Friday, 17 July 2020

Blood Runs Cold - An Introduction to a Ebook

The Hive is live with its second offering "Blood Runs Cold"

It contains seventeen edge-of-the-seat thriller stories written by seventeen authors. -Ratnakar Baggi Varadharajan Ramesh Tina Sequeira Sarves Rashmi Agrawal Srivalli Rekha Mantrala Anshu Bhojnagarwala Priya Bajpai Sreeparna Sen Christopher Dsouza Aradhna Shukla Ell P Kanika G Sheerin Shahab Pranav Kodial Pavan Kumar and Yours truly.💛💛

The efforts are being noticed and appreciated by well-established and well-respected writers like Neil D'Silva and Damyanti Biswas who have written the forewords for ‘Route 13: Highway to Hell’ and ‘Blood Runs Cold’ respectively.

With diverse voices on board each story has something for the readers.

 Grab your copy of 'BLOOD RUNS COLD' from here:

 http://mybook.to/BloodRunsCold

#bookrelease #BookReleaseDay #thriller #writingcommunity #TheHive #anthology

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Wine flowed like water

The denizens of a certain Indian state enjoy their daily tipple. In fact it has the highest per capita alcohol consumption in India. Perhaps it has something to do with the tourists, both Indian as well as international, making a beeline for its back waters.

It is a fact that anything related to alcohol makes news here. 

When any region in the world is faced with unprecedented rains and flooding, the social media is flooded with stories of survival, stories of rescue and the like. But in this state, in addition to people related survival and rescue stories, alcohol too made its presence felt on social media.

Yes, you read that right. Once on a rainy Saturday morning, when I myself was recovering from a hangover from Friday excesses, my mobile pinged a notification. When I opened it, a video unfolded before my eyes. It was a video from this very state trying to recover itself from flooding. 

I saw a person bent over a flyover, trying to rescue someone or something from the flooded street below. A lot of bystanders nearby were making a big hullabaloo and running around the rescuer in circles. Many instructions were barked out, everyone advising the rescuer on the best way of rescue. My admiration went up a notch. Not only were they rescuing someone, they were determined that the rescuee shouldn't get injured in the process; no, not even a scratch.

It seems, the rescuer wasn't able to reach all the way down but was he discouraged? No. He removed his garment covering his legs and tied it to something. I think there was another good Samaritan below too. Finally their partnership succeeded and everyone on the flyover got involved in pulling up the parcel. As soon as they could catch hold of the basket carrying whatever was being rescued, a huge cry of triumph went across the flyover. The basket was lowered with the greatest care, the covers were opened…and many hands plunged inside. When they emerged from the basket, the mystery was resolved. Each hand was now the proud owner of an alcohol bottle! Whether it was beer, whiskey or rum, that's not important. What's important is the brotherhood shown; there was no pushing or shoving, everyone was happy with one. Such is the unifying power of alcohol.

That was then.

Today was another day when it made news here. I woke up and fetched the daily newspaper. And my groggy eyes widened on reading a story on the front page. It went like this -

Anitha woke up as she always did, at the stroke of 6.00 am. Afterall she had to prepare the breakfast and food for her office going husband, Anil and their two school going daughters. When she turned on the tap and blindly splashed water on her eyes, she let out a bloodcurdling scream. Anil and both daughters woke up with a start. Anil bolted from the bed and rushed to the bathroom. Relieved to see his wife standing but holding her palms to her eyes, he asked, "What happened?"

"The water...the water", she screamed. "It's burning my eyes".

Anil opened the tap and was shocked to find brown water flowing. "The water seems to be brown. Let me check the other taps."

He checked and saw brown water flowing everywhere. He let it flow for some time, thinking that some rust must have been dislodged. But no, the brown water continued to flow. 

"I think, let's check with our neighbours, the Nairs", said Anitha, whose eyes had stopped burning now.

The same phenomenon was repeated at the Nairs. In fact, the same phenomenon repeated throughout their housing society. 

Everyone collected in the building lobby below. A few men went towards the common tap. Mr. Nair, who was the adventurous type, tasted the water. Taking one sip, his eyes lit up. He asked Anil to taste, who did likewise. But unable to bear, Anil threw up.

With a poker face, Mr. Nair said, "I think it's whiskey. Anil is a teetotaller, that's why he couldn't stand it."

Just then, few others tasted too. Someone said, "It's not whiskey, it's rum." While a few others claimed it tasted like beer. However everyone reached to the conclusion that it's alcohol which was flowing through the taps. Though most were happy with these state of affairs, their suppressed fantasy coming true, they realised that for day to day living, water is better, especially when one is living with the family.

So they decided to complain to the authorities. Finally the authorities were able to pinpoint the exact cause, and the culprit was... the authorities themselves. The Excise officials to be precise. 

They were in possession of an old stock of various types of liquor, recovered almost 6 years back, from a raid on a bar, which happened to be in the neighborhood of the affected apartment building. The Excise officials had tried to destroy the stock by digging a pit on the bar premises and pouring the liquor into it. Unfortunately, the delinquent liquid found a way into the neighbouring well, which was being used as a water supply source for the occupants of the building. 

Thus arose, the happy state of affairs. 

It is whispered that whenever some grief falls on the denizens of the state, alcohol rises to subdue all darkness and restore happy hours.

Yatindra Tawde

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

The Wasp - The Protector

Somewhere in India.

A farm of cabbage, vied with other farms nearby, to grow fleshy leaved cabbages to be sold in the Indian cities. The small farm was owned by Raghu, a non-descript farmer who toiled hard in his field. The neighbouring farms were owned by his friends, Madhukar, Sudhakar, Raibha and Mahipat. 

For a few years now, the five friends had grown cabbages and sold them personally in the nearby city which allowed them to make ends meet; put food in the kitchen and give decent education to their respective children.

However, this year they were worried. Their cabbage crop had been attacked. No, not by any jealous villagers but by large number of stink bugs which had congregated on their crops in a feasting frenzy and threatened to make their lives miserable by eating away their very livelihood.

Time - early morning.
Place - near the fields.

The early morning conference between 5 friends was in full swing. This was before the Swachhata abhiyan had gathered steam, before the toilets were built in their village. Mahipat was made to sit at a bearable distance as he had had chole (chickpeas) the previous night.

Raibha threw the conference open, "How are we going to find a solution to this stink bugs problem?"

"Yes Mahipat, you have to give up on eating the chole. You raise too much stink early morning", so saying, Raghu had a good laugh. Everyone laughed at Mahipat's expense. Poor Mahipat could only fart in reply.

"But seriously, these stink bugs are consuming our cabbages and before long we will be left with nothing to sell", Madhukar was now serious.

"Sudhakar, you are a bit knowledgeable, you have lived in the city. Please give us some solution", Raibha implored.

Sudhakar, who had been concentrating on his own thing till now joined the conference. 

"Well, we must call for Idris Elba", Sudhakar contributed with a serious demeanor.

Everyone stared at him, too shocked to respond. 

"Are you feeling constipated?", asked a concerned Madhukar. "Who the hell is this Idris Elba"?

"Oh, he is a British actor and musician".

"An actor! A musician! How the hell will he be of any help?", asked a flabbergasted Raghu.

"No, he will not be of any help", replied Sudhakar with a straight face. 

"Then, why the hell have you mentioned Idris whatever", shouted Madhukar.

Sudhakar answered calmly, "You asked a wrong question. You should have asked, What is Idris Elba?"

"Ok, what is Idris Elba?", asked Mahipat from his vantage position as he was now done with his deed.

Scrunching his nose at his friend, Sudhakar said, "Now you have asked the correct question. This Idris Elba is a parasitic wasp species which infests the eggs of the stinky bug, using the eggs for the propagation of their own species. Thus, indirectly it controls the population of the stinky bugs and protects the crops which are threatened by the bugs."

A silence descended on the conference, which was now almost over.

Finally Raghu said, "So is that the solution we are looking at? Is Idris Elba wasp, the solution?"

"Yes, my dear friend, Idris Elba is the solution as it is a Heimdall-like protector for many crops", concluded Sudhakar.

And so the conference ended that morning, with a solution to their common problem. They decided to have many such early morning conferences, with a strict menu for previous night, where having chole was banned.

Yatindra Tawde

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Farts are us

In your childhood you indulged in them shamelessly and obnoxiously, without a care in the world. Some naughty friends held competitions; who managed it the loudest. 

As you grew older you learnt to hold them in, as society pressure overwhelmed all other pressures of the internal kind. However you weren't always successfu, as they found escape velocity. If they didn't make a noise, they announced themselves with a degree of pungency, leaving you with no place to hide. 

If there were more than two people in the room, at least you could put it on the next person. But all suffered equally though the originator suffered the least. Because he knew where it came from.

The generator was always ridiculed and the habitual one was derided and scorned at. The only safe place was his home, and the better half complained futilely. She had to bear the brunt of a few smelly, loud ones.

But guys, you no longer need to hide. Because research has proven that farts are good for your health. Now you can proudly do the needful as they help avoid cell inflammation making them live longer.

Hydrogen sulphide, that foul smelling fart gas, is naturally produced in the body, which could be a healthcare hero having significant implications in future therapies for a variety of diseases; or so says the research.

Of course, farts don't cure cancer but are certainly good for your overall health.

So the next time, the wife complains, let her know this secret of your long, smelly life. 

Which proves that, not all research is useless. Sometimes it does throw up some funny, loud and smelly surprises. (But who thought of doing this study in the first place…)

Yatindra Tawde

Friday, 13 September 2019

Divorced!

They were proud citizens of a city in Madhya Bharat. At quite a young age they were married off with a chanting of mantras in a huge ceremony, and with a prayer on the lips.

The next two months passed in bliss... for them. Their honeymoon period was hardly over, when those who had married them off, were back to interfere in their lives, this time to divorce them. 

They were never asked when they were married off and now they were being divorced without their consent. 

After marriage they lived quite peacefully in their own little pond which they shared with the others, going about their croaking and breeding duties with a gutso. 

The other denizens were envious of the star couple in their midst and kept a few feet away. Maybe they feared them, as the couple had friends in those sky touching dwellings...or so they thought. Afterall, the match was brought about by these very friends in a huge ceremony accompanied by a lot of cacophony. Cymbals, dhols and assorted musical instruments played their parts well.

Two months back…

Half of June was over and the clouds had not yet made an deappearance. The hot and humid April and May had completely depleted the water stocks and the people were worried. 

While there are a lot of global factors which affect the arrival of the life giving rains, the people feel or hope that they can somehow persuade them to shower their manna.

So they went to the town Swamiji who suggested to marry off frogs to please the rain God. And so our couple was married off with much gaity. 

And was he pleased!

Two months later the same people were more worried, this time due to incessant rains and unforgiving, unprecedented floods. In two months they were brought to their knees. So off they scurried, back to the Swamiji. 

It seems Swamiji was waiting for this very opportunity. The two frogs, whom he had married off two months back, had made his life difficult, what with their synchronised croaking followed by a chorus of their ilk.

He issued his orders; for the rains to stop there was no other option but to divorce the frogs who had been married off just two months back.

So another elaborate ceremony was conducted, mantras chanted and the frogs were mercilessly separated.

My learning from this episode - there are mantras for conducting divorces too!

Yatindra Tawde

Friday, 30 August 2019

The Innerwear Index

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
A noble soul made me aware about this index denoting an economic slowdown and and I am thankful for this addition to my knowledge.
Like all things men, this is simply called as the 'Men's underwear Index', an index with no gaudy frills. It is theorised that tracking this index is a good indicator of the state of economy of a country. 
Every problem related to below the belt matters of the Indian male is simply known as 'Gupt Rog'. They will try to find solutions to their Rog in all secrecy so that nobody else, especially the fellow males, get any inkling of it. 
Similarly, the Index is not much talked about except in the inner recesses of economic circles. For eg. I had never known about this index, as IIP Index was more commonly used. So this was the Gupt Gyan of the economic circles.
To think that a man called Alan Greenspan thought about it, way back in the 70's. He theorised that a slowdown in the sales of men's briefs can be very revealing. I had always thought that not wearing any briefs is revealing but how wrong was I. 

To  enhance the knowledge of the commoners, the innerwear sales growth fell sharply in the first quarter of this year and this proportionately reflects on the state of the economy. The buying of briefs comes under the discretionary spend head, and this has fallen. 
The sale of the bottom covering briefs has touched the rock bottom and no one is happy. 
All the main brief manufacturers are going through hard times with their sales falling, the weakest performance in a decade. Perhaps they need performance enhancing drugs, a power booster, an aphrodisiac, to bring them back on track. 
All this is an indication of poor state of economy. The primary reason is that the disposable income of Indian consumers is shrinking.
The knowledgeable people dealing in economics say, "The primary reason for the drop is rural distress, and the ailing health of financial institutions. The unemployment rate is also very high. All these factors have led to a decrease in expenditure at the consumer level. Availability of funds also slowed down at the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) level as well."
But I have a simple reason. The economic downturn has resulted in more Indian males being forced to stay at home. And when at home the Indian male doesn't like being unencumbered by the tight elastic, thus increasing the life cycle of his briefs resulting in delayed buying. 
This is his brief contribution to bringing the economy back on track.
Yatindra Tawde

Courtesy : Alan Greenspan, Google, Wikipedia and the noble soul

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Rooster... Rowdy?

The was nothing rowdy about it. Maurice had malice towards none. It was in his nature. To crow early morning; his daily salute the morning Sun. And the French countryside loved him for that, their morning alarm which never failed to rouse them from deep slumber. In fact, few people in the village did not get their morning pressure till they heard him. Maurice had a booming crow and the online friendly young folk of the town had made him into a celebrity in France. But no one in the village were to know that their way of life was soon going to be challenged.

We in the Indian metros are very familiar with the concept of a holiday home where the nuclear families yearn for a break from their stressed lives and builders take advantage of this craving by offering homes in idyllic surroundings of the countryside.

It seems this is a common phenomenon in other countries as well. Certainly France, where our hero, Maurice comes from. 

His neighborhood changed fast and soon his owner's small dwelling was boxed between big bungalows in which the city folk moved into, especially during the weekends. They came, looking for some peace and quiet, which they got in plenty but putting up with the loud crowing of Maurice in the early morning was a challenge. His owner was faced with complaints and being a simple woman, she tried various tricks to quieten him.

Suddenly he found himself locked away for the night. Extra care was taken to ensure that the morning rays did not reach him. 

Poor Maurice!

What was he to do? He started crowing louder to plead with his owner to let him out. 

Finally, a city couple from the neighbourhood had had enough. They were retirees who had moved to the village to imbibe the village life but forgot to put their city egos in the city. They slapped a case against the owner and accused Maurice of making a great cacophony every morning and disturbing their beauty sleep.

Soon the case grabbed headlines across France and the Maurice Fan club gathered supporters. 

"The complainants are fools who have suddenly discovered that eggs don't grow on trees!", thundered the Mayor of the town.

The other animals of the countryside came out in support, the donkeys braying and the cows mooing.

The lawyer defended Maurice's right to make himself heard. He himself was not in court otherwise he would have crowed in his own defence.

Last heard, the city folks are getting used to Maurice as they are finding his crowing an early morning stress buster compared to the sounds of the city.

Yatindra Tawde

Mumbai - 2025

Mumbai - 2025 I am wandering through the lanes of my place of birth, Dadar, getting nostalgic about the days gone by. Hindu colony and my ...