Celebrating StoryFest 2020 at StoryADay

Calling all readers and writers! Story a day will be hosting StoryFest 2020 this weekend, June 27-28. Short stories from a variety of genres by different writers – some experienced, some amateur, will be available to read for free during this period 🙂

If you’re interested in reading some short stories for free, do head over to the website https://storyaday.org on the coming weekend, and support the writers with your comments, feedback or simply by reading 🙂

The Curse of the Purple Witch – A short story

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Colours, the little Prince was cursed by the Purple witch. 

The Purple witch kept to herself, and had a quick temper. Her crayons were her only friends and her paintings were her playground. But one day when the little Prince chanced upon her precious drawings, he thought they were just another set of colourful toys. And so, as was his habit with all colourful and interesting toys, he set about to investigate the drawings and in the process destroyed them.

When the witch returned from her errand to find her best friends destroyed by this little boy, she flew into a rage and cursed him instantly, turning him into a purple crayon. But once she had calmed down, try as she did, she was unable to reverse the spell cast in anger. She took the Purple crayon and flew to the Queen’s castle, apologetic and anxious. Queen Rangeena heard the Purple witch’s story patiently and held out her palm to take the Purple crayon, in which her son was trapped.

Only love and kindness can overcome a spell cast in anger”, she finally spoke, as she placed the crayon carefully inside a box of shiny new crayon set, to be delivered to the planets.

A few months later, a little girl with red hair found this special purple crayon in her colouring set. She had received it for her birthday present and she was delighted! But soon, she lost interest and started throwing her crayons here and there or snapping them. There was a sheer pleasure she felt in breaking the crayons especially. 

But when she broke a purple crayon, to her horror, something slimy started oozing out of it. And that slimy ooze started to take a form, a body, with hands and a mis-shaped head. It kept on growing in size! The little girl screamed, but no one seemed to hear her. The ball of ooze turned into a huge crayon monster and gobbled up the little girl. The crayon monster disappeared and in the place of the broken purple crayon, there was now a brand new red crayon. Within an instant though, the red crayon disappeared from the little girl’s room, to become a part of a new crayon set.

And so it went on, until after many years, the cursed crayon, now yellow in colour, turned up in an orphanage. Some wealthy donor had decided to do his act of charity for the little kids at the orphanage during Christmas, but had forgotten to take into account the sheer number of orphans living there and had turned up with just one small little box of crayons. The children were excited and disappointed at the same time. So the matrons of the orphanage handed over the crayon box to the oldest child in the orphanage – Maisy. 

Maisy was kind and patient and loved by everyone at the orphanage. It was just sad that no one wanted to adopt her. She couldn’t seem to form a word in front of the adults and most of the adults seemed to be afraid of her, because when she did manage to utter a few sentences, it would be a fact so accurate that they’d wonder how did she even know?? Some even called her a witch. She thought witches were cool though, so she didn’t mind that the people who came to the orphanage sometimes whispered ‘witch’, after they met her. But she wasn’t a witch really. She was just very good at observing people and deducing stuff. Just like her hero Sherlock Holmes! 

She looked at the little box of crayons and the eager pairs of eyes in front of her, waiting and wondering, who she would offer the box of crayons as a Christmas present. But Maisy being Maisy, she decided that it was Christmas and no one should go without a present. There were thirteen of them and six crayons in the box. So she decided to break each crayon into two parts and pass each half to one child. She herself, would keep the crayon box for safe keeping. She didn’t mind that she wouldn’t get any. Just being able to be a part of the Christmas joy was enough for her.

As soon as she broke the yellow crayon though, the oozy slimy crayon monster started to emerge from the crayon. The rest of the children started screaming with terror and tried to find places to hide, but Maisy was mesmerised by the monster. It seemed to start taking multiple colours, like the colours of a rainbow – violet, blue, pink, mauve, cream, white, black, red, and finally purple. Every time the crayon monster tried to take a shape with a specific colour, only to start morphing into another shape and another colour! To Maisy, it looked like they were forms of little children, but she couldn’t be sure. Maybe she was just dreaming. 

In the end, despite the eerie scene, the monster never did materialise. And the yellow crayon had completely disappeared. In its place, were six brand new boxes of crayons with a letter addressed to Maisy.

Dear Maisy,

Thank you for letting my curse die and for freeing the Prince. Your act of kindness, compassion and appreciation for my colours, filled my heart so much with love! Queen Rangeena had been right! 🙂

I would love for you to have the crayons from the original box and if you ever need a home, break a crayon from the box and I’ll come to collect you. Looking forward to meeting you in person some day.

The Purple witch.

Maisy tucked the letter safely in the pocket of her tunic. She smiled and the other children squealed with delight at their own shiny sets of crayon boxes! Maybe this whole thing was just some elaborate magic trick by the kind man who had dropped off the first box of crayons. Whatever it was, Maisy fingered the letter in her pocket and smiled. She couldn’t wait to break the purple crayon.

Acknowledgements 🙂

I wrote this story using a prompt from Julie Duff’s StoryADay – May 2020 challenge, so a huge thanks to her for helping me with a prompt to begin with 🙂 Also, many thanks to the StoryADay critique group and my critics Fallon, BSY and Gabrielle who helped me revise my story to make it better. A cute little thanks to my four year old who gave me the concept of the story by looking at that picture. And finally, if anyone read and enjoyed my attempt at a short children’s story, thank you for stopping by and reading 🙂 🙂

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston – Thoughts

This book was my GR book club selection to celebrate ‘Pride’ and I absolutely loved it. In the acknowledgements section, the author writes, that she wanted to write a book about ‘hope’, when she came up with this idea in 2016. And although many would feel like this story was too far fetched for a realistic romance, it did give me hope, a lot of it 🙂

In a nutshell, this is a fairy tale love story, where the First son of United States falls in love with the Prince of England. They’re as star crossed as you can imagine, but are helped with a plethora of fairy godmothers in the guise of family, friends and personal guards, to fight for their love and get their happy ending. Oh, yes, rest assured, this book/story has the happiest of happy endings and I thought, that was a really good reason to read this, especially in the current times where everything else sucks.

The best part about Alex and Henry’s romance for me were the parts that came after they accept their attraction to each other. It was all their little texts, secret meetings, private jokes, and my favorite part of it all, all those letters with the P.S. of love letters/notes written by famous people! Those letters literally made my heart flutter and wish someone would write me letters like those too! LOL 😀

I also enjoyed the fact that this story wasn’t about coming out, it was about two really popular guys falling in love. I mean yes, we do have Alex come to terms with his sexuality as a bisexual, but that is a very short part of the overall story. I’ve read a few coming out stories, so I wanted to read about a love story between protagonists with different sexual identities and the challenges they face. The fact that both these men are extremely public figures with a political family background adds another aspect to the challenges couples could face.

Although Alex and Henry and simply #couplegoals and #dreamy, it was the supporting cast that had me hooked. I loved the White House Trio in the beginning – with the stylish and clever June, the supercomputer lesbian Nora and the sweetheart Alex. But when they become an even bigger group of six, adding in a very British Prince Henry, his best friend and young billionaire Pez and his younger sister Beatrice, I literally wanted to be a part of their group. I loved all the mother hen figures in the story too – Zahra, Amy and Shaan – their moments and dialogues added the required light heartedness in the overall story. Also, how cool are Alex’s parents, both his dads and his ideal Luna?? 🙂

I think the only part that I didn’t enjoy much was the extra political angle towards the end. I know it was important to the storyline – regarding the re-election of the first Mexican female President, but all the build up to the final scene in the story made me feel like we got slightly side tracked from Alex and Henry’s story. But that’s a very teeny-tiny issue that I have with this book, because on the whole, I felt like this story was full of rainbows, sunshine, hope and all things ideal 🙂

Book Talk with you guys

Have you read this book? Who was your favorite character in the book?

What are you reading for Pride this month?

The Queen of Jasmine Country by Sharanya Manivannan – Thoughts

Ninth century. In Puduvai, a small town in what we now know as Tamil Nadu, young Kodhai is taught to read and to write by her adoptive father, a garland-weaving poet. As she discovers the power of words, she also realizes that the undying longing for a great love that she has been nursing within her – one that does not suppress her desire for freedom – is likely to remain unfulfilled. Then, she hears of a vow that she can undertake that might summon it to her.

In deepest winter, the sixteen-year-old begins praying for a divinely sensual love – not knowing that her words will themselves become prayers, and echo through the centuries to come.

Rich with the echoes of classical poetry, in The Queen of Jasmine Country, Sharanya Manivannan imagines the life of the devotional poet Andal, whose sublime and erotic verses remain beloved and controversial to this day.

Goodreads Synopsis

I have to start this review with a heartfelt thanks to a lost friend, who had presented this book to me, after a lot of thought clearly, for my birthday. We used to have long conversations about sexuality, accepting desires, the relevance of monogamy or the traditional institute of marriage, poetry, feminism, history, among many things. So I can imagine why he picked this book for me to read, since this fictional retelling of the life of the south Indian devotional poet Andal, touches upon many of these subjects.

I really enjoyed reading this book. If you’re a fan of books with prose that sound like poetry, then this might be one for you. It is also a short book of just 156 pages, and I was able to finish it in a single sitting.

All the description about Kodhai’s desires, or the rituals she partakes in to find her life partner, or her love for words and poetry were simply breath taking. I could picture myself in that age, in that setting of the jungle, where people lived simply and loved deeply.

I’d like to read more of Sharanya’s books now – she has a collection of poems and a collection of short stories, and the description of both sound very interesting. Glad to have read an Indian author whose work I enjoyed after such a long time 🙂

Bookish Conversations 🙂

Have you guys read this book or any other by Sharanya Manivannan? If yes, would love to read about your reviews or thoughts. Do leave a link of your blog in the comments section..

I had read a similar book called Circe with beautiful poetry like prose last year, which I absolutely adored. I’d love to have some more recommendations of books that are written in a similar fashion and touch upon subjects of independence, especially with a female protagonist. Please leave behind your recommendations in the comments sections 🙂

Stay at Home Series – Episode 5 : May Wrap Up

I should try and change the name of these series, since with the easing of the lockdown, ‘Staying at home’ may not be a given now. Yes, yes, don’t worry…I will not be going out without my masks, I’ll be sanitizing myself and the products I collect and Ill be maintaining social distance 🙂

Usually, I try to aim high with all my goals each month. But I never achieve all of them. My logic however is that if I aim for the Everest, at least I’ll make it to the bottom of the peak. And so, that’s how this month went really – I underperformed in all my goals, but I made it at least half way through, so yay for that! 😀

Books I read:

I had plans of reading 7-8 books in May, including a couple of BOTM and book club selections. But instead, I ended up reading 4 books. I’m happy to say that I loved all the books I read and all of them were either 4 or 5 star rating for me, with a crazy obsession for the Mo Dao Zu Shi universe! 😀

  1. There’s something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
  2. Brief answers to the big questions by Stephen Hawking
  3. Mo Dao Zu Shi/Grandmaster of demonic cultivation (English translation via GDC Online) by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (obsessed, literally obsessed!!) – I’ll add a fan girl review one day maybe but you can check out my GR review here
  4. Mad, bad & dangerous to know by Samira Ahmed

Shows I watched

I literally just watched two shows in May. My version of binge watching them though, considering I dedicated 1.5 hours each night in the month of May and exchanged screen pleasure for dark circles :D. Both these shows are available on Netflix with English subtitles and I was hooked to both of them. The Untamed topped the list though. Even the music composition by Lin Hai is brilliant. If you want to check out what I’m talking about, see the composition – Wuji by Lin Hai on apple music 🙂

  • The Untamed (Chinese adaptation of MDZS book that I’ve mentioned above)
  • Cinderella with the four knights (Korean adaptation of another book of the same name it seems)

Writing

Well, I think blogging was quite non existent in the month of May, but I had signed up for the ‘Story a Day- May 2020’ writing challenge. I wrote daily and was going strong till about 20th May I think, but towards the last few days, I completely lost my mojo and just couldn’t get myself to write. But still, I’m glad I participated since I got to meet so many lovely writers through this group and learned so many new things about writing and my own writing process 🙂 This is still WIP, but I’ve got a draft of around 20 stories that I could come back to one day 🙂

Random Life Updates

Hmm, so lets see, May was a really sad month in terms of the global crisis. There haven’t been any improvements or breakthroughs in the Covid situation and to add to it, we witnessed a horrible incident of racism yet again that sparked instant riots in America and global indignation. We saw a favorite author tweet transphobic comments. We saw hundreds of homeless and poor in India still trying to migrate to their hometowns and suffer – so news was crap. There was one positive news for me with the successful launch of SpaceX’s rocket to space 🙂

I took my daughter out for the first time in 2.5 months in May, to collect a delivery. You should have seen the delight on her face. It was a 10 minute outing tops and she had to wear an over sized mask. But its really amazing how nothing can dampen a child’s spirit and positivity, because she kept laughing and jumping and pretending to be a superhero in a mask the entire 10 minutes! Now the lockdown has relaxed a bit so she gets to take her bicycle down, but that first time was just epic!

I didn’t learn how to cook anything new. And I still hate cooking. LOL 😀

My indoor running plan was a complete bust. So my workouts consisted of mopping, household chores and dancing with my daughter at home. I guess not being able to cook and eating the bare minimum helped offset the lack of exercise, since I lost 1 kg this month 😀 😉

And that’s a wrap!! I don’t think I had a very terrible month in May in hindsight 🙂 I know the lockdown will relax and things will get better but we all need to support each other and stay positive I guess, even if its really hard 🙂

How was your month of May and what are your plans in June? 🙂

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed – Thoughts

I would’ve skimmed through this book, had I not been spending all of my free time obsessing over MDZS and The Untamed. But that’s a story for another day 🙂

I’m not a history buff as such, even though I love to live in my own nostalgia, but I can imagine how precious this book would be for art and history aficionados. The story is a simple yet interesting one – a summer fling, a treasure hunt, lots of famous poets, two heroines connected over centuries and a story that needs to be discovered.

Our present day heroine is Khayyam – a Muslim, American, French teenager spending a summer vacation with her doting parents in Paris and trying to figure out her love life as well as her future. Our heroine from the past is Leila, a concubine to the emperor Pasha and probably the inspiration behind Lord Byron’s Giaour poems. I felt like the whole book was Leila and Khayyam’s stories, with all the other men – present and past, being present as supporting characters in this narrative. I actually enjoyed that perspective a lot.

I have very little knowledge of poems or familiar with the works of famous poets, so I actually had to Google a lot of stuff to figure out which parts were real and which were fiction. That’s why, the treasure hunt parts were confusing for me, and probably the least interesting parts because I just couldn’t catch all the literary references (my bad). For me, the most interesting parts in the book were reading Leila’s narrative, and the author’s introspective moments in the book, via Khayyam’s thoughts. I love the way Samira Ahmed writes – there is a certain poetic and melancholic element to her writing style, that tugged at my heart strings.

If you’re picking up this book for the romance, then its probably best not to, since really, I felt like both the male characters – Zaid and Alexandre, were just there to help Leila and Khayyam’s story move forward. I actually felt that Khayyam’s parents had more personality than both the male protagonists in the little story time that they shared 😀

I loved all the picnic scenes during the treasure hunt that Khayyam and Alexandre experience. I want to go and visit all those libraries and literary places and all those cafes whenever I get a chance to visit Paris 😀

I was a little confused with the few times that Dumas’s biracial background was mentioned in the story, especially by Alexandre when he is arguing with Khayyam regarding the rights of minorities, women and slaves in history. I felt like it might have helped to have more information regarding both Dumas’s background and his struggles as well as Leila’s struggle being a Muslim woman in that time in history. I was also a little taken aback with the mystical element of Si’La in the story, it felt out of place in the overall narrative, but I wished there was more of Si’La and Leila’s narrative considering I’m such a fantasy buff 😀 LOL

Overall, I felt this was a good book to pick up if you’re looking for a fictional book to read with relevant Muslim, female and South Asian representation along with a lot of art and historic references. Also, I felt this book was definitely more YA than I’m used to.

***Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an e-copy of this book in exchange of an honest review***

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking – Thoughts

So remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the Universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.

Written by Stephen Hawking in his book: Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Those are the last words from the book and they are so powerful, don’t you think? This is Stephen Hawking’s last book and released posthumously. It draws from his personal archive and was completed in collaboration with his friends, family and academic colleagues.

You would already know, that I usually lean towards fiction and heavily towards fantasy, feminist and romance genres. But once in every two or three months, I do pick up a non-fiction, based on the description of the book. The author could be anyone, and the content could be anything from a wide variety of subjects. However, what I look for in a non-fiction book when I buy it is – Does the blurb pique my interest? Does it inspire me? Does it talk about some of my own questions and thoughts about life?

I haven’t read any other of Stephen Hawking’s books, so I have no point of comparison. But I had chanced upon this book at the airport once and was instantly hooked to the array of questions that he thinks and addresses in the book. Questions like, “Does God exist?” “What about aliens?” “What is the future of human race?”, “What’s inside a Black Hole?”

I have to admit that for the controversial questions – like the one about God and afterlife, we don’t exactly get a clear answer, and that’s fine anyway. But we get to understand some of his arguments. However, I really enjoyed reading his answers on some of the other subjects like, time travel, space travel, understanding black holes, the future of human beings the role of AI in our lives and so on.

His writing, at least in this book, is crisp and easy to understand. There aren’t a lot of technical and complicated jargons and formulae and I felt that this book is really one for the masses. For people and kids who are just curious about everything and want to know what one of the greatest scientists of our generation has to say about them.

I would recommend this book even if you’re not into science or non fiction or Stephen Hawking, just because of the fact that these questions can make for really interesting discussion points 🙂

Also, is it strange that I just read the book and NASA and Space X announced sending humans to space for the first time since 2011? I for one, am really excited and wishing it to be a successful launch, whenever they do launch! 🙂

Questions to you guys:

Do you read a mix of books like fiction and non-fiction?

What is a non-fiction you recently read and would highly recommend?

Deviant characters in Books & Movies – Why are we attracted to rebels?

I’ve been obsessed with the Chinese show on Netflix and the book its based on – The Untamed / Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, lately. The story has two lead characters – Wei Wuxian, who is the nonconformist and Lan Wangji, who is his opposite, a stickler for following rules and doing the absolute right thing. And that got me thinking, what is it that draws me and many others to literature or movies which have gray characters?

I started to think back upon my years of reading and watching TV/movies to find out which characters left a lasting impression on me, and I saw this pattern, that I was drawn to rebellious characters. As a society, we have all these rules of propriety and culturally acceptable behavior that we strive hard to follow. But then, why are most of us drawn to the rebels?

Warning: This might be longer than my usual posts, but I’ll love it if you read till the end 😀

Here are a few of my favorite characters and why I love them, to drive my point across a little:

Anne from Anne of Green Gables: Anne had stolen my heart from the first time I read about her. But did you notice, that at the period the story was set, Anne’s ways were quite unacceptable. She was loud, argumentative, boisterous, had too many opinions. But she had a heart of gold and she never judged anyone and was always ready to help, no matter what. And slowly, she endears herself to everyone in the village.

Fox Mulder from the TV series X-Files: David Duchovny playing Fox Mulder in X-Files was probably one of my first celebrity crushes. X-Files was one of my favorite show growing up. I just loved the slightly eccentric, untidy, rule flouting Fox Mulder, who wanted to find out the truth, no matter what it took. He never got promoted, wasn’t involved in any sort of FBI politics or power game and didn’t even care that people made fun of him. His passion was addictive.

Sherlock (from both the books and the latest TV series) – I loved Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the genius and utterly disliked detective, Sherlock. Sherlock doesn’t have time for petty discussions or even small talk. He is really rude. Everyone hates him. But everyone goes to him to solve a case since he just cant resist a puzzle. You’ll notice that he will go to any lengths to save the people he cares about, even if he doesn’t let it on.

Tea of the Embers from The Bone Witch Trilogy: I still have the final book to finish, but I cant argue the allure Tea has, being the youngest and yet the darkest bone witch with immense power. Her ideas of defeating the faceless are very nonconformist too and she doesn’t hesitate to voice her opinions and become unpopular in the process. But one thing we know is, she is fighting for the same cause and will unearth the truth.

Delilah Bard from Shades of Magic Trilogy: Delilah Bard is a cut throat thief. She doesn’t have time or patience to be pretty, friendly or nice. What she lacks in etiquette, she makes up with her sharp mind and skills. But once she’s got your back, she will protect you even if it costs her everything. Courage is something she has plenty of.

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows Duology: If he weren’t the lead character of the books, he could’ve almost easily passed on as a villain. Absolutely ruthless, money minded, cunning, and again, with no patience for playing by the rules. He makes his own rules. But one thing he protects even more than his sinister reputation, is his band of misfit friends.

And finally, the character who inspired this whole post, Wei Wuxian, Yiling Patriarch from the book Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation and TV series The Untamed: I haven’t finished the TV series or the book yet, but I’ll get there very soon. However, I’m in love with the characters already. Wei Wuxian has terrible manners and has complete disrespect for all kinds of rules. But his heart is in the right place and he never leaves his friends behind.

There are many more maverick characters like the ones mentioned above, that I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention, but what got me thinking next was, what sets these characters apart from similar geniuses like – Moriarty, Voldemort, The Darkling, and the Joker? If you see, most of them do have very similar personalities and I know at one point this year, I have rooted for both the Joker and The Darkling. So why are they the villains?

The answer according to me, lies in the very popular Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang and finding your balance. All of my maverick and rebellious characters were saved from over stepping and crossing over completely to the dark side by their Yang counterparts.

The soft spoke Jacqueline Van Maarsen for Anne

The straight thinking, rule following Dana Scully for Mulder

The kind and caring Watson for Sherlock

Righteous Kalen for Tea

Focused, loyal and dependable Kell for Delilah

And kind, quiet, morally upright, brilliant Lan Wangji for Wei Wuxian

That’s where Joker, Voldemort and The Darkling lost out, I think. They couldn’t find or keep their light-partners to save them from falling over. If I may get a bit more philosophical at this stage, sometimes I feel that we’ve all got this yin and yang within us, and finding the balance is usually the hardest part. Even now, I battle between my own selfish instincts and desires to remind myself that there are some lines that should not be crossed, no matter what the intent.

Questions to you guys:

If you’ve managed to reach the end of this super long post, a huge thanks a virtual hug first of all! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed my post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Who are some of your favorite gray characters?

Do you enjoy reading books or watching movies/shows with gray characters?

A story on a secret

May 15th – Mid way to the month of May and I’m glad to say that I’ve been writing a short story daily so far, and that Story A Day -May 2020 has been going well for me. I will post a separate post on the lessons learnt so far, but today, its a sample short story that I wrote for the prompt for the day. I hope you enjoy the story. Do let me know your thoughts , corrections, or even critiques on the story below 🙂

The prompt for today was to go to Postsecret.com, choose a secret and write a story around it. The secret postcard I chose was: “I have been on both sides of #metoo”. And here’s my story 🙂

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“You know you can go public or press charges against him right?” 

My best friend Sheila was absolutely outraged when I told her what happened last evening. But I wasn’t so sure. I thought back to the evening and the days that led to it.

I wasn’t an attractive woman or the woman guys usually fell for. But I knew the tricks by now. I was a walking talking ‘how to win a guy in four dates manual’, if I was honest with myself. I had had too many heartbreaks, too many Cindrella like expectations, before I figured it all out. It took the magic out of being in a relationship, but at least I knew I had the power to fuck anyone I fancied. I had tried and tested many guys over the years to prove my theory and to hone my honeytrap skills. This had been my purpose in life for the last three years, since the numerous times I’d had my heart broken and my spirit trampled upon. I had vowed to make men fall for me and never fall for any of them.

To me, it always seemed like, guys wanted sex, and so they should just be thankful that they got one without the hassle of emotional attachment. It seemed to me, the perfect win-win situation. The rat got the cheese in the end. It didn’t matter that the rat was in the lab the whole time. What was inconsiderate about that, when all that the rat wanted was the cheese, right? Its not like the rat had feelings, right? That’s what I thought.

Now, I was a leader. A go-getter. A CEO in my start up. Ruthless, sexy. Men couldn’t get enough of me. Men wanted me. I still wasn’t the stereotypical attractive woman. But my power, my position, and the rumours that I never got emotionally attached made me irresistible to men. And I knew why. I had years of experience practising on these rats.

Until Sam, that is. Funny, how there is an exception to every rule. An argument that you just can’t win.

“I cant’”, I replied quietly.

“But why? What is wrong with you? You’re one of the most powerful and ruthless women I know of!!”, Sheila paced around the room, showing her exasperation with me. I knew that pace. That tone of voice. She looked up to me. Aspired to be cold and calculated like me. And I was letting her down by not pressing charges. I almost cringed at the example I was setting.

“I wasn’t raped, Sheila. You know it was consensual.”

“But, but, you could always say it, isn’t it? I mean, you did tell him to stop right? When you realised you wanted more?”

Sheila was fishing for a salvation for her hero, where there was none.

I thought back to that evening and the many days that led up to that evening with Sam. The teasing, the competition, the cat and mouse game. The building up tension. I had played this game many times over the years. With so many rats, or mice, if they sound cuter. I didn’t care if I hurt anyone in the process. Because men are just interested in sex right? All they want is to fuck a woman. Why would they get hurt?

Only now, I realised, how wrong I had been. That after all these years, for a change, I had been the rat. The mouse. If it sounded cuter to you.

I fell in love with Sam. But this is not a love story. Sam had been one of the many rats I had experimented on and released into the wild. Never knowing, that I had broken his heart in the process. This was a story of revenge.

I looked at Sheila, my best friend, and the only thing I could come up with, that made the most sense, was, “I’ve been on both sides of #metoo.”

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There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon – Thoughts

Knowing her, is loving her

There’s Something About Sweetie is the second YA romance novel from the Dimpleverse series. In the first book, ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’, we get to see career minded, level headed, independent Dimple fall in love with traditional, romantic Rishi. In this book, we get to see Rishi’s younger brother fall hard for the amazing and Sassy Sweetie. 🙂

Oh man, I’m in love with Sweetie myself now. What a refreshing story and one with a message that a lot of young girls should read and know about. More than the love story or the romance, I fell in love with Sweetie’s personality and her determination to fight against body shaming and bullying.

Many of us go through body shaming throughout our lives in one form or the other. Either we’re too skinny or too fat or too fair or too dark or have too much body hair or have too little hair..the list is endless! People, even the well meaning ones, just can’t seem to figure out what the hell they want from girls and women! And its really frustrating and demotivating to the core. Sweetie is talented, kind, beautiful, has a voice to die for and is the fastest track runner in her high school. And yet, she has to deal with insecurities that are brought on by straight up rude and well meaning friends and family, because she is fat.

I love how she says, fat is just the opposite of thin. It’s people who have given the word a negative connotation, really. I love her for standing up for herself, and all the while being kind to everyone she meets and being respectful of her culture and her parents too.

The romance between Ashish and Sweetie is to die for! I was really impressed to see that popular and handsome guy Ashish is actually not shallow and sees people for who they really are.

I also felt amazed by all the friends that Ashish and Sweetie have. Everything else is perfect in the book too. We see a cameo of Rishi and Dimple as well! And Pinky is introduced in this book too!

I for one, can’t wait to read 10 things I hate about Pinky – the third book from the Dimpleverse universe 🙂

Questions to you guys:

Are there any other books that are fun and interesting and deal with body shaming that you would recommend for me to read?

If its something you’re comfortable sharing, what’s one body shaming pet peeve that you wish the world could be rid of to be a better place?