Jeete Raho

“Jeete Raho" is a blessing in Hindi from the elders for a long life. This blog by this name is indeed a blessing to its readers. The blog ‘Jeete Raho’ gives lot of valuable advice on emotional, psychological and relationship related problems.

One thing that stands out in the posts in the blog is the sincerity and earnestness of the blogger 'Indu Chibber Datta'. A reader reading her posts can feel her good heart and a genuine desire to reach out to people and help them. The content is kept simple and pragmatic which makes it very easy for the reader to digests. Indu keeps it precise and to the point. She does not get into unnecessary jargon and frameworks, that some of the other blogs on similar topic tend to get into. So her blog posts always have freshness about them and do not feel tedious and artificial. She has enriched her advice with a few real life case studies as well that are very interesting and relevant. I would like to see more of them though.

In addition to the above content, she also writes poetry and articles on astrology and astronomy. The poetry gels well with her blog, but astrology and astronomy seem out of place. I would suggest she starts a separate blogs for this area. I know lot of people including ‘yours truly’ have made a mishmash of their blogs. But when there are close to a dozen themes, it hardly makes sense to have twelve different blogs, each of which has a posting frequency of once in 1-2 months. However that is not the case with Indu. Her blog has 2 clear and distinct themes that have no relation to each other. So the situation definitely calls for two different blogs.

In terms of look and feel, the blog looks rather plain. Maybe some more effort can be put in to making it more appealing. The title is appropriate for the main content. However the tag line could have been catchy. Instead it is a bit longish explanation of the blog’s name and nature of its content. This could have gone into a more detailed ‘About’ section. There aren't too many widgets cluttering the blog and it gives a neat look. However I feel widgets there are could have been chosen better. As I have mentioned earlier, I do not see much utility in a live traffic update widget. I also feel blogger award badges need not have been displayed so prominently in the main page sidebar. Whereas these badges represent the love of fellow bloggers, this is a blog with a niche and serious content. And these badges tend to give an air of frivolousness.

Let us move on to navigation. The archives and top bar with labels to key topics as tabs provide somewhat decent navigation. But problem with label based navigation is that when there are more than 30-40 posts under a label, the posts tend to come up in multiple pages with earlier posts coming up in later pages. So there is very good chance that reader will miss them out as he/she will have to navigate quite a bit to reach them. That is the reason I have manually created links to my posts on static pages for the different themes in my blog. The popular post widget seems like a good one but the problem is it gives popularity based on blogger traffic, which includes spam and bots as well. So it may not provide a true picture of best posts. Having labels both as tabs and in right sidebar is a redundancy. I would advise to have it in only one of the two. One more think I would suggest is as the number of posts increase, it might be better to have a second level of classification. Otherwise reader might end up finding hundred posts under mental health alone. Ideally one should have only 20-30 posts under each theme.

In terms of interaction, response to comments is handled well. In some of her posts she mentions her e-mail id for seeking personal advice. It would however be nice to have a contact page, where she clearly mentions her e-mail id and for kind of queries/discussion can she be contacted. Since she provides online counseling professionally and the blog kind of complements her profession, it would be good to mention that prominently in the blog and make it easy for a reader to find out how to seek her professional help.

Overall I would recommend everyone to have a look at this blog. Though in the beginning I have mentioned it seeks to provide aid to people with psychological, emotional and relationship problems, it does not necessarily mean people with serious issues only. All of us have ups and downs and have day to day frustrations. This blog can serve as a good self-help blog to tide over them. Her articles on astrology and astronomy are also quite interesting and informative. Find below a selection of posts from her blog.

Rediscovering the Rhythm

Rediscovering the Rhythm (Mar 2011- May 2011) 

Recovering from a personal tragedy, intense feelings found their expression through poetry. Seeking to keep the sadness at bay, I followed Sherlock Holmes' maxim that work is the antidote for sorrow and  took to prolific blogging - 27 posts in 2 months, almost one post every alternate day. As if to make up for lost time, I blogged with a vengeance. I discovered a lot of international prompt blogs through some fellow bloggers and participated in almost every one of them. My main outputs during this period was poetry and micro-fiction padded by a few book reviews. I used to follow a site 'One Stop Poetry', where different forms of poetry were taught on a weekly basis and I experimented with various poetry forms. This was the phase where my creativity with words was at its peak

After 4 months break, I made a return to blogging with Blog-a-Ton, which was also returning after a break. Here I attempted a new style of storytelling. Instead of having stories, run over months and years, I tried a story spanning just 12 hours. I kept it a shade lighter than my earlier stories and tried to bring out a moral.

Space in her Heart
This was my second story after my comeback, based on an idea I got in a dream related to a real life incident. This was a new style for me, without deeper exploration of psyche and relationship and no attempts to moralize - a work of genuine fiction. This was selected as Blog Adda's spicy post, giving a boost to my return to blogging.

Of Love Lost
This was the first in my series of poems in this phase. This is a sonnet written for the contest with the theme 'Of Love Lost'. I used this theme to write a poem expressing my feelings for my mother.

Violet Blooms and Clover Leaves
This is a simple poem I wrote using some tips I found for a form poetry called Tanka for an image prompt. This was the one that triggered my love for form poetry and for writing posts with images. I was charmed by the idea of writing poetry around images.

Our Prime minister - Clerihew
Another type of form poetry - a clerihew. This time on a political theme.

Cat and Dog Rain
This one is an attempt at Limerick.

Master of the Skies
A poem for a picture prompt - attempting yet another new poetry form - Rondel.

Sword of Truth
Yet another picture prompt, yet another form - triolet. This time a poem with a message.

Narnia Series
With my return to blogging, I wanted to resume reviews of my favorite books as well. So back with a review of one of my favorite children's series.

Jewel of the Jungle
I discovered a prompt where one has to write a 777 words based on a picture. I found this quite interesting and I was able to come up with a lyrical, intriguing and magical tale. The world limit kind of helped me make it a real tight read.

Continuing with my fascination for picture prompts and form poetry - an acrostic this time.

Fling with Fate
Finally got back to the genre of writing I had neglected for long - humorous narrations of incidents related to my life.

An attempt at Haiku.

Another attempt at Rondel, a French poetry form.

Blog-a-Ton gave me opportunity to attempt yet another fiction - again a story with a moral.

His Last Words
This is my second attempt at 55 Fiction for a poetry prompt. As mentioned earlier I would classify 55 fiction more as poetry than prose.

Another Haiku. Not a Haiku in a strict sense though as it has no season word.

Sindbad Sailor
A book review of yet another favorite books from my school days. The highlights of this review was a new reader - an English scholar from US, whose interest in my blog boosted my confidence in the literary merit of my writing.

A Ray of Hope at Last
One of those rare occasions where I express an opinion rather than a detailed analysis. Inspired by Anna movement, I have chosen to got with the stream rather than express a contrary opinion.

Grey World
A free flowing poetry without any forms. Tried to just go with the flow like most poets on blog-o-sphere. This poem was recognized by a blogger forum. This poem was also recited on radio by a friend Madhur Chadha. The recital can be found on youtube here

Glass of Life
After trying Japanese and French poetry forms, an attempt at a Spanish poetry form - Shadorma

Men of Mars
After reviewing children's fiction, I start out with showcasing my favorite genre: science fiction.Book reviews are something I kept maintaining at regular intervals to keep my blog rolling.

Heart's True Music
This is the life story of an old musician, again for the 777 word picture prompt, which used to be a weekly feature.

Goose under Fire
My second attempt at limerick. Other than the structure, one interesting aspect of limerick is that it should be humorous as well.

Her Name is Red
Yet another 777 fiction for a picture prompt. I had recently read about the communist revolution in China. Wrote a short story set in those times.

Do people reveal their true identity of Social Media?
This was an analysis post for a blogger debate contest organized by one of the blogger communities. I try to bring out multiple facets of managing identity of Social Media.

I too had a Love Story (2 Parts)
After the success with the Great Indian Bride Hunt series, I was acutely aware that with Indian readers, romance and humor make a great combo for success. And to avoid cliches from Bollywood, it was best to draw from personal experiences. So I tried to start a series on my failed attempts at finding romance as a sort of prequel to the bride hunt series. But seeing the scant success, I did not proceed with it.

A poetry written in blank verse - meter maintained but no rhyme schemes. I tried to bring out the hesitations one faces while doing something new in life.

Solitary Buffalo on the Dutch Plain
Blog-a-ton was fast losing sheen. So wrote a random musing, but on a topic dear to my heart. It is regarding my first inspiration to make serious attempts at writing.

Rainbow's End
A philosophical poem, writing in my natural style without restrictions put by forms.

Books by Jules Verne
Around this time, I was running out of steam after a flurry of posts. This was the last post in that phase just to fill the gap. My usual book showcases were of series and not individual books. So wrote about all of Jules Verne's books in one post considering them as one big series.

Stories with a Moral

Fables and parables are the simplest forms of stories. They are usually told more with the purpose of teaching a lesson rather than for entertainment. The difference between the two being parables are focused on adults and usually told by religious leader or personality development gurus while the target of fables is usually children. While parables have people as characters and are set in the real world, fables tend to be in an imaginary world and tend to have animals as characters. These kind of stories tend to be very simple and don't have the complexity and subtler nuances usually seen in mainstream fiction.

These stories serve as illustrations for some concept or philosophy that are otherwise enumerated through essays. They are usually the best form of fiction for a writer of essays trying to cross over into the realm of fiction.  All the writer has to do is to first clearly decide the point he wants to convey and then try to come up with a simple series of events that bring out the point loud and clear. Pitfalls to avoid are trying to make too many points in the same story and adding too many unnecessary details that can distract the reader.

Below are some of my attempts in the genre.

A tale of the strange experiences of an IT professional in the streets at night and the lessons he learns.

A haughty college student meets some people during a train journey. His interaction with the people on the train teach him valuable lessons in life.

The Heart's True Music
The tale of an old musician who seems to be playing away to glory with no care in life.

The Curse of the Last Swan
The last man alive on a deserted island reminisces over his life as he walks through the island.

In Search of Freedom
The story of a boy working at tea shop who is not satisfied with his life. He meets a sage with magical powers and asks him to help him change his life situation. My first genuine fable.

What if we don't go Organic
Why should we Organic? I have tried to express through a simple myth like story accompanied by pictures.

A Corporate Parable
An attempt to narrate one of Aesop's Fables in  the corporate settings of a IT company. Let me see if the reader can find out which one.

Dreams Gone Wrong
An attempt to narrate a story from Indian mythology in modern day settings - a tale of a corporate employee's ten year roller coaster ride.

Blank Pages
A tale similar to 'Aladdin and the Magic Lamp' set in modern times but with a twist.

Mind's True Marriage
A story told in four parts detailing the considerations one has to take into account in a marriage decision. It has been told through the story of a girl contemplating marriage. She encounters four Greek Goddesses who put before her the different points of view.  

Vantage Points - Part 7

The concluding part - How it all looks to an outsider.


They look so beautiful together. Such a happy couple! I can see so much love and happiness effusing out of their faces. You can see this kind of ecstasy only in love marriages. Love marriages have become so much easier these days. How tough it used to be in our times. Apparently Ashwin informed his father and my brother instantly gave his assent. No long struggle to convince parents like my times. How lucky Ashwin is! How worry free and go lucky this current generation is! Yet he seems to have a slightly worried look on his face. Maybe he is already thinking about all the family responsibilities that come with marriage. It is good to see he is already thinking about that.

Vasu and Sandhya are looking a bit hassled though. It must be due to all the strain of organizing the wedding. They have to entertain so many guests. So many friends they both have! Talking of friends, I do not see Krishnan’s family anywhere. I wonder how come they are not their at their best friends’ function. One of Vasu’s friends was mentioning Krishnan’s daughter is also getting engaged next week. They must be busy with that.  Everyone has different priorities. Anyways that is none of my business. Let me enjoy my nephew’s wedding and share in their moment of joy.

First Part of Story         :  Vantage Points: Part 1  
Previous Part of Story   :  Vantage Points: Part 6

Vantage Points - Part 6

Now finally we get to the heart of the story: the most important point of view.


I don’t want to live. Life is so cruel. Why have I landed up in a situation like this? I have never wanted to hurt anyone ever. But it looks like I have got myself into a situation where I have no go but to hurt someone no matter what. I think best solution is for me to jump off the terrace and commit suicide. Then I won’t be able to hurt anyone.

No. I am thinking too negatively. Suicide can never be the solution to any problem. It will only hurt everyone even more. I need to put aside all such thoughts and try to think clearly. I have created this mess. It is up to me to clear it. Let me think it over logically. Well as things stand there are two girls who love me. I need to choose one to marry one. So how do I do it? You might say the answer is simple. The one I love! But then which of them do I love?

Well, I was madly in love with Jyothi two years back. The decision would have been so easy if I had to decide then. But now I no longer have that old feeling. Of course I still feel protective about her. It was her vulnerability that precipitated my initial fascination for her beauty and grace into love. The charm of her petite figure, that cute little turned up nose and those large innocent eyes have however waned with time. My heart does not skip a beat every time I talk to her. Talking to her once in two to three days has become more of a chore these days. Maybe I never truly loved her. I am beginning to feel it was just a passing infatuation accentuated by the ego boost of having someone so dependent on me. That is what Swati has been taking pains to explain to me.

Swati knows me better than anybody else. She has been my best friend always. But I never realized she loved me. I genuinely thought there was some mistake or misunderstanding when my father mentioned her dad had approached him for our marriage. But later to my surprise she told me she had loved me all along and my rejection had hurt her. That is what I like about her. She does not hold back her thoughts in her head. She openly spells out her thoughts. Makes life so much easier that way! But not in this case though.

Come to think of it, probably I love her too. I have never had any euphoric highs about her. But she is one with whom I have shared all my deepest thoughts. She has always been there for me when I needed her. She has definitely cared for me from the time I have known her. If that is not love, what is? I am sure my life will be happy with her. And both our families will also be so happy. I have caused so much anguish to both our families by my refusal to marry her.

My friends too feel that the right decision would be to marry Swati. They point out to me so many movies on this theme to support their point: where hero realizes his love for his childhood sweetheart only when one of them is set to marry someone else. It all sounds very easy. But can one take precedent for life from movies? Movies tend to over simplify things. The other woman the hero is set to marry just walks away graciously or turns out to be a vamp. Often she is a supporting actress whose fate the audience does not even care about. But is that all Jyothi means to me? A character who exists just to make me realize my true love and be cast aside once she has served her purpose?

Jyothi’s innocent face comes in front on my eyes. Her beseeching eyes stare at me, mournfully as if asking me whether I do not need her anymore. My heart breaks seeing her so sad. I may no longer feel any excitement about her. But she still loves me from the bottom of her heart. How can I just leave her high and dry after pursuing her so ardently and earning her love? It would shatter her completely. Am I so selfish, cruel and heartless? Do I just use people when I need and then step over them and move on when they are no longer needed? Am I really such a horrible person? Even I would hate myself if that is the kind of person I am.

I can’t do it. Hard though it maybe, I have to do the right thing. If something happens to Jyothi due to my actions, I cannot live a life time of guilt. No. I won’t break my promise to her. Swati will be hurt. But she is a strong girl and she will eventually move on. She is so sensible and practical. I am sure she will find someone much better. Krishnan uncle will fret and fume for some time. Losing his best friend will hurt my father a lot. But hopefully time will heal the rift and Krishnan uncle will come around once his daughter is married and happily settled. There is no way I can keep everyone happy. Hard decisions have to be taken. Jyothi is too fragile and delicate to risk hurting. Everyone else can recover from the wounds. But it would be too difficult for someone as sensitive as her. I don’t want to live to regret what my rejection does to her. As far as I am concerned, I may not be marrying the one I truly love, but will at least be marrying one who truly loves me. I have loved her once some time back. Maybe I shall rediscover that old love all over again after marriage. 

First Part of Story         :  Vantage Points: Part 1  
Previous Part of Story   :  Vantage Points: Part 5
Final Part of Story         :  Vantage Points: Part 7

Vantage Points - Part 5

Here finally we see the view point of the other woman in the story. Or is she the first woman?


The phone just does not seem to be ringing. Will he not call today also? It has been two days since he last called. I am beginning to feeling so restless. I am longing to hear his smooth clear voice. It is so soothing to talk to him. It would have been still better to be with him in person. But then he has his job and I have my college. What to do? After our marriage we will be together all the time. I am so looking forward to it.

I am surprised how much things changed in these two years. I still vividly remember how he used to pursue me and how I used to spurn every one of his advances. I have always been a quiet girl, obedient to my parents and focused on my studies. Some of my friends did have boyfriends. But I had never felt the need for one. For me, studies and my parents were the most important things. When the right time came, I was sure my parents would find the right boy and get me married. They always knew what was best for me. I did not want to do anything that would hurt them.

Then that one day changed things. I was returning from Sandhya mam’s home one evening. There was this lonely stretch I had to cross to get to my home. As I was walking by, a couple of street boys had started making lewd comments about me. There was no one about and I had felt so scared. Then out of nowhere, Ashwin had emerged. He had just shouted furiously at the boys and threatened to call the police. They had got scared and run off. I had been so relieved and so grateful to Ashwin. From then on, at least I would speak to him now and then.

Now I just can’t imagine life without him. It is surprising how an incident like that was required for me to even agree to speak to him. But now looking back I am so glad that it happened. Or I would never have got Ashwin in my life. Looking back, even after I started speaking with him, for a very long time I had been very reluctant to take it beyond a casual friendship. After all he was my favorite teacher’s son. It just did not feel right. It felt as if I was betraying her trust. But eventually my feelings got the better of me and I could not hold myself back.

He is just so charming. It is uncanny how he so accurately assesses my mood and responds accordingly. When I am in a normal mood, he entertains me with his fun talk. When I am in a serious thoughtful mood, he keeps silent and listens to me earnestly. Whenever I have been in trouble, he has stood by me like a rock. He was there with me when my dad was seriously ill. He was there when my board examination results were not on expected lines. He was there when I was finding it difficult to adjust to hostel life. He was always there for me whenever I needed him, with comforting words. I cannot even imagine how I got through for so many years of my life before I knew him.

Nowadays I am getting a feeling that somehow things are not alright with him. Earlier he used to call me daily. Now he calls me only once in two to three days. Even when he is on the phone, he seems so distant and distracted. I wonder if something is wrong. Guess a new job brings with it its own tensions. I wish he would tell me what is eating him from inside. He is always like that. Though he is there with me whenever I am in need of support, he wants to keep all his worries to himself and face them all alone. Why can’t he share them with me? I may not be able to help or give wise words of advice like he does for me. But I can at least be there with him and worry along with him.

First Part of Story         :  Vantage Points: Part 1  
Previous Part of Story   :  Vantage Points: Part 4
Next Part of Story        :   Vantage Points: Part 6

Vantage Points - Part 4

The fourth part of the love story, this time again looking at the tale from a little distance.


I think I will go mad. So many things are happening so suddenly. Till last week it seemed as if we were having the perfect life. Perfect careers, perfect family, perfect family friends, a peaceful life – what more can one ask for? Then suddenly everything has turned topsy-turvy in a flash. Family is in doldrums. Friends are no longer friends. Peace no longer prevails. And I can’t help feeling my career might have been at the root of all this trouble.

I am ruing the day I took up teaching as a career. It would have still been fine if I had restricted myself to interacting with students at school. But, no! I had to bring them home, didn’t I? Even the uneducated rustic folks can tell you it is not advisable to have frequent visits from girls when you have a young son with hormones running wild at home. But no! I was too modern to pay heed to any that kind of country wisdom. I had to entertain my favorite girl students at home only! It was I who tried to almost make them part of family. So why am I surprised when one of them may now actually become part of my family?

Actually Jyothi is not a bad girl at all. She was one of my favorite students. But this whole thing has come as a bolt from the blue. I had never imagined even in my wildest dreams that one of my girls would snap up my own son. Why did she have to do this? Is this how she has chosen to repay all the love and affection I have showered on her as a teacher? Maybe it was my fault only. As a teacher I should have known better than anyone the psyche of the children of that age. When chemicals are brought together, a reaction is bound to occur. Can the chemicals be blamed? It is the one who brought them together that is to be blamed.

But what am I to do now? Everything is in such a mess! My heart goes out to Ashwin’s father. He is in such a terrible state these days. How else will he be? He has lost his best friend of over two decades. This has just sucked away all the joy from this life. He keeps brooding all the time. Why did Krishnan also have to do this? Why did he have to break such a long standing friendship over one single issue? What could Ashwin’s father have done anyway? He could not have used his parental authority to bully Ashwin into marrying Swati. Could he have? That is not the kind of person he is. If Krishnan was really a true friend, could he not have understood his situation?

When I talk to Ashwin on phone, I can feel he is not very happy too. He realizes how much anguish he is causing us. But he is helpless. I know what love does to people. He is torn between us and her. If we strongly demand it, I am sure her will let go of her and act as per our wishes. But we don’t want to do that to him. Frankly we are also as much lost as he is. I only keep wishing all this had never happened. I can’t help but blame Jyothi for all this. If she had not bewitched my little Ashwin with her feminine charms, things would have been so different. Both our families would have now been joyously celebrating our union instead of being entangled like this. And I just can’t help feeling guilty for being the one who brought Ashwin in contact with that girl. I just don’t know how things are going to fan out. I can only hope somehow miraculously everything gets sorted out and our lives return to normal.

First Part of Story         :  Vantage Points: Part 1  
Previous Part of Story   :  Vantage Points: Part 3
Next Part of Story        :   Vantage Points: Part 5

Vantage Points - Part 3

This is the third part of the story - a more closer view of the story.

Why is he doing this to both himself and me? I just can’t understand. Clearly, I am the one he truly loves. We were always made for each other. It was decided in heavens. It can’t just be a coincidence that we landed up not only in the same college but got offers from same company on campus as well. Can it? Where did all this new nonsense come in between? This is all just so crazy.

When my father had told me that he had refused to marry me, I had been left completely shell shocked! But I am not the one to sit in a corner and weep quietly. How could he have refused to marry me? This was utter bullshit! I immediately went up to him and sought an explanation.

He had not even had the courage to face me. He had hung his shamefully and then mumbled something.

I have already promised to marry another girl.

What the hell! This had been totally unexpected. “You what?

There is this girl called Jyothi. I have promised to marry her.

The whole story had then spilled out. He had apparently fallen in love with her a couple of years back. But honestly, it seemed to me more like an infatuation than true love. I think he has impetuously gone and proposed to her in a moment of passing emotion. Now he is just holding on to it and not letting go. During the entire time he had been speaking about her, there was hardly any mention of love. It was more about breaking promises and hurting feelings. So I think he regrets what he had done and would be glad to get out of it. But then, he is too conscientious and feels guilty about going back on his word to her.

Sometimes we do commit mistakes. There is no point hanging on to the same for life. This is a question of all our lives. Why does he want to cause grief to all of us like this? I won’t let him do that. I have to make him come face to face with his true feelings. Father is furious with him and does not even want me to talk to him. But father does not understand him like I do. I know he is just lost. He needs me to bring him out of this mess.

It was that stupid girl’s fault also. He says she was in school with us. There was not a person in school who did not know about our closeness. She must have known about it too. Knowing that, how could she have made play for him? That was totally wrong on her part. He says he was smitten by her. But how can that happen just like that? She must have put some charm on him. Otherwise why would he have suddenly left me - who he has known for so many years and gone after her? For that alone she deserves to have her heart broken. It is only fair that she also undergoes what I am undergoing right now.

I am not sure if I should laugh or cry seeing Ashwin’s inane attempts to get me off his back. He is going around pretending to flirt with some random girls thinking I would get angry and let go off him. Seems like he has been seeing too many Indian movies! Did he think I would fall for such cinematic gags? It has got my friends upset though. The other day I had Sowmya ranting away to glory about what a fallen character Ashwin is. He can fool my friends easily. But I have known him so closely for so many years. No way is he going to fool me. I can tell exactly how his mind works. I am not going to be put off so easily. I shall get to the bottom of this whole thing and set things right!

First Part of Story         :  Vantage Points: Part 1  
Previous Part of Story   :  Vantage Points: Part 2
Next Part of Story        :   Vantage Points: Part 4

Discovering the Art of Storytelling

Discovering the Art of Storytelling  (Mar 2010 - Oct 2010)

As I was slowly running out of steam, my researches on the internet related to blogging brought to my notice a monthly bloggers contest called Blog-a-Ton. I gingerly made an attempt to submit an entry for that and somehow inspiration struck me and I was able to put together a piece of futuristic fiction. Within an hour of posting, I got 6 comments, the maximum every in such short time frame, taking me to cloud nine. That was when I was introduced to the concept of networking with other bloggers. I across discovered two other forums - 'IndiMag' and  'Cafe Ginger Chai', which gave me inspiration to write more fiction. Most of the fiction I wrote during this period was philosophical in nature, exploring the human psyche. I made a few very good blogger friends and was even planning to bring out a short story anthology along with them. But somehow it did not work out and activity began to slow down on all these forums and I began to lose touch with my friends. That along with some trying situations in personal life again brought fresh clouds over my blog.

Time Travel
This was my first post for a contest or a prompt. It was a humorous fiction concept I had already tried once as fantasy. I rehashed the concept as science fiction keeping with the month's prompt for Blog-a-ton, an online contests where people write posts with same title and winners are selected based on votes by fellow participants. The response to my entry was so overwhelming that I was fully bought in to the concept of writing for online prompts.

My Views on Reservation Policy
This was one of the topics on which I felt I had offbeat views. An analysis kind of post where I take a view contrary to popular opinion and try to defend through logical analysis. As I mentioned earlier, I do not like to write essay type or analysis pots unless I have views contrary to the popularly accepted view points.

The Lonely Bus Stand
My first attempt at serious fiction. It was posted for a story writing contest conducted by IndiMag. It was well received encouraging me to write more fiction. This is a philosophical fiction drawing from some personal incidents from my life. I have written it in an unique style: a story told in ten mini scenes from different timelines.

This was my second entry for the story writing contest organized by IndiMag. This also drew from my personal experiences and the main character was based on a person I had encountered in real life. This story focuses on nature of human relationships.

Confessions of a Writer Wannabe
This is where for the first time I stop and reflect on how I have been doing as a blogger and writer. I had come up with the idea of a confession years before the confession craze on Facebook. However this confession is not about falling in love with a female blogger at a bloggers' meet.

This piece is one of my personal favorites. When I read it at times I can't even believe I wrote this. This was again for the Blog-a-Ton contests I managed to express my deepest frustrations through a story set in Victorian times and rendered in verse. It was one of the works written much before I had even the slightest idea about rhyme, meter and forms. I was a bit disappointed though with the bland, listless comments from  fellow bloggers of Blog-a-ton.

Blog-a-Ton used to stimulate my creativity and enabled me to produce really varied kind of works. This was again a different kind of philosophical fiction, exploring lines between dreams and reality. This story was again cathartic for me like most of my other works during this phase. It is a slightly longer work which in later times would have been written as series fiction.

This is one of those rare posts where I expressed my opinion on a hot current affair topic. As usual an against the tide viewpoint.

This was written for a team blogging contests organized by Cafe Ginger Chai.  Given the cliched nature of the topic, I attempted a different kind of presentation. I have used English nursery rhymes to present Indian arranged marriage system as a way most Indians find love. 

An attempt at paranormal thriller - again a Blog-a-Ton entry. I wanted to continue this as a series, with one post every month based on the theme of Blog-a-Ton. A decent read as a stand alone as well.

This was also a post for the Cafe Ginger Chai team blogging contest. We were to write what would be the words of the last tiger. I attempted a preachy philosophical post from the point of view of the last member of a dying species. I was happy with what I wrote but did not cut much ice with the judges, sowing the first seeds of my discontentment with contests. Possibly when judges give a topic they have something in mind and when I begin to write it, the post assumes an altogether a different character which may not be in line with what the judges may have expected.

Website Review:
I am not into product reviews. But when a very close friend asked me to review his semi-commercial website, I just could not say no. So I came up with a review of his website. In some ways, this served as precursor to my blog reviews later on.

A continuation of my first series story starting with hidden. It was an attempt to write unrelated scenes that look like stand alone stories in the beginning but begin to tie in later on. I was trying to coordinate the episodes with blog-a-ton hoping the regular blog-a-ton readers will get hooked on to the initial episodes and continue to read on the later episodes as well.

The third episode of my first series story. It is in a totally different style compared to the first two episodes. It is written like a myth. After this episode I decided to stop linking the series to monthly blog-a-ton prompts.

Twelve Month Wonder
This was the fourth episode. I wrote this independent of Blog-a-ton and tried to cover too much ground in one episode. After this I began to feel I was losing control of the story and began to develop self doubts. So I ended up abandoning the series in the middle. But now I feel I must take it up where I left, resume and complete it as I do not want to leave anything I have started incomplete. So the series might see a completion some time. But it is possible that this episode might not fit in with the new scheme of things.

 The Abandoned Station
This was my first attempt at micro fiction. Seeing a picture prompt for Blog-a-ton, I felt a poem would be more appropriate than a story. After a lot of though, I ended up writing a 55 Fiction instead of a poem. In some ways I consider micro fiction closer to poetry than fiction, because both require you to convey a lot in limited words.

Vantage Points - Part 2

This is the second part of the love story I had written for the Harper Collins contests, putting across the view point of another key player in the drama. 


You just cannot trust anyone in this world. My best friend just slipped a dagger through my back! For twenty five years, we have been the best of friends and this is what I get in return. Him of all people! I never expected this. I have just lost faith in humanity.

Well, come to think of it, it is not entirely his fault either. What can anyone do with a son like that? A total scoundrel! That is what his son is. How much love and affection, we have showered on the boy. But it turns out we have been feeding a snake all these years. Now finally when the time has come, he has shown his true colors.

My poor daughter! How much she loves him! Her face had lit up like a chandelier when we broached this matter of marriage with him. Later when we told her it was not happening, all the light in her life went out like a fuse. How could he do this to her after playing with her emotions for so many years? They have been together to the same school, then to the same college. Now they both have even got jobs at the same company. It was as if God made them for each other. But no! This boy has other ideas it seems! At least can’t his father shake some sense into him? If he had been my son, I would have just caught hold of his collar and shook him like a damn rat till he saw sense. But he will do no such thing! His love for his son has totally blinded him. Isn't blood thicker than water as they say? What chance does even a life time of friendship stand against the love of a father?

Is he the only one in this world who loves his child? If Ashwin is his only son, Swati is my only daughter too. My love for her would in all probability not just match but also exceed his love for this son. The poor girl was just speechless for a few moments when I broke the news to her over phone. It must have been so shocking for her. Why wouldn’t it be? I was so shocking even for us.

But the girl is also so stupid. A hopeless romantic, she still clings on to some hope! Radha tells me that she is still talking to him at her work place. I fail to understand what is still left to talk with that blackguard after he has so clearly rejected her. Can’t she just move on? No! She won’t. That is  how she is: my stubborn little angel! She wants him only. Once she sets her mind on something, she can’t rest till she has it. That is how we have brought her up. But what can we do in this case? There is no way I can  help her get what she wants this time. I feel so helpless. How much pain our children cause us! 

Previous Part of Story   : Vantage Points: Part 1  
Next Part of Story        :  Vantage Points: Part 3

Vantage Points - Part 1

This is a story I had submitted for a contest - a genre that is really not my forte: romance. I have tried to tell a love story as seen from the vantage point of different people. Each part of the story portrays the story as seen by one of the persons, bringing out different facets of the story. I wanted the reader to discover the story like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The story did not get selected in the contest. So now I am putting it up as a series of blog posts. Feedback on the story is welcome. Read on.... 


This is disgusting! This is just so disgusting! These men! What dogs they are! I can’t even bear the very sight of Ashwin. Look at him! How shamelessly he flirts with every damn girl he comes across! I just loathe him! How can Swati put up with him? The other day he even tried to flirt with me. Can you imagine that? With me of all people! How can he do that? He actually tried to flirt with Swati’s best friend! When I told Swati, she received it all so stoically. She did not utter a single word against him. Just how can she be like that? I just can’t understand!

What is it about him that has made her so completely blind to all his faults? His good looks and boyish charms are of course evident to all. One cannot deny his intelligence either. He has done pretty well in academics. But the most important thing in a guy is character! And he is one of the most depraved characters I have ever seen. He treats the true love of a girl like Swati with such scant respect and goes chasing after every random Hema, Jaya, Rekha and Sushma. Any other boy would have been kissing the shoe strings of a girl like Swati to earn her love. There is no match for her in terms of beauty and grace, in brains and in character. Yet he wants other girls!

I find her more difficult to understand than him. Most men are like him only. But why would a girl like her fall so head over heels over such a man? She has of course told me that she has known him since childhood. But that should have given her more opportunity to see the swine that he is. But no! She is just so completely devoted to him. And him? Does he even realize how much his behavior is hurting her? I feel so sorry for her. All this is breaking her heart. Though she tries to keep a straight face, I can read the deep sorrow in her eyes. How much we used to smile and laugh when we were in college! In the recent times, I can hardly remember when she last laughed. I wish I could somehow break his spell over her.

Next Part of Story: Vantage Points - Part 2

For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces