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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Special Days

On (and before) Father's Day, I saw a spike in Father's Day messaging on social media – FB & Twitter. I am sure there would be a similar spike on all other platforms too.

 

It's the way of our times. Celebrating special days like valentine day, father's day, mother's day, birthdays and anniversaries, etc on social media. Wishing the said people via the social platform – irrespective of whether they are on the platform on not.

 

What I feel is that it is boiling down to people expressing what they feel on the social media platform. And sadly, it is coming down to doing it bcos everyone else is doing it. It would be dumb, not to say something nice about your father on the social media platforms on father's day for example. What is missing is saying the same thing to your father in person.

 

What you end up doing is telling the whole world what you would like to tell your father, rather than saying that to your father. If your father is lucky to be on the same platform, he gets to hear your thoughts in the same way as other people do. The message is not even directed to him at times. It is an open loudspeaker proclamation to the world rather than a personal one to one message to your father.

 

It's a trend spanning all spanning days and almost all relationships. Funny to see husband and wife wishing each other 'happy anniversary' over social media. For God's sake people, you live together and you should be saying it face to face to each other with a kiss and hug and lot more. No need to 'shout' it out over social media.

 

So with all that going on in my head over the past few days (read: past few years); it kind of came out as a series of tweets I posted on the wonderful occasion of Father's Day. 

 

Producing the tweets verbatim here …

 

--------- -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  

 

Saying "anyone can be a father, it takes a special person to be a dad" is stupid.  Can't extend the logic of house/home to father/dad (1/n)

 

What next? "Anyone can be a mother, it takes a special person to be mom?" Then what's the point of calling it father's / mother's day? (2/n)

 

Make your father feel special today. Spend time with him. Create memories with him. NOT on social media. In real life. Smile with him. (3/n)

 

You don't need to tell the world about how special your father is. You definitely should tell him - In person or on a phone call. (4/n)

 

Tell him,  not bcos he doesn't know,  but to let him know that You know he is special and deeply appreciate it. (5/n)

 

And remember,  Father's /Mother's day is not for them. It is for You.  To remind you that they are special and great and important. (n/n)

 

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Yes. Its true. The special days are not really for the other person. They are a reminder to YOU that they are important to you and You need to express your gratitude to them / wish them happiness on the special day.

 

So go ahead and celebrate the special days with your loved ones. Make that day special in real life – for them, for you. Gather some special memorable memories on the day.

 

... The social media messages and pics can come the day after.

 

Happy Special Days !!

Happy Happiness Days !!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

VSS 019 - Fuzzy Hair and Stubby Beard


Fuzzy Hair and Stubby Beard

 

Very Short Story (VSS) 019

 

 

Heaven & Hell are unlike any imagery that has been painted by your faith.

 

In reality, they are very much like real world.

 

How do I know? I have been there.

 

Was sent to Heaven.

 

Got bored of the routine comfortable life so tried doing some mischief.

 

Was detained to Hell.

 

Got bored again due to lack of anything to do. Tried introducing some action so they booted me out from there too.

 

They said, I was best suited for Politics on Earth. Do mischief there.

 
They even gave me orangish fuzzy hair and a white stubby beard.


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Going a bit political this time :)


Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target by about 5 stories (a month's worth) but gradually catching up :-)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

VSS 018 - An Affair with a Dilemma


An Affair with a Dilemma

 

Very Short Story (VSS) 018

 

 

I love my spouse but my lover has brought much needed excitement to life. Don’t want to leave either but the lover gave an ultimatum today, asking me to choose. 

 

"Oh God, Take me out of this dilemma." I said to HIM as I crossed the road waving to my spouse.

 

Was immediately hit by a bus and opened my eyes with a heavenly being apologizing to me.

 

"Sorry buddy. Heard you say 'Oh God, Take me out ..' and was in a bit of hurry. But hey … guess you no longer have to deal with that dilemma.

 

 

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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are max. 99 word stories that i am writing, as part of my writing resolutions for 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target by about 5 stories (a month's worth) but gradually catching up :-)

 

Monday, June 12, 2017

VSS 017: Life Decisions




Life Decisions

 

Very Short Story (VSS) 017

 

 

 

 

Kiddo: Papa Papa, where are you going?

 

Papa: Sweetheart, got to work. You stay with mom at home in Mumbai and take care of her. I will go to office in Dubai and see you in a month. 

 

Kiddo: Papa Papa, Mom has Dadi. Take me with you. I will come with you and take care of you. I will come to office with you or stay at home and cook for you.

 

Papa: . . . (silent, moist eyes) 

 

Inside Papa's head  ... 

 ... questions the job, the money it brings, staying away from family, emotional mess

 

(story doesn’t end here … only the 99-word limit has been reached.
So here’s the extended version)

 

More Inside Papa's head  ... 

 

... remembers the house he needs to buy, kiddos education expanse, marriage expense, rising cost of living …


... heavy heart, moist eyes, confused head, scrambled life philosopy


... starts calculating in how many years he can resign from foren job 


... realises that’s not gonna happen soon and he is in a bottomless pit 


... moist eyes. silence within


… complete sannaaata

 

(unfortunately, this is NOT a story. It’s a real life incident. My life’s incident.)

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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am writing through the year 2017. These are part of my writing resolutions of the year. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year - about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target by about 5 stories (a month's worth) but gradually catching up :-)

Friday, June 09, 2017

Book Review: Ashvamedha - The Game of Power by Aparna Sinha

 



Book Review: Ashvamedha - The Game of Power by Aparna Sinha


A political suspense thriller where masterminds are work 

The story about a man who rises to power .. to become the Prime Minister and then the most powerful / respected person in the world, making his mark on world political scene. 

The storyline has a lot to cover so the author does not waste words or pages. Every paragraph, every page advances the story forward, often giving you a glimpse of the past but never the full picture. 

The complex storyline is well presented and it was nice to read this suspense thriller mired in politics

And yes, fantastic cover design I must say. You dont get the significance of the cover design until you read the book and when you finish the book and then notice the cover ... you go WOAH !! It was there in front of me the whole time and did not notice

Rating: 4 / 5

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Book Review: James Potter and The Bolt of Ages by L Wilt



James Potter and The Bolt of Ages by L. Wilt




 




The James Potter Project is a fan fiction about the Marauders' first year at Hogwarts, based upon the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. James Potter is Harry Potter’s father (for the uninitiated)


 


It was interesting to read this novel about (Sr.) James Potter; Harry Potter's Father ..... after reading the series on Jr. James Potter (Harry's Son). 

The novel has its own unique style and i liked it. Loved the part where some of the sidelined characters of the Harry Potter series get significant role to play in the story. 

it is delightful to see the relationship of James, Sirius, Remus and Peter grow ... and their interaction with Lily and Severus. of course, we also have Lucius Malfoy also in the mix. 

Sadly, Hagrid does not play a significant role in this story. 

The author builds some suspense in the story. Those who know the characters from Harry Potter begin to understand the relationships of these characters while those who might not have (rare chance) will find it a suspenseful journey. 

the author brings in some light-hearted humour and its good. And so are the one lines which hint at future events. 

I hope the author continues to write this story ... there is a lot of potential in the story of Sr. James and I see a lot of potential in the author too. All the Best ...


 


Rating: 5/5

Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Review: The Chronothon by Nathan Van Coops


 

Book Review: The Chronothon (In Times Like These #2) by Nathan Van Coops


 

I rated the Book 1 of this series 4/5 stars and this one was even better so no other option but to give it a full 5 star rating.

The book is BRILLIANT, AWESOME and MIND BLOWING

 

This is by far the best time travel sci-fi book I have ever read. Nathan's attention to detail is what gets me to like the book so much.

 

Nathan has paid attention to so many of the aspects of the complexities and paradoxes of time travel AND handled them beautifully in his narrative.

 

He is my next best fav author after Matthew Reilly. Nathan provides a fantastic action thriller with the twist of Time Travel ... and well played !!

 

Super Fabulous narration .. i look forward to the next one.

 

This book did not mess up the book cover like the first one. Showing the time travelling gadgetry on the front cover itself sparks off interest of the curious readers … which is further enhanced by the title ‘Chronothon’ which most readers will read as Chrono+thon = Time + Marathon = Race against Time !! Excellent Title and book cover deisgn

 

Rating: 5 / 5

Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: In Times Like These by Nathan Van Coops


Book Review: In Times Like These by Nathan Van Coops




 

All the usual bells and whistles of time travelling ... and MORE. and Much More.

 

Nathan has touched upon time travel and its complexities at a level of detail that I have not seen before. He has spent quite some time on the mechanics of time travel and practicality / feasibility of it.

 

Fun is when you have the same person occupying the same timeline and same moment ... where one is unaware of the other while the other is watching out for the first so as not to bump into him. Fun increases when these two are in the same premise with a third one outside :)

 

Fun is also when a person exists in the timeline of his own childhood and comes face to face with himself :) ... and what if he decides to stay with the younger himself and not go back to his own time.

 

While these seem like spoilers for the story but trust me I am haven't spoiled the fun for you. Read the book (and the series) to enjoy time travel in a different light all together.

 

Nathan manages to weave a nice and complicated time travel story ... Good Job man. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and easily recommend it to anyone fascinated by sci-fi + time-travel !!

The Book cover is unimpressive and I wouldn't have picked up the book based on book cover. They coould have made a more impactful book cover which would entice readers to pick up the book and read the book blurb. Loses a part of the star rating for a poor book cover design.  

Rating: 4 / 5

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

VSS 016: Reader's Block


Reader’s Block

 
Very Short Story (VSS) 016

 

The writer’s block is common. As a writer, you just cannot write. Your brain feels jammed and it positively hurts to think about writing.

Ever heard of Reader’s Block.

Yeah. It exists and is equally painful.

When you suffer from it, no matter what you read, it hurts your head and feels totally uninteresting. You want to give up reading. You want to read no more.

Have you ever suffered from it?

I have suffered. Those were the worst times of my life - It was crazy and my Mind was in chaos. I couldn’t find solace in books.

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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year which is about 12-13 every quarter. Currently I am behind my target by a few stories but gradually cathing up :-)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

VSS 015: Untill I Met Her


Until I Met Her

 
Very Short Story (VSS) 015

 
Consulting is not as glamorous as it was made out to be during the campus placement talk. They said you will travel and see the world.

They deliberately left out the detail that you will end up seeing only the airport, the hotel and the client office.

I hated my job but still persisted … until I met her.

She was a victim of overbooking. Wanted to join her friends for a Himalayan trek but airlines declined boarding.

Something stirred inside me. I talked to the airline and offered my seat to her.

I sent my resignation via blackberry.

 
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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year which is about 4 per month or 13 per quarter. Currently I am behind my target but cathing up :-(

Friday, May 12, 2017

VSS 014: Spy Chase


Spy Chase

 

Very Short Story (VSS) 014

 

Trust Me. Spying isn’t as glamorous as James Bond makes it look like. And the chase is highly unglamorous as compared to what Hollywood shows. It is downright dangerous.

And more often than not, the chase ends in the criminal escaping and you tearing your hair out.

Every once in a while, the chase ends up bad for you … the one doing the chasing.

Today is one such day.

I am chasing. And I can see that I am heading for a head-on collision with a wall.

And I can’t do anything to prevent it.



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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year which is about 4 per month or 13 per quarter. Currently I am behind my target but cathing up :-(

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

VSS 013: Worlds Colliding

 
Worlds Colliding
 

Very Short Story (VSS) 013
 

Arriving at the coffee shop before time to meet her was part luck part chance. And there she was, parting with someone she was already meeting.

I saw them parting and froze in my tracks as I saw them kiss good bye.

I felt betrayed. How could she do this to me.

She was my best friend and I was hers. I was supposed to be the first person to know about him … even before him.  

But then the guy turned and I got a jolt.

How could my very own brother not tell me?

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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year which is about 4 per month or 13 per quarter. Currently I am behind my target but cathing up :-( 

Monday, May 08, 2017

VSS 012: The Delayed Flight


The Delayed Flight

 

Very Short Story (VSS) 012

 

Airports can be as interesting or as boring as you want them to be. I always found them boring and hence was always submerged in a book. But that one journey changed everything.

We were on the same flight that got delayed. Held up in the airport for over 6 hours, we got talking.

We talked over coffee & sandwiches and then continued in-flight. We talked literally non-stop for over 12 hours as if we would never talk again and had to finish every thread we started.

By the time we landed, I knew I had found my soulmate.

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Quick Note: Very Short Stories are approx./max. 99 word stories that i am going to write through the year. These very short stories are part of my writing resolutions of 2017. My target is to write at least 50 VSS this year which is about 4 per month or 13 per quarter. Currently I am behind my target but cathing up :-(

Friday, May 05, 2017

Book Review: Eating Robots and Other Stories by Stephen Oram


Eating Robots and Other Stories by Stephen Oram

  
The cover of the book says “Nudge The Future Volume 1” and it makes sense once you have read the book. This is unlike any other sci-fi short stories book that I have ever read.

While the total count is 30 stories spanning 125 pages, the fact is that there are only a few ‘stories’. Others are ‘situations’ of a future world. These so called stories are just about a few page in which Stephen introduces a futuristic real-world very-believable situation to you.

Having read the short story, you pause, close the book and think about it. Think about the implications and the consequences. Think about how could humans end up in a situation like that and what will it lead to in further future. Often asking the questions … “How could we mess up so royally?”

The stories in the book are meant to make you think. They are not entertainment but fodder for the fertile and intellectual mind to question and think. The thought provoking stories are in effect, a social commentary on the pace and direction of technology.

The author has taken up various advances in science & technology and extrapolated them into their future shape. Then he created a situation of amusement, horror and even despair as a result of that technology.

The common theme is technology and how it is invading human beings and taking on more and more tasks that humans were doing. As this encroachment increases, will there be anything for the humans to do other than exist?

Will that be in a way ‘machines overtaking humans’ since everything that needs to be done is being done by machines and there is nothing the humans have to do. Won’t the humans die of lethargy and become suicidal due to inactivity … or replace their real life activities with virtual activities … a la Matrix.

I will easily recommend this collection of stories to anyone interested in future tech and sci-fo genre of books. I would even recommend this book to those interested in philosophy – they are sure to find some interesting angles in there.

I would easily rate this book 4/5

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Book Review: The 365 Days by Nikhil Ramteke


 
The 365 Days by Nikhil Ramteke

Not an easy book to review for multiple reasons.

It is a story, fiction essentially BUT it is so close to reality that it is more like reading a documentary rather than reading a story/fiction.

I have lived in Dubai around the timeline the story is taking place and even right now living here. While I could identify the storytelling, i could also easily point out (and be irritated about) the error in the storytelling - factual errors. There were one or two times, when i felt the author was making self-contradictory statements thro the protagonist which kind of disturbed the reading flow. BUT those are minor things. Important is how the book was written and did it achieve its objective of creating awareness.

Overall, the book is an insight into the ugly dark world of the laborers life in Dubai. While Dubai is enjoyed and toured by the rich, it has been built by the labor of the huge labor population which remains out of sight. The average well-to-do resident ignores their existence normally and the tourist hardly encounters them.

They have a tough life (And that is an understatement). The subject has been raised in local as well as international media several times - the conditions of the labor camps and the life of the laborer in Middle East (not just particularly in UAE/Dubai).

The author makes a good attempt at describing the plight of the average laborers and their daily struggles. Its a good documentary. Commendable.

I assume, the book's objective is to raise awareness. Which will happen as more and more people read the book. BUT people don't read documentaries. They will read an interesting story with twists and turns and surprises; even if it is a sad one. I personally feel that the story could have been made more interesting increasing the chances that it would be picked up by an average reader.

With the documentary approach, the readership is limited.

I am not saying, that the book is not written in story format and is purely documentary. Its just that there needed to be more of story telling while retaining the pain and hardships - which I must say, the author has captured beautifully. Once again, I would congratulate the author for doing a good job of capturing the underlying sentiment ... besides the conditions of the laborers. The average laborer is not afraid of hardships. They are demoralized by the treatment they receive.

I will rate this book at 3/5

Saturday, April 22, 2017

VSS 011: Untitled


Untitled

Very Short Story (VSS) 011

 

Some stories in life remain untitled.

These are relationships which are not bound by a definition.

A friend who is more than a friend but not exactly your lover.

A spouse who becomes your best friend but there is still something missing.

A sibling you fight with but share secrets with while jealousy bakes you.  

A colleague who is fast becoming a best friend and dangerously close to becoming a love interest but you haven’t yet figured out the other person.

We live simple lives with complicated relationships.

The story of our lives is just like this story. Untitled.