Book Review (John Thomas' The Big Switch)


Title: The Big Switch - It's Never Too Late
Author: John Thomas
Genre: Fiction (Motivational / Self-help)

The protagonist of John Thomas' The Big Switch is Keith, 
If an outsider would look at his life, he would certainly give the impression of someone who had everything going for him. 
He is a software engineer after all, with a good job, a girlfriend. He seems to be on the right path. Seems to be...

Keith is a pushover. He does what is expected of him.
He wants to please everyone. An impossible task, obviously, which leads to his undoing. A good thing ultimately.

Keith chooses to listen to the uneasiness within him and goes through a difficult period of disquiet.

"The thought of continuing with the mediocre life he had lived so far choked him. He was just an average guy, living just another average life. He felt like a nobody."

The Big Switch is about the path to self-discovery of the protagonist.
It is like a story told to put across a message; a well-told story yes, but for me, it is a self-help book in the garb of fiction is obvious.

The story of Keith is one of a series of events that test his confidence, his choices in life. It is about following one's heart, working hard, and trusting fate finally.

"When you don't get what you want, you get something which is far more precious."

You do get a lot of details about Keith's job as a software engineer, and the other things he chooses to venture into. I don't want to mention the details as that would give away too many spoilers.

The Big Switch-It's never too late gets a little preachy at times, but it does get the message of positivity, 'nothing is impossible' and 'believing in self' across.

"Set a goal so big that it scares you. Decide on something that won't let you sleep at night."
Ok... if you say so. I know what is being conveyed but the words had me thinking... nope, losing sleep is not good. I understand what is meant when you take the words in the right context rather than taking them at face value. That is how the book can work for you.

So, I have to confess that I was not convinced by some of the paths the plot of this story took.
"Not possible", I thought. 
What I also did think was that one has to believe in the impossible, try one's hardest, and life itself takes a beautiful course. 
Call it karma, destiny, luck, or whatever. 

That is what the final message of this book is and the author gets across the message through the life of Keth.

In today's difficult times of competition, work pressures, burnout at rather early age, emotional turmoils, this book is about having ones' priorities right.

"When you love your job, you don't count the hours. You just enjoy every single minute."

The plot of The Big Switch is not very realistic. The writing style is descriptive about Keith's thought process and his vocations. 
This book is for you if you are looking for a positive push in your life, and if you are struggling with choices.

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All right, no wrong (Book Review: Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right by Varsha Dixit)


Title: Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right
Author: Varsha Dixit
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The cover of Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right is really good - the stance of both Gayatri and Viraj perfectly depicts their characters in the book, the cupcake, and the bling... as I said, really good.

Just as with the title of the book, the author, Varsha Dixit has maintained her trend of having distinctive titles to the chapters.
I found the chapter titles in this book a little less 'desi' but just as interesting.
And as before, I cannot resist mentioning a few really good ones - Country wants to Know, Hyde Turns Jekyll, Hot Dreams and Cold Beer.

Love the quirkiness of Viraj's character - the fact that he chooses to act all nerdy to look like a 'normal' mad scientist, the sparrows that he spends time with, and his wierd beliefs too.

"When I feel there is no more to achieve, no more to know, no more to give, I would rather switch the lights off. It might be interesting to find out if there is something beyond death."
I so don't agree with that. Yet I couldn't help appreciating the analysis behind this thought and admiring the way the author has worded this.

When Gayatri was first introduced in Right Fit Wrong Shoe, and later when we, the readers got to know her a little better in Wrong Means Right End, I could not have imagined being fond of her.

Through Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right, the author introduces us to the 'real' Gayatri. That is, we get to know her better and thus understand why she did all that she did in the previous two books.

I think this is a good time to say that this book would continue to be a really exciting read without having read the previous two. I did choose to read them, though...

Back to Gayatri, despite her emotional issues, she is a badass heroine.

Gayatri and Viraj are fun to read about, with an almost constant smile on the readers' lips.

The couples from the two previous books of 'Right and Wrong Series' form an important part of the plot of this book. As I wrote while reviewing the second book too, the author has made the couples from previous books an important part in the next one. Usually in the case of such sequels, the characters from the previous books just make a fleeting appearance.

The 'Right and Wrong series' has evolved, and evolved well.

This love story of the 'Poor rich girl' and the 'successful poor boy' has many special elements.
Gayatri is not your typical leading lady, just as Viraj is unlike the male counterpart. 

The tussles between the two are a pleasure to read. They are once described as 'Two opponents inside a boxing ring'. Such opposition combined with hot attraction is sure to be readers' delight.
Add to it a love triangle, well-meaning nosy friends, some family drama, and can you ask for anything better. 

This book has the balance of a light romance but with the depth of many other relationships.

For lovers of romance, Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right, in my opinion, is a must read.

*  *  *
The italicised text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.



Blurb

Love is in the air again…this time it’s steamy, bold and manipulative!

Gayatri and Viraj both are products of childhood trauma. Yet they were able to survive, one because of her shrewdness and the other because of his genius. Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right, the final part in the best selling ‘Right and Wrong’ love trilogy is the story of these two damaged souls.

Gayatri Dutta, the poster child for rich spoiled diva is fighting to escape a life of servitude her tyrant father is hell bent on pushing her into. Her past string of failures have her backed against a wall. Lonely and desperate!

Viraj is a con who uses his genius to perpetuate his isolation. His life once of violence and abuse has left him cynical and cold. He shuns the society and its hypocrisies. 

And then Gayatri and Viraj cross paths. She needs him and he despises her.

To Viraj, Gayatri, is the epitome of all that he despises, shallow, manipulative and the kind who uses her beauty as a weapon. Or is she?

Gayatri sees Viraj only as a means to an end. She is sure that Viraj with his nerdy demeanor, owlish glasses and crude behavior will be easy to manipulate and walk over. Only he isn’t!

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About the author


Varsha Dixit

Varsha Dixit, the bestselling author of four successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free,Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman. Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.

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An impressive collection (Book Review: Metro Diaries-2 by Namrata)


Title: Metro Diaries - 2
Author: Namrata
Genre: Short Story Collection

Stories that are written from knowing, and at times, observing the people we meet and come across in our rush of surviving in the big cities... Metro Diaries - 2 is a collection of sensitive stories that demonstrate the author's brilliance in expressing emotions.

Metro Diaries - 1 is a collection of love stories. Having read and enjoyed it, I was looking forward to the second in the series. 
I had read that this one dealt with an array of feelings. What I had not expected was the shock of very first story.
The author, Namrata is clearly writing about the darker side of human nature unapologetically, and yet with sensitivity.

With some of the stories of Metro Diaries - 2, the author has unraveled the chaos that is the feelings of the characters of each of the stories. 
The second collection of Metro Diaries touches on various emotions. 

These stories explore love and betrayal, righteousness and revenge, success and regrets, loyalty and deceit, smiles and tears, transsexuality and search for identity, and more.

My two favorites from this collection - two really good tales with a surprising twist - are Love v/s Hate and Veil Thy Love.

The writing of the author describes relationships, emotions, and thoughts with innovative expressions and metaphors.

"beautifully chiseled eyes... they held the power of a thousand sunrises."

"...took to her new home just like milk to sugar."

"It looks like a game of cat and mouse; the bigger hand chasing the smaller one. Anyone stronger... tramples upon the weak ones - that is the rule of the world. There are only two possible reasons behind it, love or hate. When you love someone you want to control everything that person does and hence, sometimes, knowingly or unknowingly you squash them like melons.
While on the other hand in the case of hate, there is no need to specify the reason for walking over someone like that. Hate is a strong reason in itself."

There is a lot of hurt and disillusionment in these stories, but there is hope too. 
The common thread between all the stories of this collection is that they move you, and you can relate to them.

There are even two stories that have identical beginnings. How different can people be? Do we really know anyone?

More often than not, the story is told through the thoughts of the characters. One thought leads to another and through these, a story emerges.
It seems as if one is hearing someone's thoughts and discovering them. The stories are thoughts woven together. 

In author's words:
"Nothing is as mystifying as the human nature and this book is a tribute to it."
"...this collection of stories will make you relook at life in a renewed manner and make you ponder over your definition of it till now."

*  *  *
The italicized text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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About The Book

Give life another chance. Laugh a little longer. let go of your past. Hold onto what you love. In short LIVE rather than just exist!

Some told, some untold, some heard and some unheard - this collection of stories will make you look at life in a different light and make you ponder over its definition of it till now.


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Quotes from Metro Diaries 2


All the money his parents earned sadly could never buy a moment’s peace for any of them as they kept drifting away like lost constellations into the space. Together they surely were in a way, but light years away in every manner. There was absolutely no connection between them. They just were like every other thing that existed in the universe… the oceans, the sky, the earth, the stars, the sun and the moon. You couldn’t change anything about them even if you didn’t like the way they were. – The Last Kiss (Metro Diaries Part 2)

You are enough in everything and anything you do in this world. Others are here to serve as a distraction so that they reach their goals before yours and become winners. – The Last Kiss (Metro Diaries Part 2)

At times in life we always see what we are being shown and not what lies behind that cloak of disguise. We believe all that comes our way without doubting that there could be a trick or maybe just a hallucination. – Charlatan (Metro Diaries Part 2)

Life they say is a like a jigsaw puzzle and we are all like those pieces trying to find where we fit in. – Labour of Love (Metro Diaries Part 2)

Perhaps she had forgotten the thumb rule for survival here. There is nothing called yours here.  No will, no desire, no dreams, no ambitions….nothing. Not even your name. – The Plummet (Metro Diaries Part 2)

What else do you do when you are a teenager? Life seems to be one long party full of fun and frolic with your best friends all around. You just know your world is full of rainbow colours; sweetness of chocolates filling it and abundant beautiful dresses to doll you up.  Love and relationships take a different meaning altogether now making you look at everything around including yourself in newer light. – Love v/s hate (Metro Diaries Part 2)

I always felt I knew what I wanted in life. But today I realized how wrong I was. I was chasing mirages as the reality kept going away from me and now I am left with nothing in hand – Rags to Riches(Metro Diaries Part 2)

People make memories and then reach a phase where memories make people! – Mou Athena (Metro Diaries Part 2)

About the Author - Namrata




Namrata is A Lost Wanderer who loves traveling the length and breadth of the world. A published author in various anthologies and magazines she enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words. She is forever in pursuit of a new country and a new story.




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Book Review (Sutapa Basu's Dangle)


Title: Dangle
Author: Sutapa Basu

Sutapa Basu's Dangle is the story of Ipshita - an independent, successful, and confident woman. She is a travel show host, traveling abroad alone. That is the first impression.

Things are usually not what they seem to be. I could never understand the whole 'first impression being the last one' belief anyway.

Soon after I found yourself questioning this perception.


There seems to be some fear in her. Is it some past experience that is haunting her, I wondered.

Another important person in this story is Adi, an understanding, dependable, almost permanent fixture in Ipshita's life.

The story of these two is not a usual one. There are many layers to the past of each of the characters of Dangle.
Ipshita's struggles and the reasons behind them form the core of this book.

The story of Dangle moves from Chicago to Delhi to Manipur to Singapore.

Dangle has details of all these places and since it is written from Ipshita's point of view, she compares each of these places to her hometown, Delhi.

Surprisingly (and credit to the author for it) that this doesn't feel verbose or boring.

I especially enjoyed reading about Manipur - its' beauty, its' political instability, and the way the author analyses the two.


"Life hung on such a delicate thread! One yank and everything could go up in smoke; the identity of the victims be damned! This is the real dangle!"

Ipshita goes through life evaluating it. Seeing contradictions and changes. Seeing 'dangles'. 
Too many? Maybe. But I didn't mind them. Sensitivity (or over-sensitivity) does that to a person, I guess.

The thing is that pretty soon I guessed what was actually going on. Not that it mattered because there is much more to the story, but I would have preferred if I hadn't known. My bad, though... I just knew.

Ipshita's character is not one I can relate to. The story of Dangle is interesting, but as I said, I guessed part of what was going on.


For me, it is the writing that kept me hooked from the first sentence to the last. 
Every thought, every experience, every emotion is finely expressed by Sutapa Basu.

The intensity of Sutapa Basu's writing is such that you feel you live in the characters' head.

Another highlight in this book is the details of the life in the Army. The little details of both the comforts and the risk that an Army man experiences are woven into the story.

The title Dangle gets many interpretations through the philosophical thoughts of Ipshita.

"Life is always a dangle! Between now or never; between this and that; between being and not being; Life is how you see it, do it, take it."


"Life is a dangle... Yes, in a limbo between kindness and heartlessness..."

I did feel that the dangle angle was mentioned a little too often. But the premise behind the title is very good and the author usually creates a situation where the 'dangle' makes you ponder.

"She was alone but not lonely. That was the dangle!"

"Serenity can be a treacherous dangle!"


"...she balanced anger, bitterness and revenge against filial love and loyalty."

There is a lingering darkness, a mystery in Dangle that keeps you hooked.

*  *  *

The italicized text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


         

Blurb

Stunning, svelte, smart Ipshita is a globetrotter. She treks across the world to gather bytes for the travel chats she designs and hosts for TV channels. Despite being a self assured and sophisticated entrepreneur, Ipshita is haunted by a nameless fear. Social interaction with men unleashes psychotic turmoil inside her, making her wary of male attention. Yet, the cold and aloof Ips is inexorably drawn to the three men she meets at different points in her journey. 

Her arousal to the overtures of these men catches her unawares. Well-built defenses break as her dormant sexuality goes into overdrive until she discovers the horrifying truth about them…and herself. 

Life puzzles. Secrets tumble out. Will she be able to reclaim her life or let it dangle?


Read an excerpt from Dangle
  The lilt of a flute fills half shadows. Emerald green silk unfurls to lavender hills. Mist gives way to a golden spectacle. Thickly embroidered into flowing waters are hundreds of lotuses. Sunlight dazzles on ruby, sapphire, turquoise, and amethyst that reluctantly open their layers to reveal honeyed hearts. The humming of multitudes of bees reverberates in the room. Intoxicated by the sun-drenched perfume of blossoms, they weave in and out of the pattern. Sheer colours daze the senses. Drumbeats intrude softly, only to rise to a crescendo.
Another shape enters the frame. Hazy at first, the outlines darken gradually. It is an empty square etched in bold strokes holding within it diagonally a metallic piece curved to the bent of an index finger. The lens zoom out.  The shape takes definition. It is  the trigger of a snub-nosed AK-47. The drums fall silent.
Everybody holds their breath. There is a thud and the face of Beauty is blotted with a gun stamped on it. There is a collective gasp. The screen stills. Strobes pick out a small crowd, including cameras on cantilever arms. Each person in the room is mesmerized…nobody can look away.

Giving a couple of seconds for the impact to sink in, the focus beams on Ipshita, the host. She begins the chat. Microphones pick up frequencies of her voice, enhancing its soft huskiness. Statistics and logistics start appearing on two screens flanking the bigger screen on which images are projected. She proceeds as visions of  paddy fields, streets of Imphal, slim girls in phaneks with long raven-black hair flying, fishermen casting bait, rowing boats, sitting still as rocks for fish to bite fill the screen behind her. She goes on to the fascinating scenes of Loktak, the floating islands, the fisherman’s hut and through her words she builds up a metaphor. It is of Manipur, a dainty nymph struggling to escape rape by Mars, the god of war. She is crushed, yet nothing erodes her indomitable spirit. 

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About the Author



An author, poet and publishing consultant, Sutapa Basu also dabbles in art and trains trainers and is a compulsive bookworm. During a thirty-year old professional career as teacher, editor, and publisher, she travelled the Indian subcontinent, Nepal and Bhutan. She has visited UK, USA, Dubai and Singapore while working with Oxford University Press, India and Encyclop√¶dia Britannica, South Asia until 2013 when she decided to start writing seriously. 

Sutapa is an Honours scholar from Tagore’s Visva-Bharti University, Santiniketan and holds a teaching as well as a masters degree in English Literature. 

As a publisher, Sutapa has developed and published around 400 books. Recently, her short story was awarded the First Prize in the Times of India’s nation-wide WriteIndia Contest, under author, Amish Tripathi. 

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Book Review (Sunanda J. Chatterjee's Fighting For Tara)



Title: Fighting For Tara
Author: Sunanda J. Chatterjee

I was in a classroom, a student of journalism. One of the other students, another female, was lamenting about the problems of being born in a family which was not very welcoming to the idea of an independent, earning daughter.

Go back a couple of classes. Mr. Ramesh Menon, our teacher had narrated an experience of his. In a village in Rajasthan, he had been courteously welcomed into a home. Tired and thirsty, he had asked for water. He was offered some milk instead.
He reiterated that he wanted just water. He was told that there was no water and was offered milk again.
Later he was told by the local person he was traveling with that he had embarrassed the host family by asking for water. Water is scarce and precious. 
The women of the family walked miles for the water.

Back to the class that I started with. Mr. Menon's answer was simple - Think of those women of Rajasthan. Every single day, a large part of their day is spent to get water. What little is left is spent in cooking and taking care of the family.
Be thankful for, or at least accept, what you have, and do your best from that point on.

Mind you, this was years back. So I just remember the gist of this conversation. Not the details and certainly not how Mr. Menon expressed himself.

I thought of this and more as I started reading Fighting for Tara. It is a book that tugs your heartstrings.

My daughter is eleven. At times she would ask me a question that I think she is too young to know the answer to.
What I tell her instead is that, though I can give her an answer, there are certain thoughts I do not want in her head. There are certain things she is too young to ponder or worry over. Let it go for a couple of years.
If she insists, I do give her an answer. Usually, she lets it go.

Hansa, the protagonist of Fighting for Tara is thirteen. She is worried about a dead husband, the man who will be her second husband, the second husband's first wife, and most of all about her daughter.
She is just thirteen, I want to shout.

As I mentioned before the subject and the writing of this book moved me from the very beginning.

The one ray of light is the fact that Hansa is literate. The Rani Sahiba of the village has taught her and Hansa's thoughts reflect her knowledge.
"Somewhere deep in her heart, Hansa knew none of this was fair. It wasn't fair that in a country with a rich heritage of brave queens, where the people had elected a female Prime Minster not long ago, young girls were still forced into marriage, sometimes to men older than their grandfathers. It wasn't fair that a girl child was considered a burden on parents. It wasn't fair that she'd been born to poor parents in rural Rajasthan, a state rife with archaic traditions. It wasn't fair that she had matured early..."

Hansa is in a grave situation, and her life till then has not given her any motivation to be strong or independent.
But now she has been asked to kill her daughter, Tara - an infant that the soon-to-be husband refuses to accept.

Fighting for Tara is an amazing story of Hansa's strength. 

'The combined wisdom of ancestors' - this phrase has been used in this book to describe our customs. Our ancestors clearly didn't know it all. 
As Hansa chooses to defy this wisdom, her thoughts are made me smile...
"Now was the time to walk on a path she made for herself and her baby, to forge her own destiny. Her ancestors would be shocked!"

A couple in America trying to conceive, the harsh truth of the financial troubles of royalty in modern India, the life of immigrants in America, and Tara's struggles to give a good life to her daughter - Fighting for Tara is a multi-faceted story and the author makes you connect to each facet as it is introduced.
Whether you like a character or not, you understand them.

I could analyze that certain twists of this story seem to be almost impossible in reality. As you read it, you feel like 'that's too good to be true'. 
Well, I could analyze it, because I thought so a couple of times while reading this book. 
But I won't. Because I loved this book and I will accept it with these twists.
Also, they do say that 'reality is stranger than fiction'. This book showcases some very grim realities. I would like to believe in the reality of the smiles too.

Fighting for Tara is a story that despite its' sad subject leaves you with hope...
"...what if happiness was a choice? Events weren't inherently happy or sad. It was her reaction to them that determined her state of mind. She could choose to be happy with her circumstances, whatever they may be."

Fighting for Tara is a story that deserves to be read... because it makes you think of the social problems prevalent in our country, yes... but mainly because it is a beautiful, very well-written, emotional story of love and hope.

"...love is a language that knows no boundaries, no borders. It's universal. It's just the nuances of that language that are sometimes hard to understand."


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The italicized text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

*  *  *


Blurb
How far will a mother go to save her child?
“I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
But Hansa, a thirteen-year-old child-bride in rural India, refuses to remain a victim of the oppressive society where a female child is an unwanted burden. Instead of drowning her baby, Hansa escapes from her village with three-month-old Tara.
Hansa soon discovers that life as a teenage mother is fraught with danger. But a single lie opens the door to a promising opportunity far from home.
Just seven years later, Hansa finds herself fighting for Tara’s life once more, this time in an American court, with a woman she calls ‘Mother.’
Will the lie upon which Hansa built her life, defeat its own purpose? How can she succeed when no one believes the truth? 
A story of two mothers, two daughters and a fight to save a child, Fighting for Tara explores the depth of love and motherhood.
Read an excerpt of #FFT here:


The soft light of the lantern flickered, casting a dim golden glow in the tiny hut, as shadows danced on its windowless mud walls. Thirteen-year-old Hansa squatted on the floor beside a metal bucket and stared at the glimmering water, dreading the task before her. Her baby whimpered on the floor, struggling in the hand-sewn cloth blanket. Beside the door stood the terracotta urn that held the ashes of her husband.
Hansa heard the grating snores of her drunken brother-in-law Baldev, soon to be her husband, as he slept outside on the wood-framed coir cot in the moonless night. She shuddered.
Just an hour ago, Baldev had yelled at her. “I have no use for a baby girl. Get rid of her tonight!” He towered over her as she cringed in fear.
She’d begged him. “I can’t do it!”
That’s when he’d slapped her. No one had ever hit her before… not even her elderly husband.
Hansa touched her cheek, which still stung from the humiliation and fear.
She doubted her courage to extinguish the baby’s life. Squeezing her eyes shut, she took a deep breath, hoping that dawn would bring her luck.
Tomorrow morning Hansa would travel with Baldev and all the goats they could load into his bullock-cart, and leave the village forever. She would go to a distant land, become Baldev’s second wife, learn the household chores from his first wife, and bear him male heirs… Hansa shivered, apprehensive about her future.
But before her new life could begin, she and Baldev would take a detour to the river to disperse her husband’s ashes and discard her beautiful daughter’s body.
Somewhere deep in her heart, Hansa knew none of this was fair. It wasn’t fair that in a country with a rich heritage of brave queens, young girls were still forced into marriage, sometimes to men older than their grandfathers. It wasn’t fair that she’d been born to poor parents in rural Rajasthan, a state rife with archaic traditions. It wasn’t fair that she had matured early and was given to sixty-year old Gyanchand Rathore from the neighboring village of Dharni, whose first wife and child had died in a fire.
She turned her face away from the bucket, her heart refusing to carry out Baldev’s orders just yet. A shiver ran through her body as she tried not to imagine life without her baby. Think of something else! Think about Gyani!
Gyani’s absence filled Hansa with a dark desolation, a sense of doom, as if his death itself was a living, breathing, overbearing entity.
She thought of his kind eyes, his missing teeth and graying beard, the massive orange turban which she’d tied for him every morning, and the long kurta he wore, which never looked clean no matter how many times she washed it…
But Gyani was gone. Two nights ago, his heart had stopped beating in his sleep, while she slept under the same blanket, her baby right beside her. When she awoke at dawn to the rooster’s call, she had found his cold still body. She shuddered to think she had slept with a corpse, oblivious, in the comfort of her own youthful warmth. Her first encounter with death. And if she did as Baldev asked, there would be another. Tonight.
Gyani’s death had stunned her, and grief hadn’t sunk in. She had not wept for his departed soul, and her neighbor warned her that if she didn’t mourn his passing, she would never move on. But did Hansa really want to move on into a future that included Baldev but excluded her baby?
According to the custom of karewa, Hansa knew that a young widow would be married off to her brother-in-law, so that the money remained in the family. Her neighbor had told her it was her kismet, her fate.
Hansa was brought up not to challenge the norms of society, but to follow them. If the combined wisdom of her ancestors had determined that she should move to Baldev’s village and begin a new life, who was she to argue? She had no family left, no other place to go.
Baldev choked on his spit and coughed outside, jarring the stillness of the night, reminding her of the task ahead.
But while it was her duty to follow Baldev’s orders, she would trade the impending task for eternal damnation.
Her neighbor had said that killing a baby was an unforgivable sin, even though she’d herself drowned two of her daughters the day they were born. Women are the form of Goddess, she’d said, crying at the fate of her own rotten soul.
But it was a matter of survival. Produce a male heir or be turned out on the streets to beg. A female child was a burden. Even Hansa knew that; her father had reminded her of that every day of her life.
That prejudice was her reality.
Hansa was terrified for her own soul, but Baldev said, “A mother can’t be a sinner if she takes a life she brought into this world.” And then he had gone and got drunk on tharra.
Gyani had been unlike most men in the village. He had allowed her to keep the baby, to give her a name. The baby’s eyes glittered like stars on a moonless night.
She called her Tara. Star.
Hansa looked at her baby with pride and with remorse, as every fiber of her being protested, and her stomach turned and her throat tightened.
Outside, Baldev stirred.
Time was running out.
Tara whimpered again, and Hansa turned to look at her chubby fists cycling in the still air, throwing outsized shadows on the walls. Hansa’s hands shook and her mouth turned dry. She bit her lip, forcing herself to focus on the imminent task.
The water in the bucket shimmered black and gold, reflecting the dancing flame of the lantern, mesmerizing, inviting. Water, the giver of life…

She made up her mind. It was now or never.

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About the author




Freelance author, blogger, and ex-Indian Air Force physician Sunanda Joshi Chatterjee completed her graduate studies in Los Angeles, where she is a practicing pathologist. While medicine is her profession, writing is her passion. When she’s not at the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction. Her life experiences have taught her that no matter how different people are, their desires, fears, and challenges remain the same.



Her themes include romantic sagas, family dramas, immigrant experience, women’s issues, medicine, and spirituality. She loves extraordinary love stories and heartwarming tales of duty and passion. Her short stories have appeared in short-story.net and induswomanwriting.com.



She grew up in Bhilai, India, and lives in Arcadia, California with her husband and two wonderful children. In her free time, she paints, reads, sings, goes on long walks, and binge-watches TV crime dramas.



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