Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review of Dangle by Sutapa Basu


Stunning, svelte, smart Ipshita is a globetrotter. She treks across the world to gather bytes for the travel chats she designs and hosts for TV channels. Despite being a self assured and sophisticated entrepreneur, Ipshita is haunted by a nameless fear. Social interaction with men unleashes psychotic turmoil inside her, making her wary of male attention. Yet, the cold and aloof Ips is inexorably drawn to the three men she meets at different points in her journey.
Her arousal to the overtures of these men catches her unawares. Well-built defenses break as her dormant sexuality goes into overdrive until she discovers the horrifying truth about them…and herself.
Life puzzles. Secrets tumble out. Will she be able to reclaim her life or let it dangle?

My Review
Dangle by Sutapa Basu is a novel that could be described in just two words...TT, i.e., Travelogue and a Thriller. The author's protagonist Ipshita travels across the globe with an aim to capture nature for her chat show that she freelances to various TV channels. Amidst the clicks of raw nature, the author takes the reader on a picturesque journey that ranges from the skyscrapers of Chicago to the hustle bustle daily grind of New Delhi and then a peeks into the army life and the quaint and offbeat Imphal, Manipur followed by the scenic and colorful beaches of Indonesia. Ipshita's mental being is also challenged as she fights each temptation that surfaces around her. Unknowingly she gets lured by men named Amar, Akash, Steve. However, leaves herself in a suspension mode with regards to the above individuals. 

What I loved....the author's research of the locales and the various destinations is commendable. The grip over her language was a smooth sail for the reader in spite of the protagonist being in a dangle. Sutapa has explored the various intersections of life where Ipshita is left swaying in confusion. 

Eventually, her fantasies are uncovered while uprooting her hallucinations. Illusions are exposed, and she was made to ponder over an incident that triggered when she was a teen. Thus, the root cause of all the above. It was engrossing but as a reader, I got the clue too soon when the protagonist read about the crash of Amar Seth en route to Delhi. That could have been delayed (my 2 cents!)

The games of the mind were uncovered, and she was labeled, 'cured' as she set about living her actual life with her long time childhood friend and husband, Aditya. But does the mind let her live this 'normal' life?  

Dangle is a novel about the power of the mind, and how it can capture the individual in spite of her being Stunning, Svelte, Smart and have a Flourishing Career. A Recommended read for people who love to live on the edge or study the mystic mind.

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About the Author

An author, poet and publishing consultant, Sutapa Basu also dabbles in art and trains trainers and is a compulsive bookworm. During a thirty-year old professional career as teacher, editor, and publisher, she travelled the Indian subcontinent, Nepal and Bhutan. She has visited UK, USA, Dubai and Singapore while working with Oxford University Press, India and Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, South Asia until 2013 when she decided to start writing seriously.  
Sutapa is an Honours scholar from Tagore’s Visva-Bharti University, Santiniketan and holds a teaching as well as a masters degree in English Literature. 
 As a publisher, Sutapa has developed and published around 400 books. Recently, her short story was awarded the First Prize in the Times of India’s nation-wide WriteIndia Contest, under author, Amish Tripathi. 
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Friday, August 26, 2016

A Roti

The sun broke the blackness triumphantly just as it promises each day; by spreading its bright tendrils to every corner of the globe and warming the planet including the city Delhi, India while chasing away the darkness. 

One such household was awaiting the return of the brightest star as the clock struck 5 am. A tall frame lady with a round figure dragged herself out of the bed while embracing herself tight to keep her warm as she walked in the cold corridor towards the kitchen. Her eyes were dull, body lethargic as she yawned wide to get more oxygen into her body so that she could go on with the new day but same old routine with a bunch of new instructions that were on the side of her mind marked with a red flag.

Once she entered the kitchen, her hands started to move diligently as she multi-tasked on preparing the morning and afternoon menu.
Kitchen chores began as the utensils clinked. Mortar and Pestle crushed the ginger for the morning tea. Cutting board pulled out for chopping the vegetables as the cumin seeds hissed in the hot oil in a pan while she methodically placed the produce in it followed by essential herbs and spices.  The bangles on her wrist also jingled along as she stirred with one hand while rolling the dough with another.

Just then she heard a loud curse from the adjacent room. That made her retract for a bit. Paused and continued with the drill but, this time was mindful of her actions and kept the volume low.

Within a few minutes, a command made her quick in her steps, and she hurriedly moved in that direction with a cup and a saucer.
Thereafter, the radio was ON with bhajans playing in the background as she hummed along and prepared a meal while sipping her tea along with it. Her hands got busy again by rolling out the dough into a neat circular form via a rolling pin on a flat surface and placing it on the hot pan.

The husband beckoned for his cup of tea, and she was quick to serve him inside along with an extra cup for his mom as he accompanied her while Sarita went in for a quick shower.

As the clock was ticking, Sarita's footsteps got quicker as she finished packing lunch for herself, her better half and placing it neatly in a casserole for her mother-in-law whom she lovingly called Mummy jee.

Once ready, she put the tiffin on the counter while shouting out in a particular direction, "Do not forget your tiffin" and just when she was about to leave with her's a distinct voice made her falter.

"How many roti's did you pack for him?"
That made her frown, ponder and after a brief pause she turned towards that voice and responded with respect, "Mummy jee, I put four this time."

Before the mother-in-law could say anything, another boisterous voice irritated her, "What! Do you think I am an elephant to be eating so many during the day?" the husband came out while combing his hair and expecting a response from his wife.

Sarita fumed and rolled her eyes as she viewed her watch, "Darn it! I will miss my bus today thanks to the mother and son." she muttered.

Turned towards him with her arms on her hips and said in a low voice, "Ask your mom about the logic of not serving odd but only an even number of rotis."

"Huh!" he said in a confused tone.

"Ma, what is this? You know I eat only three rotis during the day. Why did you ask her to pack four for me?" he posed in a baby voice, which made Sarita chortle as she placed her tiffin in her bag and waited impatiently to hear her side of the story.

"Listen, beta numbers such as one, three, five are never favorable."

She wanted to explain further but got interrupted by a fuming Sarita, "But, Mummy jee I also take an odd number roti, and you did not care to justify for me?"

Mummy jee blushed but immediately made it clear, "These figures not good for a man's career. You don't earn as much as him so do not worry." she continued with innocence.

That boiled Sarita further as she stormed out of the house wearing her chappals and with her bag on her shoulder.

"Oh God! Ma now look what you have done," said the tensed husband, "I will have to send her hundreds of texts to bring back her good mood." 

Mummy jee realized the impact, and clarified to her son by going on, "Odd numbers always lead to adversity. They tend to upset the digestion if consumed, and could also lead to weight gain."

The son at that moment was not interested in the odd even saga, and continued to get ready for work but mentally upset over his wife's reaction, and was fishing out ideas to please her.

Mummy jee went back to her knitting without giving a darn of what just happened but internally satisfied that her family had embraced the odd-even fundamental and shall continue to walk on it for a brighter future.


‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

An infant to a teen.....

"See you at 7 pm tonight" I shouted to my better half who was heading out the door for work. He paused, thought and then curiously inquired, "What's at 7 pm and where?"

I inhaled deeply and uttered irritatingly, "the orientation" then in a melodious tone added, "Hons, be on time!"

A quick nod and he drove away.

As the day progressed. I could not concentrate. This teen who 13 years ago was brought in a car seat from the hospital as an infant. And in about four years time will be off to college!

When I think about the years that passed by they were no doubt like licking the honey off the spoon. The kid was obedient, had a smile and listened. Still, I was not satisfied. I was hungry for more. I must have lectured him in soft and loud voice for gazillion things while allowing him to make a selection when we would order at a restaurant or choose his own color shoes or outfit just so that he could think of what he actually likes or desires. I was his shadow at every step of the way. Guided him between right and wrong while teaching him the basics of life such as tying his shoelaces, riding a bike and blow the dust off the scrape that he would meet while learning any new skill.

 I am proud of whatever he is today!

As I cling to those fond memories of his hugs, kisses, and playful mannerisms with me I also dread the coming years. The coming years will be a challenge where I have to be mindful of my opinions, lectures over several topics that interest him. I have to give him space while allowing his wings to flap off and on. I also have to learn to choose my battles since being a teen he will want to get a taste of everything, but I don't want him to get hurt during that process.

Aha! Life of a parent is a test of patience at this junction.

However, in the back of my mind, I am rest assured that the foundation aka his wings is robust and sturdy thus avoiding him to sway or come in the drift of the wrong storm.

As I sip my ginger tea while typing this. I bank upon hope that anchors my soul as I continue to tread upon this Life as is.

Mantra for today: One Life, many decisions!


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Our sentence this week was “When it comes to the years…”

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Twist in a Routine

Kerri's daily walks were around the school campus.

Today was something weird.

The playground wore a deserted look. The air was still and heavy. The leaves were motionless, and not a single bird in sight.

"Where is everybody" she muttered in distress.

Peeked into several classrooms. Some were dark while some showed signs of movement.

Curious she knocked on one door and waited patiently until a lady answered.

"Quick, get in here!" she motioned,"There is a gunman on loose, and we need to take shelter."

That stunned Kerri; she froze but was pulled into the dark room.

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an empty playground. Is it abandoned or are the children in school?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Spotlight of DESTINY DECIDES by P.G. Van

DESTINY DECIDES… A tale of two hearts in search of true love
Sameera lives a simple and fun life that she has structured with utmost care ensuring that she was focused on work and also keeps in touch with the classical dancer in her. Sameera has endured tough times in her life at a young age and wonders if she could ever hang on to anything that makes her life perfect.
Nick is a successful businessman who went to high school with Sameera, back when they lived in India. He re-enters her life taking her by surprise and in no time expresses his love for her. He wins her heart with his enigmatic but sweet gestures. He convinces her to move in with him.  Nick gives her the confidence and support that she needs to overcome her doubts.
Sameera starts to feel like Nick is the secret to happiness, she finds out that there is a search underway for her. Nick tells her that an Indian royal family is trying to locate her family. Fully convinced that it was a misunderstanding she ignores Nick’s warnings about the people that were searching for her and travels to India for a family emergency.
A member of the Royal Family that has been searching for her, meets Sameera as soon as she reaches India. Nick follows her to India a short while later and asks her to marry him to which she agrees whole-heartedly. The story ends on a happy note but with an open question around why Nick’s extended family in India is looking for Sameera’s family.
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Excerpt from #DestinyDecides
I was running through this list in my mind when I heard a very soft knock behind me. I turned around and found Nick standing in the doorway in a dark gray suit and his seductive smile on his face.
Not caring about what I had in my hand, I let it drop to the floor and ran into Nick’s arms. His tight hold and the sweet masculine smell were proof that I was not hallucinating.
“Nick,” I said finding my voice and added, “When did you get here?”
He gently put his arms around me and said, “I got here when you were just about to wrap up your lovely dance,” and added, “I am still wondering how you can move your waist so gracefully.”
Nick brushed his lips against my sweaty temple and let out a heavy breath. This simple gesture kick started my heart to a heart rate no amount of workout would give me. Nick moved his arm down my back to the waistband of my capris and expecting him to sneak his fingers in to find my waist chain, I pulled back slightly and said, “Give me fifteen minutes to shower and change,” and asked, “Where are we going for dinner?”
Nick smiled at me and said, “Where we are headed, you are better off not changing now.”
I looked at him suspiciously and asked, “What does that mean?”
“Why don’t you grab your stuff, and I will tell you on our way there,” he teased as I put on my sleeveless vest over my sports bra.
As Nick walked towards the parking lot, I went to the locker to grab my bags and went back into the parking lot to find him standing next to my car. I dished out my keys from my bag, and as I approached him with my car keys in my hand, in a swift move, he grabbed the keys out of my hand and said smiling, “You will not need your car tonight.” As I looked at him in utter confusion, I saw him wave to someone and in the next instance, I saw Mitch, the limo driver, emerge from the darkness and catch my car keys that Nick had tossed to him.
“Mitch, you know where the car needs to go?” Nick asked him, and Mitch replied, “I got it, Nick.”
“Nick, what’s going on?” I asked annoyed with his action.
“We can go in my car, and Mitch will give your car keys to Nethra after he drops it off at your place,” Nick clarified.
“Nate is at home? How do you know that?” I inquired.
“I know because she came to meet Srini at the airport, and they were headed to your place,” he said thoroughly enjoying himself looking at my expression.
Nick signaled to Mitch to give him his car keys and as Mitch tossed the keys, I reached for them and grabbed them mid-air before Nick could get them.
Mitch looked at Nick apologetically, to which Nick said, “No worries, Mitch,” and smiled at me.
“So, will you be driving us to our destination?” he asked, his tone filled with joy.
“Yes, I most definitely can,” I said looking at the keys and realizing that what I had in my hand was a key fob for a Porsche, and the fob was designed to look like a little Porsche car.
“This key fob is so cute, and this is not the car I thought you were driving,” I said confused.
“The Rover is to take my mom around as she refuses to ride in my Porsche,” he said smiling.
I swallowed the lump that formed in my throat as I wondered if I should really drive his car. I saw Nick look at me with a wicked smile on his face. Refusing to chicken out, I held my chin high and said, “Let’s go.” I heard him chuckle behind me as if he knew I was terrified to drive his mean machine to an unknown destination. With a high sense of pride, I clicked the unlock button on the key fob. The car was a few cars away and was a midnight blue Porsche Carrera 911 and looked super sexy in the night lights.
I walked around to the driver’s side and in the dim lights on the inside I saw the sight that made my heart sink. This model was one of the very few cars in its class that still offered a stick shift, and this model pacified the stick shift driving enthusiasts with the seven-speed transmission. I hesitated for a few seconds debating if I should take the risk of driving the car. Nick was observing my reactions to the things that I have been discovering and asked in a soft voice, “Having second thoughts, love?”
“No,” I blurted out with immense pride and opened the door to put my bags in the back seat gracefully sliding into the low slung, deep-pocketed driver’s seat. Nick took off his suit jacket and put it in the back seat. He undid a couple of buttons on his shirt and kicked back into the passenger seat.
Nick looked at me as I sat in silence looking around the interior of the car in awe and very softly said, “Ignition to your left, key fob in there, and I suppose you are familiar with the third pedal down there?”
“Nick, I can’t do this. I just wanted to show you how annoyed I was when you took my keys,” I confessed putting my face in my palms.
‘Sameera, you can do this. I know you learned how to drive a stick shift back in India,” he encouraged.
“Nick, that was ages ago, and this is such a nice car and I am so intimidated by the power of this beauty,” I said my voice trembling.

“Sameera, don’t worry about the car. I know you love fast bikes and cars so enjoy the drive.” 

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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.

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