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Deal of Death – Book Review

Cover Page – Deal of Death

Deal of Death – Book Review

Book: Deal of Death

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: Self – published

Price: Free (As of now)

Pages: 65 (pdf)

Language: English

My rating: 3/5

Watching ‘Vyomkesh Bakshi’ on Doordarshan is one of the favorite memories of my childhood. It was a prominent and popular Indian detective series in the early 90s. Since then I am huge fan of this genre. Nothing noteworthy popped up on the Indian TV scene after that.

Breathing books reintroduced me to genus once again. To review a detective thriller is simply bliss. If a writer can come up with exhilarating suspense stuff, nothing can be better than that as it always gives the writer an opportunity to convert the protagonist or the lead detective into a character associated with a series. I feel that if you can write and can cook up surprising roller coaster events then one must definitely try their hand on a detective novel. Most of the books that I have reviewed so far belong to the same category.

Continuing with the books from the Blogchatter Ebook carnival my third pick is a suspense thriller. It is actually one of the most downloaded novellas, ‘Deal of Death’ from Sonia Chatterjee.

Deal of Death is the story of Raya Ray, the leading lady, who dons many hats. The beginning of the book showcases how Raya Ray and her supporting husband tries to cope up with their stillborn child. The greatest loss for any woman…any mother. It’s a journey of how she overpowers her emotions and tries to get her life back by opting for a new place and profession.

Raya ray’s character is multi-layered but it is the thread of her unquenched motherhood that plays the underlined theme. The case she entrusts herself is also of a stillborn baby, where the mother of the child, Sharmila, is indubitably confirmed that the baby was alive at the time of birth and had suckled on her in her half conscious state. Hence the story is about whether Raya is successfully able to unveil the mystery around the missing child.

The major portion of the plot is based in and around ‘Munshiganj’, a forgotten city, which had a lot of prominence in the pre-independence era. It was once the capital of old Bengal during the early 1900s. The city helps in blending the cocktail of Bengali backdrop with Nawab connection. Sonia puts in few photographs in the book to bring that old bucolic lure and pragmatism to the content. The selection of such a city was important as the plot discusses supernatural and blind-faith.

The story has few characters along with Raya Ray but each and every one of them gets their space in the narrative. No character has been introduced unnecessarily. It is a fast read with only 65 pages and modest vocabulary.

No story is perfect and Deal of Death also has its share of negatives. The story doesn’t answer the question as to what happened to Sharmila’s Child. There are some sub-plots, which are unnecessary since they don’t add to the main plot and sometimes work as extra information. I also felt that more detailed work would have made the story more compelling but given the time constraint in which Sonia has come up with this is still appreciable. The book calls for basic editing, including grammar and formatting. I good re-editing of the work would definitely benefit the book.

Deal of Death, portraying an empowered woman with a gritty character, is a good debut effort by Sonia Chatterjee. Raya Ray certainly has a lot of scope for future novellas. I am going with three out of five for Deal of Death.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

You can Grab a FREE copy of the book HERE

The Joker has published his own ebook and you can give it a try for free here

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MOTHERHOOD – The SACRED Emotion

For the past three days I have been thinking a lot about this, writing about it, reading even more about it and trying to come up with a start to this one but I was unable to do so…until now.

When a mother Crocodile lays eggs, it usually lays them around some murky area like a swamp. It takes around three months for the eggs to hatch. You will be surprised to know (if you don’t know it already) that it stays just at the water level in such a position that only its eyes are above the water level. The mother crocodile does this to keep a close watch on the eggs that nobody tries to eat them or destroy them. It does not eat anything for months before it has laid eggs but just after it has laid them, one will expect it to at least have a decent diet. But it’s shocking (at least for me) that it does not move even a single bit till the time they actually hatch. Can you imagine the kind of sacrifices it makes…the kind of pain it endures…and the kind of a selflessness the mother crocodile shows? Irrespective of the species…whether it is a human or an animal…this can only be done and achieved by a MOTHER.

You might be an atheist but the whole concept of bearing a child…giving birth to a living being is in itself is totally awesome…totally divine. There is something very beautiful in being a mother. I have seen people abandoning their parents…their homes…their souls…but you will never find a true mother abandoning its child. No matter how much distressed you are…how much depressed you are…a mother’s lap is the best medicine if not the best solution. Her hug is the soothing heaven. There are days when u are surrounded by crowd and you still feel lonely and then there are days when u have just your mother by your side and you feel BLESSED.

Image Reference: www.imageblogs.org

Image Reference: http://www.imageblogs.org

A pond is bound to have some bad fishes, similarly some of these modern madams…today…are seen shying away from their duties…their responsibilities. Their priorities have changed but still I strongly believe and feel…that the good ones…the dedicated ones…the devoted ones…are far too many that these bad ones can have any effect on the society and one can surely say that Motherhood is here to stay for eternity.

Being a mother, no matter how easy it seems, is the most difficult job of the world and on top of it…surprisingly…there is no salary…no package attached to it. And still every girl wants to get married and be a MOM someday. When a lady gives birth, the amount of pain she experiences is way too much and beyond human boundaries and it is in itself a kind of miracle that a woman bears that much just to get to the end of it…to be a MOTHER.

Image Reference: techmadz.com

Image Reference: techmadz.com

Only a mother can go out there and wash others dirty clothes and utensils so that she can feed her child…so that she can just bring a smile to her child’s face. She undertakes all sorts of pain so that there is none in our lives. You can see mammals…you can see amphibians…you can see humans…and find so many dissimilarities…but the only constant among all is…MOTHERHOOD. The dedication…the devotion…the protectiveness…the care…the selflessness…the love…the MOTHERHOOD…is the visible and remains same among all.

There are days when a mother can even fight the Gods and bring you back to life from his grasp and then there are days when she can go ahead and take the life of her offspring when she realizes that he/she has treaded the wrong path. I guess they rightly say, “A woman is born again when she gives birth and becomes a mother”. If you ask any woman who has given birth…she will reply with a gentle smile…that the sacrifices she makes…the sleepless nights she spent raising us…is the real joy being a mother and the splendour of motherhood.

Motherhood; it is simply incomparable…immeasurable and you can surely bet upon it that wherever it is present there will be goodness around it. She is the one who understands you without you even uttering a word and she is the one who knows you more than you yourself. For me, if there is any form of life there is bound to be motherhood. Even the gods require a mother to take birth. Motherhood is the most beautiful and sacred of all the emotions.

This one is a tribute to all the mothers out there including mine who gave me birth and made me capable enough of writing it this day. RESPECT THEM AND NEVER LEAVE THEM.

For all those who love their moms,

For all those who care for them,

For all those who respect them,

For all those who are mothers,

For all those who want to be mothers,

And

For all those who can do anything for their mothers,

It’s not a GOODBYE…

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han just go and tell your mothers how much you love them…Now is the RIGHT TIME.

‘I am writing a Tribute to Mom in association with Parentous.com

MANAS ‘SAMEER’ MUKUL

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The Last STEP…

The Last STEP…

Ting tong …. Ting tong….it was the doorbell, my sister who was busy uploading photographs on facebook from her friend’s birthday party last night shouted out ,”mummy, can you check who’s there at the door?” “Han Han beta, main to tumhare baap ki naukar hoon na!!” was mom’s reply….as she was busy preparing dinner. Ting tong…..Ting tong….Now, my sister was getting on my mom’s nerves….she knew that mom gets irritated very easily and I don’t know why but she always did this for fun.

Mom washed her hands off in a hurry. She came to the living room where Nidhi (my sister) had already begun the process of tagging her friends in the pics she had just uploaded. Mom had an angry look on her face and Nidhi……..as usual had a smile to tease her a bit. Mom glanced at the wall clock…it was 6 o’clock in the evening. She murmured to herself ,’who that might be’…but my ever-so-active sister heard her….and said ,”Dekho Geeta aunty to nahi aa gayi fir se tumhe kisi kirtan pe invite karne”. Geeta aunty is our neighbor, who always had one or two reason to borrow our mom from us…. Mom was furious now……..but….Ting tong.

It was indeed Geeta aunty at the door but this time, to my mom’s surprise, with a worrying look on her face……tears started rolling down her cheeks…..my mom’s expressions changed from irritated to worried…..a bit more tense. She held my mom’s hand and took her out of the apartment. They reached the ground floor…..and ….what mom saw made her scream ……scream…..scream…..and she fainted.

Two weeks ago…..

I was very eagerly waiting for my MBA results. It was supposed to be announced today by 5 pm. I was nervous to the point that it seemed the clock has stopped……I looked for the 50th time at the clock in the past 30 mins…… and was really getting tired of refreshing the result page. It was down because of overload. I was dying to see my results as I had given everything this time around ….. my career, time, money….everything…..i had resigned from my job a month back….and had no other options left to do. It was my last hope…

Suddenly the green lines on the progress bar started increasing……I closed my eyes…prayed …..and …..it was only 75 percentile……yes it was only 75 percentile….i could not believe it…..the amount of effort , the way my exam went …. I was pretty sure to score above 95 percentile and get admission to a decent college….but destiny , fate ,  god  whatever you may call it……had another plans. I was devastated and completely broke.

The present …..but a few minutes ago….

Climbing the stairs to my roof ……I thought to myself …. What next to do Mr. Overconfident……..Mr Ass****…..you put everything on the line …everything. I sat on the water tank of our apartment…..the view from there was truly mesmerizing. The sun setting in the background…small kids playing in the lawns… ladies gossiping … Men returning from work.

But there was something unique that day… the scene was too perfect as if I was watching a movie. I was suddenly noticing every minute detail that was there to be seen. The whole scenery made me forget what I was thinking… yes yes … I remember…what next…this was the only thing that overburdened my mind for the past two weeks… My life had suddenly become blank… i had nowhere to go…

Slowly and slowly I began to realize that I am nothing but 25 years of failures n failures… I was a COMPLETE LOSER… I realized that how I had never made my parents proud of myself… one or two consolations prizes here n there… thats it… i lost my only love last year… my parents were divorced… and I could not do anything about it. The only thing … the only hope that kept my mom alive was … that… someday she’ll see her son standing tall and successful… but I failed her too… i had failed everyone in my life…

I sat there and saw the sun setting on my life… by now the wind had a nervous feel to it… my palms became moist… my heart sank… I stood up… went to the edge of the building… took my mom’s name… closed my eyes… saw her face and took the LAST STEP……

By the time I made contact with the ground…my whole life flashbacked. The next thing I realized was …i was lying in a pool of blood… I could see the bone of my thigh tore my muscle and skin and came out… i could not feel any of my limbs … realizing that this was my last… i took one last breathe…saw my Goddess… my mother, screaming my name…and everything blacked out…..

For all those who have been successful,

For all those who have seen failure,

For all those who have won,

For all those who have lost,

For all those who want to win,

For all those who still have hope

And

For all those who will SUCCEED….

Its not a GOODBYE,

But it’s a GOOD BYE….aur han never think of taking this step.

MANAS “SAMEER” MUKUL

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Most PRECIOUS GIFT of God…

Most PRECIOUS GIFT of God to me

In the summer of 1987, God consecrated me with his best creation. I felt blessed with his Gift. I don’t remember the actual events but I do remember the moment I touched her tender soft hands…I felt alive. She was as beautiful as a mermaid; her marble cheeks with a tinge of redness would have made even the mermaids jealous of her. My father was the happiest…he always wanted a girl…yes it’s no mystery now that I am talking about my little sister.

Meri BITTI when she was just 6 months old

Her round face, flat nose, the toothless smile, soft n little hands, tiny feet…made it hard for everyone to resist loving her. I still remember whenever anyone came to pick her up I would not let it happen and start shouting ‘Meri Bitti’ ‘Meri Bitti’. My parents named her ‘SHRADDHA’ and her nickname was ‘Nidhi’ but for some reason it was always ‘Bitti’ for me. I guess it was because papa called her bitiya and this was the best I could pronounce. All these years she just had one name for me…BHAI…from a creaky little googly woogly voice…to a more confident and firm…but it never changed to anything other than BHAI.

For an infant she was very lazy. She was hardly heard crying…one always found her napping. When she started crawling she would somehow make it to ten feet…then doze off for 30 mins…again crawl…again doze off. When papa slept she would come across and bite his right foot thumb…just to let him know that she was there…he would very happily take her to his chest…where she would again doze off.

Years passed…we grew up together…quarrelling over the tiniest of issues…while laughing over the bigger ones. There were days we won’t speak to each other…knowing that we can’t live without talking too. I was always unhappy of the fact that I never went to school on bicycle as it was my responsibility to go ‘to n fro’ with her and she, even to this day, doesn’t know how to ride a bicycle. But, now, when I look back…I think it made our bond even better and stronger.

There is no Diwali…there is no Holi without her…and if she is around, no day is less than a festival. Her heart is as pure as the sacred Ganges, filled with warmth even for her enemies. Over the years…sometimes she showers the blessing of a mother…loves you like a girlfriend…takes care of you like a wife…is always there for me like a true friend…even does the irritating and painful job of reviewing my articles…but nothing can beat the innocence with which she fights with you like a sister…and then start weeping.

Today (18th june 2011) when she is about to embark a new phase in her life…when she is about to befriend a foreign land…when she is about to begin her career…I won’t let my tears become a shackle…I won’t tell her how much I’ll miss her…I won’t let her know what she means to me and my life. I know I am very poor with emotions …in fact ‘hopeless’. Her words still bring me to reality, “Bhai…you have a heart of stone…you don’t shed tears…you heart is even dried of any emotion.” To which I just have one reply…“BITTI….YOU ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT OF GOD TO ME”.

Dedicate this to you brothers and sisters….if you find it hard like me to express emotions.

For all those who love their siblings,

For all those who have quarreled with them,

For all those who worry for them,

For all those who are over protective like me,

For all those who care for them,

And

For all those who are stone hearted like me.

Its not a GOODBYE….

But it’s a GOOD BYE….aur han express your love to them.

Manas “SAMEER” Mukul.

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I was Born DEAD….

I was born DEAD……

Hi everyone….. it’s an article surrounding the events that took place when i came into existence.

I have just completed reading the book – The alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. this book  has two very important points to take home . First that,” whenever you want anything with all your heart then whole of the world conspires to get you that thing.” And second that the world has a SOUL of its own ….and everything is related and connected to each other as they are created by the same hands….the hands of the Omnipresent, GOD. Well I don’t know much about the first one as I am yet to achieve much and I haven’t desired anything so badly that the whole universe has to conspire……but I am pretty much sure about the second one….the SOUL of the world. After what my parents told and what I read from the book (It doesn’t matter whether the work is fictious or not), I can combine both of them and conclude that there is something which governs everything and controls anything whether it be living or dead. Sometimes we call it ‘intution’ or ‘sixth sense’ but still I believe that there is something which makes sure that a thing should be done in a particular manner and makes sure that everything goes according to HIS(GOD’s) plan. In India we often say that, think and speak as once in the whole day goddess Saraswati sits on your tongue and whatever you speak at that time will turn true and most of the people reading this will agree with me that this has happened with them at some point of time in their life…..that whatever they have spoken… has turned real. So what is that which controls and administers all this……its that very SOUL of the WORLD……which listens to everyone’s and everything’s needs and plans or guides accordingly to reach there. At least I believe that the soul of the world heard my mom’s prayer, when she prayed that God to give her son back…….and so he did.

Soul of the world takes everything in its control and does what should be done in the very first place. I have a true story to narrate to you all, Coincidently that story is about my birth.

I was born DEAD and its true…..i know that most of you wont believe me but its true…… you can go ahead and confirm with my mom. I know that none of us remembers in what state he is born and I am writing this on account of what is told to me by my parents.

It was Thursday, 12th day of September 1985, at around 1:10 pm that I came into this world. But as we all know that it is very important for a child to cry as soon as he comes into this world, I did not cry. My father was in army then and hence I was slated to be born in an ARMY hospital in JHANSI (due to my father’s posting). My mom summoned my father as she was panicking that I was still not crying. Papa called the nurse to have a look but unfortunately it was the lunch hour and there were not many people around from the hospital staff (and I guess since it was the lunch hour that’s the reason for me to have such a liking for food). Finally a nurse came, after taking a look she noticed that something was very different and abnormal. She immediately pressed a button and an emergency alarm was raised. Within no time doctors came, amazed at the ringing of alarm in spite of any serious case in the hospital. actually, the day before I was born, mummy suffered tremendous pain and Papa took her to the doctor. He said that it was normal to undergo such kind of pain and told that the delivery will take place around 30th September. But the next morning mummy again felt the same pain and she asked papa to take her to hospital. Papa abided and she was admitted in the hospital.

Hearing the alarm the child specialist and the heart specialist both came running to the room where mummy was admitted. The nurse immediately took me in her hands and guided the doctors to some other room. The doctors informed papa that I was not breathing. My mom was still not aware of what was going around with the biggest event (of course giving birth to me) of her life. The nurse informed the doctors that since birth, neither have I made any movement nor cried. After some discussion and check up, one of the doctors suddenly slapped the nurse.

Papa and many of his friends from army who were present there feared the worst. They all began to pray, even though they believed in different Gods, the reason and the prayers were still the same.  And then finally the doctors apologetically disclosed to Papa that I was born DEAD. The doctors tried every possible thing in their hands to bring me back to life…they rubbed my back, they rubbed my feet, one of them even made me upside down…as if I was a machine which had suddenly gone wrong and we Indians know that a hit or two here and there will make the machinery work again. Papa then went to mummy and told her everything.

My mom was very dismayed and shocked both at the same time…..that how can this happen to her. How can she give birth to a dead boy (by that time it was confirmed that the dead child was a boy). Everyone was in disbelief. Papa and Mummy couldn’t understand what should they do from here……whether they should cry or catch hold of the doctor or simply leave everything as if fate had already decided that this was their and their dead son’s destiny.

My mom later told me that since class 6th she kept fasts on Thursdays. She said that she simply prayed to the God,”Brahaspati devta”, the god whom we worship on Thursdays (for whom she fasted), that all these years of worship, devotion and dedication towards him has resulted in a dead boy…….and she was all against the God’s decision and was not ready to accept a dead child…..she was ready to fight with the mightiest of them all, The Almighty himself. And that is where I feel that the world really has a soul and everything is related and listens to each other as they are made from the same hands …. Whether it be sand, whether it be humans or whether it be water……everything and anything is made by the same hands no matter in whatever shape they are or whether they are living or dead. It’s just that you need to believe that it’s there and it will help you for sure.

My beloved once told me that whatever happens …..if one day you have to choose between your mom and me….always go for your mom…because she is the one who has kept you alive in her womb for nine continuous months, suffering all the pain that a normal human being can’t bear but what a MOTHER can. And I guess this is what makes the bonding of mother and her child very special…..still to this day I can never imagine what my mom would have felt after she came to know that her child was born dead. I guess this is what makes a mother fight even with the GOD……..it doesn’t matter whether it’s a human or animal…..a mother is a mother and there is nothing more supreme in this world.

The doctors tried every trick in the world of medicine to bring me back to life……and one of them did really work as I am still alive and I am the one who is writing this article. Later it was diagnosed that my right lung was collapsed i.e. the walls of the lung were attached to each other. The doctor informed my father that even if they have successfully saved me it will be very hard for him to keep me going as I’ll face many problems because of this defective birth throughout my life……they said that I’ll be weak and constantly suffer from one or the other illness…..but my Father took it as a challenge and if anyone of you has seen me…….then you should be really proud of my father and mother what have they successfully made out of me……. which would have been otherwise a DEAD BODY.

For all those who have kept me alive,

For all those who have slept without food to keep me alive,

For all those who have made me what I am,

For all those who have seen me smile,

For all those who have seen me cry,

For all those who want me to stay alive,

I AM STILL ALIVE……..

It’s not a goodbye

But it’s a good bye