Thursday, February 27, 2014

Interfaith Marriages

: Rediscovering Oneself in Marriage.
 
 You Should Know How I Feel started as a suggestion from my editor. I sent her a slightly long manuscript of my short story “Rukhsana’s Husband”. I had assumed, as I finished the story that it was long enough to cross the qualification criteria for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). She said, “Rukhsana’s Husband” is good enough too. I wasn’t much confident about the story, but the seeds of discontent regarding its performance were washed away by her encouraging remarks.

If you could put another story or two together, we could even go for a print version of the same. She reminded me. I wasn’t planning for this book at all. The idea appealed to me. This is how the crucial thought regarding the birth of You Should Know How I Feel appeared. This thought made its impression upon several other thoughts and three more stories came into existence. The story of Rukhsana and her husband remains on the top of the list, because they gave birth not just to a new idea, but also this book.

Rukhsana and Mr. Matthew are husband and wife. They are from two different religions. Mr. and Mrs. Matthew are real individuals clothed in the language of fiction. They have done things successfully in their life together, things important and silly occasionally. During the span of this short story, they appear to be dealing with one of the worst experiences of their life.

The question I put in front of them is; can love between two people survive during an intellectual battle? One of them is torn between love and religion and the other is oblivious of this struggle, ready to do anything for their love. They answered my question bravely. Although I suspect the ingenuity of their initial decision about religion, I am sure, what they chose for each other at the end cannot be any other way around. How to end the harrowing situation was extremely simple.

Does inter-faith or interreligious marriage function effectively in the long run? What would inter-faith married couples do about their children’s faith? How would they reconcile with their families, if at all such a remedial measure were possible? All these questions puzzle Rukhsana and her husband at a crucial turn in their life. They are about to have a miraculous encounter, but their fate takes them on another route, a path of conflicting thoughts and frustrating power structures.

I have written this story with great expectations. It came to me first, about six months back. I wrote about seven pages of it, during the spare time at my college, using a computer in the lab. I typed it as Google Document, so that I don’t need to carry it in my thumb drive. Then, as my sister’s marriage approached, I could not go on working with the story. The atmosphere at college too was getting hectic. My busy schedules kept me away from finishing the story. A bad habit of mine, starting many projects on the way to the completion of another made serious claims upon whatever time I could save for writing. So “Rukhsana’s Husband” dragged on.

Then I read about a short story submission over Facebook. I didn’t expect, this would turn out to be an opportunity for me. I started reworking on the story. The story of Rukhsana and her husband was so powerful that it had never left me. Everything was clear, still in my mind. I took the liberty to take the story to their past, into their college life as well to see how they met for the first time and how deep their passion for each other was. A proof for their passion for each other can be seen at the end of the story. A surprising character will reveal it to you, the person who wrote “Rukhsana’s Husband”, in real life clothed in fiction. 
More excited I feel, waiting for the result. The result of my hard work comes out when the book is released, through readers’ comments. I am rather hopeful that you’d like these two characters and their story. I narrating their story, told to me by the person I mentioned at the end of the previous paragraph. I spent a great time with these lovely people and I enjoyed it.

They’ll be guests in your heart, they’ll love you.    
 ###
Visit the Facebook book page, for more.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book Cover Release

you should know how i feel
“Love finds us in ways that are still unimaginable to our egocentric selves. Occasionally, a glimpse into the deepest chasms of love brings one ashore to wisdom and to enlightenment. Love brings us to our senses, when realize the smell, the touch, and the sight of the person we love are inextricably linked with our soul.” from Is True Love Real? Seeking Answers to an Epic Question.

This is how your favorite love story looks like, from this moment onwards.


We thank you, for coming.

Much love,

Note: Please visit our Facebook page HERE. The release date of the book in kindle and print format will be notified through this space and also you should know how i feel Facebook page.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

You Should Know How I Feel

The Writing Course


Gamble everything for love,
if you’re a true human being
--Rumi

Writing, for me, is an act of love. When I say this, I cringe at the weight of similarities in how many of my fellow writers have approached their courses of writing. Many of us are in love. Some of us fell in it, as an act of total accident, while some others chose to learn it, acquire it, and master its nuances, the wise ones.
           
            Two weeks from Valentine’s Day, I still consider the possibility of dedicating a whole day for love. Questions such as- Why is just one day for love? Shouldn’t we dedicate all our days to love?- always arise talking with students. But the fortunate thing about asking such a question in the classroom is that they always have answers. And some of them daringly share their ideas. Some of my students suggest that when life is busier and no one has time to spend with their beloved one, and when work means survival, we need at least a day to convey what we feel for the other person, at least through a small gesture.

            It’s sort of a Victorian modesty, to say the least, the avenues of love and the ways we communicate it these days. We love the form and texture of our message, like a Victorian, who would love the same about long letters written in Victorian English. A card, a text message, an e-mail, or an e-card could define our feelings, these days. It is easy, if you look at it that way. Through a pre-programmed e-card your teeming desires and passions are poured out. This, for a Victorian poet, might have taken hundreds of pages of inspired poetry. What about the ordinary folks in the Victorian England, those who could not compose lengthy poetry or weave a genuine piece of prose on their deepest romantic urges?
 
Image Courtesy: Google
The love we find in Thomas Hardy’s fiction, for example Under the Greenwood Tree, in which Dick Dewy, a young member of the Mellstock Choir, who is wading in his love with Fancy Day, the beautiful teacher at the parish school, closely portrays insecurities in love. Dick Dewy spends a considerable time in finding out whether Fancy Day is actually in love with him. His convictions often misguide him or so he feels. His passion is visible, but the response he gathers from his sweet heart is not straightforward. This raises tension in the novel. One may feel at the end that it is a sweet story of less sophisticated people, country folks, so to speak.

            Had there been an e-card or text message facility, the two characters—Dick and Fancy—might have sorted their initial problems out quite smoothly. Or could they?

It is true that a passion poorly communicated is a smoking gun. But if love is all too easy to communicate, so many of our gifted writers would not have left it mostly unsaid in their writings. The beauty of Knut Hamsun’s novel Victoria is in the agony endured by the tender young hearts due to their unspoken feelings.
I am in Love with Love
and Love is in love with me.
My body is in Love with the soul
and the soul is in Love with my body.
I opened my arms to Love
and Love embraced me like a lover.
--Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī               

The great poet of the Sufi tradition is clear about the course of love. In being so clear, he is unclear too. The suggestive power of these lines is what mystifies us, prompts us to investigate into the section of our mind where poetry is translated into feelings.
 
Image Courtesy: Google
            Words converged into feelings are capable of transcending the human realm and reaching the mystical. What transpires between the writer and the pages become a part of the reader’s reality too. Writing a second book was the result of this realization.

            My first book Wall of Colours and Other Stories is the first in a trilogy titled Hope, vengeance and History. Although I currently work on the series, a few new stories showed themselves and I decided to write them down. I wrote one down, first. Then I showed this to Ms. Dhanya Krishna, my editor for Wall of Colours. I received an exciting suggestion that I must upload this story in Amazon Kindle, for my readers. We both considered this option for a while. Then I told her that I have a second story. This is when she suggested we should go print with the two stories, if they are long enough. I knew her skills not just as an editor, but as a writer too. It did not take me long to ask her why doesn’t she contribute a few stories herself, so that we could co-author this new book.

            With some reluctance in the beginning, she accepted my suggestion and we started working on You Should Know How I Feel. Our initial plan was to release it on Valentine’s Day, because the stories in this book celebrate love. Both of us contributed two long stories each and the process of putting the book together took some more time than expected.

Mr. Saneesh Raj, a friend and classmate of mine designed a beautiful cover for You Should Know How I Feel. A preview to the book cover will be released tomorrow, here at TIC. So set a reminder, please, and make this occasion a memorable one with your presence, as always.
           
Image Courtesy: Google
             You Should Know How I Feel is about love and the many places one can find it. In the journey of writing this book, I learnt that the season of love is undying. In other words, love gives us a glimpse of eternity. Tomorrow will be another day for me, you and all your beloved ones to cherish and celebrate love, much like Valentine’s Day. Each day, whenever you open the pages of You Should Know How I Feel, love will resurrect from the ashes of mundane routines and will assert its supremacy over our lives.  

            May in your life, love be abundant.

I will leave you with a quote by Ray Bradbury on love: “Love is the answer to everything. It’s the only reason to do anything. If you don’t write stories you love, you’ll never make it. If you don’t write stories that other people love, you’ll never make it.”   

With love, 
Anu

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Gift

Happy Valentine’s Day for all my readers and their beloved ones. Here is a short story about Love. Read it aloud, if you wish, to your beloved one.

Image Courtesy: The Hindu.com

 

A DROP OF LOVE


A dewdrop found itself resting on the petal of a rose. That was the only memory the drop had. It was born there, separated from a cloud of fog.

The dewdrop felt happy to be there.

There was something that lured the drop towards the heart of the flower; a pull, since the petal was sloppy.  

The dewdrop felt its destiny already marked out.

It said to the rose, “What would happen if I slid into your heart?”

The flower looked at the drop. There was a peculiar grace to the dewdrop. The sun was sharing its gleam with its crystal soul.

The flower fell in love with the dewdrop, at once. “I will…” the flower blushed, “I will receive you into my soul and transform you into honey.” It said.

The dewdrop could not decide what to choose. The company of the flower was mesmerizing. Its fragrance was unique. But what it said was dubious. The flower said it will transform the dewdrop into honey. ‘What is honey?’ The dewdrop thought. ‘Would it mean I have to disappear? Whom shall I ask?’

Then, as if the thought of the dewdrop came to life, a sweet little humming was heard. The flower and the plant danced with slight tremor. The drop did not see anyone. But there came a question; “Who are you looking for?”

“Who are you?” The dewdrop returned. It was a surprise that still there was no one in sight.
“I am the breeze.” Said the voice, still invisible.

“Why are you invisible?” asked the drop.

“This is how I am, if you are born with your guileless soul, I am born with the cloak of invisibility.”

“Can you help me?” asked the dewdrop.

“Sure, tell me how.”

“The flower asked me to come inside her bosom, and she would transform me into honey. I do not know what to do. Is she telling the truth? If I drop out of the petal, I will fall down into hell. What shall I do?” the voice of the dewdrop was sad when it said this.

There was silence for the next moment. Then the breeze said; “Down below, there is the earth, not hell. However, you have another choice; you can contemplate the sun and when its rays are powerful enough they will lift you up to the heavens and take you back to the place where you were born.”

“Am I not born here?” the Dewdrop asked.

“No, you are taken here, from the sky. The sky is your birthplace.”

“Then I do not want to go back,” said the dewdrop, “I want to live and experience the most beautiful thing in life. How can I do it, Breeze? Can you guide me please?” When it said it, the dewdrop's soul took a ray from the sun and reflected it in a thousand colours.

Image Courtesy: Google
“The flower is in love with you and is ready to transform you into the sweetest thing within its heart; how foolish you are, not to realize it,” whispered the breeze, which the dewdrop could not hear. “How easy it is for someone to ignore the transforming power of love.”
“I will help you,” said the breeze.

The dewdrop felt the tremor once again, this time much powerful; and it felt itself gliding down, slowly. Before the next moment, the dewdrop embraced the heart of the flower. There was a trail of chill left on the petal. The flower smiled at the dewdrop and the dewdrop felt happy at the touch of love. It didn’t ask anything else, for by then it knew everything there was to know.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Paying Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman


Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014, on a Sunday, which not just I but any other fan of Hoffman can hardly forget, anymore.)

Before writing any article, you should do your research, I heard someone say from inside of me. I knew nothing of that person inside. It wasn’t someone I met on the way or someone who taught me at college or high school; I did not hear the voice from my memory either. It was, so to speak, a thought. To write this article, this tribute to Hoffman, I do not need any more research than a devotee needs to approve of God’s existence.

The News

Through the haze of an allergic weekend, it hit me.

I was all tired and dull due to runny nose, painful cheeks and heavy forehead, symptoms of allergy. The mild winter of the Southern side brings along with it a blanket of dust and all other allergic particles. Sensitive noses like mine always catch these and wail at the aftermath. I heard a passing news statement while dining in the adjoin room. The TV is in the central hall and it plays mostly Malayalam news channels, as other members of my family prefer these. Apparently, these channels offer little or no info on what happens to the rest of the world. For them the boundaries of the world are the boundaries of Kerala. Occasionally, when someone dies or being elected, they tune into the wider spectrum, meaning the wider areas inside the Indian subcontinent.

That is all.

Hoffman’s death was a passing news item.

No flash news, no breaking story.

I spent the next one day in relative seclusion, inside my room. Getting up and walking around was too hard a thing for me then. I was having difficulty in focusing anything for too long. Everything else was vague, other than the heavy forehead.

It is still unclear, if it was the allergy or the magnitude of the news, it dawned on me, only later, that Hoffman is no more.
 
Image Courtesy: Hoffman
The Man

I do not know him as an individual. Hoffman’s death though mirror’s in certain terms, the death of one of my favorite pop stars—Michael Jackson. Drug overdose or abuse, as some news reports say, might have killed Hoffman too. I do not know this either that what prompted a persona, with such a magnificence in his being should do drugs or should come down to so terrible a moment, nearing the end of his life.  

My first and ever remembering performance by Hoffman is in Capote, the 2005 movie based on Gerald Clarke's biography Capote, directed by Bennett Miller. I have included Capote in my series on TIC for one of the three of the movies about writers that impressed me—as the first one among the three others.

The Artist

“It's the hardest when someone has a notion about you and it's impossible to convince them otherwise.”—Truman Capote in Capote (film 2005)

Perhaps, because of the same reason, we never tire of admiring this man’s talents in acting. In his field, Philip Seymour Hoffman has set a standard for others. His legacy would be this standard of performance that includes multifaceted arena of acting. He did not just act with his body, but also with his whole being. Even his voice, in Capote, was magically morphed into the character’s.  

For me, Truman Capote will be Philip Seymour Hoffman; and as an individual, who lived at the same time as his, I will share this fortunate encounter with the generations to come.
Image Courtesy: Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman, may your soul rest in peace.

You can also check out my review of Capote here
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