To everyone reading this post,
To all the self-proclaimed socialites,
To all the men turned dogs,

I am a girl, a girl who has not been raped or molested but something even worse happened in my life. I was eve teased a number of times. I go to the crowd to find a hand struggling up to my breasts without any one witnessing it. But, I felt it and the very moment left my life shattered in a jiffy. The guilt remains hidden in my heart and it will so forever.
Another day, a pair of brown eyes rested its views on my covered cleavage. The pair kept on ogling to find at least a glimpse of my hidden assets. He kept rubbernecking while I stared at the ground helplessly as no one bothered to give a supporting hand to me.

            So what if I am not raped, does that mean my self-worth and my esteem isn't lost. Every time, I travel through autos, the auto drivers adjust their mirrors to have a glimpse of the slightest of my uncovered body. While travelling on feet, people pass comments "Hey sexy, how have you been?"
All these situations do not amount to molestation, I agree, but can you term it as of lesser significance to that? Every day, I find eyes on my body and trust me, the guilt in my heart keeps on accumulating each day. I can never live the life; I used to live before as a free bird.
But, the question, I wanna put forward is, “Am I born just to listen to these weird remarks and do nothing about it? Have I been given birth to please men with no self-regard for myself? Am I born only for the pleasure of men? Do you think that is the sole purpose for the birth of a girl?
NO. Obviously not. I am not born for that. I want to have my freedom too… I wanna fly high up in the sky with no one to stop me; I wanna walk into trains and buses without having looked at lecherously. I am a woman, a woman who deserves a good life, a woman who is not treated as a commodity for sexual pleasure but as a woman of substance and dignity. I am just a woman, who craves for security, nothing else.

But, can you provide me with that? Can you? 

                                                                                  -A FRUSTRATED LOOKED-DOWN UPON GIRL.

Book: Embers of Light and the Sacred Secret (Part 1)
Author: Abhishek Gupta (Ab Hi)
Genre: Fantasy (Trilogy)
Publisher: Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd
Pages: 369

The case: It is best when some secrets remain hidden and some stories remain untold. But is destiny too kind to let this be?
A strange Y-shaped symbol in the sky terrifies a mysterious, alien race living secretly on Earth for centuries, and changes forever the fate of five human beings; a Brazilian street fighter, an American cop, a Chinese karate instructor, a Russian environmentalist and an Indian ad maker. Meanwhile, a geek in NYC is amazed to see his dreams grow more and more bizarre each day and meets an angel who isn’t conventional in any way.
This is the story of how their destinies intertwine.
They could have had heaven but they did not take it.
The demons were against them, and so were angels but that did not scare them.
Destiny had already ruled against them but they chose to rebel.
Embers of Light is the story of five ordinary humans who chose the path of light over and above everything else … even GOD.

The author: Abhishek Gupta did his graduation from Delhi College of Engineering and post-graduation, in management, from IMI Delhi. He specializes in branding, qualitative market research with a short stint in advertising. Also he had free-lanced for Random Magazine, the first humour magazine of India. He is an idealist who loves creativity and enjoys laughing.

The review: Being a die-hard fan of the world of fantasy, I was very eager to lay my eyes to this thriller from the moment it arrived at my doorstep. But, as they say, when you like something it is hard to really give yourself to it, hence my case. I struggled to read this book, owing to the busy schedule, and thus the late review.

          ‘Embers of Light’ is a kind of literary piece that takes you to an overall new world that you wouldn't have even dreamt of; yes it’s the dreaded ‘Paataal’ that I’m talking about. The story starts with five ordinary human beings, as mentioned in the blurb, being selected to arrive at the doorsteps of the alien power, Vashis. But why are they the ‘chosen ones’ amongst others and the motive behind amazes the reader.
With your eyes glued to the fantastic language used, the story starts unfolding about the two brothers, Zeeyan and Shaurya, and you end up feeling like you’re none other than one of the characters so beautifully portrayed by the debutant author. The story tries to depict the fight between two brothers, one who is said to be a Devil and another one, well you can guess it. Hence, it makes you have an in-depth knowledge of the skills of warfare, which the characters have to use for the awaited fight and more about themselves, and of course the others’.
Another remarkable point I would like to mention about the story would certainly be the character of Nicklaus which has been captured so beautifully and yes, interestingly. Though an Indian reader who isn’t a hard-core fantasy fan doesn’t get to understand too many characters in a tale as this, but when the author makes efforts for the same, you can’t ignore it. Similar has been the case here. The characterization of each and every individual has been done in a very captivating way, such that neither the readers are confused, nor bored.
The climax is a thriller for the readers and keeps the impetus on, but if anyone is a Dan Brown or a Harry Potter reader like me, maybe that person wouldn’t find it that exciting. But when it is well-known to you that first time, an Indian author as young as Abhishek himself has tried his hand on a genre like FANTASY which is quite uncommon and unexplored in the present world of rom-coms and chick-lits, your face automatically tends to lit up, for you can’t compare a debutant with the legend, right?

The verdict: Thus, thus, taking all points in consideration, there’s no denying to the fact that Abhishek, as a debutant has done an incredible task of penning down a story that has everything ranging from suspense, to research, to twists and turns, to goose bumps, to imagination, to a faultless good-over-evil battle, and lastly perfection.

           So I won’t regret giving this classic a 4.5 on 5 rating. Yes, I know I don’t really give such high score, but some things are meant to deserve it. And yes, readers- provided you’ve liked the Harry Potter flicks, and the Dan Brown master pieces, or you’re someone who has some great love for fantasy fictions, or maybe you want to read ‘a one of its kind’ book from an Indian writer, then yes this is highly recommended by me. Go grab your copies from here, and thank me later. :D

Book: Moonlit Matinee
Genre: Love (Anthology)
Compiled By: Pulkit Gupta
Edited By: Harshita Srivastava
Publisher: Moments House

Anthologies, anthologies, and more anthologies – that is what is the latest trend in the Indian literature market. While some anthologies specify a genre and others’ keep a general theme, I don’t think one can deny the need or maybe I should say the ‘advantage’ it provides to new authors, who want their stories to be told, or their writing skills to be displayed.

Moonlit matinee is also one such anthology which gave chance to various people with superfluous linguistic skills to show their talents, but with one exception. The exception may be the introduction of Sonnet and Ballad in an anthology which in many ways highlights the book to be one of its kinds.

What’s in the case? Welcome this ‘Season of love’ with never before effort by thirteen resplendent writers to pen most fascinating love scripts. Cheer the feeling of love with ‘Moonlit Matinee’ and love takes over. It is an unparalleled concept and the blend of anecdotes, sonnets, lyric and ballad. This curbs the tale of lust, hatred, sacrifice, and revenge in relationships but finally its love which ultimately overshadows everything.

And the stories? A collection of fourteen scintillating stories powered by the genre of Love, and intended to glorify the different means of love. Hence, before giving my final verdict on the book, let’s have a take on each story confined in it.

Bon Voyage by Harshita Srivastava- This was the first story I read and well, knowing that it was written by someone like Harshita whose novel I had loved, this story already had a high regard in my mind. As for the story, I loved the theme as it very precisely goes with the real life incidents. They say we never realize the value of moments till we own them, but only after are they gone do we realize what value they hold. And this very fact has been stupendously penned down by the author. It’s a story about love, hope, regret and emotions that a person feels when he broods over something lost, long, long ago.

Emptiness by Pulkit Gupta- We all have heard about rapes, but do we have any idea about what happens after a rape? What trauma does a girl go through? Or maybe what happens to her confidence level after such a dreadful incident? Or about the trust which shatters in that one moment? No, right. Everyone talks about sympathy but no one thinks about giving the lost respect to the girl and that’s what the theme of the story is. This story underlines an emotional and a mesmerizing tale of love which arises with two strangers, but ends with a touch of sadness, the bitter reality and well the harsh road leading to togetherness.

Rasgulla by Abhishek ‘Atul’- A story about male dominance in the society, a story about peer pressure, a tale about the circumstances that a girl faces when it comes to marriage, or most importantly love marriage, a story about love and the unending sacrifices, a story about obstacles in the path of love created by an ‘unimportant’ thing, yet given tonnes of importance called caste is a beautiful plot so penned down by the author. Though the title gave a bad remark to the story, as it could have been better keeping in view the plot, the simple language used added a plus remark to it.

Wish you were here by Ila Garg- A story about the two most important things in the world – life and death.  It is an intriguing tale about how two people meet when destiny is all set to separate them. It intends to display the depth of love that one person can contain in oneself for another even though the love may prove shallow in the light of life that is to follow. Overall, it’s a well-crafted story, with a surprising end that leaves every reader with a smile.

The Rosemary Letters by Ashish Sharma- A story written in the form of ballad proves to be the highlight of the entire book. The unique style of writing, the perfect blend of verses, the coaxing rhythm are some of the characteristics, which I hope would do justice to this keenly adapted script that a devotee holds for her Lord.  The poetic story unfolds itself with each word, as the perfect narration skills of the author induce a sense of clarity and purity in the minds of the reader.

All I want is you by Sonia Kundra Singh- The story is about an Army man and his crush at first sight and revolves around the sense of love, the touch of realization, a hint of veneration and the dash of responsibility that overpowers the sensitivity of relationships. An impressive story, a perfect title, amusing narration and a cheery romantic tale - that leaves you wanting for more.

The Love Story by Harpreet Makkar- This is a love story of two long lost couples who separate due to certain society norms, and its rules and regulations. This movie reminded of some flop Bollywood movie as I found there were too many questions hidden in it, but the answers were too difficult to guess. Although there were some beautiful lines in the story penned by the author, but the story could have been better, much better.

The Gifts by Ishita Bhown- This story reminded me of that daily soap called Jodaa Akbar, where the girl askes for two wishes before marrying. LOL. Okay, Jokes apart, this is an unusual love story that describes how friendship seizes into love, how difficult can it for a girl to trust someone before marrying, and much more. The presence of mind that the female protagonist used for the gifts (as titled) is worth mentioning. One of the best story ever read, with a beautiful style of narration, a wonderful plot and an endless level of desires that keep the readers glued. 

Bollywood Affair’s by Ayaan Basu- They say every coin has two sides – The heads and the tails, and so is stardom - if you want to live in a glamorous, clean and full of light life, you have to cross its muddy and dark path to reach the final destination. This story tries to depict the dark side of the glamorous world of Bollywood with the help of a call girl, who wants to be a big name someday, with the path of realization, ambitions, struggles and the destination of love. Good job by the author, though the narration could have been better.

Flavoured Smoke by Pratham Devang- 'Another interesting plot' - That's what my mouth uttered the moment I was done with this intriguing tale of mis-happenings and misfortunes that come in Aviral's life. They meet in a busy street and depart at the garage, again meet at a cafe but this time depart away to never meet, but then meet again and this time to be with each other. Yes, that's what the story is about; as the writer tries to acknowledge what fate and destiny can lead their life into. They say couples are made in heaven and no matter what happens, if you're destined to be together, you'll be; out of all issues, all problems and all things that matter or may be not matter. Good narration; good story and an even better title.

Lyrics of a Lavish Rain by Rachna Seth- A beautiful sonnet that will leave no stone unturned to make you fall in love with it. It keeps your eyes glued, as you keep reading trying to get into the feel and submerge yourself in the deep flow of emotions that follows thereafter. ‘Stupendous, perfect, and a brilliant piece of art’ – I hope I am able to do justice to this exquisite composition by the author in my words.

Cupid’s Arrow, Bull’s Eye by Siddhartha Yadav- This story is not exactly about love, but about the sacrifices in love, and has the quotient of revenge. It tries to bring in light the mishaps of being a one sided lover where not only does the love is at stake, but also the self-esteem is targeted. Not to forget that the story had a good plot, but it ended bluntly. The author could have spiced up the end and made it just a bit less predictable, maybe.

Ehsaas – The feeling by Pulkit Gupta- ‘A story with a purpose’ would what I think can best describe this story. This has been one of the most beautiful story that I have read in the recent times and maybe the huge flow of emotions that filled my heart was worth it taking in consideration the wonderful storyline.   Working as an eye opener, and a catalyst in the present modern world, I would give a thumbs-up to the author for expressing this hidden form of love on the basis of a story, and well the title deserves another salute as it never fails to give the required level of comfort.

An Ode to Relationship by Nandini Garg- A spectacular narration describing the different forms of the most commonly used four-letter word called Love. It makes you fall in love with itself, as the perfect narration goes on with a steady flow of words that sways you away yet keeps you grounded to the emotions so well portrayed.

The pros’ and the cons’- First things first, a book is always judged by the cover. Hence all I can say is the compiler has definitely worked hard on the cover as it attempts to add a sense of grace to the book. Any person, ranging from a reviewer like me to a common reader may have a tendency to pick up the book with such an attractive cover as this. Another plus point may be the tagline of the book, “and love takes over” which adds to the title of the book.
            Making an addition in the anthology market, the book tends to score high as compared to many others’ in the same market owing to some of the stories which did wonders with their narration and the style of writing. Again, the ballad and the sonnet included tries to add another plus effect to the book. The editor herself has worked hard as I couldn’t find many errors in the book, which makes the book in itself to try to stand out amongst others’, which are very poorly edited. Being an avid reader and an editor myself, I was not left disappointed by the effort put in by the girl.

            Now the cons; some stories lacked the original feel of a love write-up, some were not narrated well while the plot of some failed to create the magic so required to be put in. May be hard work on the part of such authors is required. Another fact may be that that some stories tried to rush to its end. Writing a short story isn’t easy, being a writer myself I can say this, as you have to try and make note of what you should include and what not, to keep the reader surprised at all levels and keep on anticipating more, and more.  

Verdict- In a nutshell, this book has a good blend of emotions stirred up with the perfect spices of love, hatred, revenge, sacrifices and more and I would give this book at 3.5 stars out of 5 for the effort put in. And anyone who wants to read the book can well purchase it from here.

I have often heard girl’s intonating about being SINGLE on the Valentine’s Day. Oh Please! Being Single gives many rewards too. Let’s try to see the better side of the curtain -    

-> FREEDOM - They say being a girl refers to succumbing to various restrictions, peer pressure of the parents, and then the husband. But not in the present world where girls possess their own identity, but some boyfriends and some relationships always tend to make your life a living hell. “Don't wear sleeveless dresses, don't wear skirts, don't roam out late, and this and that,” Phew. Chuck it. It’s your own heavenly abode and you are permitted to be that free bird, isn't it?

-> LATE NIGHT OUTS - Except for some free minded boyfriend, most of the guys seem to be so possessive about their girl. Of course dear guys, we love the concern you shower us with, but to a limit. Every girl loves to party till late night, and every girl deserves that too. So why relent your girl, and girl's if you're single, you know exactly what to do on weekends or any other eve, including the Valentine’s.

-> QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, and QUESTIONS - This is where I personally feel every girl deserves a break from. I mean, Seriously? Guys, we know how to take care of ourselves, hence we don't need to let you know every location we are in, and what we are doing. Grow up people. Asking us every minute detail on the pretext on you caring doesn't make you a better boyfriend, com'on we don't live in the 19th century, do we?

->  SAVING MONEY – Okay, so who mentioned that it is only the guys who give you gifts on Valentine’s or any other day? Please! Keep that ancient theory with yourself. We girls, too do the needful to make our better half feel special. And, not to forget, saving on that overpriced gown, those makeup products, those stilettos to look the best on any special date and using that on those seducing boots would no doubt make you more contented.

-> FLIRT - Trust me guys, flirting doesn't mean we're liking a guy, or we want the relationship to grow stronger, neither do talking to 'your' friends mean we are grabbing a chance on him. Just like you, we girls are social beings too, who need friends, and for every girl out here - 'Yes, we do prefer to have friends from the opposite gender than like ours', for to admit the truth, guys do prove better friends to all girls. I hope all my girlfriends would agree, don’t you? Hence talking to a guy nicely or lovingly DOESN'T mean we are trying to hit on him. Give us a break, please.

-> TIME WITH GIRLFRIENDS – You agree or you don’t, in every girl’s guys there may be scores of guys, who come soon, and leave sooner. But your best friends cum girlfriends never leave your side that easily. It is always better to go for shopping or spend time lazily at the spa with your girlfriends, and then what can be better than discussing about your everyday crushes with your best friend and thinking about measures to try to impress them. ;)

-> OVER - POSSESSIVENESS – Over-possessive boyfriends can be a pain in the ass. Of course, every girl wants some possessiveness in her life, but too much of everything is bad. Talking on phone at 11, and he is angry thinking you're cheating on him, replying to some one's else Whatsapp till late nights after texting him a good night curves his nerve. What the fuck? It’s your life, and you have all right to text or talk to anyone, isn't it?

P.S. This post isn't intended to any particular man, but generally to all. I just want to lay down the benefits of being #foreveralone, and guys, you know we love you. ;)

Look into my eyes, deep
Stare into my senses, broodingly
Hold me tight…
Hug me like it’s the end
Kiss me passionately
Make me yours…
Wrap me in those strong arms…
And look into my eyes, again

Keep looking, deeply
Keep staring, profoundly
And you’ll realize what you mean
Because you’ll find yourself
At every corner and at every bend
In every glance and in those tears

Come closer…
Wrap me into yourself…
And explore me…
You’ll find yourself yet again
In every moan and in all those sobs
In everything which I claim to be mine

Yeah! Look intensely into my identity
Which is nothing but a vague reflection of yours
Make love to me fervently
Hurt me or tear me apart…
But I promise you...
You’ll find nothing but yet another replica of yourself
Because… I am yours…
And, you can’t change that, Can you?

The book- A prostitute turned entrepreneur, who hires a ghost writer to make a biography.
A murder that she was accused for and her vision to legalize prostitution completely in India.
A parallel conspiracy that threatens her life and her vision.
A forgotten tale of mermaid, that must be told.
Time is tricking and history would be altered. What would be the fate of Nazaqat? Will she succeed in her vision or she would end up as a victim?

The author- Sasha H. Singhal aka Harsh Agarwal.

The review -  “A slut is just a woman with morals of a man” – says the author. Well, before I proceed, let me congratulate Harsh for writing a book on such a bold topic as prostitution, which is quite degraded in a country like India. Second, the title is kept short, and in the name of our protagonist. Also, with the blurb kept short and to the point, it adds suspense and desire in the minds of the readers to complete the book, and to know what happens in the life of Nazani, who turns to prostitution not because of any financial needs but because she loves to meet people, and she finds nothing wrong in that profession.

Another like for the story line, which has been so cleanly adapted and styled by the author, as it does not portray another love story, another break up disaster, which every book store is so filled up with, now-a-days.
Again, The author has done an incredible task, given the way he has so beautifully designed the character of Nazani (Nazaqat) in his book, for she is someone who is so friendly and impeccable, in front of her friends; while as a prostitute who later turned to be an entrepreneur, she is one of the unpredictable and a true professional, one can ever imagine someone to be. The climax is stupendous, and it deserves a mention too, for it keeps you glued to it, until the last page.

The verdict – If anyone asks me about this book, I would highly recommend it. Hence, I prefer to give this book a 4 on 5 rating, and also congratulate Harsh yet again, for adding a totally erratic, yet a readable piece in the Indian Literature.
And for everyone who haven’t grabbed a book yet, you can order your copies here,