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Showing posts from 2016

KJo in Wonderland

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ADHM was a good break from the daily drudgery. Great music, great aesthetics. In KJo’s world, there is no ugliness – no angry police officers, no beefed up middle-aged men, no hordes of demented villains. There is no growing up either. And that’s what is refreshing. Of course there is the usual caveat – don’t go looking for a cerebral experience.
In this movie, as a part of the ugliness hatao theme, everyone is kind of super rich and live on their own in designer apartments and townhouses in London. This removes the need for pesky parents and other annoying relatives who might distort this beautiful fantasy life. Also, the characters don’t have to worry about EMIs or plan their retirement or fret about the high tax bands in UK. They can focus on the affairs of the heart entirely - getting their hearts broken/mended/broken again in infinite cycles. Indeed none of the characters hold a day job; no complications of stressful bosses, wicked colleagues, and office politics mar this beautif…

But, he's a...

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I met my first bully in kindergarten. Mrs H had a son, a boy of 7 or 10. He studied in a different school. Once a week, he would be dropped off at our school during the “rest period” so Mrs H could take him home. Most days he would monkey around on the playground. But on some days, when Mrs H had a staff meeting, he would come into our class, pulling plaits or boxing our ears.  He did receive a gentle rebuke from his mother but that only seemed to fuel his antics. As weeks went on, he became a terror. He had picked up his victims, and I was his favourite; I was puny, stick-like - a good target. From pulling my hair, to whacking my head as he ran about laughing, it was dreadful. School became a fearful place because there was no knowing on which day he would come.  One day he hit my knuckles with the wooden end of the blackboard duster. My fear of this boy was absolute from then on.
Amma had a word with Mrs H. I was reassured I won’t be troubled anymore. As usual that week, Mrs H’s boy…

A Cinderella Evening

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I came across an unusual writing competition earlier this year, in a magazine that I subscribe to – the UK-based Writing Magazine. WM was teaming up with JustWrite team (John Murray Press) for a short story competition. I am not very skilled at short stories;  IMO it requires tremendous skill and  I find it very daunting, actually. But this competition was different; first of all, the reward was unique: six shortlisted winners would get to meet folks from publishing and the winner would get a detailed critique of his/her work. What better prize could a writer get? Secondly, the word count was very generous at 8000 words. I decided to go for this and as usual I did not get around to developing a story till the very last minute.
The last day of the submission dawned and I sat down for a 12-hour writing marathon. It was a bank holiday Monday. The deadline was midnight. I completed the story at about 10 in the night. I had just two hours for editing and it was simply not enough. I shot pa…

Girls Like Swathi

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A father drops off his young daughter at the train station every day. She catches the intra-city train to her work. At 23-24, she’s working for Infosys. Obviously, a direct university recruit. Goes without saying she’s intelligent, smart, confident. Otherwise you can’t really make it into the Infys of the world. 
I reflect on the time when I was her age, and took my first job. I am sure you can too. The quiet pride in your parents' eyes. That after their penance, you are now ready to fly. Back then, Appa would drop me to the bus stop on his scooter. It was just a ten minute walk, but the scooter ride meant I got five minutes extra at home. He would also drop my sister to the bus stop on most days. Like Swathi, we’d be out of the house early in the morning. The only difference between me and Swathi, my sister and Swathi is that my sister and I are alive. Swathi is not. No one hacked us to death while Appa and Amma were having their second round of coffee back home, ten minutes away.…

Time, Slow Down!

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Every time I return to my blog, it’s like homecoming. I unlock the doors, open the windows, do some dusting and think Damn! It’s good to be back. It’s just been an extended break of scurrying around getting certain things on track. But here’s all the stuff I’ve been writing when I was away –
Some guest posts for my book, Encounters. You can read them here –
Here’s an interview on my writing process.
Here’s a short story for Encounters promo.
I was asked to write about my inspiration behind Encounters. You can read them here and here
I’ve also been coaxed to do more marketing for my books. So now, you can find me tongue-tied on twitter. My handle is @SumanaSKhan. I think.
With all this, I realise it’s already June. Half the year is gone and I keep wondering where was I? It’s scary the way time is galloping away at breakneck speed. It’s not that I’m doing anything terribly exciting to feel this way – I’m mostly as sedate as a grazing cow – but where is time running away? Wasn’t it just ye…

Aarushi - Avirook Sen: Book Review

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I picked up this book only after I got to know it was non-fiction: a journalistic account of the Aarushi case. Even so, I began reading with some trepidation; after all there were many a$$holes (pardon my samskruta) who had pulled out opinions from their backsides and presented it all as “facts”.  Thankfully, Avirook Sen, the author, categorically states that he presents no answers; he’s not written this book with the intent of solving the crime, or in order to dish out theories. He simply presents the case facts to which he’s had first-hand access: notes from the trial, post-mortem reports, forensic lab reports,  legal evidence presented both by the prosecution and defence, and interviews he’s conducted with various stakeholders of the case.
Having said that, the book is not some kind of a case diary, coldly and chronologically listing dates and events. Sen balances reportage and emotional content, without overdoing either. Not all readers agree though. Some have harshly criticised S…

The Hungry Ghost

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You are never old enough to listen to stories from your parents...I mean "bedtime" type stories :) Why do we grow out of this habit? I think more and more people should spend time telling stories - there'll be less anger :) My long vacation in India was a throwback to idyllic summer holidays. Hot, still afternoons and a good story in your hand. This time, my dad, who is an avid collector of old editions of all sorts of books, chose to narrate stories from Chandamama. He would read out as I went went about pottering in the kitchen, and time would stop, at least for me. In many ways, this was therapeutic - there is so much rage and negativity flying around in all the newspapers these days; everybody seems to be baying for blood...and the TV channels...crass, third-rate programs and "news" ...what are we doing to ourselves? 

Anyway, this particular story had me in splits...and I consumed more sajjappas from the nearby Venkateshwara Iyengar Bakery. It is from a 1963…