Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Timeless - One Minute Short Film






FADE IN:

INT.JIMMY'S HOME -DAY

A spacious apartment. JIMMY, 7, fair with blue eyes, sits at
the dining table,unpacking a small cardbox. KATE, 40, slim
with black hair, plonks next to him,watching him intently.

                                             KATE
                         So, this box contains the most
                         exquisite watch in the world.

                                             JIMMY
                        Grandpa showed it to me last time.

He pulls off the tape with his tiny, pinkish hands.

                                             KATE
                        That was two years ago. Your
                        grandpa is no more now.

                                             JIMMY
                         His helper, she has sent this box.

                                              KATE
                        Poor woman!She had no choice.You
                        would neither eat nor sleep. You
                        just wanted that one thing.

Jimmy culls out a bulky wrist watch from the box. It sports
a worn out, brown leather strap and a scratchy glass dial.
He fiddles with the crown,the minute hand starts slithering.

                                             JIMMY
                       See, I told you!

Kate stares at him in confusion. The doorbell RINGS.

                                             JIMMY
                       Mom, I miss grandpa.

Kate purses her lips in despair and leaves.

LATER

Kate enters, a bit exhausted. Jimmy sleeps peacefully on a
large sofa.The old watch sits pretty on his wrist.He holds a
photograph tightly.It shows

A BALD, SMILING OLD MAN CARRYING JIMMY ON HIS BACK

She touches Jimmy's face softly.

                                            KATE
                       This indeed is the best watch in
                       the world.

Jimmy smiles in his sleep.

                                                                                                         FADE OUT.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

She - A Story of Lust, Sin and Love



She strolled leisurely in the garden with his daughter, laughing merrily. Her tanned skin glowed in the afternoon sun. Her shapely legs poked through a transparent, white skirt while a short, red tank top barely covered her deep cleavage.
It was hard to believe that she was just a senior school student.

As he saw them entering the house, he hurried back and sank into the large drawing room sofa, burying his nose into the newspaper.
Divya ran up to him, shouting ‘Hello Papa’ all the way and hugged him tight.
‘So, how was your tuition?’ he asked tenderly.
‘It was good but physics is a hard nut to crack.’
‘And what about you?’ he probed as he turned towards her.
Amazed that such a silly question could be put to her, she raised her eyebrows and remarked casually, ‘With a little help from Divya, I think I can sail through.’

She had been visiting them for the past few weeks now and always addressed him directly without uncle-ing or sir-ing him.
Her partner butted in. ‘We can go through the next chapter if you like.’
‘Sure.’
 The doorbell rang loudly.
‘Must be the washer man,’ Divya mumbled and rushed towards the main door.

Grabbing the moment, she stepped up boldly and snatched the newspaper from him. ‘You are holding it upside down.’
Amused, she shoved the paper back into his hands and ambled off. His eyes hovered over her curvaceous back. A naughty smile danced on her lips as she disappeared inside the study room.

His mobile buzzed. 
‘Hi Priya, how is your knee now?’
‘Much better,’ his wife’s voice broke in, ‘but the doctor says he needs some more time.’
‘I feel bad that you’re going through it all alone, that too at Singapore.’
‘I know but we can’t afford to disturb Divya’s studies. And anyway, my sister is taking good care of me.’
‘I miss you darling.’
‘Same here honey. Tell Divya to ring me up once she is free.’
‘Sure.’
‘Bye, love you.’
‘Love you too.’

As he cut her off, a huge wave of guilt surged through his heart- he was betraying his wife, he was lusting after a girl half his age and he was feeling terribly helpless.  

Next afternoon, as he sat working on his laptop for his next book, he heard the noise of a scooty outside. He glanced at the wall clock and with a surprised look on his face, got up and opened the door.
She stood there, smiling and swaying slowly on her heels.
‘Divya is not at home.’
‘I know but I had to return some of her books,’ her husky voice echoed in his ears.
She brushed past him defiantly and examined her surroundings as if she was coming there for the first time.
‘Where should I dump them?’
‘There, you can leave them on the table.’
As she bent down to place the books, her mini skirt slipped up, revealing her black hot pants.
A blazing current shot through his spine.

‘Can I take off my sandals and rest here for a while? It’s so warm outside.’
Without waiting for his response, she took off her sandals one by one, accidentally offering a peep inside her tight, burgundy sports bra.
He removed his spectacles and closed in with her. She gazed straight into his face, the corner of her eyes turning red.

Suddenly, a gust of wind threw the side window open and a glass photo frame lying on a nearby shelf crashed on the floor with a loud bang. Jolted out of his trance, he rushed and picked up the broken frame - it showed his daughter’s snap when she was a toddler.
‘What am I doing?’
The thought flashed across his mind like a bolt of lightning.

‘Is everything all right?’ he heard her voice behind him. But before he could caution her, a piece of shattered glass had sliced through her bare foot. 
‘Oh my God!’ she screamed with pain.
‘Who told you to come here?’ he scolded her sharply, ‘give me your hand.’
He tried to lead her up to a nearby chair but she could not walk.
‘Wait,’ he said as he lifted her up like a small baby and lowered her into the chair.
‘I‘ll be back in a minute.’

He hurried off to the living room and returned with a first aid box. As he applied Dettol on her cut, she pulled up her face.
‘Come on, don’t be a coward.’
He put some cotton on the top to block the flow of blood. A mild wind ruffled her hair.
‘When my dad was alive, he always took care of me like this,’ she said softly, brushing away her tears.
‘What happened to him?’
‘He died in a car accident.’
The bleeding had stopped now. He cleaned the abrasion and started tying a bandage around it.
‘You miss him.’
‘A lot.’
‘What was the best thing that you liked about him?’
Her eyes brightened up as she went down the memory lane. ‘Whenever I was angry, he would take me for a long ride and buy me an ice cream. He always treated me like a little princess.’
‘I am sure he was a great father.’
‘Sure he was.’

She glanced at her watch. ‘I must leave now.’
‘But you can’t drive with this bandage there.’
‘I’ll manage.’
‘Look princess, it always pays to listen to good advice.’
A warm smile spread over her face. ‘Right sir.’

Moments later, he steered the scooty on the road while she rode the pillion.
‘Sir, do you know the way to my home?’
‘Yes, it goes through an ice cream parlor.’

They both cracked up as an orange evening sun, having lost its heat, rested peacefully on the horizon.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

How to Write a Novel





So, you want to write a novel! 
Great!
Let’s go into the nuts and bolts of it.

·         Remember, it all starts with a good idea. Something with a fresh twist or a new perspective. Once it catches your fancy, mull over it during your long evening walks, daydream about it while you catch that train and roll it over your tongue with a cup of strong coffee till the time it invites you and whispers softly in your ears: Hey, I am ready to be born.

·         Make sure that your idea has sufficient depth. After all, you are going to develop it into a draft of at least 60,000 words. If not, you may consider writing a novella or better still, a short story.

·         Write a detailed outline first and make sure that that your novel is well structured. Apart from the classic beginning-middle-end definition of the structure, there are many other aspects to be to be taken care of. I have written in detail about this particular aspect at 


·         Your beginning has to be appealing and catch the reader’s attention from the word go. Equally important is your ending which can be either open or closed. You can get a few more tips on this part at 


·         From the outline, move forward and write out your first draft. Be spontaneous and don’t check your creative impulse. Just carry on.

·         Your protagonist should be a go-getter and doer. Don't let him be a passive character. His goal should be clearly defined right from the beginning. And don’t try to make him perfect. Let him be a lovable human being with his own set of flaws. He may also have shades of grey and instead be an anti -hero. You can read more on this subject at my blog post 


·         Your hero is as strong as your villain. So, work on your bad guy and ensure that he makes your hero’s task as difficult as possible. You may also decide that your villain redeems himself towards the end.

·         Apart from the main plot, you may work on a few subplots as well which support and associate with the main plot. But there is no need to overdo this aspect.

·         Similarly, you have to develop a supporting cast of characters but let it not be an aimless crowd. Work on each one of them till the time they all stand out distinctly be it their physical appearance, their manner of speech or their idiosyncrasies.

·         Keep your first draft away for a while. Then, come back and start that most important of activities, that is, editing. Keep doing it till the time each and every sentence shines like a mirror and you are satisfied with the outcome. You may also like to reorder your scenes for better effect and may be, delete a few to cut down unnecessary flab.

·         This is also the time to start working on the book description. This is something which usually appears on the back cover of your novel and generally, it is the first thing that a reader notices about your writing. If it appeals to him, he buys the book straightaway. I for one decided to create a video for book description of my first novel ‘Babysitter’ in addition to a textual description.

You can watch this very interesting video at

·         You would also be required to take a few decisions like whether you wish to publish it as an eBook or as a paperback edition or both. I decided to publish ‘Babysitter’ as an eBook initially and kept the option for a paperback edition open once the novel started doing well. Here is the link for my eBook:


·         Last but not the least, writing a novel and getting it published is just one part of the game. You should now gear up to market your book as well. We would discuss this issue in one of my next posts.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Ashes - A Short Film








FADE IN:

INT.CLINIC.DAY

DAVID,40,plump and unshaven,lies on a black couch,eyes
closed.He frequently runs his tongue over his lips.

MARIA,35,fair and slim,wearing a white coat,sits next to him
on a revolving chair.She scribbles something on a notepad,
puts it aside and observes her patient with concern.

                                MARIA
                    Hello,are you there?

                                DAVID
                           (struggling)
                    Yes doctor.

                               MARIA
                    Tell me what's happening.

                              DAVID
                     I am having the same dream.

                              MARIA
                    What do you see?

                              DAVID
                     I see...a soldier.

DREAM - DAVID ON THE RUN

David rushes along a black top road, PANTING.He stops to
catch his breath and glances sideways.

A huge soldier scoots towards him menacingly,sporting only a
loin cloth.A visored helmet covers upper half of his face.He
brandishes a large oblong shield and a curved sword.

David bumps off the road and enters a dense forest.He dashes
through thick foliage, the soldier on his heels.

Exhausted,he reaches a hill top and stares down into the
deep valley.He hears some FOOTSTEPS behind him.He turns.

The soldier stands at an arm's length.He gapes back into the
valley.He is trapped.The soldier strolls up to a heavy,brown
box lying nearby and TAPS it twice with his sword.

                              SOLDIER
                    Open it.

David gawks at the box, his eyes full of terror.

                               DAVID
                            (stammering)
                    Wh...what's inside there?

                              SOLDIER
                     You can see yourself.

David staggers back.             

                               DAVID
                     I know you want to kill me.

                               SOLDIER
                     I can never kill you.

David now stands at the edge of the valley.

                               DAVID
                    I don't trust you.

                               SOLDIER
                    Don't move.

                               DAVID
                    I hate you.

As he steps back further,he rolls down the yawning gap.His
SHRIEKS echo.The soldier runs up to the edge and SHOUTS.

                               SOLDIER
                   David.

BACK TO PRESENT DAY

David lies on the couch,SCREAMING.Maria holds his shoulders
and shakes him vigorously.

                                MARIA
                   David,wake up.I say wake up.

David sits up on the couch with a jerk,GASPING. Maria hands
a glass of water to him.He GULPS it down in one go.

                                MARIA
                   Feeling better?

He nods.

                                MARIA
                   So this is the dream that rattles
                   you every night.

                                DAVID
                    I see that soldier every hour
                    now.It's so scary - to see yourself
                    die.It's such a torture.

                                MARIA
                   Why does the soldier say he can
                    never kill you?He chases you with a
                    sword,doesn't he?

                                DAVID
                    He looks all set to stab me.It's
                    because of him that I slide into
                    that gorge.

Maria paces up and down in the room for a while,then halts.

                                 MARIA
                    Does the soldier resemble anybody
                    you know?

                                 DAVID
                    His face is half covered. 

                                 MARIA
                    But you hear his voice ,don't you?

He closes his eyes,then holds his head with both his hands.

                                  DAVID
                  Oh, no!

                                   MARIA
                  Come on,tell me!

David slowly rises and slithers up to the window.A dim
sunlight illuminates his stony face.

                                    DAVID
                   It's...my father.

                                     MARIA
                  Your father!Where is he now?

                                     DAVID
                   He's no more.

                                     MARIA
                  When was that?

                                     DAVID
                   He was in army.He died fighting
                   during Vietnam war.His body could
                   not be traced.

                                     MARIA
                   And where did he live?

                                     DAVID
                   In his native village - quite far
                   from here.My grandmother puts up
                   there now.
                       (sighs)
                   Six months back, I got a message
                   from her.She wanted to meet me
                   urgently but I could not go.

                                     MARIA
                  Since when are you getting this
                  dream?

                                     DAVID
                 For the last six months.


David turns sharply and grabs Maria's arm.

                                    DAVID
               You mean to say all this is
               connected?

                                    MARIA
               You must visit your father's
               village immediately.There is
               something waiting for you there.

David gapes at her with his mouth half open.

EXT.VILLAGE.DAY

David works his way through the narrow lanes of a small
village.Some passers by look at him suspiciously.

He stops in front of a two storeyed building and knocks at
the door.An old woman,70,opens the door and stares at him.


INT.GRANNY'S HOUSE.DRAWING ROOM.DAY

A spacious hall with wooden interiors.Young David's
photographs with his parents adorn the walls.His father
appears to be a well built, radiant young man.

David steps up to a photograph and covers the upper half of
his father's face with his fingers.

QUICK FLASHBACK

The soldier chasing David,his face half covered by a helmet.

BACK TO SCENE

David bites his lips.His GRANNY approaches him.

                            GRANNY
             I know what's troubling you.

David spins around.

                            GRANNY(CONT'D)
            Your father comes in my dreams
             also.I need to show you something.

Slowly,she mounts the stairs.David follows her.She enters an
UNUSED BEDROOM

and opens the window.The diffused sunlight falls on a heavy,
brown box kept on a table.She touches the box softly.

                             GRANNY
            Open it.

David shudders.

                              GRANNY
           Come on son,you got to do it.

She hands a heavy iron key to David.With his hands
trembling, he turns the key inside the socket and lifts the
lid.

He stares down at a brass urn,it's mouth sealed by a piece
of bright red cloth.

                             GRANNY
          These are your father's ashes.

David CRASHES like a log into a nearby chair.

                             GRANNY(CONT'D)
            Six months back,two military
            officers came and handed over this
            urn to me.I could touch my son
            again after twenty years.

Her eyes well up with tears.

                              GRANNY(CONT'D)
           They wanted to conduct his last
            rites with full military honors but
            your father had always been against
            such ceremonies.So,I refused.

A white pigeon lands on the window sill and COOES softly.

                              GRANNY(CONT'D)
           As per our custom, his ashes have
           to be immersed in the river which
           flows next to our village.

David gets up and takes the urn out of the box.He clutches
it tightly to his chest and starts CRYING uncontrollably.
Granny holds his arm and leans against his shoulder.

EXT.RIVER.DAY

David sits in a wooden boat,holding the urn.An old man rows
the boat to the middle of the river.David rises, uncovers
the urn and releases his father's ashes into the water.

Suddenly,he notices the soldier standing near the bank.The
soldier takes off his helmet and smiles.It's his father.

He waves affectionately at David, turns and disappears into
the woods.

                                                                          FADE OUT:

CREDITS ROLL

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

What Are You Waiting For?




We all are waiting for something.
Right?
When I finished my schooling, I waited for a good college.
My future depended on it.
After that, I waited for a good job.
I had to prove myself.
Then, I waited for a beautiful and mature girl, someone who could handle me.
Together, we dreamed of a family.
Soon, our young daughter joined a kindergarten school. 
And then, a senior school.
In turn, she wanted a good college for herself and a well-paying job too.

How life keeps repeating itself!
I always wonder at it's cyclical nature!
How we keep moving from one milestone to the other.
And all that is worthwhile happens as we travel from one check-post to the other.

But what happens once you reach there?
You start looking for something else again.
Cars, homes, careers.
Status, power, money.
You desire everything.
And when you reach there, once you get it - your mind starts wandering again.
It starts desiring and dreaming.
It again starts waiting.
But what for?

It seems that cars, homes, jobs, power, money or status are not what you are actually looking for.
The thirst is for something else.
The wait is for something else.

As my experience grew richer, and I witnessed different colors and shades of life, I fathomed that what I really wanted to know was this : Who am I and what is the purpose of my life?

Gradually, I realized that while we might all look different externally, we are exactly the same from inside.
And so are our capabilities.

I began to feel a kind of oneness with the world and the people around me.
I was not separate.

With this, a number of maladies like anger, jealousy and hatred, began to leave me.
And these were replaced by understanding and compassion.
If you are one with the world around you, then who would you be angry at?

As for the purpose of my life, I realized it through my passion.
Writing.
Whenever I picked up the pen, I felt a kind of intensity and involvement which no other action garnered for me.
After finishing a piece of writing, I felt as if I had gone beyond all my boundaries.
I felt light, like a bird exploring the boundless sky.

Now, as my experience turns deeper day by day,
I feel that  my wait is finally getting over.
My thirst may finally be quenched.

And I may finally transcend all my limitations.
Because that's what the heart desires.
And that's what the whole business of life is all about.

And that's what I have been waiting for.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

The White Napkin








It was the first thought that struck her as she woke up.
He was gone. And soon, this house with all its memories would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever.
She glanced at the empty wheel chair.
                                                                             
His half paralyzed body, sunken eyes, dark lips and an expression that remained suspended between despair and false hope– everything came alive for a moment.
She went outside in the garden. The red old hibiscus smiled back at her. The still delicate mango tree swayed gracefully, its soft green leaves rattled by a mild wind. She remembered how she had once planted the young sapling in the brown earth while he managed the watering can.
She stared at her house for a long time – a solo, white and blue, hut shaped bungalow in South Goa against the backdrop of Sahyadri Mountains. River Sal flowed at a walkable distance. The next house was around five hundred yards away. In this faraway world, one could exist as if he did not.
All this was set to fade away as she had already sold the place to a Gujrati businessman. Once he was gone, she did not have the heart to live there alone.
As she strolled up to the mango tree and ran her hands nostalgically over its stem, the events of last three months began to unfold in her mind like a fast paced movie.

The first time he had mentioned a combination of barbiturates and muscle relaxant to her, she could not understand. After all, she was not a doctor, he was.
A renowned orthopedist at Mumbai, he had met with a terrible car accident one dark night while returning from a social get-together. His wife died on the spot from a severe head injury. Both his legs were paralyzed and his right arm got badly mauled.
From thereon, he vegetated.
It was a fall from grace for a medical practioner of his stature. As someone who had spent all his life mending broken limbs, he had most of his own body shattered and rendered immobile.
Perched permanently on top of a wheel chair, he was always dependent on somebody or the other for his daily chores be it using the toilet, washing himself, eating or even going to bed.
Gradually, he became quite restless and irritable. He shouted and found faults with everyone around him.
‘Don’t think I am an idiot! I can do it better than you.’
Soon, they all got fed up and left.

That was the time his daughter decided to leave her studies and take care of him. She was merely sixteen at that time but her presence reassured him. He did not feel belittled by her efforts.
Quite mature for her years, it was her decision to move to Goa where she could keep her father away from the judging eyes of people.
The seclusion and the deep sea calmed him down. The ever present frown on his forehead slowly melted away and was replaced by a faint smile. But at the same time, an abysmal feeling of guilt secretly started eating into his guts.
As the young girl would push his wheel chair laboriously in the evenings along the blue waters of Cavelossim beach, he would stare at the distant horizon and remark, ‘My own life has no meaning but I have spoilt yours as well.’
On all such occasions, she would bend down and kiss him tenderly.
‘I love you papa.’

But his heart would ache every time he saw a girl her age walking with her boyfriend, hand in hand, laughing and kicking at the sea waves.
‘Oh God! Is she meant to slog at this damn wheelchair all her life?’
The torturous possibility would flash across his mind a thousand times.
Even though he rarely shared his innermost concerns with her, she knew what was troubling him. But she had learnt to live her life one day at a time – the future her father was worried about simply did not exist for her. However, she had started noticing a sudden tightening of muscles around his eyes which for some reasons frightened her.

She particularly remembered the day he had announced unceremoniously, ‘We have a guest tonight.’
‘Guest?’
‘Yes, an old friend. She is just curious to find out whether I am dead or alive.’

The friend in question was a graceful surgeon in her early fifties. They had studied medicine from the same institute. Melinda was a widow and settled at Mumbai. She had some property at Goa which she visited every now and then.
She arrived in time and shook his left hand warmly. She had a sour and sweet voice and spoke like a school principal.
‘So how are you tiger?’
‘Tiger?’ he laughed, may be, after a century. ‘I am no tiger now, just a poor lamb.’
‘And how are you, my pretty woman?’
‘I am fine aunty.’
‘Your father tells me that you are the most devoted daughter in the world.’
‘Are you serious?’
‘Of course I am. You can ask him if you like.’
They both turned towards the wheelchair.
‘Golden words are never repeated,’ he chuckled merrily.
‘Come on,’ Melinda threw up her hands in the air, ‘don’t be a snob.’
‘No, I am not.’
‘Aunty, tell me, what would you like to have?’
‘Wine,’ he butted in on her behalf, ‘red wine. Am I right madam?’
‘Yes sir.’

As she sipped her wine, she explained that she was there to attend a conference on Euthanasia.
‘Really?’ the pretty woman exclaimed, ‘I have heard about it before.’
‘Sure you have. It’s something that concerns each one of us.’
‘But it’s still illegal in India, isn’t it?’ he asked curiously.
She relaxed back in her chair. ‘That’s correct but the ethical dimension of the question is quite important. As per the dictionary definition, it is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. The choice is generally exercised by the patients who are terminally ill.’
‘But aunty, who are we to decide whether a person should live or not? This life is nature’s gift to us, the way we have no control over the act of our birth, the act of dying is equally inevitable.’
The old woman appreciated the force of her argument with a nod. ‘But how justified we are in prolonging a man’s agony, knowing fully well that he may never recover?’
‘It’s very easy to say all this. But when that someone is your mother or father or a friend, you would keep your hopes alive till the very end. Won’t you?’

Her father interjected. ‘Ladies, that’s the right or wrong of it. But Melinda, I want to know how it is actually performed.’
‘Methods differ but the one I know about is where first an injection is given to render the patient comatose, followed by a second injection to stop the heart.’ 
‘And how does it actually work?’
Anybody could see that it was too basic a discussion between two experienced doctors.
‘The patient usually dies as a result of anoxemia caused by the muscle relaxant.’ 
The youngest participant in the discussion had by now realized that the discussion was being held solely for her benefit.
‘Would you have some more wine?’ her father asked Melinda warmly.
‘Sure.’
The conversation then drifted towards one Mrs. Molly Fernandez who had bought a cashew field nearby.

From that point onwards, whenever he glanced at her, his eyes had only one appeal.
She would immediately shift her gaze every time it happened.
She knew that she could not help him in this mission.
More than twelve years had passed since she had moved to Goa.
Every day she got up, she had only one goal – to keep him going.
She knew he was failing.
She also knew that she won’t be able to evade his plea for long.

It happened that evening.
She was pushing the wheelchair along the beach when a young boy waved at her. She went up to him and touched his red, chubby cheeks tenderly. The toddler beamed back at her, his hazel brown eyes full of wonder.
From that distance, she saw her father trying to pick up a white napkin that had slipped out of his hands. He could not. As he lugged at it again, the wheelchair toppled and he crashed into the silvery sand.
Horrified, she sprinted up to him and helped him back into the wheelchair.
He was breathless. His wrist had got scratched and a string of bright red droplets glistened on the top. A thin layer of tears marked his eyes.
That day, his sheer helplessness struck her quite bluntly.
That day, she could not evade his eyes.
She knew he won’t be able to pick up that napkin even if he carried on for another twenty years.
He sat there staring into the deep blue sea that seemed to stretch up to infinity.
Then, without turning, he caught hold of her hand and pressed it against his lips.
‘Please,’ he whispered, ‘Melinda would help you.’

What she received from her a week later were two small bottles and a syringe neatly packed inside a grey tin box.
If she gave this box to him, she would be assisting him.
She would help him end his suffering forever.
‘Are you being selfish?’ a part of her demanded.
After all, it was going to end her suffering also.
But all she could conclude was that her father was as dead that day as he would be a couple of years later and the white napkin that had slipped out of his hands at the beach, would always remain beyond his reach.
However, she lacked the courage.

As time passed, she willed herself into thinking that she had never received any such parcel. But one evening, as they were leaving for their customary walk, he reminded her.
‘Which box?’ she pretended, her voice cracking.
He just looked at her, an ocean of love brimming in his eyes.

As she pushed the wheelchair along the beach, golden sunlight from a setting sun surrounded them from all sides. The child with chubby cheeks was there again and waved at them energetically.
Soon, it turned dark.
It was a moonlit night. They were near a shack where a row of plastic tables had been arranged along the sea shore, each table showcasing a burning candle at the top protected by a glass cover. A soft romantic number played in the background. A small group of revelers danced around a bright bonfire some distance away, others sat on the tables.   

They moved beyond the shack and stopped.
The flickering candle lights were still visible, the music faintly audible.
She hugged him tightly and started crying like a small baby.
‘You can’t go like this,’ she sobbed, ‘I would be left all alone.’
He patted her back fondly. ‘I would always be with you my child, always.’
He wiped off her tears with his fingers and held her face between his hands.
‘Won’t you say good bye to your papa?’
She managed to smile through her tears.
‘Good bye papa. I’ll miss you.’
‘I’ll miss you too.’

With hands trembling, he opened the grey tin box and took the first shot in his right arm.
The sea waves roared as if angry with the world at large.
As his eyes began to close, he took the second shot. Slowly, his head tilted to one side and he drifted into a deep sleep.
She turned the wheelchair and pushed it forward.
As they passed by the shack, a gallery of fireworks began to explode overhead. A large array of skyrockets rushed up and busted into multi colored flames, cracking loudly. The crowd clapped and hooted merrily, someone whistled.
It was celebration time.

Three months later, as she handed the keys of her bungalow to a fat Gujrati businessman and moved out, she saw Melinda approaching her from a distance.
‘You are a very courageous girl,’ she said, holding her hands.
‘Am I?’
‘Yes, and compassionate too.’
A hired van was parked at the gate.
The driver was busy loading her luggage into the boot.
As he lifted the folded wheelchair, he examined it with suspicion and scratched his face. ‘Do you really need it madam?’
She nodded. ‘Yes, I do.’
As she slipped into the back seat, she glanced at her home one last time.
There, she saw her father, dressed in a white, luminous garment, standing near the mango tree, smiling and waving at her affectionately.
A solitary drop of tears ran down her cheeks.
She waved back at him and smiled.                    

He playfully flashed a white napkin at her which he had finally managed to pick up from the beach.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

For the Proud Writer in You



Are you Proud of being a Writer?

As a writer, I am proud that I can share my innermost feelings and thoughts with the world at large without any fear or remorse.
As a result, I have grown tremendously and overcome all my inhibitions.
I have written a collection of short stories which now adorns book shelves, libraries, online stores and countless memories.
I am proud that before I die, I have been able to expose the deepest recesses of my soul to those around me which has given me so much of character and integrity.
And when I am no more, my stories will still be read.
As a writer, I am proud that I have lived.

Ideas for Writing

First thing first,
Start having experiences.
Travel - by train, bullock cart or on foot.
Go to new and faraway places, do things, meet people and interact.
And while all this is happening, do that one thing that is so essential to turn you into a writer: OBSERVE.
Remember, your writing is a combination of your observation, imagination and expression.
And it all starts with having intense, first hand experiences of life. Nothing second hand or vicarious is going to help.
Drink from the source of life itself, make an attempt to absorb the richness and varied colors of life in their entirety.
Create the context before you become the creator.
Rest will follow.
You can read more on this topic at

Now, once you come across a good idea, you would find that it has the following characteristics:
-Sounds interesting and relevant
-Ignites your passion to convert it into a story
-Has sufficient depth to offer conflict, move to a point of high tension and thereafter present some kind of a resolution
Remember a story cannot function on a flat idea as there is a need to sustain the reader’s interest throughout.

The experiences you have gone through, the thoughts you nurture and the feelings that mark your inner sky - this is the stuff good writing is made of.
And the reason is when you write from your own experience, your writing comes to acquire that most important literary characteristic - authenticity.
And in turn, the reader finds your stories credible.
Your writing can take a leaf from other’s experiences also but it is always better to switch your own light first, especially the budding writers.
While ideas themselves may be derived from the life that you and I live, it is the treatment given by a writer that turns them into unusual stories.
So, the point I am trying to make is that since life is repetitious in nature, the themes available are going to be the same - love, hatred, power, ambition. But what sets a story apart is the touch that a writer decides to give it.

For example, your decision to write a story in first person may give it a kind of twist that writing it in third person may never evoke.
Some other inspirations can be:
-Try writing a story on an Anti-Hero. We are so used to reading stuff about traditional heroes who are never wrong and have a larger than life image that writing about an antihero in itself is a novelty as he is someone who fights against the established norms of society and struggles to regain his self-respect. Mario Puzo’s Godfather is an excellent example.
-Try out an Anti-Plot story. Traditional structures involve a well-defined beginning, middle and end. But what if you start from the middle or have an open ending which invites the reader to bring his own interpretation without being preachy or moralistic? Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot is one such instance where two characters wait on a country road for a man called Godot who never arrives.
I have written in detail about these facets at


To be Relevant as a Writer
As long as we can write believable and authentic fiction, we should continue to do so.
Some of you may think that fiction at times crosses its limits, and sounds completely bizarre and incredible.
But that happens due to the writer’s disconnection with the world around him.
He should either write what he has experienced himself or use his powerful imagination to pen down something not directly experienced by him.
Today’s world is technologically advanced and boasts of fantastic feats be it a voyage to Mars or the internet of things.
But what a writer does is to add a human angle to an otherwise dry existence based on a heartless technology that on one hand churns weapons of mass destruction but on the other hand, has the capability to save precious human lives be it by fighting against a deadly disease like cancer or a timely heart transplant.
Without being preachy or moralistic, a writer emphasizes on the inherent goodness in all of us and makes a sincere effort to present the reality as it is.
In a crazy world which is materialistic and money oriented, relationships are fast disintegrating and man often feels lonely and left out even in midst of a crowd as he comes face to face with a deep void inside himself.
A writer steps in at this critical juncture to help him understand and fill this void and in the process, gives hope to our society and the world at large.
In fact, his job was never as important and urgent as now.

In addition, I believe that as an artist you remain relevant as long as you reflect the truth around you.
It’s important for a writer to mirror the world he inhabits - if the reality surrounding him is changing and acquiring a different color, his perception should also change and embrace this shift.
If he continues to persist with his dogmas and rigid views, he will soon cease to be relevant.
But if he constantly challenges himself to do the new, welcome the change and not be afraid to experiment, he would continue to be relevant and interesting.




Timeless - One Minute Short Film

FADE IN: INT.JIMMY'S HOME -DAY A spacious apartment. JIMMY, 7, fair with blue eyes, sits at the dining table,unpacking ...