Friday, 26 December 2014


A day after the bloody fair,
I walk the sands of the square,
In search of my loving mother,
Father, sister, and missing brother.

The ground is still wet and sore,
From yesterday’s blood and gore.
Still the morning air with cries is rent,
Of men, women and children innocent.

Wade I through an ocean of corpses,
Bloody, dismembered, maimed and lifeless.
A severed limb here, a shattered skull there,
It’s blood, bones, skin, and gore everywhere.

I sit in the middle of the open graveyard,
A child, a sibling, and somebody’s ward.
Find not my loving kith and kin,
Rendered orphan, I know not my sin.

Pranced I, merrily, with my family,
Lost them yesterday to himsa dastardly.
Did not crave it, did not ask for it,
Still, to me, the magnanimous served it.

Achieved not anything, the bullet did,
Conquered not anything, the bomb did.
With sickening regularity repeats the himsa,
Alas! The world forgets the apostle of ahimsa.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’,
Remember not this Golden Rule, the world does.
Created with insouciant indifference to humanity,
The gun, the bullet, the bomb, and nuclear insanity.

Humanity disappears, humaneness vanishes from lexicon,
Charity is charred, and blown away is compassion.
The unknown cause marches on, on innumerable corpses,
Diabolical goal unachieved, over mutilated bodies lifeless.

Wake up, oh unfeeling world! Where art thou headed?
Can you rule over populace maimed and dead?
Differentiate and distinguish between wrong and right,
Help me spread peace and move from darkness to light.

Friday, 12 September 2014


Dance of Life” was not “Dance of Life” to begin with.

You see, I, a conventional person in various other matters, took to computers like fish to water. Ever since I laid my fingers on the keyboard for the first time in 1990-91, I took to writing...oops...keying in my writings directly onto the hard disk. (Consequently, my already-illegible handwriting became worse over the years.) I find it quite convenient and time-saving. With the on-line support – dictionaries, thesauruses, (re)search engines - that is available nowadays, I feel very comfortable keying in my documents directly onto the hard disk.

The preamble about computers is necessary, since I had to save my text under some file name, book title in this case.
I had already decided to begin my new avatar with an easy topic that did not entail serious research and that allowed me to test my alleged potential. I chose a love story as my subject. I even envisioned the key, crucial scene and began hammering away on the keyboard.

When it came to saving the text document, I was in a fix! I did not think about the title! My Bollywood-conditioned mind worked overtime and came up with the following brilliant (I thought so, at that time ) titles for my maiden novel:
  1. Another Love Story” – I needed something to save it on my laptop. I knew I would eventually change it;
  2. RASHI- Another Love Story” – RA from Radha, the heroine and SHI from Shashi, the hero made up for this variant. I thought I was damn innovative but I found it hackneyed and clichéd a la “What’s your RASHI”;
I preferred the former and saved my document under it. As I was nearing the end of the story, and used a phrase to describe a scene, a situation, it just popped up from the page and screamed, “I am here, the title for your book.” Without a second thought, I accepted it. “DANCE OF LIFE”, the story, the flow, the characters, and their feelings and sentiments gave me this final choice for the title. Only when you complete reading the story, you will understand why, how, when and where I got this choice.

The entire nagging exercise of searching for a suitable title taught me one very important aspect of writing a novel, which is etched in my mind indelibly. Now, even when I write a short story or a poem, if I am uncertain about the title I do not worry. I know, the story would offer it to me itself.

Psst, I shall let you in on a secret. I started with the last scene first!

Initially, I described and placed the crucial scene in the Epilogue and proceeded with creating the remaining story. I made good progress and reviewed my work. To my consternation I realised that the crucial scene was like a square peg in a round hole! It was not fitting in the section where I placed it! I read, re-read, and reviewed my story umpteen times and realised that I had committed a mistake and that the scene belonged in the prologue; so, I moved it to its appropriate position in the story and proceeded. Whether it will prove ominous to the sales of my first-ever book, time alone can tell.

The characters and characterisation did not cause much problem. They fell into place and I passionately etched them each with its own individuality rather than the writer peeping through every one of them.

The dialogues, the conversation was a little tricky. I tended to go overboard with long-winded dialogues but corrected my folly in the initial stages itself. I pruned them and kept them crisp, elaborating only when needed. I think my strong point is my capacity to describe things and situations, descriptive prose as I call it. Here, I unashamedly admit the indelible influence of the redoubtable Late Alistair MacLean, who was a master in this art, on me. (Except a couple of his later-year novels, I read all his works. I consider “The Last Frontier” his best for its content, form, crisp characterisation, informal and flippant conversation and, above all, its immaculate presentation. Well, that is by the way.)

I shall come to another crucial part of the story. It is a simple letter, which was my vehicle to convey many conflicting emotions - love, sadness, hope, regret, romanticism, and pragmatism – in fact, the very essence of the story! Let me admit it here that it was an extremely onerous task, given my emotional nature. I took nearly four days to create it. I broke down every time I resumed and attempted to write it, making my guardian angel regret and wonder whether she had committed a mistake in coaxing me into writing. I explained to her that God Almighty created me that way, emotional and sentimental. I went on to say that the conclusion of every story of mine was, for me, a very emotional and nerve-racking experience. It was like giving away my daughter in marriage.

Well, folks, that’s it; my first-ever book, “Dance of Life” was complete.

What next?

Saturday, 23 August 2014


 I was averse to begin my tryst with the role as a writer with my autobiography, for two reasons.

Firstly, I did not find the material for the book interesting. There was nothing dramatic or captivating about my life or my career. It was a run-of-the-mill kind of topic.

Secondly, by stating truth on several issues, I did not want to lose the few relations and friends I happened to have and speak the truth I must, if I undertook to write my autobiography. I let it rest, the best way, in my case, to win friends and influence people! Dale Carnegie would turn in his grave, if he read this!

Was I being dishonest? Maybe. Was I frightened? Maybe. Was I being disloyal to the cause of free writing? Maybe.

The simple truth is I was already plagued by diffidence and lack of self-confidence vis-à-vis the new cap I was going to don. I did not want to begin the arduous journey on a disastrous note, I mean story, when I was not confident whether I could handle the task at all.

After discussing with my guardian angel and telling her unequivocally that I would not be beginning with my autobiography, I pondered for several days. My primary concern was whether I could sustain my writing skills, expression, etc. over the length of a long story, a novel. I decided to take up a topic, albeit oft repeated, and test my alleged skills against it. Thus, I embarked upon my first-ever novel, which I would later christen “Dance of Life”.

Wait for my next blog to learn how I grappled with my “Dance of Life”.

Be seeing you...

Monday, 18 August 2014


Although retirement or superannuation, as it is officially called, is a stage in one’s life to put up one’s feet and relax forever, it is often filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and indefiniteness. Mine is no different.

My prime concern was my not possessing my own residence. Hence, I needed to augment my pension amount. My attempts to get an employment suitable to my status of retirement, age and physical limitations got me a couple of opportunities that eventually proved to be untenable. I concluded that I am unsuitable for today’s corporate job market.

I was depressed and directionless for a while, not realising my potential in “other” fields.

Then I received a kick in the butt from a guardian angel of mine. She urged me to take up writing. She felt that I possessed the essential “qualifications” and talents to take up the onerous task – good command in English language, good expression, good vocabulary, and good narrative skills. What she meant was I could spin a good yarn!

However, I was diffident. Having grown up on some classics and the contemporary works of master storytellers like Agatha Christie, Irving Wallace, et al, I knew how different spinning a yarn to one’s own children is from spinning a yarn to a vast number of readers out there. To say that it is fraught with risk would be the euphemism of the century.

I expressed my misgivings in so many and in many more words to my guardian angel. She brushed my misgivings aside as unfounded and almost commanded me to embark on my journey into the world of writing.

While I tentatively decided to take the plunge into the new activity, I was not sure of the topic. All my alleged writing skills during my 36-year long career were laid bare at the altar of fiction writing. I painfully realised that never the twain shall meet.

Writing an article, an essay, a report, etc. on a single point is easier, be it non-fiction or fiction. However, writing a short story or a novel is an entirely different kettle of fish. There must be a storyline, several characters, multiple incidents and situations, and dialogues. All these must be interwoven by means of coherence, cohesive narration, plausible logic, and cannily dramatised. Above all the readers’ attention must be attracted by an effective narrative style.

Did I possess any of these qualities?

Yes, I was definitely diffident!

Well, more of it in my next, folks!

See you later, ciao...

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Natural flair, inborn talent, urge to express, fertile imagination, good command over language, rich vocabulary, and good knowledge of men and matters – are these sufficient to make one a good writer?

Not going back far into time but restricting myself to contemporary, modern writers, I find that the above-listed qualities are not sufficient. Writers of news reports, articles, form one category of the writing community, while writers of fiction, non-fiction, of different genres form the other.

The second category requires much more than the qualities listed above, mastery over storytelling and narrative style, for instance. Germination and development of the central plot, creation of characters to carry the plot, coherence in narration are some other essential qualities for an engrossing storyline.

Agatha Christie, the Queen of Mystery, used to weave a web with her words and drag readers along with a nose ring.

Irving Wallace was an acclaimed master storyteller.

Alistair MacLean was nonpareil in descriptive prose.

Frederick Forsyth has an uncanny and incredible eye for detail.

These are essential facets of effective storytelling.

The above are but a few examples of what I am trying to say. There are myriad other great contemporary, modern writers with their narrations and inimitable narrative styles for generations to enjoy e.g. Leon Uris, Erle Stanley Gardner, Arthur Hailey, Harold Robbins, to name only a few.

All the above and may more writers have left an indelible impression on the reader in me decades ago. Much later, when I took to writing, this impression was to carry over to my writing ability and style, too.

That will be fodder for thought in Part #II of this blog.

Be seeing you...