Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Colors Of My Life: Book Review: Arjuna – Saga of the Pandava Warrior ...

 The highlight of the book is the fact that the author has done her fair share of research which you see in small stories and details that have never been highlighted in the various version of Mahabharata that get included in school curriculum or the ones that get telecasted on the television. These details and stories push you to keep turning the pages and keep discovering new things about the great warrior who was part of the great war of Kurukshetra. Also the fact that the author included stories that highlight the fact that characters of Mahabharata  were flawed like any other human being was quite interesting.

READ THE REST HERE

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fun interview with Sruti Nayani!

Interview with Anuja Chandramouli, the author and spinner of yarns



This had to be an interview, which had me smiling throughout. Just as Anuja Chandramouli says that her book, ‘Arjuna’ is humorous, she herself is one for a sense of humour. 

Check it out here

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cover Girl!

In Her Own Words: Re-Telling an Indian Epic

Tim Hardaker travels to Sivakasi and engages in a delightful conversation with young debutante author Anuja Chandamouli , whose book Arjuna, is a passionate retelling of the Mahabharata, woven around Arjuna, the iconic Pandava warrior prince as the central character
Text: Tim Hardaker, Australia 
Photos: Alice Notarianni, Italy
This was my first interview ever for the Madurai Messenger. And I made the cover! It gave me quite a kick although it did make me wonder if I desperately need a makeover... Anyways, you can read it here.

At the Odisha Lit Fest!

I was super excited when Shampa Kamath of the New Indian Express extended an invitation for me to speak at the Odisha Literary Festival to be held on the 3rd and 4th of October in Bhubhaneshwar. The topic was "The Resurgent Lure of Mythology" and I would be sharing the stage with Ashwin Sanghi, bestselling author of Chanakya's Chant and the Krishna Key, Anand Neelakantan of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished fame and the brilliant Arshia Sattar. Needless to say, I accepted with alacrity!

It was an absolutely amazing experience for me, bordering on the surreal. The TNIE team were very friendly and it was great to meet luminaries like Prabhu Chawla, editorial director of TNIE (He was really sweet and came up to me during lunch which was immediately after our session to say that I had spoken well :) ), Union Minister Shashi Tharoor (I did not actually get to meet him per se but I did hear him speak at length), Kapish Mehra, Vikas Swarup, Jerry Pinto, Pratibha Ray, Namitha Gokhale, and Supriya Dravid amongst others.

As it turned out my secret fear that I would disgrace myself on stage was largely unfounded. And Anand made my day, month and year by observing that the biggest names in mythological writing had one thing in common, their names started with the alphabet, A - Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Anand Neelakantan and (ahem!) Anuja Chandramouli :) :) :) To my surprise, quite a few people from the audience tracked me down to compliment me and to inform me that they had not heard of me or my book, but they promised to read it asap and get back to me asap.

Rounded off a memorable trip to Bhubhaneshwar (will always love the beautiful city which has given me so many treasured memories) with a visit to the Sun temple at Konarak (it is unspeakably gorgeous) and Puri Jagannath temple with Dad and Anand Neelakantan, who is an absolute delight to hang out with given his wicked sense of humor and out of the box ideas, before rushing off to the airport.
Do check out this article covering the mythology session of the Odisha Lit Fest here.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Author Interview!

Here is my interview with Samarpita where I talk about my original plan to take the glamour world by storm and my ill - fated attempt to pull off a Stephen King. And of course, as you probably know already, there is lots about Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior - Prince. There is simply no shutting me up on the subject, short of paying me a fortune :)

Lessons from Gang - Rape, Violent Agitation and Death

I wrote this article for BehindIndia after the horrifying gang - rape case reported in New Delhi on 16 December 2012. In light of the more recent case where a photo - journalist from Mumbai was gang - raped on 22 August 2013, it would appear that unfortunately I was right about how we as a nation continue to close our eyes to the really important issues that plague the country.

The year 2012 may be winding down to a close but it refuses to go out with nary a murmur and we have been wracked with violent upheavals of the worst kind. In Delhi, a 23 year old medical student  was gang – raped on a moving bus and both she and her male friend were brutally assaulted with an iron rod before they were tossed out on a flyover half – naked. The victim is currently fighting for her life from a hospital bed. Since rape is commonplace in India, we have traditionally given it the attention we normally accord to performing our morning ablutions and have proceeded on our merry way. But the sheer brutality of the attack has galvanized a nation out of its turpitude and tentacles of outrage have spread out leaving in its wake a churning and heaving mass of killing passion. Protestors gathered at India Gate in their thousands to head towards Rashtrapati Bhavan demanding justice but somehow lofty principles vanished in a heartbeat leaving nothing but chaos as the demonstration turned violent and the cops had to resort to water – cannons and tear gas to restore order. And at the end of it all, one more innocent became a victim when a police constable, Suresh Tomar was attacked by hooligans and left unconscious. He succumbed to his injuries in the hospital.
Delhi Rape
This kind of savage knee – jerk reaction is so characteristic of India and Indians. We spend entire lifetimes closing our eyes to injustice. We plod on with our jobs and lives believing that if we refuse to see evil, hear evil or speak of evil then we can escape its embrace in our lives and avoid becoming victims. As long as terrible things don’t happen to us and anybody we give two hoots about, we are content. So we pay our bribes, refuse to take a stand and we certainly cannot be bothered with helping those in need or fixing our country even if it is falling apart sick as it is with the rot of corruption. And then every once in a while something tragic happens on such a large scale that we are forced to open our eyes and acknowledge that nobody is safe.

Becoming aware of the truth is one thing but handling its consequences is far trickier. In the United States of America, Adam Lanza killed his mother before walking into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killing 20 children and 6 adults and turning the gun far too late on himself. Fighting past the bottomless grief and despair, America has been wrestling with its conscience and trying to decide whether an American’s constitutional right to own a gun is worth so many lives.

In Ireland, Savita Halappanavar lost her life because of the Catholic nation’s strict anti – abortion laws. Her death saw them grapple with their faith while reconciling its demands to the needs of its people even as passion boiled over on the lava of grief Savita’s death engendered. But finally, good sense prevailed and laws legalizing abortion when the mother’s life is at risk came into being.

In India, the Delhi – bus gang rape has resulted in a torrential outpouring of grief and anger but little else. There have been calls for rapists to be hanged or castrated or castrated and hanged. Demands have been made on the government as well. The populace will not be put off with our leaders clucking over the incident with sympathy or empty promises, they want action and they want it fast with new laws regarding rape, fast – track courts to prevent such cases from languishing in courts for all eternity and more protection for women. In a commendable move, citizens took to the streets to demand justice for the victim. In a not so commendable move, some of the protestors took to violence with the cops responding in kind. At the end of it all, only anarchy seems to reign supreme having beaten good sense into oblivion.

Now like a drunkard or a dieter after a night of unrestricted bingeing on booze and forbidden goodies, we are all going to wake up feeling sick to the stomach and in need of a healthy dose of denial to forget the irrefutable fact that we are idiots who deserve the country we live in, the government which rules us, and the monsters we have raised ourselves to give us endless grief. Worse, nameless horror lurks around every corner and the next headline is likely to have our name on it. What does one do when confronted with the unpalatable truth? Why we do what we always have… Get on with our ablutions, skip the boring news section served up by overenthusiastic journalists and go straight to the entertainment or sports section. Then we can obsess about a celeb’s dieting woes or sex life and howl for Sachin’s retirement (and bemoan his loss when we have successfully pressured him into doing just that) and Dhoni’s blood. As for rapists and murderers they will lie low for a while remembering full well that their time will come soon when the nation has gone back to sleep the way it usually does.

The original article appeared here

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Anusha Parthasarathy of THE HINDU totally Gets Arjuna and me!

Here is what Anusha Parthasarathy of The Hindu says about Arjuna. Truth be told, I nearly wept like a baby and it was not cos it made me sad :)

What, perhaps, sets this book apart from other retellings is the fact that it doesn’t try to get into his shoes. In fact, it detaches itself from its protagonist and analyses his persona as one would a character on the screen or in a book. This helps the reader look at the story objectively, even if the focus is on Arjuna, rather than look at it through his eyes.

In this book, however, one looks not just at the big picture but also at the little details that stoke this fire. What is endearing about Anuja’s storytelling is that it isn’t in chronological order. While there is a seamless flow to the narrative, she goes back and forth, forging connections between events, analysing their intent and clearly explaining what a particular event leads to.

You can read the rest of this awesome review here

Monday, July 29, 2013

Arjuna is a page turner!

Love it or hate it, the consensus seems to be that Arjuna grabs you by the throat and does not let go. In other words, it a big time page turner!

What I liked about the book is that the author does not make any attempt whatsoever to treat Arjuna as divine anywhere despite being his ardent fan. Instead, she focuses on the fact that despite being blessed with divine powers, he was human too. Just like all of us, he had his strengths, and follies. He was arrogant sometimes, humble at other times. Most of the book (Rather all of it) is written against the backdrop of the epic Mahabharata. In fact, one could say that this book is a more concise version of the epic. The narration however, does not take its beauty away. The language and narration used surely makes this one a page turner .

Find the rest of the review here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kind words for Arjuna!

This is what Mr. Hemant Kanoria, Chairman and Managing Director, Srei Infrastructure Finance said about Arjuna in an interview for BusinessWorld:

I am currently reading Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince by Anuja Chandramouli. It is a mesmerising tale of a warrior prince, Arjuna, brought to life in a very vivid and endearing way. The book beautifully captures two very strong aspects, first, the trust, love, attachment and affection amongst the five brothers while the second one, is the discipline and willingness to learn, which resulted in Arjuna acquiring skills and expertise from both humans and Gods.

This piece originally appeared here

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More reviews for Arjuna!

It is fast read and worth a trip down the memory lane of your favorite epic.
You can find the rest of the review by Poonam Sharma here

Anuradha Goyal had this to say about Arjuna!

Friday, July 12, 2013

A rave review for Arjuna!

Some reviewers make you want to kill yourself, others make you want to take up the near impossible and criminal quest (I think) of tracking them across the nebulous world of the internet sitting them down and forcing them to comprehend that they did not get you or the book at all and make them take back every nasty thing they wrote, ideally not at gunpoint although it is an option. And then there are those who not only get what you set out to do but love you for it and write a glowing review of your work that fills your heart with heady joy that lets you face the world with the goofiest grin plastered across your mug that highlights your pimples making them look less like unsightly blemishes. The high is sufficient to carry you across the next few months barring the not improbable possibility of a wickedly critical review that dismisses your book as utter rubbish and brings you back to earth with a crash that can jar your eyeballs loose and push you into that dark place where you feel the need to scream into your pillow.
Thank you for your patience! FYI insecure authors (I love referring to myself that way!) are given to the occasional bouts of raving and ranting. Now on to the review that made me see double rainbows, butterflies, and chocolate milkshakes wherever I went today!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Trail of Words...: Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli

"...witty, touching, historical and magical. Every part of Arjuna's life is explained in such a vivid detail as if the author, herself, has witnessed the happenings and came up with this masterpiece" writes Sundeep Naidu of booksreviewwala. He also thanked me for being my grandmother! Read the rest of his review here

Friday, June 07, 2013

Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior – Prince Review by Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay

Anuja Chandramouli has expertly woven in the story of Arjuna’s life in this novel with her crisp language and smooth flow of writing. The chapters were clear and each complete in its own right. It was almost easy to imagine that I was reading a series of short stories relating to the same cast. Yet they connected and complimented each other very well to form a novel that can claim some acclaim.
You can read the rest of the review here

Monday, June 03, 2013

Arjuna is "extremely readable" says Robin Shukla

Arjuna is "extremely readable" says Robin Shukla of the Afternoon Despatch and Courier. You can read the rest of the review and his insights on women in times good and bad here

And just to clarify Mr. Shukla, the sexual incontinence of the sages, seers and the rest of the holier - than - thou types was supposed to be amusing :)

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Charming, delectable etc etc.: Priyanka and Leo share their thoughts on Arjuna

Anuja has wrapped the ancient story in a delectable christmas box of fluent writing.
What I liked most – her choice of words and flair in writing. I’m not shy to admit that I learnt quite a number of new words from her. She has written chapters one after another seamlessly. I am much impressed with the form of this book, not the content...
Read the rest of the review by Priyanka Roy Banerjee here
What I like in the book is Anuja’s understanding and passion for the story, as she tells every detail and the reader can’t help but turn the page to find out what more is there for them to read. Be it the childhood games of the Pandavas, or the rivalry between Karna and Arjuna, she tells it with a charm.
Read the rest of the review by Leo aka Vinay here

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reshmy Pillai's review of Arjuna

Anuja’s writing style is good. She has a knack of keeping the readers engrossed... You can read the rest of the review by Reshmy Pillai, here

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reviewer stays up all night with Arjuna!

This reviewer was in bed with a wicket cold and temperature. So she turned to Arjuna for solace and wound up spending the entire night with him! Hopefully she has affected a miraculous recovery. As for me, I should be able to do a couple of months on the strength of this compliment alone :)

You will find Samarpita Mukherjee - Sharma's review here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The bitter and the better!

Some more reviews are out for Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince. Posting three links below: One reviewer loved it, one hated it and the third went hmm... Ah well, guess that is the way the cookie crumbles!

The author has done a splendid job in clarifying those doubts of people like me by mentioning almost everything about Arjuna. The book covers every key events of life of not only Arjuna but also of the characters who had influenced his life. If you want to study Arjuna, or lets say Mahabharata in a new and refreshing manner, this book is a must buy. Though not famous as of now, this book will go a long way... Read the rest of it by Supriya Tyagi here

Disappointing... If you really must read the rest here

"the book was difficult to put down once I started on it! And that's saying something," For the rest of the review by Chicky Kadambari, go here


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review of Arjuna on Bookish (IndiaBookStore.net)

This 360-page dedication to Veda Vyasa, truly the finest storyteller ever, is solely a retelling of the tale of Arjuna, the valiant warrior of Hindu mythology, and his role in Mahabharata. Mahabharata is by itself a tale with a magical mix of emotions which renders any reader mesmerized. However, the uniqueness of this book lies in fact that the author retold this tale in a simple, quick and fascinating manner.
Though prior knowledge of Mahabharata partially ruined the reading experience for me, anyone who doesn’t know much about Mahabharata and Arjuna would surely find this very captivating. In the last eight chapters, many times I found myself unfathomably immersed in the proceedings of the book. So much, that when Abhimanyu and Karna died, I literally cried. 
Read the rest of the review by Lakshmikanth Koundinya for IndiaBookStore here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Arjuna banner on uRead.com and my issues with cameras!

This ad is for uRead.com. Check it out here Nice of them to advertise the book, especially with their 36,625 likes on Facebook :) Am super obliged to those good folks :) :)
My publishers ask me to provide photos for these ads and I wish they would ask for something that is not so notoriously difficult for me to obtain. The thing is I feel the same way about cameras and dogs in that I'd rather not have one staring at me hungrily. And the former in particular is a bitch with its annoying need to expose every trace of every pimple I have ever had since I hit puberty and discovered to my chagrin that a blemish free complexion was definitely not one of my God - given assets! Besides cameras are infamous for making you look fatter than you are with the unhappy result that you lose what little self - esteem you have regarding your looks especially since all your friends seem hellbent on posting unflattering pics of you on fb, twitter, whatsapp and whatever else have you. (Thank goodness for the untag option!)
Such traumatic issues with cameras have been directly responsible for yours truly breaking out into a cold sweat every time my well meaning publishers ask that I provide pics of my mug to help boost sales (I get nightmarish visions of folks tearing out ads with my face and using it to scare away mice, crows or ward away the evil spirits that are likely to give the stink eye to their lovely homes) . I scour through my photo albums and my self - image takes repeated hits that it can ill afford as I try to make peace with the fact that there are thousands of photos in this world which feature me looking fat, constipated, fat and constipated or just plain grotesque.
Anyways, my talented photographer hubby came to the rescue this time when I called him to let loose the crazies and to harangue him on his tendency to take award worthy photos of his children and every creepy crawly that ever lived on this good planet while failing to take a single decent shot of his lovely wife. By way of apology for his glaring omission, he dug up this pic where I don't look entirely horrifying and mailed it to me. In my turn, I dutifully mailed the pic to my publishers. I can breathe now, that is until the next time they ask for a pic and send me scurrying for cover.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

ARJUNA review on Vault of Books!

Anuja’s triumphant debut lays out in lavish detail the life of the greatest warrior of the epic Mahabharata times, the pandava prince Arjuna. Fast read, written in a competent prose and the action keeps moving along at a steady clip.
You can read the rest of the review by Sachin Dev, Vault of Books here

Friday, March 08, 2013

Arjuna makes YouTube debut!

Hey there folks!
     Do check out the March episode of Shoma Vs Roma in Just Released for a glimpse of Arjuna and moi :) The clip can be viewed right here.

Mr. Raghu Krishnan of The Economic Times shares his thoughts on Arjuna!

" Anuja Chandramouli's book is a very passionate one, right from the dedication (which reads "For Veda Vyasa--the finest storyteller this world has ever seen and the man who gave me the great love of my life") to the conclusion ("His embodied soul freed itself and soared heavenwards to where Krishna, Abhimanyu, and all those he had loved best, stood waiting to receive him."). It is the intensity of her writing which transforms the book into something which is much more than a 21st-century retake of the Mahabharatha. While reading her book on the greatest archer-warrior of Kurukshetra, one can almost hear M S Subbulakshmi sing "Arjuna vacha" in her eternally-popular recording of the "Vishnu Sahasranamam", introduced by Rajaji and played in millions of homes not just as a part of everyday life but at the moment when the soul leaves the body."


Mr. Raghu Krishnan, retired deputy editor of the Economic Times shares his thoughts on Arjuna here

Thank you so much, Mr Raghu Krishnan for my favorite compliment on the book. Comparing my writing to MS Subbulakshmi's heavenly singing, makes me so happy, I could cry :) 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Win a hot date with Arjuna!

     If like me you believe that the best things in life are free, I have some great news. All you have to do is take part in a simple contest and before you know it, you just may become the proud owner of a copy of Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior - Prince written by yours truly :) And if like me, your idea of a hot date is a night curled up in bed with a good book (and a giant box of ferrero rocher) then you cannot do better than Arjuna! (And I am not bragging, he is an amazing guy and you can really get intimate with him :) )
    Indiabookstore is having a Women's day contest - "womanity" and "5 lucky winners will receive books from two young, amazing female authors "  The other author is Parul Mittal.
    For details about this contest you can visit here
     

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

10 THINGS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT ARJUNA

Arjuna is the great love of my life. Small surprise that I wrote an entire book on him :)  I never miss an opportunity to discuss the Mahabaratha in general and Arjuna in particular and now is as good a time as ever to talk about him at length. Especially since my kid sister has been on my case about my lack of self - promotion genius. Read on for 10 obscure and fun facts about the great man and be prepared to fell in love.


10. ARJUNA’S GREAT BROMANCE! 
            Arjuna and Krishna were cousins who were also the best of buddies. The duo achieved great things together. Krishna was Arjuna’s charioteer during the battle of Kurukshetra and he saved Arjuna from death on many occasions.
            Theirs is a tale of timeless friendship not to mention the original bromance! Krishna loved Arjuna so much, he actually helped him abduct his own sister!!
9. ARJUNA - THE LOVERBOY 
            Arjuna was the most famous warrior of the age and this coupled with his magnetic charisma and sex appeal made him quite irresistible to the ladies of the land who all wanted him with hardly any exceptions. Some of the most beautiful maidens of the age lost their hearts to him and he must have resisted their charms as best as he could but wound up marrying them anyways. Draupadi, Uloopi – the Serpent Princess, Chitrangada, and Subhadra were the lucky ladies whom he married.







8. ARJUNA AND FORBIDDEN LOVE
Draupadi may have been the common wife of the Pandavas and sworn to love them all equally but to her dying breath she loved Arjuna more than the others. At her swayamwara (an ancient practice whereby ladies of royal blood got to choose their grooms from an assortment of men of equally distinguished birth from all over the country who would gather and pray for the honor of being the one garlanded by the Princess), it was Arjuna disguised as a poor Brahmin who performed a near impossible task to win her hand. However, thanks to her mother – in – law who being annoying in the manner of mothers – in – law across the ages put paid to her chances of a happily ever after with him by unknowingly (please!) instructing her sons to share her equally when they brought her home thinking she was nothing more than a dole of alms. And so it came to be that the bride Arjuna won was to become the wife of his brothers as well. Draupadi nursed her forbidden love for Arjuna in the innermost recesses of her heart and pined away for him for the duration of her natural life.


7. ARJUNA RESISTS SEX AND LOSES HIS SEX! 
            Urvashi was an apsara (heavenly nymph) famed for her matchless beauty. It was said that her hotness was such that even those sages who practiced the harshest of austerities and had gained renown for their mastery of the senses were transformed into quivering masses of lustful desire in her presence.
            However when this exquisite creature decided to indulge her desire for Arjuna and condescended to offer her carnal skills to him for the duration of a night, he spurned her. Arjuna refused to sleep with her because he felt their union would be incestuous since Urvashi had been married to an ancestor of his and she was in effect his great (many times over) grandmother.
            Arjuna’s reasoning was lost on Urvashi and since women then and now do not take kindly to being left high and dry she cursed him to become a eunuch and become a eunuch he did if only for a brief spell.



6. ARJUNA’S LESSER KNOWN SKILL 
            Arjuna’s skill with bow and arrows is legendary. A lesser known skill is his expertise in dance and music. It served him in good stead during his stint as the eunuch, Brihannalla. He dazzled all who had the good fortune to watch him with his dance moves which would have put even Prabhu Deva and Hrithik Roshan to shame! In fact his brother, Bhima was so impressed, that he even considered sending Brihannalla into battle to dance for their cousin and enemy, Duryodhana believing there was a distinct possibility he would laugh himself to death and spare them all the bloodshed that was otherwise inevitable.

5. ARJUNA AND THE LOST THUMB 
            In his quest for excellence and unrivalled supremacy with a bow, Arjuna exercised a ruthlessness that had tragic consequences for a blameless soul named Eklavya. Sensing a potential rival in the making he coerced his Guru, Drona into asking the lad to chop off his thumb and offer it to him as gurudakhshina. Not surprisingly, Eklavya hated Arjuna for his actions which had left him with a missing thumb. He nursed his grudge, biding the right moment to have his revenge and for that he lost his life to one who would allow no harm to befall Arjuna.

4. ARJUNA’S BADASS MOMENT 
            Arjuna was given the name Bibhatsu for his fairness and ethical conduct on the battlefield. However, there was an occasion in the battle of Kurukshetra when he behaved in a less than noble fashion.
            Bhurishrava, a mighty warrior had at his mercy, Arjuna’s dear friend Satyaki who had fallen unconscious. As Bhurishrava made to cut off Satyaki’s head, Arjuna intervened and lopped off his sword arm though it was against the rules of combat. He was censured for this act, though he argued that Bhurishrava was wrong to attempt a decapitation on a fallen foe. It was just too bad neither of them had a handbook on the proper ethics pertaining to lopping off heads or limbs!



3. ARJUNA’S WRESTLING BOUT WITH THE DESTROYER
            While on exile with his brothers, Arjuna decided to perform penances and win the favor of Shiva, the destroyer. Pleased with his dedication, Shiva himself appeared before him in the guise of a hunter. Not recognizing the truth, Arjuna got into a fight with the object of his worship and was pummeled to within an inch of his life. But when he found out the truth he apologized and mercifully was forgiven by the three – eyed God.









2. ARJUNA’S LOVE -  HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH SNAKES 
            The Serpent Princess, Uloopi loved Arjuna with all her heart but the Serpent Prince, Ashwasena hated Arjuna with an intensity that defied belief. The latter tried his darndest to kill him and came within an inch of succeeding. Uloopi saved Arjuna from the flames of hell and if that were not enough she brought him back to life after he was killed in battle by his own son whom she had trained for this express purpose.





1. ARJUNA’S NEAR DEATH BY MONKEY
            Humility was not one of the many virtues Arjuna was known for. His arrogance almost cost him his life when he entered into a reckless bet with an aged monkey. Arjuna told the monkey his skill with archery was such that he was capable of building a massive bridge across the sea made entirely out of arrows to enable an army to cross with ease. The monkey who was actually Hanuman in disguise politely expressed his disbelief and bet that such a bridge would be insufficient to bear his puny self let alone the weight of an entire army.
            Arjuna did lose the bet and since he had sworn to step into a sacrificial fire should he fail, he prepared to immolate himself. It was the Protector of the Universe, Lord Vishnu who stepped in to save his braggart behind. 

 Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince is available online at:
Amazon
Kindle
Flipkart
HomeShop 18
Crossword
Leadstart Publishing

Bashing Beauty!

There was a news article on NDTV (read about it here) about an Indian student's death in the United Kingdom believed to have been caused by weight loss pills. He was only 18. It made me really sad and I got to ruminating about the insane pressure to look good these days. So I just typed up some of my thoughts on the same and put it up on BI.

        It could just be me, but there seems to be an incredible amount of pressure to look beautiful all the damn time. Earlier, the onus was entirely on celebs and they were and still are expected to hit the loo with pancake and lipstick on. But since they are paid beaucoup bucks to look awesome it is their problem if they get fat – shamed for daring to pile on the pounds post pregnancy like Aishwarya Rai or slammed by the fashion police for daring to wear their exorbitant designer togs twice(Gasp!). Nowadays, however, everyone is expected to sport the celeb look and be perfectly groomed and beautiful even when doing something unglamorous like taking out the trash.
            If that there were not bad enough there is society’s current definition of beauty to contend with. Gone are the days when Rubens used his artistry to convince his peers that pudgy brunettes were the epitome of beauty. In this brave new world, a woman has to be skinny, possessed of alabaster – hued and blemish- free skin, poker straight perfectly coiffed hair, pearly white teeth and a sartorial savvy that includes a perfect willingness to sacrifice comfort for fashion. And it goes without saying that stretch marks, cellulite, bodily hair, junk in the trunk, unplucked eyebrows, uneven skin tone et al are the great destroyers of flawless beauty. Wearing comfortable flat – heeled shoes that don’t aggravate your acrophobia or your favorite pair of baggy pants and oversized tees that actually allows for unconstricted respiration is guaranteed to provoke uncalled for looks of withering scorn and sarcastic comments on how the frumpy, dumpy look is working out for ya.
            The problem with gamely trying to become more beautiful than your maker intended you to be is that it is far too much work to be any kind of fun and it is ridiculously expensive. Agreed that working out is enjoyable and beneficial to good health, but if one is hoping to give Jessica Biel a run for her money or give our very own Bipasha Basu an inferiority complex, then the prescribed three hours a week is not going to cut it. A person would need to clock in the same amount of time in the gym as a regular 9 to 5 job and pay through the proverbial nose to get the desired results. There is a shortcut of course and that is to starve/undergo liposuction/use weight loss pills/steroids/develop an eating disorder/take up smoking and risk certain death or other potentially long – term ailments to get that deliciously malnourished look so prized by fashion designers, model agencies and the rest of the beauty brigade.
            Getting skinny is only the beginning though. There is still the grooming process. Hard earned money has to be blown up on the beauty parlors and spas that have erupted like unsightly sores in every nook and corner of whichever part of the globe you head to, demanding that you enter their portals and subject yourself to the torture devices within so that you may be transformed from the ugly duckling you currently are to a beautiful swan, for the right sum of course. Waxing, manicures, pedicures, hair spa, hair straightening, coloring, oil massages, facials, body polishing are some of the services that have to be availed on a monthly nee weekly basis to keep from looking scruffy or just natural (What a horrifying and utterly revolting thought!) And if all that pampering has done nothing for a slightly crooked nose or smile lines, it is time to look up a decent plastic surgeon who can deliver the goods.
            A girl may have puked for ten days straight before the compliments on her ravishing new body start rolling in or she may have practically beggared herself to pay for beauty treatments and plastic surgery but her quest for beauty is far from complete. The next stop is Fifth Avenue or the Champs Elysees for the moneyed, the nearest mall having a sale, or just about any store selling knockoffs for the hoi polloi. After all, you are what you wear aren’t you? So it is imperative that one invests in clothes, more clothes, accessories like scarves, watches, handbags, jewelry, and shoes, shoes and more shoes and underwear that is likely to asphyxiate your crotch. And it is a fashion boo boo to wear the same thing more than once so that thing we learned in school – “Waste not, want not” has to be unlearned asap.
            I could be way off base here, but surely there are more constructive ways to spend time and money? Why are we all swearing by the adage that in order to feel good you must look good? Isn’t it simpler to feel good about yourself and love whatever the heck you see in the mirror? Even if the creature reflected in front of you has bushy eyebrows, thinning hair, crooked teeth, a double chin, a zit or two and absolutely no fashion sense to speak of? It is long overdue, but we need to paraphrase Keats and start believing that a thing of fugly can also be a joy forever if not for others (who cares about others anyway?) at least for the precious self. 

The original version appeared here

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Lazy Blogger

I promised myself I'll work on my blog today. But all I wanna actually do is veg out in front of the TV. As the subsequent battle of wills that raged on within me proved inconclusive, a compromise has been arrived at - I'll simply put up some of my favorite posts from my lost blog! That ought to shut up the persistent creature within me with the rod up her behind. So here it is.


I AM BACK!!! (posted on July 10th 2010)

Wow!!! Its been soooo long since I blogged. But I have been busy (kinda an understatement :) ) Got pregnant with baby number two and I must admit I freaked out a lil bit. Found myself in a constant state of panic as I wondered how exactly I was going to raise two kids and simultaneously do all the other stuff I had planned for myself (Write the best novel ever, win the Booker Prize, write a script that will have the hollywood bigwigs queing outside my home in Sivadump, win the Academy award for best screenplay, see the world, dive with the sharks, and finally get that perfect body) . Unfortunately, none of this is compatible with childbirth.

Anyways, I handled myself very well all things considering. I snapped at hubby and everyone who had the ill judgment to come within a foot of me, lost my mind temporarily when Doc informed me that she was not even going to attempt a normal delivery, spent the next few months raving about quacks who wanted to butcher you, cried at the drop of a hat, and generally drove everyone nuts with my bad behaviour. Finally, I found a way to get a grip ... STAR WORLD and Veda's PEDIASURE. The former helped me veg out and put my life on hold temporarily while the latter became my pet poison to drive the panic demons away.

I started writing in earnest as well but decided to put blogging on the back burner. By the time Varna was born I had successfully tackled my panic attacks. After the delivery, I was buried under an avalanche of mommy duties that included feeding, changing diapers, looking after the elder one,staying up nights, and keeping my act together. Star world reliable as always is still my bastion of strength and Ensure which has replaced Pediasure is the magic potion that keeps me going. And here is a tip for mommies who stay up nights - pop a DVD into the player and watch a movie. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale once kept me company while Varna struggled with sleep issues.

Anyways, Varna is almost 5 months old and Veda is going to play school. As for me, I am writing again. Women's Era ( God bless em) publishes some of my articles. Also doing some research work. And I have made my peace with the fact that it will be a while before I do the other stuff, I wanted to but I have promised myself that I'll do it eventually.

Cut to January 10, 2013
I had started work on Arjuna a few months after I got pregnant with Varna. Could not talk about it to anyone at the time because it was terrifying initially. Ted explains it best on How I Met Your Mother (Love the show!) when he talks to Robin explaining why he was procrastinating having decided to strike out on his own. He talks about his great dream of becoming an architect and the hidden fear that if he actually does something about it and fails then it would no longer be a dream but merely yet another thing he failed at. Sums up what I felt exactly. Nearly two and a half years later, I am relieved because I managed to take a teeny step in the right direction but I am still terrified because I am yet to realize my dream. 

On a less profound note, I am still far from getting the perfect body. 2012 was a great year because it was the year when I successfully lost 12 kilos. Triumph ought to be the predominant emotion right now but sheepish is how I feel at present. The damned end of the year festivities are to blame. There were too many yummy things to eat and the fat demons caught up with me adding 3 kilos to my 5'1 frame which can ill accommodate the excess baggage. Damn it!!

I wrote my first script for a director but more on that tragic story later! Good night!!

First Look of Arjuna!!!

Ain't he handsome? I think so...
The cover design is by Fravashi Aga who has done an absolutely phenomenal job!
Thanks to my publishers at Platinum Press (an imprint of Leadstart publishing) for the awesome job they did on the cover :)

Friday, January 04, 2013

A spate of hate!

     I love being a columnist but unfortunately, I have a horrible tendency to procrastinate. And then when an email turns up from by my BW editor saying it is my turn to submit a column, it becomes a mad rush to make the deadline. Behindwoods is an entertainment website and columns are on movies so while I was wracking my brains trying to come up with a column idea inspiration hit me! The papers were full of the Guwahati molestation case. A video on YouTube showing a girl being publicly molested by a mob outside a bar had gone viral and I thought a column on the same would be just the thing. And I incorporated some disturbing elements of Tamil cinema into the piece as this was to be published by Behindwoods.
     You will find the fruit of my labors below...
     News nowadays is the equivalent of a horror show as people seem to be forever trying to outdo each other when it comes to acts of sheer evil. Even so the nation finds itself reeling as one of the most gruesome incidents in the history of our country unfolded on the streets of Guwahati when a young girl was molested by a 50 – strong mob. As if this were not disgusting enough, nobody helped this girl – not the police and not the respectable citizens who happened to be passing through. Some in the crowd recorded this abysmal scene for posterity and though questions have been asked about their intentions the fact is they managed to secure evidence. But despite said evidence, the police seem to be having the hardest time bringing the miscreants to justice and only a handful of arrests have been made thus far.
People are still trying to come to terms with how such things can possibly happen in a supposedly civilized nation. But it is not at all surprising given that India is a very unsafe country for women and has proven itself to be so on far too many occasions. Even after a crime of such daunting proportions, as a nation we are not unanimous in condemning that mob from hell and bringing them to justice immediately. The moral police, those self – appointed guardians of spiteful convention have been quick to point out that girls who frequent nightclubs and get into physical altercations with members of the opposite sex deserve what they have coming from mobs gone nuts. Words fail me when it comes to responding to people who spout more crap from their mouths than their behinds. Sure, it is not the height of good behavior to fight in public with your guy friend but surely even the most hardened moralists will have to admit that the punishment was far too harsh for a tiny lapse in judgment? Besides peeing on the road is worse in terms of acceptable behavior but men do it anyways and so far nobody has had their privates chopped off by a mob of disgusted women have they?
It is precisely this kind of thinking that is the root cause for crimes against women and why sympathetic cops who belong to the good old boys network won’t knock themselves out trying to put offenders behind bars. Girls are taught to behave or else… and boys are taught to be nice to nice girls. So women are forever being subjected to snap judgments as to whether they are ladies or tramps and are treated accordingly mostly by those whose judgment is severely impaired. The girl who was molested by the mob was dressed decently enough before she had her clothes forcibly ripped off but many would argue the point saying that skirts and tops are the heights of indecency. And as for the thousands of women who get raped despite being covered from top to toe, the crime is justified with morons arguing that the ethnic outfit (western clothes are deemed vulgar by default even it if it is a baggy pair of jeans and a tee) in question was provocatively worn or at a come – hitherish angle.
Movies have played a powerful role in shaping this kind of prehistoric thinking. A particularly memorable scene comes to mind from the movie, Sivakasi. Asin’s character gets manhandled by a creepy individual and instead of bashing him up and giving him his just desserts, the hero (Vijay) gives her a tongue lashing on the inappropriateness of her shorts and cropped top as apparently they are the equivalent of lingerie and incite lust in men. This writer was amazed not just by this scene but the fact that she was the only one (seemingly) in the entire theatre who wanted to hurl a brick at the screen. The rest were on their feet screaming their approbation of the hero’s anachronistic lecture. Even the women were shaking their heads in agreement. It is totally possible to envision their sons growing up to become rapists or molesters or wife – beaters. 
Yet another famous scene is from Shankar’s Gentleman. The heroine (Madhubala) is a nice, sari – clad homely girl but the same cannot be said about her city – bred cousin, Suganthi who favors skimpy clothes and is into touching games (Ye Gads!). Needless to say a bunch of thugs try to rape her and she is rescued by the gentlemanly hero (Arjun) who points out to the deeply upset girl that such a thing would have never happened to her modest cousin and she should stop her ‘nonsense’. Nobody points out to the hero that Suganthi is just a na├»ve kid with a vibrant personality and a fashion sense to go with it. She certainly did not deserve to be almost raped. But again most people in this part of the world would agree with the hero’s misguided notions of right and wrong. And the worst part is that even so – called nice guys in the real world would feel the same way. And while they will give their lives to protect their mothers, sisters, wives, friends et al, they will choose to look away when a skinny girl is molested by a mob outside a night club.
It has to be accepted that movies never directly endorse violence against women but when violence against women is shown it is almost always justified. In Dhool, Vikram takes his belt to Swarna akka because when he tells her that he won’t hit her on account of her being a woman she scornfully says that she is the equivalent of ten men. And then our hero delivers his punch diapogue, “Appo unna adikurathula thappae illa!” Perhaps Swarna ka pushed him too far. But Richa’s Yamini in Mayakkam Enna certainly did not push Karthik (Dhanush) but wound up getting beaten up anyways by her “genius” husband who tends to fly into psychotic fits of rage when things don’t go his way. Yamini puts up with this treatment and is the patient, suffering wife to the fag end. Let us not forget the implied message – this is how a dutiful wife ought to behave even when her husband almost kills her and succeeds in killing her unborn child. After all, the rewards are great for those who suffer in silence (and it is too bad if an early grave is the happiest ending women can hope for under these circumstances)
Many such examples of this covert propaganda against women may be cited. But the simple fact is that we need to change our collective attitude as a nation and stop being sexist. The double standards that arise from the skewered notion that men can get away with murder because they are men and women have to cower in their homes in their chastity belts in order to be treated with the respect they deserve has to be done away with once and for all. Otherwise, India will go on being populated by pigs that don’t have the sagacity to be decent human beings but can revel in a puffed up sense of masculinity by converging on a defenseless girl and brazenly attacking her.
     This piece was duly published. A couple of days later I was nearly engulfed by a tidal wave of hate. A lot of the readers thought I was taking potshots at Vijay and Vikram though I had only mentioned a couple of scenes I had found offensive in their movies. Here are some of the more charming comments...
     Either stop watching movies or stop writing!
     gentleman 1993, dhool 2003, sivakasi 2005. gosh just because you are given an opportunity it doesn't mean you can write up anything. and mayakkam enna hero was mentally unstable. ok I give that to you. but please when you are starting your column with "nowadays" it means 2011 and onwards. please step into this decade.
     Vikram , Vijay movie promotes Prehistoric thinking? Nonsence with some baseless examples!
     Anuja.. please don't think you are too smart and don't think you are writing a great patriotic article.. first of all there is no connection b/w guwahati incident and tamil cinema scenes. The title given by you is ridiculous.. how can you compare a group of rapist with the great talents of tamil cinema ( Shankar, Vikram, Vijay ) Cant you take the good thoughts provided by Shankar in the films Gentleman, Indian, Anniyan.. ore oru Dialogue sollitaangalam,, athe pathi pesae vanthutaange. Vikram is a great legend who came from scratch and inspiration of many youths, Vijay is a great entertainer of tamil cinema, shankar ofcourse is the best thinker of kollywood who takes it to next level.. your article is biased and no strong relations to the issues wat u mentioned in it.. Ask sorry to Vikram and Vijay fans and better don continue writing anymore. (This comment got 28 likes!)

       Initially, the comments freaked me out a little bit though I said that such comments were beneath me and would not dignify them with a response. Some sweet friends put up comments in my defense though. But now I am strangely fond of this piece and even the comments. Because as a writer I want my readers to respond with passion to my pieces. And may be when I have honed my craft further my readers will continue to respond strongly but love me to pieces as well :) But love or hate as long as I have readers I am happy. 
     The original version appeared here

In Retrospect...

     I wrote an article for BehindIndia.com on fighting rape. While reading it lately, I could not help but think that there was so much more that could have been added. Read it for yourself reader and then we shall discuss it some more.
     The rash of rape cases that have rocked Haryana has resulted in a media blitzkrieg with the state government being torn apart for failing to provide enough security for women and attention getting focused on the shockingly negligent attitude of the cops. 19 cases have been reported in the past 34 days and a majority of the victims have been Dalits or underage. Naturally, far from taking steps to stop this contagion of carnal crimes a bunch of people have been taking it in turns to spout off nonsensical garbage that appears to be unrivalled in terms of sheer inanity.
The Khap Panchayat raised hackles by saying that rape could be prevented if the legally permissible age for marriage was to be lowered. By suggesting that we ought to encourage men to become statutory rapists they have earned the wrath and scorn of an entire nation. But there are others who have outdone even these geniuses. A Congress minister said that the whole situation in Haryana was a conspiracy against the ruling party and yet another Congress minister asserted that in his opinion, 90 percent of the rape victims consent to “go” with their assailants. Given the attitude that seems to be prevalent among those in positions of power, it is small wonder that women are not safe not only in Haryana but in the rest of the country as well. Apparently, in India, a rape is committed ever hour! (It is equally likely that this statistic, I pulled off a Google search is a gross underestimation!)
Women need to wake up to the fact that unfortunately, we do not live in a Utopian society where new age  Knights in shiny designer apparel exist and live by a code of chivalrous conduct whereby they are expected to be courteous and considerate towards women, display courage, honor and valor, and most importantly zoom to the rescue of damsels in distress in flashy sports cars. A woman dare not risk feeling safe even in terrain she has traversed since she was out of diapers or even in the comfort of her own home. And despite what the Khap Panchayat wants you to believe, married women are certainly not safe. And despite what believers in the tooth fairy and world peace have to say, children are not safe either. Once, a woman can force herself to accept this scary truth, she has to take steps to do whatever is necessary to empower herself.
It is important for women to stop being sitting ducks. They should adopt Kannagi as their role model – not the mousy woman who wept while her husband was seduced by a comely courtesan and then wept some more when he sold off almost all her jewelry to keep his lover in style, I am talking about the woman who burnt down a city with the potency of her rage. Goddess Kali is an even better role model with her garland of skulls, protruding tongue and the alarming fierceness of her countenance not to mention, the cool sword she carries and the decapitated human head. It is time for women to embrace their inner Goddess. Surely it is the only way to even the odds against them in the fight against rape and the prevention of similar perversities?
A few simple precautions can go a long way towards making a difference. Carrying a can of pepper spray in the handbag while stepping out is a potential weapon against assailants. Deo – spray is less deadly but it is still effective. Money shelled out towards self – defense classes is money well spent. Few things in the world are likely to be more satisfying that driving a trained knee into the groin of a would – be rapist or landing a well placed kick to the kidneys. And one does not have to have the skills of a Bruce Lee to fight back. Fingernails are invaluable when it come to clawing out the eyeballs of a sex offender. The teeth can also be employed to good measure. And anyone can throw a decent punch under supreme provocation.
Do not be careless where safety is concerned. Keep your doors locked and barred even if you are living in what you perceive to be the safest neighborhood in the universe. It suits a lot of people to believe that horrible things happen to other people far removed from the minutiae of their own lives and they themselves are wrapped in an impenetrable armor of invincibility. That kind of thinking may be likened to that of the Ostrich which believes the smartest thing to do when confronted by an enemy to stick its stupid head into the sand. It sucks to live life with so much precaution, but it must be remembered that no woman is safe in this world.
The few decent men out there can chip in as well to keep women safe. The next time, they witness any kind of atrocity being perpetrated against any member of the female sex, instead of whipping out their cameras even if it is for the ostensible reason of gathering evidence (remember the intrepid reporter who captured the appalling sight of a young woman being public molested outside a bar on camera?), they ought to help out even if outnumbered. They ought to stop judging women or their attire and simply see them as human beings. Because no human being deserves to be raped. And it is time to take the fight to the rapists and bring them down once and for all. Enough is enough!
Do you see what I meant? In light of the Delhi bus gang - rape case, all the stuff I mentioned did little good. A 23 - year old physiotherapy student was gang - raped by six men on a moving bus. She had fought back with the paltry weapons at her disposal. Cops discovered bite marks on three of the accused and DNA results reportedly show a match to the victim. And no doubt she tried to kick or scratch but the sad thing was the fact that she fought back provoked the animals into giving her a brutal beating with a rusted iron rod that caused what turned out to be mortal organ damage. Her male companion who also fought in her defense was taken out with the same rod and he also suffered severe head injury. The two victims had been lured into the bus and the savages had reportedly taunted the girl asking her what she was doing at that time of the night with a man. 
In retrospect, it would appear that preventive measures would do more good as well as constant vigilance. But all that would come to naught as long as idiot males persist in justifying rape. As long as men consider themselves as self - appointed judges of a woman's virtue or lack of it, this menace will continue to plague the nation. And Mother India will be royally buggered. 
The original version of this article appeared here.

A Muted Beginning

      New year celebrations in India have been muted this year. The Delhi bus gang - rape victim succumbed to her injuries and died on December 29th. She had been gang - raped by six men who also viciously assaulted her with an iron rod on a moving bus. The extent of her injuries, going by newspaper reports were grievous indeed and I was scared for her from the beginning. Doctors had performed five major surgeries on her and according to their statement, her intestines were so badly damaged that they were inoperable. Later medical bulletions revealed that she had developed infection in the lungs and abdomen, had suffered a cardiac arrest and her brain had also been injured. She was air - lifted to Singapore where a team of specialists stated that her condition was critical and deteriorating rapidly as she had multiple organ failure. Doctors had repeatedly expressed their amazement that she had survived given how badly her body had been battered and marveled at her amazing fighting spirit. But her fight was nearly done and just like that she was gone leaving a nation shattered by grief.

     The trial is currently underway and 5 of the accused are being tried for rape and murder, the 6th is few months shy of 18 so he has been remanded in a juvenile home (more on than later). I had written an article on this case for BI last year. You can check out the original version here. I have produced parts of it below with some more thoughts on the incident that has galvanized a nation.


     Since rape is commonplace in India, we have traditionally given it the attention we normally accord to performing our morning ablutions and have proceeded on our merry way. But the sheer brutality of the attack has galvanized a nation out of its turpitude and tentacles of outrage have spread out leaving in its wake a churning and heaving mass of killing passion. Protestors gathered at India Gate in their thousands to head towards Rashtrapati Bhavan demanding justice but somehow lofty principles vanished in a heartbeat leaving nothing but chaos as the demonstration turned violent and the cops had to resort to water – cannons and tear gas to restore order. And at the end of it all, one more innocent became a victim when a police constable, Suresh Tomar was attacked by hooligans and left unconscious. He succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. There were also disturbing reports about female protesters being manhandled by the cops.

      This kind of savage knee – jerk reaction is so characteristic of India and Indians. We spend entire lifetimes closing our eyes to injustice. We plod on with our jobs and lives believing that if we refuse to see evil, hear evil or speak of evil then we can escape its embrace in our lives and avoid becoming victims. As long as terrible things don’t happen to us and anybody we give two hoots about, we are content. So we pay our bribes, refuse to take a stand and we certainly cannot be bothered with helping those in need or fixing our country even if it is falling apart sick as it is with the rot of corruption. And then every once in a while something tragic happens on such a large scale that we are forced to open our eyes and acknowledge that nobody is safe. 

         Becoming aware of the truth is one thing but handling its consequences is far trickier. In the United States of America, Adam Lanza killed his mother before walking into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killing 20 children and 6 adults and turning the gun far too late on himself. Fighting past the bottomless grief and despair, America has been wrestling with its conscience and trying to decide whether an American’s constitutional right to own a gun is worth so many lives. 


       In Ireland, Savita Halappanavar lost her life because of the Catholic nation’s strict anti – abortion laws. Her death saw them grapple with their faith while reconciling its demands to the needs of its people even as passion boiled over on the lava of grief Savita’s death engendered. But finally, good sense prevailed and laws legalizing abortion when the mother’s life is at risk came into being.

       In India, the Delhi – bus gang rape has resulted in a torrential outpouring of grief and anger but little else. There have been calls for rapists to be hanged or castrated or castrated and hanged. Demands have been made on the government as well. The populace will not be put off with our leaders clucking over the incident with sympathy or empty promises, they want action and they want it fast with new laws regarding rape, fast – track courts to prevent such cases from languishing in courts for all eternity and more protection for women. In a commendable move, citizens took to the streets to demand justice for the victim. In a not so commendable move, some of the protestors took to violence with the cops responding in kind. At the end of it all, only anarchy seems to reign supreme having beaten good sense into oblivion.
    
       Now like a drunkard or a dieter after a night of unrestricted bingeing on booze and forbidden goodies, we are all going to wake up feeling sick to the stomach and in need of a healthy dose of denial to forget the irrefutable fact that we are idiots who deserve the country we live in, the government which rules us, and the monsters we have raised ourselves to give us endless grief. Worse, nameless horror lurks around every corner and the next headline is likely to have our name on it. What does one do when confronted with the unpalatable truth? Why we do what we always have… Get on with our ablutions, skip the boring news section served up by overenthusiastic journalists and go straight to the entertainment or sports section. Then we can obsess about a celeb’s dieting woes or sex life and howl for Sachin’s retirement (and bemoan his loss when we have successfully pressured him into doing just that) and Dhoni’s blood. As for rapists and murderers they will lie low for a while remembering full well that their time will come soon when the nation has gone back to sleep the way it usually does. 
       
        Or dare we hope for change? Knowing our country that seems almost foolishly optimistic. But even so one can hope can't one? 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Hopeless Blogger

      I started blogging on January 29th, 2009. It was the fulfillment of my New Year's resolution. I had promised to do something about my writing career which seemed to be floundering even before it had taken off. So I figured that blogging would help me get over myself. Every time, I opened my laptop I would become paralyzed by fear. A fear that perhaps I was not really a good writer leave alone a great one. What if I started writing and nobody would want to read my stuff not even me? I had spent about a year and a half doing term papers online and I knew it was time to move on. It was time to simply get out there, start writing and hope that the newspapers, magazines and netizens will love me and I will have a billion adoring readers worldwide. And so after only 29 days of procrastination, I put up my first post. Reading it now, makes me cringe  (you can check it out at http://www.anujamouli.blogspot.in/search?updated-max=2009-01-29T10:48:00-08:00&max-results=7&start=49&by-date=false )  but in retrospect it was definitely a step in the right direction, even if I only managed 57 followers J

 It has been over a year since my last blog post and Google and Blogger are entirely to blame. The former bought out the latter and I received an email with a set of complicated instructions about how I needed a gmail id for Blogger. Long boring story short, due to reasons beyond my limited comprehension, I can no longer access my original blog though I do have gmail.
Anyways it had served its purpose. I had put up a few reviews of Tamil movies on my blog and was hired by Behindwoods.com as a content writer and columnist for their entertainment and news websites. More importantly, I was writing even though I was as freaked out as before with the result that nearly four years after my first blog post my first book – Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior Prince is all set to hit the stores on January 20th.
Now that is a happy ending for a hopeless blogger, I suppose. But the nameless, constant dread is back and I have a terrible case of the prerelease jitters. What if nobody wants to read my book? What if only 57 people read it? What if those who read it hate it? What if those who read it and hate it slam my book in reviews that go viral?

Fortunately better sense has kicked in and I have decided to start blogging again before I torture and mentally f**k myself into a loony bin. Besides I needed a forum to shamelessly plug my new book. So unless Google and Blogger decide otherwise, I am back to my hopeless blogging.