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Flash Fiction: The invisible war


The frog crawled and jettisoned at the edge of the hard surface, playing a cat-and-mouse game. Pair of eyes pulls out of the socket, calculating every move with finesse and jumped as he sat, unfazed with a smile.  Eyes darting in a spin, right and left, oscillated movement and flicking in an outburst at the sound distracting it and craving to swim. “Aaj blue hai Paani Paani…Oho…Oho!! The ruffled coated body moved to swing as it couldn’t understand the vibration happening to the body.

Hand tapping on the table and the object moving right to left, flying in the air like a saucepan and kept it on the edge, left confused. The creature went berserk and calculating the move at the flick of cards, and the target oblivious about the mischief conjured.  The tall human with a round face was being watched and every twist studied, merrily singing and slouched on the armchair to his own tune. The battle between human and creature was bizarre and one-sided, pretty like love and unequal in a ludicrous way.

Squint little eyes following the slightest scratching of hands and chasing flies and movement of hand, feet, and belly oscillating up and down.  A sudden phone call and jerked off the couch speaking loudly, a tone showing displeasure on being distracted at the wrong moment. An opportunity to leap on and zigzagged its way like an invisible object, the frog swam inside the milky cup of tea, the surface and rim lent a warmth, licking the liquid on the edge of the tongue. Another call saved the thirsty man away from the cup and the ringtone splintered the frog’s sound system, Bolo Tara Ra Ra!”

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Pune Memoirs: Celebrating birthday in flunked days


Pune Memoirs

Second Year: 2005-06

Fergusson College Road

 

I am terribly upset and angry at myself. How on earth could I possibly flunk my Economics paper burning the midnight oil and striving hard! Incensed would be an understatement and the head is spinning, dejected on the hows and whys! In the Indian education system, we call it KT in 2 papers screwing up things. The Sociology paper was all my doing and left the paper midway to take it in October since I didn’t want to score less than 70. But, Economics General Paper, how the hell it happened!

Straddling lonely on the bustling FC Road in the evening where I couldn’t make sense about what was happening with my life. The rest of the papers were unimpressive, managing to pass in some and barring Philosophy scoring a cool 67. It’s another tale that in another year during the final, management a feat of clinching First Class, pulling all strings to overcome the deficiency looking at how SY and TY marks are combined.

During the evening, several calls were missed and didn’t have the heart speaking to anyone. Calls from the STD/PCO both and finally relented. It was the G who came back from her hometown and wishing Happy birthday. Wow! It’s not even midnight and why on earth she’s calling from a PCO. She told me about just reaching Pune and needed to activate her handset. So, she decided to call for midnight wish would be an impossible task. I won’t lie. Her call made me happy for obvious reasons.

The only person I was now missing was the best A who was traveling with his girlfriend outside India and no he didn’t call. He must be busy. Strict instruction was given to the two flatmates and couple, M and K that I don’t want any cake or celebration. Not just the exams flunking crap but never believe in celebration. Both were cunning and sweet-talked to forget the results and get myself some alcohol, not without telling to roam around for an hour on the road, admiring the chicks.  Dejectedly, I walked in slow mode to the wine shop, getting a quarter of Imperial Blue Whiskey, soda, and couple of fags. I lit one and roamed for quite sometimes.

Taking the stairs back to the flat and pressing the bell, a sense of the hall area has gone suddenly dark and now wondering why they taking so much time to open the door. Second and minutes elapsing! Now, I am sensing those guys were up to something and the white-coated door finally flapped open to a dark room.

I walked inside, slightly confused when suddenly the two conspirators shouted happy birthday and ushering me to a cake with lit candles. Guess, I had no choice but to cut the cake, flinging the exam results worry out of the window and disappeared with the Pune wind. I am beaming and blushing like a child. So sweet, I tell both them and smiling faces flashed. Faces still haunt me. Friends who plotted the birthday to make it special.

It’s been years and still remember the small, cozy flat where we all drunk and laughed together, at times seeing quibbles. I recall this birthday when things became suddenly tough and most of the friends went back home when those two chipped in to bring back the smile on my face. Or else, I am someone who can whine endlessly and go on a woeful trip. There is something special to be always surrounded by friends on a special day at a time there was no Whatsapp and think about it way back in 2005.

The day Adi came back a couple of weeks later and wearing long hair, we were pulling stacks of luggage in all directions and dragged to the stairs. The man wearing the trademark long hair and walking with the gaze of a film star casually asked, “So what did you do for the birthday?! I laughed, wondering how they just got down from the vehicle after a long, tiring flight and having the gall to ask. The best was yet to come, we will booze this week. He said. And, we did. Manish told him, yeah! Vishal told no celebration and he flung his arm in the air as if saying he can fuck off and we got him a cake.

 

A birthday story, celebrated twice with a surprise cake and many weeks after with best buddies boozing together makes for quite an intoxicated memory.

Love

V

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Lost to eluded voices


the years hath pass,

sometimes stroke the senses,

reminiscing emotions,

an innocent smile at elapsing seconds,

buried under burden of time,

rose fragrance,

piercing nostril with past memories,

a celebrated song,

cornucopia of happy years,

everything hit a peak,

where none recognize boundaries,

they say I romance words,

look for pain where none exist,

i am an adventurer,

a warrior,

lone at times,

seeking answers,

haunted and eluded voices,

conscience and thoughts are morbid,

seeped in illusion,

what do i look for?

O’ lover,

romance is the missed arrow,

love making is no salvation,

faraway and endless destination,

is where i belong.

 

Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beyond emotional bonding with Dad


Moments create ever-lasting emotional bonding and we all have our cherished tales making it a joy ride. For some, every time a new story is weaved on the joyful, laughter, emotionally tensed moments and tiff but what’s matters is to create memories through our words and conversations, be it the good or bad with Dads.

Image source: Google.

As we celebrate Father’s Day across the globe today, the feeling goes beyond social media posting and reflecting on our emotional bonding with Dad, Papa or Pitaji, irrespective of the name we choose to address him. Some of us are living a dream as a father and perhaps in borrowing from the teachings learned from our father. I believe that we carry the legacy forward by inheriting qualities such as kindness, emotional warmth or tendering hands and surprises doled by our old men to make us happy. Think! Think! Those moments where a bike or cycle landed on the lap and the chocolates making us prance in sheer delight. Just carry it forward.

Our relationships with Dad varies and some of us nurture happy or bad moments that surely call for introspection how as future parents we can build on happiness and do things differently. I remember being in Mumbai when Dad sunk into a coma and was able to come in time to spend the rest of the few days with him. There were tiffs at times ludicrous but happy moments more than offset everything. I remember my Dad as someone humble, affable and never shy in showering love and affection without expecting anything in return. Fine, he was strong-willed in his way and burst into anger when his family or doting son were attacked but at the same time, a heart of gold defined Dad.

One character trait that both of us share is that we are emotional and instinctive by nature where logic wears thin but on the other hand, we were poles apart in many ways. Dad was quite a jolly good fellow that my best friend Aditya always says after they met and telling how talkative he was.  In contrast, I am the shy and introvert type who makes friends depending on the comfort level I share with people. Yes! Dad was also the possessive person perhaps because I was the only son and that led to a string of conflict between us. At times, I felt suffocated because of wanting to explore things on my own and confidence suffered a dent, able to pick the thread at a much later stage in life when grey started showing. How I wish Dad would understand the need for freedom that we all crave for and not be bound by attachment that prevents a child or young adult to explore things. Gladly, I moved out of the family home and both the Pune and Mumbai days pushed me to explore things, learning from mistakes.

Beyond that, we shared a bonding and occasionally, shared a Whisky together. Once, I sent a Scotch bottle as a gift and the day he passed away, an aunt told how he would convince her husband to have one, proudly saying my son brought me. We are not infallible humans and learn from the mistakes of the past. I still hear the voice of Dad vibrating in my head and when the going gets tough, don’t worry son, everything shall be alright. I know it will for we keep our parents alive in the gentle words, walls, gifts, and letters or cards penned.

 

Happy Father’s Day

V

 

 

 

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Story of forever


A story has no end,

the imagination,

scars and pains felt,

moments of happiness,

the reckoning striking,

at speed of light,

ah! friends we could have made,

conversation with the self,

a soul friend,

coming alive,

celebrating bond in words,

a story-teller,

baking fun and intense conversations,

tiny quibbles,

overcoming obstacles,

with bonding shared,

look at the sky,

close the eyes,

smiles traced by the whitish cloud,

oh! friend!

what you made of!

clay and mud,

some call wooden toy,

alive you are,

one day dead,

the next vivid,

again invisible,

a game played forever.

 

Love

V

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Are we ready to address mental issues without prejudices?


Why do we always judge someone, labeling them as cowards who didn’t think twice in taking their lives? Oh! The fault lies with themselves! Depression affects only women and what do they lack! Everything is going smoothly for them and how can someone with privilege or financial means be ailed by depression or mental health! It’s just a fad!

How many times we have heard the unfortunate but dumb comments from people questioning the very existence of depression plaguing us! The debate comes to the fore with the sad and unfortunate death of the lovable Sushant Singh Rajput and social media is exploding on the debate surrounding depression or anxiety. It’s important we address the question and there was a time on Facebook, I shared a lot about mental health to spread awareness but the comments from followers or friends showed a lack of sensitivity and they don’t give a hoot about the issue. The lack of sensitivity or understanding about mental health issues is not only appalling but callous.

Image credit: Google.

Fact is that if not all but most of us are broken individuals and wearing scars when we see the kind of hatred spread on social media through comments or Tweets. Just to give ane example on how as a society, we hardly understand the issue or acceptance is alien to us. I am no expert in mental health. It’s an issue very close to my heart probably because of the anxiety that hits me hard from time to time. The feeling of emptiness and meltdown, taking away every possible emotion and the unwillingness of speaking to people on phone or socializing at some point or the other may give an impression of coming to terms. But, it’s not! As it is, I am better now and the panic attacks did hit me during the pandemic but acceptance and reaching out to friends have been a huge help. The reason, I believe we cannot turn a deaf ear and the need in speaking to professionals. Meditation does help in bringing stability.

First of all, let’s ask a question: Are we ready to speak about mental health issues? Assume the answer yes, let’s filter out prejudices surrounding it such as gender. social class, or communities. Depression remains something that affects all of us in some way or the other, irrespective of our social background and encompassing so many things, whether someone is straight, bisexual, or gay, only then we can hit the right note in addressing the issue. Truth can hit us hard and push us in isolation.

Secondly, acceptance is something that matters a lot as we speak and efforts should be undertaken in coming to terms. Frustration gnawing us and let’s accept it, not just for the self but everyone. Third, a truth that hits us. How many among us are ready in listening to someone without judging, giving stares, or reacting! This is the hardest thing when we start judging someone who just needs an empathetic ear. This is one grey area where we need to cover much ground and real challenge as we address the entire issue, particularly when we easily say on reaching out. It can work both ways. Someone facing depression may not reach out but we can do it by tendering a hand. I’ve been lucky that way when friends have reached out to me and held my hand when the going was getting out of place.

We all long to feel wanted and special, an extraordinary feeling about being valued. When was the last time somebody made us feel important and I am sure we all have this aha moment? One argument put to the fore, are we equipped in reaching out to people suffering? It’s very easy to say that we must listen. How to equip ourselves and accepting that the rants may have an effect on our mental balance. Is there a healthy space that we can create and the right way in doing it? I know that for some it can be overbearing and carrying a heavy toll while working on ways in preparing ourselves, hence the need for a mental bandwidth. Assess both sides of the coin and make sure we don’t make things more difficult for people suffering. Pay attention to every small reaction, gesture and yes, a little bit of kindness never harms. Just be there. Yes, it matters.

The whole Sushant’s death has shaken me so much that I couldn’t sleep properly for the past few days and reaffirms the need in being ready in addressing the issue of mental illness. Pay every attention to the self and people around. Call that friend you want to speak for one can never one who is going through a rough patch. Listen to the signs around us, both for the self and loved ones. High time for us to understand that mental health is similar to any other body issues affecting health and accept it as an illness without taboo.

 

Love

V

 

(If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist.)
Helplines:
AASRA: 91-22-27546669 (24 hours)
Sneha Foundation: 91-44-24640050 (24 hours)
Vandrevala Foundation for Mental Health: 1860-2662-345 and 1800-2333-330 (24 hours)
iCall: 022-25521111 (Available from Monday to Saturday: 8:00am to 10:00pm)
Connecting NGO: 18002094353 (Available from 12 pm – 8 pm)

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Youth icon Sushant Singh Rajput taught us invaluable lessons in last journey


 

A death that ripped the heart apart with the force of a bullet. Many like him considered outsiders or from small towns come to strike gold but very few hit the bull’s eye. Sushant Singh Rajput did through the dint of hard work, dedication, and honesty where he has been an inspiration to so many. Not everyone in the telly industry, still considered as a poor cousin of cinema, create an identity, landing fame and success.

The boy next door exuding down-to-earth and boyish charm, infectious smile, easy-going gaze combined with a composure made him an instant hit and ability to connect with fans. Dreams were baked. I remember watching him on Comedy Nights with Kapil when he came with Parineeta and Vaani, promoting Shuddh Desi Romance, and did an act seducing the former for a movie date. The scene was refreshing and saw the instant connection with the young generation. There was a relatable and natural sincerity exuding freshness. I loved him in the film lending a subtle, subdued but endearingly honest performance. Detective Byomkesh Bakshi is another underrated film where Sushant plays the character giving shades of subtlety and passion and deeply layered performance. Sadly, this was a Sushant performance that was underrated pretty much like the film that should count as among his finest performances.

I remember watching M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story in the theater that can be and should be ranked as a power-packed Sushant Singh Rajput performance and would be an understatement to call it superlative. A bigger star or superstar of the Illuminatis rank would have played to the gallery, donning the routine rhetoric but Sushant showed the difference between a star and an actor.

He was everything Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the mannerism, body language, walk and gaze on the cricket field. Sushant transformed completely into India’s cricket icon winning him hearts and that film should have earned him lucrative projects as an actor. One could see MS Dhoni and not Sushant Singh Rajput. Sadly, the A-listers producers and directors were missing when he churned superhits after superhits that should make a beeline in front of his door pushing us to question the ‘closed industry’ it has become.

There was something very real about him as an actor and showing in his various role portrayals on screen, for instance, in Chichhore playing two vastly different roles clicking with the audience, as a carefree hostel student and a mature man coming to terms with his son attempting to end life. The scenes and bonding with the son were poignantly, touching every chord with the audience in this awe-inspiring transformation as an actor. No shouting over the top or classic yelling but a calm composure.

Sushant Singh Rajput was a name that inspired so many people in making the big leap from TV to the big screen. He was quite a success in the 10 films, donning versatile roles winning the hearts of both critics and box office. So many telly and inspiring actors found in this success story a role model through this small town boy hailing from Patna to winning hearts on the small and silver screens. Perhaps, the most gut-wrenching confession was when he nearly broke down speaking about struggles at an award function and telling a fan during a social media exchange to watch his films. It speaks a lot about what he was going through as an actor with hearts full of dreams and expectations.

Perhaps he didn’t fit the mold of B-Town of simply liking and retweeting fans comment by direct engagement on social media, something that makes his so real. The term ‘misfit’ that many don’t like and he had the rare knack of moving ahead whether it’s serials or breaking free from a leading production house, armed with the conviction that there is more for him to explore as an actor rather than adhering to rules. A story that came to an end and opening the can of worms that we may all have heard about. The biggest tragedy is a young dream lost so early where the Omerta code rules everything and seen as an outsider, derided by the gossip mongers. It’s heartbreaking to see a youth icon dealt severely with pain and perhaps an ingrained fear that he will come to sit on the perched crown. Something is terribly wrong in a system lacking the democratic setup and nurturing talent means pandering to the inner circle.

Sushant Singh Rajput played effortlessly the quintessential lover boy and striking a chord with the young generation, speaking about relationships in Shuddh Desi Romance. A special and relatable act in PK was such an endearing act as Sarfaraz, not playing too hard but effortless is how I remember Sushant as an actor. It’s never easy to break the ceiling to carve a name on his own and without a Godfather, his biggest achievement in my view. We shall miss the dude with tons of swag and incredible talent that in his way redefined success and was looked with awe in making it big.

Sadly, the biggest tragedy on he was alone, lacking the support perhaps and fighting depression for so long or cut off from projects. The worst part is we live in a shallow eco-system where everything is quantified in terms of money, not relationships. The insightful posts he penned on Instagram or poems shall remain and the cherished roles. Very few are the artists and stars, not adhering to this star system and putting their vulnerability to the fore, the love for his mother that he expressed a multitude times. For me, it’s purity and strength. Perhaps, they didn’t deserve Sushant Singh Rajput who in a short span of time earned people’s affection that many couldn’t and taught us something invaluable about mental health. Let’s address it. Khairiyat Pucho!

Love

V

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Dance of eternity


Wilted foliage,

spanning joyous tune,

faded sound of flute,

flecked wings,

traversing oceans and storms,

imagining rain dance,

sashaying to the pitter-patter drops,

dancing in abandon,

this invisible woman,

white drenched skirt,

unheard voices,

taking me away from temptations,

worldly guilt,

removing droplets of pain,

faraway from this world.

we shall make our creation,

baked with love and empathy,

judgment filtered,

a world when none is sin or righteous,

we are virtues,

dancing to eternity,

rain is an illusion,

wild invisible woman,

belongs to the sky,

marauding in stormy mind,

brewing in steamed waters,

flicking in the light,

eluding senses,

blown in curly ringlet of smoke.

 

Love

V

 

 

 

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Short story: A mug of steamed coffee


Yellow crepuscule wore a contrast to the faded grey Marine Drive sky and forming an arc, crescent and white creamy layer steeped into the tall South Bombay buildings, lights and vehicles ambling.

A Doberman dog lurched and stopped towards a football rolling on the concrete slab. Hungry dog broke away from the owner’s shackle and leapfrogged on the white bench, punching jaws to scratch the shadowy human slouched.  Sleep monster was shaken off and yelped in fear. Fierce and frightened eyes faced each other when a feminine voice shouted, “Maggi! Maggi! Leave him alone,” the pet was wrestled in time before it could turn into blood sucking vampire. She broke into a hysterical laugh. “Sorry. I couldn’t stop myself laughing. Maggi can be naughty at times.” He panted heavily.

“Hi! I am Pallavi. Not the best way to meet a stranger in the city,” she smiles effortlessly. The trembled hands fidgeted with a Classic mild cigarette to light and she helped herself with the pack. He shyly told his name, “Rizwan” before walking away from her and flinging the fag inside the deep, seawater.  She watched him moving away and the dog gently following his mistress at slow and effortless pace behind the man.

Bustling and sweaty morning in South Bombay characterized a beeline of a crowd lining up at the popular chai wala when someone incidentally split the hot chai on crisp skirt and blue denim. “Fuck man! Are you so bloody blind,” she turned around with her middle finger stopped straight at the cusp of the cleanly shaven face. She turned numb.  “I just can’t believe that…Rizwan, right. Are you secretly conjuring revenge on me?” she asked. He made an innocent face, “I am sorry and didn’t know that was you….thing is that I am in a hurry to college and thought of quickly gulping a cup of tea.”

Amusement wrung on her face and pulling back hair tresses, Pallavi coyly said, “Hey! Listen! Punishment for you. Are you game to walk me home? He didn’t have time protesting when she threw another missile on him, “Don’t ever think of saying No for I ain’t walking with tea stain on my dress, man.”

https://pixabay.com/photos/cup-hot-steam-table-drink-mug-1209518/

Walking past the steel gate and flicker of cool air cooled their heels and the shadow of a huge Gulmohar tree cooled their heels, she ushered him inside the lift to reach the apartment. He was admiring the sea view standing at the edge of the spacious balcony, the tiny humans stuttering, cabs and buses ambling always fascinated him at the peak. The eyes were distracted by the slim and athletic pair of legs under a white short and green tee. He tried hard to avert the sensual gaze to focus on her face. She was too hard to resist, fragrance of hair fluttering and battling frantic heartbeats when she stood within inchesLeaning closer, she handed a steamy cup of coffee on his hand and took a sip, almost spitting it out.

“I just heated in the oven. Too hot to handle. Not me but the coffee,” she winked. Rizwan bit his tongue lashing with the hot liquid swirled inside the mouth. She slowly moved her leg and in a sudden oscillated turn, stuck like glue on his knee. She gently caressed his hand and directed it on her soft waist. Rollicking tongue on the edge and smothered on the lip, dark eyes flicked wide with intensity. Naked arms ran through his hair and lightly pressed his neck. Mouths cusped together and electric waves rushing through the flesh turned the heat on and voraciously licking necks and tracing the lines on lips. Tongues lashing into each other gave a chocolate fudge sensation for passionate seconds.

Consumed saliva and hungry fingers scything to pull laces of bra strap with effort and fingers ran deep to break his shirt button. A hot sensation flew on the skin, swiftly moving up and down, tongue biting on the hairy chest. The bodies gravitated towards each other in motion and passionately dragging away from the balcony and moving past the door to thrust on the bed in the room, darkened by the brown curtain. Female fingers scratched male bareback with full force and eyes flicked on clothes strewn on the floor. He sank deeper into a deep slumber and arms flailed aimlessly on her skin. The room went dark and a sudden thunderstruck, creating a bang sending pulsating heartbeats.

Rizwan was getting late for the meeting and drove the car in speed, swerving towards the end of Nariman Point lingering past the sea and motley crowd towards Inox when he was hit at the rear end. The driver behind has lost control.

He furiously stormed out of the car and saw a woman in long hair and decked in yellow chiffon saree in front of him. An explosion splintered in his brain that sent him to the burnt apartment ravaged by fire five years back. He hesitated, “Pallavi! Is that you? How are you doing? I thought you died in the fire.” The intense eyes haunted him for years and peering into his soul, concealing a mocked smile. She touched his hands and face, “You are alive as well!”

The mystery both Rizwan and Pallavi were alien to and naked bodies saved by strangers, where he often visited the razed building wondering what happened to her.  On that night, he woke up in the hospital, imagining she was by her side on the bed to see lights focusing on him. “I left the city,” she calmly told. “I looked for you in the city but didn’t know your full name. Life is squeezed lemon. Were we dreaming during sex?” he sheepishly asked. She smiled coyly and the fleeting escapade, hovering on the bygone times.

“So you drank the coffee I made for you,” she guffawed. “No! I left it cold on the balcony.”Pallavi gently slapped him, “What! I made hot coffee and you didn’t take a sip but went straight inside me. Dude! We have business to finish.”

“Are we in love conjured by destiny,” she teased. Pallavi ruffled the long and unkempt hair as he opened the BMW’s door to usher her inside. Pallavi untied her pallu and casually spread her body on the seat flapped backward with eyes wide open.  Rizwan gently untied the blouse, kissing her neck and moving towards the red tinted lipstick. She was unfazed by sexual emotions.  Hands moved past her face, cupping her breasts, sucking the nipple and lips on navel.  She opened her legs and bodies pressed together unfurling in motions as she was swayed into the unchartered, idyllic perfect paradisical world, “Don’t stop,” she moaned.

Light and sensual chill flew encapsulated the fragrance of white and milky skin in turn clutching the skinny, roughened and hairy chest. Pallavi’s perfectly shaped and toned body stuck like glue with Rizwan rolling on the car seat. Erected bumps grew thicker and burning sensation longing for desire hitting an octane level. Knees weakened and felt a spurt reaching an elixir.

A loud and furious clang hit the car window like a speck of arrows to break the passionate gaze and chilled fear pushed the eyes staring open, and passion winded out. Steamy coffee mugs lay on the wooden table. She traipsed on her toes and mouth drenched in the creamy dark brown milk and moved the mug on the edge of his mouth. The liquid ran deep past his tongue and warmed the parched throat. Mouth smacked into each other. A drizzly hot sensation brewing and passionate tongues swirling in serpentine form curled deep inside and slow motioned to hit off intensely.

 

The end

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In conversation with Ritu Lalit on nonfiction about estrangement


 

Author Ritu Lalit.

 

Ritu Lalit is no stranger to the world of writing and fiction,  from ‘Wrong for the Right Reasons’, ‘His Father’s Mistress’ to ‘Bowlful of Butterflies’, ‘Hilawi’,  and ‘Chakra- Chronicles of the Witch Way’, among many lapped by her audience. Writer and blogger, Ritu Lalit comes with a twist in her latest “From Son to Stranger” (FS2S), a non-fiction book speaking about the very sensitive topic about adult estrangement on how relationship breaks up between parents and children. In the interview, she speaks on the reason to write the book and makes a strong point on the need to heal and acceptance in the interwoven tales, revolving around the personal and stories heard. Click on Amazon to buy the book. Follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog and Podcast.

 

  1. After dabbling in fiction, what pushed you to write From Son to Stranger described as non-fiction with little hope for reconciliation?

 

 

During my research for the book, everyone I met and talked to wanted me to write about adult estrangement.  They wanted me to tell their stories without taking their names.  So I did it.

On a personal level writing a semi-fiction Wrong for the Right Reasons gave me more satisfaction than all the fiction I have written.  I realized that writing truth or subjects close-to-truth is more challenging and rewarding.

 

  1. The book offers simple tools for acceptance, heal, and work with pain coupled with estrangement. How do you view the changing equation between parents and children, becoming complex in today’s times?

 

Like I say in the book, there is no compulsion for people to live together, even if they share the same DNA.  That being said, I think our children are emotionally stronger than we were.  Many of us had less than perfect parents but we never had the courage to move away.  These kids do not tolerate imperfection in their parents and move away.  Unless our parenting style becomes less repressive, we will see more of estrangements and distancing in our family units.

 

  1. Do you think that expectations and aspirations laden with a certain element of possessiveness often drive an edge between children and parents and is the book based on personal observations or peoples’ tales spinning around you?

 

Generalization is dangerous.  However, let me do some in this reply.  In some ways Indian parenting is possessive and manipulative. We do not teach children to adult but use manipulation to keep them dependent on us.

In other cases, our parenting style is abusive, and children do not have the right to live their own lives and go after their own dreams.

On the flip side, many of us parents bend backwards to not become our parents.  We make our children entitled, spoilt and irresponsible. This observation is based on both personal life as well as stories I have heard.

 

 

  1. Your book, Wrong for the Right Reasons tells the tale of a single mother with two children and though it appears technically wrong to compare fiction with reality, are there similarities with your latest one as a sequel of sort lent realism?

I never thought of FS2S as a sequel to Wrong, but yes, it could be considered as a sort of sequel.  However, Wrong was realism blended with fiction, this is purely nonfiction.

 

  1. How does the person reconciles with rupture in this context where it may happen across various relationship equations that many, including single parents would relate to? 

 

In every relationship there is a possibility of misunderstanding and break up/estrangement.  I think it is totally understandable.  People evolve at different speeds and can go out of sync with each other.  They must change and learn before attempting reconciliation, otherwise they are at the same place that led to the breakup and they will fail again.

 

  1. Would one say that a book like Son to Stranger is a closure for parents and how complex was it to write about a sensitive subject, the emotions and scars?

 

It was not complex.  I was already journaling.  I was meeting other estranged parents and writing down accounts of my conversations with them.  After my spiritual experience, I just compiled my journal entries, my notes, my unsent letters into a book format and sent it off.

 

  1. What is the story all about and novel ideas injected in demarcating you from brand Ritu and the kind of research or travel involved? Would you call Son to Stranger the most difficult book you’ve written?

 

I don’t think writing the book was difficult.  Experiencing the estrangement was difficult.  Making sense of it, accepting it and learning from it was difficult.  Writing about it was just the culmination of that journey.

 

  1. Are there plans in going back to fiction or a second part of Stranger to Son? What message do you have for readers of the book which is already garnering positive reviews?

 

My next book is fiction and it is already with my agent.  My message to readers of FS2S is that we need to grow and learn from whatever life experiences we have.  Denial and non-acceptance of truth only delays the healing process.

Love

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