Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Frankly Spooking' - The review

"Vivek turned off the laptop. "So its meant to be a horror movie.? Watching the movie was a horror.", Vivek said to himself and smirked.

"Ghosts and bullshit. Whom are they kidding?", Vivek thought and lit the cigarette.

He went to the balcony slowly smoking the cigarette. He stood there leaning over the railing and taking one drag after another. And then he heard a sound. He turned back to look inside the dimly lit house. There was nothing.

"Thats strange. I could swear I heard something or someone. Well, what can it be? A ghost.?", Vivek thought and laughed to himself. He then took one long drag and turned back and let out the smoke.

And then the smoke took a contour of a face."


No no. This is not an excerpt from the book. He doesn't write such bad stories. His stories are good. Wait, they are better. Now before we start this let me clarify one thing to you. This is not the usual reviews you read. Nope. For one, I cant write a review and for another I really do not know how to write a review. Now that said and done I will tell you why you should buy the book and why that will be such a good idea.

First and foremost this is not your usual book that comes out from many Indian authors. The chick lit, the college romance and coming off the age book, a common man/woman and his/her experiences in life book, no raunchy sex sequences or anything else that you have come across. This is a collection of some of the spine chilling and most spooky tales you would ever find. And why is it so.? Let me explain.

Few days back I watched 'The Conjuring' after all the hype it had created. So many people writing and showering praises about how spooky it was. But when I watched it, it wasn't the case. Yes it was good but not great. And I have watched my fair share of horror movies, mind you. The thing about horror movies is not knowing what or who 'the thing' is. Like the victims or the characters in the movie the audience are afraid of not knowing what or why certain things are happening. But in this movie there are guys who keep explaining everything to you. There is no suspense or thrill whatsoever. All the eerie effect that is created is solely due to the music and somewhat the cinematography.

And not to mention the numerous cliches. The house in the woods - cliche, no neighbours around - cliche, a dark and unused cellar - cliche, a white dressed, pale looking, yellow teethed, bloody-mouthed, running around the house ghost - cliche, doors and windows clamoring and clambering in the middle of the night - cliche, possessing - cliche, the possessed person floating in the air - cliche. And not to mention the ghost who lived in the same house years ago and was killed or committed suicide and decided to hang around the house and spook every other occupant of the house - big cliche. Even some Indian movies do better than that.

Now don't get confused if this is a review of the movie or the book. I already told you its not the usual reviews you read. And coming to the point, this is where the book trumps most movies or books of this genre. It doesn't stick to the formulas and cliches to spook you. The stories take place in the most normal and common places, sometimes in broad daylight. House, bathroom, shopping mall, office elevator, a bus stop. And the ghosts are not dressed in all white and floating around in the air. Some of his ghosts have a sense of humour(This alone is enough for you to buy the book). Some times you laugh at them, sometimes you feel sorry for them and most times you want to look around, just in case.

And the stories are simple and sometimes even short that while being spooked you also start wondering how can someone spook you in just two pages. The stories also evoke enough curiosity for you to keep reading and wait for the suspense to unfold but also don't keep you waiting long enough for you to say, 'Come out already, you ghost'. And for any story to be good, it needs a master storyteller. And this is where the author comes in. Mr. Sriramana Muliya. You can clearly see(or read) the experience of 10yrs in writing(on his blog) and many more years he spent telling stories and spooking others. The plots are air-tight, no loose ends left out, no unwanted details and most important of all he doesn't underestimate the intelligence of the reader. He doesn't spoon feed you every aspect of the story. He leaves out enough to the reader's imagination. That is a mark of a truly intelligent author.

To finish this off I will tell you something. Something that I experienced. The book and its stories are not something you read and expect to be scared out of wits immediately. You would be very wrong then. It is when you go to the bathroom and forget to turn off the lights and then in the middle of the night the door opens due to the breeze and you see the the lights on and you don't remember you not turning on/off the light. Then you wonder, how did the door open, why are the lights on. You know ghosts aren't real and they don't exist. Or do they.?? Then, at that moment you realise, the book was successful in what it was meant to do. To spook you.

The only thing that will make you feel bad is the length of the book. You finish reading it even before you realise. But don't you worry. You can always head to his blog and get spooked until he publishes his next book. So go ahead and buy your copy today, from here. Unless you want one of his ghosts to come ask you, "Do you feel spooked punk?".

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Dark Angels

Anamika stood on the footpath, turned back to see if she could spot any cabs. She was exasperated. She looked at her watch. It was a little past 12 in the night. She looked around again, impatiently.

"Maybe I should have waited for the office cab", she cursed herself.

She then started walking again, hoping to find a cab down the road. As she continued walking, she heard a vehicle approaching. She turned back almost with a glee. But it wasn't a cab. She left out a huge sigh in despair. And turned and started walking slowly again. The vehicle slowed down and came close to the footpath where Anamika was walking. The driver honked twice to get her attention and brought the vehicle even closer to the footpath. The vehicle was now moving at the same speed as Anamika. He honked again. Anamika didn't stop or look at them.

The glass came down and the guy beside the driver put his head out. The smoke and the loud music from the vehicle smothered Anamika. She brushed the smoke away and kept walking, now at a brisk pace.

"Lost your way madam.? Need a ride.?", asked the guy in the passenger seat in the front.

Anamika still didn't stop or react and kept walking.

"Oh, come on. Don't be like that. We wont do anything to you. We have lot of space in the car. You can ride with all of us", he said and guffawed along with the two guys in the back and the driver.

"May be you guys should keep moving. I don't want any trouble", she retorted.

"What trouble can you cause us. Also we always love a little fight", he said and hi-fived with the guy in the back seat.

"Thats it. I'm calling the police", she said and put her hand in her bag to find the phone.

"Ok ok. We will back off. Cool down baby", he said. And the vehicle stopped.

Anamika turned around and continued walking. And even before she could react, someone covered her mouth with a cloth and two others lifted her. They put her in between the two guys in the back seat. The smell of alcohol and smoke inside the car was almost intoxicating. The vehicle zoomed away into the dark.

In the dark woods somewhere in the outskirts of the city a cellphone rang. Anamika picked it up.

"Hey, where are you. On the dark side of the moon.? Have been trying to call you since the past 30mins", screamed Abhaya on top of her voice.

"Seems like that. But I think I'm somewhere on the outskirts", Anamika said calmly.

"What are you doing there at this time.?", Abhaya asked.

"Cutting the front tails of few dogs", Anamika smirked.

"Aaaah that is nasty. So where did you pick up the dawgs.?", Abhaya asked.

"Actually this time they picked me up. I warned them too. Still they tried to wag their tails.", Anamika replied and smiled at her own remark.

"So gonna let them bleed to death.?", questioned Abhaya almost expecting a yes from her.

"Oh how much I would love that. But that would put them out of misery right away, wouldn't it? That's way I have called the ambulance from their phone. They will live to tell their story. So what you been up to tonight?", asked Anamika while trying to find her way through the woods.

"Thanks for asking. Tonight was good. I was returning from work when these two guys kept following me from the metro station. They kept passing comments. Describing my buttocks and breasts, you know. I just kept walking and led them to a dark alley.", said Abhaya and continued, "One of the bastards thought this was the right moment and put his hands on my shoulder."

"Tch tch tch", said Anamika.

"Yeah, he too realised his mistake after that", said Abhaya.

"So what happened next.?", prodded Anamika.

"Well, lets say he looks a lot like Voldemort now", said Abhaya and giggled.

"Aaah, the nose.?? Talk about being nasty. And what happened to the other guy.?", asked Anamika.

"I told him that he could either be a good friend and take his friend to the hospital or try to be a hero and lose his ear", Abhaya replied.

"And he chose to be a good friend", said Anamika.

"I wished. But men could be so dumb. He instead came running to attack me shouting 'You bitchhhhh'. And I fed the nose and ear to the dogs", Abhaya said in a matter of fact tone.

"Looks like we both had our share of fun tonight", Anamika said and smiled.

"Yes, that's why I want you to be back home soon. It's getting late and we have a day life too. And can you find your way back or do you want me to come pick you up.?", said Abhaya mockingly.

"Oh! Don't cha worry. Mommy can take care of herself", said Anamika and cut the call.

P.S: Too much gore..?? Well don't blame me. The final season of Dexter is on air. :P