Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Darling, What You Don't Know

Time flies. One never knows how one reaches that stage of life when you either look back and reminiscence about the past with nostalgia or just move on. My trip to Kolkata was one unfolded a lot of family secrets to me.

Life is really funny actually. As you grow, you are supposed to be wiser. But then at a certain corner you find a parcel, all wrapped up with the memories of life, neatly tied with love from your mom. A bundle called Darling, What You Didn't Know. 

I found this bundle in my cousin's house. A small neatly packed box, that had one diary. My family members told me that they had kept it for me - as a memory of my mom. I was a bit hesitant to open it at first. After all, secrets always make your heart bleed. But all my cousins insisted and so I opened it. 

A small diary, written in my mom's small and beautiful handwriting. They were scripts. Beautiful short stories sculpted into scripts. I never even knew my Mom was a scriptwriter. Those yellowed pages, re-introduced her to me - as a woman. Today I have started a diary of my own. Hoping one day it would introduce me to my daughter. The day she would need me most, and I would be twinkling somewhere in the cosmos of life. 

So my darling daughter.. let's keep the family tradition on.. Coming one  What You Don't Know, err.. lecture from me soon. For Life. 

This post is for the Day 2 of the Bar-A-Thon Challenge. Today's Prompt, What You Don't Know

Blog-A-Rhythm is proud to present BAR-A-THON, the week-long blogging marathon for bloggers everywhere! Yes, that’s right. A whole week of blogging, keeping in mind the fact that the more we write, the better we get.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Spotlight: DANCING WITH DEMONS by Nidhie Sharma



DANCING WITH DEMONS
by
Nidhie Sharma



Blurb

Karan Pratap Singh is on the brink of winning the Amateur Boxing Championship, when in a moment, he loses it all. His fall from glory seems fuelled by ruthless arrogance and an out-of-control anger management problem. That, however is just symptomatic of a deeper issue. Buried under layers of his fractured subconscious lies a childhood secret he cannot come to terms with.

Sonia Kapoor is a beautiful, volatile young woman with a secret that torments her at night but a secret that she feels no guilt for.

When fate throws Karan and Sonia together in Mumbai, their personal demons and pasts collide and stir up trouble in their fragile and uncertain present. But, is redemption possible without forgiveness?

Dancing with Demons is a fast-paced action drama of love, loss and resurrection.

Grab your copy @


Watch It...




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


The Book Club introduces Nidhie Sharma to you

1. Tell us a little bit about your background. When did you start writing?

My journey into the world of storytelling began way before I graduated with honours in English literature and was offered scholarship by the university. The early formative years took me into the world of the Panchatantra and classic English literature while I also watched my mother paint. At the same time, I got introduced to the joys of adventure sports too since my father was in the Armed forces. On hindsight, I think these early influences shaped my storytelling ability, albeit in a visual way.

I read voraciously through my teenage years and graduated to Booker prize winning novels quickly. I think reading good literature is hugely instrumental in widening mental horizons and giving the reader an ability to comprehend complex characters, their emotional and physical graphs, along with a unique insight into the geo-political landscape of the times the novel is set in. All of this is a fantastic bedrock and training ground for good writing.

I started experimenting with poetry and short stories initially, and a lot of the early writing during my childhood happened under the open sky in my garden, lying on the grass, dreaming about heroes, action and adventure.

At the age of twelve, I had written what might now be called a Novella. It was about the daily exploits of a girl and her group of friends and how they explored a new part of the nearby jungle every day, in search of wild animals, thrills, and adventure. It was autobiographical of course and my delighted parents had it printed and bound into a small book. They treasure it to this day.

Studying English literature in college helped me enormously in comprehending and interpreting works of literature and soon after, I started to write book reviews for national newspapers. I also wrote short stories every single day during those college years and I think that has helped me hone my craft.

I realize now that writing a drama set in the world of combat sports, which most critics have called visual and action packed, is no accident. Dancing with Demons is a sum total of all my early influences and experiences.


2. How would you describe your book Dancing with Demons? What prompted you to write a book on boxing?

‘Dancing with Demons’ is a gripping romance drama set against the backdrop of combat sports in India. It is the story of two fallen souls who must vanquish their inner demons to become the people they were destined to be. When the story begins, Karan Pratap Singh, an  angst-ridden boxer and the mysterious and volatile Sonia Kapoor are angry and emotionally damaged by their pasts and when fate throws them together in Mumbai, their personal demons and pasts collide and stir trouble in their fragile and uncertain present. "It was some night. Thunder and lightning playing, chasing one another like two furtive, carefree lovers, oblivious to the havoc they were wrecking. Sonia put her hand out of the window as the bus started to hurtle down the highway, to Mumbai. A sliver of lightning fell on the trees just ahead of them, setting a large bush on fire. Then thunder roared again... Perhaps this was an appropriate setting for what was to follow...two tumultuous lives on a head-on collision course.”

This book explores if redemption is possible without forgiveness and also delves into the depth and unsaid connection that Karan and Sonia have with each other. In fact, Sonia’s poems in the novel throw light not only on self-love and forgiveness but also on the passionate and intense relationship that these two anti-heroes share.

“I know I’m not easy to love
On somedays there’s no God above
And maybe it’s a messed up world
Into which we have been hurled
And maybe I remind you of you
So Love yourself darling, to love me too”

Overcoming one's limitations or demons is essential in order to fulfill one's true potential. That is the real core of this story. The good thing is, millions of people find a way to battle and overcome their inner demons. So there is hope for everyone and 'Dancing with Demons' is about that hope. It's about the light at the end of the tunnel.

This novel is a fast-paced story of love, loss and resurrection for both Karan and Sonia.  

3. What prompted you to write a book on boxing?

I was brought up in an army background that exposes you to adventure and the outdoors very early on. Having studied in various army schools across India, I trained in karate, horse-riding and attended adventure camps. Camping, trekking, hiking along with all the unforgettable misadventures shaped my love for the outdoors.

As a teenager, I watched live boxing matches as well. They fascinated me no end. Two men beating the hell out of each other while spectators egged them on. I noticed that every time a boxer bled in the ring, the audience cheered even louder. Human reaction to violence only shows how deep and primal that instinct is and this totally fascinated me back then. I started to watch boxing championships on the internet. Soon I was following the sport like a fan and started going for the big fights to Madison square garden while I was studying filmmaking in New York. I met boxers and coaches out of curiosity and interest. I spent time inside boxing gyms and also started to train and spar.

Personally, I love the raw athleticism in this sport and the fact that it is a skillful craft, needing strategy and forethought . Also, when the boxers fight, it is almost like a dance in the ring, lyrical and rhythmic, and that has drawn me to it visually as well. Given my exposure and interests, I think the stage to write Dancing with Demons, was set long ago.

4. What inspires you to write?

A lot of things actually but my mother’s abstract paintings have been my greatest inspiration. Almost nothing inspires me more than a work of art, even a great piece of music for that matter. The outdoors and the sight of a rising sun sometimes triggers the need to put pen to paper. Since I enjoy observing life and am particularly fascinated by human duality and contradictions, I spend a lot of time creating complex and flawed characters and then throwing them into a world I am familiar with. The writing that follows is automatically organic and un-manipulated. Ultimately for me, it’s almost always about exploring and learning something new through the process of creation.

5. And do you ever have a writer's block? What do you do to get rid of it?

I am very passionate about the stories I want to tell and on most days I don’t feel the block but when I do, I think discipline helps. I’ve realized through personal experience that showing up in front of that laptop every single day is the only way to beat it.


6. Who are your favourite writers and poets and have they in anyway motivated you to be better at your craft? If so, how?

My favorite writers are Rohinton Mistry, Ian Mcewan, Maya Angelou, Kiran Desai, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Samuel Beckett, John Donne and T.S Eliot, to name a few. The unparalleled quality of their writing is a huge motivation for any young storyteller and I’m no exception. Like I mentioned earlier, my journey into the world of writing began with reading good literature and I strive every single day to better my craft.

7. Apart from writing what are your other interests?

I enjoy the outdoors, adventure sports, photography, watching plays and music of all genres.

8. You are also a filmmaker, how do you juggle between both the crafts?

The first step for a Writer-Director like me is to put an interesting story in place and once that is accomplished, then it’s all about visually interpreting and executing it.

As a filmmaker, I think I  am lucky to have a unique advantage by virtue of being a novelist too. It has given me a deeper understanding of story, characterization, plot, subplots, genres, mood and tone,  all of which are an essential part of building an engaging narrative, be it for a movie or a novel. I also have greater understanding of the source material (the novel) and the training to adapt it for the screen. Infact, I have already finished adapting ‘Dancing with Demons’ into a screenplay and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Although Cinema and literature are principally two different mediums, both aim at telling an interesting story well and despite their own unique challenges and audiences, I think it is possible to straddle them equally well if one has the talent, passion and training for storytelling.

Personally, I fell blessed that I am able to juggle between these two crafts and I’m having a lot of fun doing so.

9. Finally, what is your next novel going to be about and where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I write every single day and am sure the next story will find me soon enough.

The journey for ‘Dancing with Demons’ is still on and my full focus and energies at the moment are on directing the film.

I am a filmmaker-novelist and that’s all I know, so that’s where you’ll find me even five years down the line.



Stalk her @

                  



Follow us +Pinterest









Play with us to win some unusual prizes   


a Rafflecopter giveaway


         
This Tour is Hosted by 




We Promote So That You Can Write 








Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Ambiguous Origin of the Devadasis . Letter D

Disclaimer: none of my stories are my views. I am just presenting different views as was present or is prevalent at a certain period of time.

http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/
If we trace back the history of a Devdasi system you will find many ambiguities. But there is one that really caught my attention. It was totally against all that I believed in. Maybe this is a theory given by a man to show himself in his pious myth or just a justification of why a woman was treated like animals from time immemorial. I don't know.

According to Kalidasa's Meghdoot, the Kamasutra refers to these Devadasis as courtesans who were high skilled artisans. They were the ones that kept the art of Odissi and Bharatnatyam alive.  They were the ones whose voice used to sing in praise of the lord in the temples.

One fact cannot be denied that there is no mention of Devadasis in our Jatakas, but a few hints have been given in the Puranas. But the history can be traced till the downfall of Buddhism. A theory also goes that Devdasi's were the Buddhist nuns, who had to resort to prostitution after Buddhism died down in India.

The only difference between Devadasis and  sadhikas was that they were not celibates and could either chose one patron or several. Just like a man could in those days. (I am not at all pointing towards the moral aspect but stating things as it was.) But then with the British Raj, this system came under a lot of criticism and it was during this time the devadasi system began to be compared to prostitution. Till then no one had dared to call these learned women prostitutes. It was a way of life. Right or wrong- it was where women were educated in the Shastras and Vedas fine arts and due to the patronage they received were often and were often the richest class of the society. Till they were not declared as prostitutes by the advent of the Britishers in India.


Was this theory mentioned in Meghdoot a fact? Or is the origin of the Devadasis as scholars are myth?

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 





Monday, April 4, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Mystery of the Crop Circle: Letter C

Switzerland: Img. Src. Wikipedia
Crop Circle was one of the trending topics for debate in the early 70s when the first design was discovered as early as 1678. Some came up with the theory of meteor attacks while others blamed it on the storms leaving these marks in its wake. But no one could explain how these crop circles had such precise geometric designs and a few have been said to follow the theorems of geometry. Most of you would ask what is so great about it? Well, they all are made in one night. Farmers go to sleep for the night and when they wake up all they see are the patterns. Often Celtic marks or geometric patterns. Like someone wants to give, us earthlings, a message.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
When Doug Bower and Dave Chorley in the 70’s came forward to claim that they had made the crop circles which seemed to have sprung overnight, I have a feeling people almost felt cheated. Of course, that is my theory :), but to think that such intrinsic designs could be man made is still acceptable but to think that they can be made overnight, is literally challenging even Hephaestus. 

This gave rise to a new profession namely the cerealogists and from the 1970s till today many such crop circles have been found. No one has seen anyone making them and they all have sprung overnight.
Tv9 Gujarat - Gandhinagar : Crop circle appears overnight, creates curiosity

One of them happened in India too. Gandhinagar, Gujrat. The problem is if it had happened in the cities one would have still thought of it not being scientific but overnight such occurrence in a village and villagers not knowing about it at all? Makes one wonder.

Personally I feel the pattern is not the same. If you see the indents.
http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/

Another advocate of this theory is the finding of the Rosewell stone having the same pattern as that of the crop circle in Chisledon, 4000 miles away from where the stone was found. What was unique here was not only the stone has been carved to precision without changing the shape and smoothness of the stone but also it has a unique magnetic quality which no other stone displayed in that area. Was it man made using the sandblasting method as one scientist proved that it is possible to carve designs on stones like this. If yes, how does one explain the magnetic quality of the rock? One would never know.  

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 

Tweet: Tweet to me if you think #cropcirlce is a fact or fiction. @rubinaramesh199

Saturday, April 2, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Irish Legend of The Banshee: Letter B

http://www.livemint.com/
This might be considered as an old wives’ tale but then I am an old wife. Hahahahah. A long time ago when I visited my grandma's house, it always gave me a feeling of being watched. Of a presence. I used to tell my mom regarding this and she always told me that these old houses of Kolkata gave such feelings even to the most ardent scientific minds. 


Google image
But there was one rule we had to follow. No combing of hair in the long corridors after 6:00pm. The reason given was it was the harbinger of  death.  Especially if witnessed by a black owl. Now for those who are smirking, please remember in those days grandma’s tales were very convincing and most of the rules were followed without questioning this matriarch of the family, simply because you loved her with all your heart. :D

Similar sorties I heard in my in-laws place where they would give the first cooked rice as offerings to the Crow. And boy they had to keep happy always! For even if they did not come to open the doorway to heaven(or hell), the fear instilled in my MIL’s heart was enough to drive us crazy. So if a spoon of cooked rice was the ‘harbringer of peace, then who wanted to question this tradition? :P

Birds have assumed a variety of role in all the cultures. From Greek to Egyptian to Indus, birds have either ushered in good luck or doom. 

http://misteriosfantasticos.blogspot.com/
And one of the strangest is the Irish lore of Banshee. When someone in the Irish village dies a woman of the village laments his death. (We have the same in our Indian custom and they are called Rudali ) anyways these Irish women would be called “keeners”. Legend also says that there were five Gaelic families where when death would come they would know since this “fairy keener” would come and wail in front of them. These fairies were ghostlike and wore white and had silver long hair which they would keep on brushing their silver mane with a silver comb. This also gave rise to a tale that when you see a comb lying on the ground you should never pick it up. Or you might invite a banshee.  We can  call this a myth of course.
And how is this related to birds? Everytime banshees were seen to have been flying away in the form of a white bird.

Before you decide, here is one real recording of the scream of a Banshee..

Wikipedia.com
But then why did Jim Cobett, India's most famous wildlife hunter, and conservationist report three such screaming which almost stopped his heartbeat and cuddled his blood in fear? We have written proof in his diary where he calls it a banshee's scream. These screams can never be duplicated by a real person. It says in the legend, when a Banshee screams, your heartbeat goes faster and if you hear this scream for three nights continuously, then....Read the story here and then tell me.

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 


Tweet: Would you call the legend of the #Banshee a myth? If yes then why did Jim Cobett hear the screams? #atozchallege @rubinaramesh199

Read my post for C here

Friday, April 1, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Legend of The Ape-Man: Letter A

We all have heard of the yeti and some either called it throwback of nature or an old wive’s tale. But the concept of the ape-man has not been centric or localized in a certain culture only. Everywhere it has been called by a different name. From yeti to the monkey-man. For my first alphabet A, I choose to call this The Ape-man. 


http://www.nydailynews.com/
Called as the Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest, sightings of a man covered with white hair was reported near a ski location inSpain. While nothing has been proven yet my research took me to many such sightings even in India.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey-man_of_Delhi


The notorious monkey-man of Delhi, on which many serials were also based can be a figment of an imagination or the costume of a serial killer. A man with black hair all over his body, 8ft tall and vanishing as nimbly as he appeared is definitely something which might cross the border of science. When in Delhi in 2001, many such attacks were reported it created a furor amongst the nations. The local police gave a report saying all were false but as they could not prove the existence of an ape-man, neither could they prove it wrong.  

Google Image
But the existence of ape "like" men was further popularized when stories of three brothers who looked and behaved like monkeys became headlines in the south of India due to the serial Mano Ya Na Mano. Their violent animal like behavior or their acute clairvoyant disposition became legendary. They were the much sorted out proof that such a phenomena really existed. Though not hairy, they certainly walk, climb and behave like monkeys. They cannot speak but the sounds that do come out from their vocal chords are very similar to the sounds of monkeys. Same sounds as were reported to have been made by the monkey-man in Delhi or at the yeti sightings across the world. A throwback of evolution perhaps?

Do you believe that such men can exist? Before you call this an old wives tale here is one scientific fact to look into.

Scientists have discovered a genetic mutation which caused hair to sprout on one’s bodies giving an ape-like resemble. This is called Hypertrichosis. Some even call it a “werewolf syndrome”. 

http://www.livescience.com/
But again the people affected by this are pretty normal in speech and behavior. So how does one explain scientifically the animal like behavior and speech?

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 

Check out my post for the letter B here. 



Tweet: Does the legendary Ape-man really exist? #Fact or #Fiction? #atozchallenge of @rubinaramesh199 #rt






Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Walking On The Precipice Called Equality

Image: Desktop Nexus.
Women are Weaker than Men. This phrase ignites a burning anger within me. One that consumes my soul. I would not have written on this prompt since I am hosting this prompt on my site but then I got one [I will not call hate] but rather an outcry from one of my fellow counterparts demanding to know why we are propagandizing that women are weaker than men. Are we? Being the feminist that I am, the very thought behind this statement makes me want to lash out. 

We are what we are due to our upbringing...
My fight to prove this statement wrong did not start today. And no I did not have an abused childhood where women were treated with disrespect. In a house dominated by 4 sisters [we lived in a joint family] over one brother, such a thought would have snuffed out even if it had been ignited. 

My fight strangely started after the birth of my son. Or I would rather say it started with one dialogue from a family member [no brownie points for guessing The Who]. She said, "Now you can buy him all the expensive toys since he is a boy." 


Do not differentiate between children...
I saw a look of horror crossing over the face of my seven-year-old. For the first time, in my house, the dormant division between a girl and a boy was etched. A line that refused to go away after that. My little girl took it to heart and slowly we both realized that small-small things were made very clear that a boy can do what a girl can't.  The worse was what a small girl was expected to do - like helping in the middle of the night if her brother is crying. She was just seven for god's sake. That was the day I decided to bring out the feminist within me. I became her shield. It was tough for fighting against a mindset is never easy. 

Teach your daughter to fight back - with positivity. Not bitterness.
I saw a change in my daughter too. She wanted to do things more aggressively and better. I suppose I should be happy about that. But something did not feel right. When I sat down to talk to her she told me bluntly that she had to prove to certain someone that women are no less than men. I felt very sad. This fire had ignited inside my daughter by a woman herself. So now instead of women are weaker than men, women are women's worst enemies started looming in my life. 

Grrrr...[could not think of an apt title here without sounding angry]
I brought both the parties together and made then sit with some serious talks. Unfortunately, the ingrained teaching of her ancestors did not leave the-certain-you-know-who. And more, unfortunately, my daughter took it as a personal issue. Now her every action is to prove that she can do anything she sets her mind to. I agree it's working positively for me. She has taken the positive route to prove herself. Instead of being bitter and angry that she initially was.

Change your own world first....
But as they say, charity begins at home. So a change must occur first within our own small world before we can make any changes in the world. I am sharing this part of my life with all readers not to prove a point. For I suppose for centuries, women from every corner of their world have been trying to do only do that. I have written this article to just share one point - as a mother of both a son and daughter, both are equal to me. BOTH. In my own world, I as a mother pledge to teach both my kids just that. Nothing more and nothing less. 

“Written for the Blogging Community: An initiative by The Book Club in the body of your post.
Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to win the competition and it will not be judged. 


Tweet: Women don't demand greatness. We demand equality. I respect men but as a woman, I demand my #respect too. Join our #BloggingCommunity