Blind man’s bluff


Ten year old Mubbi was sleeping when she heard the door crack open. She winked several times before opening her eyes to find Ayan standing at the door with a deathly weapon in his hand. In the darkness she couldn’t fathom what the weapon was. She despised him and his dirty games.
“Let’s play a butcher and a goat”, said the nine year old Ayan, his devilish intenstions reflecting in his eyes. She gasped. She was familiar with this heck of a neighbour and his foul tricks. The other day he had coaxed her into playing blind man’s bluff and when she was blindfolded, he shoved her into a dirty puddle. He laughed hysterically when her rosy skin was clothed with dirt.
And now this. The guy has lost his mind, she thought. She moved a little closer to see the weapon clearly, whether a toy or a real one and what she could outline was a real deathly knife. The thought of what the maniac could do shook her. She called out, “Mom! Please come upstairs. Ayan will kill me. Momm!” Her words reached deaf ears. No one answered her back and she couldn’t hear the thumping of footsteps on the wooden floor. Her crystal brown eyes paved way for fresh tears and her lips curved into a reverse “U” like the one of a sad clown.
She tried to get hold of the glass resting on her bedside table. When she tried to throw it in his direction, he was standing right in front of her and had held the knife high to strike her. She immediately brought her slender hands above her face to protect herself, shut her eyes tight and wished she could have died after a few decades.
Three seconds passed. Nothing. Another second. Nothing. What was happening? She slugglishly opened her eyes. Sheer darkness. Utter silence. There was no body and the door of her room was locked. Another nightmare. She shrieked out. This time she could hear her mom answering her back and the hurried thump of footsteps on the wooden floor.

Book review : Gently falls the bakula


Gently falls the bakula, written by Sudha Murthy,  is a story of how a marriage loses it’s way due to critical self interests. It is a reflection of social reality.
In the sleepy town of Hubli, lived the two lovers Srikant and Srimati. They were neighbours and their families had been in a conflict since a long time. Srimati had a profound love for history whereas all what mattered to srikant was constant progress. Though the families didn’t go on well, the two were resolved to love each other for the rest of their lives. There stood a bakula tree in the centre of their veranda whose flowers bloomed and the fragrance of it lasted all year. Srikant was attracted to the bakula flower and Srimati always wore a flower on her hair. That bakula flower on Srimati’s long hair had made him fall for her.
After marriage, Srimati and Srikant moved to Mumbai,  then  called Bombay. Srimati was offered to study abroad but she simply denied the offer because of her dedication to her husband. She had given up her ambition, the first love of her life, history. Srikant was busy climbing the corporate ladder as fast as possible. He paid little or no attention to his wife and her concerns and would always drive away the idea of going to Hubli whenever she insisted. The pressure and rage inside srimati intensified. They had no kids and Srimati felt lonely. Her mother in law didn’t treat her the way she treated her own daughter.She had been bearing silently everything setting the example of a perfect wife. But for how long? Her talents were going futile.  She had a hard working husband, money but what was lacking was affection. She wanted someone to talk to her, to listen to what she has to say and appreciate her for what she had done. Srikant treated her like a secretary, except she wasn’t being paid for it. Attending Srikant’s guests, welcoming them, doing his  packing whenever he flew abroad, maintaining his schedule, all this was mocking her right into her face. And then came the time to put an end to this torture. She started picking fights, arguing, answering back at Srikant, flaring her anger, pleading and begging Srikant to take a few days off and stay home. His ignorant attitude towards his own wife had made Srimati take extreme steps. She corresponded with the Professor who had offered her to study abroad. She made all the arrangements and flew away, away from Srikant saying she isn’t sure when she shall return.The title fits the whole story perfectly. The bakula flower symbolises Srikant’s and Srimati’s love for one another. Since the flower wasn’t looked after well, it had fallen gently. Srimati going away came as a total shock to Srikant.

The story is written making use of straightforward language and simple, uncomplicated words. It pulls the emotional cords of our heart thus conveying the message. The beginning  is dull where Sudha Murthy describes the school life of the two characters. It makes you put down the novel and pick another one. But if you decide to continue reading it, the events and the rising action makes you sympathize with the central character Srimati. It is an open ended story with no concrete conclusion. The narrative style is engaging and simple. I’d rate the novel 3.5 out of five because although it highlights the social trauma effectively, the plot moves slowly and the exposition drowns you into sleep. If the story had a conclusion of Srikant realizing his mistakes and getting back with Srimati, I would have been happier. It makes you doleful and emotional. If that’s what the author had intended to do, then I would say, great job!

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