Monday, November 6, 2017

Book Review : Unlikely Tails

Short stories seem to have a charm of their own.And they delight in so many ways that leaves one  wanting for more !

And so, it is, with this "Unlikely Tails" by Mani Padma ! This collection of 17 short tales is her sole debut. And yet, as one goes through her stories, one gets the feel that she is  a seasoned writer !

Its one of the hard cover books, that, I received for review ! And it is a signed copy at that ! The book begins with dedication to Colonel Maheep , her dad. Next, the author thanks all the women for having met them which made the stories possible.

The book is published by Creative Crows Publishers LLP. The book has 125 pages. The longest story is just ten pages long. I relished the stories over three days.I wanted to enjoy the subtlety of each of the tales & I did.

In the preface, the author says that women have fascinated her always & she has tried to narrate her take on women. The introduction of Mani Padma is by another author Kanchan Bhattacharya, who has penned, "Opus; Arrival; Enchantment."Kanchan Bhattacharya says that Mani Padma's stories  have a twist .And they shock us .I agree completely.

There are seventeen short stories & each one is  different & yet, similar as all the ends are unexpected !

One of the stories is about the various emotions of love, hatred, fear, courage etc. The same action leads to various emotions.It is as if the dancer is depicting the numerous emotions through the postures & facial expressions.

Another tale is about the eternal triangle .Who loses & who wins ? And, does the winner get what he or she wants ?

Another story is about a super natural  being. Do they exist or are they just figments of our imagination ?

One of the tales is about  depression , a current topic of much debate. And it narrates how ,depression can exist in our midst ,without us having any inkling about it.And it can lead to grave results !

Another tale is about matchmaking .And it has a lot of  sarcasm, about the girl meeting the boy among a deluge of relatives .And the picture is  so apt that one can visualize it ,as it is so commonplace .And it is narrated with tongue in cheek humour !

Yet, another story, is about an escort service .And  an unusual one at that .What a climax ! It leaves you feeling amused !

I can go on & on ,And yet, that would be revealing it all.It is a superb read for one & all ! Whoever reads it, will find the book immensely enjoyable !

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Spotlight : Beyond Secrets

Alka Dimri Saklani


Noel is a counsellor, risking his career for volunteering in an orphanage.

Nidhi is an engineering student on the surface, but deep down a broken girl in search of some unanswered questions.

Appu is a sweet little orphan, unaware of the cruelties of the world.

Despite being miles apart their stories interweave in “Aashiyana”, the orphanage. Their little journey together changes their lives in ways they never imagined.

One recurring nightmare, one unexpected phone call, one stolen diary, many lies and secrets, and a calling from the past are just the highlights. And when they depart, they are not the same anymore.

They didn’t hurt each other, it was a game of destiny. Will they ever be able to rediscover themselves and more importantly, will their paths ever cross again?

Beyond Secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationships. And one question that can’t have just one answer - How long does it take for a scar to heal?

Read an excerpt:
10. A Different World
The classroom was in chaos when I entered. It looked like a mini battlefield of little soldiers bombarding each other with paper balls and paper planes. Before I could get a grip on the situation blackness seemed to engulf the scene before me, revealing another scene, hazy, like a dusty video film taking me to a different world where no colours existed except shades of grey; a classroom with empty first rows, far off, images of children yelling and flying airplanes... A wave of sadness crept in, a feeling of hollowness. Amid this chaos? Wasn’t it strange? Were these the same children who had forced their way into my thoughts when I was in the park? Were these known faces? Before I could become a part of the unreal the clamour faded as a strict commanding voice pierced through the din.
“Yes ma’m,” I said.
The scene dissolved and I found Simin staring at me in disbelief. “What happened?” she asked with a puzzled expression.
My head was spinning.
“Nothing, I thought you called me.” I said.
“I called Pranil. But what happened to you? You stood with your eyes shut. You ok?”
Oh, so that was her voice. Then why did I hear another voice, something from a distant, hazy corner of my mind? Or was it solely my imagination? Or a moment when imagination collided with reality?
“Yeah, am absolutely fine.” I said, looking away, not meeting her eyes.
“Pranil, I need to talk to you. Please come to my cabin after your prayers are over.” Simin said.
“Yes, ma’m.” The voice came from the last bench, from a boy with dishevelled hair, dark brown eyes and a dark complexion.
The dizziness made me uneasy and I couldn’t contribute much to the class that day. I walked to Simin’s cabin after the session.
I was not sure how I would collect the information. I wasn’t even sure what information I wanted. As soon as Simin saw me she started discussing a few things she wanted me to do.
“Noel, will you be able to go to... she paused. “You look disturbed. Are you ok?”
“You can tell me if anything is bothering you.”
“The boy you wanted to meet in the morning.” Not sure what was stopping me from speaking out his name.
“Yes.” I paused. “Pranil.” I tried hard to keep my voice steady.
“What about him?”
“Can you tell me something about him?”
“Like what?” She disconnected her phone that had just started ringing.
“Like…like…how old is he? Since when has he been here? Why did his parents leave him? Anything.”
“Anything. Hmmm.” She thought for a while. “Pranil is about 10 years old, he has been here since the last four years. His father died and his mother, who was a house maid, wanted to re-marry. The man she wanted to marry was not ready to accept responsibility of a son, therefore she left him here. But why are you asking all this?” She again silenced her beeping phone.
“I think I know him. Or someone by that name… or… or…” I didn’t know how to explain something I was still struggling to understand. I didn’t want her to disconnect her phone for the third time for my silly questions so I left the room leaving her gaping at me.
Later in the day I met Pranil. He was painting something when I reached him.
“Hello Pranil, can I sit here?”
He nodded.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
“I am drawing a house.” He showed me the few scribbled lines in his notebook.
“Wow! This is a very good drawing.”
He smiled shyly.
I expected some connection to my foggy feelings as I talked to him. But no snapshots, no voices, no images followed. As if he was not the Pranil who played in my mind, the Pranil in my mysterious imagination was someone else, someone close to me yet far away, someone known to me yet a stranger. Something in my own self was unknown to me, an enigma and it was a terribly uncomfortable feeling. I just wanted to drag out the stranger from me but every time I tried the stranger gripped me tighter as if slowly becoming an inseparable part of me like my blood and my veins.

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About the author

Alka Dimri Saklani is the author of "45 Days in a Cancer Hospital" and "Beyond Secrets". Her debut novel “45 Days in a Cancer Hospital” was longlisted for the prestigious Crossword Books award 2013. Her poems have been published in many magazines. She holds MBA degree in HR and worked with a leading MNC before turning to a full-time writer. Born and brought up in Vadodara, a city in Gujarat, her roots hail from “Dev Bhumi” Uttarakhand. Apart from writing, she loves music, reading, traveling, and spending time with her two naughty kids.

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Blitz : Scorpio Superstar

Print Length: 150 pages
Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published) 
Publication Date: September 16, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
Language: English
Available on Kindle Unlimited 
Genre: Romance 

Kollywood superstar Chandrakanth, also known as CK, is a true-blue Scorpio, communicating with his eyes and believing in showing more than telling.

His website and social media consultant Ranjini is a Piscean through and through, fiercely independent, believing in affirmations and declarations.

It is love at first glance for Chandrakanth when he meets Ranjini; so strong are his feelings that he proposes marriage on their second meeting. Ranjini, fascinated by his starry persona, gets swept off her feet. The two get married without much of the world knowing—including CK's aunt and ex.

The two women set out to settle their scores on Ranjini who suddenly begins to feel a strain in what was a fairy tale wedding.

While passion reigns on the one hand, there’s trouble in paradise on the other. Although CK is by her side, the Scorpio in him expects her to trust him implicitly. But can the Pisces in Ranjini accept him at his word?

Does the tension then get to their relationship? Can love survive without affirmations? Or is declaration the only way to profess one's love?

It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR

Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 22 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. 

Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. 

Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

Click here to check out all the titles by the author...

Sundari Venkatraman is a member of the panel of the #PentoPublish #contest on #AmazonIndia #KDP

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Permanent Fire Cracker Ban

This post was published on Women's Web on 19th October, 2017.

The  Supreme Court has banned sale of fire crackers in Delhi NCR .

The news item then narrates  that  many will lose jobs as they are employed by the fire cracker industry. 85 % of fire crackers are manufactured at  Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu.More than 3 lakhs employees are employed in making fire crackers & nearly 5 lakhs in ancillary industries like packaging, transport etc. 

report by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights ( NCPCR ) in 2013 stated that kids as young as 5 years old are employed for nearly 12 hours for making fire crackers. And for all this labour , the kids are paid measly amounts of Rs 30-50/-per day.The children work in most dangerous conditions in tiny sheds with no safety gear .They are filling flower pots, fuses, paper pipes etc. The clothes of children are covered with chemicals as they make the fire crackers. These chemicals cause asthma, eye infections, tuberculosis, etc in 90 % of the child labour. And as children work unsupervised, with dangerous chemicals like potassium &  sodium nitrates, zinc, magnesium, iron, steel, aluminum, etc.there are many accidents which maim  & or kill children. 

The manufacturers state, that of late , child labour is non existent in manufacture of fire crackers.Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi says that atleast 1 lakh kids are employed in fire cracker industry spread across   Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh,  Jaipur, Orissa & Tamil Nadu.So, there is an equality of treatment towards children on nearly a Pan Indian basis. Because, in other industries in the remaining states, child labour is employed as well.To name a few,  silk, glass bangles, carpet weaving etal.

The effect of all this, is that adults don't get employed & even if, they get employed, their wages are less than the minimum prescribed for that industry.Fire Cracker employers say that profits are eroding because of the SC ban.They are right, because how can such stupendous  profits be let off where employees who are children, can be paid peanuts & who will not unionise themselves, no matter, what dangerous working conditions prevail! 

Manufacturers would have us believe, that children who are employed were worse off than when non employed .If that is true, then why employ kids which is illegal.In fact, the laws prohibit employment of children below age 14-18 years in any industry .And in fire cracker industry by default, children below the age of 14-18 years are employed. The simple reason being, by the time, they turn 14-18, the children have become unemployable because of having suffered some accident / s  which has  either crippled them for life and or cost them their lives ! 

 This is how the population growth can be kept under check.And with it, poverty as well. Because, poor children only are employed in such hazardous industry/ s.In effect, employment of child labour serves  so many social causes ! 

Fire crackers cause pollution. Noise as also air pollution.After the crackers have been burst, the debris remains all over the places, This affects  all of us. Those favouring fire crackers are arguing that vehicles cause annual pollution whereas crackers cause a week's pollution at the most, especially during festivals, weddings, etal. Next, vehicle manufacturers & manufacturers of fire crackers will unite and fight any bans put up for improving quality of life of general public. Because, the manufacturers are up against what they see as a downsizing to their upward mobility in life !  

And then there are those. who say that bursting fire crackers is a Hindu tradition.Bursting fire crackers during Deepavali started  after fire crackers were invented in China. Patriots  could do well to go with the ban on fire crackers as this would mean that the ban is in line with anything and everything associated with China.And money spent on fire crackers is money going up in smoke... literally & in fact .

Moreover,culture flourishes  if we embrace better practices & give up those which are dangerous to humanity .When we discard  outmoded traditions & customs, will we all grow & prosper. 

SC should take suo moto cognizance of the facts that air & noise pollutions are hazards all over Bharat, not just in Delhi NCR.An outright Pan Indian ban for ever ,on fire crackers would make the future shine brighter   for our children ensuring safety ( from being employed in fire cracker industry ) & bereft of air & noise pollution. After all ," We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children "

This post was published on Counter Currents.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Zero Tolerance To Violence Against Women "

The Family Planning Association of India or FPA India as popularly known is a registered charity .It was established in our county in 1949. It has 40 branches all over India. It is associated with International Planned Parenthood Federation. FPA India encourages choices in reproduction, lawlful & safe abortions, sexual & reproductive health.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation ( AHF is the biggest AIDS organisation worldwide serving healthcare to more than eight lakhs in 39 countries. These include countries in  USA,Latin America,Eastern  Europe, Africa, Asia etal.

To commemorate the International  Day of the Girl Child on October, 11, FPA  India & AHF India took out a silent rally in Mumbai. The main idea was "Zero Tolerance To Violence Against Women ".More than a hundred participants participated in the rally to speak against issues like child marriage, forced sex,gender inequality, human trafficking among others. They therefore took a pledge for "Zero Tolerance To Violence Against Women ".

Silent protests were held in 10 places  all over India including  Delhi, Pune, Solapur, Madurai, Dharwad, Bangalore, Gwalior, Yamuna Nagar & Nagaland.

Rape is becoming a common daily occurrence in India.Gang rape survivors are not given Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for HIV, STI screening or a pregnancy test .But things are changing now. Girls & women are demanding, that, they be protected against all types of violence.

There was panel discussion on “Say No to Abuse, Rape & Violence”. The participating experts  were Dr.V.Sam Prasad, Country Manager, AHF India, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Brand
Ambassadors, AHF India,Dr. Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, FPAI, Amita Dhanu, Asst. SecretaryGeneral, FPAI and Zainab Patel,Transgender Activist, Policy Analyst Human Rights at UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub.

Dr.V.Sam Prasad, Country Manager, AHF India opined that gender equity needs to be inculcated right in school curricula from primary level till the child finishes University education. Even the family should show support for daughters as also sons & not discriminate . Dr . Prasad said that rape victims & abuse survivors may be suffering from HIV, STI infections. Hence it is imperative that such victims & survivors are provided with PEP (Post exposure prophylaxis) so that their trauma can become bearable.

Dr. Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, FPA India said that violence of any kind including sexual, physical, emotional, etc weakens women & girls.Society should share the blame for this . Women & girls need to be protected against violence of all kinds.,By encouraging women & girls to talk about violence, can this attitude towards women &  girls change.And this is what is being done by FPA India.  This will help in changing the attitudes in a  positive way in support of women & girls.

Girls have been discriminated against right from the beginning.And that's the reason, they suffer from gross inequalities  This results in high drop rates of girls from school , early marriages of girls resulting in early pregnancies.  And yet, if girls are given opportunities, there can be positive changes.

The millions of girls in crisis as also the 1.1 billion girls in the world are the epitome of  creativity energy & power .That's why, AHF India & FPA India are working towards empowerment of girls.This will help to deal with  gender based violence. Society will change positively by understanding that  issues facing women & girls are significant .

The International Year of the Girl, this year, marks the start of an year long  effort to direct  global attention towards difficulties & circumstances faced by girls before , during & after emergencies .

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Consent, victim disorientation, etal

This blog post was published on Women's Web on 2nd October, 2017.

In a recent case,decided earlier this week,   the Delhi High Court judge said that a feeble no could mean yes. And then the accused, Mr Farooqui was absolved of the crime of raping a US research scholar student.This means that speaking slowly can absolve  many accused of crimes, provided ,complainant speaks in a soft voice. The complainant & accused were known to each other.Hence, the victim should have screamed no .Since it was barely audible to the accused, he thought she had agreed to his advances & so it was consent, And since she consented, there was no sexual assault & therefore, no rape.The National Crimes bureau statistics say that 70%  rapes are committed by people known to the survivors, not strangers & yet ,the judge says, between strangers consent is different from consent between  people known to each other. 

 Noise pollution be damned ! Unless one screams, nobody will come to know that somebody screaming is in trouble. And for all you know, the other person , the accused or the perpetrator may be short of hearing. Perhaps,  Mr Farooqui is short of hearing & could not hear the  no .And the judge is definitely suffering from hearing loss. He could not hear no. Perhaps, there was lots of background noise & so Farooqui was unable to hear no. And in the courtroom, there  is generally  lots of noise, so the judge was unable to hear clearly & misjudged the case.

And this is blaming the victim for the rape, by telling her that, since, she knew the accused, she should have known better ...she should have screamed & said no loudly.

This judgement raises many  questions.Will the feeble no be a yes, even in cases, where the victim is a minor? Was it so muted that not only the audibly challenged people but also the normal people were unable to make out that a no was spelt out ?Since who is short of hearing, unless medically proved is very debatable, were audiometers installed in the place where this supposed crime took place ? And how to decide, what decibel of sound is audible enough to mean no & audible enough to signify yes ? And since, we are in the throes of BetibachaoBetipadhao program, it becomes mandatory to install audiometers in addition to cctv cameras at all places specifically public places like streets, hotels, halls, etc. And this will be part of Skill India program so that many people can be trained to install , repair audiometers. The judges deserves all kudos, as he has made it possible for both the Betbachaobetipadhao & Skill India program to be implemented in  such a manner that they compliment each other.Just goes to show, that the the executive, the judiciary  & the legislative arms of the government are completely in agreement with each other !

Last week, a  girl was molested in BHU campus & the authorities took no action. And when the girls protested by sitting in dharna, they were lathi charged. And the BHU Vice Chancellor has said on record, '“Security for boys and girls can never be at par,All these rules are for their safety, all in favour of the girl students.”And BHU is of opinion, that there was no molestation..only eve teasing. If eve teasing goes unchecked, it will turn into molestation & molestation left ,as such, without any complaints will transform into rape next .Eve teasing is a crime under the Indian Penal Code ( Section 509...Insulting the modesty of a woman  ) & punishable  with 3 years of imprisonment & fine.

In other words, BHU says that men can scream loudly to supposedly eve tease and  or molest   while if girls scream in  dharna, that is unacceptable. But to be fair to BHU, the BHU incident happened before the Delhi High Court gave its judgement.

BHU is  shaming the victim by saying that unless girls are in , they cannot be secure. Oops, the BHU security cannot ensure  the safety of girls who are inside the BHU campus, though, outside the hostel.Next, it will be, that, classes will be held in side the hostel . 

It is alleged, that girls in BHU are allowed to be out till 8 pm while boys can be out till 10 pm. Even libraries are open for boys till 11 pm but obviously since girls have to be back in hostel by 8 pm, they cannot use library beyond 8 pm. This makes mockery of BetiBachaobeti padhao program of PM Modi in his constituency, Varanasi. Even internet connection, has been provided to girls hostel just two weeks ago ,while, boys have had internet facilities much before that.

If discrimination is so rampant , equality can never be achieved because mindsets are hard to break.And the VCs remarks are an indication, that, when person at the top is  a male chauvinist , what trickles down will be sexist.

So what can be done to prevent or at least try to curb such incidents of  violence against women ? 

As  actor ,Renuka Shahane, has stated in her status update on facebook, "...... it would be wonderful to put a curfew of 6 pm on men students for a change. This might make it safer for women students. Worth trying out at least once. Worth putting the onus on men students at least once, as an experiment. If the results are good we can replicate it elsewhere as well....."

It has been said, that , when Punjab terrorism was at its peak in the 1980s, violence against women had reduced in Delhi, as even men, were afraid to go out, after sunset, for fear of terrorists.

And what needs to be done to stop blâming & shaming victims of sexual violence ? People need to be trained to be sensitive. G.S.Bajpai & Mehak Bajpai have put it so succinctly , ".....The spirit of the UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, 1985, needs to be implemented. This can bring victim-orientation to our laws.......

 It is high time that our systems should look to enable the participation of the victim at various stages of the trial. For instance, the victim needs to be heard at stages like the framing of charges, discharge proceeding, bail hearing, probation hearing, sentencing and compensation. The victim would then be in a position to factor his/her experiences into the criminal justice process without adulteration of any kind. A ‘victim impact statement’ is also a mechanism in many countries to hear the victim’s views in a criminal trial. If effected, these measures have a potential to improve the quality of justice for victims of sexual crimes."

Victims should have support group / s who assist them in the case& even afterwards. The police officials, the judiciary need to made more subtle in handling such cases to do justice to the victims as they are the ones who have been violated physically as also mentally.And it is, never the fault ,of the victim/s

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Spotlight : If you never try, you will never know.

Sahil Mehta


Robin, who gets inspired by his mother to become a musician, is forced by his father to pursue the education needed to join their family business. This compels him to leave home at the age of eighteen to follow his dreams. In few months of independent living, his over-ambitious dreams turn into an obsession, which gets even more intense when he falls into a drug addiction, and mysteriously unleashes a new side to his life.

During this journey, he meets Aisha. They talk, play and fall in love. Her exquisite beauty defines the melody of his musical journey as they both fall deep in love with each other. But Robin's obsession with his dream and a struggling career become an obstacle in their relationship. Is their love strong enough to overcome complexities?

During these tumultuous times, Robin's flat mate Jordan begins to motivate him to follow his heart. Jordan becomes his philosopher and guru but not for very long-what makes Robin lose trust in him? Discover how he finds a spiritual path after being disheartened during his struggle to achieve success.

Amidst the ups and downs in his career, love and life, find out what destiny holds for Robin. Will he find success in music industry or will he end up joining his father's business? Experience a thrilling story that will inspire you to believe in your love and dreams.

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About the author

Sahil Mehta was born and raised in India, and is currently living in the beautiful city of Seattle. Inspired by the power of words, emotions and various life experiences, he naturally gravitated towards writing. If You Never Try, You Will Never Know is his first book, and its story-line is influenced by his childhood dreams. Currently, he is working on a story, based on the characters and places he came across during his stay in the USA. Apart from writing, Sahil enjoys fitness-related activities and listening to music.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review : Pishacha

This is the first book of Neil D'Silva that I read. And needless to say, it impresses !

Neetika & Yug are a couple.Neetika is the rich daughter  of    Umesh Bihari Gupta.Neetika is sensible & Yug loves her a lot. Strange things start happening.Window panes break  & Yug is injured. Neetika is aware of something going on. And yet, she cannot say why. Yug shrugs it off.

Neetika goes on a Goa trip with her small group of friends. One of the friends is killed .Neetika is afraid now. She feels that somehow these strange happenings are connected to her.She returns from Goa & meets Yug. Yug refuses to believe Neetika that some shadows seem to be following her.

Nakul is a boy who has arrived from US .Neetika's dad gifts him a flat in Mumbai & says its part of a deal.Is Neetika convinced about this deal ? And is it a deal or something else ?

Nakul meets a very pretty girl . He lusts after her & she gives in too easily. Who is she ? Why is she so enticing ? And who is Nakul...just an NRI or something more ?

Neetika's mom had become very unusual just before Neetika's birth. And it was a mystery to her husband. Neetika intends to find out the mystery. Doe she succeed ? And was her dad right, in concluding that his wife had started behaving strangely ?

Neetika always feels cold & someone following her though she cannot say who is following her as she cannot spot anyone . Is her follower human or something unusual ? And why is it following Neetika ? Maybe, its a figment of her wild imagination.

The story moves across to Rajasthan to a palace which was the scene of love story. Did the love story have a peaceful end ? And what is the connect between this love story & Neetika ?

And does Neetika- Yug's love story have any  future or is it doomed ? What about Nakul & his sleeping partner ?

The story is brimming with details of horror, thrills, gore & much more. It talks of Shiva, the almighty God & his powers. It also talks about bravery of soldiers & the landscape of the snow capped Himalayas.It narrates the description of ghosts, vampires  so well that the vampire comes alive !!!! And the reader gasps in horror !

It ups the horror & gore content ! Makes for a thrilling read !

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Death by Omission

The phone rang. He picked it quickly. He screamed into it & then burst out sobbing. He murmured as he ended his phone talk.” She is no more .”  His wife nodded. They both walked slowly to the conveyor belt to collect their luggage. They picked up their luggage & walked to the cab outlet .They booked a cab & it drove them home.

At home, she quickly bathed & started unpacking her bag. He sat motionless till his wife told him to freshen up by bathing. He obeyed. After that , he just sat staring into space. He called up his brother & told him that it was impossible to travel home to attend the funeral. The funeral of his sister.  What he did not tell, was that, he found it hard to believe, that she was no more.

His mother or rather their mother was in her mid eighties & sister who was young & sixty was no more ! Saurabh found it nearly impossible to imagine, the plight of his ( & her )  mother. What would her hubby do ? He was so   dependent on her. And they had no kids So, they were fully immersed into each other. What would happen to him next ?

Saurabh thought of all this & more. His head started to ache He asked his wife to get him some tea They sipped tea while talking about the events of the days gone by.
His sister had been diagnosed with leukemia. And there was a story of neglect .Therein lay the  story of omission…..The husband omitted to take any action as wife fell thrice in their home e. She brushed aside & he agreed, that it was of no consequence. She had started disliking food. And they left it at that. She had been suffering from bone pain & she took injections as pain relievers. No root causes were sought to be determined.

Both were too busy doing rituals , fasting, & worshiping the almighty. They never realised that their bodies  needing looking after too.

She developed fever. Doctor was summoned. He gave paracetamol. Fever refused to subside. That’s when, experts were called in.And the culprit was identified as blood cancer.
The report was verified by a relative who was abroad. He was a doctor. He had to admit, that the patient was indeed suffering from leukemia.

She was then admitted to the biggest hospital in town where they specialised in cancer care. The chemotherapy started. And her body seemed to collapse. The doctors were alarmed. They were of the opinion that her body was unable to sustain the strong drug therapy . They were unsure, if the second dose of chemnotherapy could be given to her.

Her condition started deteriorating. She became breathless. She was put on oxygen cylinder She was unable to speak and eat. She was put on a liquid diet. For a person who was used to her own saatvik cooking, gulping hospital food was   such an irony.  Saurabh’s jeejaji continued to eat at his co brother s home. In such trying times, he was the one, who stuck to his rituals, though somewhat diffused , as his wife could not, owing to her illness.

Within a fortnight of her being hospitalised, the doctors declared that her condition was going from bad to worse. Saurabh was summoned. He visited his sister with his wife. He started sobbing. He was careful enough not to cry in front of his sister who lay in the ICCU with tubes all over her face.His sister asked his wife about their teenager .They just nodded to inform her that the teen was doing good. Saurabh realised that his sister was fully conscious even in ICCU & recalled that he had a teenager  .He hoped that his sister would get alright as she was mentally alert even though she was in extreme  physical pain.

The next day, the news was good. The doctors said that she was better. The family thought that things could only get positive from there.The next day Saurabh left for home with his wife. As soon as they landed in their city , they got a call that she had passed away just a few minutes before. Saurabh was crestfallen. He just couldn’t come to terms that his dear sister was no more.  The view of the doctors ,that she was better just a day before was the calm before the storm.

The tragic part was that ,the couple never confided to their extended family that she had been having faint spells & that she had developed aversion to food. The couple just ignored the warning signs & went about their routine work. They perhaps felt, that it was better not to disturb anybody, no matter, even if they are family. Maybe, the family was unable to convey that the family would help them in anyway. Saurabh even wondered how God allowed his sister to wither away as she & hubby had been serving him in the right manner. Maybe as time passes, he will heal. And yet, will the members of the family understand that health is as important as rituals, worship et al ? Because, if health is lost, how can any rituals for worship or anything else ever get  done  ? 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Spotlight : The Royal Roommate


My purpose in life is to protect you… 

Sid is Army strong and sinfully sexy. He is tasked to investigate a woman suspected of having connections with a rebel group. The style of investigation was not his choice, and he is asked to move in as the roommate of the person of interest, Amy. 
Amy was thrilled to start her internship in San Francisco and wasn’t expecting a man with rock-solid abs as her roommate. The moment she laid eyes on him, she knew he was bad news. 

The attraction was undeniable and they both wondered how long they could hold on to their resolve. Sid didn’t want to sleep with a suspect even if she was wildly beautiful and sexy. Amy wasn’t interested in a fling. 

Just when Sid is about close his investigation and declare Amy’s innocence, he finds out something about her that changes everything. She becomes the most important person in his life.

Grab your copy @

About the author

P.G. Van

P.G. Van lives in San Francisco and she published her first novel, Destiny Decides… in October 2015 and cannot stop writing. She loves to spend time with family and is a strong believer of retail therapy (mostly shops for boots and purses!!). She enjoys giving her readers an escape to the world of love and romance.

You can stalk her @


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