Showing posts from September, 2014

In the light of the lamp...

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Time for another jungle tale after a long time. A real spooky one at that! I am surprised that I haven’t written about this yet. This had revealed quite a different world to me then!

Like all my jungle tales, it took place in the early 80s when I was a kid living it out in Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. Electricity was categorically erratic in the jungle then, to the point of being almost non-existent, and we would see oil lamps burning more brightly than the electric bulbs overhead.

Our kitchen was separate from the main bungalow, which stood on wooden stilts, and was located at ground level. Come evening, Ma and her domestic help Ranjan would disappear into the dark awning of the kitchen below. They would chop, stir and work their magic while I sat expectantly on the verandah of our bungalow, facing the kitchen. I would see shadowy figures move about in the flickering light of the oil lamp. Somehow, ghostly imaginations eluded me at that time and I was more c…

The Scribbler's Orchard: Part 10

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9 

Shekhar’s mind was in a whirl. If he had been told a few days back that his life was about to change drastically, he would have laughed back at the person. Nothing dire ever happened in his staid life of freelance writing. It was always the steady tap-tapping of the computer keyboard that broke the stillness of his small study room. And Roohi’s laughter. 
The study had been exceptionally quiet the last few days while his whole life had turned upside down. There was no peace to be had now, a cold silence prevailing over the Orchard. Roohi’s abduction, Jennifer held in a false charge, Cyrus being captured and his consequent unraveling of the conspiracy plot regarding bombing of the Prime Minister, Arjun’s report on yesterday’s events.…
Shekhar held his head, willing his mind to keep shut.
“This is just a nightmare,” he told himself feverishly. “I will wake up from it and Tara would be sleeping beside me. Roohi will come running to the…

Doi Maach or Fish in Yoghurt Sauce

My father is averse to anything sour in his food. Not surprisingly, that trait passed on to me as well, though not so much my sister. I have taken more after our father and she is more like Ma. Deta’ apathy towards sourness is a quite an oddity since Assamese are known for their tenga (tart and tangy) dishes. He has such sensitive taste buds that you just have to add one tomato or just a squeeze of lime to see his face turn all ‘twisty’ and announce that the food is quite inedible. An upset Ma would then remark that maybe Deta was a descendent of Ghurabaak (or simply Baak), a very popular ghost/creature of Assamese myths.

Apparently, this Baak was a fish-loving personality that would accost unsuspecting fishing people at night. I have grown up listening to innumerable stories about the Baak pestering villagers to part with their catch of the evening. One of the stories goes that once a Baak decided to take the form of a man and gatecrash a wedding to partake of the feast, since fish c…

The Scribbler's Orchard: Part 8

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7

At the Orchard, Tara sat disconsolate near the window, her unseeing eyes staring ahead – a shadow of her former self. She ran her fingers through her disheveled hair and realized that it had been hours since she had any food. She wondered if Roohi had eaten. It had been over a week that her precious daughter had gone missing. Kidnapped, she corrected herself. Kidnapped because of her husband Shekhar’s obstinacy. 

“I blame you, Shekhar,” she whispered to herself. “I blame you alone for Roohi.”

Shekhar was sitting hunched up at his writing table in the adjacent room, his fingers clutching his phone, willing it to ring. Arjun should have called up by now with news of Roohi and the terrorists’ conspiracy. A sense of guilt washed over him as he pondered over his actions, leading to Roohi’s abduction. Somewhere, he was aware of Tara’s accusing glances. Maybe she was right, after all..

As he worried over his only child, another thought made itself fe…

Book review: Private India

I must confess at the outset that unlike others I have not read either James Patterson or Ashwini Sanghi in the past. Yes, I heard you gasp. And that made me realize how little I have been reading of contemporary authors, especially the Indian ones. In fact, I read the whole Meluha series (err, Shiva Trilogy) by Amish only last year. But then, maybe not knowing about the previous works of Patterson and Sanghi is not a bad thing after all. I would be reading the book with an unbiased, novice eye without any expectations or reservations, whatsoever.

So, let’s take a look at the book now, shall we?

Private India by Ashwini Sanghi and James Patterson

The blurb says, “In Mumbai, seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses.”

Now, this is what attracted me and led me to apply for the book at blogadda. I am a total sucker for murder mysteries and if it involves strange rituals and objects with sinister under…

Sights and sounds from home

The last month had been one of the most stressful periods at work this year and I needed some time to detox myself of all the negativities that had accumulated. There is only one place where I hoped to attain that – my parents’ home, where I could shear off the multiple roles that I played and just become their daughter. I chose my soon-to-be-three year old son as my sole companion, leaving behind the husband to fend for himself. Not that he seemed to mind much.

As the plane took off for Guwahati from Bangalore, a rush of euphoria passed over both the son and I, for reasons entirely of our own. The brat had the window seat to himself and I had to crane my neck from time to time, wondering if we had entered Assam. Earlier I would just have to look down and glimpses of unending greenery and hills would tell me that we were a few minutes away from landing. This time it was different. I was visiting Assam with the monsoons still on. The sight that greeted me from below jolted me out of my…