Book Review – A Season for Dying: A Vikram Rana Mystery (Vikram Rana Series Book 2)

A Season for Dying

Author: Sharmishtha Shenoy

Amazon link for purchase:

http://www.amazon.in/Season-Dying-Vikram-Rana-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06Y3LZ76F/

The good thing about reading a novel from a new author is that you enter its world without any preconceived notions or conjecture. With “A Season for Dying: A Vikram Rana Mystery”, my mind was a blank slate as I plunged into it and I was in for a pleasant surprise. Since childhood, I have always devoured thrillers with a detective as a protagonist. Be it the classic Indian Television series “Karamchand” or the iconic “Byomkesh Bakshi”, the associated memories are still clearly etched in my mind. I am glad to share that in Vikram Rana, Ms. Shenoy has created a detective character which has the potential to be in the same league as these glorious detectives we have cherished during our growing years. The “Vikram Rana Investigates” series is set in the city of Nizams (which probably made me connect to this book all the more being from Hyderabad myself) and “A Season for Dying” is the second installment in this series.

Sarah and the Fairy

//This story has been submitted by Reya Jain, aged 7, from Hyderabad. This entry has won 2nd prize in the first contest conducted as a part of the “Children’s Corner” initiative. Children were given a prompt of few lines and they had to continue the story with their own interpretation.//

It was a bright Sunday morning, bustling with the boisterous banter between Sarah and her friends. The children were playing hopscotch by the lake which was close to Sarah’s home. Mrs. Rodrigues was watching them from the kitchen while preparing sandwiches for the children to feast on. Suddenly, there was a loud scream. Mrs.Rodrigues quickly ran to the garden. She saw that Sarah had fallen down in a muddy puddle and got hurt badly. Sarah’s mother picked her up and quickly ran to the hospital. Doctor did the check up and got an X-Ray done. He found that the bones of Sarah’s ankles had broken into number of pieces.

Myth or Truth?

//This story has been submitted by Arnav Mahajan, aged 8, from Hyderabad. This is the winning entry in the first contest conducted as a part of the “Children’s Corner” initiative. Children were given a prompt of few lines and they had to continue the story with their own interpretation.//

It was a bright Sunday morning, bustling with the boisterous banter between Sarah and her friends. The children were playing hopscotch by the lake which was close to Sarah’s home. Mrs. Rodrigues was watching them from the kitchen while preparing sandwiches for the children to feast on. Suddenly, there was a loud scream. Children were screaming because they saw a U.F.O landing near the lake. After some time, they saw an alien coming out of the U.F.O. When the alien came out, the U.F.O flew in the sky. The alien stared at Sarah and her friends. They got scared and ran towards Sarah’s house.

The Day of the Man-Eating Night Crawlers

//This story has been submitted by Ryan Bhathija, aged 9, from Hyderabad. This entry has won 2nd prize in the first contest conducted as a part of the “Children’s Corner” initiative. Children were given a prompt of few lines and they had to continue the story with their own interpretation.//

It was a bright Sunday morning, bustling with the boisterous banter between Sarah and her friends. The children were playing hopscotch by the lake which was close to Sarah’s home. Mrs. Rodrigues was watching them from the kitchen while preparing sandwiches for the children to feast on. Suddenly, there was a loud scream. It was Mrs Rodrigues’ scream as she saw man-eating night crawlers. She called Sarah before she jumped into the lake to get stones. But it was too late as Sarah had turned into a skeleton. She called up Mr. Rodrigues for help, but he didn’t answer the call.

Mrs. Rodrigues ran to find the children as they were escaping from the man-eating night crawlers. Even after running too far, children were nowhere to be found. She ran into the forest of Ghosts following the children’s footprints. Mrs. Rodrigues felt as if someone was following her. She looked back but found no one. Suddenly her phone rang, “tring tring……”. She got scared. It was Mr. Rodrigues.

“Did you forget documents, watch”, she fumbled with words.

“No no”, interrupted Mr Rodrigues, “I was just errrr…”.

The phone line got disconnected.

The Friendly Crocodile

//This story has been submitted by Rajit Singh Gour, aged 9, from Hyderabad. This is the winning entry in the first contest conducted as a part of the “Children’s Corner” initiative. Children were given a prompt of few lines and they had to continue the story with their own interpretation.//

It was a bright Sunday morning, bustling with the boisterous banter between Sarah and her friends. The children were playing hopscotch by the lake which was near Sarah’s home. Mrs. Rodrigues, Sarah’s mother, was watching them from the kitchen while preparing sandwiches for the children to feast on. Suddenly there was a loud scream “AAAAAAAA”. Sarah thought it was her troublesome little sister who was playing in the garden with her dolls, but to her surprise it was her mother. Sarah ran to her house to see what had happened. She went in and saw that her mother lay there unconscious. She climbed the platform of the kitchen. She noticed from the window that there was a large crocodile which seemed to be attempting to catch her sister Sinha. Sarah ran to her sister who was at the garden but couldn’t find her there. She sat down crying and thought aloud – “what will I tell Mom when she asks about Sinha”.

To the Mother who was not revered

//This article is the winning entry for the Momspiration contest conducted by mycity4kids. It is also available at the below link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/to-the-mother-who-was-not-revered-momspiration

Mother – the very mention of this word invokes deep emotions in our hearts. A mother is associated with veneration, strength, unconditional love and warmth. Our society places a mother on a pedestal, but does this same society demonstrate adulation and admiration for every mother who deserves it? 

During my stint as a volunteer with an NGO, I was fortunate to have had the privilege of meeting some extremely wonderful and inspirational individuals. Each interaction that I had with them has been a life lesson and has been instrumental in making me the person that I am today. That was the time when my friendship with Reshma, an employee of the NGO, happened. I believe that just like there are soul mates, there are also soul friends. These are the friends with whom we feel an instant connection; these are the friends who become an integral and indispensable part of our lives even before we get to know them enough. Reshma is my soul friend who is an inspiration in every sense of the word and she is someone who stands by me like a rock come what may. I thank my stars that I got an opportunity to bond with someone like her.

Sexual Abuse Survivors – The Ugly Reality

// This article was first published on the prestigious platform “Incredible Women of India”. Below is the link to the article:

Sexual Abuse Survivors – The Ugly Reality

“Oh, poor thing has been scarred for life.”

“She has become a big blot on the family’s reputation.”

“That is really sad… but she should have been more careful.”

“Why were you out so late in the night?”

“She has lost everything along with her dignity.”

“How will we face the society now? We are ruined!”

“Better go home and forget about the incident, a case will only subject you to more humiliation.”

These are just some of the awful things we say, and in doing so, continue to victimize the victims of sexual abuse. They face this everywhere – in their homes, at the police station, at the hospital, at their workplaces, in their neighbourhood. Through our insensitive words and actions, we only add insult to their injury.

A pimple reminded me of a simple lesson in parenting

//This article has been published by Women’s Web and is also available at the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/teaching-kids-to-be-accepting-lesson-in-parenting/

For parents, their children are the most beautiful living creatures in the whole wide world. But after becoming a Mother, I realized that the reverse holds true as well. Can you imagine someone calling my “Aadhar card” picture beautiful? Well, yes that someone is none other than my 28 months old daughter. Because of the obvious shift in priorities, I have barely bothered about the way I have looked since the time parenthood happened. But, she never fails to shower me with accolades, more so on the most unexpected occasions.

So, a nasty pimple popped up on my forehead yesterday, and my little one was enamoured by this irritating bump on my face. She exclaimed with exhilaration – “Mummy ka pimple sundar lag raha hai” (Translated to “Mummy is looking pretty with the pimple”). Only a child can find a pimple on the mother’s face beautiful! I was evidently amused by her compliment and laughed uproariously. But she seemed a bit vexed with my laughter because she was expecting a heartfelt “Thank You” from me for her admiration, as that is how I usually respond to her praises. I was about to reason with her by saying – “How can this pimple be pretty darling?”, and then refrained from doing so as soon as realization dawned – the realization that I was unnecessarily feeding in the ridiculous notion in her head that a pimple is ugly; the realization that however much we want to believe that our soul is what truly makes us beautiful, certain perceptions are too deeply etched in our minds and subconsciously we pass them on to our children.

Super Short Story – Theme “Sports”

This micro fiction was written for a contest which was conducted when the Rio Olympic games were on. The theme given was “sports”.

Super Short Story 11

Yes, I Am Still Breastfeeding My Toddler. No, It’s Not A Bad Habit.

// This article was written as a part of “Stop Judging” campaign carried out by www.mycity4kids.com and is also available at below link:

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/my-voice/article/yes-i-am-still-breastfeeding-my-toddler-no-its-not-a-bad-habit-stopjudging

If you are a breastfeeding mother, then you must have heard the following questions or advices umpteen times.

“Are you still breastfeeding your toddler? Stop doing it and wean him/her quickly. It’s a bad habit which they need to get rid of soon”. 

“Your milk is not sufficient and the child needs top milk for nutrition and strength. “

“Breast milk is just water after a year.” 

“You still nurse to sleep? Don’t be lazy to put your child to sleep by other means.”

“Isn’t is embarrassing when your child tugs at you for a feed at a public place?”

And so on and so forth. Phew!

Well, my daughter is almost 26 months old and we are still having a strong breastfeeding relationship. I nurse her to sleep most of the time and though the frequency of the feeds has reduced, I have no intention to wean her off my milk anytime soon.  While there is so much noise and judgement surrounding formula milk and formula feeding mothers, the ones like me aren’t spared either. I met someone a couple of days back who casually inquired about my daughter’s diet. The conversation steered towards the brand of milk I use and I informed the lady that I still primarily rely on breast milk for my daughter along with the usual solid foods, of course. To say that the lady was aghast would be an understatement. She chided me on being a careless mother by depriving my daughter of good nutrition. She also didn’t hesitate to cross the line and stated that I am responsible for developing the bad habit of breastfeeding and nursing to sleep in my daughter even at this age, by giving in to her demands. Honestly, I was in no mood to debate so I just cut short the conversation and moved on.

Personally, I don’t get affected by people judging me for my choices as I take complete responsibility for what I do and I do it because I feel it is right. I also do my own research when it comes to parenting, hence I take such comments with a pinch of salt. But, I know there are many mothers out there who are constantly judged for everything they do as a parent and this takes a toll on them. There are many who don’t have the luxury of a sea of information at their disposal on one click. Such mothers, who are unfortunately not so well-informed, start losing confidence in their parenting skills after being the target of unnecessary and harsh judgements. Why do we need to do this?