All posts by smit

About smit

student by profession,study management; when it comes to hobby i incarnate myself as satyagni-freelance writer;love to read fiction; play table tennis and chess; solve sudoku and puzzles that puzzle me; hang out wid my frnz n acccess net regulary. love to try different and adventurous stuff.

Book review of Despite Love


BLURB

Mistakes Happen…
After all, we are human.

Smriti wanted to be alone, away from Risabh. Their tumultuous relationship was too much for her to take. There was too much pain and sadness and they were staring at a point of no return. She needed a break from him, she thought. But little did she realise that she would be gone from him forever.

Risabh is shattered as he loses the love of his life in mysterious circumstances. Unable to come to terms with reality, he is constantly tormented by the memories of his past. With the investigating inspector pinpointing the murderer, it seems to be an open-and-shut case. Till things take a murkier turn with the death of another close friend of Risabh…

And then there is yet another murder, just as Risabh is about to pick up the pieces of his life again. Is there a professional killer out on the loose and is Risabh next in line?

Despite Love: Love. Hate. Murder. Deception. Some Secrets Are Meant to Be Revealed. by [Srivastava, Siddhartha]

REVIEW

Unattractive cover. Decent blurb. Good reviews on Amazon & Goodreads.

First look of the book doesn’t justify a really good plot written inside!

With the suspense element added in the very beginning, Prologue added curiosity and this was maintained throughout the book.

Climax and end gives this book an edge.

Gripping plot, good imagination!

Also, consider the fact that the suspense thriller is written by a 12th grader who aspires to become India’s Sidney Sheldon.

OVERALL RATINGS : 4 / 5

Suspense Thriller Novel
Despite Love by Siddhartha Srivastava

Saying anything on the story line can spill some beans. Rather read it!

‘Despite Love’ is a story of Risabh, his love life Smriti, and other friends who plan a reunion. But none of them wondered it would turn dark for them.

Gripping plot. Strong story line.

Organized in 4 parts, the book has a got a good structure. Parts in Delhi, New York and Hyderabad are used well.

The places used in the story failed to create the connect and feel that these metros give.

At certain places in the book, depiction is beautiful. Narration of Risabh’s life and his past memories are frequently used, giving it a Bollywood flavour. And then at times, the dialogue delivery and description doesn’t match his own standard!

There were portions in the book where plot was certain, but climax compensates for all minor errors.

P.S. The writer is 17 years old and is able to pull out a book with so much maturity. He has shown a lot of promise. All the best for your future endeavours, Sid!

Pandora’s Box


Pandora’s Box is a work of fantasy by Yashila Sharma. Read as she unfolds the mystery on Wattpad everyday.

Book review of ‘A Walk in the Rain’ by ‘Udai Yadla’


A walk in the rain by Udai Yadla

BLURB

Love is a poison that kills you. Love is an elixir that keeps you alive.

A story of an introvert, caught in a brawl,  who finds himself in the company of a well mannered, intelligent, courageous, full-of-self-pride yet a money monger prostitute on a long trip of vengeance. The trip will constantly take introvert Sunny to his beautiful past while taking prostitute Saloni to her ill-fated troubled past. Destiny brings them together for a purpose. A walk in the rain is an intricate tale of intense emotions that come out during the trip – full of action and thrill, twists and mysteries, love and redemption.

REVIEW

Attractive cover. Decent blurb. Good reviews on Amazon & Goodreads.

First Look : Passed

Prologue didn’t fit in much.

Climax and End gives this book an edge.

Interesting plot, good imagination. But a great work ruined by poor work of editing, proof reading.

OVERALL RATINGS : 3.5 / 5

A walk in the rain
Book review of ‘A walk in the rain’

D = Detailing to work.  Score : 3/5

The lead characters – Sunny and Saloni – are described in great detail. The book revolves around their past and covers minute details. The locations covered were not relatable and hence required better description.  However, the core of the book – Sunny’s relusive nature and Saloni’s troubled past are beautifully interwoven with emotions that gradually change over time.

R = Realistic weaving of the fiction.  Score : 4/5

The story was not set in relatable locations which weakened reader connect. Having said that, emotions were nicely weaved to add flavour of reality. The chats of a prostitute and young lad, humane side of people involved in prostitution, etc. potrayed dark side of our society.

O = Organized.  Score : 3.5/5

Poorly organized. The story has a timeline which goes unnoticed because of poor editing and structure. One can follow the sequence of events taking place in the story most of the times, but may lose track when Sunny suddenly drifts into past.

P = Plot and Characters. Score : 4.5/5

Plot kept me engaged inspite of no. of issues in the narration and editing. Strong character buildup of Sunny, Sandy and Saloni, simultaneous involvment of supporting characters -Pooja, Sam and Imran helped the plot in many ways.The plot had moments of crime and brawls, smart ideas, action sequences, strong climax and stronger end, aniticipated twist towards the end, etc. It’s a perfect bollywood match drapped in artistry.

S = Story Telling. Score = 3/5

OK narration with poor dialogue delivery and description. Monologues of Sunny did good enough to help a reader understand a reclusive’s mind. It is always difficult to potray an introvert in narration. Any book on love, romance or troubled past is expected to have good one liners that remain etched in the minds of readers for long. However, that did not happen with this book. One strong positive in story telling was the frequent transition from present to past and nostalgia involving some beautiful memories from childhood.

Overall,  better narration, lesser grammatical and spelling errors, and better dialogues could have made this book Udai Yadla’s masterpiece. What Udai Yadla missed was a good editor.

It’s a one time read for new readers.

Thank you Writersmelon for sending me this book.

 

 

 

 

Attacks over immigrants in US


Fortunately, the nation is large enough for its population; fortunately, not much is wrong with healthcare, education and infrastructure; fortunately, minds across the globe travel to create opportunities there than in their own country. Fortunately, the citizens get so much advantage of these opportunities supposedly created by foreign brains. Fortunately, they are born as Americans!

However, not many Americans are ready to understand that immigrants  have added a lot more opportunities to the US than their own country.

When racist sentiments are doing rounds, a video of Indian families in Ohio’s park taken by an American gets viral. A whole new campaign on this issue is taken up and some people have even come up with a website like this one: saveamericanitjobs.org

The recent attacks on Indians especially have raised negative sentiments with respect to Indians taking up jobs in US IT industry.

Watch the video and leave your comments below.

Finding Juliet by Toffee

Finding Juliet by Toffee


BLURB

Arjun is a sweet, simple guy who is so unlucky in love that he almost lets go of life. Enter his saviour Krish, who turns him into an irresistible flirt, making his life more colourful. But will he find true happiness or has he lost that opportunity?

Join Arjun as he tries to figure out women and discovers the meaning of love, lust and life.. all in his journey of Finding Juliet

REVIEW

Image result for 4 star rating

Definitely a book to spend an evening with! ‘Finding Juliet’ is book for train journeys. Indeed I completed it during my train travel.

I believe youngsters will relate to Arjun and keep turning pages till they reach the end. Engrossing. Indeed, the writer pulled of a Durjoy Dutta in the initial chapters. It reminded me of ‘The Backbenchers’ series.

Finding Juliet by Toffee Review
Finding Juliet by Toffee Book Review

DROPS FRAMEWORK FOR FICTION – Created by Smit Kothari D=Detailing to work R=Realistic weaving of the fiction O=Organized or structured story line P=Plot and Characters S=Story telling Book Review : Finding Juliet

D = Detailing to work.  Score : 3/5

Arjun turns from an ordinary guy to a cool, irresistible flirt. His conversion to flirt is described in great detail. The chapter ‘enlightenment’, based on Krish’s advice on women to Arjun, is beautifully written. The author’s choice of words tell us how he understands women psychology deeply. The core of the book – Arjun’s personality change and dilemma of love, lust and life – is discussed in great depth.

R = Realistic weaving of the fiction.  Score : 3.5/5

The story is set in Hyderabad and Bangalore mostly. Use of places like Charminar, Hussain Sagar lake, pubs, shopping and dining places fits well to the storyline. The bomb blasts also add an interesting element to the story. These small patches of real details add essence to this fiction drama. In fact every guy can relate to the lead character Arjun.

O = Organized.  Score : 4/5

Organized in 2 acts, the story gives us two different Arjun – the geek and the flirt. But we are what we are. A drastic change may temporarily be welcomed, but then you start missing your old self. The sequence of events and flow of emotions go well with the story. Anjali, Arjun’s childhood friend, stays through the entire plot and keeps returning at the right moments.

P = Plot and Characters. Score : 4/5

Friends, True Friends, Girlfriends, Crush, Mentor – Characters are lively. Amazing how these simple characters have weaved a story so real. Almost everyone has a true female friend, childhood friends, college friends and colleagues. Connect with each of these set of friends is different. One can totally relate these strong connections between the characters.

Distinctively, you also realize in the story how you lose friends with time – some gets filtered, some voluntarily leaves and some by circumstances. But true ones remain there, irrespective of time.

S = Story Telling. Score = 4.5/5

Dialogues, description, monologue and lyrics – so perfect that I would love to keep some of those in my Goodreads quote section. One can relate to every statement made on love, lust and life- as if taken from your heart and put in the book.

“Maybe there is some insane pleasure in self-destruction and hitting rock bottom because once you reach there, you can only go up.”

“Behind every person there lies a story which makes them what they are. Many a time, the story isn’t known to anybody.”

And some simple, touching lines

I can see your face,
But I can’t see you anymore.
I can look into your eyes,
But I can’t read them anymore.
You hold my hand,
But I don’t feel the love anymore.
You touch my body,
but you don’t touch my soul anymore.

All I can say is I completed this book in one go and it was great to spend an evening musing over this book.

Thank you writersmelon.com and Toffee for this book.

Childhood Lost


Today is a very special day for 9 year old Preeti. Today is Children’s day.

She wakes up in her room to find her favorite books neatly organized in what seemed like her own mini-library. She always wanted her own library where she would keep her fairy tales and comic books. Her mom and dad comes to her room with her favorite chocolates. They have planned an entire day for her. After school, they will take her to amusement park and spend rest of the day with her. After all, she is their only child. Besides, Preeti is also excited for children’s day celebration at her school.

Image result for child educationImage result for child education

Today is a normal day for 9 year old Najma. Today is just like any other day.

She wakes up in the only room in her kachha makan to find her sibling still sleeping on an extremely uncomfortable piece of mattress. Her mom is in the kitchen performing daily chores. She has to lend her some help in preparing food. Her 11 year old brother will  go to government school.  She sees her brother enjoy at the school daily. She also wants to study, but her parents can’t afford both their children’s study. Last year they decided to discontinue Najma’s study. She then started serving as a domestic help with her mother.

Same day. Two different stories. Two different India.

Child rights

How many more children will lose their childhood? NGOs like ‘CRY – Child Rights and You’ fight to protect the rights of children. But a lot is yet to be done. NGOs can make no difference without our involvement. It is our support and motivation that keeps them going.

This Children’s day let us try to bridge the gap between Preeti and Najma. If ‘Preeti – the privileged’ lends a book from her vast library to ‘Najma – the underprivileged’, the change has begun! Many of us  are Preetis and we know Najmas exist. But we hardly do anything.

                                                                          * * *

School is the beginning of change. And every child has a right to school. So CRY in association with IMI New Delhi organized a small charity event to help give children the school they deserve.

IMI stands for Child Rights

To the tunes of Ori Chiraiya and Taare Zameen Par, coffee became a memorable experience for students at IMI. They pledged for child rights over a cup of coffee worth Rs. 20. From ‘never exploiting a child’ to ‘educating at least 5 children around me’, some 10 different pledges were made by hundreds of students. They signed their cups after a refreshing coffee with their pledge on it and stuck it to the wall of change.   Every coffee was a step to change some child’s future.  The collected money would be utilized to develop a library for the underprivileged children.

Well,  a lot can change over coffee!

IMI stands for Child rights

Every child has a right to dream. Taking away a child’s right to school kills that child’s right to dream. There are millions of such childhoods lost in our country. On this Children’s day let us support CRY in its effort to protect children and childhood.

HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY.

Comparing Books One Indian Girl, The Four Patriots


In October first week, Rupa Publications launched two fiction books- Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Indian Girl’ and Sumit Agarwal’s ‘The Four Patriots’. Interestingly, both these books are hitting the right notes at the right time; clearly winning the sentiments of Indian readers. No doubt Rupa is called ‘The House of Bestsellers’!

One Indian Girl by Chetan BhagatThe Four Patriots by Sumit Agarwal

One Indian Girl & The Four Patriots : Points of Parity and Difference 

1.Contemporary Fiction

Both the books are contemporary fiction. While ‘One Indian Girl’ is like the other fiction works of Chetan Bhagat involving romance and youth, ‘The Four Patriots’ has elements of patriotism, politics and thriller.

2. Based on issues in Indian Society

Both the books address issues prevalent in the Indian society.

One Indian Girl is clearly based on women empowerment and feminism – topics on tip of tongue.  The recent movie ‘PINK’, supporting an altogether different theme of feminism, brought Indian women in picture and this worked for Chetan Bhagat. ‘One Indian Girl’ had record breaking pre-orders of 2 Lakh copies by 20th September, 11 days before official launch of the book!

The Four Patriots is based on four individuals dissatisfied with the system, who set on a journey to change things and bring back glory to the nation. Clearly based on patriotism, it has elements of Terrorism, poor performance in Olympics, Caste-based reservations, water issues between states, thereby clearly taking public sentiments hands on. The recent Uri attacks, surgical strikes and approach with Pakistan is icing on the cake for Sumit.

3. Chetan Bhagat & Sumit Agarwal

While Chetan Bhagat is a brand in himself, a youth icon; Sumit Agarwal is a first time writer.  Just like Chetan Bhagat, Sumit is also an IITian getting into writing. (Seems like IITians don’t want to be just engineers!) Chetan is an investment banker, a columnist, screenplay writer, speaker and motivator and has been judge in shows like Nach Baliye (weird!). Sumit Agarwal is a director of a chemical business, singer and runs NGOs in Kanpur. They belong to same age group.

4. Keep it simple silly!

Simple English – Chetan Bhagat’s signature. Sumit Agarwal’s book follows the same. Simple and Lucid. Easy and written for all.

5. Heroes & Villains 

Every story has heroes and villains. In ‘One Indian Girl’, there is a heroine – Radhika. ( Rahul Gandhi will be happy with Chetan Bhagat empowering a woman!) And the boyfriends, mother, aunts … the society are villains! Chetan Bhagat has portrayed mother of Radhika as orthodox, thinking always of what people will say.

‘The Four Patriots’ has four lead characters suffering at the hands of the system. Patriotism totally ingrained in these guys, they went on to fight elections and become ministers of the country. But when it’s politics, there will be all sorts of villains. Corrupt politicians, scamsters, anti-nationals, terrorists and naxals. Relatable to the real life political-national scenario.. isn’t it?

6. Sex and No Sex!

Chetan Bhagat is known for his marketing gimmicks. One Indian Girl got trending for Page No. 57. Guess what Chetan must have placed. Sex! Like he does it in all his books. Explicit sex. Even when it is not required to show to the extent. Neither it is some E.L.James work nor it is the core theme of the book. He knows well how to attract the Indian non-readers. Thankfully, he’s got no Pahlaj Nihlani for books!

Sumit Agarwal has garnished patriotism with romance and love. No sex. There are moments in ‘The Four Patriots’ but he maintains the sanctity of the book’s theme.

7. Marketing Gimmicks

Ask authors and they say, ‘Writing is easy, Marketing is tough!’ Authors these days try innovative ideas to promote their books.

Apart from Press releases, grand book launches, video teasers and contests, Chetan Bhagat went to Arnub with a U! The team at TVF and Bhagat went on to humiliating Chetan Bhagat and his works. Arnub literally spits on his book! Chetan shows his waxed leg to promote his research on feminism for ‘One Indian Girl’. And if that was low, he also agrees to show his stupid dancing clip on Nach Baliye stage. Lows of negative publicity! And not to forget how he promised sex in the teaser itself!

Negative promotion of One Indian Girl with TVF, Arnub

Negative promotion of One Indian Girl with TVF, Arnub

Sumit Agarwal went on to develop a 5 minute trailer of the book ‘The Four Patriots’, using actors to create a Bollywood style fast-paced drama. He composed theme song titled ‘Four Patriots hai hum’. He even created 14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt kehlane e layak hai?’ 10 sec ads to promote the theme of his book.

Image result for Sumit Agarwal14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt hai?’ for The Four Patriots

8. Soon to be a major motion picture

Both the books are written such that they can be converted to Bollywood movies. Chetan Bhagat has a series of books converted to motion pictures. No surprise if One Indian Girl finds its way to a big Bollywood banner.

Image result for chetan bhagat one indian girl

Sumit Agarwal stated on the launch of ‘The Four Patriots’ that few Bollywood houses are looking forward to convert it to a movie script.  Interestingly, there were two directors present at the launch – Vivek Agnihotri and Jaideep Sen. In fact, Jaideep Sen gave his nod to the fact that he is looking forward to convert it to a movie script. Although Sumit Agarwal hasn’t decided yet.

 Image result for sumit agarwal book launch

However, Sumit Agarwal has a long way to go. Chetan Bhagat is the most loved and hated Indian author simultaneously. It has taken books, controversies and what not to become what he is today. A good book is just not enough!

20s : The story of emotional attachment


***** rolled down my cheek; and it tasted salty just as it did in childhood. But that was childhood! Who cries in early 20s? It’s embarrassing! (And boys, they don’t ***)

Emotional attachment plays this game. And as one of my friends say,  Ahh the life of Sheldon Cooper.. no emotions.. no attachment!

Image result for sheldon cooper and emotional attachment

  • Sheldon: Why are you crying?
  • Penny: Because I’m stupid!
  • Sheldon: That’s no reason to cry. One cries because one is sad. For example, I cry because others are stupid, and that makes me sad.

20s. You lose your friends to foreign land, one by one. You lose them to career. You lose them to opportunities.

20s.  You lose friends for fault of others. You lose your friends to circumstances.

20s. You lose them with time.

Buy your friends a poster from Amazon!

Friends to acquaintances is merely a journeyof choices and priorities.

However tightly you hold ’em, you have to be lucky to be with your dearest ones through your 20s.

20s is the story of emotional attachment. The story of emotional loss.

How nice would it be to be Sheldon Cooper, away from all emotional delusions.. How if attachment was just a file in an email, nothing more!

Image result for friendship silhouettes

THE FOUR PATRIOTS | BOOK REVIEW


the-four-patriots

Getting back to book reviewing after a long time and what better can it be than reviewing a book on change, optimism, patriotism, leadership, youth and difference! Please see the book is not meant to critiquing the art and science of writing but is all about the long required change that everyone of us so deeply crave for and hence an opinion on likability is provided here.

I thank the author Sumit Agarwal for giving me this opportunity to review his work before the book release on 29th September, 2016.

The book is reviewed with the help of DROPS framework developed by me to better understand the likability of the book.

Book Review : THE FOUR PATRIOTS
DROPS FRAMEWORK FOR FICTION – Created by Smit Kothari D=Detailing to work R=Realistic weaving of the fiction O=Organized or structured story line P=Plot and Characters S=Story telling Book Review : THE FOUR PATRIOTS

DROPS framework for fiction forms of 5 critical elements in any fiction work.

D = Detailing to work.  Score : 3/5

We must genuinely appreciate the amount of research done and the facts put forward for a piece of fiction, where there is definitely some freedom in terms of moulding of facts. The facts can easily be spotted throughout the book and is definitely large in comparison to some popular fiction authors like Chetan Bhagat or Sidney Sheldon; but when compared with the works of  Dan Brown, you are definitely expecting more! You may catch something on MNREGA, election costs, collegium, JPCs or challenges associated with sports, reservation, cleanliness, social security, etc. while there are a lot of other critical issues in India and an equivalently large fact-file!

The detailing of main characters is good enough and we can gradually create a mental picture of them. But then, other supporting characters are loosely worked out. The characters from media especially have a weak outline and an equally weak dialogue delivery.

R = Realistic weaving of the fiction.  Score : 3.5/5

We don’t expect reality in fiction,  but a work so neatly weaved that you connect reality with it. Unfortunately, patriotism today is more of a fiction than a reality. Author’s attempts at bringing patriotism back by creating a fantasy world where things change for India seems highly optimistic (but not impossible anytime!). One may definitely argue how difficult it is for a nation so large and diverse to bring about such a large change that the book presents to us. The book does not tell us how the four main characters become such important faces in so short time and become core party members; some may even think if that’s possible (see : AAP’s journey and Kejriwal’s rise to CM). It is also strange to see how there is little opposition within party (although there is!) to the 4 main characters handling all the major portfolios, that too multiple (each handling 3 major portfolios at a time). There are many such highly optimistic things, some with explanation, some without! But the best part is that you are ready to accept at some of those points, owing to the explanation and the gripping storyline!

O = Organized.  Score : 4/5

Simple organization of the book. Characters lives are rolled out and it shows their early lives. The ‘why did they join politics’ perspective! And the second  ‘How they transform the country’ perspective. The lives of 4 characters- all at different places and professions, move simultaneously. They get affected due to the system. And like every story has a hero, we have 4 here. The 4 characters want to change the system. The good part is that they don’t break or fall prey to the system. The interesting part is ‘How?’ The story is well organized to give it a twisting plot at the end of each chapter.

P = Plot and Characters. Score : 5/5

The plot and the characters will keep a reader engrossed. The plot has multiple twists, woven web of causes and effects,  thrills and chills, Indian political scenario, feuds and struggles, love, romance, empathy and articulation. A perfect drama to watch. And a better reality to live! The plot becomes gripping and thrilling, chapter by chapter. The Indian political scenario has a plethora of issues to offer and so does the plot. You find yourself served to a platter of terrorism, naxalites, olympic events, collegium system, political feud, political family connection, formation of new party, extortion, misutilization of temple funds, corruption and absurd-to-good media coverage. Yes, everything!

The lead characters steal the show. Aditya,  a chemical businessman, who wants to see a cleaner and greener Varanasi, a better living for India; Varun, a software engineer overseas, who questions the legal system, Raghav, state education minister who challenges his CM chacha; Salman, CEO of Coffee moments, campaigns against an MLA for his falsely laid promises.  Every character is a story to unfold.

S = Story Telling. Score = 4.5/5

The Four patriots is Sumit’s first book. Story Telling is an art mastered gradually, but Sumit has proved it wrong. The way story moves is simply fantastic. You don’t leave the book until you complete it. It’s like a webisode you see online. Every episode leaves a mark! The only part he could have focused was the dialogue delivery of support characters like Sumit Baksi who represents media. Simple narrative, deeply connected. Overall, story telling supported a fantastic plot and lead characters. It can very well be turned into a political thriller like 24!

We all want to see this change. Admit it, we all have imagined ourselves executing our ideas to change the country, in daydreams. All of us wanted to become The President or The Prime Minister at some point of time in our childhood (or at least at the time when we saw flag hoisting at the Red Fort or the Parade). But with time, we stopped considering politics even as a career option. It was meant for the bad and the powerful, and the sole purpose of empowering the weak and the good was lost.

Small things make impact and small changes make real change. Small steps create difference and small differences make it large! This book is a step towards such a change.

A MUST READ!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Four Patriots by Sumit Agarwal

The Four Patriots

by Sumit Agarwal

Giveaway ends October 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

STORY

If you have ever fallen victim to the system, been humiliated, felt helpless… this book is for you.

Varun, a NRI software engineer, loves Alisha. Salman, CEO of Coffee Moments, loves Mahi. Raghav, a virtuous politician, loves Neha. Aditya, an altruist businessman, is married to Prachi. Destiny invites them to step out of their comfort zones and fight the devil that holds their country captive.

Will they choose country over love, comfort and success?

Will they enter the Chakravyuh, intricately laid down to ensure their destruction?

Will they come out of it alive and win back our lost pride?

Buckle up for a roller-coaster ride into the lives of these four young men who are out to change the system which could not be changed in the last 70 years of independence. A story fraught with romance and patriotism.

Also pick this book if you are a patriot and do not believe that ‘is desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta.’ If you do, all the more reason to read it!

 

Reason to return!


11:45 PM

The train was supposed to be at the station. I was supposed to be in the compartment. Luggage underneath the lower berth, my head underneath the blanket. But then, I was supposed to be somewhere doing something, happily. Things never go as per plan! At least in the last few days, it didn’t go that way.

Rejected in VISA approval tests. Failed attempts in clearing finals. Accumulated installments of unpaid loan. Unemployment. And tragic demise of grandfather. Broken emotionally and financially.

The city felt so lively even at the twelfth hour, buzzing with youths on two-wheelers out in the city enjoying hot masala-chai on a chilly winter night or couples returning to their place after a well spent evening at some posh restaurant. There were random passersby pedaling their bicycles with pace to replace the person on duty. Sadly, these people felt more cold than the guys returning from work. There were engines revved up to the call centers to attend clients sitting in far west. And then, there were dogs barking at strangers.

Still, a stranded dog has far more reasons to feel better than a rejected and dejected urbane in his mid-20s.

11:50 PM

I checked my tickets twice. At the right platform, right time.

But then, I had checked all my VISA details twice. Again right place, right time. Or was the time right? Didn’t miss a detail. Everything was mentioned. Everything. Mentioning that the only person in my family was a debt-struck grandfather was everything. And VISA to return disappointed to grandfather’s place was approved. REJECTED in bold and not-at-all beautiful letters!

Mess up one thing and you start repeating it in all other things. Finals were a repeat of VISA fiasco except that I supported it hopelessly by not preparing. FAILED in bold and not-at-all beautiful letters!

Unemployment was to follow when there were ‘cleared in first attempt’ jobless available in market.

With broken dreams and a flicker of hope, all you can set your eyes on is the city of dreams. The train would arrive and carry loads of dreams; some would reach destination, few would survive and the rest would return in the same train.

11:55 PM

There is nothing left for me in this city. No reason to return!

Grandpa was a reason for years of my stay there. The reason was no more.

Every time I left the city, I had him standing beside me waiting for the train, and then waving me back as it chugged off the station.  This time the wait seemed longer than usual.  Grandpa was my family. No family, no home!

I am done with this city. 

00:00 AM

I can’t wait here anymore. Where the f**k is train?  

‘Driver’s birthday! Must be having his piece of cake.’

And there, they were, the other two musketeers. They have been with me since my school days. They were there when grandpa passed away, while I was facing a so-called interview. They were the ones who broke that news to me, later. They were present in all those important moments, and today.

‘The train is delayed by an hour. And I believe, you didn’t listen to all those announcements! Did you?’  And they laughed.  I forced a smile. They were right. I didn’t listen to any announcement made. I was deeply engrossed in my thoughts and the best I did was a glance at the watch.

For the next hour, we had ‘Masala Chai’ at the platform, talked about misses and stitches, failures and hopes, and the old school days. Everything was same then, except that there was little more fun. They had their share of failures and disappointments, too.

The wait was no longer getting heavier on me. All my negative thoughts had subsided. Finally, the train arrived. We wished and hugged each other.  The train was ready to depart.

The next time I come, I hope to see both of you again at the station. Goodbye.