Sunday, June 30, 2013

Axiom of Oomph Review: Poems inked from the heart

Book title: Axiom of Oomph
Genre: Anthology of Poems (Poetry)
Author/Poet: Parna Banerjee Sarkar
Publisher: All About Books Global
Cover design: by Radhika Gooptu
Pages: 120
Price: Rs 200

Review: ‘Axiom of Oomph’ is the debut book by Kolkata-based school teacher Parna Banerjee Sarkar. It is an anthology of poems which cover a mélange of genres and travel through a host of emotions. If you love to flip through poems, then this book will definitely satisfy you. One reason for that is the absurd command which the author enjoys over the language and the vocabulary. Some of the phrases are woven with such ease that young learners and budding poets can take inspiration from the book.

“I am a refugee
My only belongings are my heart and soul”

The above lines are heart-rending and also point at the poet’s effortless ability to play with words.
Sarkar also explores some trivial issues of relationships and doesn’t shy away from meandering onto tabooed topics. These lines attest to this claim:

“‘Does my bum look big in this?’ she glared
I gulped and stared upon the floor
I must escape the bedroom door…….”

Moon has featured in several of her poems and it is no surprise. This celestial object has from eternity been the object of inspiration for poets penning romantic tragedies. There is something about the moon which can always be associated with the anguish of isolation.
These lines from the poem ‘A Celestial Body’ not just objectify moon but also present it as an object of desire:

“Ohhh!! Lovely Urana..
Bestow me with your love
Make me your roomie for one night
Give me a challenge to have a ‘one night stand’….”

Most of the poems will live up to your expectation and many would exceed them. A few poems or a few lines may betray a hint of inconsistency or may look mediocre or amateur. These highlight that even an accomplished person has to go through the pangs of the writer’s block.
All in all, it is an excellent book of poetry. You can read it during leisure times or even go through it while sipping your morning coffee or when the rain is tapping on your dewy windows. These poems, after all, seem to be inked from the blood extracted from the heart.  

PS- You may not like the book if you don’t read/write poems.

~Ritesh Agarwal

Monday, June 24, 2013

55 word story- Born Another Way

Hi. Owing to the post-dating scheme of IndiBlogger (where they release the post on IndiVine after several days), my submission for the 'Ring the Bell' saga never showed up and hence didn't get a single IndiVine vote /view.
So, you can read this post here- Born Another Way (it is a 55 word story; won't take much time). Thanks

Sunday, June 23, 2013

DesiDime Review: 7 reasons why to shop from DesiDime

If you are one of those social pariahs who does not shop online (even in this era), then this post is not meant for you. But if you are a sane rational-minded person who picks up a lot of things (be it books, dresses, mobiles, tablets, pens or even pizzas) online, then DesiDime is a website you must check out instantly (and I bet you’re going to bookmark it).

DesiDime has been making a lot of noise in the online circuit and chances are that you may have already heard a bit about it (when you tried to eavesdrop on two shopaholics’ conversations).

But if you haven’t, then here is what it’s all about: To keep it brief, let us say that DesiDime is a web portal which hunts down the best deals and puts them at one place. Thus, you won’t have to search for them amidst hundreds of sites and you won’t miss out on the best bargain.

For instance, if you are looking to buy a Nikon camera of a specific model, then can find out the list of websites which are quoting the lowest prices for it. Instead of individually wading through Flipkart, HomeShop18, IndiaPlaza (and scores of other sites) to check the discounts, you can simply head to DesiDime and find out the prices quoted by all your favorite shopping sites.

In addition, DesiDime has a lot more going for it. Let me present it in an orderly manner since it will help you understand better (besides, my favorite Hercule Poirot would chide me hard if I don’t follow ‘order and method’ as he so always insists). So, here are 7 reasons why you must check out DesiDime:

i.                    To find out the lowest price: As explained above, whether you are buying a 50k camera or whether you are looking for a 200 ka cheap chappal, you can find the lowest available price in internet at DesiDime. In this context, DesiDime scores over Google since the latter piles up hundreds of websites before you, but the former recommends certain handpicked and genuine sites.

ii.                  To get coupons: We all scour the net for coupons, right? Since you know that you will be splurging on that favorite bedsheet or would be pampering your baby with a new toy or would gift a Goa holiday to your spouse, so it makes sense to get them at lower prices. It is a nice feeling when you are told that you will be getting a flat Rs 300 off on a purchase of Rs 1500. At this link, you can find such coupons for a host of popular sites including Snapdeal, First Cry, Lenskart, Naaptol, BabyOye, eBay, Homeshop18, IndiaTimes,,, Tradus,, InfiBeam, Zansaar and even

iii.                Getting Popular Deals: In case you are undecided and not sure which deal sounds the best, then this section called Popular Deals shall tell you which are the most coveted buys this season. Take that- 70% off on shoes! Or, how about 40% off on Apparels and Accessories from InkFruit!

iv.                 Buying those small little things at throwaway prices: When you come across such discounts and deals, you know that they are applicable only on those expensive gadgets and gizmos! Right? But no, wait, here using this deal, you can grab a Fevicol paste (original price is Rs 10) at just Rs 3. Similarly, using this link, you can buy an Eveready battery at just Rs 5 (which would cost you Rs 11 in your local store). And if you have kids or if you yourself are a kid needing gel pens on an everyday basis, then check this out- All you pay for that stylish gel pen is just Rs 3 (instead of the usual Rs 10). Buy in bulk and you can save in bulk!

v.                   Browse your favorite store: In case, you are a Flipkart loyalist or like to book your tickets only from Expedia, then DesiDime also gives you the option to browse deals and discounts on your favorite stores. Use this thread and filtration gets so easy! Also, you can browse through product ‘category’ and even through ‘Your City’!

vi.                 Get daily deals through emails: If you fall in love with some of these deals (and you would fall in love, indeed), then you can simply submit your email ID and receive notifications for fresh daily deals. You can subscribe through email here. Two more reasons why you should sign up-

1.      You get Rs 50 for signup
2.      You win exciting gifts by giving back to community

vii.               To gobble down pizzas: Don’t tell me that you don’t love pizza (really, you need to get a life)! Unless you are some alien who hates to put pizza into his/her waiting mouth, this offer is going to make you salivate. To quote a top dialogue- “I’m going to make you an offer you cannot refuse”! How about eating 2 pizzas for the price of one? Yes, it translates into ‘eating 10 pizzas at the price of 5’! And into ‘eating 20 pizzas at the price of 10’ (in case, you REALLY love pizzas)! Here, I scoop out another delicious link where you can grab Rs 600-worth of Dominos pizza at just Rs 300. (Umeed se duguna  ^_^)!

So, with such delectable offers and deals, it would be fair to say that DesiDime is fast turning out to be India’s largest shopping community. But like I said at the onset, if you are one of those rare breeds who doesn’t shop online, then this site is not for you (I wonder why you even bothered to read this whole thing  :O

PS- You can also check out what popular fashionista Bushra has to say about this site here- 'Shop Smart Online With DesiDime'.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Writer versus Reader

Writers are being strangled

I was recently asked to tone down the language of my short story, ‘Love can be a bitter pill.’ After reading the story, a published author, with whom I share a very amicable relation and one who is a motherly figure, explained to me how the publishers of today reject works which are too laden with heavy or ‘hi-fi’ words, since such stories, they claim, are not suited for mass-reading.

I discerned the truth in her statement. But I felt, and still feel, disgruntled at such an ongoing practice. A writer, I believe, is not responsible for the reader’s mediocrity.

Why should writers lower their quality just to match the shabby standards of the readers? Shouldn’t it be the other way round? Shouldn’t it be the reader who should lift himself to be able to read and comprehend high-quality work?

Granted, that those having sub-standard English would find it hard, almost impossible, to read and appreciate works of Austen, Dickens or Poe. But these writers are not accountable for the readers’ patchy English.
A good writer is one who can play with words as effortlessly as a Tendulkar (or a Tiger Woods) can play with balls. Anybody can produce a ‘book’ these days, but only certain rare writers can produce ‘literature’. For a true writer, his work is untouchable, almost sacrosanct! He won’t like to alter it just to please certain money-hungry publishers.

And for all those mediocre readers (the so-called masses), there is always a Chetan Bhagat or a Ravinder Singh lying on the ‘bestsellers’ list for an easy picking.

They certainly don’t deserve to read an Austen, a Dicken or a Poe. Period! 

~Ritesh Agarwal, a disgruntled would-be author

Featured story of the week: 'Maya' written by my mommy Richa Singh. It is one of the best short stories I have read on blogosphere. A feel-good tale which reminded me of O.Henry. Do read it. 

Image Source: Google Images

Monday, June 17, 2013

Visual story: Wildlife through my Verandah

Here, I won't do the talking today but let you look outside my verandah through my eyes (err...through the eyes of my camera)

Cat Amongst the Pigeons

PS- A certain gentleman, who is in trouble, has requested me through comment on my previous post, to share his travail. So, I take this opportunity to share this link which he wanted me to share with you all. Do go through it and see if you can be of some assistance to them. Thanks

Ritesh, a would-be author.

[These photos were all taken by me, i.e. Ritesh of course. However, I am known in my city for my magnanimity. So, you can always use them as long as you are not eating their Chocolate Frogs.]

PPS- No dog, cat, bird or bat was harmed during the production of this post!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My achievements this week: Silly little landmarks

Source: Google Images

So, the week has seen some silly little landmarks which deserve a small blog post (since most of them are connected to my blog or my books).

So, here I go. Landmarks I achieved this week are:

-          I completed 200 blog posts (you can read them all at this place, provided you are willing to squander your precious hours over my silly tales)  :P

-          This blog has crossed 40,000 page views (in fact, today itself). It was struggling under 7K but picked up speed this year.  *touchwood*

-          I gained a few more followers (and I followed them back) :O

-          I crossed 500 friends on Facebook  (well, is that an achievement?) :O

-          My collection of books crossed 100.  (I am a bibliophile, I love books) *puppy face*

-           And my short story ‘Love in the times of War’ has been accepted by a publication house for inclusion in its upcoming anthology. The book would be released on 22nd June, 2013   (ah, a dream waiting to come alive)   :D

Ritesh Agarwal, a would-be author 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Accepted :)

A day after I had blogged about this post Rejected I feel, I received the heartening news that my short story has been accepted by a publication house for inclusion in its upcoming anthology 'Lovelets'- a collection of love poems and short stories.

Here is what my eyes saw on their facebook page last night

~Ritesh Agarwal, a would-be author

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rejected I feel :'(

So, the latest news from my side is that Srishti Publishers (which leapt to prominence after the runaway success of ‘I too had a love story) has rejected my proposal for a novel based on around two hundred “55 word stories”.

I emailed them the synopsis of my idea and 8 sample stories (all of them are presently published on this blog- their titles being ‘Clouded’, ‘The Smell’, ‘The Hand’, ‘The White Pearl’, ‘I hate teas and coffees’, ‘The first prayer of my life’, ‘The guava tree’ and ‘The black-n-white photo’).

I had received extremely encouraging comments from fellow bloggers.

Saru had said “You truly rock this genre. Haven’t read anyone as good as you.”

MySay had recently commented, “You are good. No wonder they call you the ‘King of 55ers’. “

And so on…..

But this is what Srishti Publishers had to say in its email which I gloomily read and reread and re-reread last evening:

“Dear Ritesh,
We have gone through your synopsis and sample work meticulously. Unfortunately it doesn't, at present, fit into our publishing schedule. We wish you all the best with your current book and would look forward to work with you for some other project in the future.
Thanks for your interest and faith in Srishti.

Editorial, Srishti Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi”

This is the latest rejection in a series of rejections inflicted over my poor, hapless soul over the last month. :’(
I recently failed to make it to the HarperCollins’ list of 10 winners selected from that ‘Get Published’ contest (run by IndiBlogger) and failure to win that contest is akin to a rejection. Isn’t it?

Now, I wonder what I do
Do I give up or do I continue
My dreams gather dust
My thoughts threaten to rust
I am running out of age
Frustrated, despondent, my soul is kindled in rage
Yet my heart tells me, ‘You are not to quit’
Fire your words with passion, arm your writing with wit
Persevere, get better, learn more and be brave
Life is about lessons, you graduate in your grave

~Ritesh Agarwal, a would-be author  

Image Sources: Google Images

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

55 word story: The birthday gift

I lie trapped within a body which neither lets me die nor live.

Bedridden and immobile, I beseech my children to poison me.

“Let death be the perfect gift for my 70th birthday.”

My grandson trots over, climbs the bed and plants a kiss on my wilted cheek.

He gives me love. A better gift.

[This post has been selected by my team Coup d'East (Team East of 'Indian Bloggers League') as the official entry for the IBL 2013 in the category of "55 word fiction". Hope it wins] 

Topic for the contest was: Write a 55 fiction about the most priceless gift you have received from your loved one.

100 word story: The Wardrobe

I tugged at the wardrobe and stepped back in anticipation. 15 long years had expired since I last opened that wardrobe.

As it slowly screeched open, I expected a whiff of stench, for it was here that I had dumped her body after driving the knife through.

Darkness blinded my eyes and something familiar leapt at me.

I uttered a horrified cry as the skeletal cat dug at my chest, took a flight and disappeared out of the window.

She was alive, after all.  Or was she not?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

55 word story: Born another way

Image Source: Google Images

“The burly man shook her hard, “I AM YOUR HUSBAND. DO NOT REFUSE ME.” He pinned her to bed and forced himself on her. She pleaded, wept, got raped…..”

‘This is how I was born’- Sangeeta blogged her mother’s story. ‘But I promise that my child would be born another way……out of love.’

Author’s Note: This story may be a work of fiction, but it depicts the ubiquitous plights of domestic violence and marital rape suffered by women at the hands of certain chauvinistic males.
By blogging the story of her mother, who underwent spousal violence and rape, Sangeeta is championing the cause, spreading awareness and is herself pledging to stay vigilant against such bestial acts. She is ringing the bell, which, after all, needs to be rung, and rung with extreme resonance by her, by me and by ‘you’.

[This story is my entry for 'Ring The Bell', a social agenda propagated by IndiBlogger. You can read more about this cause at ]. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

5 people I would like to connect through WeChat

WeChat is one of the hottest topics of discussion amongst the gadget geeks and the mobile freaks of today. This chatting application, which can be downloaded for free (using this link), offers users the congenial speed and convenience to talk to anyone and everyone!

Often, we lose ourselves in life and forget to socialize.

Remember these words of a great man:

 “Don’t let a person walk so far away that he walks too far away. Talk everyday”
~Ritesh Agarwal

Coming to me, if I could add only 5 people in my WeChat group, then these are the ones I would have added:

i.                    Albus Dumbledore: Albus Dumbledore, one of the central characters of Harry Potter series of books, is an incredibly sharp person of farsightedness, wisdom, knowledge and a knack for wit. Even though, Dumbledore is a fictional character, I am under awe of him.

Question I would like to ask him: “Sir, you on WeChat?? Is it real, or is it just happening inside my head?”  :O

ii.                  Albert Einstein: During my childhood, I always rooted for Isaac Newton (coz I was in love with his frothy hair style). But after flipping through Einstein’s biography and having learnt of his philanthropic nature, I have given the crown of “my favorite scientist” to this eccentric man with that toothbrush moustache. Again, he is one of those men whom you can talk for hours and days and years, without getting bored. It would be great to talk to him through WeChat.

Question I would like to ask him: “Sir, will you please teach me how to play the violin?”

iii.                Edgar Allan Poe: If there was no Edgar Allan Poe, then there would have been no Arthur Conan Doyle (since Doyle was inspired by Poe) and if there was no Doyle, then there would have been no Agatha Christie (since Christie was inspired from Doyle). So, one can say that Poe was indirectly the originator of Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Besides, Poe is easily the best writer of horror stories I have ever come across. I would like to have him on my WeChat group.

Question I would like to ask him: “Edgar Sir, can you please go through my horror stories (published on this blog) and tell me if they are good enough? Your feedback and suggestions would be very valuable.”

iv.                 My parents: It may seem ironic, even unfortunate, but we often communicate the least with those who are the closest to us, in terms of geography. I often do not speak to my parents throughout the day, despite being present around them. Maybe, WeChat would bridge this distance. One can hope, one can pray!

Question I would like to ask them: “How are you ma, how are you pa”  

v.                   Myself: I often ruminate about my present prosaic life and wonder if I spend enough time with myself. In this grueling life, one has little time for himself. But reflection and introspection are extremely important. So, it would be nice to communicate with self, even if it is through some tech app like WeChat.

Questions I would like to ask myself: “Are you happy dear? When are you going to get a dog, you promised me a long time back? And you still haven’t got published. Will you ever take your story-writing seriously?”

So, this goes out to all the readers. Please download WeChat app from here and start socializing. You can learn more about it by checking out its catchy YouTube trailer, here.

[This post has been written for the “WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere” contest in association with WeChat and IndiBlogger.]

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dining with bloggers: When pen holders hold a spoon

So, in order to celebrate 3 years of 'Some Bedtime Stories' and many years of writing, I intend to throw a bash. Yes, a Gourmet dinner party in which I intend to invite everyone who is a part of the writing world.

Of course, I would love to include authors like Amitav Ghosh, JK Rowling and even Chetan Bhagat (though I’m not quite fond of him) in the guest list, but since I’m not exactly on back-slapping terms with them, I shall let them pass for the time being.

But thankfully, I am pretty much on intimate terms with my fellow bloggers who won’t be able to say no to my invite. (To quote a movie, “I’m going to make them an offer they can’t refuse!) After all, who doesn’t love free food? Plus, most of the bloggers have been feeding on free goodies from IndiBlogger and hence anything free which comes their way is expected to be lapped up immediately.  :D

On a serious note, we share a healthy camaraderie and since the theme of the party would centre around books & writers, I see no reason for them not to come.

So, without teasing your digestive hormones further, let us jump into the details:

Date of the party: The first Saturday of July, 2013

Location: At home or at a hotel room (I would decide the exact venue later. I may win a stay in an ITC hotel if KitchensOfIndia so desires)

Guests: Every blogger is invited including my personal favorites like Bushra, Meera, Saru, Richa, Kislaya, Jyoti, Tom, Nitesh, Anukriti, Stephen, Jasmeet, Anjan, Ankita, Asteria and ‘you’

Theme: Books and Authors

Dress Code: Everyone must dress up as one of their favorite literary characters. From the saintly Dumbledore to the nefarious Frankeinstein, come as you like J

Topic of discussion for ‘entertainment’: While we chomp and chew over our favorite dishes, the hot topics up for discussion would be random subjects revolving around books viz. “Our favorite books”, “Our favorite authors”, “Our plans for publication”, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Potter, Agatha, Poe

Menu: Yup, now comes the more delectable part of the post. I propose a menu which would bring water to the mouth of any bookworm. (KitchensOfIndia would be supplying me with these items. Of course, I am renaming the items to make them suit my party’s theme)

a.      Baker Street Biryani (This dish is elementary my dear)  [check sample here]

b.      Poirot’s Paneer (Eh bien :O    [check sample here]

c.        Chetan Chicken Curry (for chic lit lovers)   [check sample here]

d.      Mutton of Roger Acroyd (for those who can’t do without Agatha Christie) [check sample here]

e.      Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani Mix (for Classic lovers) [check sample here]

f.        Harry Potter Ka Hazoori Petha Halwa (strictly prohibited for muggles) [check sample here]

g.      Bond with Bukhara….Dal Bukhara….007 Dal Bukhara  [check sample here]

So, what are you waiting for! Check your calendar and mark the date! This ‘Gourmet’ party is going to be something you can’t refuse (remember my last   :O)

[This post has been written for a contest held by KitchensOfIndia in association with IndiBlogger]. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Uff Ye Emotions Review: A cake for the chic lit lovers, but...

Book: Uff Ye Emotions
Authors: Vinit Bansal, Anjit Sharma, Abhilash Ruhela, Priyanka Dey, Saurabh Arya, C. Suresh, Pankaj Mittal, Rachna Seth, Sanhita Baruah, Stephen Anthony, Himanshu Chhabra, Drishti Dasgupta
Publisher: Mahaveer Publishers
Genre: Romance
Pages: 206
Price: Rs 139
Rating: 3.2 out of 5

Review: ‘Uff Ye Emotions’ is an anthology of 11 short stories, each written by a different author. True to the name, the stories all dabble in emotions albeit of a similar kind. Though, each story is an independent love story and most are readable, some even engaging, there is no story which attempts something fresh. Most stories suffer from cliché and explore the emotional side of young college-goers or the 21st century MNC employees. No author dares to tell an untold story, nobody shows the audacity, or the imagination, to stitch up a romance unheard of.

The only story that takes a slightly different path and makes the reader sit up and notice is Anjit Sharma’s ‘The Soulmate’. Though it opens up with the hint of yet another boy-girl mushy tale, it soon meanders over to a different genre. A bit thrilling, a tad spooky and a touch mysterious, ‘The Soulmate’ scores because of its convoluted plot and an engaging narration.

‘Love@Platform’, the opening story by Vinit K Bansal, is also absorbing. Its opening pages are heart-tugging, and even though it loses some of its charm in the subsequent pages, its climax is definitely not a hackneyed ‘happy ending’ stuff.

‘A Date with the Fate’ by Abhilash Ruhela is an ‘okay’ type tale. It is good, but not good enough. The writing is amateurish and the story lacks that punch. One can always read it in leisure, but it is not what we call an ‘unputdownable’ story.

Priyanka Dey, a blogger who has made a mark with her poems, authors the next tale titled ‘Reminiscences’. The story has several shades and ends beautifully on a poignant note. However, Dey has inked some truly amazing poems over the years and this story does not do full justice to her talent. She is definitely a far better poet than she is a story-teller.

The book accommodates a few other stories like ‘The Intercity Express’ (by Stephen Anthony), ‘Happily Ever After’ (by Sanhita Baruah) and ‘A Path of Thorns’ (by C. Suresh) amongst others.

Almost all the stories are similar in their theme and settings (incidentally many are set inside/outside a train/railway station). While some stories may touch you, some may just make for a light read. If you feed on chic lit romance, then this book will be a ‘paisa vasool’ (money’s worth). But if you love those chaste love stories portrayed by Austen, Bronte and Mitchell in their classics, then you will be a touch disappointed with this one. With simple and not-so-impactful English and an overdose of chic romance, “Uff Ye Emotions” may not quite elicit a happy “emotion” within you.

~Ritesh Agarwal

Note: Most of the authors who have contributed in this book are my fellow-bloggers and some are even friends/acquaintances. I congratulate each of you for getting published and reserving a space in literature. The review above may seem a bit harsh to some. But as a genuine reviewer, I need to be honest with my opinions. And the entire world knows, I am a harsh critic. I give a 2-3 star rating to many of my own stories. You guys still got 3.2   ;)

Update, 14th June, 2013 - I later discovered that I had missed out on one story titled 'Happily Ever After' by Sanhita Baruah. I dunno how I missed reading it. But having realized my folly, I read it later and found it to be surprisingly refreshing. With its unpredictable plot and a well-crafted climax, it stood out and, in my opinion, is the best story of the book.
On the light of this new discovery, I allot the rating of 3.4 to 'Uff Ye Emotions'.

Share please

How many stars?