Love in the rain

“On hindsight, your idea of putting up umbrellas was a wiser decision,” Brian admitted good humoredly. Sarah smiled.

Brian had wanted to put up kites. But the decorating team had vetoed against. Good thing they did, though Brian had sulked for days on end.

Today, was the first day of the street festival and the floodgates of heaven had opened. Visitors caught in the unexpected rains were silently thanking the colourful umbrellas perched high up.

“I still have one left from the lot. Care for a coffee?” Sarah asked.

Under the yellow umbrella started a brand-new love story.

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

This post is written for Friday Fictioneers.

 

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Haunted House

“Dare you to spend the night in the haunted house.”

Dave accepted the challenge. He did not fear the old crumbling house with peeling paint and broken windows. He had spent many afternoons lying under the cherry tree in its backyard.

After dinner, Dave walked up to the house, plopped down on the dusty sofa and went off to sleep. At midnight, the grandfather clock in the living room chimed. Next, Dave heard a blood-curling scream. He jumped off the sofa and ran out of the house screaming.

Some boys were rolling on the floor laughing. Boys will be boys.

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

This post is written for Friday Fictioneers.

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Book Review – A Man Called Ove

I got to know about this book – A Man Called Ove from a few of my blogger friends. When they highly recommended it, I knew I had to read this book. With my birthday approaching, I felt it right to gift it to me.

It’s a funny yet moving tale of undying love and unexpected friendship.

Book Review – A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove is written Frederick Backman. When I read about the author – Backman is a Swedish blogger, my chest puffed up with pride. A fellow blogger who has written an award-winning book – I felt happy for the blogger community.

Now, let’s talk about the book:

As the title suggests, the book is about Ove, a man just one-year shy of 60 years. The book opens with an intense discussion between Ove and the sales person at an Apple store. Ove, a computer illiterate and also unwise to the i-world is driving the person crazy. At this point of time, an image of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, the brilliant and yet socially inept bully of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, floated before my eyes. As I read through the pages, I realised my mistake – Ove and Sheldon Cooper were very different except for their social awkwardness.

In the initial chapters, Ove comes out as extremely rude, lonely and grumpy. He drives Saab and thinks any other car unworthy of a second look, oh, and he is quite vocal about it too. Yes, Ove speaks his mind – no wonder then he rubs people the wrong way. But, as you turn pages after pages, you come to know the person that is Ove and can’t help but fall in love with him and his eccentricities. He is not exactly brilliant but he is a man of principles and would leave no stone unturned to hold them upright. He is a person who doesn’t think twice before hitting a wife-beater, hosts a queer boy he hardly knows just because his father threw him out when he decided to come out of the closet, helps a random boy fix his girl-friend’s bicycle so that he could woo her.

Ove lost his wife Sonja, the love of his life and the only person who actually understood him, six months ago. Since then, he has stopped living, because he doesn’t how to without her. Miserable alone, he tries to take his own life in various ways, but his attempts are inadvertently thwarted by his new neighbor – a heavily pregnant Iranian woman – Parvaneh, her good-for-nothing lanky husband Patrick and their two adorable girls. Resentful at first by this intrusion on his privacy, Ove, with time, comes to love the little girls. Also, he realizes that he is no match for Parvaneh’s brand of obstinacy. He quits the idea of dying, because he now finds the living more interesting.

There rarely comes such a book which you put down with a heavy heart and a smile on your face. A Man Called Ove is one such book that you don’t want to end. It’s a funny yet moving tale of undying love and unexpected friendship.

The character of the protagonist, Ove is beautifully built. In the beginning, he might come across as someone who understands only black and white. But, then you discover his many facets and come to love him for that. You love him for the smitten young boy who travels for hours in the opposite direction so that he could meet his lady love. You love him for the honest man who doesn’t lie even if that makes him lose his job. You love him for the generous man who puts up road signs, clears snow in front of other’s houses and checks the garbage bins of the residential society; not because someone has asked him to, but because someone has to keep the society in order. You love him for the kind man who adopts a cat even when he doesn’t want to just because the little fur animal is being tortured by a dimwit and her mutt.

The story goes into flashback which surprisingly doesn’t break the rhythm of the narration, but adds dimension to it. In one chapter, you wonder why Ove is behaving in a certain way and in the next, you get your answer.

The book also touches a very relevant point in today’s world. Ove has a long standing grudge for men in white shirts – in short bureaucrats.

“But everywhere, sooner or later, he was stopped by men in white shirts and strict, smug expressions on their faces. And one couldn’t fight them. Not only did they have the state of their side, they were the state.” – surmises his feelings very well.

My verdict: Grab yourself a copy of this book today. Just one suggestion – Read only few chapters at a time, don’t be in a hurry to finish the book, savour it like good wine.

BTW, it’s a major motion picture too. And oh, this definitely goes in my 100-books to read before you die list.

Cheers to you! And to A Man Called Ove!

 

 

 

 

 

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La pleine lune

PHOTO PROMPT © Gah Learner

It was that time of the month when the stars twinkled in full glory. The snow capped mountains looked more magical. The usually calm lake danced in quivered delight.

Joanna standing at the bridge looked up at the silvery orb of the moon and sighed. On one such night many full moons ago, their eyes had met on this bridge. She knew she had found her âme sœur. She waited for him every full moon. In vain.

Little did she know that he was waiting for her too. Only at the bottom of the lake.

This post is written for Friday Fictioneers.

 

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Movie Review – Stree

Stree is the best movie of 2018. #moviereview

Movie Review – Stree

I am a big Rajkummar Rao fan. He never disappoints as an actor and delivers more than his viewers expect. So whenever a new movie of his releases, I make it a point to watch it in theatre.

Last Sunday, we went to watch Stree – it’s a horror, comedy. Now, the last horror movie that I had watched on the big screen was Ram Gopal Verma’s Bhoot, which I am sure you will admit is one of the last movies of RGV that proved genius of that man. I am not a big fan of horror movies and mostly close my eyes and cover my ears while watching them. But a horror with comedy plus Rajkummar Rao was too much for me to ignore.

So, about the movie – Stree. In a small town of Chander (famous for its Chanderi silk), outside every home it’s written in bold red paint – O Stree, kal aana (O Woman, come tomorrow!). This town is held captive by a mysterious woman called Stree who is actually a hag, who in the night calls men by their name and when the man turns abducts them leaving nothing their clothes behind. The funny part is she makes a visit only during the four days of an annual religious festival. No man is safe during those nights and are forbidden from venturing after dark all alone .

Rajkummar Rao aka Vicky is a brilliant ladies tailor. He pooh-poohs the whole Stree thing calling it nothing but a small town superstition. The next day, he is met with a mysterious girl (Shraddha Kapoor) who asks him to stitch some clothes for him. Vicky is spellbound by this beautiful girl wanting to be friends with him. On the 2nd night of the four day festival, a very close friend of Vicky is abducted by the hag. Vicky and his other friends (Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Bannerjee and Pankaj Tripathi) including the beautiful girl (who has some knowledge of witchcraft) vow to find the hag. They make a clever plan to defeat the hag and release all the men she has abducted.

Will they be able to overpower the hag? Who is this mysterious girl who is seen only during the four days of festival? Will the town ever be free from the curse?

Find out by watching Stree.

Of late, stories about small towns are doing well. Stree is also based in one such small town with its typical local dialect that is bound to tickle your funny bones. For instance, you will step out of the movie remembering and chuckling at the terms like ‘swayam sevi’ and ‘naye Bharat ki chudail’. But, don’t forget that it is primarily a horror movie with its nerve wrecking moments. So there will be moments when your heart skips a beat or two and then there are some where you will laugh so hard as to literally pee in your pants.

However, in the climatic moments, the movie does wobble a bit and spreads itself a little too thin. Also, the same age-old tips and tricks of stabbing a ghost in the heart do disappoint you some.

Stree between the scares and gags touches upon a few gender related issues, especially misogyny and chauvinism. A woman is often objectified and doesn’t receive the same respect in the society as a man does. In this story, the roles are reversed – when the men are abducted, they feel the same fear of safety and suffocation that a woman experiences in her day to day life. However, for being a film emphasising on gender equality, the item song ‘Kamariya’ with Nora Fatehi seems hypocritical.

For Rajkummar Rao I have only one word – Brilliant. He is a talented actor and keeps you on the edge of the seat with his focused yet effortless performance. Shraddha Kapoor, though in a limited role, has not only matched her co-actor’s skills but has also proved she is one of the finest actresses in the B-town. Apart from these, Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Bannerjee and Pankaj Tripathi give a performance to remember in their own uniquely droll ways.

The excellent lighting, the camera movements, the sound and the editing swing between spine chilling and absurd moments and keep the viewers on the edge of the seat.

This movie will make you sit forward, jump back in your seat and shudder with cold fear. And then will make you laugh with its deadpan comedy.

Verdict – Stree is the best experimental horror cum comedy movie of 2018. Watch Stree even if it is the only movie you will watch this year.

Image credit: DNA India

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Mirror mirror on the wall

PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller

The magician said, “Ask what you want to see and the mirror shall show!”

“Show me something happy,” the girl demanded.

The mirror went blank and then flashed an image. A little girl was playing in front of a shed.

“Show me something scary,” her partner teased. A father was hitting his teenage son. The man scowled and left with the girl.

The magician gave a knowing smile. He muttered, “Take me to someplace I can never go.” A small boy was throwing pebbles in the river.

This post is written for Friday Fictioneers.

 

 

 

 

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Light and Dark

A man in pinstripe and trench coat carrying a sleek laptop bag asked a passer-by, “What is this gathering for?”

“Two little girls were raped in the Park and their throats slit. We are showing our solidarity for this heinous act. Join us!”

Thousands gathered at the Lake to light candles. Golden candles bobbing on gentle lake waters against the indigo of the sky was a sight to behold.

“Hey, care for candies?”

A little girl in pink turned and nodded. Leaving her mother’s side, she went behind the tree. An expensively cuffed wrist immediately grabbed her by the throat.

PHOTO PROMPT © Carla Bicomong

Written for: Friday Fictioneers

 

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