is a nice thing that you want to come and visit, but the thing is that Savita mashi will be staying here with us for a couple of days, her husband has also come….and you know that we don’t have many rooms, all I’m saying is that since you have become used to living in big homes now, you may find this space small and uncomfortable. But we are your own people, so you can come any day, ok?’ added her mother hastily. ‘It’s ok, Ma…I was calling just to check on you and baba…..I will call you later, I think….bye & take care!’ replied Rye mechanically! ‘Bye then….will call you when I’m a little free, ok? ....You take care too!’ responded her mother and the phone shut with a click. That’s it….that was all it was….thought Rye. She felt hollow from inside, it was as if someone had cored her insides out and left her vacant!
It is not that parents stop loving you or something but after a point they tend to grow a little selfish, especially after settling their children in marriages. Maybe they feel that they have completed their biggest duties and responsibilities, and they can think a little bit more about themselves and spend time on their own…. There is nothing right or wrong about it, everyone has a right to live their own lives. It’s just that, as humans, we are somehow not built to accept the fact that parents may also want some space and time of their own. No matter how much any one grows up in age, stature or in life, do children ever grow over the need of parents? I guess not….!! Insensitivity and lack of love from the whole world can be handled but not from your parents….This was exactly what Rye was thinking. She felt hurt and alone. She thought this was her apt punishment for misbehaving with Abhi….what did she say to him… ‘Blood relations of his own’ ….and where exactly did she stand now? She felt so belittled by her own thoughts….
Sensitivity to another person’s feelings has nothing to do with blood relations….it is the relation of one heart with another that makes one person sensitive towards the other!
She dragged herself to Abhi’s study and just stood there staring at him, hoping he would look up once. Eventually he did look up and immediately saw remorse etched all over Rye’s face. ‘I’m so sorry, Abhi!’ was all she could mutter….! Having been exposed to a myriad set of emotions from a very early age, Abhi knew remorse when he saw it. He came over at once, although he was still hurt, he tried to read her thoughts.
‘It’s ok….what happened? Why are you crying again?’ he enquired! ‘I’m so sorry, Abhi for what I said….It was hasty of me to react in such a way…’ added Rye. ‘What happened? Did Ma say something….?’….but how did he know that Rye was hurt by her mother’s behaviour? Was it so obvious? Or did he know her so well? She stared intently at him; sensing her confusion he led her to the bedroom and made her sit beside him…. ‘You know that she doesn’t mean to hurt you….she must have said it without much thought, as usual!’ comforted Abhi. Rye nodded in approval without saying anything…… she was trying to grasp the meaning to a lot of things now!
The space between them was getting leaden with grief and tears! Abhi had lost the love of his parents at an age when children usually learn to talk. For some strange reason, which his Papa never discussed with him, neither of his biological parents wanted to take his responsibility. They parted ways in their marriage and left little Abhi at their friend’s place, never to return ever. He was lucky to have found his foster parents, Mamoni and Papa, who has filled his life with more love, care and affection than he could have ever expected or deserved. Mamoni, although, always emphasized that it was they, who were lucky enough to have Abhi as their son. He had learned quickly and quite well, how to preserve precious relations and keep loved ones closer to oneself. He quickly imagined himself in Rye’s place and understood why she had reacted so….although she did go overboard, but she can still be forgiven…he did love her after all! She was young, impulsive and adjusting to a new marriage and new surroundings and of course she loved him too….
Abhi tried to change the heavy mood and shifted closer to Rye to whisper in her ears ‘So…..? What next? Will you start worshipping me with kumkum and flowers for the being the perfect man that I am?’….Rye turned towards him, wiped her tears and smiled. ‘But…you are still not going for the trip….’ added Abhi on a lighter note now…. ‘That’s ok….lets catch a movie then….what say? Or do you have any better plans for the afternoon?’ quipped Rye with a heavy tear-stained voice and red watery eyes that were slowly showing signs of happiness…. ‘Actually….I do’ winked Abhi mischievously!!


Monday, 4 June 2012

Book Review: A Sinfully appealing Sin Tonight….

[Image Courtesy: Novosphere]

Title: How About A Sin Tonight?
Author: Novoneel Chakraborty
Publisher: Random House India

It will not be an exaggeration if I say that this book should come with the tagline: ‘Passion Redefined’: Passion of the characters in their own journey to find love and success and that of the author to describe subtle nuances of each character to bring out the best aspect in each.

The story deals with five characters: Shahraan—the living legend of the Hindi film industry; Reva and Neev—the strugglers in the unknown land of dreams called Mumbai; Nishani—the wronged celebrity kid and Kaash—the new heart-throb. These characters dish out their own versions of the film industry and their struggle to make a mark in it but in a way, which will leave you asking for more. As the story progresses, the reader is bound to be awed, surprised, happy, sad and angry at all these characters. In his own lucid style of writing, the author has woven together urbane and smart characters in a fluid narration of events. Peppered with some emotional as well as witty one-liners, this story will most certainly stay with the readers for a long time to come.

This is the third successful attempt by the young author, Novoneel Chakraborty, to yet again delve into the uncertain boundaries of human relationships. Needless to say, all the characters seem real and convincing enough to find glimpses of ‘you’ in them. The setting of the novel being our most beloved Film industry, you are sure to be treated with a journey of your lifetime through the happening lives of five protagonists. Each have their own story and thus a moral from their version of the story! I must say, this way of dealing with several versions of the same truth is worth applauding. Although young, the author has shown a sound maturity in dealing with characters completely different and bizarre in their own ways. And in that my friends, rest the actual essence of the story!

The end has not been penned down in black and white; rather the author has left the absolute end at the hands of the readers’ imagination! The book has been termed an emotional thriller, which will keep you on the edge till you reach the end! Personally, I could not concentrate on any other work, before I reached the culmination of all the five lives! The author has very cleverly used the back drop of the beaming Hindi film industry, which both serves as a bed of desires for the characters as well as the justification of the acts committed! All in all a power packed emotional soiree that tells the readers to expect more mind-blowing works from the author in future! How about another Sin tonight? ‘Why not….?’ Should be the answer!!

About the Author:

We know the author, Novoneel Chakraborty as the mind behind the two enormously successful novels, ‘A Thing beyond Forever’ and ‘That Kiss in the Rain’. With two novels in his kitty, the author has already made a score with his style of writing into the hearts of thousands all over the country. Another feather in his hat is a successful blog, known as ‘NovoSphere’ that features paragraph-anecdotes highlighting incidents on life, inspiration and a lot more. Currently he is also cruising into the waters of scrip-writing for the Hindi film industry. Based out of Mumbai, he is steadily making a mark all over the country and also beyond it with smart words and urbane characters!

Happy reading to all my blog friends and keep watching this space for more book reviews…

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ties that bind….

‘How are you feeling?’ asked Roshni. Ajay did as much as move his brow and looked up at her. He shrugged his shoulders and shot back at her ‘How should I feel? I’m fine…’

Unsure what she should say next, she lingered in the room a little bit more. Ajay got restless and shot her a questioning look along with a volley of questions, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you still standing here? Is the breakfast ready?’ ‘Oh yes…it is ready, I will lay the table… you come….’ replied Roshni and hurried back to the kitchen. Ajay was feeling irritated, more so at the sight of Roshni. He had never thought life would double-cross him in such a manner. He was the one, who had always called the shots in life. He was used to leaving behind others in pain for his actions, he never felt sorry for that; call it his arrogance, attitude or ego. That was how he was. Throughout his life, he had done what he wanted to do and in the process he has hurt many, including his loves ones, his parents, friends and many others. But today Life had dealt him a trump card. For the first time in his life he was confused.

He was confused of his emotions, he couldn’t figure out whether he was sad or happy or angry. His mother had called in the morning to inform him of his wife’s sudden death. It was there that he was headed to; his ex-home or the home of his ex-wife and children. The cremation rites must already in progress; his elder son had found no reason to wait for him and had specifically asked his grandmother to inform him that he should not hurry to reach their home, because he will not be allowed to touch his mother’s pyre in any case. He felt foolish now, remembering the way he reacted to the news of his wife’s death.

‘What about the property?’ he asked his mother almost instantly. His mother’s voice sounded heavy with crying. ‘My daughter has left everything to you and has also left a letter with me to give you.  You don’t need to come to collect it. We will courier all those to you!’ saying so, she disconnected the call. Ajay felt that someone had slapped him hard across the face. His wife, the wife whom he had left years back for another woman had given her property to him in charity. How dare she? He wanted to thrash her like old times to show her just how un-important she was to him. On top of that his parents referred to his wife as their daughter after disowning their only son…. How dare they? He wanted to yell and shout and leave them all alone, again. If only he could…. she was no longer around to take in all his abuse! At sober times, he had tried to judge his feeling for Neeti, his dead wife now. It was not that he hated her….. It was just that he was angry at being left behind to face the world. 

Roshni was at a loss of emotions it seemed. Her sole purpose of existence seemed pointless now. Since the news of Neeti’s death, she could not figure out, how exactly she should react. Who exactly was she? Was she just the other woman in Neeti’s life….the woman who had taken away all of Neeti’s happiness and her husband of 12 years. Was that the only relation she had with Neeti…..? She could still remember the shock and awe etched all over her sister’s face when she had discovered her relation with Ajay. Roshni was happy to have become the cause of pain in Neeti’s life, because she thought that justice was finally served and she was freed from a whole life of comparison with her elder sister. But it did not take her long to realize that she was wrong….justice was never meted out…Neeti always remained the favored daughter and later the favored and beloved daughter - in - law while she remained the outcast sibling and the other woman in her sister’s life.

She suddenly felt out of love with Ajay. Soon after he had moved in with her after leaving her sister, Roshni had realized that he was not a very pleasant person to be around. The only thing that was some solace to her was Neeti’s pain. She continued living in her own misery with the consolation that Neeti was also suffering. Roshni closed her eyes and concentrated on her present. With Neeti gone, maybe she could marry Ajay and start a respectable life….like everything else in her life Neeti had given her marriage to Roshni in charity. She did not feel particularly interested to marry Ajay now. The battle of Neeti’s refusing to divorce Ajay had become the driving force of her life. She had never thought that life could take a turn when she would have her opponent defeated even without a fight. She tried to remember the initial days of their courtship…..she tried to remember the extra love and care she displayed towards Ajay… the numerous times when she had shared his bed, thinking how punishing it will be for Neeti when she found another woman’s scent all over her bed. The act of making love took an almost devilish turn for her….with she being satisfied more because she was punishing Neeti. Ajay had become her way to take revenge on her elder sister.

What was her mistake actually…? Neeti had always loved her younger sister trying to make way for her in the world. She had gone out of her way to help her with her studies and with every other thing she did. But what she overlooked was the fact that in the process she was killing Roshni’s individuality…. She was all but reduced to Neeti’s shadow, a girl with a super genius and well behaved elder sister. From home to school and friends all had only one thing to tell her: ‘Hope you also grow up to be as good as Neeti!’ she hated it….she hated them all…her hatred became the most potent of her emotions, and she did all that she could to become completely opposite to her elder sister. She got the chance of her life, when Neeti had left her at their home to baby-sit her sons, while she attended some social event. Ajay was not supposed to return home that night, but a sudden change of plans made him return home in a completely sloshed condition. Roshni always recognized an opportunity when she saw one…. And this was one such opportunity!

She put Neeti’s children to sleep and entered Ajay’s room to untie the garb of her decency and the nuptial knot of her sister. That night sealed the future of everyone related to her. She changed all the equations and became the sole point of discussion of every member of the family and all her friends and neighbors. She had defeated Neeti; for once in her life people were more interested in her than in her elder sister! She could almost feel the joy of the triumph, staring outside the kitchen window now. But now…. what would she do now? Her life seemed to have taken a U-turn again…. And Neeti had again become the topic of discussion.

‘Where is the breakfast?’ hollered Ajay from the living room. Roshni was jolted back to her present, she quickly picked up the plate of breakfast she had prepared and headed outside the kitchen. ‘You Bitch! What took you so long? Don’t tell me you are sad because that whore is dead….!’ shouted Ajay at the top of his voice. Roshni looked at him with all the disgust that she could master….she was looking at the face of the man who was once her biggest weapon in her fight to attain her identity, now she felt irritated at his sight! She banged down the plate in her hand and yelled: ‘To hell with you and your food!’ crashing down the plate she walked towards her bedroom trying to pack her stuff and leave.

‘How dare you say that to me?’ shouted back Ajay and kept hurling abuses. She turned a deaf ear on him and started stuffing her clothes in a bag. Ajay could take it no longer and entered the bedroom to hammer some sense into her. He slapped her hard and started to hit her blindly, all the time shouting: ‘How dare you?’ ‘How dare you say this to me?’ ‘How dare you do this to me?’ and finally ‘How dare you die?’ that was it….. The last question gave her all the strength that she needed to stop him. She stood stiff and pushed Ajay with all her might. Ajay was taken by surprise and by the time he could react, she picked up her purse and ran out of his house!

Tears kept rolling down her cheeks and inflamed the regions of her face, which were bruised by Ajay. She quickly stopped a passing auto-rickshaw and gave the driver an address. By the time she reached her destination, she had started sobbing uncontrollably. It was, as if, she was crying for the first time in her life; all her hurt, all her hatred, all her pain and all her self-disgust came out in torrents of tears. She somehow paid the auto-rickshaw driver the fare and staggered inside the house, the same house that was once her sister’s happy home! She could feel all eyes on her and people pointing at her to discuss what she had done to her sister. All over the place she noticed people clad in white attires mourning slowly! Although she was not invited or in any way part of the surrounding, her grief had surpassed that of all others!

She could feel her mother come rushing towards her to stop her from entering. She stared at her mother’s aging face to think: ‘How old had she become’; the last she remembered her mother had looked quite pretty in a pink chiffon sari and pearls and now she was looking reed thin and almost lifeless….
‘What are you….’ started her mother and stopped midway to look at her surviving daughter’s face. Gone was the arrogance and the hatred, her face was bruised badly with swollen reddish-black marks and all over it repentance was etched. She stepped aside and did not stop Roshni from moving closer towards her sister. Roshni staggered and sat down with a thud beside her sister’s lifeless body. Neeti looked peaceful in death; with her forehead smeared with vermilion her face looked coy like that of a newly-wed bride. 

‘What have I done?’ wailed Roshni, too afraid to touch Neeti’s body lest she did something worse!

 [Image Courtesy:]