She – Ekla Cholo Re

First a due apology: I’m extremely sorry to the author for taking too long to read the book. Due to some personal reasons, I was unable to read the book and review it; I seek your forgiveness for that.
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she
The Book
Set in 90’s Calcutta, Raj meets Kusum(the protagonist) on a highway and gives her lift. On the way, Kusum pours her heart out to reveal that she is a transgender. The story then turns out a conversation between Raj & Kusum, where Kusum reveals her struggle to find her identity in a society which considers there are only two genders: male and female.

Writing Style
Most of the book happens in conversation, so the writing style is conversational and lucid. It is also the shortest book I’ve read till date: it is total fifty-eight pages and if you exclude the introduction & author’s profiles, the book is merely forty pages long; but that doesn’t mean one would want to skip the introductions about the authors.

An unconventional but important storyline is the strongest point of the book, but on the last page I sincerely felt that the book could have been made longer and better by delving more into the protagonist’s life. The short length of the book makes it like a sneak peek through a hole into a forbidden room.

Whereas the book scores high in the story and the ease of read, I felt that the book requires more proofreading. Few things I found distracting were: improper tenses, its vs it’s error, dead words, and not maintaining parallel structure.

So, for me She – Ekla Cholo Re was an interesting, unconventional, and a heart-touching read. The topic the author has picked is worth applauding. I recommend the book to everyone; because it’ll make you ponder over the stereotypes of the society which somehow inflict our own brains, too. So go ahead and fetch yourself a copy to adorn your bookshelf. But be warned, this book will make you think!

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

A Typish Story

typewriter‘Hello, Uncle.’ I extended a greeting to the typist cum sales manager cum owner of a small document shop.

‘Haan. Hello!’ He replied while straightening his body on the tattered wooden chair he had been reclining after a lunch.

‘I’m looking for a typewriter,’ I asked. ‘Do you have one?’

‘A typewriter! Why do you require a typewriter?’

‘For typing, of course!’ I grinned.

‘See! Here!’ He tapped the keyboard of his computer and the dozing computer got back to life. ‘Does all, haan. Why would anyone still need a typewriter?’

I need a typewriter…

I need a typewriter because I’m fed up of sitting in front of a computer all day in the office.

I need a typewriter because when my family is asleep in the night, I want to creep into the next room and go rat-tat-tat, tat-tat, click! And see words forming on a paper.

I need a typewriter because I’m too lazy to write in a notebook and too fastidious to get distracted on a computer.

I need a typewriter for a better vocabulary.

I need a typewriter because then I’ll pause and think and type; rather than type, pause, think, delete, and retype – as in case of a computer.

I need a typewriter because words once typed are permanent.

I need a typewriter because hard drives are prone to errors, failures, and crashes.

I need a typewriter because it’s tangible and personal.

But, of course, I didn’t say any of this to the typist cum sales manager cum owner. Rather I said, ‘Anyways, thank you, uncle.’ And left the shop.

***

Meanwhile, here is what I found on youtube: a typewriter renaissance slowly picking up in few corners of the world. But would you prefer a typewriter to a laptop for writing?

You’ll Change in the New Year

mona

Wherever you are, whoever you are – rich, poor; young, old; lady, or gentleman – one thing you are going to confront soon is that this year too has ended.

The calendar will change: the date, month, and year will change. But if we look at it another way, nothing is actually going to change. The days will be same, you’ll be the same person, and the things will be same – at least they won’t change because the year has changed. Then why do we celebrate the New Year, or why do we even have new years?

In this technologically burdened life, we are busier than ever. In this race of staying connected, we have been slowly departing from our own self. We are losing the connect with our soul; I feel this, and maybe you also feel so, sometimes.

So isn’t it wonderful that we have events – because that is what they have merely remained now, events – like New Year, Christmas, Holi, and Diwali that remind us that there is more to life?

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
~ T.S. Eliot

2015, for me, had been a great year, unlike 2012 which was a bad year. If you compare the calendars, these both years were same, but 2015 was a great year because the lessons of the previous years made me a better person. They taught me to consider each day a blessing and not overthink about the past or the future.

So to rephrase, things aren’t going to change, mostly. The days will be same, the months will be same, and the events will also be the same. But what will change is you. In the new year, you’ll be a better person, a better human. And that is what really matters in the end.

So, be prepared. You are about to change. Aren’t you?

Ufff! That Smart Lady!

lady
A philosopher friend always preaches: ‘It doesn’t matter who you are but how you see yourself.’ If you ask me, I would rather chirp only after consulting the wife.

Nonetheless, I see myself as a brave, bold man. Yes, I do. When I look into a mirror, my biceps and triceps grow out to octaceps, and my protruding belly doesn’t resemble a piglet’s, as my friends often remark, rather it is a multi-packed assortment – way ahead of a gym instructor’s six-packs.

However, last month I had a very peculiar experience. No, not that I had to part with a hefty sum of my hard-earned money, but a sweet, intelligent lady outwitted my smartness, and cracked my pride. The only fact that still haunts me is that I had never known her before I received that phone call. But what an angel she was! I tell you!

If you trust my sense of judgement, she was 5’6’’; had long, black hair; pointed nose, and wore an extra large Bindi. And she had that slurry, deep voice that could make a man yearn for a mug of whiskey.

And she had that slurry, deep voice that could make a man yearn for a mug of whiskey.

I picked up the unknown number.
‘How are you, Sirrr?’
O, that rise and fall of the syllables! I thought it was someone I’ve intimately known in the past, but I couldn’t remember.

‘Who is this?’
‘Sirrrr, this is Sheila.’ [The identity of the caller has been intentionally revealed because there is nought a chance that Sheila would sue me.]
‘From the I See.You See.We all See bank.’ She added.

‘Ha…Hi….Hi, miss Sheila. What a fine day!’ I responded excitedly. For that lady, I tell you, had greatly stirred me by then.
‘Sirr, I just checked in the system and your credit card has been blocked. All right sir?’
‘Funk!!! When did that happen?
‘Let me check the system, sir. Can I put you on hold for a minute?’
‘Sure, sure, miss Sheila!’

And then a soothing symphony was played while the butcher sharpened her axe.
The line came alive after quick two minutes.

‘Ya, sir. Was it last Wednesday you bought something worth 5000 at Toys & more?’
‘Right, right!’
‘And then you paid 1535 at the Ghazal Bar?’
‘Right, right. So what do I do now?’
‘Ok, Sir. I’ll help you out.’ she added. ‘Tell me the number on the front of your card.’
‘Hold on!’ I immediately ran and fetched the credit card, for lovely miss Sheila. ‘Yes note it…’
‘Thank you, sir.’ She remarked. ‘You are kind!’
‘Mmmm… ya, ya!’

‘Now the three digit on the back of your card, sir’
‘But I’m not supposed to give it to anyone…?’
‘But you surely can give it to the bank na, sir?’
‘O, ya, ya. Note it….’

And a flurry of messages flooded my cell phone.

‘Wait! Sheila! Why’s money getting deducted from my card?’
‘It’s normal sir. I told you, there is some error in your card. Don’t worry, the amount will be reverted within next 72 hours.’

Then, two three transactions later, lovely Miss Sheila started laughing heartily. And then the line went dead.
I have been calling that unknown number since, but it is still switched off.
I’m confident it is cell operator’s fault.

Eighteen: The End of Innocence by Sudham

Eighteen the end of innocenceWe’ve all been through it, and we remember it as one of the most cherished part of our life – the time when our teenage gives way to adulthood, the time when we try to live out our whimsies. This is a phase out of which none of us comes out clean. But then, as adults, we all term it as ‘experiences.’

It is 1990 and Raghu & Aadi, both teenagers, are high on life. One day Raghu starts getting mysterious blank calls, an ordeal of which brings him in touch with Shalini – a girl from his coaching who has also been getting similar calls. Before they could find out the culprit, they find themselves deep in love. And then the story takes you through the fun and anxiety of being a teenager.

Eighteen the end of innocence is a story of each one of us.

Eighteen the end of innocence is a story of each one of us. I’m sure there is some part of you in there. I found mine in Raghu & Aadi.
For me, the book was intriguing and a page turner. Keeping in view his audience, the author has intelligently kept the language simple and sentences short. One can easily finish it in a single sitting.
Sudham
My only grouse with the book is proofreading. Between the pages, I felt that the book requires more editing. I found problems with the language like exclamation marks not doing their job, dead adjectives, and sometimes the punctuation was not right. I feel better editing could have led the book to another league.

I highly recommend the book to the lovers of YA Fiction. I think they would not want to miss this compelling read.

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Devil won’t let me Sleep!

DevilI had been snoring pleasantly till that little devil – a house fly – came out of nowhere and started buzzing around my ear. The room was black, except for a filtered glow through the curtain by the window. And soon the devil landed on my nose and started singing: Hmmmm, Mmmmm, Nmnmnmmmm….

I jerked and turned and didn’t want to quit my warm quilt and my lazy slumber. I treated the fly as a harmless creature; the fly had a somewhat similar impression of me, too.

This ordeal continued for minutes, or maybe an hour–I don’t remember–but soon it was beyond my forbearance and my subconscious kicked my conscious: enough! I forced myself to wake up, determined to have blood on my hands, if only I had a gun under my pillow.

The moment I rose, the fly took off and landed on the curtain.

She rubbed both her front legs and winked and screamed at me, ‘Come on, catch me if you’ve guts!’

I shook the curtain and the devil landed on the nearest wall and started bouncing there.

Pondering over my helplessness, I sat there thinking of ways I could rid of the devil. But soon pulled the quilt and slept with my entire body covered up to the head.

The fly charged again, only with a louder chirp this time: Zzzzzzzzmmmm, Mmmmm, Nmnmnmmmm…. And I woke up in a raze, determined to not spare her this time. But my rumble had caused discomfort to other creatures lazying in the room, and the wife turned and begged to let her sleep, which spared the fly her precious life.

I was helpless: the fly won’t let me sleep, and my wife won’t let me kill the fly. So I left the room with a heart full of vengeance – for the fly, for the fly, of course – determined that the little devil won’t have a tomorrow. But then I forgot….

Sorry, I Sneaked into my Daughter’s Diary

Sneaking

Yesterday I was relaxing and daydreaming about my life many years ahead, and I could conjure up startling things. And I thought why not utilize this short-lived blessing and future-sneak into my daughter’s diary. Here is what I got to read:

‘Funny Daddy’
Date: 06.Sept.2022

I have a funny dad. No, not that he cracks jokes all the time, or has a funny face, but he is funny due to peculiarity in everything he does. But, be warned, he is a serious kind of man who would wail warm tears if he knew I had flunked in social studies, or have a boyfriend; though, I have none.

Now I’m going through this family album and, look, here, in this photograph dad is standing on a hillock with a stick in his hands and looking pensively towards south-east whereas the photographer had been pointing at him from south-west.
You got my point? No?

Let me show you another photograph. No, not this one, because here he is posing in a fearful grimace squatting next to a black dog, and I don’t like it.

Here it is!
A photograph of mom and dad together. Both seated on a sandy beach. Mom smiling full-faced at the photographer, whereas daddy pensively looking down at the ice-cream melting onto his hand, giving an expression that he could have bought other flavour instead.

In fact, if you go through our entire family album, my dad never seems to have fun. He never seems to enjoy life.

In fact, if you go through our entire family album, my dad never seems to have fun. He never seems to enjoy life.

Nowhere in the entire album he could be seen jumping high into the sky with all his limbs outstretched as far as possible, or skydiving with a raised thumb, or making those rockstar-fingers at the camera. Everywhere he is like a hard boiled egg dropped out of oblivion.

But the truth is: he is humble, yes he is. Like when we have a guest at home he would yell at my mom, ‘Get one tea!’ and continue the conversation with a confidence that my mom would meekly obey and bring a nicely brewed tea. However, when we don’t have guests around, he would ask mom, ‘My dearest, could you please make a tea for me?’
So you see, he is humble.

And he is honest. Like yesterday morning he woke up and went straight to the mirror and started feeling his teeth with the tip of his finger. When I asked him what he was up to, he replied, ‘Nothing, just had a fist fight in a dream last night.’ So he is honest, too.

Then he is fun loving. Surprised? But he is. I swear! Like only yesterday he came slouching into the drawing room and told mama something in the ear and she started laughing like a drain, and daddy sat there glancing foolishly at her. And when she didn’t stop laughing, he got up and said, ‘It wasn’t a joke!’ and fled the scene. So you see, he is funny. Isn’t he?

But I don’t care how he is. He is my daddy, and that is enough reason for me to love him.
He is calling me, so I’ve got to go.
See ya!

***

This future-sneak into my daughter’s diary made me proud of her. But right now she is about to turn one and half, and has been working extremely hard at her writing.
Here is what she wrote yesterday:

kitz

You liked that? I knew, you would.