The Wet Railing by Anirban Nanda


I wrote this story to fight with my writer’s block participating in #1000wordsmarathon. I wrote it within 50 mins. Hope you would like it.


THE WET RAILING

by Anirban Nanda

What will you feel if you are tied to an iron for your whole life? Pretty bad, nah? Well, think about me. Yes, me. I am a railing; a thin cylindrical metallic rod to prevent you from falling off from a metro. I am too old now, a bit rusty and fragile. Maybe I am no use to you, but still you can lend your ear for a few minutes to this old man’s ─sorry, not man, old railing would be more appropriate─ meaningless ramblings.

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This is monsoon you know. And for me, monsoon comes to me with bittersweet feelings. Bitter because it gifts me rust on my body and corrode it bit by bit; and sweet, yes; not because I am very romantic or something ─I even never read a poem─ and also not because I love to be wet all day. It’s because coolness of monsoon keeps my body in real shape. Shape means you know, I get inflated in summer ─same as you people get─ due to simple physics, and I get shrunk in winter. It’s the monsoon that keeps me in actual shape; like zero figure. I hear zero figures are very popular among you. Is it so?

Are you getting bored? Yes? Please bear with this old iron, my mind doesn’t work straight in this age. Will you listen? Thank you. You are travelling, nah? Where? To find a job? Oh! That’s great. You know we all find something in our life. We keep doing that till our last breath. But you know the sad thing? The moment we find the thing we want, we start seeking something else. And it goes on in a circle forever. Like those Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Okay, let me tell you an interesting story. Not much interesting if you come to think of it. Just my daily experience. You know, like a page from my personal dairy ─don’t look at me like that, I don’t have a dairy though.

It was Sunday. My favourite. You know why? Because unlike all other weekdays, on this day, people travel for different reasons; not like going to same place, dropping on same stoppage. So, it was a Sunday morning and a family ─mummy, papa and their daughter─ boarded in beside me. The girl was very cute, maybe of age five. And it seemed like she was travelling in metro for the first time. Her parents sat in seats but she refused to do the same and rather stood near window, gripping me tightly, with her chin touching my neighbor below and her forehead touching me collinearly along her hands. Her eyes were gleaming. The moment, the carriage started moving from a stoppage, she giggled. So cute. And she kept asking her father; what was that building? What was that bridge? Why that dog was lying like that? The dog was lynched, by the way. She couldn’t understand that in that age in anyway. So, she just kept asking questions after questions about different trees, malls, structures and I kept answering her in my mind. Then she pointed her finger to a crippled beggar near a dustbin. My heart sank. Ask why. There are so many beggars I see each day, why would I care about that beggar? Because I was a witness of that accident. Yes, he was a good, working young man like you, seeking for job every day. We talked a lot like I’m talking with you now. But on that day, it was late in night and he was returning to board and go back to his residence. He was crossing the high way and that truck; yes, that truck. It was ridiculous. Know what was the speed? I got a pretty good idea as I travel 24 hours. It was nearly 95 kmph. Nothing was there in his left leg from thigh. Totally bloody stuff. I had to leave right then and I could not wait to see if anyone took him to hospital immediately. All I knew after that, that he never boarded again and sat beside me. It felt pretty sad you know.

So that girl got off after few stoppages and new people arrived. A couple sat by me after that little girl. They kept to themselves all the time and I was enjoying the sweet rain as I am enjoying now with you. You know, when for the first time I was fixed here in this window, I was spellbound to witness countryside scenery. It was so beautiful! Those shiny buildings, chirpy people. Everyone was running, like his life depended on it. I couldn’t wait in those times to travel all the day. Now it has become boring. Who would like to see same thing for years? Too mundane. So, I talk to people like you, who had none to share his feelings. If you are an author, I could be a good source of inspirations. Are you listening? Thank you. So, pretty soon those lovers also got off.

In this way, the whole day many people went to different places. None held me that day except that little girl you know. I mean, who holds a railing these days? I was just observing people in different stations without giving an ear to whoever sat by me. Thus came the last round, and I would be heading to depot. Then that girl again boarded and sat beside me. Guess that girl? No, no, not that cute little girl. The girl from that couple. Yes, that girl. She sat there beside me and kept gazing outside. I was sure that she was not staring outside to enjoy the night scenery. How could she? Her eyes were brimming with tears. Then she came closer to me and held me. Second time it was on that day. Rain had stopped by then. I know she was sad. It may seem selfish to you but I was very happy, because someone cared to hold my rusty body. Who would hold this filthy metal anyway? When wind flew hard as the carriage sped up, she could not help but blink and teardrops fell on me. I was wet again.

©Anirban Nanda

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[Book Experience] I don’t Wear Sunscreen by Kavipriya Moorthy


I don't Wear SunscreenI don’t Wear Sunscreen by Kavipriya Moorthy

Just completed “I don’t wear sunscreen” by Kavipriya Moorthy. It took only three hours though. To know how I feel about it, read on.
The novel (can be called novella) is written with dates and also is divided into many chapters. I think any one of them would do just fine. These are mere technicalities. Let’s move on to the main story.
So our story is about mainly ups and downs of two childhood friends and how it turns out to be a totally unexpected journey. For the first fifty pages (half of the book) it seemed a simple story about complication due to distance in a childhood friendship. I was thinking it would end in catching up with the ruined relation and some philosophical lectures on life and so. But it totally slapped me and pointed what it was hiding underneath its simple story.
While I was mulling over why Laksha had disappeared, then suddenly a revelation! What makes this book interesting is simply this:

              1. The author casually describes everything like it’ll go on forever and then suddenly unveils her hidden plot twists.
              2. Every word written here will convince you that she’s written it from her heart. After every 2-3 pages you will find some thought provoking lines like:

If a past relationship hurts you now, it means you matured over time, but what was it can never be replaced by any other memory. To fall in love is human, to betray is also human if you take a closer look at it.

And another thing, this is probably the first book where epilogue seemed more interesting than the complete book. At epilogue, our betrayer or antagonist (somewhat) reveals why she did what she did. It was pretty understandable provided some other socio-economic conditions. Still in my opinion, I’d never forgive Pallavi for what she did, no matter how many reasons she showed, how much pain she suffered. It felt very fresh when the first person narration was suddenly changed from Laksha to Pallavi.

What could have been better:

Laksha’s mother was an extremely complex and interesting character which could have been depicted better. It’s a wasted opportunity. She was raped in her adolescence, she once forced Laksha to keep trying to swim even up to the verge of drowning, and she totally ignored her daughter’s problems initially knowing everything (though later she handled the situation with maturity and thus shedding some light on her strong character.). Such a character could have been described more.

At the core, this book is all about how uncertain life can be and how we should not lose hope in any moment in our life. Relationships are expertly analyzed, human psychology is closely examined and finally a nice and slow story is greatly converted into a nail biting mystery. Kudos to the author for her achievement in her debut work itself. Wish her all the best for her upcoming projects.

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[Recently Read] 3 @ A Time by Diptendu Sekhar Chakraborty


Few days ago, I have read the book 3 @ A Time by Diptendu Shekhar Chakraborty . It is the author’s debut book.

I will try  to give an overall opinion/experience with the book.

To start with, I must say that the author’s language is simple and fluidic  but not good enough to be called a great prose style. So clearly, the book is focused on the young readers of India. Our protagonist is Deepankar (and also is the narrator of the story) is a cool dude, and is so handsome/cute that most of the girls fall for him. In the whole book, a commendable number of girls have fallen for him. Before going into further details of the story, I like to praise the author for something I personally use a lot. While introducing the protagonist, he doesn’t use the conventional way to saying “My name is this, and I am of height this and blah blah”; but rather he introduces him via some other character’s  mouth. This is good way of introducing main characters.

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Now, let’s go deeper in the story. So, our hero Deepankar is a cool and overconfident stud who falls first for a girl Deepannita (strangely, many characters have the prefix Dip or Deep, e.g. Deepankar, Deepannita, Deepika and more), and then he discovers she is a lesbian. Yeah, that’s right. This is something new I recently read in any Indian writing. That’s something of good twist. Then he climbs the stairs of success, and more girls come near him. Not to mention, he himself is somewhat pervert, always trying to find a girl to get into her pants. Despite having a girlfriend Naina before joining the MBA college (our main venue where things happen), he indulges himself in more-than-a-kiss-and-less-than-sex with three girls(Ritika, Sonali, Priya and almost Pooja). Utterly confused, who actually he is in love, he plays along with three of them. The girls are also too desperate to be with him and also in all the case they themselves go to Deepankar for a relationship. So, we can’t put all the blame on him. But that doesn’t mean he has a likable character.

The book also gives us few good lessons like, not being overconfident but be confident enough and dealing complicated situation with calm mind. Out protagonist also has shown bravery by facing his problems on his own. There is an important scene of facing three girls together being caught. In that case, he’s acted smartly, by replying confidently and avoiding a public insult; though his reasoning is not much logical. Still, I like the way he’s handled the situation.

He became The Cutest Smile, member of placement cell and very popular. He also has faced some downfalls like being sacked from placement cell, and being denied of appearing campus interviews. He’s fought in those moments and become successful. There is also a good message for religious harmony.

To give an overall view, I can say that this book is not awesome but good enough to be an entertainer. The authors has to improve a lot and I believe he has the capability to become a great writer. I wish him all the best for all his future endeavors.

You can get the book from here.

[Book Experience] Maya’s New Husband by Neil D’Silva


Maya's New HusbandMaya’s New Husband by Neil D’Silva

So at last I have completed the book I was waiting to read. Yes, it is Neil D’Silva’s Maya’s New Husband; the grotesque horrendous thriller.

I have completed the book in three sittings and I’ll point out below the aspects that have appealed to me.

Theme:

If it’s just a thriller about a cannibal serial killer, the story wouldn’t be much interesting. It is the mythical theme of worshippers of Lord Shiva that has made the book more intimidating. The mythical angle has always remained an underlying theme over the gruesome story.

Glory in gore:

Yes, this book is full of nauseating and hideous scenes coming out straight from some Hollywood cannibalistic movie. But, the good thing is ─thanks to the author’s tremendous ability─ he has transformed even utterly macabre scenes into almost delightful wordplay.

See the following lines:

He lifted the stone. The skull was smashed in two and the brain was spilled out onto the wooden bed that he had been sleeping on. His eyes popped out with the impact, one of them smashed, a gooey yellow mass oozing out of it. The impact retracted the skin of the head, and his mandibles now jutted out, a sickly sight of white bone protruding out of his wizened wrinkled cheeks.

It is a textbook example of picturing something vividly rather than just narrating in a boring way.

Another example:

Another lay on its back, the skin torn, the spine broken and jutting out of it. A rotting spinal cord played peekaboo from the twisted vertebrae.

Humour:

The book is full of satiric scenes which almost have made me laugh. Surprised, huh? How can a spooky book become funny? Okay, imagine the following scene: husband is having sex with her wife with animalistic force and they are having the following conversation;

“What is strange?” he asked. He had already stripped her naked and was forcing his way inside her and trying to squeeze her breasts at the same time, much like he were trying to milk a cow.

“Padma called me today saying that she wanted to come for a visit.” Maya felt the pain but did not show it; instead, she guided his organ into her. “But she didn’t turn up at all.”

He grunted and began moving his groin slowly over her.

“I tried calling, but she didn’t answer or even return calls. I am worried about her.”

“What the fuck!” he ceased and yelled at her. “Here I am trying to have a good time after a long day’s work and all you speak about is somebody that didn’t turn up? She’s not a child; she will find her way home eventually.”

Surely, Maya was not happy. But, this conversation has infused some black comedy in it.

Here is another example. I’ve laughed for the aghori saint’s awkward behaviour.

“Bam Bholenath!” She turned sharply towards the source of the sound—her own door. She had forgotten to close it after Akram had left, and now she saw the hermit standing right at her doorstep. The tantric—for that’s what Maya assumed him to be—cut an imposing figure, standing there with a human bone in his hand and with eight rings on his fingers, each containing motifs of human skulls in their various forms. But, what really paralyzed Maya was that the bowl he held in his hand was not just a bowl. Her innate knowledge of human anatomy told her it was an upturned cranium cut neatly out of a human skull.

“Bam Bholenath,” he repeated and Maya looked up at his face. From this proximity, his face looked more intimidating.

Also the author’s smart use of phrases like “Thigh Food” have added mockery is his presentation.

Actual horror elements:

Cutting hearts out, peeling skins are not the most horrific elements as one should expect. The book is spine chilling because there are few scenes that suddenly make you guess what bad things would happen next. See the following:

Padma disconnected the phone and moved out of the computer lab. As she walked along the empty corridor, she ensured the clip was still with her. There was nothing on her mind at the moment except showing that clip to her friend and perhaps help her decide the future course of action.

But, she shouldn’t have been so lost in her thoughts.

For, if she had been more alert and looked at the other end of the corridor, she would have seen the tall dark man staring at her with hands buried in his large trouser pockets and murder in his face.

She was stupid. Engrossed in her talks, she hadn’t even seen him earlier peering through the side window of the computer lab with his bloodshot eyes,…

Yes, this prelude to the cruel aftermath is the actual horror element.

Another one:

“You just said some garage—” began Maya but was immobilized midsentence, for her mother made a sign to her to keep quiet. It was a well-known gesture, understood by her daughters. It had been used several times over the years. But it wasn’t much of a deception and Bhaskar, who was watching his mother-in-law’s every expression like a marauding hawk, caught the slight wrinkle of caution that flashed over her eyebrows.

Metaphor:

There are few clear cut metaphors like love with cocoon, but there are few subtle ones too. Have a look:

He had laid a meticulous plan to ensnare her, and she had fallen right into the trap. Like a fly that knowingly walks into a spider’s web. Only, this fly had apparently endangered the other flies around it too.

Psychology:

This book has shown some unknown emotions that can come out during acute existential crisis. The following line can send chills to any feminist.

A female victim’s thought:

If he just rapes me and leaves me, she thought, I’ll run away from here never to return, and forget all about this nightmare.

“Do what you want with me,” she said between her sobs. “But, let me go. Let me go, please. I have a son.”

However, there was no way this nightmare would end.

What could have been better:

This book is very good, even surpassing many recent thrillers. But the horrific and gory things have constructed the main thrilling elements here. The plot is sometimes predictive. The anti-parallel scenes in part one have already given hints to the later incidents. It would be lot better, if the author would try to hide the cannibalistic nature of the villain at first, and unveil it in later part, in a sudden shock.

But, the fact is, we are readers. And it’s easy to comment on something already near-perfect piece and boast about it. Even it has reminded me of the classic American Psycho sometimes. Hence, I like to congratulate the author Neil D’Silva for writing a much needed book for Indian literature and that too with undeniable mastery.

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[Book Experience] Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami


Kafka on the ShoreKafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

While reading this book, I can assure you that this is not like other books; be it realistic or fantastical. Unlike in other novels which will take you through a well-defined path, give you a certain meaning, where all the events and interpretations tend to converge in to one, you won’t find that in this book.

Here symbolism is at its peak and here everything seems a metaphor. And that exactly what it tries to be; a metaphorical journey, where unexplainable or unreal incidents try to vaguely give you a clue about its metaphor. After completing this book, you will feel like floating in a dream as a whole, without any specific interpretations of things happening here. Sure enough, you’ll get some idea about what it is about, you’ll not be confident; because Murakami wants you not to feel confident about anything’s meaning in the book.

Sardine rain, leech rain, talking stone and cats, entrance to a semi-real-metaphysical-afterlife world, a man-woman mixed sex, this kind of weird things will come across while reading the novel.

I’ll try to share my musing on few such incidents here : [You need to read the novel to understand the following]

Sardine rain: This thing happens just after killing of cats. Cats love Sardines, so raining sardines may symbolize Nakata’s sympathy for those killed cats.

Leech rain: To explain parasitic nature of the tormentors at the parking lot.

Kafka: It means crow in Czech, which also indicates to ‘the boy named crow’ , the inner soul of our protagonist, who lives through multiple times and falls in love with same women twice, first as lover, second as son.

Kafka on the shore: The portrait inspired by which Miss, Saeki writes a wonderful song (named Kafka on the Shore), that prophesied events that will occur later on the novel.

Entrance Stone: A metaphorical gate through which Kafka connects to his mom/lover even after her death, an afterlife world.

Mixed sex: To give neutrality, because Kafka is utterly confused about sex.

The unconscious children: Refers weirdness of war, where no logic works, same like those children became unconscious without any reason.

As a whole I can say that it is a MAGICAL book. The word ‘spellbinding’ in the blurb is apt. I love Murakami’s style, his twisting plot, weird events, and everything.

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