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Story Review – Cheers to Love

July 13, 2013 Leave a comment

This story is written by Renu Sethi who blogs at http://day-to-daystories.blogspot.in/.

The story was one of the stories in the book, “Love Stories That Touched My Heart”.

Before I begin tearing apart the story, I find it necessary to clarify that I do know the author and yet my attempt is to be unbiased in my review.

A look at the author’s blog gives you an idea of how easily she identifies with the human stories. I refrain from calling them love or relationship based fiction because man or woman, we hope that we all have a love story that we can narrate, write or reminisce about.

We hope that our real life love story is truly special and takes our breath away.

To be truthful, the story is simple and you could guess the end of it. It did not have the thrill or twist but holds ones attention because of the simplicity of the story. The characters were normal people and they exist in many of our households but yet we do not see beyond the obvious in them.

The actions of the lead characters are romantic in the real sense and the use of words to express how one feels is done away with.

It does make one think about the idea of love in a relationship. More than words being mouthed, it’s the actions that speak louder. This does raise a question about perception. What if the person we are with does not perceive actions louder than words?

The answer to the question of perception could be a lengthy discussion on its own merit but in this story one can sense the love but no words are used to put it into a dialogue.

One of the best parts about the story is the lead male character, Uday. He is drawn as a smart, grounded man with a mind and heart of his own, with the power and strength to stand by his decisions. In simpler words, the lead male character had a good amount of spine. It does make one wonder, are there such men in reality or is it just a fantasy?

The story does highlight drawbacks of giving it all in a relationship. The lead characters were so invested in each other that they never invested in any other activity or friends other than each other. In the long run, it’s a recipe for disaster and loneliness if one person leaves the relationship, either by death or by choice.

It’s always tough to critically review stories with a quotient of sadness in them. The stories could have strands of reality of the writer’s life attached to it. They have to be treated with a respect unlike any other story.

As you reach towards the end of the story, you realize that what may look like a repetitive life to many was treasured by the characters and the story works its way into your head and stays there.

“Cheers to Love” reminded me of a story I had read long ago where the man described the daily routine life activity he had with his wife as a dance. The man made the bed and the woman made coffee every morning.

The imagery in both stories is unforgettable and stays with you long after you have put down the book.

As I finished reading the story, I was left with 2 questions:

Can every man be like Uday?

Can every man like Uday, find a life partner like Sarita?

Lastly, using the son as a narrator may sound simplistic but yet it works because the son’s love story is left open-ended with a possibility of the son learning from his parents’ life story and being a better man.

Smile at a Stranger

July 7, 2013 12 comments

This post is written for That Tuesday Thingy, an *IndiBlogeshwaris* initiative

The imagery and the music of the Time Traveller draws you into a world of simple truths that many of us have forgotten.

Our smiles have been replaced by scowls and we have truly forgotten how to smile at a stranger or walk around with a smile on our faces.

The video is beautifully crafted where there is a balance of human interaction and it also invests in the solitude and pensive nature without physically isolating the man from the world around.

What really struck me were the smiles on the faces of strangers. If Rahul Sharma is the reflection of common people, then his behaviour is the ideal one where he is smiling and interacting with people and when alone, not lonely, he is almost meditative. The santoor that he plays is always when he is alone and it’s not a performance for people.

With each strike of the santoor chords, it’s an attempt to connect to his inner being and lay the foundation of a calm mind.

The light touch on the strings is symbolic of our minds that can produce marvellous music and be creative with the right amount of pressure or break and produce noise and chaos when excessive pressure is applied.

The playing of the santoor alone is withdrawal from the world, not in disgust, but it’s an act used to center ones being and rejuvenate. For others it could be a book, a walk, good music or even restoring an old car.

It’s an act that you do alone, for yourself. It is a meditative act to bring order to the otherwise chaotic mind that travels faster than the fast lives we lead today.

The music video gave a profound message in its simplicity:

  1. Smile for and at yourself
  2. Smile at strangers
  3. Slow down to see clearly
  4. Have a private hobby or activity

In the pace of our lives we do become self-aware and conclude that we have lost ourselves to the pace. The odd part is when we cannot use the knowledge gained by our self-awareness to reclaim our own lives and fall victim to pace of life; something that is entirely under our control.

As individuals and also as a society we want every moment of our lives to be crammed with action irrespective of quality of the action.

We no longer pay attention to the quality of our interaction with ourselves and others and all we remember are the noise and chaos.

The simple joys of life are doing the disappearing act and gadgets and fast food are taking over.

We have to re-learn to live in the present and create memories that bring back the smile to our faces.

On the path of rediscovery, we have to enjoy the beauty and simplicity of a slow waltz and not lose more time regretting the opportunities lost in the past to enjoy those moments.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , , ,

The Late Entrant

June 30, 2013 2 comments

She entered the room in a wheelchair to the surprise of many. All eyes were on her for she could never walk but her eyes were searching for him. He walked up to her and her heart skipped a few beats. He lifted her in his arms and kissed her like they were the only people in the room.

Even the musicians stopped playing and the party came to a standstill.

As they broke off the kiss she caught the eyes of the women in the room; all yearning to be loved.

A prayer escaped her heart for her lover.

Categories: Fiction Tags: , , , ,

Rain Kissed

June 16, 2013 1 comment

The rain kept hitting us as we kissed. Drenched completely, I wanted time to freeze for a few moments.

The rain washed the vermillion on to her face as my cold hands held on to her.

Breathlessly, she said, “Happy 25th Anniversary.”

Time, I felt, had cheated us but we had too many wonderful memories.

Regret

June 6, 2013 Leave a comment

He knew he was dying. The bullets had found his vital organs. The dark alley in the dead of the night was going to be his resting place. He held to his stomach to delay the inevitable.

He wanted to hear her voice but had promised to protect her happiness by not searching for her.

The Sparring

May 28, 2013 6 comments

The summer evenings were hot and humid but the evening sparring sessions were my solace away from the world. It was in these sessions that my thoughts became clear and my head would become empty of confusions.

Today’s choice of weapon for the session was the long stick. As my sparring partner joined me I noticed her attitude. It was uncomplicated, clear thinking and that showed in her body language.

Most men would not want to spar with an expert but I enjoyed it. It felt good to have someone as good to spar and train with.

As we took our positions on the arena, I observed her stance. It was firm, assertive and very confident. Her dark skin and her long hair were distracting but yet she was merciless when it came to training. Ours was a relationship of respect and even though she was very beautiful, I preferred to have her as a friend.

I moved my feet and our sticks clashed. The wooden sound crackled the atmosphere and at that precise moment I dropped all my worries and was trying to disarm her.

My strikes were all blocked and there was no window through her defense. After five minutes of sparring she finally spoke, “You are boring today. There is no fun in the fight. You are not even trying to think ahead of me.” Her irritated and admonishing voice was not lost on me.

“Office was rough,” was all I could mumble.

“Give that reason to someone else,” she said and moved with speed to try and disarm or trip me into submission.

I saw the fierceness in her eyes and evaded and blocked.

“You are in love. There is a lack of anger and purpose in your sparring today,” she stated flatly.

I felt like I was being studied as a behaviour analysis subject and she was looking through me. I smiled and said, “So it’s that obvious.”

She looked squarely at me and moved with precision and speed and her stick connected with my plexus and she easily disarmed me and tapped my shoulder with her weapon and tripped me over.

I was gasping for breath and tried to get up when she kicked me and with her stick held me down.

In her stern, commanding voice she said, “Fight or perish but live nevertheless.”

The session was going to be a long one for me. I smiled as I heard the Devil in me curse and crib about my choice of sparring partners.

As I took in a few long breaths I heard her command, “Once more.”

As I took my fight stance, I was sure and clear-headed of my choices and options.

A small smile escaped my lips a moment before the wooden weapons contact and snapped the air around to attention.

The Phone Call

May 26, 2013 2 comments

She hated it that she had no control over herself every time she was around him. She could not help but stare and when he looked back at her and their eyes met, she felt her inner core self being thrown around like a paper boat in the sea.

His smile was genial and naughty, and his behaviour caring and confounding and yet she felt powerless in his presence. When his hand grazed hers, it was electric for her. She swallowed hard to avoid blurting out her feelings in front of the crowd and her friends wondered what happened to her chirpy persona.

She took deep breaths to control her physical and mental reactions and excused herself to go freshen up. All she could do was try to get control of her ragged breathing. Her heart was palpitating and she prayed no one hears it when she goes back. She had to hold back herself in the midst of friends as all she wanted to do was go and hug him tight and never let go.

She joined the party and all she wanted was to drown the noise of the world by pushing her head into his chest but that could not happen right now with all friends watching.

Just then his hand grazed her hand and the shock was enough to knock her off her feet. She held on to find a chair and he walked up to her; her heart pounded and hands shook in anticipation.

“Are you ok?” he asked and she just nodded. Her voice lost, she held on. She felt him looking right into her very soul. She felt naked and disarmed. She could not understand why she felt the way she felt, it was a school girl fear and anticipation, far enhanced than her very first furtive kiss.

They were friends and she knew all about him and yet she found it very difficult to express herself or control herself.

She collected herself with great strength and walked out for some fresh air as he turned away. She was trying to forget him when her phone broke her train of thoughts. She saw his name flash and her throat went dry and croaked out a hello.

His playful voice tickled her ears and made her blush as he asked, “How about a date this Saturday?”

She managed to croak a yes and dropped the phone.

He observed her from afar, her twinkling eyes, flush cheeks and the way she crinkled her nose when she was trying to hide her thoughts. It was a useless attempt as he enjoyed making her feel uncomfortable. Her face could not hide her emotions.

He smiled and went back to the party. He realized, there was no fighting love especially when a woman truly loves a man.

Categories: Fiction Tags: , , , ,