19 Jul 2020

Unfinished work left in our bags

This post garnered second most number of votes in Blog-a-Ton 59 and won me the Silver Blog-a-Tonic of the Month aka SILVER BATOM award. Click here to see the results page.
This post has been published by me as a part of Blog-a-Ton 59; the fifty-ninth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. In association with ​IndiCreator. For Creators. By Creators.. Share Your #LockdownTales at indicreator.com

Smiles, tears, ecstasy, cheers
Kisses, hugs and mugs of beer
Secrets, silences, taking a drag
Unfinished work left in our bags
Truths, lies, bare-it-all confessions
High on each other, make-out sessions
Passion, compassion, trust and sweat
Car playlist, matching our moods, perfect
Then an end, despair, parting of ways
Whole lifetime lived, in just one day


I like her
I like the way she made me feel so special
Maybe, I also love her
At least, I loved the feeling of being in love with her
Because what else it means to like or to love someone
It’s just how they make you feel
I hate this lockdown
It makes me feel dejected
It has taken her away from me


The two of us were at a bar, on just our second date
I had left work early, packing all pending files in my bag
She had left early too, pretending to be sick
It was the same day the first case surfaced in the town
But we didn’t know about it, until later
The virus was spreading fast across the world
But it felt safe till, at least, there was no one infected around us
I knew this safety was just an illusion
But I didn’t know what was transpiring between us was also one
It just felt so real


I asked her if I should drop her home
She wanted to stay for some more time
She was feeling quite vulnerable
Someone at her sister’s office had tested positive
Her sister had been quarantined
Her mother wanted her to return home
I feel suffocated at home, she told me
That was the reason she took up a job as far away as possible


I parked the car near her hostel
The evening had been magical
The next couple of hours in the car were even more so


I woke up thinking about her
I had sent her a message before going to sleep
There were butterflies in my stomach
In fact, it was at that moment I realised what that expression meant
I picked up my phone, hoping to see a reply
And also dreading one
It was there
What must she have written
Does she feel the same way as l do
I took a few moments before opening it
She was leaving for her hometown in the evening


Lockdown was impending
Her mother was anxious
She wanted her to be back home safe
I’ll be back, hopefully, in a month, she said
I put the figure at two months, at least
But she was supposed to be back, nonetheless
I hugged her, as she boarded the train
There was a tear I saw trickling down her left cheek


Our phone calls continued
Life was tough for her at home
She had told me about her abusive father that night in the car
She had cried and hugged me
I cried with her
We pulled back the seats and just kept lying there in silence
It was that emotional intimacy, not physical, that made me fall in love
Or maybe fall in love with the feeling of being in love with her
Now, a thousand miles apart, we just hoped the worst would be over soon
She was supposed to be back for her job
And for me, I hoped
She did make me feel special, afterall


I could keep looking at you
Silently, not saying a word
You fill me with this emotion
Heart takes flight, like a bird
Is it infatuation or is it love
To me, it's not yet occurred
But I'm hooked to you totally
To me, you mean the world


She had not been replying to my messages
It had been at least six hours
I was worried
The virus was spreading fast around us
Just two days ago she had mentioned about a neighbour
My flurry of messages didn’t stop
Finally, my phone rang
I gave a sigh of relief
But the relief was short-lived


I won’t be returning, she said
Her firm had decided to lay her off
She could get another job, I said, once things settle down
She was not too sure
She had returned home after two years
One month was enough for her mother to convince her to stay
I would move into a hostel and look for a job here, she said
What about us, I asked
She had no answer


Our phone calls kept dwindling
I am busy, she said
Even I am, I said, but still find time for you
It’s not that easy for me, she said
She had to deal with her abusive father, emotional mother and overbearing new boss
I want to be there for you, even if from a distance, to share the emotional load
She said thanks, and then was gone for days
The cycle kept repeating, much to my dismay
So finally, I told her I should move on
When, in fact, she had moved on already
And just like this, it all ended, but not the lockdown


The things that we were meant to do together will never be done
All the moments we thought we'd spend together are like ashes in urn
The memories we built in a few days together will soon gather dust
The promises we made of having a future together have all gone bust
What's left is despair, silence, heartbreak and an agonising pain
Why am I still standing here, thinking of you, when you are nowhere
Will time heal this broken heart, or will I get used to this life inane
Who ditched whom, I don't know, but believe me, I did always care

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Show your support for the hastags #BlogATon59 & #LockdownTales. Participation Count: 16.

4 Jan 2015

Permanent Roommates

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 50; the fiftieth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. In association with ​Soulmates: Love without ownership by Vinit K Bansal. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Being the founder of this event, it gives me immense pleasure to be taking part in its fiftieth edition. And what an apt theme that gels quite well with a series of comic strip I am sharing on Facebook daily for the past three weeks. Permanent Roommates, as I have named it after a web series on YouTube, is a light-hearted take on my year-old marriage. It has become quite popular among my wife's and my friends and family. I hope you all — my family on the blogosphere — too like it.

Another day in the life of Uttara and Vipul

When Vipul questions Uttara's attire

What Uttara feels like doing when Vipul acts like a dictator

What Uttara feels like doing when Vipul finds fault with her cooking

So these are a few glimpses from our life. More in this series are available on my Facebook page. Here is one bonus strip I have not posted there yet.

So, all those who have not tied the knot yet, don't get afraid: it's all in good humour ;)

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

27 Dec 2012



इस राजनीती की शतरंज में 

मोहरे पल-पल बदलते हैं।

हरी-भूरी गिरगिट की भांति

नेता सब रंग बदलते हैं।।

आज जो विपक्ष में बैठा

हर पल शोर मचाता है।

हरे-हरे नोटों को देख

अलग ही राग सुनाता है।।

सत्ता का मोह है कुछ ऐसा

दायें को बाएं से मिलाता है।

काले-भूरे गिद्ध की भांति

बिचला भी चक्कर लगाता है।।

विचारधारा तो है लुप्त विचार

राजनीती अलग इक खेल है।

काले धन्दों, सफ़ेदपोश गुंडों का

हो चुका इसमें समावेश है।।


Image Courtesy:
Pete Oxford / naturepl.com

27 Nov 2012

Red Jihad: Battle for South Asia - The doomsday conspiracy

Dan Brown got inspired to write his debut novel ‘Digital Fortress’ (1998), in which protagonists raced against time to save the world from a possible annihilation, after the thrill he felt upon reading Sidney Sheldon’s ‘The Doomsday Conspiracy’ (1991). 

It is a similar thrill that Sami Ahmad Khan tries to generate in his debut novel ‘Red Jihad’. To a Stanley Kubrick fan, this novel might seem a rip-off of his cult movie ‘Dr Strangelove’ (1964), itself based on a novel, ‘Red Alert’ (1958). 

It’s year 2014; India and Pakistan are moving away from external prejudices and trying to set their house in order by throwing the Naxalites and jihadis within their respective countries into the abyss. To resurrect themselves, India’s biggest threats to internal security come together to take over the national defence agency’s research centre and unleash Pralay, India’s just developed experimental intercontinental ballistic missile, on the subcontinent. Things get murkier as the plot unfolds. 

Sami keeps readers on their toes with a fast-paced narrative. A few interesting ideological discourses, now and then, add weight in terms of substance. Some characters are painstakingly introduced, only to be killed the next moment in order to accentuate the ‘shock factor’. 

The same meticulousness, however, is absent in case of many characters who play much more significant roles. Use of technical jargon, especially related to defence equipment, without proper explanation, also leaves the reader stranded at times. 

Nevertheless, Sami’s sound hold on language and a decent research, other than the underlying suspense and twists in the plot, make 'Red Jihad' a good read on a lonely night or a boring train journey. 

Image Courtesy:

19 May 2012

Murder in Amaravati - A promising start

A murder, a string of suspects and an unlikely detective trying to solve the jigsaw puzzle by putting together the right ‘motive, means and opportunity’ for each suspect; the plot is not new but the way debutant novelist Sharath Komarraju has dealt with it, makes Murder in Amaravati a pleasure to read. It’s that kind of novel that you pick up and finish in one go, thanks to its short length and lucid language. 

The victim in the story is Padmavati, the village hostess, or prostitute if you would like to say, of Amaravati village in Andhra Pradesh. Her body is found in the locked temple of Kali, situated next to the old banyan tree, in the center of the village. Venkat Reddy, the head constable, who would have otherwise dismissed the case as a suicide, takes upon himself to get justice for the innocent looking deceased. 

As he investigates, many skeletons come tumbling out of the cupboard and the list of suspects keeps increasing, frustrating Reddy and absorbing the reader further. 

The priest, Krishna Shastri, the only one with a key to the temple; the village headman, Seetaraamaiah; his son, Kishore; the village postman, Satyam; his wife, Lakshmi; and the wheel-chaired Shekhar along with his wife Vaishnavi, who recently shifted to the village; are all the witnesses and suspects in the case. 

Though it is a suspense thriller, Sharath has left no stone unturned to give it an aesthetic value too. The life in village of Amaravati is described in detail, so have been all the characters. The comparison might seem too flattering, but in parts the story gives a ‘Malgudi Days’ feel. 

Once the reader knows about all the characters and their lives; they can empathise with them, and their respective motives become clearer; only to be falsified by subsequent revelations. 

However, in certain instances, the detailed characterisation also backfires. While the reader knows that a certain person cannot be the culprit due to the details already provided, Reddy is still shown groping in the dark. Such a narrative steals a certain element of surprise, especially in the case of one of the central character. 

Nonetheless, the author needs to be commended for making sure that no loose ends are left as each aspect is explained in detail during the climax. Moreover, the twists and turns ensure that the reader keeps second-guessing throughout the novel. However, Sharath has succeeded in staying a step ahead of the readers. 

Though I got my copy for free, the novel has been priced tad too high for its genre. There is no doubt that the novel is leagues ahead of the novels being churned out by the wannabe Chetan Bhagats, however, its price of Rs. 250 will only make it more unlikely for the readers to try it out. It will be a pity if readers miss out on this promising debut attempt of Sharath because of this sole reason.

Update: Sharath has been kind enough to provide the first two chapters of the novel free for download. I hope this review and these chapters make your decision easier. Happy Reading!!!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

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