Book Review: Railonama is an unforgettable journey of human emotions

Book Review:

Railonama, unforgettable train stories

Genre: Anthology of travel

Editor: Anupama Sharma

Authors: Various

Publisher: Good Times Books

Rating: 4.5


I’d call it a religious devotion of various emotions, binding the hearts together like strings of the guitar, in this amazing train adventures in India. Indian Railways always fascinated me to no end and I absolutely love the rattle of trains, sitting by the window, admiring the scenery and observing people’s behavior. Railonama is the collection of human emotions, travelling from one end to another, in India where various authors put in together their hearts to tell stories witnessed where plain strangers bond over food, children delight in playing the game of romance and where hearts meet and converge. Railonama is lyrical, poetic, romantic but strike a chord with one’s heart.

Railonama is compiled by Anupama Sharma who, herself, is fascinated by travel across India and brought together several authors who told their tale of experiences of sitting in the train, to make memories of a life time. It’s poetry in motion, unfurling like magic at times and competently written in such a way that makes one live the journey of the protagonists. The Boy with the chocolate eclairs by my good friend Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan beautifully captures the emotions of two small children, exchanging the goodies and brings a certain freshness and delight during the journey. A cute story that touches the heart and brings back the innocence of childhood. Varsha Halabe’s My Love Affair on Wheels is a sensitive tale woven that will remain with you for a long time and shows that humanity can be redefined during train journey where plain strangers can become the perfect friends. It’s a story that I can relate with and almost brought tears to my eyes how human bondage surpass everything in a train journey. Francois Juneau’s A train trip in the land of extremes is about love and memories which shows that at the end of the day, life is all about two hearts longing for comfort and emotional warmth. Anupama Sharma’s A slice of Apple is all about human bonding and sharing the small joys of life with plain strangers in a journey that makes memories of a life time. It’s not easy to find joy in life but a small act of kindness can bring hope to humanity. We may find our destination in train journeys where we open the self to the vast horde of humanity. A slice of Apple is one story, beautifully expressing human emotion, will stay with you forever.

Railonama is not just an anthology but a beautiful journey during the various train journeys the writers undertook to describe how their life changed over hours, days and nights. I felt like living this journey along with them. This is what made Railonama click with me. It’s pure ecstasy and human happiness. I’ll give Railonama 4.5 out of five for extracting the best by pouring hearts out. It’s an ode to joy and happiness. You cannot afford to miss this beautiful and creative work.

If you haven’t traveled by rail, you haven’t really experienced India in all its forms and emotions. Make sure you grab the book and trust me, it will stay with you forever. It’s a real gem. Railonama is prompting me to tell my train experience in a brand new post. Railonama, a must read for all train lovers.




100 Words on Saturday: ‘The Writing Dilemma’

This post is written as part of 100 Words on Saturday Prompt hosted by

Write Tribe


‘The Writing Dilemma’

I vow to stop writing forever and throw away manuscripts and newspaper columns bearing by-lines. I am shattered and just deleted my blogs. After all, I am not cut off for writing after the hate mails, slanderous attacks on my mighty pen. I  penned my resignation letter which I hand to Madam editor after she shows me the hate mails on my latest Sunday column. She tears off my resignation letter that leaves me flabbergasted.  She flings a print out on my face, ‘that’s better’ :

If you can’t annoy somebody, there is little point in writing.

― Kingsley Amis




Dousing the fire of lust

Our lips gently stroke each other,

before kissing passionately putting all boundary to rest.

She thrust her sexy leg on my chest,

pushing her bosom forward.

A dash of adrenaline seeps through my body as she untied her blouse,

twisting her lip and biting my ear.

Caressing her naked body from top to toe,

I zero on her navel, kissing her voraciously.

Her lusty eyes invite me to make love to her in the fire of passion.

Nothing on earth could douse the passion as we explore zones that one wouldn’t dare to go.

We are burning in hell, satisfying each other’s carnal desires and biting each other in full swing.

I dreamed of making love to her, drawing me to her like magnet.

Getting into each other and enjoying the spasm of painful desire is heavenly bliss.

Lying naked on the bed, our fingers tweaked into each,

as the hearts reflects on the fulfillment of our desires.

We made love as if its doomsday.

Soon, our love-making session became a routine,

our body craved for each other.

There shall be no love between each other,

but elements of fire and lust.

Exploring each other, kissing and becoming one in the heat of passion.

The scent of our bodies gravel towards the mystery of human emotion we couldn’t control.

Our end neared but we couldn’t see the destruction.

It was our moment of hell.

With Love



World Suicide Prevention Day 2014: It’s Not Just a Story

‘It’s Not Just a Story’

I  just made it in time at CST Station to hop on the jam-packed train from Hyderabad, stopping at Mumbai, to reach  my final stop in Pune. It was 10 p.m. I was travelling second class in utter chaos where there was hardly any space to rest my feet, decked in my black Woodlands boots. My eyes stumble on a pretty and attractive young lady sitting on the berth, shedding tears. I wanted to ask her if things are alright but it would look weird to approach a stranger in a train. I thought, ‘Better let her be. This too shall pass and she will find happiness in life.’

Her phone rings. I hear her shouting on the phone and finally broke down. My heart went to her and wondered on the fallacy of human life. Her words still echoes in my soul, ‘Now, I know what I need to do. Perhaps, it is better for both of us. I can’t take it anymore. The mess, the money woes. The last thing I need to do is to start begging in this crowded train.’ Commuters pretend to be shocked and embarrassed, some turning their faces away while other looked at her with contempt. I only hope that she doesn’t do anything stupid.

Suddenly, I saw the young woman dashing towards the door and jumped out of the speeding train on the track at Lonavla. This created an uproar in the train and some passengers pulled the chain. The train slowly rattled and stopped. The poor girl finally found peace and was found dead on the railway track. Strange are the ways of life. What I feared the most became true. It left me wondering how this beautiful girl didn’t have anyone to speak to, share her griefs and whether she would kill herself had she spoken to someone close to her. Or, she could have cooled her heels.




Please click here to go to the main World Suicide Prevention Day </p><br /><br />
<p>Web page” /></p>
<p>Today September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. This piece of fiction is written with the aim of spreading awareness on the problem of suicide that affect millions in the world. Like many I feel that we need to be connected and that it matters a lot. We must avoid judging people, casting aspersions on their characters and be ready to listen to the ones going through moral tribulation. The sad fact is that many people going through mental and emotional trauma lack a strong emotional support who will listen to them without judging their actions. One should never shy away from asking for help and we should never hesitate from helping the ones we know who are undergoing mental, physical and emotional fatigue. Speak out for it matters. Let them Speak out for we may be saving lives. Always be alert and pay heed to someone’s signs that things are not going the right way.</p>
<p>For more information on suicide prevention, check out the link:</p>
<p><a href=

Check out this article on Huffington Post on a family that lost their young son to suicide:

This post on World Suicide Prevention Day is linked to initiative’s 100 Voices for Suicide Prevention campaign and Voices For Suicide Prevention #suicideprevention

PS: The above story is 100 per cent fiction.



Remembering Tina Downey

This poem is a tribute to Tina Downey( who passed away on August 23rd. Tina was one of the co-hosts of the

It’s a small token of appreciation and love to Tina who left no stone unturned to encourage us to keep writing and dropped lovely words on our blogs. Join me in remembering this beautiful soul.


Fellow travelers in this amazing journey of life,

we carve memories that last for life time.

Blogging for A to Z earned us hearts that made a difference to our existence.

Sometimes, a heart-warming post gently reminds us that we have known the person for ages,

someone that teaches us so much about life and its pristine beauty.

Tina was such a person for many who become part of the great A to Z family of bloggers.

Sunny soul, spreading love and happiness in her surrounding,

She never stopped in her unflinching belief for a world filled with love and kindness.

Few are those who believe in making life a soulful and spiritual experience.

A heart capable of loving and sharing emotional warmth,

a dash of sunshine encapsulated her existence as a human being.

Here’s sprinkling sunflower on her beautiful soul.

She will be missed for being such a wonderful person.

Yet, her lovely words would remain forever etched in our memories.

Remembering Tina Downey, our friend during the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

With Love



Your favourite internet friend

Your favourite internet friend

Dear Google!

How much I love yaa! I hate dividing my love and attention between you and this gal called Facebook. I am sure you must be basking in your own glory as you see me, directing all my love and undivided attention,  to you. See! The FB Mistress was getting too boring and I was besotted to her charm. One fine day, I told her, ‘Babe! Enough is enough. Let’s go for a break before hitting it over and over again.’ It’s been three works minus FB. I am happy, enjoying my space in this world, not so free of internet love.

Chill! Google! Stop doing the parody of love and romance. You know! This post is not just about you! You made friendships happen and I may not be able to shut you down, you know that. You are an awesome match-maker, you know that! The least I can do for you is to sprinkle your soul with some love.  See! I can be gentle, at times.  You hold the power to our secrets, clandestine meet like the cave man burying secrets, love-shuv kinda talk on your thing called G-Chat and Google Talk. What a preening eye, you have, O” shameless creature!

So, you really know my fave internet friend, M with whom I would talk endlessly about any kinda crap, ranging from chocolates, to chicks. college, films and Mumbai. Yeah, we go gossip itna that I suddenly started calling her my internet girl-friend. Cheesy lines, Arre Bhagwan! I am too much na, Google. Makes me wonder what pushes me to keep hurling such kinda crap to destroy humanity. Sugary sugary mushy stuffs to spread human cruelty, the Love Jihad may start accusing me of! Tauba! Tauba! Google-ji! Chup Chaap!

M! The cute chick loves taking the crown of being the sweetest, right from college to our silly Sin (ful) and harmless chat. Remember, how she valiantly fought with me for ignoring her hotness quotient coz I, somehow, gave the crowd to her friend. Cat-fight, Google! How I was made the victim, torn between the fury of two chicks. You must be laughing at my helplessness, poor Me!!

Yeah! The day we would sit still through the night, surrounded by the Arabian sea and Indian Ocean, Saat Samundar Par, chatting over almost any non-sensical yet lyrical stuffs. As they would call it, silly bantering, cribbing on why life is throwing lemonades at us. Or, secretly debating on alternate career we could have got ourselves we were not planning to turn into encounter specialist a la Dand Nayak or supari wala (Contract killers) emulating the moves of Dawood. Now, Google-Bhai, I warn you of plotting against us. What would we do without you, Google? The very thought sends chill down the spine. Phone is too expensive, emails are cliche! Your chat service is epic to us Bhatke hue Paanchi!

Haha! Tell you what, Mr Google! We don’t chat itna like we used to be like crazy immortals from some other planet. So, we blowing balloons on your face now you know very less bout’ our secrets. See! M is busy with her boy-friend and work! Well! Me too! So, you wanna play detective to get our secrets! Try on. Lagey Raho (Keep it up).



This post is written as part of Day 8 and my number 8 Post, ‘Your favorite internet friend’ as I go back from last post Day 29 to Day 8 for the selected letters for 30-day-Letter Challenges.

Check it out:


Your reflection in the mirror

It’s Letter No. 8 for Day 30: Your reflection in the mirror as part of

The challenge ended in August. Yet, I’m penning my way to glory on selected post that I find appealing in front of my own eyes. It would have been a nearly impossible task to write every single day after I successfully completed, April A to Z and Ultimate Blog Challenge. Hope you like the poem.



Your reflection in the mirror

Who are you?

I’m shit scared of the shadow, a worn out, teared face laden with wrinkles.

Is time taking its toll on me?

The face has aged since the past few months, a soul battered with trouble and emotional upheaval.

The mirror never lie.

Temptation! Running away from my own shadow to find solace in the illusion of light.

Sometimes, the burden of light can be too much to carry.

Oh! Mirror! Who am I?

You show different faces yet one identity,

as I look at the befuddled me.

The person I refuse to come to terms in front of the mirror,

Me, Myself.

It’s a crisis of physical and emotional identity.

I seek to torture the self with thoughts raging inside my heart that shows on my appearance.

Have I lost the fire to fight the battle within?

Makes me wonder,

as mirror wrecks havoc on my existence.

A tale of personality disorder, echoed by the mirror as the burden of truth.



Teacher’s Day/ Someone that changed your life

September 4 is Teacher’s Day in India. Wish every teacher a very Happy Teacher’s Day celebration and may they continue to enlighten us with life long learning and wisdom. I am also linking this post to 30 Day Challenges in August-I know I am running late. But that’s the real fun to keep writing. It’s Day 7 for me where I am writing on ‘Someone that changed your life.’ I am paying a special tribute on Teacher’s Day to not one but two people, first is my Philosophy teacher and second one, my first mentor at work.

Here’s the link:


Day 7: Someone that changed your life

There are some people who enter your life to give you meaning and significance to your existence as a human being. They offer a certain perspective and help you discover the untapped potential that lie dormant inside or, for that matter, you blatantly ignored. Today, I choose to right about two such people in my life. September 4 is Teacher’s Day. Here linking the post to Teacher’s Day.

Professor Joseph Lobo has been my Philosophy Teacher at Fergusson College during my under grads for two years. I’ve always been a very shy person, wary to give my opinion about things for the fear of being judged by people, scared with the epic line ‘Log kya Sochenge’ (What will people think?)’ Professor’s Philosophy topics, ranging from Ethics to sexuality and religion, has always been animated discussions, a far cry from the classic, the teacher speaks and the students sit like mute spectators, taking notes and listening.

Professor made sure that each one of us would take a stand on issues, Yes or No and one thing I really loved about his lectures when he would ask us the percentage to which we would agree with the different school of thoughts or Philosophers’ on different issues. I remember once I was hesitant to speak about something and Sir said, ‘Vishal! You need to speak. Why are you acting like the Minister of External Affairs or a diplomat?”

I moved to Mumbai after my under-grads in Pune and I came back for a party held for Lobo Sir’s retirement. He was so happy when he saw me, his voice choked with emotion. I became so happy and it touched my heart when I saw Sir’s reaction. Before leaving for Pune, I called Sir to thank him, telling him, ‘Whatever little I have achieved Sir is because of you. You gave me perspective in life.’ His words still ring true in my ears, “Vishal! Always be yourself in life.” I always strive to live up to the priceless and timeless advice. I never try to be someone else.


Bosses can be our philosopher, guide and friend who help us explore our hidden potential and can see things in us that we, ourselves, may not pay heed to. I had such a boss when I first joined a newspaper as a sub-editor and reporter. In the start, I struggled a lot and accumulated blunders over blunders at work. Kuheli Ma’am is such a tough task master. The first few months at work were the toughest I’ve gone through and there is no denying that I wanted to leave, ridiculously reasoning that I am not probably made for this job. But, slowly things started to change for better and, after a year, I was shifted from the desk to reporting.

It’s been a great learning experience working under Ma’am, my mentor, who saw the potential in me to do the reporting job. As ironical as it may sound, I was not aware that my real potential lies as a journalist considering that I am a person who like the human interaction, is a great listener and observer of things around me. I never thought in my life that I’ll be a journalist but Ma’am channeled my energy where my core strength lies. If today, I am able to write for various publications as a freelancer and journalist, the whole credit goes to Ma’am who helped me find my way and defined my career as a young person. True calling in life may be the design of someone else who perhaps saw things that we may be ignorant of. How true!

I was always a very confused person in life, not knowing what I want to do with life but joined The Independent and working under my first boss, showed me the path, She is a mentor is very tough but is very encouraging when you work hard as a person. That’s what I like with the mentor who gave me invaluable inputs about my career and played a great role to get my career back on track. I respect her a lot as a person who has a top-notch level in journalism who would magically solve things we would view as insurmountable task.

Kuheli Ma’am has been a great teacher who showed me the way. How I wish we could work together under her able guidance to learn more stuffs about journalism.





Wordless Wednesday #50

Ganesha is visiting to sprinkle blessing, love and make it an affair-to-remember. I took the shots during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival at a relative’s place where we were invited for the Puja.

Linking to Ruchira’s

Hope you enjoy the pics






The father and his doting daughter-bride

Adorned with jewellery and decked in a shiny red saree, the bride sits in the mandap,

the father performs the Kanyadaan with a heavy heart.

He expresses pride for marrying his only daughter,

as a tear or two falls on his cheek.

Holding a small bundle of joy in his hand, as he taught his doting daughter the first step,

today, his crying.

Yet, he may not be able to express his love and feeling for his daughter.

Only his heart and soul can feel the love.

The father taught his daughter love, scolded her when she was naughty and kissed her on birthday.

It’s a moment of pride and sorrow today as he holds his daughter’s hand, expressing hope that her new home will treat her with love and respect.

The heart doesn’t know how to lie yet he cannot express his feeling.

With Love


Today, my next-door-neighbor who is like family to us is getting married. We played together as kids. What struck me yesterday is the moist eyes of her father that inspired the poem. Her father cannot speak a single word since he is deaf and mute.