tinytale #31 ‘Portable Homeland’

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It’s more than three years since that fateful night when he had to run in the silence of the night secretly with his family. They packed whatever they can carry with them.

They did not know how long this journey will last. They had to run to be alive and safe before rioters created a brawl on the street came and kill them.

They did not know anyone in this new city but they are safe here. They started a new life and this city adopted them.

Every night before going to bed he takes an eyeful of the keys he kept in his pocket all the time and carry with him everywhere. They are the keys to the door of the house he long abandoned in the city he was born and the city that wanted to swallow him once.

Those keys are his portable Homeland.

Invisible Ties

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819G7hQNr9L.jpgAuthor – Nadya A.R.

Rating – 4.5/5 stars

Number of Pages – 272

Publisher – Rupa Publications

A commendable work by the author. The storytelling is impressive and deep and you can visualize the whole story in front of your eyes. It’s like living a second life in the mind of the author. The story hooks you from the first page till the end. The cover is apt and beautiful.

Invisible Ties is a story of a girl Noor. Noor spent most of his childhood in the company of household helpers and caretakers. Her secret companion is an antique jade mirror she stole from her mother’s collection. Turns of events and familial pressure made her submit to her mother’s wish to marry Meekaal Kalim and start a new life in Singapore, reluctantly.

Trapped in a loveless marriage, Noor finds succor in studying psychotherapy to heal others. Bound in cultural values she looks for new ways to find peace in her life. Where her quest will take her, is the story.

The thing which impressed me the most is this is no ordinary or regular story of a girl and his journey and the way it is told is impressive and praiseworthy. When you will read the story you can actually read the mind of the girl; Noor. The impeccable style of narrating the human emotions makes it a must read.

The heart of the story is the narrative style and the brain of the story is its plotline. The writing style is fluid and graceful. If you want to read a beautifully written contemporary fiction and a story that can drive you. Pick this book. It has everything a reader look for in a book to escape from the reality of the daily life. Nadya will make you lose yourself with her vivid writing.

Author Bio

Nadya A.R. began writing in her early twenties. She is a psychotherapist and regularly contributes articles related to psychotherapy and conducts workshops, seminars and talks, both in Pakistan and Singapore. This is her second novel.

Buy this Book Here: Amazon

‘I received a copy from Publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

Author Interview – Anupam Patra

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Hello Readers,

Today we have Anupam Patra, author of Promises of a Firefly with us.

Anupam was born and raised in the millennium city of Cuttack in Odisha. He finished his schooling and graduation while growing up in the thousand- year-old city’s narrow lanes and ambient warmth. In spite of the necessity of having to pursue science and then law for a career, his love for art has always shone the light of his soul. He used to teach and has worked as a banker prior to taking up public service as his profession. An avid lover of all forms of art, he confesses to find comfort in telling stories. Let’s know more about him and talk to him about his book and writing journey.

Welcome to our Blog Anupam

Tell us about yourself. Who is Anupam Patra apart from an author of ‘Promises of a Firefly’?

I was born and raised in Cuttack, Odisha. I finished my schooling and graduation there. Studied science and then law for a career. I love the study and the profession of law, but if I were to tell you the truth, it was always actually arts that I wanted to pursue. I’ve tried to hold onto it in whatever shape and form that I can. When I am not working, I am reading, writing or watching cinema. If you wish to know me as a person, then the following lines by J.L. Borges may help you.

“They speak of humanity. My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of the same poverty.

   They speak of homeland. My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits,

   An old sword, the willow grove’s visible prayer as evening falls.

   Time is living me. More silent than my shadow,

   I pass through the loftily covetous multitude. 

  They are indispensable, singular, worthy of tomorrow.

   My name is someone and anyone.

  I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away he doesn’t expect to arrive.”

What inspires you to write a book?

The things I experience watching the lives of others around me, the voices within me – they all push me to write stories.

Did you always want to write a book?

I had never thought of writing a book. Till I met Mahua Ray Das, a phenomenal artist herself, who on our very first meeting decided to push me towards that goal. She was cynical about my writing but gentle in her guidance, even when I was hostile to her suggestions. She set my sail on that course. She stuck around, never let the boat rock. To ensure it never drowned, she herself got on the boat and took a lonely, neurotic, journey with me. It was not easy. I was constantly mired with problems but she never gave up, even when I was forcing her to. Her contributions for this book are immense. The journey for this book began with her eliciting a promise from me in a small book café in Bhubaneswar in August 2015, the promise that I’ll give her a book of my own one day.

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What is your earliest memory of writing?

I remember discovering a fondness for writing when I was in the twelfth standard. It was during this time that I read a lot of novels and fell in love with the beauty of written words. It didn’t take me long thereafter to attempt writing my own stuff.

How much writing a book has changed you?

When a writer is able to catch the tone of his characters in ink, and everything is flowing out smoothly from his pen, it is the most complete he will ever feel. But when it doesn’t happen that way, there is barely anything he can forgive in this world. Then there would be work and health conditions and lack of imagination and all sorts of things that would make me want to shut everything for once and for all. I don’t know about others but for me, writing is walking down an untaken road where there are equal chances of confronting delight and despair. But you brave that chance because you want to bring to life moments you think deserve to be experienced by your readers. When you’re penning those mistakes, regrets, hopes and love your characters find on pages, you are creating experience, and you cannot create any without letting it touch you. I have always only written in one method, one hand dipped in ink and the other in shades of life. It’s a fulfilling endeavour. And for all that it is worth, you evolve in the end. You evolve because at the completion of any struggle, there is some evolution that is bound to happen.

Your book has eleven stories. Which is that one story you feel most connected and why?

All the stories are close to me. But it is the title story that I connect with a lot. It is plotted around actual events.

How do you deal with writer’s Block?

It is terrible when I can’t write. Honestly speaking, I struggle a lot when the block happens. I have no clue how to deal with it. I guess one just has to let it have its way. After all, there’s never any point in forcing oneself to write.

Any writing project you are currently working on?

There are a few things on my mind but I haven’t actually begun working on any of it.

Which author do you admire most and why?

The works of Richard Flanagan inspire me. Out of all his works, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Gould’s Book of Fish have left a lasting impression on me. I also admire the writings of Haruki Murakami. Norwegian Wood is my all time favourite.

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Any advice for aspiring writers?

I am a beginner and therefore not actually in a position to give advices. But I believe that every person trying to write should write with honesty. There is no good or bad writing as long as you can bring out the voice within you truthfully on paper.

Final words for the readers of ‘Promises of a Firefly’?

About the book, I’ll say this. Since the book was published, I’ve been asked about its theme. I’d like to say that the stories in Promises of a firefly are not light tales or have cheerful narratives for they intend to show us our boundaries regardless of the occasional heroics life affords us. Now, that is not necessarily tragedy. It could be something as simple as truth. Some of these truths, we are likely to have seen or heard around us. And as one of my readers told me over e-mail, there is this element of hope that can be found if the stories are read carefully. I want readers to find out for themselves. And if they are able to remember the stories, recall their moments when they are not holding my book – that would be a great thing for the storyteller in me.

Buy this Book Here: Amazon

Read Review of Proimises of a firefly Here

Connect to him:

Email – anupampatra2017@gmail.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/anupam.patra.7

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35524980

Amazon – https://www.amazon.in/Promises-firefly-Anupam-Patra/dp/9386305631

tinytale #30 ‘Special’

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Bored of playing a video game all day she peeks out of the window in the garden. She saw something moving. Something in the corner nears the gates behind the bush.

What is it?

She runs out into the garden wearing a white skirt and red top. She advanced towards the bush with her small feet taking small steps fearing and excited.

It moved again.

She picks a stick lying near and pokes in the bush. She heard a faint voice out of pain. The voice doesn’t sound dangerous. She steps forward and using both hands made a parting to see what it is hiding in the bush.

A wide smile curved on her lips.

It’s a puppy. A brown puppy with no leash. She takes him in her arms and went into the house to clean and feed him before playing with him.

Listening for Well-Being

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71RBq0rqAsL.jpgAuthor – Arun Maira

Rating – 3.5/5 stars

Number of Pages – 216

Publisher – Rupa Publications

Listening is that powerful method to understand the world better. We are so busy wanting other people to listen to us that we forget to listen. They too need a pair of ears to listen to them. We are losing the ability to listen to people who are not like us. In this age of social media, where everyone is saying something and nobody listening, we need to pause to reflect. We need to switch off our smartphones, take a break from social media and turn off blaring all day television channels.

Listening is a simple idea. We need to talk and listen to the people who are not like us to see the other side of the story. Then, we will learn and find solutions for living together on our shared Earth.

Through proper listening, followed by proper analysis and practice, one can develop positive attributes like love and compassion.

Dalai Lama

The book started with a foreword written by The Dalai Lama. The preface explains the essence of the book really well. A journey which definitely changed the way you see the other people and listens to them to understand which helps in addressing the simple challenges of life.

I started this book with high expectations to learn something and become a better version of me. The author seems lost and diverted to other topics of society and nation. I don’t see the relevance of their mention and discussion in this book. The book could be far much better than what it is now if it only focused on the central theme that is listening.

I am not sure about this book. This book is not entirely what its cover and blurb say but if you are looking for a nicely written non-fiction then you can give this a go.

It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Author Bio

Arun Maira is the Chairman of HelpAge International and Chancellor of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh. A member of India’s Planning Commission from 2009 to 2014, he had worked for twenty-five years in the Tata Group at top-level positions and was the Chairman of the Boston Consulting Group in India.

Maira is the author of the bestselling books Redesigning the Aeroplane While Flying: Reforming Institutions and An Upstart in Government: Journeys of Change and Learning.

Buy this Book Here: Amazon

‘I received a copy from Publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

Twinkling in My Eyes

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34773494.jpgAuthor – Shivangi Chibber Kalia

Rating – 2.5/5 stars

Number of Pages – 63

Publisher – Educreation Publishing

Twinkling in my Eyes is a collection of twenty-nine stories about woman come from different walks of life. These women come from different background and upbringing. These women saw the ups and downs of their life. They play different roles throughout their life. These are stories of every woman.

The book has written to celebrate womanhood. A woman is a mother, daughter, wife and sister. One thing is common between them is they fought and stand for themselves and for the ones they love. These stories have come from our homes. The stories are of their courage and never die spirit. The book honors their spirit and salutes for their courage.

The book is a short read and the stories are good and take few minutes to read and hardly of two to three pages. The big turn off of the book is the grammatical mistakes that shouldn’t be there and the editing mistakes from the publisher’s side. No matter how good the stories are, the poor editing turned the whole experience unpleasant.

The stories touch the heart, open the door of the woman’s heart and are inspirational. The stories are relatable and you may find a reflection of someone of your own.

Celebrate women with Twinkling in my Eyes.

Author Bio

Shivangi Chibber Kalia born in 1992 is a graduate in Home Science. She also holds a Bachelor in Education.  She did her schooling from Carmel Convent School in Jammu, India. She has this craving to tell stories from her early days of schooling and participated in school essay and story competitions. The appreciations she received for her stories pushed her to write more.

She always has a passion for expressing her feelings and thoughts. Her desire to share the stories with the world made her write and publish the book to share it with others. Twinkling in my eyes is her debut book.

You can reach to her at shivangikalia@educreation.in

Buy this Book Here: Amazon

 ‘I received a copy from Author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

tinytale #29 ‘Everything’

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I don’t remember when I fell asleep. Last night, I remember, a simple discussion drifted into an argument. I came back throwing my hands and slipped under the duvet and pretends to sleep. He came after what looks like an hour and I felt a kiss on the forehead.

I removed the curtains aside and see the world outside comes to life in the morning sun. Looking at him, sleeping like a baby curled in the duvet, I feel like giving up the whole world, without him it doesn’t mean anything to me. We are the world to each other. He is everything to me.

‘Hey boy, wake up, it’s morning’

He opened his eyes and pulled me under the duvet, wrapped his arms around me and fall asleep. I think it does no harm to sleep for a little while on some days.

Life in the IAS

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81XDIbEmeTL.jpgAuthor – Ram Varma

Rating – 4.5/5 stars

Number of Pages – 342

Publisher – Rupa Publications

Life in the IAS…… My encounter with the three Lals of Haryana is a part memoir, part biography of Haryana, a North Indian state of India surrounding New Delhi on three sides, forming the northern, western and southern borders of Delhi. The State shares its capital city Chandigarh with Punjab and is one of the wealthiest states of India and has the third highest per capita income in the country.

Haryana was born on 1 November 1966, carved out of the former state of East Punjab on a linguistic basis. The author was then transferred to Haryana and watched this fledgling state grow from a poor resource less state to a progressive, front ranking one during his tenure in various capacities. The book pivots its central narrative around the portrayal of the three Lals of Haryana – Bansi Lal, Devi Lal and Bhajan Lal. He keenly observed the workings of each chief minister, monitored some ambitious projects which transformed the state.

The book has interesting anecdotes and encounters of the author while serving in various positions and performing his duties. He served for more than three decades and this book captures the extraordinary journey of Haryana in the first three formative decades. This book captures tongue-in-cheek observations, personal recollections and political ups and downs in the state make it a journey worth penning. A true account of his life in the IAS. A book worth a read and of your time.

Author Bio

Ram Varma was teaching English at the University of Jodhpur when in 1964 he was admitted to the Indian Administrative Service which catapulted him into the corridors of power. Initially allocated to the Punjab cadre, he was transferred to Haryana at its formation in 1966.

In the course of his illustrious career, Varma worked as Director of Public Relations and Tourism, Director of Agriculture and Deputy Commissioner, Bhiwani, during Bansi Lal’s rule till 1977. Later, he worked as Director of Public Relations and Tourism and State Transport Commissioner under Bhajan Lal. Under Devi Lal’s reign, he held the important portfolio of Chairman, Electricity Board. When Bansi Lal became chief minister again in 1996, he appointed Ram Varma his Principal Secretary.

Varma became Chief Secretary, Haryana, in 1997 and retired in August 2000.

Buy this Book Here: Amazon

‘I received a copy from Publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

Author Interview – Helene A. Leuschel

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Hello Readers,

Today we have Helene A. Leuschel, author of Manipulated Lives with us.

Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London, and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga. Let’s know more about her and talk to her about her book and writing journey.

 

Welcome to our Blog Helene.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Helene A. Leuschel apart from an author of Manipulated Lives?

I grew up in Belgium where I gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. I love languages and enjoy traveling to discover other cultures and countries. I now live in Portugal with my husband and two children and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening my passion for the study of the mind. When I’m not writing, I work as a freelance journalist and teach Yoga.

What inspired you to write a book?

Manipulated Lives is my first published work of fiction and it is a collection of five novellas where I explore the core theme of psychological manipulation from five different perspectives. Each story aims to highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten a person’s feeling of self-worth. There are many excellent self-help books available, giving advice on how to deal with a controlling and manipulative individual as well as to understand why and how it can happen to anyone.

I felt more comfortable taking the matter into fictional territory though where I could explore it by creating characters of different ages and backgrounds so that the reader could think more deeply about the motivations behind narcissistic personality disorder. Each of the five stories can be read on their own but aim to show that, as an outsider, nothing is ever what it seems when dealing with a toxic manipulator.

Personal tragic circumstances and the completion of a couple of creative writing courses with the OU and Oxford University had made me pick up the pen, then transfer my ideas into the writing of this collection of novellas as well as fulfill my long-term dream of becoming an author.

I am currently in the process of finalizing my first novel as well as a sixth story that can be added to the theme explored in Manipulated Lives.

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How much writing a book has changed you?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I’m not sure in what way writing a book has changed me but I certainly feel that it’s allowed me to at least attempt to honour all those people I have met over the years who have suffered from emotional abuse, who’ve felt lonely and desperate for too long yet deserved only love and the right to be treated with respect. I think books can change people’s lives and outlooks on things, especially the painful and confusing situations we can find ourselves in when encountering covert cunning behavior. I hope to have made a small contribution in that direction.

Your book has five stories. Which is that one story you feel most connected to and why?

I would say I’m most connected to Holly in Runaway Girl because I feel I still want to find out how she gets on in life, after Jamie, whether she does find the freedom she so yearns for and the courage to make her dreams come true. I’m determined to write a follow-up for this one, so watch this space 😊

Which is your favorite part of the writing process and why?

I love sitting down at my desk first thing in the morning, a steaming cup of tea sat next to the keyboard and letting the words flow onto the screen. It’s liberating, fun and very stimulating because although I put great emphasis on plausibility and realism, the world of fiction is like a wide-open world of possibilities where any setting and any character can come alive.

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Which is your least favorite part of the writing process and why?

I would say that my least favorite part of the writing process is editing because once I have finished writing a story, I feel like leaning back and breathing a big sigh of relief, yet my work is not done yet. When I go back to the beginning again, I find mistakes that I didn’t expect finding, discrepancies that take me by surprise and I realize that working through the document is a painstaking exercise. It’s worth it though and vital to iron out anything that doesn’t make sense before the text goes to the editor.

What do you enjoy the most, working as a journalist or writing a book?

I’m at a stage of my life where writing books are more enjoyable than working as a journalist. It fits perfectly into our family life.

Any writing project you are currently working on?

I have finished the draft of my first novel and am currently finalizing my next novella which I would like to publish prior to the novel. It is a 6th story that could technically be included in my anthology Manipulated Lives.

How do you manage a work-life balance?

Our children are eleven and fifteen and they enjoy many activities, so as such they need me less than when they were small. I get to write when they are at school and I’ve learned to use various tools on my mobile and iPad that allow me to take notes when they come to my mind as well as continue writing when we are away.

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Which author do you admire most and why?

Simone de Beauvoir has had a huge impact on me as a teenager and well into my twenties and thirties. She’s the only author whose books I can read again and again. I’ve read all of her writings – fiction and non-fiction alike but if there is one of them that I’d highly recommend to every reader, it would have to be A very easy death. In this short book, she tenderly and with shocking clarity recounts the last phase in her mother’s life. It’s so simple yet poignant, moving and very powerful in its message. The author shows with great honesty that when facing the death of a parent, emotions can not only take you by surprise but over-ride the urge to rationalize the process of dying.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

I earnestly think there is only one big advice that immediately springs to mind and that is WRITE. It may sound simple and easy but in truth, it’s not. If you decide to dedicate time each day to sit down and write (with a rough idea, a plan or even a detailed structure in mind), then you will see your work grow. Once completed, you’ll have to go back and face your worst inner enemy and that is as ruthless and critical as you can muster.

Final words to the readers of Manipulated Lives?

No matter how dark and twisted the human mind can be, there is a way to manage your own emotional resources after experiencing a traumatizing and damaging relationship and find healing and support.

Buy this Book Here:  Amazon.in Amazon.com

Read Review of Manipulated Lives Here

Connect to her:

Website: www.heleneleuschel.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HALeuschel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HALeuschel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15337013.H_A_Leuschel

tinytale #28 ‘Jasmine’

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Jasmine watched her patiently from a distance. She steps towards her slowly, making sure not to make a noise. She came closer and closer.

She extended her both hands and caught her in between the palms making a dome with both the palms of the hands. She peeks in and there is she, a beautiful butterfly. The little creature has colors to fill the heart of anyone.

She opened the palms and freed her from captivity. She caught her only to see the colors on her wings closely. She found her colors hypnotizing.

The butterfly flies higher and higher running from her captivator and Jasmine chases her wherever she goes. Soon she lost her. She turned to her right then left and finds one sitting on a flower.

She steps slowly towards her making no noise and the chase begins again.