Guest Post : Saiswaroopa on Avishi

Guest Post : Saiswaroopa on Avishi

Thank you Saiswaroopa Iyer for writing this guest post and getting me more intrigued to understand the story of Avishi,  the protaganist of her latest novel of the same name.
Saiswaroopa’s response to my query below :

Your novels are based on strong female characters. But, where and how did you find Abhaya and Avishi? How are they similar or different to Wonder Woman or any other super woman of today?

Strong female characters are something I relate to very closely. Perhaps, it was the result of having everyday ‘wonder women’ around me :).  My mother, aunts, grandmothers, each of them left their influence on me in the way they handled tough situations. Each of them had their own unique strengths that made me stop and wonder as a child, as an adolescent and as a woman.

My first brush with strong voiced women in our scriptures was when I chanced to read about the true Shakuntala and Savitri from KM Ganguli’s unabridged Mahabharata. The popular narratives in Cinema as well as reinterpretations had made both these women appear much softer than they actually were! That was when I began to explore the unabridged texts and dwelt more on the feminine side of our ancient past cautiously disregarding the medieval and modern interpretations. These were the women who created history and the more I read, the more I realised that the conventional medieval/modern versions, burdened with eighteenth century baggage did very less justice to what they truly stood for.

Abhaya was a creative character that I imagined as one of the 16,100 women believed to be imprisoned by Narakasura. I could not picture any of them as mute dependants of Lord Krishna. As a result, Abhaya developed as a strong personal mirror image of my own curiosity about the times of Mahabharata. Her adventures and love for Krishna aside, she represented an evolving woman of those times whose world view and ideals shaped up as a result of continuous inquiry and discovery instead of static ideals.

Avishi on the other hand was a discovery I made while trying to work on a minor scene of Abhaya that sought to highlight a female warrior to inspire my protagonist. Vishpala, the Rig Vedic female warrior who was the basis of Avishi opened a more intriguing world of gender parity in my journey. She belonged to an age where gender biases were unheard of and presence of women was pervasive in all spheres of life from combative sciences to contemplative philosophy.

If I were to see the common strengths in both my protagonists as well as in other heroines of our past, their feminine strength was strongly coupled with their larger role. Both believe in going beyond just asking ‘tough questions’ and finding the solution (and thereby starting a new journey of discovery altogether). This rooted inclusivity in their thought process sets them apart from the conventional modern heroines.

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Escalaphobia  #FridayFictioneers

Escalaphobia #FridayFictioneers

Step on the moving ladder and hold the railing.  Sally watched as people zoomed towards the escalator and then stood at ease  till they reached the top.  It looked simple.  But, what if her feet did not find the firm step or if it moves when she is just putting her feet.  Should she hold the railing first? Sally could never time it right.  The image of her lying on the floor, her shopping strewn around and people staring was all she saw. She turned to leave when a staff told her, ‘Mam,  you can use the lift.’

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PHOTO PROMPT © Marie Gail Stratford

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word writing challenge inspired by a picture prompt. Click here to read other stories.

Shakespeare in Bollywood

Shakespeare in Bollywood

It is a little too late in life that an ardent reader like me discovered the magic of Shakespeare.  And now that I am reading about him,  I am so excited that I want to read them all, to understand them all.  Thankfully,  the internet and Youtube is loaded with Shakespeare.  It is a fascinating world.  His dialogues are amazing and relevant even today.  Many of the idioms and phrases and even words we use can be attributed to the great Bard.  And another fallout is,  I see glimpses of these classics is some of the most mundane movies.  Shakespeare is very much dominant and kicking it in Bollywood.

  1. Karz / Om Shanti Om – Inspired from Hamlet.  The base story of Simi Garewal killing her husband to get to his inheritance is the first clue.  Nobody knows about it.  No one believes Rishi Kapoor when he says Simi Garewal killed him.  Rishi Kapoor’s reincarnation is only slightly more inspired by Hamlet’s father’s ghost who tells him that his mother in connivance with his brother has killed him.  Then there is the play where Rishi re-enacts how he died and then they focus on Simi’s face to see if she is guilt-ridden.  It is all Hamlet there.  For Malayalam movie fans,  revisit ‘No.20 Madras Mail’.  Strip off the antics of a drunken Mohanlal and Mammooty-emulating Mohanlal to discover Soman’s guilt.  The core of the murder theory is the same.
  2. Angoor – This great comedy starring Sanjeev Kapoor and Deven Verma in double role is a direct adaptation of ‘The Comedy of Errors’.  In fact, they even declare it at the beginning of the movie.  But the movie has been Indianised turning it into an evergreen classic.
  3. Baghbaan / Swarg – King Lear abdicates his kingdom and distributes it among all his children except one who is a little less favoured for being honest.  The King realises his error of judgement when he is shunted between the children whom he had endowed with his riches.  He is finally rescued by the less favoured child and a knight whom King Lear had dismissed earlier.  See the similarities with Baghbaan.  Amitabh and Hema Malini are shunted between the children but finally is happy with Salman Khan who is an orphan helped by Amitabh.  Similarly, in Swarg,  Govinda is the knight who helps Rajesh Khanna and his less favoured child is Juhi Chawla here.  Of course, both movies have a lot of Bollywood masala added to Indianise it.
  4. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak(QSQT) – The classic tale of lovers belonging to two feuding families has been done and redone many times in Bollywood.  However, QSQT is one of the best adaptations.  But, I just hate the ending when the lovers die.  The movie is through and through Romeo and Juliet with a bit of honour killing thrown in to Indianise it.  Think of Ek Duje Ke Liye which is feuding families over something as trivial as languages.  Also all Hindi movies where the families are against their children marrying.  This must cover almost 70% of Bollywood movies.

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Beyond Secrets by Alka Dimri Saklani

Beyond Secrets by Alka Dimri Saklani

 

BEYOND SECRETS
by
Alka Dimri Saklani
 
 
 
Blurb
 
Noel is a counsellor, risking his career for volunteering in an orphanage.
 
Nidhi is an engineering student on the surface, but deep down a broken girl in search of some unanswered questions.
 
Appu is a sweet little orphan, unaware of the cruelties of the world.
 
Despite being miles apart their stories interweave in “Aashiyana”, the orphanage. Their little journey together changes their lives in ways they never imagined.
 
One recurring nightmare, one unexpected phone call, one stolen diary, many lies and secrets, and a calling from the past are just the highlights. And when they depart, they are not the same anymore.
 
They didn’t hurt each other, it was a game of destiny. Will they ever be able to rediscover themselves and more importantly, will their paths ever cross again?
 
Beyond Secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationships. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
Read an excerpt:
10. A Different World

The classroom was in chaos when I entered. It looked like a mini battlefield of little soldiers bombarding each other with paper balls and paper planes. Before I could get a grip on the situation blackness seemed to engulf the scene before me, revealing another scene, hazy, like a dusty video film taking me to a different world where no colours existed except shades of grey; a classroom with empty first rows, far off, images of children yelling and flying airplanes… A wave of sadness crept in, a feeling of hollowness. Amid this chaos? Wasn’t it strange? Were these the same children who had forced their way into my thoughts when I was in the park? Were these known faces? Before I could become a part of the unreal the clamour faded as a strict commanding voice pierced through the din.
“Pranil!”
“Yes ma’m,” I said.
The scene dissolved and I found Simin staring at me in disbelief. “What happened?” she asked with a puzzled expression.
My head was spinning.
“Nothing, I thought you called me.” I said.
“I called Pranil. But what happened to you? You stood with your eyes shut. You ok?”
Oh, so that was her voice. Then why did I hear another voice, something from a distant, hazy corner of my mind? Or was it solely my imagination? Or a moment when imagination collided with reality?
“Yeah, am absolutely fine.” I said, looking away, not meeting her eyes.
“Pranil, I need to talk to you. Please come to my cabin after your prayers are over.” Simin said.
“Yes, ma’m.” The voice came from the last bench, from a boy with dishevelled hair, dark brown eyes and a dark complexion.
The dizziness made me uneasy and I couldn’t contribute much to the class that day. I walked to Simin’s cabin after the session.
I was not sure how I would collect the information. I wasn’t even sure what information I wanted. As soon as Simin saw me she started discussing a few things she wanted me to do.
“Noel, will you be able to go to… she paused. “You look disturbed. Are you ok?”
“Yeah.”
“You can tell me if anything is bothering you.”
“The boy you wanted to meet in the morning.” Not sure what was stopping me from speaking out his name.
“Pranil?”
“Yes.” I paused. “Pranil.” I tried hard to keep my voice steady.
“What about him?”
“Can you tell me something about him?”
“Like what?” She disconnected her phone that had just started ringing.
“Like…like…how old is he? Since when has he been here? Why did his parents leave him? Anything.”
“Anything. Hmmm.” She thought for a while. “Pranil is about 10 years old, he has been here since the last four years. His father died and his mother, who was a house maid, wanted to re-marry. The man she wanted to marry was not ready to accept responsibility of a son, therefore she left him here. But why are you asking all this?” She again silenced her beeping phone.
“I think I know him. Or someone by that name… or… or…” I didn’t know how to explain something I was still struggling to understand. I didn’t want her to disconnect her phone for the third time for my silly questions so I left the room leaving her gaping at me.
Later in the day I met Pranil. He was painting something when I reached him.
“Hello Pranil, can I sit here?”
He nodded.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
“I am drawing a house.” He showed me the few scribbled lines in his notebook.
“Wow! This is a very good drawing.”
He smiled shyly.
I expected some connection to my foggy feelings as I talked to him. But no snapshots, no voices, no images followed. As if he was not the Pranil who played in my mind, the Pranil in my mysterious imagination was someone else, someone close to me yet far away, someone known to me yet a stranger. Something in my own self was unknown to me, an enigma and it was a terribly uncomfortable feeling. I just wanted to drag out the stranger from me but every time I tried the stranger gripped me tighter as if slowly becoming an inseparable part of me like my blood and my veins.

 
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About the author
 
 
Alka Dimri Saklani is the author of “45 Days in a Cancer Hospital” and “Beyond Secrets”. Her debut novel “45 Days in a Cancer Hospital” was longlisted for the prestigious Crossword Books award 2013. Her poems have been published in many magazines. She holds MBA degree in HR and worked with a leading MNC before turning to a full-time writer. Born and brought up in Vadodara, a city in Gujarat, her roots hail from “Dev Bhumi” Uttarakhand. Apart from writing, she loves music, reading, traveling, and spending time with her two naughty kids.
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Scorpio Superstar by Sundari Venkatraman

Scorpio Superstar by Sundari Venkatraman

 

Print Length: 150 pages
Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published) 
Publication Date: September 16, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited
Language: English
Available on Kindle Unlimited 
Genre: Romance 

 

 

Kollywood superstar Chandrakanth, also known as CK, is a true-blue Scorpio, communicating with his eyes and believing in showing more than telling.

His website and social media consultant Ranjini is a Piscean through and through, fiercely independent, believing in affirmations and declarations.

It is love at first glance for Chandrakanth when he meets Ranjini; so strong are his feelings that he proposes marriage on their second meeting. Ranjini, fascinated by his starry persona, gets swept off her feet. The two get married without much of the world knowing—including CK’s aunt and ex.

The two women set out to settle their scores on Ranjini who suddenly begins to feel a strain in what was a fairy tale wedding.

While passion reigns on the one hand, there’s trouble in paradise on the other. Although CK is by her side, the Scorpio in him expects her to trust him implicitly. But can the Pisces in Ranjini accept him at his word?

Does the tension then get to their relationship? Can love survive without affirmations? Or is declaration the only way to profess one’s love?

 
 
It would be great if you can add this book to your TBR

Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 22 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.
 
Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. 
 
Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. 
 
Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.

Click here to check out all the titles by the author…

Sundari Venkatraman is a member of the panel of the #PentoPublish #contest on #AmazonIndia #KDP
 
 
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