Guest post by author Radhika Maira Tabrez: Say ‘yes’ to Satire

Please welcome author Radhika Maira Tabrez to share her views on ‘Say ‘yes’ to Satire.

Take it away, Radhika.

When one first watches the movie ‘Wag The Dog’, it is easy to shrug it off as a completely outlandish story. And I’m sure a lot of people would have done just that, had it not been for all that happened shortly after the movie was released in 1997. A few months after it came out, the Clinton administration got embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal and shortly after that the Al Shifa Pharmaceutical Company in Sudan was bombed. It all bore an uncanny resemblance to the plot of the movie wherein the President of the U.S. hires a spin doctor (Robert DeNiro) to distract the voters from the fact that he has been accused of sexual misconduct. DeNiro in turn hires a big shot Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) and together they create a fake war on Albania and feed it to the media. The media laps it up. It is a ‘perfect’ war production after all – replete with all the essential elements – a message ‘to bring peace and freedom to a distraught nation’, a hero who is ‘left behind the enemy lines’ when the war ceases abruptly, a theme song ‘to bring the hero home’ and the resultant public show of outrage in the form of ‘leaving shoes hanging from every single tree and lamp post in America’. 

I remember, I was just out of school, when I first saw it. So I did have my share of disbelief as well over the movie. Of course, I was yet to see and learn a lot. 9/11 was yet to happen and Building No. 7 was yet to go down with all its mysteries. The whole fake war in search of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ was yet to happen too. Like I said, I was yet to see and learn a lot.

In the post-Wikileaks and Edward Snowden world that we live in, it is hard not to learn the truth. The truth is out there. Available at the click of a button should we really wish to know it. And once we know the truth, we also learn to see movies like ‘Wag The Dog’ or books like ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Catch 22’ not just as a piece of art or literature, but as a mirror that the society desperately needs. Because otherwise, we would never know how ugly things have gotten. We sense the power and intensity of the voice that they raise. And how that voice is somehow the only thing, which pushes an otherwise pathologically complacent society, towards a possible change.  Wrapped in its saccharine humor and seemingly over the top ironies are the bitter pills we all need. 

The world is what it is. And it became that way because a majority of us are too bogged down with trying to deal with the rut of a life we are in. In the Bermuda Triangle of bills and taxes, everything else gets sucked in – all that we should be aware of, all that we should be concerned about, all that we should fight for and change.

But an artist’s view of the ocean is clear and calm. One can make an argument that that’s because a true artist barely makes enough money to worry about taxes or hardly ever expects to pay the bills on time – so no Bermuda Triangle in his ocean, you see! What the artists see in the reflection of those calm waters is then converted into art which makes the truth more accessible and also in some cases palatable to people. I mean, who would believe that the highest office in the country can pull a stunt like that. But put that truth in a movie and make DeNiro and Hoffman say it instead, and you may have a shot at people buying it.

The book Mock, Stock and Quarrel is an attempt just like that. It’s a collection of stories which show the hideous face behind the amply decked up countenance of our society. Of the fault lines which we all know exist, and yet happily ignore until the next big earthquake. These are the stories we all need to read, to know ourselves a little more. 

And once we do, perhaps even try and change for the better.

BLURB

Mock, Stalk & Quarrel – a collection of satirical tales – emanated from a nationwide contest conducted by Readomania to identify powerful voices that could wage an ideological war against issues that matter. Twenty- nine voices – indulgent, tolerant, amusing and witty -for part of this collection.

Each narrative in this anthology is a silent scream, a way to remind the reader of the stark realities of our times, of the hollowness, the empty promises and the increasing nepotism, corruption, and banal priorities of the modern life. From domestic violence, to red-tapism, from reservation to religious fundamentalism, from scams to godmen, our authors have captured it all, creating stories that prick the conscience and challenge the powerful, gently ridicule absurdities and follies of fellow humans, not to enrage the reader but to bring on a wry smile. 

Eventually, they take lexical pot-shots at the well-heeled establishment that does not think twice before taking people for granted. Sprinkled with liberal doses of humour and wit that will make the readers laugh, cry, rage and think.

The book is available on Amazon – http://amzn.in/74PIHxP and at leading bookstores across the country.

About the Author: Radhika Maira Tabrez

Radhika Maira Tabrez is a hustling mother by day and a writer by night. When she isn’t dancing to the tunes of her four-year-old son Daneyaal, or experimenting in the kitchen for her husband Mujtaba; she loves to read, watch movies, drool on Lonelyplanet.com and engage in DIY home décor projects. Of all the years she had spent trying to muzzle the writer inside her, two were spent earning an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune and over twelve in building a career in Learning and Development. Her stories have been features in many anthologies namely: Sankaarak, UnBound, Defiant Dreams and When They Spoke. Her debut novel In The Light Of Darkness (Readomania) was released in August 2016 and has been receiving critical acclaim and rave reviews ever since. She is also an active member of the Kalam Library Project. She was recently awarded the Muse India – Satish Verma Young Writer Award, 2016 for Fiction for her debut novel, In The Light of Darkness.

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Review and spotlight: Knitted Tales by Rubina Ramesh #TheBookClub

 

 

KNITTED TALES:

A Collection of Emotions

by

 

 

 

Blurb
What forces an innocent girl to become a sex symbol? Her desires? Or cruel fate? 
 
Is a lifetime enough—for avenging a betrayal? How do you hide secrets that never stopped haunting you? 
 
Can vengeance and secrets of your past devastate your present? How can long-buried crimes of yours suddenly raise their head? Can sinning be saving?
 
Is your spouse your soulmate? What if they never understood your feelings? Can you still live with them?
 
Lastly, does life give only two options? Live or die? What if there is a third?
 
In her debut anthology, Rubina Ramesh tries to find answers to these questions that are often from the heart and yet makes the mind ponder over the solution. Or is it the other way round? Either way, Knitted Tales is a bouquet of emotions that is bound to touch both your head and your heart.
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 About the author
Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time.  She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona.  Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer. 
Her other published works include:
 
‘Home is where Love is’ a short story in the anthology Writings from the Heart. Ed. by Beth Ann Masarik. 
‘You Stole My Heart’ and ‘Let me Go’. Short stories as a part of the anthology Long and Short of It by Indireads.
‘Wake Me Up’ as a part of the anthology Marijuana Diaries by Fablery Publishers.
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My Review: 

Rubina Ramesh’s Knitted Tales is a promising collection of stories. They reflect lateral thinking on the author’s part and are woven together to depict the changing face of Indian society, sometimes towards a darker side and at others, leaning towards a lighter, more hopeful angle. But whether it’s paranormal, romantic or horri-fic (pun intended), each story is written from the heart and leave you musing. The language is simple and the focus is on the flow of ideas. I look forward to reading more from the author.

 

#spotlight Voices Old and New #Indireads #Tornadogiveaway

Name of the Book: VOICES OLD & NEW
Publisher: Indireads

Read some reviews:

1. Vishal Bheeroo 
2. Dhivya Balaji 
3. Biswanath Banerjee 

The Book:

Voices, Old & New is a fantastic collection of short stories featuring the very best submissions from Indireads’ 2nd Short Story Competition 2014. It is available for purchase on Amazon, and is also available for free, as a thank-you gift, for a limited time, to all new and existing subscribers of the Indireads newsletter.






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About The Publisher 

 

Indireads
 

Between the blue shores of the Indian Ocean and the white tips of the Himalayas is a land crowded with the rich history of many peoples. Tapping into the region’s diverse cultures, languages, religions and traditions, Indireads weaves an intricate tapestry of fresh voices from the sub-continent.Indireads’ books bring alive the vibrancy and intensity of modern South Asian life and present it in digital friendly formats, inviting new generations to fall in love with what it means to be South Asian. Digital, handy and engaging, an Indireads book is the perfect companion for a quiet afternoon under a Peepal tree, for the early morning ride on the bus, for that long flight or for that relaxing moment at the end of a long, draining day.

Indireads is a place for you to call home, whether you enjoy telling stories or you hope to abandon yourself to a web of words spun by other story-tellers. Join us on a magical journey through the sub-continent, with writers whose prose echoes the people’s voices, whose imagery paints vivid, familiar landscapes and whose stories capture the very essence of being South Asian.

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Now for the Rafflecopter: Gather as many points as you want to. The more points you get, the more you have a chance to win it all. Show your love for books.. Tweet, Like and Spread the Word… Thank you for being a Reader… You keep the Authors motivated… This is our way of saying a Thank you 🙂 

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#TornadoGiveaway is an initiative of The Book Club. Click on the icon to go to the event page of the Tornado .. Lots of fun awaits you 🙂

#Tornadogiveaway Book No. 21 Marijuana Diaries #anthology #spotlight

Name of the Book : MARIJUANA DIARIES
Compiler : Paulami Duttagupta
Edited by : Nethra A.

Read some reviews:

1. Sundari Venkatraman
2. Nikita Jhanglani
3. Ruchi Singh

The Story:

Marijuana Diaries, an anthology on addiction and obsession, has 17 stories by new and established writers. As writers introspect and celebrate addictions of various forms, the pages of this diary fill up.
 
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About The Authors

 

Contributors: Gulzaar, Raghuvir Shekhawat, Deepali Junjappa, Meera Bharadwaj,Priyaa Trippayar Sahasranaman, Subha N Nivedita and Dr. Tahmina Khaleel Rochelle Potkar, Paulami DuttaGupta, Reshma Ranjan, Rubina Ramesh, Nehali Lalwani, Nethra Anjanappa, Janaki Nagaraj, Aparajita Dutta, Brindaa Lakshmi and Ahana Mukherjee.

About the Editor

Paulami DuttaGupta 
 

Born in Shillong, many moons ago, with schooling at Loreto Convent, and an English Honors from St. Edmunds College, Paulami Duttagupta started her career with All India Radio Shillong. She had written and also given her voice to a few shows there. Later she came down to Kolkata and got a post graduate degree in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. She had also taken up a fancy to learning Spanish, but today confesses that she has forgotten most of it.

She has written for ‘The Times of India’ in the ‘Guwahati-Shillong plus Edition’ and also ‘The Shillong Times’. Television had always attracted her and was connected to the Bangla TV industry for about 6 years. She was associated with ETV- Bangla, Akash Bangla and Sony Aath in this period.

Having left her day job in 2012, Paulami took up full time writing. Her first novel, “Pinjar” released in early 2012.

Her second novel “Unplanned Destiny” released in 2014. She is also the screenplay writer of the national award winning Khasi film – “Ri Homeland of Uncertainty”.

“Ri” has been adapted into a novel and is releasing in Sepember’14.

She is currently working on her next project as movie script writer.

Apart from writing full length novels, she has written several short stories and articles. She has also contributed to the “Minds@work Anthology” and the “Family Matters International Anthology” in 2013.

Recently she has contributed to the “Learning and Creativity Anthology” , “Her Story Anthology”, and “Celebrating India – Love across Borders Anthology”.

When she is not writing or watching movies, Paulami is either reading biographies or classic pieces of literature. Cricket, food, cinema, books and music are an integral part of her life.

Stalk her @
 
 
Now for the Rafflecopter: Gather as many points as you want to. The more points you get, the more you have a chance to win it all. Show your love for books.. Tweet, Like and Spread the Word… Thank you for being a Reader… You keep the Authors motivated… This is our way of saying a Thank you 🙂 

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Short story – a craft in itself

When we say short story what is the length of the work of fiction do we refer to? In current times, it should be 1000 to 20,000 words or 5 to 20 pages. However, magazines and contests usually demand 2000-5000 words. So that has become a more popular length.

While in a novel, a writer has time and space to build the characters, setting and the course of story, in a short piece this luxury is denied. One has to bring the focus of readers quickly to the story idea and hold their attention while still delivering a satisfying conclusion. So what things should be kept in mind while writing short stories?

First thing, is to have short, pithy descriptions so that excessive words are not wasted. For example, instead of describing in vivid detail a sunset, one might say simply ‘the sun crept past the horizon, splashing peach hues across the sky.’ While describing a character, instead of giving too many details, stick to one or two important characteristics. ‘An old and bent figure shuffling along’ this gives as much impression as ‘the thin man walking with painful slowness looked shrunken. His back was curved with the burden of age…’ you get the idea. A short story isn’t the place to wax poetic about your ability for description.

The second thing to be careful about is the theme or the idea your story centers on. Choose one and one idea only for one story. Keep it limited to one incident if possible. You cannot fit a long timeline into a story with effectiveness. It may be done but for shorter length, immediate effects and consequences work better. Give your character one problem and center the story around that. It may be resolved or not but it should say something about your story world and character. Too many threads will act as too many spices in a dish and will spoil the art.

Remember even if the length is short, you must not sacrifice the depth of your main character for it. You have to still know your character inside out. So do work on your character. Her past and present. Her hopes and dreams. The more you know your character, the more depth you can bring to your story.

In a story, the final punch is important. So try to achieve a revelation in your ending. Something the reader wants to find out and will race to the end to get. The denouement. The realization. The hit or miss of the goal you have set at the beginning.

For example, in the short story I wrote for Harper Collins India, the heroine Raina finds herself being ignored by her busy neurophysician husband. So, her goal is to find her sense of worth and be appreciated. Can she find those goals with him or someone else? What twists and turns occur before she reaches an important conclusion in her life is the subject of this short read called ‘Right or Wrong.’ It is set to be released in an anthology very soon!

Remember short descriptions, a singular theme, strong characters and tight conclusion. These ingredients and your particular spice, your writing, will help you stir up a savoury and sweet short story dish!