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And it begins?

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So far, whenever I have submitted my writings to a magazine, contest, literary agents or even publishing houses, all I received were rejections. Hence, when the submission to Spark Magazine was a go, I was too stunned to even react! It is only now after three rounds of edits, publication date having passed 48 hours and having refreshed their webpage for the September issue multiple times to confirm that it really happened, has the feeling sunk in that I have been published by a magazine! ❤ Thank you to the team at Spark! ❤

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Yayyyy! You see that? Now read it here!

I hope the run continues for a long, long time now and that every publish of mine, little or big, gets me as excited and makes me work as hard, like this one. There is no success sweeter than the one that requires the sweat rolling, not literally, of course!

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: Waiting for your feedback!

 

Of trails and travails.

Every once in a while, the city closes in upon you and you choose to run after the sereneness of the outskirts, the hill stations, the backwaters, the mountains, don’t you? I almost managed to do the same. I say managed because we had failed to acknowledge how many more would also be looking for sereneness there! I visited Dehradun and Mussoorie recently, and if you think this post is about how pretty the landscape is and quiet the hills are, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Ruskin Bond’s books were my mates while growing up and the writer is famed for basing his stories around these few towns in Uttarakhand. I was obviously excited about the trip on that account too – to find myself facing those shops, houses, to walk in the trails of woods and the warmth of the people he’s written about. But I’d forgotten about the two big words – commercialisation and globalisation. With the ease of access to the towns, better roads and influx of tourists, Dehradun no longer is the regular hill station – there’s nothing hilly about it, all flat land and roads marked by McDonald’s and Bengali sweet shops, malls and Park Avenue stores. We picked up drinks from a Tibetan township thinking it’s a concoction they’d brewed at their place only to find it spread all across shops later on. So much for trying to experience something local. Well, at least, I sort of learnt to use chopsticks from one of the diner owners in the Tibetan township. Sort of.

Mussoorie has a dual face though! It’s got the ups and downs of a hill station, the roads which allow vehicles but has no space to fit two of them side by side, a mall road – typical of hill stations, which seemed commercially successful and now stretches for almost 3 km with people flocking it all times, even as late as 10:30 pm at night. The mall road boasts of eateries, brands, shops selling insignia for surrounding hill stations to be carried back as mementos of the visit and countless shops selling the same clothes! But if you take a diversion from the mall road, you’ll find the cobbled roads intact, men and women silently going about their lives, no tourists in sight and the clamour of the mall road light years away! The peace, though short-lived, I was hoping for. I also found the quaint coffee shops that take you back 50 years ago at Landour, where Bond is supposed to reside currently. On further observation, I realise the town was being redecorated to capture the old world charm by Dharma Productions for a film. Well, at least this commercialisation is pleasant to the eye!

Oh and don’t even get me started on the waterfalls! They’re no longer natural. They’ve been cemented and structured to flow the way man wants them to, with water rides, fun activities, shops, tea stalls, changing rooms set close to the rock bed of the fall. Ain’t saying it’s bad, au contraire, it’s brilliant for the people who live there. It’s just not what Ruskin Bond had written about. And no longer the spot for a getaway for me.

I came away from the hills renewed, of course, but disappointed with what we had done to places remote and almost preserved naturally till a few years ago. The human touch, we should call it.

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While trekking in Mussoorie – away from Mall Road. The irony is that the trail led us to shops at the top of the trail.
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Dharma Productions crew at work.
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Yes, that’s a waterfall. It ain’t a swimming pool.
Graciously Yours!

TedX Adventures!

I was probably in school when I first heard of Ted talks from a relative. I didn’t pay much attention, after all you only retain about 20% of what you hear. (Research says so, not me. I’d peg it down to even much lower, considering how my requests at a certain workplace almost always fall on deaf ears.) I heard of a Ted talk next when I had to deal with understanding how a brain stroke had affected my father. After that, it felt like I was possessed. A window into a new realm had opened up for me. I could hear people talk about their experiences, learning, conventional thoughts, unconventional theories, the changes they’d made around them, the changes they’d undergone in themselves.

Two years ago, I attended my first TedX conference and it left me inspired for a couple of months, itching to do something different with my life. After that I started writing regularly, trying to be better at the one thing I enjoyed doing most – writing! Today, I am working on the last edits of my novel and look at the timing! Tomorrow I am attending my second TedX conference. The venue is the same, the organisers same but everything else’s changed. I am so much closer to realising my dream, my book might see the light of the day in just a few more weeks, or maybe months! Who knows? But I know it’ll happen. It has to.

Last week, A and I attended the TedX adventures lined up pre-event. A workshop on RJing and another on acting. Such eye-openers they were. Or if I were to be honest, they simply confirmed my suspicions! I’ve always loved the radio. It has been a constant for the past years in my life, through new stations, new RJs, even new cities. I have always admired the quips my favorite RJ comes up with but in the workshop I understood the creativity and work that goes on behind it, exciting to say the least! He needs to be making a point each time he’s on air and that is a tough ask. Considering how well, he does it, leaves me all the more impressed.

Oh and the acting workshop! Oh my! A has always been interested in movies and acting so it was meant to be the one for him. But me? Oh I can do the amateur dramatics required for April Fools and emotional blackmails but emoting on cue? I suck at it! There was a point when the mentor was pushing me to be angry and I tried so hard that I ended up laughing. A was standing across the hall from me and he later told me my face was blank at that instant, in place of anger. But people who’ve seen me angry know that it shows on my face. Just not on cue. After my two seconds of embarrassment, even the mentor realized he’d better spend time working on others. And I will only say this once, but maybe I should stop calling out which of the Bollywood stars can act and can’t. They sure do a better job than I would have.

I guess I could always write the scripts for the actors. Someone needs to do that too, eh!

More updates on TedX adventures coming soon!

Graciously Yours!

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Bloodied Hell.

Theresa sat across the table from her boyfriend, Brandon. She lightly patted his hands. She looked at them. His nails were chipped, chewed at in places. There were patches of blue around his nails. She looked up at him and then looked away. She needed to be sure.

“Will you now tell me where have you been all these days? Or am I still being too clingy? You need more space?” Theresa asked, looking at the blank wall on her right. She didn’t want to look him in the eye, to show him that she was afraid and weak. Not at this point.

“Oh come on, love. You know I like my freedom. But that doesn’t mean it’ll change my love for you. Well, as long as you believe in me, I know I can make it,” Brandon said, smiling at her. He wished she’d look her in the eyes. He needed her right now and he needed her fast and close.

“Oh, someone is being charming!” she said suddenly, angry that he took her for granted.

“Someone is being cocky,” he said, surprised at her sudden change in body language.

“You used to be charming. Now you no longer are charming. And I no longer concerned. You’re like all the others now. In fact, you’re worse. Because you were once better than all of them. But now? No. No longer.” She looked him straight in the eye as she said it. She was sure he was hiding something.

“You have so much to say about me? What about you? What do you have to say about yourself?”

“What about me?” Theresa asked, waiting for him to let out steam.

“You put yourself on the pedestal like you’re someone special. To reach out to you we have to be special and different. But that is only from your eyes. If you see the world from our eyes, you’re no different from all other girls who like to lure guys in, to make them believe that they’re the one and then drop us like hot potatoes when they see us for who we really are.” She did not expect this! Steam it was, but the wrong one.

“You really want to pick this fight right now? You think I am dropping you like a hot potato? I have been a part of your life for the past four years now. Or is it five?” she asked, thumping her fist on his open palm. He grunted in surprise, more from the suddenness of it than the power behind it.

“But you? I just remember shades of you moving in and out of my life for your own pleasure and in your own time. I shouldn’t have ever picked you up in the first place.” She was now standing. She had tears of anger in her eyes.

“Hey. Hey. I get it. Don’t cry! I was just kidding around with you. I am sorry. You know we’re going to be fine. Come on, baby.” Brandon was trying to get her back before things went too far.

“Don’t baby me!” she wanted to scream. But to him, sitting there in his orange overalls, to wipe out that smile which had floored her once, she said, “Whatever you may think of me and I may think of you, the fact is – you have blood on your hands and I do not.”

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She saw his face going white. Her words had had the desired effect. She smiled.

“I think it’s time we made a clean break from our relationship and move on. And while you are at it, you might as well find yourself a new lawyer.”

Graciously Yours!

Yearning.

I yearned for your touch. You slept two feet from me but were miles away. I wanted to reach out to you and run my hand down your arm. I wanted to feel your rough hands caressing my face. I wanted my slender fingers to run through your hair. Involuntarily, my hand went towards your heaving torso. I wanted to feel your heart beating. Was it thudding as fast as mine? I pulled myself together just in time. I adjusted the pillows between us again and went out into the balcony. Tomorrow I’d ask for a separate hotel room.

I don’t know when I fell in love with you. Worse still, I didn’t know when you fell out of love with me.

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Colourbox.

Mistake.

He had no inkling of what he’d done. He’d prised her apart, promising to always guard her, and had at the end, left her open, wounds fresh and bleeding.
She couldn’t see how heavy a burden she was for him, how hard he’d been dragging her before he succumbed to his own magnanimous promises.
She was his best mistake, he, her worst.

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Pinterest.

Six Word Story #7. (And You?)

I lived you. You loathed me.

And you? Your turn now:

Graciously Yours!

Pictures Courtesy : Pinterest.

P.S.: Whoever is wondering if there are spelling errors in this post, there aren’t. Whoever didn’t wonder, don’t wonder now!

The Web That Killed.

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While the Sun marked the end of its journey for the day, colours vermillion, saffron, magenta and plum painted the skies turn by turn until the deep blues and blacks took over. Such untarnished beauty did not for once in my life pleasure me. I had lived multiple lives till I met you. I was what the police called a conman. Doctors preferred compulsive liar. The other conmen revered me as an enemy. There were no friends in my business.


Like it happens every once in a while, I met my match in you. You were my glimmer of hope. I could see myself changing, living happier and for once in my sorry life I was dying to be a one-woman man. You made me want to give up everything just to be with you. And the one person I was ready to give up everything for had to be pushed away. My lies had caught up with me finally. I was getting sucked in a web so deep that shivers would run up even a spider’s spine. And the cost I would have to pay would be my life, if nothing more.


I lied to you for the very first time today and also my life’s last. I could imagine the swirling winds of anger inside you. There was a lot you wanted to say. Your eyes gave you away. They smouldered but you said nothing. I broke your heart to pieces but you didn’t say a word. I know not whether it was your love that held you back from lashing out hatred at me or if I was not even worth hating anymore. And I guess I will never know.


As those bullets pierced through my body, your face flashed before my eyes and each lingering kiss felt closer and dearer than ever before.
I died loving you so you could live hating me.


Graciously Yours!


Of angels and demons.

Jacob walked away one fine sunny morning. No explanations, no answers, no smile and no acknowledgment of her existence in his life! Sarah was left baffled and groping at the blank expanse her life had become without him. But in that tough lesson which life gave to her to learn, she exceeded expectations. She became excited about learning – learning about herself, learning about finding solace alone and most importantly, loving herself before any one else. Because until you don’t know how to love yourself, your lover will be as lost and confused as a chicken in a bull fight.



Today, basking in the glory of the sun and her beloved’s gaze, Sarah wondered how different her life would have been if Jacob hadn’t walked out that day. She silently thanked him for being a jerk. Because of him, she stopped looking for angels to come and fight her demons.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Izza, this is inspired by your #SeptemberPosts! She’s been writing abstracts so beautifully that I couldn’t help not writing like that. I give in. I hope you like this.