Tag Archives: fiction

Book Review – Elixir by Sinjini Sengupta

Elixir

Book Details:

Author: Sinjini Sengupta

Publisher: Readomania

Available for purchase at the below link:

https://www.amazon.in/Elixir-Sinjini-Sengupta/dp/9385854542

Review:

I was aware about the success of “Elixir” as a short film and the rave reviews it had been garnering at various International Film Festivals. So, when I read that the story has taken the shape of a novel, I was eagerly looking forward to get my hands on it. However, I wasn’t aware of the plot of “Elixir” till the time the book arrived at my abode. The moment I read the fascinating blurb, my curiosity was piqued and I was intrigued to know more about Manisha and her parallel world.

Plot Summary

He is an affluent entrepreneur and she is a successful professional. They have a perfect life or so it seems. It is their 10th anniversary – the big one, the special one! But why isn’t Manisha happy? Why is she feeling a void? On a perfectly normal day, while on her way home from work, Manisha enters a coffee shop and then her life starts changing. She meets a man there and he comes to her in her dreams that night, and every night thereafter.  She starts a new journey with him in parallel to her existing life. But what happens when the lines between her reality and dreams get blurred? Will Manisha be able to find her answers through her parallel existence?

What Works

  • The vivid and poetic prose – With Elixir, the author takes the reader on a journey which is heart-breaking yet fulfilling, melancholic yet uplifting. What I loved the most about the novel is its sublime poetic prose and vivid imagery which hooked me right from the beginning. As the story progressed, I was gradually immersed into Manisha’s world and was a part of her reality as well as her dreams. When you get to read lines like the ones I am quoting here just a few pages into a novel, you know you are in for a literary treat.

“When rain hits the earth, it brings a few pieces of the sky down with itself…have you ever seen it? The pictures shift as you do…the tall towers, the TV antennae, the row of pigeons on electric wires…and far beyond, if you look, the endless blue of the horizon. These solitary reflections, they last throughout the dark nights…And then? Then, on the morrow when the sun comes calling, they go back. To make the sky one whole again. But wait. Can the sky ever be whole, with such void all over itself?”

The Painter’s Magic – By Aadya

//This story has been submitted by 10-year-old Aadya who resides in Hyderabad. She had written this tale as a part of  the Children’s Day Special Creative Writing Event which I had conducted in the city. The kids were given different word prompts to pen a short story and her prompts were “Rainbow”, “Creative” and “Farmhouse”//

In the heart of the quaint town called Artland lived a creative painter. He loved his farmhouse because he would get lots of ideas to sketch and paint over there. Sometimes, he would draw such amazing pictures that those would be taken to the art gallery in the town. One day, a strange but interesting thought came to his mind. He had the urge to go inside the beautiful work of art created by him. He called up his friend who was a magician and expressed his desire to him.

Super Short Story – Theme “Fear”

I took part in a Halloween special micro-fiction challenge in which we had to write a tale in less than 50 words using the word “fear”. This is the super short story I came up with as my biggest fear is losing my loved ones.

Super Short Story 12

2007 Attack at Madame Tussauds – By Harshil Goel

//This story has been submitted by 12-year-old Harshil Goel who resides in Hyderabad. He had written this tale as a part of  the weekly Creative Writing Classes which I conduct in my society. The kids were given different word prompts to pen a short story and his prompts were “Museum” and “Actor”//

It was a lovely sight as we were passing through a garden. The beautiful green trees and the fruits hanging on them made for a peaceful and mesmerizing view. We were on our way to Madame Tussauds and I was eager to see the wax statue of my favorite actor, Tony Stark. Once we reached, I couldn’t wait anymore to witness the figurine of everyone’s favorite and the most adept actor in the whole world.

Beauty does not lie in the eyes of the beholder

// This is one of the winning entries of “Warrior Women” blogathon contest conducted by Women’s Web in association with Juggernaut Books. Fact meets fiction in this tale of two warrior women.

The alarm kept ringing unremittingly but Reeti woke up from her deep slumber only after her mother’s squawk reached her ears. She shot a hasty glance at the clock while she dived towards the bathroom to freshen up. She was late for office again and she knew she would have to face her mother’s wrath as this had become a routine off late. It had been almost 3 months since 23-year-old Reeti began having prolonged midnight conversations with Ritul who lived in Pune. Ritul and Reeti had connected on Facebook through a common close friend. What started as a casual Facebook messenger chat had now turned into a clandestine affair, though there were no talks of commitment from either of them yet.

Reeti gaped at the mirror and felt crestfallen. She was almost in tears looking at the malevolent, outsized pimple that had popped up right at the tip of her nose. All the efforts she had been putting in since the last few days to ensure a scrupulously clear and radiant face had gown down the drain. Ritul was in Mumbai for a customer visit and it was a special day for her – their first date! But she did not want to meet him now. He would also mock at her skin just like some of her friends and relatives did during her growing years. From medical treatments to her grandmother’s hacks, she had tried it all in the past but the pimples kept coming back with a vengeance. There was a time when Reeti was extremely miserable and down in the dumps because apparently no boy had a crush on her ever, even though she was considered to be a benevolent, affable and intelligent girl. But, once she began working for a leading MNC, her self-confidence increased and the thoughts about her physical appearance started taking a backseat. Though she had never met Ritul, she felt a connection with him and was keen to take this relationship forward. He seemed to be a sensitive and level-headed man but Reeti was too scared to lose her worth in his eyes. She did not want him to think of her as an unappealing woman and wanted to look beautiful for him.  But, the bulky bump on her face had shattered her desire. With a heavy heart and moist eyes, she sent him a text message.

“Sorry Ritul, I cannot meet you this time. Something very urgent has come up at office and I will have to work late hours. Hope you understand. Hugs!”

Book Excerpt: Shadow in the Mirror – Deepti Menon

SHADOW IN THE MIRROR – DEEPTI MENON

Shadow in the Mirror

Excerpt:

The door opened and her aunt bustled in. An air of expectation hung about her, tempered by an aura of anxiety that surprised Kavita. “Kavita, child, please don’t let your heart rule your head!” Her aunt seemed to be actually pleading with her. Kavita nodded mechanically as she looked at the older woman’s lined face. Wasn’t this her future being decided? “I will not make any compromises, whatever Aunty says!” she said to herself, but at the moment it was easier to concede to her. One last look at the mirror, the smoothening down of an unruly curl that kissed her flawless profile, and then she waited in impatience for the summons. The minutes went by, dragging their feet, emphasized by the ticking of the clock. Or was it actually the beating of her heart?

Short Story – The Unwed Mother

// This short story is the winner of “Muse of the Month” contest conducted by Women’s Web in the month of May 2017. It has been published and is available at the below link:

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/the-unwed-mother-may-2017-motm-winner/

Araina goggled at the test results in disbelief. The second pink line had appeared, turning her world topsy-turvy in an instant. She was perched on the sofa with a deadpan expression on her face. And then as reality hit her, panic mode kicked in. A whirlwind of emotions churned inside her and she cursed herself for changing the course of her life for a few moments of bliss and pleasure. She started pacing all over the room fretfully, while trying to figure out ways to sort out the mess she had got herself into. She clenched her fist and thwacked the wall, and broke down hysterically. She had to let those emotions come out to be able to think rationally about the situation. Araina was a strong and pragmatic person. After crying her heart out, she regained some composure and decided to face the circumstances head on. She could not change what had already happened, but she had to approach this with a sane mind.

Araina dropped an email to her reporting manager stating that she was sick and hence, had taken a day off. She booked an appointment with a renowned gynaecologist in the city for 12 PM. She took a rapid shower and hastily slipped into her office wear.

Short Story – Some friendships last beyond a lifetime

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

http://www.womensweb.in/2017/05/short-story-friendships-last-beyond-lifetime/

Udita was numb. She could not feel a thing, neither the embraces nor the handshakes. And then like a sudden gush of water, tears flowed down her cheeks as she started weeping profusely. It all had to come out – the pain, the anguish, the struggle and at last the sweet victory. She was exhausted and overwhelmed with emotions. Flashes of her ordeal played out in front of her eyes and she felt as if someone had pushed the rewind button of her life. Her thoughts raced back to that fateful day – the day that transformed her life forever and shook the very core of her being; the day that made her cognizant of her immense inner strength and resilience which were hitherto unknown to her.

Udita was supposed to meet her best friend, Tara, at their favorite hangout place, Café Coffee Day. She was waiting in the outer seating area of the café which was facing the road. It was a busy street with traffic at its peak for the day. It was time for office goers to head back home, thus making it difficult for pedestrians to cross roads. To avoid encountering traffic jam, she had started early from her office. She expected that Tara would arrive tardily as always so she decided to order their favorite cold coffee, Devil’s Own, in the meanwhile. Just when Udita stood up to move inside, she spotted Tara waving at her from the pavement across the road. She gleefully waved back and signaled Tara to cross vigilantly while she waited.

Udita’s mobile started vibrating and she groped for it inside her handbag. Uday had always complained about how one could never find anything that one needed inside the bag because of the mess that it was. She flashed a fleeting smile as she thought of him and took out her mobile to answer the call. Before she could do so, she heard a thud. She hastily dumped her mobile back into the handbag and turned around to find a clamorous mob. She inferred from the chaos that an accident had occurred and hurried to the spot to help, while simultaneously looking for Tara in the crowd. After struggling her way through the swarm of people, she was shocked beyond belief when she saw Tara lying there in a pool of blood.

Babloo is Lost – By Avni Malhotra

//This story has been submitted by Avni Malhotra, aged 9, from Hyderabad. She had written this tale as a part of  “Introduction to Creative Writing” workshop conducted by me in June. The kids were just given a story title and they had to weave a story around it.//

One day, I went to a jungle with my brother Babloo. Once we reached, I sat down to light the campfire, while Babloo went to collect more sticks. As he walked through the jungle, he could smell something strange and he started following it. When I looked around, Babloo had vanished from my sight and I waited for him for a long time but he did not return. I got worried and went about searching for him in the jungle.

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