Monday, December 31, 2012

When a housemaid fell in love: My entry for the Get Published contest

This is a love story of a housemaid and a coconut seller based on the cacophonous streets of Kolkata.

Rumki is an 18 year old housemaid employed in a middle-class house in Kolkata. Suvendu is 27, married with two kids and sells coconuts to earn his livelihood. And he is blind. The story takes the readers to a poignant journey as they see the world through Rumki’s youthful eyes, experience the feelings of love & anguish through her naïve heart, and weave a castle of a happier tomorrow through her optimistic imagination. Meanwhile, the harsh realities of this grimy world pose innumerable challenges between them. Adultery, debauchery, crime, or sin- the society may give their relationship any of these names. But will Rumki and Suvendu break all social prejudices to fulfill their dreams?   

What makes this story ‘Real’:

This is one of the lesser told love stories but no less inspiring. The glamour world of celluloid has hardly done justice to the romantic liaisons existing in the lower strata of the society. Even most modern-day Indian authors have preferred to choose college romance or Facebook love, thereby limiting their characters to the more privileged section of the society.
This tale is ‘real’ because it is loosely based on the life of a housemaid whom I personally know.

An extract from the story:

Rumki found herself walking under the heavy downpour as the clouds battled above, and her emotions waged a war within.
‘Am I treading on the right path? Am I living an illusory life?’ she questioned herself.
A streak of tear tried to leak out of her hazel eyes. It flew down to her cheeks where it was engulfed by the rainwater. Images of last night’s incident flashed through her mind like the reel of a blurred-out film….She remembered having unclothed herself but the rest of her memories seemed distant, hazy and unfaithful to her own mind. She had got lost in a phantasmagoria of physical ecstasy which easily overpowered the small amount of guilt which tried tugging at her conscience the whole of the night.
 ‘Would my soul look at me as a tainted seductress? What will happen lest his wife gets a wind of our sordid affair,’ her inner turmoil continued, even as a strong streak of lightning split the dingy sky into two worlds. Ah, the thunder! It brought back warm memories. It was the morning of a thunderstorm when her beautiful eyes had met Suvendu’s blind ones for the first time…….

If you liked my idea and would like to read the full story, kindly vote for me here (please click on the red heart) or on this link Please, please, please vote for me. My life depends on it

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

5 mantras to straighten our hairs: My gf prepares a list

Curls may look good on hot gals like Halle Berry and cool guys like Yuvraj Singh. But my girlfriend told me that you are no Yuvraj (and then I retorted back, ‘You madam are no Miss Berry’). After that, it took me close to 45 minutes to quiet her down, since she took offence to what I said. But let’s not get into that!

Eventually, the moral of the story is that, we both realized that our curls need to go and to go for good! With New Year banging on the door, we took a fresh resolution, ‘We resolve that we would straighten our hair this year! Come what may, we would say a final goodbye to our curly messy tresses.’
So, my girlfriend sat down to make a list and I tried to observe the lizard which was aiming for a housefly buzzing near the tubelight. After a full 1 hour, here is what she ( I mean my gf) presented me with:

5 mantras to straighten your hair:

i.                    Shave off your head. If the curls are gone, then the new crop of hair may come out straight, since it may be too naïve to know the nature of its own predecessors and in its ignorant innocence may just come out straight. (I rejected this idea immediately for obvious reasons)
ii.                  Run a hot iron over your curls (I didn’t quite reject it, but asked her to try out first and the poor gal backed out. Huh!)
iii.                Wear a wig (I ridiculed this idea and she showed me that ‘you-dare-ridicule-me-and-then-see-what-i-do-to-you’ look)
iv.                 Go to a beauty parlor and get them done straight (I dare not ridicule her this time but I explained her that it would lead to expensive monthly maintenance)
v.                   Buy a good shampoo that can naturally straighten the hair (I somewhat approved). After some soul-searching it read as:
v.                   Buy a good shampoo that can naturally straighten the hair Sunsilk. (She let out a whiff of sigh and gave me a high-five)

15 minutes later: My girlfriend was ransacking the internet trying to order the right Sunsilk product meant exclusively for hair-straightening. She found it here.
PS- By now, the lizard had already digested that housefly and was greedily looking for what other good things (read ‘flies’) the world (read ‘my tubelight’) had to offer. 

[This post has been written for Sunsilk 'Straight Hair Experiment' Contest, in association with Indiblogger.]

Sunday, December 30, 2012

55 words fiction: The first prayer of my life

As I unfolded the newspaper, the battered face of an innocent teenage girl fell before my eyes.

‘Let the rapist be hanged,’ I prayed. I prayed feverishly. It was the first prayer of my life.

‘Come. It’s time,’ they called.

And in chain and handcuff, I walked to the court to hear the verdict. 

[This story has been inspired from the December, 2012 'Delhi gang-rape incident']

Thursday, December 27, 2012

No shave, no kiss: Story of me and mah gf

[He stood there apprehensively weighing in the risks of the job he was set out to do tonight. The evening sun lit his face. A serene-looking Dumbledore watched him wearily and said in a grave tone, “You need to shave Harry.”]

I texted my girlfriend Sneha, “Wanna go to the movie tonight?”
Her reply was quick but short, “Did u shave today”
I was perplexed. I sent another text. “Wat kinnna qustion is dat. How does my shaving or nt make any diffrnce.”
She shot back with, “Ok I wl go. Bt remembr the ‘no shave, no kiss’ rule.”

And then the memory hit me. The last time we went for a movie, she had got piqued since she complained of my prickling stubble. During the heat of the moment, she had framed a new rule- “The next time we go for a movie, you must come clean shaved, or else I would rather KISS A GORILLA THAN LET YOU SNIFF AT ME WITH YOUR HAIRY FACE.”
That day, I did take the oath but only to pacify her mood. I soon forgot all about it, until that last text burst my bubble.

I texted back, “Luk at SRK. Gals say he luks realy edible in Jab Tak Hai Jaan wd d stubble. I wud luk d same, ryt”
I waited for 15 minutes after which all I got was , “LOL”
My blood had begun to boil by now. I called her up. She picked after nearly a minute, even though she carries her cell on her palm all the time like a mommy kangaroo would carry its cub in her pouch. (Sneha didn’t pick the phone instantly just to make me wait as is the habit of the girl gender).
“Ya say,” was her opening line spoken dully.
Yet I was undeterred. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘LOL’? AM I NOT AS SMART AS SRK? And WHY DO YOU HAVE TO COME UP WITH THESE STRANGE FANCIES,” I shrieked my lungs out. I was shaking in rage. She disconnected without even replying. It worked. In my anxiety, my temper came down. I know well that ‘an angry girlfriend is as dangerous as a howling baby and a well-set Tendulkar. All three can make your life miserable, if you are on the receiving end’.

I called again. I savored the first few seconds of her caller tune and then a lady spoke in her saccharine-coated voice, “The number you’re calling is currently busy…..and blah blah blah.” Sneha had pressed the red button. Now, my anxiety level was reaching dangerous proportions.

I texted, “Aw, sowie dear. I jst lost mah tmper coz I m so messed up wid lyf. U won’t tok 2 me kya *puppy face*”

[I hate the flowery language replacing ‘sorry’ with ‘sowie’ and ‘my’ with ‘mah’, but this was the only way to win her heart, said my fast-working brain. She was addicted to such cheesy words and used them in her most romantic moods.]

My cell buzzed after a minute, ‘K’.

I hate ‘K’ but, at least it was a beginning. Now, I knew I had a chance to talk further. She was calming down (Ah, you are a genius- I said to my brain).

I sent another text, “Sneha sneha sneha, my dear lovely sweetu. We are gonna go 2 d movie tonyt. And I wl b clean shavd. I promise. And ya, I wl use Gilette and not any inferior product. Okay??????” Then I inserted at least 4 smileys to convey that I’m taking her very seriously. (girls can get a bit out of hand if they sense that you are not taking her words seriously).

Her final text read, “Okay dear”. A smiley inserted by her completed the happy picture.

Ah, and the rest is history. What happened in the darkness of the theatre is something between me and my cheeks (and lips too) and would go down with my beard to its grave.

[Harry said to himself, ‘Sir, you too’ as Dumbledore threw back his silvery long beard and the two disapparated.]

This post has been penned for the 'Shave or Crave' contest in association with BlogAdda, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers.

Monday, December 24, 2012

55 word story: I closed my eyes

I closed my eyes. Memories of that barbaric day flashed through the darkness like the reel of a film. A tear tried to find a way out. I breathed a silent prayer in my numbness. Then there was a jerk, a pain as the floor below moved and I, Ajmal Kasaab, was hanged till death.....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sachin Tendulkar: The day when the Messiah got crucified

23rd December, 2012- the day would go down in my books as the day when a part of my childhood died, a day when the creator of all those memories carefully preserved all these years bid me adieu, a day when the ugly head of reality reared its fanged head to devour on my innocent dreams, a day when the coldness of the chilly December weather seemed warmer than the coldness of the cruelty being blared out by news channels, a day when the Lord himself decided to desert his most faithful devotee, a day when a small big man chose to walk away into the sunset, a day when the Messiah of Indian cricket got crucified by the heavy cross of his own gargantuan expectations, a day when the young blood made a mockery of old age, a day when my world turned upside down, a day when one phone call (from my friend) changed my life, a day when everything else became immaterial & redundant, a day when I mourned the death of One-Day cricket, a day when my childhood hero succumbed to the brickbats, a day when Sachin Tendulkar chose to retire.

All these years, I used to switch off the television when Sachin would get out. Now, WHAT FOR WOULD I EVEN SWITCH IT ON? Oh Sachin, why did you have to retire from ODIs; why did you have to exit so suddenly without any forewarning; why did you have to bow down before the millions clamoring for your blood; why did you have to walk out so silently and so quietly; why did you have to run that scalpel down my chest and into my heart; why did you have to desert your passion and desecrate my dreams; why did you have to grow old; why did you have to end the way you ended! This gentleman’s game of cricket can be so so cruel.

He steals a single, raises his bat and the entire nation orgasms.......

- No more of that. God hangs one of his boots. RIP ODI cricket :'(

-By Ritesh Agarwal

Friday, December 21, 2012

Flash 55 fiction: That's life

I looked at my little son. He appeared jaded and sad.

 ‘Life has been cruel to him’- I told myself. After all, he was only 10 and with no sibling to share his sorrow. 

My gaze met his moist eyes one final time, and then it was all smoke as he put me on fire...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Flash 55 fiction: Home Sweet Home

I pushed the rotten gate and entered the dilapidated mansion. It felt sweet to be back.

A crisp voice cut through the chilly air- “Better leave this place, son. It’s haunted.” The old man looked ill and pallid.

“But where would I go, Sir,” I said. “This is my home for the last 300 years.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flash 55 fiction: I’m back

The black telephone in his bedroom rang piercingly. Sammy picked it up indolently.

“Hello, who is this?”

“Hello Sammy. Maggie here. I’m back.”

“Maggie who?”

“Ah, remember you dumped my body in the lake. I’m back to seek my revenge.”

Sammy’s eyes widened and jaws dropped. The line got disconnected. Then the lights went off……..

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shoppers Stop: The magical place to pick eclectic outfits

When the smile refuses to leave my face and when the air begins to smell sweet, you can be rest assured that winter is round the corner. And winter being my favorite season, I put an extra effort in dressing myself up. Plus, with the festive week of Christmas and New Year banging at the door, shopping for clothes becomes a necessity for my survival.
Last night, I found myself in the midst of some chic-looking girls, all gorgeously attired in trendy clothes. I felt shabbily dressed in front of them and more so because another guy (that stupid Anand) had handsomely dressed up in shimmering black. Black always works for boys, but you need to know that I'm still the better guy (that Anand is not as intelligent or as good at heart as I am). But since all gals seemed to have eyes only for him, I walked out of the party. Then I heard a distant sound and found myself in my bed with my alarm clock ringing. Phew, so it was just a dream, though a horrifying one! It was a wake-up call, in both figurative as well as literal ways. I got up, checked up wardrobe and all my fears came true. Yes, I didn't have one exotic dress to match up to my exotic looks.
This meant work, this meant shopping, and this meant going out. But for a die-hard lazy sloth like me, it's very challenging to wade through the crowds and do an entire day of shopping from retail shops. So, I fell back to my most reliable ally during such moments of crisis- texts! I texted some of my high-on-fashion friends. A few of them suggested
Now, brands don't do any magic on me. But if I can lay my hands on something catchy & funky (something that makes me stand out of the crowd), then I am game for it, even if I have to empty all my wallet. Since, internet is just a hand away from my bed, I could access it without having to let go of my slothful attitude.
I logged in to began to hunt for something that would really impress me.

Price: Rs 2495
My first pick was this T-shirt. I bought a full-sleeved one, given that it would be apt for the chilly days ahead. Besides, I have realized that I look better in full sleeves. And of course, I chose this outfit for it's blackish in color (did I tell you about my obsession for black). Since I am pretty fair (touchwood touchwood touchwood), so black gives me that devastating kind of look which every guy craves for.
[Product details: Jack and Jones-Mens Long sleeves crew neck T-shirt. Priced reasonably at Rs 2495]

I had to find a great-looking pair of jeans to go with this T-shirt. And after scouting through the huge gamut of collections, my 'Talaash' ended with this punk-looking one.

Price: Rs 2169.30

This jeans caught my attention since it is greyish-blackish with a light faded shade and has that grungy quality which can lend that perfect cool look. The moment I laid my eyes on it I knew that I had to buy it, or else my conscience would never let me lead a peaceful life again. Plus, it came with 30% off tag and, for once, even my wallet gave its approval (even though, by general norm, it hates to agree with my pricey choices)

[Product details: Lee Mens Powell Fit Jeans.
Price: Rs 2169.30 after 30% discount]

Next, I had to look for an enviable pair of shoes. My old pair was withering away and it had lost its sheen after just a few months of use. So, I was looking for quality this time and hence, shoppersstop became my best source. 

Price: Rs 3,495 
I wanted something different to make the girls look down at my feet. When you are dressed to perfection with a ritzy glitzy T-shirt & jeans, then your footwear may just get lost in oblivion. So, it is vital to select a pair which is cool enough to grab its own share of limelight. Hence, this pinkish one seemed a perfect choice for 3 reasons:
i. The light pink color is a brilliant contrast to the dark colored jeans and Tee.
ii. Its girlie look makes for a funky and style-stating choice.
iii. The price is slightly on the higher side. That convinces me about the quality and longevity of the product (Snobbish Effect, I had read in Economics! Or was it the Conspicuous Effect???)

[Product Details: Jack-and-Jones Mens Rubber Shoes
Price: Rs 3,495]

Rs 799
In a sudden stroke of brilliance, I had an epiphany that if I could add a dash of surprise to my outfit, then I can create magic. How about wearing a tie with this T-shirt. The idea may appear ludicrous to many, but it appealed to my quirky mind (it thinks differently, you see). So, my next purchase came with the following description.
[Zodiac Mens Ties
Price- Rs 799] and it looks something like this 

I wanted minimum accessories coz I didn't want to look brassy and wanted my outfits to get the maximum attention. But I definitely couldn't do without a watch. I would have worn my old watch which is in pretty good condition, but then I caught sight of that dream watch I had been dying to possess since I was in my nappies. This blue-colored, round shaped watch is the stuff what dreams are made of. I could not and didn't want to resist this temptation. So, I bought it. Here is the picture: 
Rs 9,995

Won't it go well with my above black T-shirt? Yes, it will for sure.
By the way, for the pedantic-minded, here is a quick detail:

[Product details: ESPRIT Timeswear Mens Watch- Folsom Blue.
Price: Rs 9,9995 (with 2 years warranty)]

So, these items complete my party-cum-casual-cum-chic-cum-handsome-cum-hunky-cum-cool look. Now, I can attend any party or hang-outs and I'm sure, the eyes of all the sensible girls would be rapt on me. Yes, I can have that effect, but then 'Shoppers Stop' helped too, this time around. 
And finally, I can also go to sleep in peace being rest assured that I won't get another nightmare the kind of which I described at the beginning. Relief!!! 

[This entry has been penned for IndiBlogger's 'Shopper's Stop Perfect Look' contest. The contest indeed gave me a chance to celebrate my bachelorhood and to add some exciting products to my wardrobe. If you too wish to add that sensational touche to your persona, then do plan a visit to the number one destination for clothing & online shopping. Happy shopping, tring!!]

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Aamir Khan and the 7 dreams that haunted me

It’s 12.12.12 on the calendar as I write this. I have just watched ‘Talaash’ a couple of hours back and I have finally lived up to all the 7 prophetic dreams. Yes, an amazing thing that has happened over the past few weeks is that I have been getting a particular kind of a dream repeatedly. I dream that I am sitting inside the theatre and watching Aamir Khan’s suspense-cum-horror flick ‘Talaash’. In fact, I have had this dream 7 times over the last few days, and as late as day before yesterday. So, finally when I decided to watch this movie tonight, perhaps I was just following some divine orders laid down for me by my Mr. God! Having dreamt about this film night after night and waking up to a racing pulse and perspiring face, it finally seems that life has, indeed, come as a full circle.

PS- When I say, Mr. God, I refer to Aamir Khan. He is the God for me when it comes to movies. When he is on screen, everything comes to a standstill, the script takes the backset, the costars become redundant, and the world seems to have come to a stop. And with the doomsday date of 21st December looming large (just 9 days to go), I am glad to have fulfilled my utmost desire. Yes, I have sat through the experience of ‘Talaash’ and care not for the wrath of the impending doomsday. Come and kill me if you want, I am glad that Aamir chose to haunt me through my dreams. Looks like, his ‘Talaash’ ended with me. The answer truly lay within!

~Ritesh Agarwal,

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