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Tips to become a succesful book blogger

No one has become a superstar blogger overnight.Recognition in blogosphere takes time and there are no short cuts for achieving instant success as a blogger.Read like there is no tomorrow and pen down your sincere thoughts in a lucid, organised and unpretentious manner.Your work will definitely get its due.

Blogadda-Quikr Shopping Fiesta: My Experience

It was like a slap on my face.Thankfully Arun was not there with me to witness by embarassement. I was all set to call him when some random piece of paper with a phone number written on it from my pocket caught my attention.

Book Review:Salvation Of a Saint

On the whole,’The Salvation Of Saint’ is a decent thriller.It may not be as racy as ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’,but still it’s a pretty good one.

Interview with Doctor-turned- Writer Deepal Kripal

Earlier this week,we chatted with Doctor-turned-Author,Deepak Kripal.He has authored 'The Devil's Tale:An impossible journey',published by Leadstart Publishers.In this candid interview,he tells us about his debut work,future plans,his journey as a writer and his other interests in life.

Private India: Book Review

On the whole,'Private India' by James Patterson and Ashwin Sanghi is a strictly average work.

September 13, 2017

Thoughts on James Patterson's ' The Thomas Berryman Number'


               I am no fan of James Patterson.I have read a couple of his books before and  found them to be totally mediocre.Picked up this book as I was told that this had won him the Edgar award for the best debut (way back in the 70s). May be at that point of time, people might have enjoyed reading this work ,but for a reader like me who belongs to a different era , the book was not at all relatable.With a confusing and snail paced plot,this debut work about a hitman and his escapades is at best left untouched.

-nikhimenon

September 10, 2017

Malayalam Cinema 2017:The Most Disappointing Malayalam Movies Of the Year, So Far!


2017 has rather been a disappointing year for the Malayalam Movie Industry so far.One of it's leading men is behind bars for an alleged crime done against his own colleague,many of the much hyped movies got universally panned and bit the dust at the kerala box-office. There has been no big successes like a PuliMurugan/ Premam/Ennu Ninte Moidheen so far.With mediocre content,the Onam releases have also failed to really set the box-office on fire.Here,we have a look at those movies of the year which offered a lot prior to their release but turned out to be lacklustre affairs at the end.

10.Fukri(Siddique)- Hit maker Siddique's first outing with Jayasurya turned out to be a rehash of various yesteryear hits like 'Udayapuram Sulthan'.With silly jokes and over the top performances,Fukri was yet another case of bad writing spoiling the party!

9.Jomonte Suvisheshangal(Satyan Anthikkad)-Sathyettan's loyal family audience might have helped the movie to scrape through at the kerala boxoffice but there is no denying the fact that 'Jomonte..' was nothing other than a bargain basement version of last year's 'Jaobinte Swargarajyam'.The only silver lining in this otherwise mediocre affair was the sincere performance from the father son duo played by Dulquer Salman-Mukesh.

8.Honeybee 2(Lal Jr)-Well, the prequel was no great cinematic gem.But the sequel was widely expected to repeat the former movie's box-office success.Though replete with sexual innuendos and crass jokes,HB2 failed to please even the front benchers and turned out to be a turkey at the ticket windows!

7.1971:Beyond Borders(Major Ravi)-well, nothing more to be said about this one.This wannabe war movie couldn't even satisfy Lalettan's devoted fans.We wish Major sir comes up with a better script next time!


6.Georgettan's Pooram(Biju Arookkutty)-Expected to be the year's festival entertainer from Dileep,this pooram ended up as a celebration of mediocricity.Neither a critical nor a commercial success,this movie didn't generate the opening which Dileep movies used to take during a vacation season.

5.The Great Father(Haneef Adeni)-Mammookka looked uber cool as ever but this misguided family thriller suffered due to bad writing.Perhaps the most profitable venture in this list,The Great Father was a disappointment from an aesthetic point of view.

4.Pullikkaran S(t)aara(Syamdhar)-When a relatively new director tries to cash in on Mamooka's super cool looks overlooking the mamooth sized holes and the pointlessness in the script,we can confidently say that the megastar should be more careful in choosing his projects.

3.Tiyaan(Jeeyen Krishnakumar)-The promos were extra ordinary and the production values were top notch but when you cannot back it up with a solid script,all the efforts go in vain.Tiyaan was one of the most disppointing films of the year both critically and commercially.

2.Achayans(Kannan Thamarakkulam) and Puthenpanam(Ranjith)-A mindless comedy entertainer was what was widely expected out of this flick.But 'Achayans' failed to entertain!With a rather muddling script,in Puthenpanam Ranjith tried to take solace in the Kasargode slang,but the majority of the viewers found it confusing and mildly amusing!

1.Velipaadinte Pusthakam(Lal Jose)-Benny P Nayarambalam-Lal Jose-Mohanlal.The names were big,the expectations sky high,'Jimmikki Kammal' became Kerala's 'why this Kolaveri',but alas,the content was too weak to speak for itself!

-nikhimenon

Adam Joan and Njandukalude Naattil Oru Idavela-Mini Movie Reviews!

Hi all,

It's a long time since nikhimenon has spoken here! So many things happened in between, the 'MSG' made the drastic decision to continue saving the world from behind the bars, Vivek Oberoi once again made a 'grand re-entry to Bollywood' only to keep us guessing about the possible date of his next gala Bollywood re-launch, Ra-Ga went abroad yet again for his monthly dose of vipasana, nikhimenon's letter box got flooded with mails from depressed fans who threatened to kill themselves as they couldn't read nikhimenon's literary gems on a daily basis, to name a few. So nikhimenon has decided to take up that ardous task of enlightening this world once again with a new blogpost.

 In these times,when every homosapien with a pair of hands and atleast half a dozen fingers is a movie critic, writing a review about a feature film is no big deal.But since nikhimenon's creative genius has told him that the best way to set the RT blog stats on fire (the year long 'neglect' coupled with the nefarious design of the likes of KLQ et al seems to have reduced the 'once upon a time' 2000+hits/day strong stats to petty double digit figures!) is to post a couple of reviews, the same is being done here.



1.Adam Joan(Jinu Abraham, Prithviraj Sukumaran-Mishti Chakraborty, Bhavana et al)- The movie almost entirely shot in Scotland tells the story of a rich Planter 'Adam Joan' whose daughter suddenly gets kidnapped by a secret cult.The protagonist's efforts to save his daughter is what the movie is all about.Slow paced and laced with family sentiments,the movie has got beautiful visuals,decent performances from the lead cast and a somewhat novel core premise to boast off.The length,often repetitive super slo-mo sequences and the over the top climactic action sequences are put offs though.On the whole an above average flick. Rating-2.6/5



2.Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela(Althaf Salim,Nivin Pauly-Shanthi Krishna,Lal et al)- Kurian Chacko comes(Nivin Pauly) back from London as he suddenly gets a panic call from his mother(Shanthi Krishna).Pretty soon,he realizes that their family is in a major crisis and they have to deal with it somehow.The movie deals with a pretty serious subject but the director has conveniently chosen to tell it in a light hearted manner which incidentally becomes it's bane as well.The essence of the matter gets diluted at times because of this 'safe-fell good' style of film making. Nivin Pauly repeats his trade mark style,Shanthi Krishna delivers a competent performance ably supported by Lal,Saiju Kurup and co.On the whole,the movie turns out to be a family friendly light-hearted watchable flick though it had the potential to become much more!Rating-2.7/5

-nikhimenon

April 2, 2017

Movie Review:Georgettan's Pooram


                        I stopped reviewing movies a long time back.Way back in 2007,when I started writing in this blog,there were very few people who used to review Malayalam movies online.Times have changed and now every random guy who can type a couple of lines at a stretch is a movie critic!On top of that you have fans of actors who flood the social media and online forums with their 'own take' on their favourite stars'(or the opposite one's) latest movie.So,in many ways,I believe writing a review these days is pointless.Yet,I couldn't resist writing the review of Georgettan's Pooram which I managed to catch on it's first day of release.
                      Writing a review for a Dileep movie is as pointless as writing one for a Salman flick. No matter whatever you write, the fans and the family audience will throng to the theatres in large numbers to catch a glimpse of their favourite star! But I strongly believe that it's high time our Janapriyanagan stopped taking viewers for granted and started thinking seriously about the kind of scripts which he green-lights!
                      George is the son of a priest (played by Ranji Panicker)and is basically fooling around with his gang of friends(Vinay Fort,Sharafudeen,Thiru) with the sole intention of providing some 'fun' for the hapless viewers.So they pass lewd comments on their tuition teacher,try to 'get a glimpse' of her when she is having bath,stalks a girl(Rajisha Vijayan) whom George meets at a funeral, pick up random fights with some 'freak boys'(who might bring a bad name to Thrissur also as it happened to Kochi),breaks into the house of a girl whom Vinay Fort was supposed to marry, to name a few during the entire duration of first half. In the second half, the gang suddenly transforms themselves to 'responsible citizens' and takes up the 'mission' of saving the local play ground (a 'Kochi' ground masquerading as 'Mathai Prambu') from a land shark(incidentally Mathai's son,played by Chemban Vinod) by defeating them in a Kabadi Match(Lagaan,Gilly,Karinkunnam Sixes,anyone?)!
                     The main fault with the movie lies in it's writing.With a script all over the place,K Biju and co have dished out a typical 'thattikoottu' fare which is solely aimed at the vacation family crowd. The sexist jokes are nothing new,even if you are a fan of these kind of jokes, it's very unlikely that you will find them amusing as each of them is plain predictable and you yourselves might have heard all that umpteen times before. At the heart of it, there is a genuine sports drama which sadly doesn't get it's due as the writer and the director  seem to be in a dilemma whether to treat the movie as a typical Dileep-tainer or a sports film. So in the end,it ends up as a poorly made film.
                   Dileep tries his best but his Thrissur accent sounds forced and at times he goes overboard.Rajisha doesn't even have many lines to mouth and ends up as a mere prop. Sharafudeen and Vinay Fort entertains at times, so is Kanaran Hareesh.T.G Ravi is fine, but it is a routine role for him.Chemban Vinod does it part well.The 'Joliyum Kooliyum' song is peppy and the cinematography is also okay.The editing could have been better as the first half seemed never ending.The over-use of slo-mo during the kabady scenes was unwarranted,but to give credit where it's due,the Kabadi sequences were the best portions in the entire film.

On the whole,with a poorly written script 'Georgettan's Pooram' is the kind of movie which does no justice to Dileep's talent. It's as good as a Villaliveeran! I'm giving it a 2 out of 5.

-nikhimenon

December 23, 2016

Hobbies: On Travelling cheap and some gyan!

Image:shutterstock.com

                       Quite often people ask me about my Hobbies. Frankly speaking, I still don't get the idea of terming/dubbing something a 'Hobby'. Oxford defines Hobby as something which is typically done during one's leisure time for pleasure. It also gives reading as a typical example for it. But then if you ask me, I totally love reading and make sure that I spend atleast an hour or so every day in reading. I make sure that I get time to read every day and it doesn't necessary mean 'leisure time' in the conventional sense. Again, travelling is something which I love in equal measure and in this age, where there are awesome websites which give goibibo coupons, which offer discount coupons, travelling is not a really expensive affair. One can fly and stay at affordable rates at holiday destinations without really digging a big hole in one's pockets! The other day, one of my friends was telling me how cheap it has become to travel to exotic locations which was once considered a privilege of the rich and the super rich. Whatever we may call it, activities like travelling and  reading definitely help in refreshing ourselves and breaking ourselves from the routine and mundane activities of day to day life.

                       In a way, if we look at it, both travelling and reading have many things in common.Travelling helps in exploring and experiencing  hitherto unfamiliar geographies while reading is a sort of travel through the minds of vivid characters.Eminent psychologists are of the opinion that travelling and the experiences acquired thereby inturn helps in building and refining one's own personality. A couple of days back when I was browsing the net, I chanced upon this quote-

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

Quite true,indeed?! I think,travelling has a lot of benefits.

1.It helps in discovering new places,food and culture

2.Helps in making new friends (and obviously foes!)
3.Helps in realizing one's true potential.
4.Enables one to think 'big'
5.Helps to let go petty things from 0ur minds and focus on bigger goals
6.Helps in realizing how deep you love your home and your near and dear ones!
7.Helps in creating financial discipline!

What say you?


-nikhimenon

November 24, 2016

Dr Rajan's Corner: New Weekly Column!


Dr Raj is a Dermatologist practising In India .From this week, RT will have weekly guest posts from Dr Raj.When it comes to poetry, Rajan is still, the Raja! So,here is the first post!


-nikhimenon, dr_raj

November 5, 2016

Ultra Short Review:I Do! Do I?


    Ruchita Misra’s  ‘I Do! Do I?’ is her follow up to her ‘The Ineligible Bachelors’ which apparently became a ‘National Best-Seller’ .The In-eligible Bachelors was an okay work and though it pretended itself to be a satirical take on Indian Marriages, the book was nothing but pure-unadulterated desi chick-lit. ‘I Do! Do I? is kind of a sequel to ‘TIB’ and traces the events happening in Kasturi Shukla’s life after her marriage has been fixed with Dr Purva Dixit. To give credit where it’s due, I sort of enjoyed the first 170+ pages or so (of this 300+ page book), but after that, the book started getting repetitive with the jokes falling flat, the female protagonist behaving more and more stupid and nothing much really happening in the story line.The climax chase and the supposedly hilarious finale is nothing new and is only what we have seen in a dozen rom-com Bollywood flicks.Ruchita’s writing is plain,with a few hilarious one-liners here and there and the book  is clearly aimed at those urban readers who just want to read a generic light,desi chick-lit.I’m giving it a 2.5 out of 5. It’s not as boring as ‘One Indian Girl’, but not that great either. 

-nikhimenon

September 25, 2016

Malayalam Cinema 2016: The Worst Malayalam Films, so far


Agreed, 2017 is a good 3 months away.But we have had our own share of terrible movies already. Here is a look at those Malayalam films which ended up as a pure waste of time and money of cinephiles.

1.White (Udhay Ananthan, Eros)- 


Udhay Ananthan's Mammooty starrer was shot abroad,had a talented lead pair,good production values and a couple of melodious tracks.Still,the movie turned out to be a boring affair,thanks to it's mediocre script.The movie was produced by Eros International and was Udhay Ananthan's third outing after a decent Pranayakalam and an okay short in the Kerala Cafe anthology.

2.Hello Namasthe (Jayan Nair,Freedia Entertainment)-



A shoddy script was the villain,once again.This Miya George-Bhavana-Vinay Fort-Sanju starrer was a colourful production,but again,good writing cannot be replaced by colourful visuals all the time!

3.Vallem Thetty Pulleem Thetty (Rishi S, Achappu Movies)-



This movie had tremendous hype prior to it's release, thanks to the peppy tracks by Suraj Kurup and the brilliant visuals by Kunjunni S Kumar. But what can Kunchakko Boban do without a good script?

4.Monsoon Mangoes(Abi Varghese,Kayal Films)-


Fahad Fazil was sincere and gave a brilliant performance in this flick directed by Akkara Kazchakal fame Abi Varghese.The lethargic pace,uninspiring execution,bland writing and poor release strategy determined the box office fate of the film. Fahad bounced back with 'Maheshinte Prathikaram',a few weeks later.

5.Malgudy Days (Visakh,Vivek,Vinod, V creations)


This Anoop Menon starrer had nothing to do with the R.K Narayan classic.Distributed by Murali films, this movie was one of the early releases of the year and was supposedly based on a real life incident.The movie definitely had it's heart in the right place!

The movies which almost made into this list include Manoj P's 'Ithu Thaanda Police',Nithin Ranji Panicker's Hit 'Kasaba' and Lal's 'King Liar'.

-nikhimenon

September 24, 2016

10 Malayalam Movies That Had The Same Story Line


In the last post, we had a look at those twin Malayalam films that released around the same time. In this post, we discuss about those Malayalam flicks with similar story lines that released years apart.

1.Chanchattam(1991),Onnum Mindathe(2014)-



Sugeeth's take on extra-marital relationship and it's aftermath  had embarassingly the same story line as that of yesteryear flop, 'Chanchattam'. Incidentally, both the movies had the same hero, Jayaram!

2.Udayapuram Sulthan(1999),Mylanchi Monchulla Veedu(2014)



Jayaram's 2014 festival entertainer,'Mylanchi Monchulla..' was nothing but a rehashed version of the 1999 Dileep starrer 'Udhayapuram Sulthan'.The old formula of fake identities,inter-religious relationship,elopement et al was reworked by Udhayakrishna and Siby K Thomas yet again,but 'Mylanchi..' , except for the couple of melodious songs didn't have the same charm as that of Udhayapuram Sulthan.

3.Samoohyapadam(1996),Mallu Singh(2012)-



Now,this entry might take atleast a few of you out there.But it can't be denied that the basic idea of Mallu Singh (the 'hero- assuming the fake identity of a stranger whom he had met during a journey') was borrowed from the 1996 Dileep-Premkumar film directed by Kareem.

4.Makkal Mahatmyam(1992),Kabbadi Kabbadi(2008)



Makkal Mahatmyam was a fun film.It told the story of two youngsters who had the same biological father.The film,written by Siddique-Lal had Mukesh and Saikumar playing the warring step-brothers.Kabbadi Kabbadi released in 2008 was a poor rehash of the former film.

5.Prajapathy, Ashwaroodan (2005-2006)-







Well,both these movies had similar story lines and were directed by veteran directors.While the former starred Mega star Mammooty, the latter had Suresh Gopi playing the title role.

-nikhimenon


-nikhimenon

September 23, 2016

Malayalam Movies with Similar Plots/Story lines released around the same time


                    Kerala has a small film industry (with limited market outside)and obviously, it can ill afford multiple films which have the same plot releasing around the same time. Yet, we have had atleast half a dozen movies which featured similar story lines. Here is a look at those films and their performance at the ticket windows.

1.Madambi,Parunthu (2008)-



Both the movies had ruthless money lenders with shades of grey as their protagonists and released around the same time.While the former turned out to be a big commercial success,the Mammootty starrer had few takers at the box-office and was also panned by the critics.

2.Vairam,Janakan(2009-10)- 



Both these movies probably not only had the same source material (Krishna Priya murder case),but also shared actors(Suresh Gopi featuring in both the films).At the box-office,both the films had similar collections with none being able to become big commercial success.

3.Vimanam,Aby(2016)-




Probably, you might have heard about the on-going legal tussle between the makers of both these films.The movies are supposedly based on the life of Saji Thomas who built an air plane on his own.Now, we don't know which version will come out first, but it's going to be an interesting affair , for sure.

4.Cocktail,Race(2010-11)-


Now,this one is actually interesting.Both these Malayalam Movies were actually un-authorized re-makes of a celebrated foreign language film.Cocktail hit the screens first forcing the makers of the Kunchakko Boban-Indrajith starrer tamper with their script.Ultimately,both the flicks failed at the Kerala Box-office.

5.Premam(2015),Happy Wedding(2015-16)-



It's too far fetched to claim that a 'Happy Wedding' is a copy of a cult-film like 'Premam'. But,if you look at it,the basic story idea of both the movies are the same.While Premam traces three love stories in the life of George(Nivin Pauly),in Happy Wedding, we are told about the love life of an engineering graduate played by Siju Wilson.Happy Wedding turned out to be the surprise hit of the year.

(...the next part of the post can be read here )

-nikhimenon

September 17, 2016

Aanandam- Dooreyo


Looks like a 'Zindagi na milegi..' meets 'Happy Days' kind of film.Looking forward.The trailer is also nice.Gives a fresh and positive vibe.

-nikhimenon

"What to do after 12 th?"

                             
Image Courtesy-collegedunia
             It was a lazy Sunday morning and I was dozing all the way to glory when my 17 year old nephew, Arun (who had come from Kolkata to celebrate Onam with his grandparents and cousins) came running to me with a baffled expression on his face-“Chetta, I need your help, Chetta get up”.Obviously,I was irritated. But then, it didn’t take long for me to realize that Arun was a bit worried.

Chetta, tell me what should I do after 12?
What…? We will have Onam Sadya (Lunch) by 12.30 or something.Tell Aunty..”
“No Chetta,stop kidding.I am asking what course should I choose after 12th.”

My initial reaction was quite obvious. In this age when everyone (from this part of the world) had either Medicine or Engineering as their first choice and other courses only as their back up option, a query like this (that too from a school topper like Arun) didn’t warrant that much of an attention.

What’s there to think in that?It depends on your CET marks,right?” - I retorted not trying much to hide the irritation in my voice.
No Chetta, I’m asking you this since you are a doctor. I want you to know your opinion. I have taken WBJEE. My rank is quite good.I might get a Medicine seat this year.But…

That was surprising. I never knew that Arun had passed his Medical Entrance test with flying colours. Then why his hesitation? What was there to ponder much about this? He would choose a seat in a West Bengal Medical College nearest to his house. Was he making fun of me?-My mind started working in the true Malayalee fashion.

Congrats. But then,what’s there to think about it? Choose a seat in the College nearest to your house..”
“No,Chetta,I know that.But then,I am in a dilemma….”
What? Arun,there are millions out there who crave for a medical seat in a Government Medical college. Here you have grabbed a medical seat on merit and still pondering about what to do next.Are you making fun of me?”
“No Chetta. I am serious.I have a dream”.
“What?” I asked trying hard to remember the great speech by  Martin Luther King Jr.
I want to become a screen-writer”.

A shiver ran through my spine. Suddenly, I could see myself in him. My half-written movie scripts and failed attempts at film making had become some kind of a running joke in our family. Many producers had said yes to my scripts and had assured me that they had quality and blockbuster written all over it but then all my attempts at making a movie had come cropper at the last moment due to some reason or the other.I didn’t know what to tell him.Finally, Igathered courage and told-

Arun, I appreciate your talent. You can fulfill your dreams. But first complete your education. Cinema is something which doesn’t have any age barrier.You can still write scripts after completing your Medical degree (or even while pursuing it). It is a field full of uncertainties.You might have written a really brilliant script but still there is a chance of it not really getting made….”- I couldn’t complete my sentence but that feeling of fresh tears running down my cheeks was something which I couldn’t miss. Perhaps,sensing my discomfort, Arun didn’t ask me anything more.

After two days, Arun went back to his home in Kolkata. I heard from my relatives that he joined for Medicine in Kolkata Medical College.
The next day, I got a call from Shibu, a well-known Malayalam Film Producer-

“Hello, Dr.Nikhilesh, I want to meet you tomorrow at my office”.
“What is it regarding?”



-nikhimenon

Dealing with 'Writer's Block'

Image Courtesy-literaryyard

                         Writer's Block. Well,it's something which each one of us might have encountered at some point or the other. For the last one month,I haven't been able to write anything.No blog posts,no book reviews(though there are half a dozen reviews lying unfinished in my draft box),no one-line thoughts for potential blockbusters.Nothing.My blog views per day have come down because of lack of new posts.But I am trying to overcome this.Hoping to post a fresh post soon.

-nikhimenon

August 15, 2016

Thoughts on Surya TV'S 'Laughing Villa'

                   
Image Courtesy-hindu.com


                     Surya TV has been struggling with poor TRP ratings for some time.None of their recent soaps have really been able to garner much eye balls and the stiff competition from the likes of Flowers tv and Mazhavil Manorama has been making matters worse(Asianet,the market leader is undoubtedly miles ahead in the rating game and the chances of beating them shall remain a distant dream!). Laughing Villa was tauted as Surya TV 's reply to Asianet's highly successful Badai Bungalow.I was curious to know the result .If the couple of episodes which I watched are any indication,'Laughing Villa' looks like yet another failed attempt from Surya TV to beat Asianet at their game. Since the show format(a villa inhabited by comedians and celebrity guests paying them a visit at regular intervals) and the time slot are pretty much the same as that of Asianet's 'Badayi Bungalow' the comparisons are inevitable.While the former scores with neat jokes (sometimes way too silly, but still, largely devoid of double innuendos and corny lines aimed at cheap laughs) and earnest performances from the cast (Ramesh Pisharody,Arya,Mukesh et al), 'Laughing Villa' ends up as nothing but a cheap imitation. The jokes fall flat, the corny lines pretty often have sexual undertones, the performances come across as way too artificial (which is a pity, as the show has some of the best talents like Manju Pillai,Surabhi,Manian Pilla Raju, to name a few).About the short skits which are presented in between,the less said, the better.The main problem with laughing villa lies in it's writing. It's sad to see talented performers like Surabhi and Manju Pillai going over board and screaming their lungs out with the sole intention of making people giggle. The situations are stale and  flat, laughs are far and few in between and the x-rated one liners are not helping the matters either. C'mmon, how much you can endure the same old puerile joke on unwanted pregnancies and illegitimate children? Inshort, the show is a massive disappointment!

-nikhimenon

July 14, 2016

Excerpt- Lazlo's Revenge

Excerpt –Chapter 1: Bukovina


August 1914
Czernovitz, Bukovina
Austro-Hungarian Empire

Miklos Floznik

I approached the first houses, gasping for breath, horrified to see the destruction being wrought by round upon round of artillery fusillades. There was no cover to be found. Dazed, I continued running, desperately trying to save myself. I passed perhaps a dozen or more homes laid nearly flat. Mutilated bodies lying all about and the wounded wailing like nothing I had ever heard. As I neared the outskirts of the city, the shelling began again as suddenly as it had stopped. Cannonade pounded in the distance. The earth trembled ferociously at my feet. Turning a corner behind what still stood of the only remaining wall of a large stone building, another round of explosions pounded the city as I leaped down into a now-exposed basement filled with debris from the collapsed upper floors—only one wall and half another standing. Hope drained from me. Each deafening blast shook my senses, sending shards of glass and cracking timbers high into the air with a sickening burst.

Darkness fell quickly in the gloomy gray of dark as I slipped over a broken wall of stones and fell into the pit of the decimated structure. I pushed tightly into a corner of what was once someone’s home, protected from the drenching rain by a small portion of what remained of a badly damaged wall hanging precariously overhead—a welcome but uncertain shelter in the midst of chaos. I pushed tightly back against the cold stone walls on either side, finding as much safety as possible against a new round of explosions that pounded above and around. Each blast shook the skeletal rubble of the house, wrenching stone and wood from tenuous perches and sending more flying debris into the desolate hole that would be their final resting place . . . and perhaps mine as well. I was trapped—I couldn’t move for fear of being crushed in that dreadful place or being shelled to death outside. I pulled my knees to my chin…all I could think to do was pray…and as I prayed…tears came but did not assuage my fear.

Mercifully, with the darkness, silence also descended—even warriors need their rest. Only screams of the wounded and desperate pleas of survivors who searched frantically through the rubble for lost loved ones pierced the cold, wet, bleak night. Soon, darkness also shrouded them in silence, all but the woeful cries of the dying calling out miserably in their hopeless plight—my hopelessness too, I thought. In my corner hideaway, I could see nothing but the black of night illuminated only by the flickering dance of fires burning what remained. I knew without seeing that only rubble lay before me, and there was no hope to be found.

Bombardment of the trenches and the city paved the way for the Russian ground troops, armored cars pulling cannons, and the dreaded Cossack horsemen. I knew they would come—surely, by morning they would come. Everything in their path would be destroyed, everyone who resisted would be killed, and all others would be taken prisoner. There was no doubt. It was their way— what Colonel Eduard Fischer and the Hungarian Army had come to Bukovina to prevent, what I bravely thought we could accomplish was lost. I had not even seen a Russian, but I knew there was no hope of saving anyone. The Kingdom of Bukovina was doomed, and surely none of Austria-Hungary would be safe. With the Hungarian Army defeated and the stronghold city of Czernovitz overrun, no one remained to save us. Even Colonel Fischer might be dead, leaving no leader to stand boldly and hold the remnant together.

In the barren darkness, my youthful excitement as a proud Hungarian soldier on a mission to save the Kingdom of Bukovina, and ultimately the empire, suddenly struck me as a foolish notion. Wearing my uniform once made me very proud, but now I was only frightened and angry. My comrades and I were assured that victory would quickly prevail, but war and death tragically became very real, fearful, foreboding, and final. I questioned myself: Was I a coward to run? Do I really know what bravery is? Do I really know what all these good people are dying for? Do I know what this war is all about? Do I even care about Jews? After all, these people in Bukovina are Jews, many of them. Are they worth the death of so many fresh, hopeful young Hungarian and Austrian men? Are they worth my life?

My head swirled with doubts. My heart ached for answers I didn’t have. Life became too real, too fast. My tortured mind flashed back to the wretched face of the too-young boy, dead in the trench, and the unknown soldier whose bloated corpse had lifted my escape. I sat in my wretched corner and questioned why I had come to such a place—why anyone would engage in such brutality.

Was this worth it…for them…for us…for anyone?

After being drenched for nearly all of three days, the rain finally stopped. The choking smell of charred remains of buildings, gunpowder, and the rotting dead hung heavily in the air. I wished for the rain again, to dilute the ghastly stench. Time slipped slowly by. The dying must have passed through death’s mercy in the eerie silence and the wounded attended to, for as I listened—no sound. Strange, I thought, that in the midst of all this evil, there should be silence. I knew it could not last. Fear grabbed my throat again. My impulse was to get up and go, take action, do something, anything, but my mind held me back—there was nowhere to go, no escape, no hope. The Russian Cossacks would be here by morning—nothing to do but hide and wait, then fight to my death, to salvage whatever honor there might be in resisting.

Below the woeful mute of night, I crouched and cowered. Shivering in fear, my mind drifted back to happier days in Budapest when, as a young boy, I…

Just then!

Something fell on the far side of the rubble, sounding as if it came from behind the largest pile of debris—perhaps another dislodged stone. I leaned forward to hear and peered vainly into the darkness as my heart leaped in my chest and immense fear gripped me. The worst of my thoughts seized me—the Russians were coming in the night and rooting out survivors! Desperate, I slowly reached to my side, and silently drew out my pistol. Another sound. Someone was moving, and not more than ten meters from me.

I raised my pistol and aimed in the direction of the sounds, I was prepared to shoot anything on sight, at any slight movement—my hands trembled against the trigger. A faint light appeared, flickering behind the rubble, like the light of a small candle casting a very large, daunting shadow around me, barely visible as it slowly danced in the eerie candlelight, nearly scaring the life out of me as my finger tightened on the cold trigger.

Crying—quiet, sorrowful weeping—as if the person hidden by the pile of debris knew she had to be very quiet but could not help herself…clearly a woman, perhaps a very young woman, maybe just a girl. I was still…very still…and listened for perhaps fifteen or even twenty minutes, until the light wavered and died. The soft whimpering continued for a long, long time in the fearful dark that kept me huddled closely against the walls of my corner as though I wished to disappear in its grasp. I would wait. By the dim light of morning, I would see who my companion in that hellacious hole might be. Though I resisted, sometime later I dozed, exhausted, dreamily wishing for the safety of my home in Budapest.

I woke to the constant patter of a dreary rain as the breaking dawn cast a ghastly glow over the destruction strewn around and about me. My eyes fixed toward the sound and the light of a few hours earlier; I listened but…only quiet and stillness…no sound but the steady falling rain.

 -nikhimenon

*special arrangement with the author


July 12, 2016

Introducing Lazlo’s Revenge by Glen Thomas Hierlmeier


Glen Thomas Hierlmeier’s latest historical romance novel, Lazlo’s Revenge, is the story of one woman’s adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts.  Stories of romance, war, and traumas both physical and emotional are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II.

Lazlo’s Revenge follows Maxine “Max” Fischer, a writer and Swiss war correspondent, whose parents (Hank and Roberta Fischer, the main characters from Hierlmeier’s previous book, Honor and Innocence) lived through the tragedies of the Great World Wars. 

Max sets out on an adventure throughout Europe to uncover her parents’ pasts and see the very places where they survived on their odyssey to escape danger and death. Stories of romance, war, and traumas are unearthed as she traces their footsteps back to the major sites of World Wars I and II.  

During her journey, Max becomes fascinated by the people who influenced her parents' lives. She follows the life and times of Lazlo Floznik, the man who saved her parents and helped them escape catastrophe in Europe by seeking out refuge beyond the reach of the security forces that sought to imprison them.  The years leading up to World War I, the time between the wars, and the experiences of World War II reveal their secrets as Max explores her family roots, in this deeply emotional story tied together by Lazlo’s intense story of love, and that of his father, Miklos, before him.  

Praise:

Any reader who enjoys historical fiction, romance, war stories, and stories with action and adventure, should definitely give Lazlo's Revenge a read. I am pleased to be able to recommend this book to any such reader. I am also looking forward to reading more from the promising author, Glen Hierlmeier, as soon as I possibly can!” – 4 Stars, Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers’ Favorite

“With deft skill often found in good fiction, Heirlmeier masterfully creates a sweeping epic anchored by strong characters. The accurate and poignant historical references are sure to delight any historical reader.” – 4 Stars, Red City Review


About the Author:

Glen Thomas Hierlmeieris a graduate of the United Sates Air Force Academy, and has an MBA from The University of Wisconsin. He served in the U.S. Air Force, where he helped develop the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and the F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft, and gained a deep interest in world affairs and warfare.

He subsequently completed a career as a banker and real estate executive, serving as President and CEO of various companies for over thirty years before retiring in 2009.

Glen enjoys writing historical fiction and has published three other books including Thoughts From Yesterday: Moments to Remember, We Had to Live: We Had No Choice..., and Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War, the prequel to Lazlo’s Revenge. His latest novel, Lazlo’s Revengewas released in July 2016 from Xlibris publishing.For more information, visit: http://www.booksbyglenthomas.com/.


Readers can connect with Glen Thomas Hierlmeieron Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

-nikhimenon

*promotional/advertorial post

July 6, 2016

Interview: Author Nilesh Rathod

Image Courtesy-http://www.nileshrathod.in/

The other day, we interviewed the multi-talented Nilesh Rathod, the author of the recently released 'Destiny of Shattered Dreams'.


·      Can you tell us something about yourself?
-          Born in Bangalore, brought up in Pune… I pursued my graduation in commerce and I ama Chartered Financial Analyst by education.I co-founded Ensemble Infrastructure India Limited in the year 2002 which, now employs over 2000 personnel. It has successfully delivered thousands of contracts including offices, hotels, hospitals and retail spaces.

·         Rupa has published many best-selling authors from Chetan Bhagat to Ravi Subramanian. Can you tell us briefly about your experience with your publisher?
-          They’ve been extremely co-operative and it has been an amazing experience working with Rupa.

            These days there are many desi authors writing in English.What do you think is your biggest USP when compared to your contemporaries?
-          English has been a primary language for Indians since the British era. However, of late the spread of language a lot of new authors are emerging and some of them have transcended borders when it comes to their quality of writing. Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Amitav Ghosh bring pride to us.
Writing is a creative art and doesn’t often need to follow a USP. In my opinion most genuine authors who know their trait simply write and their USP’s are cultivated by readers’ responses. Destiny of Shattered Dreams is a story of a middle class boy who pursues his dreams and gets caught in the embroil of modern day politics. The story is his take away of life as we live it today.

           When do you write and have you ever experienced writer's block?
-          I am going through one. I wrote my first novel within a month of starting to pen it, I spent double that time to just write the headers for the sub-plots, but once I got to writing, I was done within a month. I am a lazy researcher too; on the contrary research beyond a point is a road block to creativity. My first way to deal with a writer's block is to take a break, may be a day or two or even a week. I keep thinking and re-thinking about the scenarios without really penning them down. If I do get a break through, I start again. Reading another book or two within that break can help erase the block sometimes. And if nothing works, I simply force my way through the story, it might read bland or may sound timid when you do that, but remember it’s a small part of the story and there is always an edit option.

            Apart from writing,what are your other hobbies?
-          I love to read books..!

c   Amitav Ghosh,Salman Rushdie,Chetan  Bhagat;who is your favorite among these three Indian writers? Which one do you think is his best work till date?
-          Salman Rushdie..! MidNights Children is the best I feel

·     Indian Writing in English has truly come of age. What is your take on the future of the English language Fiction market in India?
-          India is a country that widely uses the language while, fiction books are pure entertainers. It shall evolve with time and grow further with increasing competition.   
     
      We are also living in an era when every author blogger wants to be a published author.Do you think this as a healthy trend?
-          Ya... Why not..? If there writing styles are better than the existing ones, I definitely think it’s worth giving a shot.

      Okay, one last question.I know it’s a little dumb to ask this,but still... You want to be remembered as a bestselling author or as an award winning one?
-          For now I’d want to be a bestseller. Maybe when the next book hits the market, I’d aim at becoming an award winning writer J But, more than anything else I’m happy to see my novel being loved by the readers..

 -nikhimenon