June 28, 2014

Short Story: Untitled (How Could This Happen To Me?)

Author's Note: The title is borrowed from Simple Plan's song by the same name. It was to promote awareness against drunk driving. 

Alcoholism has had adverse affects, on not only the alcoholic but the family. Alcoholic abuse doesn't always mean getting drunk and beating other people up.Sometimes the violence is completely mental. And sometimes children exposed to an alcoholic, have a hard time coping with certain aspects of their lives. 

This story is mostly to raise awareness against alcoholism. Being a social drinker might be fun, but when you become socially unacceptable for drinking - your troubles have already begun!

Image Courtesy: Google Images


Untitled (How Could This Happen to Me?)


First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink and then the drink takes you.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald



“What do you mean you won’t be at the graduation after party?” asked Ishika of her best friend, Akriti, “It’s the one night we are allowed to live a little.”
“Sorry, Isha,” Akriti said with a shrug, “My idea of living a little isn’t getting drunk and doing crazy things you’d only be embarrassed to admit later on in life.”
“But if you don’t go, I can’t go. What am I going to tell my parents?”
“I don’t know,” said the girl, rather irritably, “Tell them the whole class would be going. Why don’t you?”
“Please….you’re my best friend.” Ishika pleaded.
“Fine, but I am not drinking.”
*
“God, Akriti is so weird!” laughed one of their classmates, “I overheard her telling Ishika she wouldn’t drink at our graduation party.”
The other two girls who were sitting with her laughed. They were all sitting in their departmental library, gossiping among themselves. Hidden behind the bookshelves, Akriti overheard them laughing at her. It reminded her painfully of the time she had to deliver a speech in front of her entire school. She hadn’t got much time to prepare for it because the previous night had seen the same drama she had seen ever since she could understand what was going on around her.
“You came home drunk again!” her mother was yelling, at her father who didn’t look like he realized what was going on around him, “There’s no guarantee of the next check coming, and you spend what little money we had on your alcohol?”
Her mother had thought Akriti was in her room, studying for the big speech the next day. She had no idea she was right outside, eavesdropping on them.
“Akriti?”
Nine year old Akriti looked around frightened and found her big sister, fifteen year old, Nina, looking at her curiously.
“Shh!” she said, pressing a small finger to her lips, “He’s drunk again.”
“Maybe this time she’ll leave him,” sighed her more practical elder sister. “Stop standing there. Don’t you have a speech to give tomorrow? C’mon…”
She took her sister by the hand and pulled her away from their parents’ doorway. But little children are far more easily distracted than older ones. When she tried to deliver her speech the next day, she couldn’t help but keep thinking about home and whether her mother was at all safe in the madhouse with her clearly unstable father.
“Akriti?”
She jumped violently as her painful memory left her and she suddenly came back to her reality. Akriti tried to throw a watery smile at the intruder of her thoughts.
“What’s up, Nikhil?” she said, automatically.
“Why are you hiding behind the bookshelves?” he asked her, conversationally.
“I am not hiding, I was looking for a book,” she lied, automatically.
Nikhil was her classmate and the only reason she knew his name was Ishika’s huge crush on him. She smiled to herself wondering what her best friend would have done if they’d bumped into him together. She would have probably not said a word, Akriti thought, Ishika usually got really tongue-tied around Nikhil.
“Really?” Nikhil now asked her, “What book would that be?”
The girl tossed her dark head back and sighed, “Look, I forgot. I overheard those girls laughing at me because I really don’t want to drink.”
“Water?” he asked, surprised.
“No, silly. Alcohol!” she said, playfully punching him on the arm.
“So don’t drink,” he said, simply.
“And you wouldn’t think I’m lame if did that?”
“No. You should never do something you’re not comfortable with. Take me for example,” he added, “I’d never be caught dead wearing shorts to college even though people think those are so cool.”
“I wish Ishika was here,” Akriti smiled, “She would’ve loved talking to you.”
“I doubt that,” Nikhil said, “I’ve never heard her string two words together in my presence.”
“So you noticed,” Akriti, sighed.
“Crushes can be a royal pain. But will you tell her I don’t carry my dad’s gun with me and she can talk to me if she wants,” he said, with a wink, “Anyway, see you later, Akriti. And don’t bother so much about what other people have to say.”
*
“Your crush is decent guy,” she told Ishika when they met for their afternoon classes. Ishika had ditched library work in favor of hanging out with some other classmates.
“I always knew I had impeccable taste, and he’s the son of really respected police officer. He always keeps referring to his father’s gun. Isn’t that so cute?” said Ishika, proudly holding up her head, “But wait – why are you suddenly defending him?”
“I’m not defending him; I’m saying he’s a decent person. And of course you’ve impeccable taste – you picked me for your best friend.” Akriti joked.
“Thanks,” smiled Ishika, “So did you talk to Nikhil? Did he mention me at all?”
“Yes,” her friend, pacified her, “And he also noticed and I quote, ‘I’ve never seen her string two words together in my presence.’ What do you think about that?”
“Oh, he’s in love with me.”
“You’re crazy!”
“How would you know? You don’t know what it’s like to be in love with someone.”
“And I prefer to keep it that way,” Akriti told her, feeling really tired of the old conversation, “I don’t want to fall in love.”
“Why not?” asked Ishika, frowning, “You don’t want to experience the most magical feeling in the Universe?”
“Firstly, falling in love cannot be the most magical feeling in the Universe,” Akriti explained, “And I don’t think I’d be able to handle it when the rosy picture fades away for reality to set in.”
Before Ishika could ask her friend about her weird analogy, the Professor had come in and ordered them all to be silent as she read from the text.
It was a part from Macbeth, where Lady Macbeth is tormented by the crime she’d committed. Akriti thought back to a perfectly violent night in her life. She was about to appear for her 10th board exams. The commotion coming from the next room, made her abandon her Physics book and tiptoe outside.
Usually it was her mother who rowed. But today it was Nina – her elder sister, Nina – who was screaming at their father.
“How dare you tell me to quit studying, you bastard?” she was shouting, “You’re a good for nothing loser. Don’t you dare try to make me or my sister, go down your frigging road!”
Akriti flinched as she saw Nina tug off the chain their father wore from his throat. She slapped him across the face hard and said, “I am NOT your daughter, you drunkard. I don’t want anything to do with you in my life! EVER!”
And from that moment on, her father had been terrified of Nina, but it didn’t stop him from consuming alcohol. When they were younger, Akriti and Nina had repeatedly asked their mother to divorce their dad. They were too young to understand that financial stability went hand in hand with a divorce.
“Akriti, the class is over, we can go now,” said Ishika, shaking her friend from her reverie, “let’s go home?”
“You go ahead. There’s something I need to do.” Akriti told her. She shouldered her college bag and went off to find the one person who could help her from the mess once and for all.
*
“Nikhil!” she called hurrying to catch up with him, “You’ve got to help me.”
“Sure, what is it?” asked the boy, smiling at her.
“Your dad has a gun, right?”
“Oh…yeah. I keep referring to it, don’t I?”
“No, you just referred to it once,” Akriti said, in a hurry, “But that doesn’t matter. I really, really need that gun right now!”
“Akriti…what are you up to?”
“Can you trust me?” she asked, beseechingly, “Look, I promise you, I won’t fire it. I’ll return it first thing tomorrow. Deal?”
Nikhil thought he didn’t have a choice.
*
She waited with bated breath for the same drama to unfold that night. The voices began just as the usually did. Her father irritating her mother till she snapped at him, and she tiptoed to their room.
“You live in MY house, you stupid woman,” he was shouting with a face as red as a beet root, “Don’t forget that. It is MY money, you live on! MY money that you all enjoy yourselves with.”
Before her mother could react, she burst into the room, pointing the gun at her father, “Apologize to her, right now.”
“Akriti…” her mother whispered, weakly, “What are you doing? He belongs to the gutter…don’t go down to his level.”
“I won’t,” she replied, calmly, “But give me a reason, and I swear, I’ll pull this trigger.”
“You’re going to kill your own father?” he snarled, “How can you dare to stand in MY house…?”
“Say MY one more time,” threatened Akriti, her eyes flashing with anger, “And that will be your last. Now, I’ve lived with your nonsense for twenty one years. I’ve had enough.”
She took a deep breath and went on, “I’ve run away from romances thinking every guy I might fall for would be just like you. And I’ve denied myself the joy of having friends come over, because I’ve been scared of what they might think if they saw you for who you really are!”
“Who I really am?” her father screamed back at her, “How can you even dare…?”
“Akriti…” he mother warned her, “Be sensible. Killing him will not solve your problems!”
“No, but I’ll be able to live with myself. Nina did the right thing…she knew staying here wouldn’t help her help any of us. I should’ve followed in her footsteps long time ago!” thundered Akriti. She still hadn’t lowered her weapon, “Now, this man needs to get one thing straight to his head.”
“I am NOT your daughter. You’re married to your bottle of alcohol, and may God bless you. You can live in your hell-hole forever. But I’m leaving this dump. And ma is going to come with me. I don’t care what happens to you. I don’t care whether you live or die. As far as I’m concerned, you’re dead to me.”
He looked like someone had hit him over the head. She finally lowered her weapon, “And if you try to disrupt our lives ever again – I’m going to really pull the trigger.”
Saying that she walked out of her parents’ room, feeling satisfied that after all these years of being a victim of alcohol abuse she could finally take a stand. It was a little extreme – but it had been worth it. Nina would’ve been really proud of her. She knew that for sure. Her mother…she wasn’t so sure.
“AKRITI!” her mother scolded, coming into her room a minute later, “Are you mad? And whose gun is that?”
She grinned devilishly at her mum, “Relax. There were no bullets in the pistol. I borrowed it from a friend, whose dad is a police. And I had to promise him even though these were only blanks, I’d not pull the trigger.”
She hugged her mother and asked, “Do you think he’d stop drinking?”
“I don’t think so,” her mother sighed, “it’s been way too many years. But now that your sister’s settled in life and your studies have come to an end – we can finally leave.”
“You mean it? You’re finally going to leave this dump and start afresh?” she asked, happily.
“I no longer have a reason to say,” her mother explained, “I only stayed because I wanted to ensure you girls grew up strong and learned to stand on your own two feet.”
“Ma, we’re fine,” Akriti told her, “And I’m so glad you’re finally letting go off this mental torture…alcoholic abuse doesn’t always come in the form of physical violence you know. You lived with a mental one for so many years now! I’m glad you’re going to start over.”
*
She turned the gun to Nikhil the next day with a word of thanks.
“So, what are your plans next?” he asked her.
“Well, first I’m going to introduce you to my best friend, Ishika.” Akriti smiled, “And then, I’m going to figure out what I want to do in life.”
“You still don’t know?” he asked, surprised.
“I spent my childhood being in a hurry to grow up,” Akriti explained to him, “Now that I finally have the space to breathe, I want to plan things out. Figure out who Akriti is.”
“Sounds good to me.”
And for the first time in twenty one years, Akriti laughed like she had no care in the world, “Yeah. It sounds really good to me too.”
*

June 25, 2014

Short Story: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Author’s Note: Any resemblance to characters dead or alive is completely intentional.

There’s a brownie treat for anyone who can correctly guess who the characters’ real life counterparts are. ;-) 


Image Courtesy: Free Posters 


 Something Wicked This Way Comes

“I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest.”
- Agatha Christie

“Here, hold the cat,” the officer said, handing a squealing tabby cat to Janvi, “I think whatever he saw must have deeply disturbed him.”

“I don’t know what he could have possibly seen, officer,” Janvi said, cuddling her cat in her arms, “he usually goes for a nightly stroll in the neighborhood. I’m sorry we had to bother you to get him down from the tree.”
Twenty four year old Janvi had been as puzzled as the rest of the neighborhood when she heard yowling noises came from the house next door. Her heart had leapt to her throat when she realized that it was her tabby cat, Mr. Whiskers, who had been responsible for creating the racket. She had tried to get him down by herself. But two swipes of paws had made her back away from her very disturbed cat.

Even now Mr. Whiskers was struggling to break free from his owner’s arms. There was a crash and a loud cry from the house inside.

“HELP!”
The officer rushed inside the house. Everyone who was gathered outside broke into conversations among themselves. What could’ve gone wrong in this very sleepy neighborhood of theirs?

The officer who had rescued Janvi’s cat came out, pale faced. “I need everyone’s cooperation please. There has been a murder in this house. I am guessing your cat probably witnessed it,” he nodded at Janvi, “I would like to interview all of you separately to find out more about our victim.”

“Oh no,” whispered Janvi as she realized who had been murdered, “Aditya is dead?”
*
Aditya had been her neighbor for around six months now. They’d even had conversations over the fence, when she would have to go downstairs to break up a cat fight. He would be there sometimes, his fancy camera in tow, busy trying to photograph something new.

“Don’t you ever get bored of that thing?” she’d asked him once.

“My camera?” he had asked, taken aback, “No way. It is my pet. Just like this cat is yours.”

“This cat’s name is Mr. Whiskers.” Janvi had informed him, with a toss of her head.

He had merely laughed.
*
“Why would someone want to kill Aditya?” she asked the officer, completely taken aback, “he’s such a harmless little thing - always playing with that camera of his!”

“That’s what we’re trying to understand,” the officer told her, solemnly, “Would you mind stepping inside your house so that we can talk to you?”

“No, of course not,” said Janvi, walking back to her house in a daze.

She had an eerie feeling that she was being watched by someone. But before she could dwell on it, she had reached her apartment. With trembling fingers, she undid the lock and let the officer in.

“So the victim’s name is Aditya did you say?” he asked, taking out his notepad, “Did you know him well?”
“His name was Aditya Ghoshal,” she said, “He was twenty six years old. And he worked in some fancy company. I didn’t know him too well. Sure, we were Facebook friends. But I’d just seen him hanging around the neighborhood with that camera of his.”

“Do you think he could have accidentally photographed something that upset someone?”

“How am I supposed to know that?” Janvi frowned, “I’m his neighbor, not his best friend.”

But even as she said that, she remembered their last conversation from that morning.
*
“Janvi!” he had said, excitedly, “Listen, I’m so sorry I never got a chance to reply to your message.”

“In a minute,” she called back. Her cat had once again started a fight with the sickly brown feral she used to give food to. She managed to chase the feral away and trap the spitting Mr. Whiskers in her arms, “What is it?”

“I clicked something today and I can tell you, it’s going to make me really rich!” he had grinned from ear to ear.
“Slow down, Sherlock,” she had laughed at his happiness, “Are you sure whatever you’ve clicked is even legal?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, you didn’t look through someone’s window and clicked a picture now, did you?”
“I DID NOT!”
“Alright, alright…just checking….calm down,” she laughed, “Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.”
“As is yours,” he’d said in a low tone.
*
“Ma’am…are you still with us?”asked the officer gently
Janvi started and as if noticing the officer for the first time said, “I think Aditya clicked a picture recently that got him in trouble. I just remembered having the weirdest conversation with him.”
“What exactly did he say?”
“That he clicked a photograph that would make him very rich,” she said, shrugging, “I didn’t know it would get him killed.”
“Well, if you remember anything at all, don’t hesitate to contact us,” the officer said. He bid her goodnight and left her to her very confused and muddled thoughts.
*
“Your secret is safe with me.”
“As is yours,”
She tossed and turned in bed. But the words refused to leave her in peace. What had Aditya possibly known about her? She had never had a secret in her life. Was it her secret which would have made him rich overnight?
Mr. Whiskers was being positively paranoid that night. He wouldn’t come near her, even when she offered him his favorite cat treats. She remembered someone telling her that animals could sense the unseen. Was Mr. Whiskers’ picking up on some strange Aditya vibe from the other world?
Janvi was beginning to freak herself out. She needed to find out for herself what was going on in Aditya’s life. But the thought of going into the house where Aditya had been killed was too much for her to bear.
“Maybe I should just take a sleeping pill to sleep tonight,” said Janvi, resigning to her fate. “I’ll deal with this in the morning.”
*
“You know you killed me, Janvi.” A bodiless voice echoed.
“Killed you? I don’t even like you. Why would I kill you?” she protested.
“Admit to the crime,” the voice, insisted, “And everything will go back to normal.”
She sat bolt up in bed, screaming. Only she wasn’t in bed anymore. She was in Aditya’s front yard. The place where she’d been last night – when the terrible news of his death had come! She couldn’t remember how she’d got there.
“What is going on?” she asked herself, “Mr. Whiskers?”
Her cat was perched atop the tree she’d rescued him from just yesterday. He was hissing angrily at her.
“Mr. Whiskers…” she said, softly, “I killed Aditya? Why would I do that? And why would I not remember killing him?”
She walked back dejectedly to her apartment. She dialed her mother’s number and when the voice on the other end answered, she broke into tears.
“What is happening to me? Why can’t I remember anything, mother? Could I be capable of murder?”
“There, there,” cooed the voice from the other end of the line, “You have done nicely. You did exactly as I had instructed you. Now that the nosey guy is gone from your life, you can concentrate on getting better again, Medha.”
“Medha?” shrieked the girl, “my name is Janvi! Who are you?”
*
Flashes of her life began to come back to her now. She’d know Aditya for longer than she realized. She hadn’t seen him in her front yard. She had seen him snooping at her windows. But he had promised that he came in peace. They’d even begun to become friends! She recognized him when her cat had run away from home and she had to step out into the world! He had always been curious about her lack of social life.

She remembered talking on the phone. But she recognized neither the girl who was on the phone, nor the person on the other end. What had happened to her? Who was Medha and who was Janvi?

Like a mad woman, she pulled off the books from her book shelf and began to throw them here and there. A small newspaper clipping fell out from one of the old books.

DOES MEDHA MITRA REALLY NEED PSYCHIATRIC HELP?

The only daughter of famous actor, Nabeenchandra Mitra, might be highly disturbed and dangerous. We had never seen much of the girl before her twentieth birthday – but if rumors are to be believed, Medha tried to attack one of her party guests with a butter knife. The two had been cordial throughout the party, but things went sour when Medha and her guest went to get drinks.
“It was like she wasn’t even there anymore!” said the guest who wishes to remain unnamed, “Someone else had possessed her. And that someone else meant business.”

Janvi tore up the newspaper clipping. Why would anyone keep such hurtful articles in her apartment? She was tired, head was spinning and she needed to sleep.

She fished out the bottle of sleeping pills from the pile she had made. She popped in two pills with water. But sleep didn’t come to her. She popped in another. And another…

In the end it was the terrified meowing of her cat that brought to the attention of her otherwise ignorant neighbors that the mysterious girl who lived next door had died from an overdose of sleeping pills.

The gossipy old women decided the twin deaths must have been a lover’s quarrel. The ones with a little more sense decided it was best left to the police’s discretion.

And the officer who had interviewed Janvi? Well, he dialed the special number saved in his other mobile phone and said just two words, “Mission accomplished.”
*

Author's Note: If you liked this short story, be sure to check out the novel/novella based on it, right here.

June 23, 2014

Short Story: Rainy Sunday Afternoon

Image Courtesy: Google Images 

Friendship is like a river: it flows around rocks, adapts itself to valleys and mountains, occasionally turns into a pool until the hollow in the ground is full and it can continue on its way.


- Paulo Coelho, Manuscript Found in Accra



Rainy Sunday Afternoon 

“I’m sitting here in the boring room, it’s just another rainy Sunday afternoon, I’m wasting my time, I got nothing to do…”

The music player was going on in full blast. Megha sat at her computer, trying to find the perfect words to describe her boredom.
“Do you really think sulking in your room, listening to Lemon Tree for the hundredth time will cure you of your writer’s block?” her younger sister, Ananya asked her sister. She was lying down on her bed, staring up at the ceiling.
“For my next birthday,” said Megha, irritably, “I want my own room.”
“You and I both, sis,” laughed Ananya, turning her head slightly to look at her sister sitting at the computer. So far Megha had only played Lemon Tree by Foolsgarden on loop and not typed a single word. “You’re pressurizing yourself too much. I know the deadline is tonight. But you just can’t sit at the computer and expect words to type themselves out magically to form a story.”
“Watch me!” snarled Megha.
“I have been,” replied her Smart Alec sister, “For the past two hours. Why else do you think I’m hanging out in our room?”
“Because it’s raining cats and dogs outside?” snapped Megha. She wondered how she was supposed to write, when she was stuck sharing a room with a brat of a sister.
“Nah. I just wanted to witness the genius at work.”
“Well, aren’t you a jenny ass?”
Ananya frowned, “You don’t need to call me names.”
“I need to get out of this house,” her sister said, abandoning her post at the computer.
“In this weather?” her sister shrieked.
“Yes, in this weather. I happen to love the rain.”
“Speak for yourself.”
Ananya made no effort to stop her crazy sister from going out in the horrible weather. She knew by now, her sister would do whatever she wanted anyway. She waited for Megha to leave the room. When she was sure she was alone in, she jumped to the computer and began to snoop through her sister’s files.
“Where does she keep her secret journal?” she muttered to herself, “Or even that private blog of hers?”
*
Megha was perfectly aware that she’d forgotten to lock her computer. She knew all too well her sister would be snooping through her stuff. But she couldn’t muster the energy to go back, shout at Ananya and lock her computer. She was too frustrated with her writer’s block. The fact that the deadline to submit a story to her college’s magazine was that night did not help at all. There was only one place in the world which would throw some inspiration on her.
“Elgin Road,” she told her cab driver as she got in.
There was huge book shop there. She was sure she would find even a spark of imagination, if she just spent some time among the smell of new books.
*
Just as she had suspected there were hardly any customers in the bookshop. Most of them were victims of the rain and were waiting it out in the café. She did not find a single, genuine book lover in the shop. She turned away from the irate people, and spotted a book she’d been looking for, for around six months now.
“Yes! They finally have the signed copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard!” she exclaimed, reaching for the book. At the same time, someone else also had grabbed the book.
“Hey!” she cried, “I saw the book first.”
“Well, I was going to take it first!” her book snatcher protested.
She looked at him. Because well, he was a lot taller than she was. She couldn’t guess his age and she knew she would not be able to ask him. Not when both of them were fighting over a book. Neither of them was willing to let go off the book. An attendant rushed to their side.
“Sir, ma’am,” he said, looking from one to another, “I’m sure we have more copies of that book. Why don’t let go off the book?”
“Fine,” they said in unison, “You let go!”
He suddenly grinned at her, “Why don’t you keep it, kid? You obviously want to buy the book with your tooth fairy money.”
“No, why don’t you keep it?” she said, spitefully, “But make sure to get yourself a dictionary to look up the big words.”
“Rowling doesn’t use big words,” the guy said, crossly, “Or do you not know that!”
“I know more about Rowling than you do,” snapped Megha.
“Oh really?” the guy seemed to be rather enjoying his unexpected spat with Megha. But suddenly she felt drained and tired.
She let go off the book suddenly and shrugged, “I’ve had a long day. I cannot stand in a bookstore arguing with a guy whose name I don’t even know.”
Feeling more down in the dumps than ever, she made her way to window and sat down at one of the seats.
“Oh no, don’t feel sad. I was just joking,” the guy grinned. He’d followed her over to the seat, “You can take the book if you want.”
“Thanks, but I really would like to be alone right now,” she said pointedly.
“That’s nonsense,” he laughed, good- naturedly, “no one ever wants to be alone. If you claim to like being alone - that’s the first biggest lie you can ever tell yourself.”
“What’s the second one?”
“I don’t like chocolate,” he replied without batting an eyelid.
“Why don’t you sit down?” offered Megha, “I’m Megha, by the way.”
“And I’m Abhik,” he introduced himself, “Why are you in a bookstore in such a rainy afternoon?”
“Because I wanted to buy a book,” Megha replied, rolling her eyes, “Why else would you come to a bookstore?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Think, maybe. Browse through books – waiting for that one idea to come to your mind. Just take a break from reality.”
“In the land of books?” asked the girl, brightening up, “I thought one else thought of bookstores as a magical land where everything falls into place again!”
“You’d be surprised,” Abhik laughed, “There’s a really nice café upstairs. Do you want to go have coffee and discuss more books?”
“That sounds more like my kind of a rainy Sunday afternoon,” laughed Megha, getting up from her place, “And all this time I thought you were seeking refuge from the rain.”
“Hey, bookstores are a great place to make new friends,” he laughed. He looked around at the sundry people who were irritably waiting for the rain to stop, “But you need to realize who are really here for the books.”
“Agreed!”
*
Megha went home bursting with new ideas for her new piece of fiction. When she went home, she found Ananya lying on her bed, reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the thousandth time.
“Hey, you were gone a long time,” her sister said, “Did your writer’s block go away?”
“Oh yes!” said Megha, happily. She sat down at her computer and found to her surprise that she was logged in to her Facebook profile.
“Some guy called Abhik Banerjee sent you a friend request a few minutes ago. He was cute so I accepted it for you.”
“Is that why you make friends?” Megha asked her, shaking her head, “How cute the guy is?”
“Well, you had no mutual friends. So yes, that’s the parameter I have.” Ananya said, pretty pleased with herself.
Megha turned her attention back to her blog. There was a new comment from Abhik in the About the Author section.
‘Good luck with your writing. Can’t wait to see the story you come up with!’
She looked over her shoulder at her sister, “Sometimes you need to see the person beyond all that arrogance or cuteness.”
“You met him in person!” said Ananya, sitting bolt up in bed, and abandoning her book. “I know it! You’re grinning…tell me everything…”
And as Megha narrated the story of rainy Sunday afternoon, she realized she’d finally found the plot for the story she’d been chasing for two whole weeks now. Friendships – and how strangely they get formed at times!
*

June 20, 2014

Award: The Versatile Blogger Reveals 10 Things You Don't Know About Her As Yet!

Hello people! :-)




Swarnali of Dreams and Drama, recently gave me a lot of love in the form of The Versatile Blogger Award.

And in order for me to accept this award, I apparently have to write a post revealing 10 things about myself, that you guys don't know.


  • I love Pippo. Although, people who know me already know that. And I will turn a deaf ear to every criticism that comes Pippo's way. (Even if you are just saying things to annoy me!)
  • I will turn 25 this year in September. A landmark age, I'm told it is. 


  • The thought of ever having to wear glasses/contact lenses scare me. I am willing to eat carrots everyday, if they guarantee a good eye sight forever.
  • For some reason, I tend to like guys who wear their wrist watches on their right hands. Ian Harding for one. Really love that guy! :-D
  • I love watching Full House, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Castle, Friends, and Pretty Little Liars. All for very different reasons. 
  • I have actually experienced getting bored to death. I strongly recommend developing a habit of reading, in order to avoid that from ever happening to you.
  • I believe in Magic. "Those who don't believe in magic, will never find it." - Roald Dalh
  • I still don't know what being madly in love with someone feels like.
  • I have a membership card of a Beauty Parlor. And the ones who do know me are going to get shocked after reading this. Beauty salons are my least favorite place in the world. I've always had horrifying experiences there. But they make for really funny stories later on. Well, at least my friends laugh.
  • I witnessed a harmless crush turn into a very beautiful friendship.
And those were the 10 things about me, that you didn't know as yet. Now it's between you, me and the rest of the internet. How nice! 

Swarnali, thank you, once again for this award. I love you! <3 


June 9, 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Pudding Cake

The experiments in my OTG continue. The shop had told me that I needed to use my OTG 4 times, before they'd stamp my guarantee card. And by now, I think I've used it around 5-6 times. Of course, I began making my own version of the cake recipes I'd found online. 

Chocolate Pudding Cake 

inspired from the classic Chocolate Mousse Cake :P

Ingredients for the chocolate cake 

4 cups of flour
2-3 cups of sugar 
2 eggs 
400 g of butter (preferably melted)
2 teaspoons of baking powder 
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder 
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence 

Method for the chocolate cake 

Preheat your oven to 200 C for 20 minutes. 
In a bowl, beat the eggs, the sugar and vanilla essence together, till a nice smooth mixture is formed.
Next, sift in the flour, the baking powder and the cocoa powder, stirring the mixture until the batter reaches its desirable consistency. 
Pour the batter into a previously greased baking tin.
Bake the cake at 200 C for 30 minutes. 
Take it out of the over after 30 minutes, and let it sit for 5 minutes before getting the cake out of the baking tin. Let it cool for sometime. 

Ingredients for the pudding 

2 cups of milk 
1 cup of sugar 
2 tablespoons of cornflour 
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder 

Method for the pudding 

In deep bottom pan, pour the 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and the 2 table spoons of cornflour. 
Turn on the flame at medium and keep stirring this mixture. When it reaches a boiling point, the pudding will be made. 
Turn off the flame and pour the pudding into a bowl. Allow it to cool for sometime. 

Making the Chocolate Pudding Cake 

Cut the chocolate cake in half, horizontally. Apply the pudding, as one would apply jam on a bread, with the help of a butter knife. Replace the top half of the cake. 
Serve. Or dig in! 

A look at the finished product 



June 2, 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Fondante - Musings Version

The History 

I had longed to get an OTG ever since I developed an interest in baking last year. While I searched high and low, and found amazing food that can be made in the microwave - I really wanted an OTG. Because everyone of the videos I'd watched had said the same thing, 
"Microwaved cakes a delicious. But they don't look as amazing as the oven baked ones!" 
Finally, I saved up (and with a bit of help from mum) I got the OTG I'd been targeting yesterday! 

This is Bajaj OTG 1603 T 

You will need:

50 - 60 g of chocolate bar 
(the one I got my hands on had studded almond nuts :P)

50 - 60 g of butter, diced 
2 tablespoons of cornflour 
1/4 cup of milk 
100 g of caster sugar 
(I don't have a clue where to find caster sugar in Kolkata. So I simply turn the normal sugar into powder with the help of hand blender :P)
50 g of plain flour (I have rarely used the other kind)
2 eggs 
2 egg yolks (But I ended up using 3 eggs...I haven't learnt how to separate eggs yet. Sadly!)
10-20 g of melted butter 
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Basically this recipe uses a four step process. We need to prepare our molds, make the chocolate sauce, prepare the batter and let it chill, and FINALLY bake it! 

Preparing the mold:

I used eight silicon reusable cupcake molds. First, brush them with butter and then dust them with cocoa powder. Make sure there is no excess in the molds when you're setting them. It's rather like preparing the mold for your cakes, if you think about it. Only instead of flour, you're using cocoa powder. 
Now, put them inside the refrigerator to set. 

The Chocolate Sauce: 

Bring a deep bottomed pan to medium heat and put in the broken chocolate bar, followed by the diced butter. As you stir that, add in the milk. Keep stirring till you feel the sauce is turning out to be a little thick. Now add the cornflour and keep stirring. Soon, you'll have the chocolate sauce in your desired consistency. 
Take the sauce off the flame, pour into a bowl and let it cool. 

The Fondate: 

Beat the eggs together when you fight bubbles forming, add in the powdered sugar. Keep beating it, till it reaches the consistency one finds desirable while making a cake. Then sift the flour and keep adding it to the mix. Finally, add the chocolate sauce you had prepared into this mixture and stir very well. 

Divide this mixture into the molds you'd first prepared. Return the now filled molds back into the refrigerator for at least one hour. 

Check your Facebook account while you wait. It will make an hour seem like half a minute :P

Baking: 

Preheat your oven at 200 C for around 10 minutes. 
Place your molds on the hot tray and bake at 200 C for 10 minutes again. 

When it finishes baking your fondante, take it out and allow it to cool for two minutes, before you get them out of molds and serve them to your guests/family/self. 

Chocolate Nutty Fondante, fresh out of the oven!

And a closer look at my bowl :)) 
Until next time, 
Happy Baking ^_^