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Silver Hair Sins | Book Review

Silver Hair Sins – Book Review

Book: Silver Hair Sins

Author: Saumick Pal

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: The Write Place (26 March 2019)

Price: 249 INR

Pages: 158 (Paperback)

Language: English

My rating: 3.5/5

Religious fundamentalism is on the rise and the world is experiencing more and more barbaric acts in the name of God and religion. It has reached a fanatic level. Witnessing all this I, earlier, wrote a piece – What if there was no religion. Well, today I would be reviewing a book that suggests another alternative – merge all the religions into one and with the use of artificial intelligence create a more futuristic utopian society.

Silver Hair Sins by Saumick Pal gives a peek into a similar world. It is his first novel. I would like to express my gratitude towards Blogchatter’s Book Review Program for considering me this book review and towards Saumick for the wonderful personalized message. If you have been following my reviews, then by now, you would know how much I love thrillers. A thriller with religion and AI as its background suits perfectly down my alley.

About the Author

The author, Saumick Pal, is an engineer and has been working for 13 years in myriad fields. Also, he is a mentor to the youth of the country. He has worked as a scriptwriter too. His writing style is crisp, compact and will leave you wanting for more even after you read the whole book.

My Review

The cover of the book, along with its title doesn’t give much away but once you start reading, it will slowly begin to make more sense and now I can say that the cover is equally thought-provoking as the pictures inside the book.

The back cover blurb highlights Silver Hair Sins as one of India’s first visual-fiction novel, with more than half of the book narrated by cinematized photographs.

They say that the picture is worth a thousand words. It surely is true in the case of Silver Hair Sins, which has only 158 pages out of which about 60 pages are full-page photographs/pictures. These pictures are strategically placed in continuation of the chapters that streamlines the flow and pace of the book.

The message from the author.

The story is set up in a futuristic world some 200 years later and mainly revolves around three characters – Mary, Azad and Aasma. You will also read about two more characters that form the background story – Meera and Akbar. The story takes you to a time when the religio-politico divide reaches a tipping point and technology steps in to save humanity – AI merges all religions to create One God AI.

The algorithm picks up populist virtues of all the religions and not necessarily the best ones. This leads to a terrible dystopian environment of murder, manipulation and love where a father is justifying the rape of his daughter as a sacrifice.

The book also makes you think what if AI actually becomes so powerful that it begins to dictate the lives of each and every individual. What will be the outcome of that? Read the book to find out whether the AI remains powerful or the humans rise above technology and win over it with their instincts.

I am sure the writer takes a clue from the all-time classic 1984 by George Orwell where he spoke about the atrocities of a dystopian world disguised as a utopian society set in a time in future.

Pros

It is a very fast read and even if you are not a big fan of thrillers you are bound to finish it in one sitting. The vocabulary is simple and you don’t have to go looking for meanings of every alternate word. The pictures are very figurative yet abstract and each reader will have a different understanding of them.

‘Not everything is black and white’ – I will like to compliment Saumick on how he has used the colors like black, white and silver to showcase the criminality of a person. The colors, the day – Sunday and the dressing have a lot of significance in the narrative. The naming of the characters also has been done keeping the backdrop in mind and by the end, you will realize their importance for their characters.

Cons

The book doesn’t have many flaws apart from the fact that some incidents feel a bit rushed up. Given its size, it would more fit in the category of a novella. I personally didn’t like Kabir’s Dohas being quoted every now and then. For a book that is futuristically set it was a bit awkward for me to visualize the AI enabled beings speaking Kabir’s Dohas. I felt a little disappointed as there isn’t much description about the futuristic setup and many-a-time it feels as if the discussions are in context to present times and not two centuries later.

When I first received the mail to review this book, it reminded me of an important incident that occurred with my friend and me, just when I started writing about a decade ago. He came up with a photo-book, exactly like what this is, but after going door-to-door of various publishing houses all we received were rejections. ‘A book or novel full of pictures will never sell and it will totally add to the cost’, was all we got constantly. I am glad the Indian publishing world is changing for good.

This positively has the potential of being a game changer as far as the layout of a book is concerned in the Indian context. I have seen Dan Brown books having pictures for better illustration and explanation of certain facts.

Verdict

I would end it with a quote from Walt Disney – “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” This book serves well as a commentary on the current religions and the perils existing in them.

Silver Hair Sins is a good debut effort by Saumick Pal, which stirs up a lot of questions about the existing religions and the extremism attached to them and how in the future technology can be used for mankind in the religious spectrum as well. I am going with three and a half stars for this visual-science-fiction thriller that will definitely make you think.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This review was done as part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program. Please sign up if you are a bibliophile.

My side of the bargain – an honest review – Find the Book here on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the author reference: https://www.marketingmind.in/saumick-pals-silver-hair-sins-is-a-must-have-if-you-love-thrillers/

 

11

R – Ram Temple | #AtoZChallenge

R – Ram Temple | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Any political discussion is incomplete in Indian politics without discussing the Ram Temple issue. Elections after elections, government after governments and manifesto after manifesto…the matter or the dispute more or less remains where it existed. I didn’t find any substantial evidence but I am sure the British would have got a great clue to divide the country along political lines when the first riots broke around 1850 regarding the same issue.

The ideological parent of the current ruling party brought the subject into the mainstream, which became the flag bearer of all the issues for the party since the 1980s. They grew from a dismal 2 seats in the Lok Sabha to a resounding 282 seats on the back of the Ram Temple dispute.

I was around seven years old when the issue reached its tipping point in 1992 following a ‘Rath Yatra’ from one of the founding members of the party. The horrifying blood bath that followed is still fresh in my memory. I just need to close my eyes and I can still see those open skulls, burning screaming souls and charred bodies.

Nearly three decades later, the ones who were in their twenties during the riots are now in their fifties and the ones carrying out the yatra are breathing their last…but the issue is as alive as ever with no resolution in sight.

That sowed the seed of hate forever in so many Indians against each other. We are killing each other for a treacherous act of an invader. For a heinous act committed five centuries ago, what sanity it is, to keep burning humans so that you can justify your agenda.

Let me tell you, no soul ever finds solace by killing another.

I wonder if anyway Lord Ram could see all this – Don’t forget he gave up that throne and land for keeping the words of his mother, I am sure If he would have been alive, he would have given up now too. How can one slash the womb of a lady, take out an unborn and chop it into pieces in front of her and that too on the name of Ram? No lord would want so much hatred and kill on his name.

The irony is that the so-called followers of Ram, do not follow the ideologies of him. To be honest these Ram-Bhakts have started to betray him and become the Bhakt of some other hate spewing supreme commander.

This was the perfect opportunity for BJP to at least start the construction of the Temple rather than just use it as a gimmick once again to trivialize the sentiments of the followers of Ram. With them being in power at the center as well as state, this opportunity might never return for them. Forget about making the country a Hindu rashtra, they can’t even make a temple.

The fallacy in the logic of, that the Jews have their Jerusalem, the Muslims have Mecca, what have Hindus got. As per the Hindu religious texts, there are so many Gods and so many sacred places linked to each one of them. How will you decide which one is the most superior of all? We already have the dhams, the jyotirlings and the shaktipeeths, what would one less or one more temple to do the religion. It’s all in the mind but for that it requires sanity.

The people who have been to the birthplace of Lord Krishna, they would recall that there is a mosque just adjacent to the temple; in fact they share a common wall. Since the beginning of mankind and their arrival in this land, everybody lived in harmony because there was acceptance of everyone.

The people are too blind to see how mercilessly they are being used for their political gains. They claim that there was a temple long before Babar demolished it and constructed a Mosque, a place of worship. It was an unpardonable sin – but wasn’t he a barbaric invader, what else can we expect of him. That in no way justifies you again destroying a place of worship claiming to be the protectant of a religion, which is considered to the most peaceful.

I sometimes think, Did Ram take birth in a temple? Ideally, it should have been a palace given the fact that his father was a king. If that were the exact location of birth then somebody would have destroyed the palace too, to make a temple.

If the court decides on logic and merit some people are ready to burn it…if they simply discuss it as a ‘matter of faith’, they lose their credibility forever. The court itself is caught in a tussle to maintain peace and harmony and somehow give a verdict that pleases every party.

I am banking on the current and future generations that they would evolve above all this and won’t let themselves get divided on religious lines. But sadly a process has been created where people are kept uneducated and jobless so that they are always ready to pick up arms so that they can fight for the religion, whether it is any religion.

It is like the Kashmir conflict; the moment it gets resolved you would not have another issue to invoke your nationalism card on. Similarly the day the temple gets built, the privilege to use of the religious card would also get neutralized.

The best solution lies in creating a facility on the land that serves everyone irrespective of any religion – construct a hospital or school or anything but not a religious structure. The land has seen enough violence and blood and it shouldn’t take another five centuries to resolve the issue. Make sure when you vote, you vote for the future of your child.

For all those who believe the conflict will never be resolved,

For all those who want peace,

For all those who feel all this would have aggrieved Ram,

And

For all those who believe in the ideologies of Lord Ram…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 18th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit on monday for the next post with letter ‘S’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

6

K – KASHMIR | #AtoZChallenge

K – Kashmir | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Post World War II the British were left bankrupt. They started abandoning and leaving the colonies and in the process giving them independence. Lord Mountbatten arrived in February 1947 and was supposed to take till June 1948 to come up with the proposal of how India would be divided. He invited Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister who had never set foot in India before then and only gave him five weeks to do so.

He did it in a hurry and within two months a line was sketched on a map of the then India dividing in on the basis of the religion of the majority that resided in that area. Everyone knows that came at a price of more than a million lives and fifteen million displaced.

Maharaja Hari was a Hindu ruler of a Muslim majority princely state at the time of partition and he was to make a call whether they want to join India or Pakistan or remain independent. A kind of civil war broke out where groups of both religions want to eradicate the other one. The Maharaja then wanted help from the Indian government to fight the Pashtuns. The help was promised at a cost.

Though the politicians can claim and say that Kashmir was forever a part of India – it was not. It came under a signed agreement to side with India, so that India could send their military to fight the Pashtun infiltrators. The UN interfered and slowly by 1949 the war came to an end but the vote with which side Kashmir would finally go never took place. The UN then established the LoC, which was formalized in 1971 – India controls 43% of the land, while Pakistan and China 37% and 20% respectively.

If you go into the history of Kashmir, infiltrators forever ruled it whereas the original people of the land never got to rule it. I believe they were the most secular around the 14th century where all the three religions coexisted and lived in harmony.

The killing of Kashmir Pandits was a sad event which led to their mass exodus but equally horrifying was the killing of Muslim after independence which continued for more than a year resulting in a massacre that amassed somewhere close to 100000 deaths. Nobody knows how over the years the fight against a small group of Pashtuns has become a fight against the local people of Kashmir.

The current dispensation mentioned in their 2014 manifesto that they would look after rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in their original land. I have hardly seen a single family being brought back. The irony is they were in power there for a decent number of years to at least show their will to do that rather than just slogans. Even shocking was the way they came in power, aligning with a party that is completely opposite to their core ideology.

I feel the ruling party, when they gave the mantra that they want to eradicate a complete political class from the nation, just focused on forming governments. They used any method possible to form a government whether it was Goa or NE states or even in Kashmir. What they don’t know is, after they have staked claim to form the government, how to govern it then.

The condition has been continuously deteriorating since they came into power with stats showing an exponential rise in terrorist attacks and people joining militancy.

After the recent terrorist attack of Pulwama, there was an outcry to boycott all the Kashmiris from India. Many of them fled back to their natives. Isn’t this hypocrisy of the highest order that you want Kashmir to be a part of India but do not want Kashmiris?

They stirred the nationalist sentiment and got the backing of a lot of people when a senior leader in the government announced that they will stop water to Pakistan. Honestly, that is a joke. As per the Indus water treaty, India can only at most stop 20% of the water that is flowing. Currently, there is no practical measure to even stop that much but you cannot simply change the natural flow of a river against gravitation. No one knows how many decades it will take before India can make enough dams to even contain 20%.

For the past seven decades under all the governments, there were conflicts. For some period it dies down but then it again aggravates. Nobody wants to understand the root cause of why the local common people are willing to pick up arms. Some say education is the cure but haven’t we seen even the educated do that. More than the education they require Inclusion and until that happens they will continue to keep doing so. It suits politicians on both the sides of the LoC that the conflict keeps simmering – if the issue itself will die what will they ask vote on?

My opinion is this issue will continue to boil. Even if Pakistan decides not to pursue it any further, China will not allow it. And if a day comes when China decides to leave Kashmir alone then also the western warmongers who just want to sell their weaponry on the name of national security will not let the conflict die away. Do one thing every time there is an attack in Syria, Palestine, India, and Pakistan or anywhere in the world, just check the stock prices of the arms manufacturers. They simply shoot upwards.

After decades of bloodshed, three wars, lakhs of deaths, millions of human rights violations that continue on a daily basis, whether India wins or any other country, the biggest sufferers and losers are the real people of the land of Kashmir who continue to live each day as if it is going to be there last.

Someone said that Kashmir is a heaven on earth, but I say if this is how heaven is, better call it hell and there might eventually be peace.

For all those who believe Kashmir belongs to India,

For all those who believe the killings should stop,

For all those who believe there is no winner in a war

And

For all those who believe there should be peace in the Kashmir Valley…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 11th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘L’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

10

G – Gau-Raksha | #AtoZChallenge

G – Gau Raksha | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Every term of a government is marked with certain events and happenings for which they are remembered forever. The term of UPA 2 was scarred by scams and corruption, while UPA 1 would be remembered for GDP growth even in the times of global economic slowdown and revival of railways. The NDA tenure prior to that brings the memory of ‘Agra Talks’ and ‘Kargil War’ and the list goes on.

The current term of the 16th Lok Sabha is about to end and the voting for the first phase begins in a mere three days. I will remember this term for sloganeering and jingoism but above all ‘Gau-Rakshaks.’ For the first time in the history of independent India, ‘Cow’ was the reason behind so many people losing their lives to lynching. To be honest, this term topped the popularity charts during the current regime.

A report by the data-based news organization, India Spend, found that “Muslims were the target of 51% of violence centered on bovine issues over nearly eight years (2010 to 2017) – and they comprised 84% of 25 Indians killed in 60 incidents. As many as 98% of these attacks were reported after the current government came to power in May 2014.” Only one incident each was reported in 2012 and 2013.

Around 56% of the persons attacked by these groups were Muslim, who accounted for 88% of those killed in this violence. In 2018, 100% of victims attacked in these hate crimes were Muslim.

There is a report on atrocities committed against Dalits and minorities that need to be tabled in both the houses on a yearly basis but unfortunately, this is the first time ever that the report was not tabled during the entire period of five years.

The last three years are also known for restrictions on livestock trade. While the government fiddled with this sector, the agrarian crisis deepened. The Dalwai Committee Report points out that the biggest contributor to the agricultural growth in 2004-14 was the livestock sector, which has never reported negative growth in the last 35 years.

“Thus, the livestock sector is likely to emerge as the engine of growth of the agricultural sector and can be relied upon for risk mitigation and minimizing the losses to the farmers in case of even worst outcomes from others sub-sectors. Previous studies have unanimously reported that livestock as the best insurance against agrarian distress as the sector is the source of sustained income and generates income more frequently than the crop sector,” the report says. And it is known by this time that across north India, due to the restrictions and raids from cow protection groups, livestock trade and prices have crashed.

There is a hypocritical stand on cow-beef consumption. While the ruling party condemns and bans it in Hindi belt, the same party and its party members consume it in the NE and southern states. It continues to the extent that they say they want to protect cows, whom they consider as mothers, but if you go around any city you will find so many living in stray pathetic conditions gobbling and eventually dying of plastics and garbage.

In spite of all this, India is about to become the largest beef exporter in the world, which includes 30% of cow beef currently being disguised and exported as carabeef.

With so many crimes and killings committed over the name of protection of an animal and the deafening silence around these issue from even the PM gives supports and encourages the psychos to carry on with their agenda. I still remember the day when Nitish Kumar’s government left the Mahagathbandhan to join back NDA – he tweeted within three minutes congratulating him. Can you believe that – but I have never seen him tweet on killing after killing. The sadder reality is that the ministers have honored many of those convicts on various stages.

In 2018 the SC said that “horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be tolerated and cannot be allowed to become a norm.” “It has to be curbed with an iron hand… no citizen can take the law into his hands or become law on to himself,” the top court added.

Psychologist Upneet Lalli, deputy director of the Institute of Correctional Administration in Chandigarh, said, ““Society has an innate capacity for violence and it’s very easy to encourage this. Right from Twitter trolling–which is basically extreme verbal aggression–we are unleashing and encouraging violence in different ways and contexts.”

In the times when even the animals, vegetables and colors are being divided on the basis of religion, did anyone care to ask a cow to which religion it belongs?

For all those who love animals,

For all those who are against hate crimes,

For all those who are against lynchings,

And

For all those who believe if India needs to become a developed nation there should be a complete ban on such activities…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 7th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘H’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

5

The Tree Bears Witness – Book Review

The Tree Bears Witness

Cover – The Tree Bears Witness

The Tree Bears Witness

Book Review:

Book: The Tree Bears Witness

Author: Sharath Komarraju

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: Westland (17 November 2017)

Price: 350 INR

Pages: 250 (Paperback)

ISBN-10: 9386850443

ISBN-13: 978-9386850447

Language: English

My rating: 3.5/5

Keeping in sync with the author – reviewer relationship I again get an opportunity to review Sharath Komarraju’s work, his latest, The Tree Bears Witness’. This time it’s the publication Westland’s marketing team, which is taking the initiative – all kudos to them.

Every childhood in India has encountered an ‘Akbar Birbal’ story at some stage or the other – who can forget the epic ‘Birbal ki Khichadi’. After successfully biting into the Mahabharata with his Hastinapur series, Sharath Komarraju now tries to reincarnate the duo with his spin of storytelling to the tales. ‘The Tree Bears Witness’ is his second novel in the Birbal series.

The story revolves around real characters from Emperor Akbar and his Rajput wife Jodha’s life, which gives it a very real feel and makes you think on several occasions whether this story is actually true or not. Frankly speaking I am not sure myself. The main plot is shrouded around the mysterious death of the newly wed Jodha’s brother Sujjamal. Sujjamal, along with other royal guests, was still staying back in the palace after Akbar and Jodha’s marriage when the unfortunate event takes place.

Emperor Akbar, as is in the case of every mystery escapade, entrusts his most intelligent ‘Navratna’…Mahesh Das aka Birbal to come up with the answers. The mystery is heightened by the fact that the eyewitnesses to the murder are a couple of guards, who at the time of murder were in an inebriated state. They both have blurry conflicting versions of the murder, which makes the plot even murkier. Birbal has to finally rely on a Tree to serve as a witness…yeah you read it correct…The Tree is the Witness here.

Sketch of Palace Garden

Sketch of Palace Garden

Like his previous work Sharath doesn’t waste much time and straightaway gets into top gear. By the 10th page we encounter the murder and the story never runs out of breathe from there. It has a commendable pace, which keeps the reader hooked-on all throughout the book. I completed the book in flat eight hours, which is the fastest for me. The pace is also helped by the vocabulary which is neither too naïve nor too complex. I was really impressed how Sharath has given a sketch of the palace garden in the beginning of the book, where the actual murder takes place. It really helps the reader’s curiosity in trying to figure out the killer.

You can tell that a murder mystery is good from the simple fact that you have multiple suspects, each with a strong motive of their own. Here Sharath very masterfully incorporates this where we have many suspects including Sujjamal’s own blood relatives. It goes to an extent where it doesn’t even spare Emperor Akbar, who is in a way responsible to get the mystery solved.

The character sketching is also great. The writer has smartly given a peek into everyone’s mind where you encounter political intrigue, personal enmities and hidden rivalries.

The only negative I found was, if you read attentively you will be able to guess the murderer by the time you reach two-third of the book. In fact the fun in ‘The Tree bears Witness doesn’t lie in that. The ride is exhilarating from the fact how Birbal uncovers ‘how’ the murder was committed. Because when the murder happens Sujjamal was in full view of the two guards and he was standing alone.

I would take this opportunity to congratulate Sharath where he has successfully teleported his career from a 9-5 corporate job to full time writer. He is skill-fully mastering his craft and continuously coming up with good work.

The narrative is fluent, crisp and without too many subplots. From the first page till the last the writer never loses focus and keeps the reader engrossed and engaged. I am going with three and a half out of five for ‘The Tree Bears Witness’. Do grab a copy of this wonderfully crafted royal tale of murder and deception.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

My side of the bargain for an honest review. Find the Book here on Goodreads and Amazon

9

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter – 12

The PEN WARRIORS

The PEN WARRIORS

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter – 12

“Read the previous part of the story here – Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3Chapter 4 , Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7Chapter 8, Chapter 9Chapter 10 and Chapter 11

The evil, which by now was sown in him, was growing in strength day by day. He wanted this madness that was swallowing him blink by blink…thought by thought…to come to a halt…to an end. It was becoming unbearable for him and with all those noises in his head…’that’ evil was on the verge of taking complete control of sense in his sane mind.

Shekhar got up from the sofa with urgency in his steps…pulled out his laptop from the laptop bag…but this time not to write something. He wanted to get on with ‘it’ as soon as possible. For the past three days…the hours he spent trying to find ‘particular’ information, were the only hours he spent on his laptop. His browser was over working with tabs open with every social media platforms that are out there. The whole scene had a frenzy look to it…as if a drug addict is searching for the last sniff. From Facebook to Twitter…from Instagram to Blogs…from Pinterest to Google+…he was hunting everywhere…searching desperately for that one clue. In fact he didn’t even spare Orkut in an attempt to reach him.

Ting tong…it was the doorbell…

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15 minutes back…

She put on her dancing shoes, as today…was Sunday, she didn’t had to go to school. Roohi was unusually happy today…was being her real self after a long time…her heart was smiling which her lips…her face was mirroring. She put on the latest number from a recent super hit. She was not the best dancer and she knew it too…but today…’who cared’. She was doing step after step…move after move without a single worry of anything. The next soundtrack started and she started too with big ‘Yaaaayyyyy’.

Ting tong…it was the doorbell…

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

15 minutes back…

To everyone’s surprise and for Roohi’s happiness…Tara decided to stay back at home today. Although it was a Sunday and she knew that the weekends are even more hectic than the usual working weekdays but she had to…had to take a break…for Roohi…and more significantly to get this money issue sorted out asap. She was in a pensive mood glaring at her bank accounts through online banking. ‘I will have to manage this huge amount someway or the other’, she reminded herself.

She checked her every bank accounts even the ones, which weren’t known to Shekhar and tried to hoard the amount in a single place…so that a single transaction would do the needful. A nervous sheen of sweat had formed on her temple by then. She made a quick glance to make sure whether any one was watching her…with what she was up to.

Ting tong…it was the doorbell…

The moment Roohi heard the doorbell…she hip-hopped towards the main entrance still humming the track that was interrupted by the doorbell. She saw her father with his laptop and tried to locate her mom…but she wasn’t visible behind the slightly open door of her room. She opened the main door with ‘Who is there’ cry to complement it. It was their neighbor, Aryan Ahuja. He picked up Roohi in his arms the moment he entered and in his peculiar way planted a kiss on her cheeks with his stubble stabbing Roohi’s soft pink cheeks. Roohi always hated him for doing that. She grunted, ‘Leave me Aryan Uncle…Leave me’. ‘My sweetie’, he said while letting her go. She immediately ran towards her mom’s room. Shekhar’s chain of thoughts, was brought to a stop by Aryan’s greetings. He immediately shut his laptop and greeted back to Aryan with his effervescent phony smile.

Mommy that Aryan uncle is here’, Roohi announced gasping for breath. Roohi made Tara to rattle out of her current wave of thoughts. With certain reasons of her own, Tara never seemed to be comfortable when Aryan was around…today he just added to nervy feel of the air surrounding her. She walked out to the living room and greeted him, with Roohi trying to playfully hide behind her. Moments later, the room suddenly went quite and it was the air conditioning, which turned out the loudest. Glances were exchanged with courteous smiles.

One look at Aryan…you knew he had something up his sleeves and he was not here just for a Sunday brunch. One look at Shekhar…and you knew he looked at Aryan with genuine friendliness and to whom he can always reach out in case of any help. One look at Roohi…and you could very easily make out her disliking to this ‘ever-kissing, stubble rubbing’ uncle. One look at Tara…and you knew she had some other plans with a clear sense of unease with Aryan’s presence…

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“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

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“ Read the next part of the story here – Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18 and Chapter 19

15

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter 9

The PEN WARRIORS

The PEN WARRIORS

“Read the previous part of the story here – Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 , Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7 and Chapter 8

Note: This Chapter was written by Mr. Anirudh Shetty…he wasn’t available because of some unavoidable circumstances so i am filling in by posting 🙂

Too Late For Atonement – Chapter 9

The room was not very large and it didn’t help with stacks of newspapers piled and scattered everywhere. Dimly lit and windows bolted, the room was shut and had a distinct pesticide like smell. He sat at the center with newspapers stacked all around him. His eyes looked around the room, before it settled on a particular stack which seemed fresh.

He checked the date.
18 September, 2012.

He pulled the stack towards him and kept them on his lap. His eyes were now frantically scanning the paper, searching for something.

Indian Newshouse

He took it from the pile and read a few headlines of each page. On reaching the last page, he kept the sheet back.

Indian Daily

He pulled it by its ends and started reading at a faster pace. Few headlines, rest of it was small news articles squeezed between advertisements. He placed it back on the same pile again.

Times in India

He crumpled the papers now as he lifted the newspaper. His mind couldn’t register any words anymore and he was now searching for pictures. Many photos of accidents went by. He turned the pages but none seemed to fit his required criteria. He threw it carelessly.

Deccan Havoc

He tried lifting the next sheet by its edge, but he dropped it midway. Agitated, he threw the rest of the newspapers which were on his lap and he had reached his saturation a little too early today.
He extended his feet and kicked away the stacks in front of him. He fell back, keeping his arm below his head and stared at the ceiling.
He couldn’t read or search anymore.

Gathering 20-25 different newspapers from the newspaper stands spread across the city, and scanning them page by page for the expected news had become his everyday routine. Every morning for ten days now, he started this task with an excitement and ended it with disappointment.

The expected Headline was not there!! Oh how sure he was that night. After what he had seen, there were no doubts.

He closed his eyes and the scenes replayed in his vision.

The screeching of the tyres, BMW toppling and doing somersaults, the look on the driver’s face. At last the silence inside him with chaos and crowd around.

Business Tycoon found dead, drunk driving mishap
A Perfect Cover Story, yet missing in those worthless pieces of scrap called newspapers.

He was agitated, it was not that he wanted a show but he was looking for a proof.
He knew that there was no evidence, but he was searching for a testimony in those newspapers.- a confirmation!

Else what would I tell her?

His face twitched and he furiously scratched his chin. Did he survive? Did I bail out too early? I should have stayed to confirm maybe.

It didn’t seem logical that the news-hungry journalists could miss to cover the story of The Joseph Kurien’s accident. He would always be in the Business news section, It was now his time to find space in casualties, or at least an obituary.

He may not deserve veneration of an obituary, but in this fast-paced world which always goes behind money, it was not about what you deserve. Rather, it was all about what you could buy.

Interrupting his thoughts, he heard someone banging at his door.

Though startled, he remained quiet. He crawled into the bathroom, opening the door slightly and made way inside. He hid there.. till the visitors at the door were tired of banging.

Even after they were gone, he didn’t come out..

 

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“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

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“ Read the next part of the story here – Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18 and Chapter 19