Friday, July 22, 2011


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 22; the twenty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

The moment she saw him, she was overwhelmed with all the old emotions that she had been trying to suppress for years now. She began to feel sick in the stomach and could not help feeling short breathed. She could immediately remember each and every detail just like it was yesterday.

Some 12 odd years back, when she had just entered her first year of graduation. Belonging to a small town in the eastern UP, the big city of Mumbai was like a dream to her. She could not believe that she was able to convince her parents to let her go to such a big city. Her parents, while not very rich themselves, were not exactly poor. They had a sizable amount of agricultural land and led a comfortable life with all modern amenities. Even then, it was a task for her to convince her parents to let her pursue her dream of higher education.

So the first day of the college came and boy! Was she excited? She went to college and began regular studies. Very soon she was able to establish a close group of friends. Of course, being in Mumbai, very soon they started going out for various parties; some even extending to the early hours of the morning. Despite all the partying, boozing going on around her; she used to maintain that humble air about her which most people took her as being shy.

It was at one of these parties that she met Vikas. There was an instant connection between the two and she felt that she could easily talk to him. He seemed to be a nice guy. That is until the midnight of 14th Feb, 1999.

As her friendship with Vikas developed, they started going out more often. But she was still hesitant about anything further because of her small town, cautious upbringing. And she discussed this with Vikas as well, who said that he was fine with this. But apparently he was not. After the V-Day party, he took her for a midnight drive. Being unfamiliar with the city landscape; she did not know the area well. Vikas stopped the car at a lonely place and forced himself on her. Try as she might, she could not get herself away from his clutches. She was shattered after the incident while Vikas absconded from the city. And she could not even create too much ruckus about it else her parent would have cut short her studies and that would have been the end of her career, much before it even began. So she kept the things to pretty much herself and maintained a low profile for the rest of the time.

But that was the day which scarred her life forever. That day was the reason that she pushed herself so hard that she would not have time for anything else in life. That day was the reason that despite all the psychological counseling she still needed sleeping pills every night.

And all those memories flooded her as she came face to face with Vikas on her flight from HongKong to Sydney with her feet still aching in her Jimmy Choo stilettos and the LV bag refusing to stay in position. So, she purposely dropped her purse in Vikas’ lap to let him establish the connection. But all she got was a smile in return. Bloody man didn’t even have the courtesy to hand her bag back to her. Absolutely no trace of recognition! How could it be that while that one incident has scarred her so badly; Vikas seems to have forgotten her completely?

That could not be right” thought she. And it was then that she saw him sipping scotch and a plan began to form in her mind. She requested the air hostess to switch her seat to one next to Vikas.

L: Hi! I am Liz. What’s your name?
V: Hey! This is Vikas. So what do you do Liz?
L: I am a director with a multinational entertainment giant. I handle a lot of fortune 10 clients and their advertisement campaigns.
V: Hmmm… that sounds interesting. I am into an NGO for social welfare of poor and illiterate women. Teaching them how to read and right, among other skills.
L: Wow that is so cool…

And the conversation continued so on for next hour or so with more drinks being ordered. Being a teetotaler, she did not drink but ensured that Vikas had plenty of it. When, after another hour or so, she was sure that he had stopped moving, she pulled a nightcap on his eyes, switched off the lights and whispered to the air-hostess “Poor guy… dead tired… Please ensure that nobody disturbs him till the flight reaches Atlanta… not even in the stopover at Sydney”.

She de-boarded at Sydney and went to the luggage section to pick her baggage. Where she was standing, a boy was asking his mother “Mom please help me with 6-Down. A seven letter word. Best served cold.” “I don’t know honey… please let mama check the baggage out”.

Revenge” offered Liz “Revenge is a dish best served cold!” 

"Thanks ma’m” said the boy.

Liz walked away with a new spring in her steps, stopping just long enough at a waste-bin around the corner to throw away the freshly emptied strip of sleeping pills…

Images Courtesy:,,

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

You are a workaholic if...

1. The only way for you to remember birthdays and anniversaries is through your outlook calendar 
2. You are trapped in a kidnapped flight on way to Afghanistan and having been safely rescued, the first thing you do on getting a network signal is checking your mail. 
3.You make a ten page flowchart, and cross reference each node, to prove that Harry Potter universe just cannot exist. 
4. You consume less food/water because that would mean wasting time going to loo! 
5. You feel irritated that laptops are not allowed in movie halls. 
6. You can’t remember the last social function that you attended.
7. You wore a faded shirt to the seventy fifth anniversary of your parents
whereas you regularly get new suits tailored only for office wear.
8. All your relatives and friends have forgotten your name and refer to you as ‘That Guy’.
9. You feel that hobbies are something which are done when one has spare time.
10. The only time you've had off in the last three years was to attend your favorite uncle's funeral. 
11. You let the janitors out of the office before the start of the working hours and let them in after everyone has gone home. 
12. You have used “This is the last time I am working so late” at least three times last week. 
13. You cannot understand why people around you seem much more interested in talking among themselves instead of listening to you telling them about your new job. 
14. You tried your best to reschedule wife’s delivery to facilitate your client deliverable.

15. You slept off the joyride. 
16. You wonder why you cannot sleep and eat at the same time. 
18. You bought a Bluetooth headset so that you carry on a meeting while being on the call. 
19. You feel guilty when not working or doing something fun. 
20. Your idea of a family reunion is arranging a videoconferencing on skype for all the members. 
21. You actually went to a bookshop to search the very much talked about ‘Face’Book. 
22. Your playlist has not been updated for last 10 years. 
23. You bought an I-Pad for situations where you can’t work on laptops. 
24. You tend to send meeting appointments and subsequent reminders for lunch date with your wife.
25. You feel Baba Ramdev is a waste of time and 15 minutes of power nap can solve all the ailments and bring world peace. 
26. You actually have a spare sleeping bag and change of clothes in your office.
27. You did not see that number 17 is missing.
28. Now you scrolled back to check and are now smiling :D

Images Courtesy:,,,

PS: I know #27 & #28 have been done a number of times earlier but this being my first list based post, I could not resist it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: Darke – Book 6 of the Septimus Heap series

Caution: Spoilers ahead!

Having read the first five books of the series earnestly, it was for quite some time that I had been waiting for Darke to come out.

I wouldn’t say that the long wait was a wasted effort; though the book fell short of expectations. At least in my case.

To give a brief background of the storyline; the main protagonist of the story is Septimus Heap. The series follows the adventures of Septimus Heap who, as a seventh son of a seventh son, is supposed to, and partly does, have extraordinary magical powers. After he becomes an apprentice to the arch ("ExtraOrdinary") wizard of the series, Marcia Overstrand, he must study for seven years and a day until his apprenticeship ends. In the first book, he is known as Young Army Expendable Boy 412, until his great-aunt, Zelda Zanuba Heap reveals his true identity. His adventures are placed in the context of the warmth and strength of his family, and developed alongside those of Jenna, his adoptive sister, who is heir to the throne of the Castle, the community where they live. The novels, set in an elaborate fantastic world, describe the many challenges that Septimus and his friends must overcome. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

There are six books in the series: Magyk, Flyte, Physic, Queste, Syren and the latest Darke; in that order.

Now to the latest book.

In this volume, Merrin Meredith, apprentice to necromancer Domdaniel and now wearing his two faced ring has decided upon himself to setup a Darke Domaine in the castle and overcome even the Wizard Tower, with the help of his faithful THINGS. This Darke Domaine grows outward from the palace and is now threatening to overwhelm the entire city. Septimus is worried about his Darke Week where he must encounter the Darke and successfully avoid being lost in it. Unfortunately, the ghost of Ex-extraordinary Wizard, Alther Mella, has been banished Marcia Overstrand, the current Extraordinary Wizard, in a mistake and is not present to help. On the other hand is Princess Jenna in a tiff with the Port Witch coven. Beetle, on the other hand, involved in the entire charade in more than one ways: Having a crush on Jenna, past association with Manuscriptorium, association with Marcia etc.

Positives of the book:
  1. The character of Beetle has been developed a lot with a good ending for him, for a change.
  2. Since both Jenna and Septimus are coming of age, 14 years, in this volume; they both are coming to terms with the expectations that they have to fulfill – Jenna as the queen to be and Septimus as the possible candidate for Extraordinary wizard.

Negatives of the book:
  1. While a lot of talk and impression were given as to Septimus having to go into Darke Halls to retrieve Alther, that bit went off fairly quickly and I felt that it could have been developed on at all. Especially since it seemed that visiting Darke Halls was all the more urgent for the removal of Darke Domaine.
  2. More than usual detailing on Darke Domaine; at times felt it to be too lengthy and kept on going on and on.
  3. At times Jenna and Septimus seemed a bit more childish. But I guess that can be explained as being a part of adolescence.
  4. I was kind of looking forward to see more of Syrah and Jim Knee but they both were absent throughout.

A very surprising element was when Marcellus did something which I would have never expected him to do. That was a real nice bit.

Though, all in all a nice read and I will give it a 3.5 out of 5 rating.