Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My 4 am friend

(Reproducing a complement I posted for Kirthi Severus on a Facebook Group called 'Spammers')

I happened to lose my way and stumbled onto posts which made me discover, what I should have known all along, that you Spammers are celebrating what you have dubbed as a Complement's Week.

I would start with Kirthi Severus who happens to be my first friend from the HP society. I remember how she would be there all the time, even at 3 am, when I was conducting my furious sessions of quiz on 'Harry Potter Flows in my Blood' way back in 2011. She had developed this relentless obsession to ensure that Gryffindors win the House Cup (which was a monthly thing) at all cost, even at the expense of her sleep and of my peace of mind. She was there all the time to see to it that the Lions win all the major quizzing sessions. So much so that, she gave me an impression that the Gryffindors were having an unfair advantage by having her patrolling the corridors of my page 24/7, and so much so that I began to hate Gryffindors and renamed them as Phlegms.

But, that apart, Kirthi (who was soon to be renamed 'Potter') and me developed a very strong friendship which blossomed into round-the-clock texts. I would wake up to her text saying 'Good morning' and chat my way till the evening and till the night and till the dawn before finally saying 'good night' and sleeping again, only for the entire process to be repeated the next day.

Thus, I nicknamed her as my 4-am friend.

She is now got engaged and would soon be lost in the whirlpool of marital life. It is a happy-sad moment for me. Happy coz, being her best friend that I am, I am expected to be happy. Sad because now I won't be able to call/text/disturb her at 4 am. Sigh! Life is like that only.

~Ritesh Agarwal

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review of ‘Love in the time of Cholera’: It is a slow poison

Book: Love in the time of Cholera
Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Romance, drama
Pages: 348
Price: Rs 350 (excluding discounts)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review: There are some books which begin in a thrilling manner but lose their charm midway, while there are some which begin slowly but work their way like a slow poison and affect your whole system. ‘Love in the time of Cholera’ perhaps falls in the latter category, if it falls in any category at all, for it is the most unusual book which I have read in my entire bibliophilic career.

It is a love story which stays unrequited for 51 years, 9 months and 4 days. It may appear a tad unrealistic initially, but when you read the story, if you ever read the story, you are bound to believe in the magnitude of the emotions displayed by the protagonist Florentino Ariza who loves like no man has loved before and who loves for a period longer than any man has dared to love before. The woman in question is Fermina Daza who grows old with her husband Dr. Juvenal Urbino. But when the doctor dies in an accident one sudden day, Fermina Daza finds herself facing the face of the man whom she loved 51 years, 9 months and 4 days ago, and whom she had rebuffed before tying the knot with Dr. Juvenal Urbino.

The chief reason why I give 4.5 stars to this book is because of its powerful narration. It is the best narrated book that I have ever read. The language is so beautifully woven that one often feels compelled to re-read and re-re-read certain phrases and paragraphs. Hence, plaudits must also be showered to Edith Grossman who translated the novel into English from its original Spanish.

The book has a vintage charm to it, even though it is not exactly a classic. I take delight from the fact that I bought this book, instead of borrowing it, for borrowing a great book always comes with the pain of parting with it……

PS- The title is catchy but slightly misleading, since cholera does not play any direct role in our protagonists’ lives but is only a part of the backdrop.

PPS- Please buy this book

PPPS- You may also borrow it from me, provided you swear that you will return it

~Ritesh Agarwal

Monday, July 29, 2013

Photography: Locking horns

I took this shot recently in Jaipur zoo


Friday, July 12, 2013

55 word story: The Perfect Road Trip

Image courtesy:Google

SUV was ready.
I scanned through my luggage. Had I boarded everything?

Rucksack- check
Laptop- check
Headphone- check
Adaptors- check
Books- check

Yes, everything! Perfect!

Yet I felt discontented. Something bothered me.
Was I taking myself?

Struck by an epiphany, I unloaded all items. I drove away alone; with myself, into those laughing mountains. 

[A perfect road trip is one which makes you discover yourself. This post is my entry for the IndiBlogger contest held by Ambi Pur. For more information about the brand, kindly checks its Facebook page Ambi Pur India]

~Ritesh Agarwal

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Published ^_^

My short story is titled 'Love in the Times of War'

I finally got published.

It's not much coz this is just an anthology with contributions from several authors. Besides, my story is barely 400 words long and accords me no more than one page. Still, it's important for me. I wanted to see my name in the world of literature. Granted, that the publisher is no Penguin or Harper Collins, but this is something which I would lap up for the moment.

Cover pic of 'Lovelets' which got me published

I don't quite like the concept of self-publicity. So, I would refrain from posting any link which coerces you to buy the book.
If you do wish to buy the book (coz you are an incorrigible bookaholic), then leave behind your query and I would get back to you.


Ritesh, a published author    ^_^

Email ID:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

‘My Rainbow’ Review: Teenagers paint stories which are just too good

Book: My Rainbow- Seven riveting short stories
Publisher: Quill Club Writers
Authors: Khush Agrawal, Isha Setia, Dhritika Dhawan, Harshavardhini Pareek, Aditya Agarwal, Isha Rautela, Shivangi Singh
Genre: Various
Price: Rs 180
Pages: 169
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: ‘My Rainbow’ is not just an ordinary book with an anthology of short stories! No, it is not because none of its authors is over 16. Written by school students in their early teens (with one barely 11-years of age), this book is aptly titled. Each of the 7 young authors epitomizes a hue of the rainbow and conjures up a colorful tale which is as good as good can get!

These seven riveting stories (each author contributing one) are exceptionally well-written and, at no time, give an impression that they have been inked by those who still haven’t started working on Trigonometry. Remarkable narrative skills, mature writing and a vocabulary which can give even fully grown-up authors a bit of a shame, these stories are marvelous gems produced by seven priceless talents.

Here is a quick breakup of each story:
1.      The Legend of Zalim Khan (by Khush Agrawal)

Story Synopsis: It is a story of three good-for-nothing brothers who discover the real identity of their late father and set on a treasure hunting trail. In the process, they discover more about their father and a bit about life.

My review: An excellent story by the prodigious 13-year old Khush; laced with ingenious maturity and stuffed with a riveting gift of vocabulary.

Rating: 5 on 5

2.      Water Under the Bridge (by Dhritika Dhawan)

Story synopsis: It is a story of a young girl who grows up in a small hill town under the upbringing of a single mother. One day she comes across a face in a newspaper and develops a strong feeling that it belongs to her father. She decides to take the bait which fate has offered her.

My Review: Brilliant! Though the plot is trite, it is the simplicity and innocence in writing which overwhelm you. Penning the tale of an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl in first person, 13-year old Dhritika Dhawan conjures mixed emotions in the mind of the readers. The detailing is vehement and there is a Ruskin Bond flavor to the story. Despite the predictable climax, the narration and the happy-sad ending do make you smile, cry and smile again.

Rating: 4.5 on 5

3.      Carnival in Lousytown (by Harshavardhini Pareek)

Story synopsis: It is a simple fabled story of a lazy, lousy town where the inhabitants are lethargic and unenthusiastic about life. But one rumor spreads like wild fire and helps them rediscover life.

My Review: A simple story told from the heart. It is amazing how an 11-year old could pen a children’s story with such a gripping command over language and with a surprising adeptness for an engaging narration. Harshavardhini Pareek opens the floodgates of childhood, taking the readers into the nostalgic world of folklores.

Rating: 4 on 5

4.      Fate (by Isha Setia)

Story Synopsis: It is the tale of an inquisitive young girl who finds herself in the midst of circus people, after 14 years of living a boring and highly compromised life.

My Review: Isha Setia amazes with her deft command over writing. Narrating the tale from the perspective of a teenage girl, she hooks the reader, taking him to a makeshift world of circus & clowns, and leaving chuckles and smiles on the face. The plot is simple but the unique setting is a winner.

Rating: 4.5 on 5

5.      The Interview (by Shivangi Singh)

Story Synopsis: it is an intriguing story, more like a mind game. A child bumps into a criminal. Years later, when the child grows up and enters college, she bumps into the criminal again. He is her lecturer of Journalism. What transpires next is an ‘interview’!

My Review: Just wow! The young Shivangi Singh is perhaps herself not aware of the ease with which she can knit words. Her writing is limpid and clear, yet full of subtle details which glaringly point at her power of observation. The story has a professional maturity and the plot has a clear purpose behind it.

Rating: 5 on 5

6.      The Decision (by Isha Rautela)

Story Synopsis: A young inquisitive school boy named Yash walks into a place where one can see the future of the entire planet. But there is a catch!  In order to see the future, he will have to let go of his past. He needs to make a ‘decision’!

My Review: It is hard for a fully grown-up adult to imagine how a 13-year old could imagine to such an extent. But Isha Rautela does exactly that. Treading deep into the crevices of her adolescent mind, she plucks out a story which is children’s fantasy at its best. She also injects a few words which hint at mankind’s atrocious attitude towards nature. Her writing is simple and easy to comprehend, yet there are places where her precocious vocabulary prowess gets instantly highlighted.  

Rating: 4.5 on 5

7.      Adventure of the Mysterious Flagstone (by Aditya Agarwal)

Story Synopsis: Amit, Rahul and Sahil are cousin kids. During a holiday, they sniff some sinister activities going on in an island. Adventure follows with lots of action, adrenaline and thrills.

My Review: ‘Adventure of the Mysterious Flagstone’ by young Aditya Agarwal is clearly inspired from ‘The Famous Five’. Aditya knits an adventure story with Indian characters in an Indian setting (albeit, not dissimilar to Blyton’s). The story is not extraordinary but quite good to keep young readers hooked. Though the pacing is slightly uneven, it is, by no means, a patchy attempt. Not as good as ‘The Famous Five’! But then Aditya dares to do in his teens what Blyton did in her 40s or 50s. So, kudos!

Rating: 3.5 on 5

~Ritesh Agarwal

[The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve]

Thursday, July 4, 2013

शायरी : जी रहे थे हम

[I had written this silly shayari a few years back in my copy. Posting it here after Bushra's encouragement.]

तन्हाई  के  साये  में  जी  रहे  थे  हम
विरह  की  वेदना  में  सिसक  रहे  थे  हम….
कमबख्त   पलकों  ने  रोक  रखा  है  आंसुओ  को …….

उसे  ही  पी  पीकर  जी  रहे  थे  हम  

~रितेश अग्रवाल (रैटs)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Usha ki Aahat

[It is a silly little poem I had written 3 years back on 26th June 2010 during one of my Dumbledore-ish moments  :P]

Sitaaron ke chehel-pehel mein beeta nishaakaal
Surya ki khushboo laaya naveen ushakaal
Pakshiyon ki sarsarahat
Vaahno ki gadgadahat
Sarv-vyapi fael gayee pavan ki hai sansanahat
Kaali chaadar ka andhkaar hua khatam
Ab aasha ke prabhaat ka hai hua janam
Agyaanta, ashiksha evam puratanta ka karo ant
Aur anusaran karo us mahatma ka

Jo tha Sabarmati ka Sant 

PS- If you want to read really fascinating and powerful Hindi poems, then visit this blog called Words of Swati

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How many stars?