12

Through the Mist – Book Review


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Cover Page

Through the Mist – Book Review

Book: Through the Mist

Author: Sona Grover, Abirami,

Adhithya, Nimitha & Rupali

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: Jimpify Publishing (29 Aug 2017)

Price: Rs 99

Pages: 92 (pdf)

Language: English

My rating: 3/5

One picture – Five Authors – Five stories – One Book. This in itself is an interesting premise for anyone to enlist ‘Through The Mist’ in his or her reading list.

About four years back I took part in a collaborative effort to come up with content worthy of publishing. Collaborative writing can sometimes turn out to be very tricky. It can be less writing ‘effort’ but it can surely be more ‘headaches’. When too many heads collide taking a story in a definite direction then sometimes the story takes the back seat and ego begins to power the engine. Anyway, let’s not digress.

Sona Grover, one of the five authors of the book, to do a review for them, approached me. My bargain was; an honest review in exchange for a free copy.

I found the overall premise very intriguing. A picture, which is also the cover page, was shared with the authors and each was expected to start with their version of the story keep the picture as the pivotal point.

Usually when authors collaborate the book turns out to be an anthology but what makes ‘Through the Mist’ interestingly unique is that each author will share their unfinished draft with other authors in a sequential manner and after all the authors have written on every story then only it will be considered complete. So that means each author will contribute to every story.

It is like a relay race of writers. You don’t know how the next is going to imagine and write or how good the outcome would be; all you could manage is your own leg.

The Motivation

The team:

Jithin, who provided the inspiration for the book. He blogs at www.trablogger.com

Abirami, the teenager who’s obsessed with writing and blogs at www.theobsessivewriter.com

Adhithya, the youngest teenager of the team who blogs at www.wordstuggedatheartstrings.wordpress.com

Nimitha, the writer who finds time to write between her busy work schedule. She blogs at www.nimzrevealed.wordpress.com 

Rupali, the teenager studying maths and writing poems at www.literatureismyporn.wordpress.com

Sona, an avid reader and the resource person to lend any help. She blogs at www.sonaonline.wordpress.com

Aadhira, the in-house editor who pushed everyone to write this book, blogs at www.aadhira.me

The five stories are:

‘A Middle Class‘ story brings us Pari, the independent, headstrong girl whose parents want her to marry and settle down. Love has other views and comes unexpectedly through Rehan. In this comedy of errors, blunders pile on and the protagonists head a laugh riot.

In ‘A strange Life‘, Aarya, bored with her profession and disappointed with her personal life, finds an unexpected adventure that is a little too much for her to comprehend. Can she manifest the life she has wanted to have, by reclaiming her power?

Aakash cannot forget Anavya, the love of his life. His longing turns him into a poet and he hopes and waits for her, years later. ‘Languish in Love‘ is a delicate story that explores love, longing, pain.

‘The Lone Man‘ is hard-hitting. All John wants is to forget his wife Sarah’s death and get on with his life. But his nightmares and visions would not let go of him.

‘Turn of the Tides‘ is set at sea and the men who have lived with the sea and loved her are the ones who fear her now. Can they conquer their dread and have the sea lose her power over them?

PROS:

What surely works for the book is the diversity that each of writer brings to the table. With their experiences and thought processes that vary from a teenager to a mom, it definitely adds on to the flavor. The love of writing is what makes this a ‘team’ irrespective of the difference in their culture, language, preferences, age groups and perspectives.

The standout thing in the book is that each story is completely different from each other and do not belong to a single genre. That is very refreshing, as it doesn’t overdo a single theme or genre.

One thing which I would like to highlight since each story exchanged hands five times that there was consistency in the storyline and the theme in all five stories. It is a swift read with only 92 pages.

CONS:

The role of an editor in such a collaborative effort becomes crucial and critical. I felt that the authors were let down by average editing, judging by how the stories were stitched.

The other thing, which I believe, could have been a bit better is the vocabulary. There are far too many grammatical errors. So the onus lies with each author as well as the editor. I can understand the flow of the stories not being smooth because of the format but still, that’s no excuse for the grammatical errors.

How it came about:

My favorite story:

The last story how it personifies the sea. I like it for its poetic and metrical tone and how expressively it gives ‘Sea’ a voice.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons in ‘Through the mist’. It’s definitely worth a read once. I give two and half stars for the stories and another half a star for the concept. It’s 3 out of 5 for the unique collaboration i.e. ‘Through the Mist’.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Grab a copy here: Amazon

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19

Let’s Walk


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Take 1:

Come my dear let’s walk
Let’s walk together to forever
I know you fear but let’s walk
Let’s walk and defeat it together.

We might never be ready
Or we are ready now
Let’s tie our will together
And let’s walk to see it goes how

My mind is wide open
To see all the possibilities
I am yours and you are mine
Let’s walk together to the end of time

Take 2:

From far across it was coming back
The memory of a broken past
In fear, I hide and stay
Waiting for this storm to pass

They tell me to face it now
That I will never be ready otherwise
But how do I be brave
What amount of courage will suffice

How do I save what’s damaged
How do I mend a broken tie
How do I live life with hope
When within all wants to die

My will is shattered my faith all gone
All I see is an endless night
Bring me some star bring me some sun
Don’t wake me up if there is no light

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

So which ‘take’ you liked the most 🙂

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

25

The UGLY Teddy

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Once upon a time in a far-off place, beyond the snow clad mountains, within a mesmerizing landscape, where nature was in its purest form, where the freezing streams originated there was a picturesque land known as ‘Teddyland’.

In Teddyland everyone was a teddy bear. From adults to children, from stout to tall, from brown to pink to red to orange, everyone was a personification of a teddy.

In teddy land there lived J, the most jovial of all of them, a teddy that was the center of everyone’s attention. Wherever he was he would always be surrounded by other teddies that would be laughing out at his tales of witticism, puns, and gags. Female teddies drooled over him. Anyone who got an opportunity of his cuddles never forgot his feel.

What made him unique was his appearance to go along with his nature to make everyone laugh at all times. He was surely different than any other teddy of the Teddyland. He had no fur on his head…he was bald. To make matters worse he had misplaced teeth and no jawline. With humor came a lot of sarcasm, which won him a lot of accolades, but the fate seemed to differ when it came to love.

One day a female teddy, S, from the neighboring village came. She was in the market when she heard a loud laughter erupt. She got curious to know what it was. The moment she laid her eyes on J, she was in love with his imperfect smile. Somehow none of J’s imperfections mattered to her.

She confessed her love to J. They started seeing each other. Met, ate and danced together. The moment she cuddled J, her love for him deepened. They became inseparable.

They decided to take a step forward in their relationship and get married. S was very skeptical of her parent’s response. Her mother knew of J, she had seen him perform many of his gigs. She liked his performances but never approved of his looks.

When S discussed about J to her mom, she outrightly rejected him. Her mom told her that she belonged to a royal family with grace and splendor and possessed beauty for which others are ready to kill. How can she stoop down to this ‘Ugly Teddy’?

S never wanted to disappoint her mother, as she was the sole reason for her existence. She knew all the hardships her mother had faced to raise her. But she was in too much love to let go off J either.

She tried to convince her mom but their love was defeated.

In the end, the respect for a mother won over the love for an Ugly Teddy.

Many years later, S was visiting Teddyland with her husband and children. They were taking a stroll by the stream. She heard an eruption of laughter. All of them went to see what the commotion was all about. There was J, right in the center of the action, a little balder and fatter with wrinkles beginning to sketch out, doing the only thing he knew – to make others laugh.

He instantly recognized S. He brought a couple of cotton candies, handed them to the kids, hugged them one by one, wished and blessed the couple and disappeared into the crowd of teddies.

For all those who want to live in Teddyland,

For all those who believe love is beyond looks,

For all those who want cuddles

and

For all those who love Teddy Bears…

It’s not a Goodbye,

but it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Wow Prompt

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

19

The Mystery Blogger Award

The Mystery Blogger Award

To begin with let me express my immense gratitude towards Sonia Chatterjee for trusting me as a worthy nominee for the Mystery blogger award. I have been blogging for the past eight years (yeah its true) but always treated it as a hobby until this year’s blogchatter’s ebook carnival where I published a compilation of my top posts and stories and started seriously putting efforts in blogging too. My father always wanted me to pursue my passion but unfortunately he isn’t around to see me pursuing it.

Thank you again Sonia – I accept the award with all humbleness and would treat it as fuel to weave more words. I am beginning to learn how to take compliments.

Mystery behind Mystery Blogger Award

Okota Enigma started this award with the underlying theme being, “It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”

Every award is preceded by some rules and mystery blogger award is no different. Here are the rules of this award –

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog. List the rules.
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  4. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  5. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  6. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  7. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  8. Share a link to your best post(s).

The Mystery Blogger Award

The first three already taken care of, lets begin with the fourth one.

Three things about me:

I was born dead and am not kidding. I have even written a post on the same. You can read it here.

Why I chose the name ‘The Contemplation of a Joker’?

Jostein Gaarder said, “A joker is a little fool who is different from everyone else, he is not a club, a diamond or a spade, he is not an eight or a nine or a king or a jack. He is an outsider”. Here I have tried to be a Joker in everyone’s lives, bringing them bits of stories and laughter from all corners of life. As is the case with a Joker, they might not remember my name, they might not even know the real me, but I will always be glad that I was, am and will always be a part of the readers lives. I touched without actually being in their lives…just like a joker is in the stack with other cards without actually belonging there.

Some unique features:

You will be surprised to know that WWE (earlier WWF) played an important part in me improving my English. I am a good cook – I can actually prepare a whole meal – my father couldn’t even light up a stove, hence my mom made sure that her son turns out to be better at household chores. Few lucky ones have had the privilege of being hosted by me. I am a great relationship advisor too. Over the years many people and close friends have approached me and hopefully they received the right advice. I have been a sportsperson all my life, involved with some or the other at any given time – currently preparing for the Delhi Half Marathon.

Moving on to the questions Sonia put across:
Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody knows.

The actual question should be could I tell you something that no one knows, there is a reason that no one knows it but let me still surprise you. I don’t eat ice creams. I know I know.

Which genre of books do you enjoy reading the most and why?

Anything, which has the potential to stir emotions within a soul, that emotion can be any, the genre isn’t important. My personal favorite being George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal farm and most of Dan Brown and Paulo Coelho’s work.

What is the best piece of advice or feedback that you received for your writing?

That “Don’t struggle to be a writer, that you become the day you hold a pen and scribble your thoughts. Focus on being an honest and relatable writer. Its like, “dance like no one is watching and write like everyone is living your words.”

If you were stranded on an island, what things would you take with you and why?

Few good books, descent supply of my favorite food and a solar powered satellite phone (inspiration cast away) – so that when I am done being in solitude I shall call for help. In all seriousness a book on how to survive when you are stranded on an island. 😀

What is the weirdest or craziest thing that you have ever done?

My weird might not be your crazy, though if you have read my ‘Death on Karnataka express’ you should know that’s as weird as a person can get. Since we are talking about food here I once ate a cockroach. Yeah go faint.

I nominate:

Arjun Gupta – https://knightofsteel.com/

Anshu Bhojnagarwala – https://anshubhojnagarwala.wordpress.com/

Ashwini Menon – https://ashwinisperceptions.com/

Deepti Verma – https://nationalviews.com

Dipali Bhasin – https://www.spoonsandsneakers.com

Huma Masood – https://www.silkenscribblings.com/

Jyotsna Sharma – https://bhaatdaal.wordpress.com/

Kadambari Singh – http://thevibrantdiaries.blogspot.com/

Lavanya Srinivasan – https://thelavmuse.com/

Leha Divakar – https://theliteraryaffairblog.wordpress.com/

MsArora – https://education17048.wordpress.com/

Nidhi R Gautam – https://theprivatesocialite.wordpress.com/

Nupur Maskara – http://www.nutatut.com/

Prerna Wahi – https://prernawahi.com/

Priyal Poddar – http://parilifestyle.com/

Riddhi Sharma – http://riddhiculous.com/

Richa S Mukherjee – https://richasmukherjee.com/

Shalini Nair – https://kohleyedme.com/

Shivangi Srivastava – https://myketosutra.wordpress.com/

I know everyone has their commitments so don’t feel you have to participate just because I nominated you but I would definitely love you to, and if you want to take part and I haven’t nominated you consider yourself nominated.

Five questions for my nominations:
  • What’s your superpower?
  • What do you want to be engraved on your tombstone?
  • What’s that one advice you give to everyone?
  • What’s your take on soul mate
  • Weird one – What do you love more – Cockroach or lizard?
My personal favorite:

The Alien Bridge – sometimes when I read it – I get surprised that I wrote this.

Read it here: The Alien Bridge

For all those who love recognitions,

For all those who love competitions,

For all those who are mysterious,

For all those who are nominated

And

For all those who have received Mystery Blogger Award

It’s not a Goodbye,

But It’s a GOOD BYE…

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

35

When I Tell the Truth

 


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When I tell the truth…

I was returning from the temple back to my room. She was walking on the other side of the road with her roommate. Both of them were my classmates too. I closed my eyes, silently prayed to God and hopefully crossed the road.

I began, “I want to discuss something really important with you and seek your advice.”

“Definitely, I am all ears”, She replied.

“There is this girl, who is really amazing. I feel I have fallen for her. There is only a single thought in my mind…and that thought belongs to her”, I said.

“So what’s the issue…that you have fallen for her”, she said sarcastically.

“Hahaha…No No! She is a dear friend. I treasure the bond. I am scared that the moment I share my feelings with her, I might lose both; her and the friendship”, I said anxiously.

“Listen the honest thing for you would be to speak up about your romantic inclinations towards her. If she is genuinely a close friend then I am sure she would understand it and won’t let it strain the friendship even if she isn’t willing to give the relationship a try”, she advised.

“I am still hesitant. I mean you are saying this because you aren’t in that position and this might still backfire”, I persisted.

“Trust me. If your emotions are heartfelt and sincere they will reach their correct destination and create the rightful impact. Don’t worry…just go ahead and express it to her”, she encouraged.

wow prompt – Blogadda

“That girl is YOU”, I said and there was complete silence. They both were staring at each other. She was stunned while her roommate was giggling.

“Yes…that girl is YOU”, I said again.

Suddenly out of nowhere, she started laughing. I was amazed and somehow embarrassed. Here I was pouring my heart out and she was blowing it up as nothing happened.

“Nice try Mr. Joker. I loved the way you worked around it. I am aware of your pranks. Keep working”, she laughed off loudly.

About thirty seconds later I said, “Exactly, everybody has fallen prey to my jokes and pranks except you”, desperately trying to hide my shattered heart with a wide grin.

I guess the irony of my life is when I tell the truth people treat it as a Joke and when I joke they take it straight to heart.

For all those who have been friend zoned,

For all those who have met similar fate,

For all those whose jokes are misunderstood

And

For all those who know how to smile on themselves…

It’s not a Goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Its an amazingly humbling feeling when somebody is inspired by your words. Here is a post by MsArora inspired by this very post by the Joker. Read here

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

 

27

She can be Forever

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She can be Forever…

She can be extremely wild…

She can be utmost patient,

She can be just a moment…

And then She can be forever.

 

She can be the love of a partner…

She can be the squabble of a sister,

She can be the joy of a daughter…

And then She can be the caring lap of a mother.

 

She can be irritatingly jealous…

She can be childishly innocent,

She can be vaguely mysterious…

And then She can be intelligibly clear

 

She can be a sorted corporate tycoon…

She can be a puzzled simple housewife,

She can be the first teacher…

And then She can be the last lesson.

 

She can be a sparkling stream…

She can be a tranquil lake,

She can be a single drop…

And then She can be the complete ocean.

 

She can be harsh lonely winter…

She can be warm crowded summer,

She can be fertile flooding monsoon…

And then She can be flowering fresh spring.

 

She can be the meditating mountain…

She can be the wavering wave,

She can be the misty dew…

And then She can be the picturesque nature.

 

She can be feisty fire…

She can be the quenching water,

She can be oxygenated air…

And then She can be the complete earth.

 

She can be a distant twinkling star…

She can be a nearby beautiful moon,

She can be a milky white galaxy…

And then She can be the entire universe.

 

She can be the pinching of thorns…

She can be the tickling of feathers

She can be the sorrow of death…

And then She can be the bliss of life.

 

She can be just a moment…

And then she can be forever.

 

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

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20

The FISHBOWL

It was dark and crowded. The DJ was in his groove and the music was too loud for my eardrums. The neon and laser lights kept on flashing and at times irritating me. Though the room had varied beauties dancing off to the latest numbers my eyes were still in search of something else. Everything that I was seeing didn’t seem to excite me.

They (eyes) started scanning the room from one end to the other slowly following a green laser light. The freshness of the sweat glistened faces had long gone. The intoxicated arms were beginning to loose rhythm and were now not in sync with the electro mix that was screeching through the human sized speakers.

Suddenly I felt there was a gaze constantly fixated on me. I took a sip of the single malt (my second large) and tried to follow it but the inebriated swaying bodies were making it difficult.

The DJ changed the track and made a hand gesture in the dark. A help in the form of a spotlight appeared. It kept flashing on random people till the time it was on her. It didn’t seem random anymore.

She was in a white breezy summer dress, something perfect for the weather and occasion, standing near the bar counter. Her gaze was still on me. If it would have been some other day, I might have felt uncomfortable but on that day the confidence was there in the right place (thanks to single malt). The moment her gaze met mine, her lips responded with seduction. She was like a true magnet and I, like a raw iron piece, started getting attracted towards her.

Unconsciously my feet started moving towards those eyes. I couldn’t care for the crowd, the pushing or the shoving. The hypnotized me kept moving on. I stopped a good three feet away from her. Smile was a permanent feature of her exquisite face. I realized my lips were already resonating with the shape of her lips.

I was yet to speak to her but something in her face especially her eyes through her round retro spectacles suggested that she was yet to consume any alcohol. For some strange reason I felt she doesn’t belong here and blurted, “Are you looking for someone?”

She moved her red lips and answered, “YOU”.

The ‘you’ echoed in my head. I felt this couldn’t be real and I had to regain my senses. I kept my drink glass on the counter and took a glass of water and guzzled it in a single go. She was watching me patiently.

“Yes you heard it right. I am looking for you”, She said playfully. There was calmness about her face and was sexy in a soothing kind of way. She was flawlessly beautiful.

“Do you like such crowded soulless places”, she asked.

“Not usually. Only with my friends”, I replied.

“Then how come you are alone today? What brings you here?” she questioned.

“I guess for the same reason that brings you here”, I responded.

“Oh! That means you are here for ME”, She said and broke into a gracious laughter. I was matching her giggle by giggle, mesmerized by the serene sight.

We both had signed up with a dating app, which after proper scrutiny of profiles organized events where singles could meet up. Their interview process was like obtaining a job offer.

“It is getting late and I don’t like it here. Shall we go to my place”, She asked. Though it was a question but she already knew the answer. After clearing the cheque we exited from the place and reached the car park and from there drove to her expensive high-rise apartment.

I know what you are thinking but she was way too classy to be an escort or something of that sort (at least that is what I thought).

It was a huge apartment, which was very tastefully done. We sat in the living room on the smooth plushy couch.

“Would you prefer whiskey or some wine”; She was being a good host.

She poured some wine for herself too. We sat there, chatted and had our wine late into the night. It was too blurry to exactly remember the time when we started melting into each other. She maintained great poise doing everything.

We made insane carnal love. It was pure bliss at least her expressions suggested. Completely spent we both dozed off with her head snuggling into my chest.

A tickling sensation broke my slumber. It was her hand on my chest. She was awake as if she never slept. We again started sharing talks.

I asked, “What do you like as in hobbies and all?”

She looked outside the window. The morning was just round the corner. She turned around towards me with a naughty smile and said, “Morning sex”.

Right after the morning session of love making just when that feeling of love and affection was about to sow its seed, she said, “Could you please do a favor for me?”

“Please go ahead”, I replied.

Photo by Sadiq Nafee on Unsplash

She handed me a small piece of paper and said, “Please write your name on this”.

“That’s it”, I said still unable to make anything of it. I wrote my name on the piece of paper and handed it over to her.

She kissed the piece of paper and put it in a flashy fishbowl that was kept on an antique table right next to the window.

“What happened? Why did you do that? And why doesn’t this Fishbowl contain any fish and more importantly Why are there so many pieces of paper inside it”, I quizzed.

She stood there quietly. My expression told her that she would not get away without giving an answer.

She replied, “The pieces of paper in the Fishbowl contain all the names of men that I have made love to.”

For all those who have been in such scenarios,

For all those who have made morning love,

For all those who have fallen for beauty,

And

For all those who still believe in true love.

It’s not a Goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas “Sameer” Mukul

I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter

#MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #CirqueDuJoker