These are murderous times. Criminals run amok after killing hordes of people, often without the strong “vengeance” so advertised by 80’s Hindi cinema. Music is murdered every day; civil rights are murdered every minute. Little wonder then, that murder mysteries continue to fascinate readers across ages. What is a good murder mystery? One that comprises a strong plot, well etched-out characters, and a satisfying resolution. Uday Satpathy, in his debut novel with West Land Publishers and Bloody Good Book, makes a genuine attempt at a fast-paced, intriguing thriller. His frequent obsession with “brutality” and its manifestation, however, becomes his undoing.
The sunlight is different. More golden, less yellow. It touches you differently – more softly. When this happens, Mom says Pujo is approaching. That glorious time of the year when my Bengali neighbourhood looks lovelier than ever and the air is delicious with luchi, aloo dum and khichudi. I feel it in me today, even away in Pune. Durga Puja is not too far.
As we celebrate India’s 69th Independence Day today, why not rewind to some awesome things we used to do to celebrate August 15? Saturdays are blessed as it is and today is perfect for a beautiful trip down memory lane!
1. Wait in line for your share of motichoor ke laddoos, handed out by the school captains, and then gulp them down quickly so no one else can steal them.
2. Dress up in tricolour clothes without feeling conscious at all and groove to “I Love My India” in the school auditorium.
What do you do first thing in the morning? No, I am not about to suggest yoga and a glass of lemon and honey – practice before you preach, you see. I have intermittently tried stretching and waking up my sleepy nerves with lukewarm water. But then, the prospect of shutting my eyes to five more minutes of dreams is often very inviting. There is something, however, which you should definitely NOT do immediately after waking up.
There’s something very special about attending a friend’s engagement. You feel a great sense of surprise that everyone is growing “big”, apprehension that the impending wedding may take your friend far away, and excitement about dressing up and digging into awesome food. And then, if you also get to explore Hyderabad – the city of Nizams – it’s a priceless combination!
I don’t think the biggest roadblock between us and happiness is stress. Or emotional turmoil. Or even too much work. I think it is simpler and more dangerous than that.
I met a man the other day who started a conversation on this note: “Today is a big day for me. I have crossed 5000 friends on Facebook. Isn’t that cool?” Super cool, I nodded. I felt like setting him a memory test that would need names to be matched to faces. But I refrained. I knew he would fail.
It was a slow Tuesday at work and Chhaya had one of her familiar headaches. Her headaches had really worsened over time and the best part of the day was right before bedtime, when her husband gave her a head massage. Sitting at her desk and staring blankly at her screen, that was what she wanted now.
She glanced at her phone and spotted her Mom sitting inside, smiling at her from the wallpaper. Chhaya wished she knew how to turn it to an animated GIF, like those wizarding pictures in Harry Potter. That way, she could feign a “Hello, how are you Mom?” every now and then and Mom would actually move her lips in answer!
*If I have accidentally quoted you, send me a card.
Auto Wallah to an office-goer: You will need to pay me 80 bucks extra as I don’t personally like that area. (Girl starts to walk away frowning) Okay Madam, sit. It was worth a try!
Middle-aged woman to a shopkeeper: Bhaiya, you really need to give a chocolate free now that I have bought so much from you. My old nerves need a sugar rush. (She had bought a packet of Britannia biscuits)